Thursday, 30 August 2012

New media, DRM and the gamers point of view.

New Media. That's the new buzz phrase that describes on-demand entertainment and news. It's the type of phrase that organisations like Hulu and SModCo would use push themselves as being more relevant and in touch with customers needs than 'Old Media' organisations like broadcast television or print news outlets. While I do, pretty much agree with everything these organisations raise as reasons they are better I also have a question, is New Media thing that deserves to be defined?

The internet has become the primary tool for most people's entertainment and communication needs and as a side effect people began to think that the so called 'Old Media' can not provide solutions at a pace that is acceptable. Oddly this has resulted in the organisations that are internet friendly calling themselves 'New Media' outlets and congratulating themselves on their progressive methods.

This is the part that makes me a little mad. These organisations didn't create the audience they moved to the internet to follow the audience and catch up with the needs of a mobile phone obsessed low attention span laden mass zombie culture. The thing is, this culture is wonderful and for all its flaws we (the zombies of technology) are more connected and aware of the world than any generation before us. We can sniff out propaganda at a hundred paces and don't tolerate entertainment that we don't enjoy, we have the power to choose our TV shows and movies when we want and how we want. Thanks to organisations like Netflix we can watch pretty much whatever we want when we want.

Even the sales of disc based media (DVD's and Blurays) are slowly declining as we move to totally digitally stored and delivered service's.

Gaming is no exception to this either, services like the Playstation store, Steam, Xbox Arcade (or whatever its called) are all simple and instant ways to obtain games we want to play. For the most part we want internet aware games, Multiplayer gaming is at an all time high and even the single player master works such as Skyrim are not free from the internet's watchful eyes with modding communities, fan websites and wiki's.

We are the new generation of gaming and most gaming related organisations understand this, we have been 'New Media' since the dawn of the internet.

At the moment, in gaming we are seeing a backlash against DRM, in-product advertising and DLC. I wonder how far ahead we are though? will we see a backlash against these kinds of things in the movie and TV fields soon? will Netflix have to let us download and simply keep shows? will we get upset that Hulu requires an internet connection? I suspect that the answer is no.

As gamers we have always felt entitled to things that are simply not expected in other fields of entertainment. the more I enjoy these new media services the more I can see the parallel and am starting to think that maybe these companies are not wrong with DRM and DLC but are in fact just presenting these things to us, the audience in a way that makes us feel like we are being screwed when in fact we aren't. Maybe we are getting value for money already and the industry is just moving differently than we expected.

New media, Internet connectivity, social interaction and instant access are all great things and in gaming we are getting these things. We also have to understand that DRM protects the developers products granted there are more issues than this basic statement (like DRM preventing you from actually gaming) but services like Steam offer an acceptable alternative to disc checks and activation codes but  we have to accept that gaming is moving on even if gamers are not.

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