Gaming and Google

January 6, 2009

The ad industry is a fun one.  We think creatively, dress casually, have inventive office spaces and our companies throw pretty good parties.  Like a lot of professions, we have our own gossip blog (AgencySpy).  I find that its writers are good at more than just industry smut (and lately, there has been some skin) but that they nicely summarize interesting articles that I often click through to.  Most of the time, I just skip links on a blog.  A good one today.

Nielsen Report Shows Gaming Trends of 2008

Despite having over 20% higher household penetration, the Wii has lower usage numbers as a percentage of time spent gaming (13.4%) than the Xbox 360 (17.2%).  This should come as no surprise: the Wii is built with groups in mind, and its games are collaborative and interactive.  They are also played in bursts — Wii Sports is meant to be played in ten to twenty minute sessions.  The Xbox is arguably the superior single-player game console and its sales are driven from games like Halo and Call of Duty.  All meant to be played alone or if with other people, online.  These are immersive, creative experiences.  I don’t play video games save for Dr. Mario on my Game Boy, but I understand why enthusiasts are so loyal to their Xbox.

And it was straying from these enthusiasts and taking a risky business leap that brought Nintendo back to the head of the gaming class after arguably losing the last two console wars.  I’ve recently begun to think of companies like Nintendo and Apple and Google not as software companies, but as engineering firms.  This is where the world’s smartest minds head — our brightest programmers and innovators, and the latter two will be known in decades as we grew to know GE and IBM.

In particular, I think Google has potential to redefine a number of categories that have seen little innovation of late.  Perhaps a gloater’s disclosure, but I have been considering investing in Google.  Like many, I’ve been considering investing while the market is as down as it is now and making some long-term commitments.  Google has a monopoly on information.  It has replaced dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, satellites and libraries.

Would it be any surprise if Google, in five years, created five private schools?  Or if, in ten, it developed the nation’s first new, remarkable university?  With its reign over the information marketplace, Google could change the world, and do it for the better.

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