Which one would you rather have- Playstation or Television? Both of them have their pros and cons, but I would like to argue the point for one main difference that tips the scale in favor of Playstation- interactivity.
Television and cinema are by nature passive activities. We as viewers have very little control over the events or outcome of either. However, there have been social developments in a few cases that have increased the activity level of movie-going.
One example is the Rocky Horror Picture Show. There are special showings in many cities in the USA where the audience dresses specially for the movie and carries different types of food, water guns or whatever is needed to create the same atmosphere in the cinema as in the movie. Once inside the movie, the audience becomes an active part of the film.
Another development is theme restaurants that show movies. During the movie, they serve the food or drinks being consumed on the Big Screen. In both examples the level of interactivity has been increased as well as the level of enjoyment.
I recently read a statistic that two out of three American adults prefer to surf the web instead of watching television. Why? Interactivity. This interactivity is the basis of the revolution that the entertainment industry will be forced to endure. And that is where it finally gets interesting for the rest of us.
Television+Playstation+Internet= Big Fun
Because of the nature of games, they are always interactive. However, no matter how great the game is, eventually you will get tired of playing it. Let’s look at the first two elements of the equation: Television+Playstation. If you could play a new episode of your favorite game every week wouldn’t that be great? The second half: Playstation+Internet. They have figured this one out. On-line gaming with friends. Playstation 2 lets users access the net to check email, search the net, stock prices, whatever. Adding them all up and Television+Playstation+Internet= Big Fun.
We see companies like AOL/TimeWarner coming together with different parts of the equation adding in Web TV for the box. There are other players in this market: Microsoft with its new X-Box is trying to nudge in, Sony is the Goliath with its music and television entertainment branches plus the Playstation and Playstation 2. These elements mix together readily, but there is one part of the equation that has yet to hit main stream America: Broadband.
Television+Playstation+Broadband Connection = Big Bucks
That sums it up. The first case is a lot of fun. The second means a lot of money. With the development of technologies such as MP4 that allows the distinction to be made between different elements in a video, you could click on the hat that Harrison Ford wears in Raiders of the Lost Ark during the movie and purchase it. This is a product placement dream come true. By combining the movie with a Playstation, you could have Indiana jump back into the snake pit or you could change the course of the movie, or your friend could be controlling the nazi solders and make your life as Indiana Jones even more difficult. This would only work with a connection speed fast enough to deliver a video stream that could be simultaneously manipulated, hence the entire equation. The race is on for the Big Bucks, and since I’m not really a fan of television, I’ll be betting on the Playstation.