Who We Are: Meet Our Gaming Expert, Adam Dawson

Growth is upon us here at Emerging Insider Communications, which means we are acquiring the best and brightest in the industry to join our talented team. One of the most promising additions to the Emerging Insider family is Adam Dawson, a passionate video game expert who has been instrumental in navigating this evolving industry through his analysis on emerging trends and in-depth knowledge. By examining the past and future of the gaming industry, Adam is determining the best ways to help position new clients into the evolving ecosystem. Here, Adam shares his knowledge and insights on the current gaming landscape and where he sees the industry heading in the future:

Where does your passion for the gaming industry stem from?

Adam Dawson: I’ve been passionate about games for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of me climbing out of my crib to play my brother’s SEGA Genesis. Ever since, my passion for games has grown exponentially. It’s truly fascinating how video games allow us to assume the role of a character, escape into fantastical digital environments and experience adventures we could never dream of experiencing in real life.

In your opinion, what has been the biggest disruptor in the gaming industry to date?

AD: Cloud gaming hasn’t completely emerged yet, but once it takes off, it will be the biggest disruptor the video game industry has ever seen. Cloud gaming allows video games to be streamed through a thin client, similar to how Netflix steams video. They will be stored on servers and streamed directly to the device. Since the servers handle most of the performance intensive operations, the power of the device becomes less important, allowing newer games to be run on dated hardware. Once completely established, cloud gaming will disrupt the retail game market because consumers will stream games rather than purchase a physical copy. It will also disrupt the used game market, as less physical copies of games will be purchased and will result in fewer trade ins. Developers will be on board because it will eliminate packaging and distribution expenses, and also help prevent them from losing money on the used game market. It will also disrupt the PC hardware market because state-of-the-art gaming hardware won’t be required to run new games.

What about a major disruptor in the last few years?

AD: The ability to purchase games digitally has disrupted the retail market by offering new games for less than their original prices. Digital marketplaces like Steam and Origin have sales that allow gamers to purchase and digitally download new games at huge discounts. Console marketplaces such as the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Network offer new, free-to-play games each month as well as sales.  

Since a lot of gamers are buying digitally, it disrupts the used game market. The development of buying digitally allows consumers to buy new games for much cheaper than a used game, without worrying about the condition of the disc. Taking away the reselling of used games, which is a billions dollar business, will dramatically affect companies like GameStop. On the other end, development studios are on board with the digital purchasing of games because it saves them money on manufacturing, packaging and distribution. Also, when a used game is bought, the store selling the product receives all of the money towards the purchase, cutting the creators out. If games went completely digital, studios would share a percentage of the sale with the marketplace their game was purchased from, but still make money off of their titles several years after their release.

Where do you see the space heading in the future?

AD: Once high speed, broadband internet connections become more common in households, the space will go completely digital. With the advancement of digital marketplaces and the development of cloud gaming, physical copies of games will become irrelevant. Gamers will only download or stream games from their homes because it is convenient and inexpensive. It is also cheaper and easier for studios because they don’t have to worry about the headache and expenses of finding a publisher to publish and distribute their game—the marketplaces themselves act as the publishers.

What do think are some of the more exciting gaming tech developments?

AD: The return of head-mounted VR consoles with the development of the Oculus Rift is extremely exciting because it aims to offer a truly immersive gaming experience. Other exciting developments are modular computers, open source gaming, multiscreen gaming, advancements in graphics and physics engines, advancements in motion capture and animation, and advancements in motion controlled gaming.

Is there anything missing in the gaming world?

AD: Originality. As the years pass by, less and less intellectual properties (IP) are created. It seems that companies keep pumping out titles to already successful series instead of making something new and exciting. During this new generation of gaming, I hope that studios will take advantage of new technologies and create some interesting and innovative IPs. Also, open source gaming will hopefully add more originality to the industry by allowing independent developers to produce and share games without the need for and expensive software development kit.   

What do you think is the biggest misconception about gaming?

AD: Video games being a cause of violent behavior is probably the biggest. There have been numerous studies proving that excessive video game playing does not cause violent behavior, but many people still use video games as a scapegoat in displays of violent behavior by the youth. Another misconception is that gaming is a waste of time. Gaming offers a chance to develop skills such as team building through cooperative play, hand-eye coordination and sharpened reflexes. Also, since the video game industry is one of the most profitable spaces in the business world, there are many opportunities for corporate careers.

Are there any companies or technologies on your “must watch” list?

AD: There are many technologies to watch out for in the near future, and most companies are always worth keeping tabs on. Specific technologies that are a must watch are the Oculus VR, cloud gaming, modular computers, multiscreen gaming and open source gaming. All of these technologies and trends will change the gaming world over the next few years. As for companies, Valve is always doing something new and exciting. Razer and Origin are making moves in the PC landscape, developing the first modular concepts. In general, it’s always good to watch development studios, my favorites being Naughty Dog, Rockstar Games and Sony Santa Monica.

What do you see in the future for gaming media development?

