IT in the Video Game Industry
Instructor: P. Witman
October 20 2011
Video Games were once a simple simulation of pong using two lines and a dot for imaging. They were played and mastered by a minority group of individuals most commonly referred to as “nerds”. Since those days in 1975 the video game industry market has gone through an exponential growth. With the revolutionary changes in technology and the social changes in product demand the gaming industry has transformed into a thriving market with a quickly growing casual gamer demographic. The success of this development in the gaming industry would be little without information technology. Information technology is a fundamental part of the gaming industry. Technology is used to handle information in the gaming industry in both the retail business side as well as the development aspect. When it comes to selling video games there used to only be the store but with the installment of new online technology, games for consumers have been easier to access. Companies like Gamefly enable users to buy and rent games online. Games also can even be instantly purchased over internet through gaming consoles. Microsoft is one company that has taken the most advantage of this concept. From personal experience using Microsoft’s console Xbox 360, the console offers users the ability to create an online account through Xbox Live. From the Xbox Live membership, users gain access to a wide online market of games, videos, and other additional products. The online market is extremely active with some games generating 100,000 trial downloads and 30,000 sales (Garcia, 2011). Despite the quick and easy access these technology features give to gamers the online world is also a threat to the security of games. Copyrights can be cracked, and sometimes games will be distributed over the internet to game users. The security risk the internet plays on games has been tackled by developers who believe cloud computing is the key. In 2009, video game developer Denis Dyack proposed during a panel discussion at GamesBeat that cloud computing would change the industry model of games depending on consoles to games depending on resources that only can be accessed over the internet (Bhanoo, 2009). By holding onto vital resources game developers can prevent the illegal distribution of their game content because the game’s central assets are not downloaded. It would be a good model except one obstacle would be the probability that every game consumer has access to the internet which is highly unlikely, but it is growing to be common in today. These client-to-server concepts and ideas for the retail game industry would all be cases when information technology is used and needed. The gaming industry has a large amount to protect when it comes to distributing its product because unlike other products games are essentially data which is where the real information technology comes into play. The reason why video games are so vulnerable to piracy is because the data in them is not a physical entity but rather information that can be copied and released. Video games essentially can be viewed as an organized system of data and information technology which reacts to input from a user, simulating some type of an event. A look at one popular Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) Game made by Blizzard known as World of Warcraft (WoW) can help demonstrate how complex these transfers of data and information are. Before the user can even begin playing they have to go through an entire sequence of account access authentication and communicate with a server to be verified of account access, and game access as well (Wilson). Once verified that the client computer is the account user and that account user has paid for the ability to the play the game the user selects the server there character is on or a server where they would like to make a new one (Wilson).4 After...
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