So, can games learn from TV? (And if so, what…?)

By popular demand (whose name is Ed (Hi Ed.  – Ed)),  I’m doing a quick post about the talk Sorrell from ScreenPop gave last week at the Evolve conference in London.

Before I went, I made some excited noises about the Sorrell talk because my guess was that he was going to be talking about “social game TV”.    Just think.   If social TV is hot and social games are hot then just think how hot “social TV games” could be.  Ooh.  (And natch it could also be utter crap, if you do it badly.  But the upside is real.)

Only one hitch: I was wrong, wrong, wrong.    Not that a social game layer on top of TV wouldn’t be awesome™.  It could be.

But social TV games just weren’t the tack Sorrell took in his talk.   He did a pretty  straight rant-flame about what games can learn from TV.   His take, as I understood it, is that TV is way more successful than games in terms of the value of the industry, and the number of eyeball-hours, probably always will be unless games get their act together and listen up to the following words of wisdom:

  • TV understands how to use familiar music to cue emotions – games are pretty rubbish at this by comparison
  • TV uses story loops well, if games combined story loops with rat loops [i.e. compulsion loops] nobody would ever leave the house again
  • the games industry will never succeed until it hires more women, 15% isn’t enough
  • TV has cracked the recommendation engine problem, it’s called channels, and 80% of shows are still watched this way, real-time at broadcast time
  • there’s a special experience to do with live events, although ‘live-ification’ is a  word only used by particularly horrible TV execs
  • no game justs gives you a task with no choice, but turn on the TV and you’ve done everything you need to do, and passive is good.

All very interesting, in an intentionally controversial but still content-ful way.  Just not what I was expecting.

So, in the question period I asked Sorrell what he thought of social TV.    He rolled his eyes a bit,  in an “oh dear oh dear not that question again” kind of way, but said that if anyone was going to do it,  it would be  Zeebox, one reason being that they allow unofficial apps.

Les jeux sont faits….


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