Sat 23 Sep 2006
Just finished reading Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. The book has been getting a lot of praise for helping the business world make sense of the economic and cultural impact of abundant bits/bandwidth/choice/etc. While he hints at games every now and again, there is no in-depth long tail analysis of games. This is unfortunate, as the theories and concepts he discusses map extremely well to the game space.
For example, the main “forces” presented are all building momentum in games: 1) democratize the tools and lessen the costs of production; 2) democratize distribution; and 3) connect supply and demand (ie, allow buyers to easily find what they want). Obviously, there’s much more to it, and it is all very applicable to games and making sense of the changes happening in the business today (example / example). I’m too lazy to look, but I’m guessing that there is decent amount of writing in the blogosphere looking at the game industry through a long tail lens.
Another great book I recently read was The Innovator’s Dilemma. This one is about ten years old and has no mention of the games biz. However, the concepts presented provide a great deal of insight into why innovation does, or does not, happen in an industry or a given company. The book makes distinctions between sustaining innovations (more/better/faster) to disruptive innovation. Again, the theories and concepts presented in the book can been nicely mapped onto, and provide insight into, the console wars as well as a better understanding of why EA (as one example) is always criticized for not being innovative (when in fact they are, but just not the kind that matters to most of us ;)
Anyway, I could/should write up a whole essay on these two books and their applicability and relevance to the games industry. Alas, I’m all out of time and need to pack for my trip to Portugal. So, best to just go read them for yourself!