Every year, the technology industry tries to crown the one attribute that dominated the landscape all year. And while it may be early to decide what 2008 will be defined as when it's all said and done, I think gaming has taken the prize already.
Let's face it--what else could possibly take the cake? Will it be the year of mergers just because Microsoft and Yahoo may join up while Circuit City and Blockbuster do the same thing? Boring. Will 2008 be the year of computers? Try one decade ago. Will it be the year of Web 2.0? Who cares.
The fact of the matter is that in 2008, nothing will be nearly as important or groundbreaking in this industry as gaming. Whether it's the fact that the Playstation made a huge turnaround this year or that a new DS will hit store shelves or even the fact that this year's line up of games is simply better than any other year in recent memory, 2008 will be big and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens from here on out.
The games! The games!
Although I'm not even going to try to mention every major title to hit store shelves this year, I can say with total certainty that 2008 is a major year for gaming. This year alone, we have either welcomed or are about to welcome the following titles:
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- Ninja Gaiden 2
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game
- Devil May Cry 4
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
- Killzone 2
- Far Cry 2
- Rainbow Six Vegas 2
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Mario Kart Wii
- Fallout 3
- Lost Odyssey
- Fable 2
- Starcraft 2
- Gran Turismo 5
- Little Big Planet
Looking at that list of a small portion of what we will (and have) enjoyed during 2008, is it even possible that someone could contend that 2008 will be the year of anything else? Over the course of the next few months, we'll be inundated with titles that will let us explore totally new worlds and enjoy totally new ways of playing video games. Unlike many other years where most of the titles were derivative, this year we may have something to propel creativity in the industry.
The indicators already suggest that this year will be huge for gaming. According to one analyst, video game sales rose 35 percent in March, bucking the trend being witnessed in other areas of the technology industry and representing another strong month after February's 34 percent hardware and software sales increase. Even better for the industry, there doesn't seem to be any slowdown in the works.
But aside from the games, the video game industry is becoming a major powerhouse for the first time. Much like the computing industry years ago, the entertainment world is slowly catching up to the times and video games have become the norm, not the exception, in the average person's home. And as the industry continues to rake in billions each month, there's no reason to suggest it can't become one of the most important in the entire business.
Unlike every other facet of the tech industry, video games seem almost impervious to the impending economic issues that are ready to plague the United States. With titles that are obviously going to make a huge imprint on the entire industry, there's no reason to suggest anything else will be as important as gaming. If nothing else, gaming may keep some companies alive and others afloat as they count on video games to carry them through rough times.
As the popularity of video games continues to soar, so will the popularity of all facets of the industry. And although the gaming business has been booming for years, 2008 will surely prove to be its breakout year.