Durable goods

Gaming is already larger than movies and TV shows in the younger generations. Hollywood and gaming are overlapping both ways, with movies based on games and games based on movies. The companies and executives are also overlapping both ways.

Gaming still doesn’t show up in mainstream media, which almost solely covers Hollywood and TV stars and programs. Despite working in graphics and courseware, intimately related to gaming, I had no idea of its size!

The Ankler brought up an important difference between the two forms of entertainment. When executives move from movies and TV to gaming, they have to learn a much higher level of quality control.

The reason for this wasn’t mentioned, but it’s easy to see.

A movie is a one-time experience. You watch it for a couple hours then it’s done. Same for one episode of a TV show. Disposable.

Games are more like houses or cars. When you get into a game you spend huge amounts of time in the SAME game, and you’re actively controlling the machine.

Movies and TV shows have bugs. Mismatched props, unlikely plot sequences, lines that nobody would ever say, crappy dialects. A viewer probably won’t even notice those bugs, and if you do notice, it’s gone after you turn off the show or leave the theater. You remember the overall impression, not the bugs. You don’t encounter each bug over and over and over while trying to accomplish a task.

Running a game is a task like driving a car or cooking a meal. You’re controlling the machine, and it’s interacting with the physical world. If the car steers wrong, or the stove won’t maintain a steady temperature, you can’t accomplish the task.

The same high QA expectation applies to courseware, with a difference of time and weight. Each student spends only about one hour per week running through the exercises, but the result is considerably more ‘weighty’ than the result of a game. Especially during the two years of total lockdown, courseware was the main determiner of the course grade.

Quality control in cars and stoves has been strict since the 1930s, starting long before the government got into the act. A machine that gets used all the time has to work consistently.

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