From Pac-Man To iPads

They say that there are many things you lose on the journey from childhood to being an adult, with innocence being just one of them; frankly the thing I’m often really annoyed that I lost is a Pac-Man digital watch which you could actually play the game on. To buy one of these 20 year old watches now will cost you $249, or $100 than the much sought after Pebble smart watch. I know which one I’d rather have.

This struck me today as I had a fascinating lunch conversation with some of the team from IGN, the massively successful gaming company; our dicsussion touched on everything from Moore’s law to digital downloads; eco-systems and merchandising to smart watches and tablets. And as I think back to that original Pac-Man watch, and look down at the edition of Grand Theft Auto III, which I just bought for my iPad ($5.49), what strikes me is that the gaming audience is only ever really limited by energy; essentially a version of the tyranny of attention.

Gaming is now an incredibly mature industry, with launches that match or even dwarf those out of Hollywood and, like hip hop (another art form close to my heart), the people who got into it as kids are now grown-up, and are often willing to spend grown up money on it. But for everyone else, or all of us who fit somewhere between the two, it’s nice to have snackable versions which don’t ask for money every ten minutes to buy a new cow.

I have a funny feeling that my plan to plough through the whole Game Of Thrones series again will take a backseat with the arrival of GTA on my iPad mini, and I’d also bet that a re-release of the PAC MAN watch on Kickstarter would do almost as well as Pebble*.

*Probably not in volume, but certainly in terms of geek hysteria.

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