Akamai Diversity

The Akamai Blog

Game Tech Vs. Art Vs. Business

Do you remember when Roger Ebert declared that video games can never be art? Many of my friends in the industry threw themselves (metaphorically) on the floor in fits of rage, as if Ebert was nearby and could hear them.

The "is it art?" debate is an age old battle that the movie and music businesses have talked about ad nauseum. What I find intriguing now is the conflict I see between business and technology. I get the chance to meet with a few hundred games industry leaders every year, in my travels around the world attending and speaking at games conferences. I've been shocked to see just how extreme the divide is between tech and business within some organizations. I've heard tech leaders declare: "We just provide the tools, if the players hate the game, it's not our fault!" I've heard business leaders howl: "it's too hard to measure the impact of technology..."

Akamai is in the tricky place of driving improvements in games industry technology. In the kinds of interactions that go unnoticed by game reviewers and awards shows; download speeds, origin server reliability, API bottlenecks. We can see that the tech matters deeply to players. (We even asked them about it.)

We can't afford to keep this rift going in the games industry. Tech leaders will find their careers limited, and business leaders will have a tough time getting their heavily technical organizations to succeed.

We put together a games industry brief on the topic. I'd love to hear your opinions.