A number of prominent game industry figures and executives met at the Churchill Club, a Silicon Valley business and technology forum, for a public roundtable on "The Era of Connected Gaming - An Inside Look At An Industry On Revolution." Consumer site GameSpot posted a report from the panel
, with quotes from speakers Peter Moore of Microsoft, Ralph Koster of Sony Online Entertainment, Lauren Detoc of Ubisoft North America, and Lars Butler, formerly of Electronic Arts. Moderating the panel was GameSpot cofounder Vince Broady.
Some strong words were expressed regarding what some panelists saw as the inevitable trend toward online gaming. Koster went so far to say that: "The entire video game industry's history thus far has been an aberration. It has been a mutant monster only made possible by unconnected computers. People always play games together. All of you learned to play games with each other. When you were kids, you played tag, tea parties, cops and robbers, what have you. The single-player game is a strange mutant monster which has only existed for 21 years and is about to go away because it is unnatural and abnormal."
However, when pressed about the specifics of the transition to an all-online industry, Butler admitted that the process could be rocky. "The first thing that people do is they take their old stuff and put it into this new world, like NBC doing cable," Butler said. "But the real value will come from people who create new entertainment experiences that leverage the full power of the broadband world, just as CNN and MTV and HBO and ESPN create original entertainment for the cable world."
Along with the online content would also come a shift to an all-online delivery system, theorized Moore, whose Xbox 360 has been helping to spark the trend with its Xbox Live Arcade. "Let's be fair. Whether it's five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, the concept of driving to the store to buy a plastic disc with data on it and driving back and popping it in the drive will be ridiculous," Moore said. "We'll tell our grandchildren that and they'll laugh at us."