We live in a multitasking world. You see people every day surfing their phones with their right hand, mid-conversation with the person across the table from them, while also trying to make a lunch selection from the menu in their left hand. Without getting into the concerns about our mental health and the fraying of the social fabric in our personal lives, we should recognize that we are expecting more from every interaction, and from every role in our business lives.
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Recently by Nelson Rodriguez
I wrote recently about my painful experience with a stolen debit card number as the result of a data breach at a games company I've loved for many years. The company certainly wasn't hoping to be attacked, and had implemented some security, but hadn't fully recognized just how many threat vectors there were, and how catastrophic the outcome could be.
When I glance at my phone, there's always a number that hurts my feelings a little bit. It triggers a mix of shame and trepidation, and I almost immediately want to flip to another page on the phone just so I can avoid it.
It's not my step counter.
It's the number of apps I have to update on the app store. I'm up to about 120 now.
Take 5 seconds to reflect over the last 10 years of gaming. It shouldn't be that hard... I recently covered 40 years of game history in one page. Fine, take 20 seconds. In the last decade, what have been the real needle-moving innovations in the video game industry?
We think often about the history of video games in terms of console generations (we're in the 8th, in case you're wondering). I think about the last 40 years of gaming in terms of experience eras; specifically, what kinds of inflection points have come before, and what they felt like for us players.
There's no limit to the distance I will travel to loudly proclaim there's too much friction in the video game industry. This month, though, will be tame compared to some of my more recent global treks. I'll be on a panel at Amazon Developer Day during the Casual Connect conference in San Francisco. Akamai has a big team in SF dedicated to the games industry, which makes it feel a lot like home.
On my walk into the Akamai office this morning, I passed a small auto repair shop. It didn't spring up out of nowhere; it's been there all along. I just happened to notice it on today's commute because there was a team of two loading tires from a van into the shop. The task itself wasn't worth noticing, but the way they were performing it was.
Last week, I was standing in Singapore freezing. If you've ever been there, you'll know this sounds crazy, as the typical weather all year long is 88 degrees with 85% humidity. At this moment, I was standing at a small staircase ready to step on stage at Casual Connect Asia in the Hard Rock Hotel. Maybe in response to the weather, this room's air con was cranked up.
I recently spent a week in Moscow previewing some exciting indie games coming out of the CIS region (aka, The Commonwealth of Independent States, formed when the former Soviet Union remixed itself in the early 90s). I was struck right away by the concept of immersion, and all its layers.
I've seen the thousand yard stare that gets triggered when you start talking to a game developer about all the obstacles standing in their way. Trying to get a player through your marketing, into the install, through the tutorial or first level, and past the first month of play can feel like a horrible escort quest; there seem to be a thousand monsters waiting to take your player away, and they seem to have awful pathfinding... stumbling through the game flow you imagined for them.