by Holly Rosen Fink, Ruckus Media Staff Marketing Consultant
June 27th, 2011
The book traces the evolution of gaming, from the first video game to the future of the industry—with 3D technology and holographic home consoles appearing just around the corner.
Seeing that Goldberg is an expert in video games, technology, animation and everything digital, we decided to get his take on digital family entertainment and its future, as well as storytelling and trends. Here’s what he had to say:
Ruckus Media: Only a select group of people today consider themselves gamers even though countless apps are downloaded and played daily – in your opinion, what constitutes a video game today?
Goldberg: There are various niches of video games: tablet games, Facebook games, console games, PC games, MMOs like World of Warcraft, mobile games. I think if it plays like a game and you use technology to access it, it’s a game. That means it has elements of a contest, perhaps some adventure, perhaps some story, perhaps some great artwork, perhaps some greater meaning beyond games, and always some great interactivity.
Ruckus Media: Digital media is rising exponentially with widespread/mainstream smartphone adoption. What trends do you see emerging as a result of this rise?
Goldberg: So, there’s the current trend of gamification, which is essentially other media using video game marketing theory to promote their businesses. Last year, transmedia was big. I’m not sure what next year’s watchwords will be. I’d like to see MMO’s that are Blizzard in quality on smartphones. I’m more interested in great games than I am in trends. But I would love to see 3-D games on smartphones and big screen TVs without glasses. The latter is coming and I can’t wait.
Ruckus Media: What makes a digital story (video game, animation, etc.) compelling?
Goldberg: Great writing! It starts with great writing. Don’t force story in after you’ve designed a game. Be like Ken Levine at Irrational Games and bring the story along with the game design right from the beginning.
Ruckus Media: What are the top breakthroughs/trends you see in digital family entertainment?
Goldberg: I saw new ways of using Kinect this year at E3. Wouldn’t it be great if they somehow used smartphones in conjunction with Kinect as far as gameplay goes? I think Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is an interesting concept from Activision. Bobby Kotick showed me Skylanders at E3 this year and I like the idea that you can save the game on an action figure. Then you can take the action figure to another console at your pal’s house and play. And it doesn’t matter if you have the PS3 and he or she has the Wii. It still works cross-platform. I think PlayStation Vita will have some interesting augmented reality games. And the new Skyward Sword: any new Zelda game has some breakthroughs in it.
Ruckus Media: What would you suggest parents consider when deciding on digital media for their children?
Goldberg: Know your child and know yourself. You’ll want to limit a child’s play if you see them playing for too long. So familiarize yourself with parental controls on your console. And if your child is playing online with, say, Moshi Monsters, take the time to check out the parental controls for your PC, which are a little different from those on a Wii, Xbox 360 or PS3.
Ruckus Media: What are some common mistakes parents make with children and media?
Goldberg: The medium is not evil. It’s not going to hurt your child. It’s likely not going to addict your child. As long as you’re vigilant, your child is going to be helped by games, not hurt by games. Even though I’m older, I still find that kids’ games give me a real child-like sense of wonder. And with games like Civilization, I often learn something. You’ll find that, too, if you take the time to play with your child. Ask them questions about the game. Engage them. Make them feel like you care about games – even if it’s in a different, more mature way than they do.
Ruckus Media: What apps do you use? Any you would recommend?
Goldberg: Of course, I played the heck out of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. PopCap games are great and I still play Plants vs. Zombies. New games I’ve played include Storm in a Teacup from Chillingo. It’s a charming platformer with bright colors, a cute world to play in and a terrific challenge, too. And it’s really inexpensive.
Ruckus Media: Should a parent limit a child’s use of digital media, even educational media?
Goldberg: It sounds corny, but the phrase ‘too much of a good thing’ is still used for a reason. There are so many things to do out of doors during the summer from baseball to concerts to plays to camping. The well-rounded kid is the kid that succeeds in life. So I believe in moderation in everything.
Ruckus Media: What advice do you have for developers today? What would you change/like to see in the future?
Goldberg: Please bring us better stories and better writing. Take us into your world with drama that makes us feel awe. Give us that essential suspension of disbelief. That’s what the people at Pixar do for movies: and they do it by thinking of story first. Only then do they think of computer graphics. Story is the last grail for game makers. They need to put as much effort into story as they do for graphics.
Ruckus Media: Do you see the mobile app world being limited to Android and iOS?
Goldberg: I wouldn’t say so. Windows phones are getting better. And just when you believe that a certain operating system has a hold on the world, something new comes around to change that. That’s the beauty of the games world. Everyone is agile. Everyone is trying to think of the next new thing.
Ruckus Media: Digital media continues to evolve and change – is there anything you foresee becoming a major trend in the next 5-10 years?
As I mentioned above, the story will become bigger, and so will 3-D without glasses. If console makers continue to rely on franchise games, independently made games will be the games people look to for innovation. My guess is that, as the economy creeps back to a semblance of normalcy, the big game makers will take bigger chances again with games that aren’t sequels. And maybe in the 10-15 year time frame, we’ll begin to see holographic games. The experiments thus far are promising. Kids could reach out and hug Phineas and Ferb! Your favorite characters might even tuck your kids in a night.
You can learn more about Harold on his web site