The future of going to the movies has changed dramatically in recent times. Going to a theatre was an event, a social melting pot where a group of people can experience a film and laugh together, cry together or get pissed off at having wasted money on a studio fiasco...together. The Drive-In evolved from the same ilk but took on a multi-faceted social role of additionally facilitating car and specifically youth culture. With home theatres and mega sound systems now being embedded in people’s homes, the monopoly held by movie theatres withers. Hence the feigned importance of 3D, super sound and IMAX, that big studios and movie theatres are inundating us with. Studios are hard pressed to maintain the audience in public theatres when most people have equal in quality theatres in their own living rooms. But now, a new trend is forming. A blending of the three biggest entertainment distractions ever invented by distraction loving humanity; movies, gigs and games, and it is taking place right under our noses.
Video Gaming as BIG Entertainment
Why would people go to a multiplex, wait in line, be forced to endure other viewers coughs, stenches and obnoxious laughing at key moments when they can sit at home at watch the flick on their big screen, in the comfort of their own stench? This is the question studios ask themselves at least once a week (sometimes more if their releases bomb). How can we get these darn kids into the theatre and more importantly, how can we get them to spend more? There is a lot of money on the line and the studios want to collect, as always. Torrents have made the uniqueness of releases not so special when we can watch a cam of the latest crap the night of release. There is nothing special about first run anymore. Hence the big brains at your favourite studios have come up with a solution...blend two sub cultures together and get the benefit of a double payday. The theatre going crowd is now a sub-culture of the varied entertainment mediums we are constantly exposed to. You see other sub-cultures evolving like the “glasshole” tech heads, ready to document the mundaneness of their lives. The studios are focusing on two sub-cultures that can garner enough profit to justify the effort. The above mentioned theatre culture and the now imbedded Video game culture. Two entertainment properties that will go together like P&J, or bits and bytes... if you like.
Actors have become unrelatable and foreign to most people. Yeah, they strut up and down the red carpet and espouse some bullshit political view, but the public feels removed from that 20th Century royalty that has more money in their pocket than they will ever see. Studios are frustrated as well, having to pay ridiculous amounts for someone to spout lines on film. The executives and marketing leeches have looked at you and what is selling. Movies still have a force within theatres but it is declining, while the video game industry is worth billions upon billions. The studios firmly believe that people will pay to be in a theatre, with seemingly like-minded people, and watch an action packed unique experience on the big screen, played out by a gamer super star. Geeks that game better than most will be brought to prominence as important cultural phenom’s and they will be propped up by the studios as touring entertainment figure-heads. Gamers are your average people, at least at this point, and relatable to the viewers. The presentation of a gamer, performing to the orchestrated digital images will take 3D, interaction and mind numbing tech ejaculations to whole new heights, and the public will be part of the action, sounds and bright lights, right then and there. As these conductor gamers are presented as having mythical reflexes and uncanny awareness of digital baddies, the Studios are counting on the viewing public, you, wanting to pay cash to witness this event. Competitions will be held to determine who the master gamers are, sponsored by dwindling soda pop Company’s that will jump on the band wagon. On an international level, a circuit of competitive gamers and sponsors will arise to showcase the battles to be the best. The warriors of gameness will be the new stars of the digital age. People will pay to see these comps play out, right down to the IMAX presented finals between the Japanese SHMUP champion and the American upstart, with the incidental talent tours of these gamers bringing the game action to you! The gamers will be positioned at the front of the “converted” theatres and throngs of insulated, anti-social soft asses will pour in to watch the contest unfold. The crowd will get excited in shared bliss they experience gaming sensory overloads that warm their loins. Games will be sold alongside t-shirts and other varieties of gaming franchise junk. Don’t forget the increased sales of chips and soda to the couch loving viewers that want the luxuries of their game cave replicated in the theatre. It’s a rock concert...it’s a big movie...its gaming greatness, and it’s the hybridization that only studios could come up with.
This is just the beginning though as the various feeders that orbit industry and money will begin to make their presence known. The gaming viewing throngs will make bets and select their gaming stars while supporting them through intricate franchising contracts and side deals. The game-theatre culture will pop up on digital magazine covers and you tube ads. Several subcultures, like the mentioned gambling culture, will blend in with the new industry. New opportunities will arise to meet the demands of the audience. An audience that will become something bigger than the individual parts that make it up, the trimmed pieces of the gaming culture, theatre culture, performance culture and junk food culture. What we will have before us is the entertainment of our time to satiate the masses, the opiate of the group, the evolution of the entertainment industry as it adapts to the attention spans of the consumers. If gaming wasn’t a part of your life, not to worry, it will be.
Joystick ‘n’ Hand