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How Games Drive Platforms and Technology

September 21, 2012

There is a great little song, Hey Hey 16K, about the now classic icon of British design, the ZX Spectrum.  The song celebrates the pioneer of home computing and how it launched the UK games industry:

What it pokes fun at it that these machines were purchased under the pretext of helping with homework and household account, but all they were ever used for was games.  That is no bad thing, imho.  Games drive technologies, because games give a reason for all the flashy stuff they can do.  Games are the fun reason you want to use technologies and if the games are there you’ll make any excuse to get that technology (“It’ll help with my homework, dad!”) and overcome any problems (remember loading game via tape?  I do) or issues for the fun they provide.

At the time the ZX Spectrum was going up against the BBC Micro.  The BBC had the support of the establishment and was introduced though schools to kids.  But the ZX Spectrum was cheaper and had games – loads and loads of cheap games.  It  became the clear winner.

It not really much different now with games being the singles largest type of app on the iPhone:

According to a March 2012 study by App Store monitoring company Distimo, “Games is the single most important type of application (50% of all top paid applications are Games)” in the iPad App Store. In the new “All-Time Top Apps” list revealed by Apple in March, 17 apps from Top Paid for iPhone chart were from the Games category; 10 apps from Top Free for iPhone chart were from the Games category; 13 apps from Top Paid for iPad chart were from the Games category; and 6 apps from Top Free for iPad chart were, you guessed it, marketed as Games.

As then, as now, games drive technology adoption.

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