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Spielberg: Games Will Stream to TVs

While he didn't go into actual specifics, he referred to the arcade boom during the 1970's and 80's, and how they have now gone the "way of the dodo bird," meaning that home consoles, last generation and current generation, have made arcades virtually extinct.

Spielberg admitted that he began playing video games long before he had a family, finding himself enthralled with the first Pong game back in 1976 while directing his blockbuster movie, Jaws; ten years before his first child. He said it's quite easy for him to switch between game development and motion picture development because he's a fan of both genres. "I would be a hypocrite if I thought the gaming business was hurting the movie business," he said in the interview. "I go out to movies, and I play games. I used to go out to play games until games came to us."

He goes on to talk about Gameworks, a chain of sixteen "entertainment venues" that launched in Seattle back in 1997, a joint venture with Sega, Universal Studios, and Dreamworks. Spielberg and his clan withdrew from the venture four years later, and the chain eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2004. Sega Sammy Holdings swooped in and bought the chain in 2005, and is now operated by SEGA Entertainment. He attributed the downfall of Gameworks to gaming consoles "selling like hotcakes."

"All the video game parlors went the way of the dodo bird, and now we're all playing at home, and someday we'll be playing directly on our TV sets, bypassing all the platforms," he added. Spielberg also admitted that he's a PC gamer above anything else (even though his two games are Wii-specific titles), however he plays on the Xbox, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 when he can. He said that the PC and aforementioned consoles offer the "micro physics" experience: he's glued to the screen, looking at the fine details, noticing things more easily.

The Nintendo Wii, on the other hand, is more of a macro experience for Spielberg even though gamers are more physical with its library. "It makes you feel like you're inside the game, not outside the game," he said. Because of this "overview" experience, Spielberg decided to create Boom Blox and the upcoming sequel, Boom Blox Bash Party. "I wanted people to really feel that when they threw an object, it would have a real effect."

Spielberg goes on to talk about his involvement with the development process, claiming that he's over at Electronic Arts at least once a week. He also mentioned that he wanted the gaming industry to advance into true 3D gaming with a "good set of glasses" and a monitor designed specifically for 3D rendering. After that, he wants the industry to move into virtual reality. "I really think virtual reality, which experimentally came and went in the 80s, is going to be redeveloped just like 3D is being redeveloped today, and that's going to be the new platform for our gaming future."

While virtual reality is an obvious progression for many gaming genres, Spielberg vaguely outlines an obvious evolution of gaming: from consoles to games on demand, to 3D, to virtual reality. Gaming on demand isn't an impossibility; cable companies would simply need to agree on a standard hardware configuration and integrate the technology into DVRs and set top boxes. Simply plug in a game pad, choose a game to rent via a list, let it download locally, and simply press play.

The idea of games on demand isn't new: Phantom Entertainment (Infinium Labs) attempted to create a games on demand console (receiver) years ago. Although the device was cancelled back in 2006, on demand services are now commonplace within cable and satellite TV subscriptions. It's only a matter of time before games are added to the current list of movies, television shows, and music videos, fulfilling Spielberg's prophecy.