An Interview with Scott Steinberg.
Very briefly about Scott Steinberg
Scott: I’m the head of Videogame consulting firm ‘TechSavvy’. I also am the founder of GameExec Magazine and GameIndustry Tv. So anotherwords, no sleep!
Steve: No sleep, lots of stress hey? Plus, you get the pleasure of going to E3 every year…
Scott: Yes! Though after thirteen of them, you know, who knows how much pain there really is in there with the pleasure, beggars can’t be choosers!
About E3 and fire eating midgets!?!?!?
Steve: E3, it’s one of those things the general public hears about every year but never gets to go to. I mean everyone hears about it, it’s like a
Scott: It’s fantastic. You’re not going to find anything like it in any of the other industries.
Steve: Yeah I mean I guess the old days of the booth babes are not there any more?
Scott: Ooooh I wouldn’t be so quick to… I mean there’s no fire eating midgets any more, but it is still quite… it’s a circus, no two ways about it. I think Cirque De Soleil is there this year?
Steve: So I guess we WILL be getting fire eating midgets basically this year! *laughs*
Scott: *laughs*Quite possibly, bald ones to boot!
Steve: Yeah I remember the old thing about the whole E3 getting shut down at one point, everyone was spelling the doom of E3… and then it… kept going?
Scott: Yeah it was just because somebody made the absurd call to do a more business-y buttoned down convention which robbed it of all excitement, which literally robbed it of all impact and excitement, then literally a year later they fixed that and we got it back and that’s what counts!
2010’s a big year in gaming… in all its dimensions!
Steve: This year’s pretty huge for gaming in comparison to say, the last few years.
Steve: I mean, you’ve got the Playstation move, Project Natal, the Nintendo 3DS, the EA Boss claims he’s seen it and claims it’s wonderful. There’s the iPhone model 4 which Gizmodo broke news of a while ago and Apple just unveiled… there’s a lot going on this year quite frankly!
Scott: Yeah indeed!
Steve: So the big swing towards 3D?
Scott: So essentially 3D is coming. We know the PS3 is going to have 3D games, we know that Killzone 3 is going to be shipping 3D ready, we know that of course there will be a 3DS which won’t require the use of special glasses which in my opinion is amazing.
Steve: How do you think that’ll work? Do you think it’ll be like a ‘headtracking’ situation or do you think it’ll be really 3D?
Scott: No I think it’ll be almost like a hologram onscreen, I don’t think it’ll be a Virtual Boy type hardware situation, I hear it’s been rumored you’ll be able to actually see the characters interacting from the screen, I mean I think the 3DS is one of the most promising looking solutions although everything is TBD at this point. Im not actually a big believer in 3D thinking its going to be the next revolution in gaming, because I don’t think anyones out there really claiming 2D is broken. I do think 3D will slowly incrementally begin to add on to and enhance the gaming experience, it’ll have a small audience to begin with. It’ll be a number of years until it really reaches mainstream prominence though. More exciting in my opinion is 3D as a control method, like with Project Natal, than as a stimulator.
Steve: Yeah, its kinda funny with people going ape over it, you know, its one of those things everyone can have (free download with the PS3 for instance via patch), but not everyone can actually use!?
Scott: Right, and actually yeah, the issue is that prices are fairly prohibitive and you have this cumbersome hardware and by and large there’s no games that really make the case for it. I mean it’s a cool effect, but is that cool effect worth paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars to enjoy a new HD-3D capable tv right? Especially in one of the worst economic recovery periods in history right?
Steve: Indeed, exactly.
Scott: They have tons of platforms they need to support (developers), each one of which costs money, time, R&D effort, manpower, and the reality of them investing in a platform that doesn’t have a large installed user base, and the reality of them investing in a technology that doesn’t have a large userbase, and they won’t be selling as many of these titles as they would a traditional title on the 360 or Wii, highly doubtful. So what you’re likely to see, is enhanced versions of existing software.
Steve: Yeah, like they’re doing with the PS3, how they’re upgrading the older games like Killzone 2 into 3D.
Scott: Exactly, yeah.
Steve: They had a report of people playing Killzone 3, they had them play levels in 2D and 3D, they said while it was nice, it wasn’t exactly revolutionary, it wasn’t ‘integral’. Whilst the Sony boss was there pushing it, they were saying ‘It’s not really revolutionary, it’s not really integral, not essential.’
Scott: Yeah right and I think that’s a fair assessment what you’re talking about, technology that adds slight enhancement that appeals to some people like early adopters, gadget heads, home theater enthusiasts but isn’t really from the average everyday shoppers standpoint a massive value-add.
Steve: Yeah of course, there’s rumors already that Microsoft will come forward soon and do their own 3D announcement.