AD: I see a more immersive and interactive experience. I also see a more social experience as online multiplayer games become even more popular and interactive. Development studios will take advantage of new technologies and create more lifelike visuals, as well as improve upon game mechanics. Narrative in games will become more important, resulting in video games with narratives that are deeper and more captivating than most movies and television programs. Games will go completely digital, resulting in the collapse of the retail and used game markets. Open source gaming will allow a plethora of new game content into the market by enabling independent developers to create and publish games for cheap. The video game industry is growing and changing more rapidly than ever, so there are a lot of expectations and speculations.


New Services, Clients And Staff Members…Oh My!


New Services, Clients And Staff Members…Oh My!

As the ever-changing, evolving and exciting field of emerging media and technologies continues to expand, it’s only fitting that we do the same. Growth can be measured in an assortment of ways, which is why Emerging Insider Communications is thrilled to announce a variety of promising developments in the form of new service offerings, clientele and staff members.

First, we are incredibly excited to announce that we have expanded the Emerging Insider family to include a web development team. This team is in place for any web ventures our clients crave, whether it be small design projects, web development or applications. The vision is for these highly intuitive, creative experts to assist on a full suite of design services to meet our client’s high standards. Oh yeah, we should mention they’re pretty stellar to work with, too.

In addition to the proficiency and knowhow of the web development team, Emerging Insider also brought onboard a dedicated staff writer. A Boston native, Beth Principi began her career working at Horizon House Publications covering the Telecom and Machine-to-Machine Technology industries, before venturing to the even colder Chicago climate and onto our team. Her passion for knowledge, especially within the emerging technologies sector, makes her a valuable asset to both us and our clients. “We are incredibly excited to bring Beth onto our team,” says Zach Weiner, CEO of Emerging Insider Communications. “Given her wide range of expertise and experience in bringing exceptional stories to life, we are confident she can help take our clients to the next level.”

In the same vein of internal development is our external growth, where we have recently welcomed a range of clients within the Digital marketplace, Advertising innovators and TV Technology space, further extending our reach into the cutting edge areas of digital media and technology. We don’t want to give too much away right now, but will leave you with this thrilling tidbit to chew on and savor until next time.

The Social TV Battle- Apples VS Oranges

Social TV, Twitter and Facebook Social TV, Facebook TV, Twitter TV

Facebook versus Twitter: The news of the Social TV battle has been abuzz with debate, conjecture and analysis across the board. On a recent interview, I was asked “Who do you think is going to be the long term winner between the two?” “Who will lead in gaining TV Ad spend share?”

The question represents a rather myopic view of emerging TV. There is no one winner between the two big platforms- and neither offers one specific holy grail for Social TV. The truth is that both will see their fair share of TV advertising spend if initiatives are developed with deference to audience behaviors. Facebook and Twitter are differing platforms with differing advantages and disadvantages when it comes to socialization and interactivity in correlation to entertainment viewing. Their potential and utilization by audiences will always be different as should be their development goals for the TV space.

The past few months have seen many articles in circulation that pose the debate over who has more TV chatter or propose diverse claims regarding one platform’s merits versus the other. Similarly, the two organizations themselves have evangelized based on developments and metrics that seem to mirror one another. It is an example of very in-the-box thinking that is occurring. Twitter is not Facebook. Facebook is not Twitter. Comparing the two is like trying to compare apples versus oranges. They should be viewed as separate means to sometimes similar and sometimes differing ends.

The how/where/when/why of audiences in regards to social media is a study in human nature and sociology that is highly subjective. The core of any research however, shows that in today’s digital world each and every individual utilizes differing formats/venues of communication for differing purposes. This is the reason why many Facebook users are also on twitter and vice versa. Both are used as social tools and both are used in differing ways. Usage is not standard nor uniform across any platform and so treating multiscreen endeavors as something that can be equally measured, analyzed, developed or contrasted is off-base and dangerous.

Less dangerous, but equally unexciting is the fact that the platforms are both trying to provide the same values to the television industry as the “conversational peripheral” for TV chatter. On this topic, Facebook needs to step outside their current scope and rethink. The goal should be less focused on developing easier routes to conversation such as adding hashtag functionality and more focused on developing novel functionalities based on the strengths of the platform. Currently, striving to act in a similar manner as Twitter solely scratches the surface of how to better drive attraction, engagement, and retention of viewers with zero distinction.

Facebook has tremendous potential to be used for deep television/multiscreen related content and advertising experiences. The ability to explore transmedia and branded entertainment initiatives, new ways to drive and steer mechanisms of TV interactivity and the ability to integrate real time user generated content in novel ways have limitless potential. These three functionalities can become intensive engagement experiences and take advantage of Facebook’s unique aspects.

For chatter- Facebook is weak. It doesn’t allow the rapid-fire back and forth endemic conversations like Twitter does. It also does not allow expansion to external audiences outside of ones own network. This is countered however with the fact that Twitter doesn’t have nearly the same capability to present rich (and shareable) portals that beg for interaction. Facebook needs to develop their unique differentiators across differing metrics and they need to develop and evangelize some of their amazing potential for TV in a novel way. This should be driven by a better understanding of their value proposition to both audiences and the industry.

It’s time to start looking outside of the box when it comes to Social TV- There are amazing integrations to be found across platforms, but we have to acknowledge that differing conversational venues will be utilized differently and thusly need to foster potential based on their differing strengths.