Innovation & Design

The Power of Play: Editor's Note


The gaming industry is in mid-revolution as a new generation of designers begins transforming games from mere toys into socially rich entertainment

Even as the games industry enjoys enormous, continued commercial success, it remains misunderstood. Few resources exist, as they do for film or literature, to help consumers understand the nuances of the business. Game proponents, meanwhile, are quick to say the industry is now "bigger than Hollywood," but few can really explain what that means—or why it matters.

In this Special Report we explore how the gaming landscape is changing. A new generation of game designers that grew up immersed in the medium has come of age and is now working to make its mark, altering what is played and how it is played (and where). We report from the cutting edge where designers, influenced by a wide range of new technologies from the social Web to motion-sensing, are altering the gaming industry's contours, bending and breaking old rules, and transforming a once-solitary activity into a model of rich, social interaction.

Along with analysis of major industry trends for 2008, this report profiles some of gaming's most promising innovators. Companies such as area/code have taken gaming out of the living room and into the streets. Others, like Nabi Studios and Gnosis are injecting fighting titles and casual games with a much-needed dose of community. And, Preloaded uses games to push the edges of digital storytelling. We also unveil the first iteration of the BusinessWeek Arcade, a compilation of 20 free, independently developed Web-based games which reflect the best in indie game design.

Taking a feedback cue from many of the designers in this report, we invite you to let us know what you think by commenting not only on these stories and slide shows but on the games and their designers as well. Game on.

Helen Walters is the editor for BusinessWeek.com's Innovation and Design Channel .

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