Scott: Well it’s entirely possible, I think that everyone understands that the fact that TV manufacturers are desperate to push this technology into homes around the globe. It’s only a matter of time so it only makes sense for all the companies to invest in this technology.
Steve: Yeah but one of the downsides at this time for 3D in the home cinema is that everyone has to wear those bloody glasses at this point!?
Scott: Right! And that’s not to say that technology that removes those glasses from the equation isn’t in development at this point. I fully agree with you I think that 3D glasses are the biggest barrier to entry second only to cost when it comes to adoption of 3D technology because the reality of sitting there wearing these goofy looking goggles on your head for any period of time? It’s just not comfortable or convenient! I mean it’s another item you can lose in the couch, it can cost you more, like $150 per pair of glasses, I mean, it’s ludicrous?
Steve: Yeah, it’s just not going to happen for a lot of people.
About iPhones and other wonderful things…
Steve: You’ve seen the new iPhone 4?
Steve: What were your impressions of it?
Scott: Well I’m actually *very* pleased with the iphone 4. Not necessarily as a gaming device as per se, but more with the new gyroscope with the new ability to have six degrees of motion sensing certainly presents itself to a lot more innovative and immersive gameplay experiences I think more exciting is the software behind it if you look at the iOS4 operating system, or you look at the functions like the game center where you can connect with other players very easily and enjoy multiplayer gaming, keep track of your persistent achievements and user profile, you know, nice piece of kit, it’s got the A4 processor in there same as the iPad right means that its gonna push much nicer games right? The whole video conferencing thing right, probably overshadows the whole entertainment aspect right? *laughs*
Steve: *laughs* Right.
Scott: Just a little bit in terms of practicality. I think its pretty amazing right, you get an amazing piece of hardware. I mean the failings of the iPad, alot of it has to do with cost, which is eliminated with the iPhone 4, alot of it has to do with the fact it cant do calls or allow mobile communication, the iPhone 4 and form factor right? So the iPhone 4 is to some degree now, essentially, though it doesn’t have the multitouch the iPad does where you can put your whole hand on the screen, it’s essentially a mini-iPad.
Steve: Yeah, I mean one of the things I thought, was they essentially made the iPad (current gen) redundant?
Scott: I think that both do have a place, there is a place for tablet pc’s in todays world, if you’re into gaming then the larger screen real estate is pretty cool.
Steve: No doubt, I’m just wondering how long til they pull this iPad off the market and say ‘Here’s the iPad 2 with all the implementations we have in the iPhone 4!’ you know, the forward facing camera, the industrial edges, the metallic finish. I really do like the new design they have for the iPhone 4, it’s very surprising to see Apple go that way.
So what else is there at E3 this year?
Scott: There’s tons of stuff. There’s massive titles. It’s still very much a box retail product show, which is interesting because by far and away the most interesting stuff is happening on the digital front wether you’re talking about social, mobile, downloadable apps, DLC, content that you can pull right to your console or pc over services like Steam or WiiWare, Playstation network or Xbox Live. I mean there’s tons of announcements at E3, we’ll hear about Cloud Computing for instance, so OnLive will be getting ready to launch, GaiKai streaming game services which push high quality games to even low quality pc’s over streaming high speed internet connections? So let’s be honest, E3 is still all about the games. You’ve got everything from Bulletstorm to Gears of War 3 if youre into shooters, Civ 5, the new Mortal Kombat? There’s a ton of new titles to be quite frank that I’m excited about. I mean there’s RAGE if you want to scratch your MAD MAX itch, Fallout: New Vegas, Madden NFL is gonna be there, some of the exciting stuff for games isn’t gonna be on the show floor, like Quick Hit just got the NFL license so it’s if you’re into online games that’s gonna be cool too. I dunno man I mean I’m an rpg guy, so there’s DEUS EX: Human Revolution?
Steve: Yeah I saw the trailer for that, it looks insane!
Scott: Yeah and Marvel vs Capcom 3 if you’re into fighting? The reality is there’s a metric CRAP ton of cool games coming out. Its not like consoles are going away overnight. It’s not like we’re gonna wake up one morning and everythings being downloaded straight to your system. Seriously, it’s a really really good year to be a gamer.
Steve: And THIS year Sony will announce ANOTHER delay for Gran Turismo 5 and announce its going to the Playstation 4!
Scott: *laughs* That’s right, the good news being its not one I’m excited about playing.
Steve: Come on, that games been delayed so much it’s almost beating Duke Nukem Forever!
Scott: Yeah but unlike that one this one will actually eventually ship! *laughs*
Thanks to Scott for the interview, it was great. Much information. Enjoy E3 dude, look forward to seeing what good news comes from it and how many decades we have to wait for GT5 now…