Wow, bad week for the videogame business: Atari went into Chapter 11 earlier and today came news that one-time giant THQ is being sold for parts, putting into question the future of Hollywood franchises such as its “South Park” title. (read Ross Lincoln’s Deadline story here: http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/thq-bankrupt-asset-sale-video-games/
And in the wake of the Newtown shootings and resulting political blowback on violence in media, Disney CEO Bob Iger says in a Q&A with superproducer Brian Grazer that he’ll be taking a closer look at violence in his company’s game titles. (read it here: http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/disney-video-game-violence-measures-bob-iger/ )
Such issues must be particularly delicate for Disney, with its carefully tended family-friendly brand, but cynics might understandably wonder whether his public statement is really more about the theater of a response than anything substantively addressing the much larger and more complicated questions around violence in media, entertainment and games.
So what’s happening to the game business? More people are playing than ever, but big companies like Atari and THQ (though admittedly long removed from previous glories) are failing big. What, or who, is to blame?