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Video: Sony's Mark Cerny gives the long view of the game industry
July 17, 2013 | By Staff

"30 years later, we are still unlearning the lessons of the golden age of the arcade."
- Prior to revealing himself as the architect for PlayStation 4, industry luminary Mark Cerny at GDC Europe 2011 predicted the industry will need at least 20 more years to unlearn the current definition of a "game."

Spanning three decades in the industry, Cerny traces video game history from recent blockbuster titles all the way back to when arcade games flourished.

In contrast to those triple-A titles, he presents recent social and mobile hits such as Angry Birds and Farmville and suggests that the industry needs to unlearn what it believes a game is to accept these hits as games and to move forward.

For more peering into the past, be sure to check out Mark Cerny's postmortem for his classic game Marble Madness for free, given during the 25th anniversary of GDC. More currently, read how he is bridging the gap between casual and console in his upcoming PlayStation 4 game, Knack.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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Phil Sorger
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Thanks for hosting this video. Always great to hear war stories from other 30-year video game veterans. I remember the days of trying dollar coins and dollar bill collectors to fix arcade game revenue woes at Cinematronics/Leland. We had to come up with something better. In the mid-80s, we were the first afaik to let players login with initials and date-of-birth to retrieve their data from battery backed up RAM so we could continue their games instead of just killing them quickly. We even tried EEPROM keys to save games so players could have their data and play on multiple cabinets. We converted quarters to in-game currency so players could buy power-ups and extend their games. Of course, we argued and discussed the ethics of free-to-win vs pay-to-win vs pay-to-play and came up with different solutions for different games and starting in 1987 we had some of the top grossing arcade games (John Elway's Team Quarterback, Ivan Stewart's Super Off Road, Danny Sullivan's Indy Heat, Brute Force, Asylum, etc) that all followed the same basic formula. Oh yeah, we also thought adding licensed IP would give our games more broad appeal. I didn't switch to console/pc/online until the mid-90s, but the lessons I learned in the Arcade I still use today working on games like FarmVille, Bubble Safari and War of the Fallen. Personally, I like the insert-coin-to-continue, micro-transaction model as it lets players get into the game quickly and easily, stay as long as they want, and still provides consistent revenue and return on investment. Or maybe I just never grew up…