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Tech Talk Tuesday: Blockbuster Entertainment
Updated: Tuesday, October 1 2013, 11:58 AM MDT
By Lonnie Valencia
When you hear numbers like $800 million made on opening day, your mind automatically thinks of box office ticket sales for some summer blockbuster movie. Would you be surprised that the figure above is in reference to a video game’s launch day release? Well it is! In today’s tech talk we rewire the way you look at entertainment and make room for the new king... console video games.
In the entertainment business, million dollar budgets were reserved for the best and brightest of movies. July became the month for the premier of blockbuster movies. Independence Day, Spiderman, Superman, and Pirates of the Caribbean are just a few movies that were considered big budget movies in this category. This ritual has been around for as long as I can remember but recently, movies have been loosing their grip as the place where people spend most of their time and money. Warner Bros., Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox are studios we know, love, and are synonymous with entertainment. Have you heard of Take-Two, BioWare, Activision, or 343 Industries? If you ever played a video game you have!
These new companies are spending just as much money on video game development as the studios are on their movies. The unexpected result, movie execs never thought they would see, is that the video game companies are rivaling the studios in revenue. Don’t believe it? Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 held the record for grossing $1billion in 15 days. That’s two days faster than the movie industry's record holder 2009 film Avatar. Recently, Take-Two’s Grand Theft Auto 5 topped that record in only six days.
What does this mean for movies and entertainment in general? I think it means different things for different people. Some might go on without ever picking up a controller and consider July the month for blockbusters. Theaters would love those people. For the rest of us that have a video console in our household change is happening right in front of us. You can’t deny it! Entertainment is changing hands. Don’t get me wrong, movies will always have a place but the new frontier is in that box that is in your kids room (or like me in your living room).
Here’s a personal example. I recently bought a game called Diablo III for the Xbox 360 for $59.99. For some, that price sounds like a lot of money, but to me that is a huge bargain. Here’s how that price compares to going to the movies for my family of four. I normally would buy cheap tickets, which means we have to get up early on Saturday to catch an early bird special for $6.25 each. We also cut corners with the reusable popcorn bucket and coke cups. Just going to the movies for us would be around $40 bucks. At face value it seems that the movie is cheaper, but the entertainment value is so one-sided. For the $40 movie my family had to get up early (which we hate), my boys shared a drink (which they hate), the movie lasted at the most two hours, and the kicker is we never interacted with each other. We just sat there and watched. Sure we were entertained but individually.
Now to the video game. At first it was hard to get everyone into it. The wife is not a gamer and had some problems adjusting. My sons were only use to first person shooter games and had to adjust to the co-op and top view orientation. Once we got over that initial shock, my youngest son was nonstop screaming (it was his battle cry) during battle scenes, my eleven-year old turned group leader barking orders Captain Kirk would be impressed with, and my wife actually liked the story behind the game. Before we knew it an hour and a half flew by. We ordered a pizza and kept playing. All in all, we played together for about three and half hours. Believe it or not, we only got through the first chapter of the game. The entertainment value of the game vs. the movie was hands down in favor of the game. I think we got our money’s worth that first game play and we’ve played it since several times. It’s become a weekly thing for us (well, until we beat the game.) I can’t stress enough to you how, as a family, we interacted with each other in a way no movie or TV show would ever make us do. Simply put, a video game brought us closer together. It sounds silly I know and I never thought I would be saying that either, but having us work together to forward a storyline that we all enjoy is just the right combination of family fun.
Trust me, if you haven’t see a video game lately, you’re missing out. These games rival movies in storytelling and picture quality. You can enjoy it from your living room and, best of all, you can be a part of it. They're movies on steroids! When it is all said and done, video games are never replacing movies or TV shows. They have earned their place at the table and at some point very soon will be at the head of it. Take us for example, do you know what we did after we got done playing Diablo III? We watched a movie, my youngest son fell asleep, and my dog stole a slice of pizza when we weren't looking.
That does it for this episode of Tech Talk Tuesday. As always we would love your feedback/suggestions for this or our next edition, so feel free to send your comments to our resident Tech Guy Lonnie Valencia.