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Netflix killed the video (game) star

Thanks to reading Masters of Doom, I've been in a contemplative, and probably rather nostalgic mood about games over the last few days. I've stocked up on a couple of games as a direct result, but my suspicion is that I won't be playing them much. Certainly not as much as I once would have done. Why? There's a simple, one word answer. Netflix.

Here's the thing. There are broadly two types of gamer. The teen gamer who builds his/her life around game playing and the adult gamer who plays games when they've nothing better to do. I've primarily been the latter. Apart from anything else, computer games didn't exist when I was a teen. The first time I ever played one was running Adventure on the George III ICL system at Lancaster, but by then I was already 21.

Although at my gaming peak I could spend a a good few hours at a time playing (X-Wing and its offspring were particularly time-eating), as an adult, life has always had other attractions and games tended to be a way to fill in time when I had an evening to myself - a 'boy's night in', as it were. This was, in part, because the chances of their being anything captivating on the TV that night was pretty small. But these days, if I've an evening to myself, I can just delve into Netflix and consume great dollops of the binge-watch du jour. (For me, this happens to be Battlestar Galactica at the moment.)

Of course all those teens (literal teens or twenty-something plusses who are still channelling their inner teen) will still be obsessively playing. There is still a massive market for the big games, especially among those who appreciate the online multiplayer benefits. But for the less obsessive gamer, I really think that the ready availability of quality binge watches makes for strong competition. My suspicion is that it will make for more use of 'dip in, dip out' games like the excellent iPad game The Room (of which a review follows soon). But we shall see.


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