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You can call it retro if you like, but it looks old to me

By Jules Quartly | China Daily | Updated: 2012-12-04 09:22

I'm all grown up and still playing (like many others), but the big difference now is video gaming is the "most lucrative entertainment product in the world".

This is how Edward Smith describes the industry in an International Business Times article, adding Call of Duty's life-to-date sales figures beat out The Lord of the Rings', Star Wars' and Harry Potter's.

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Meanwhile, DFC Intelligence forecasts the market for video games globally will expand from $67 billion in 2012 to $82 billion in five years.

This sounds propitious, but, actually, the market is flat as console sales diminish and other platforms to play games take over. My own feeling is that video gaming is going through another shakeout, similar to the 1985 industry crash.

Part of the reason for this is a lot of gamers like me are starting to tune out as the same old hits are once again repackaged. It's a bit like rock 'n' roll, as all the new bands sound like the old ones, just not as good.

Call of Duty is for me just another Quake III Arena remix. Its Black Ops II, the biggest entertainment launch in history with $500 million in 24 hours, is just another shooter. The last game to really wow me was Wii and the real action is online or mobile.

So, I'm left with the Fix-it Felix Jr. app on my tablet computer from the Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph. Playing it transports me back to the arcades of 30 years ago, which sums up the gaming industry: looking back rather than forward to something new.

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You can call it retro if you like, but it looks old. I've been more impressed by a reading app for my kid, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Its graphics are smooth, and the plot is more nuanced than typical gamer fare, wham, bam, thank-you mam!

Gaming will go on, of course, it's elemental. But I look forward to the point where it offers more food for thought. It needs to act its age and show a little maturity.

We have the technology.

What I would expect is that games will become the new books or movies and have a little more art and - yes, why not - depth and characterization.

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