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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Definition of the Future Hi-Def Update

Gear: The Definition of the Future

"Are high-definition games the next big thing? Microsoft and Sony say yes. Nintendo says no. Who's right? Find out the facts in this IGN feature.

More and more, the videogame industry is being compared to Hollywood, but that wasn't always the case. Just 25 years ago, games were an unproven, unaccepted, uncool niche. The industry was the redheaded stepchild of the toy market. Usually, tiny teams of one or two people developed primitive software -- oftentimes out of someone's garage -- and these titles were by and large designed to appeal to kids and super nerds, while generally frowned upon by the mainstream consumer.
In hindsight, the industry's bumpy history is hard to believe because today games are big business, rivaling Hollywood with yearly sales of more than $10 billion and an ever-expanding audience of dedicated players. Games are also cool, enjoyed not just by kids and geeks, but by everyone, including hot girls and rock stars, professional football players and movie celebrities.

Parallels to early Hollywood and beyond may best describe the industry's metamorphosis. Hollywood sprang to life in black and white and games were born in 2D. Films added sound as game hardware advanced in power. Tinseltown introduced color and videogames made the jump to full-blown 3D. So what's next? Surprisingly, the answer may be the same for both Hollywood and the videogame industry: the emergence of the high-definition standard.

As movie pioneers like George Lucas shoot their films digitally, videogame giants Microsoft and Sony are counting on more advanced hardware and greater visual clarity to define the titles of the next-generation consoles. Nintendo, on the other hand, is fighting the movement, and instead embarking upon a plan that emphasizes simplicity and creativity over cutting-edge graphics. The company hopes that by doing so it can appeal to audiences who would not normally bother with the high-octane, guy-dominated games that top the current best-seller lists."

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