Broadband is transforming the business of games, while games are transforming the business of broadband. Over the last few months I’ve doing my best to cover that evolution for GigaOM, and now I’m helping Om Malik launch this sister site, fully dedicated to telling that story in full. In the next few years, new revenue and distribution models will emerge, legacy media companies which fail to adjust will be left behind, and somewhere in this cycle, the Net’s user-created content revolution will turn gaming into an egalitarian medium, while those who’ve been gamers for decades will begin taking over the spheres of business and politics, and start making them play by their rules.
I’ll need a lot of help telling this story, but fortunately, this site will be building up a team, starting with Jason McMaster, a freelance journalist who works with GamaSutra and Firing Squad writing technical pieces and industry interviews. (He got his start writing reviews for IGN’s Gamespy.) As our savvy and energetic junior blogger, he’ll help keep us apprised of bestseller lists, industry news, and all the other facts that give economic fuel to gaming in the era of broadband. As a gamer, his favorite five titles are QuakeWorld Team Fortress, Secret of Monkey Island, Ultima Underworld, Counter-Strike, and, adorably, Mario Golf.
And me? I’ve covered games for Wired Magazine and Salon, while working occasionally as a developer, for Electronic Arts’ Majestic, among other projects. For the last three years (and counting!), I’ve been the “embedded journalist” in the user-created world of Second Life, first as a contractor for Linden Lab, the world’s technical architect, and now independently on my own blog, New World Notes.
If you’re a careful reader, you may detect a few recurring themes in my own GigaGamez coverage. How broadband is remaking the way games are distributed (as here), and enabling independent developers to compete with traditional publishers (as here.) How the game industry and the gaming press has under-served its audience, opening up new opportunities for developers and investors who want to capture unappreciated audiences (like women) and casual gamers (as here.) Of course, as someone who’s been part of Second Life from the beginning, I’ll also be writing a lot about SL, trying to separate hype (as here) from the genuine hope that it and other online worlds will become the Internet’s next generation, remaking the way all of us live and work in the near future (as here.)
As for my favorite games, that’s fairly easy: The first two Thief games from Looking Glass Studios, Deus Ex, Jagged Alliance 2, Halo (multiplayer Slayer on the PC version is still my quick writing break of choice, where I play as CnA-James), and– this is so old school, I’m almost afraid to date myself– Nethack.
And so that’s the team to start GigaGamez this month. (One or two staffers will likely jump on board in coming months.) But just as important a contributor to GigaGamez is you, the reader. Keep us on our toes by posting in Comments, and send along tips and suggestions, when you have them.