A new front in the console wars

Console gaming is already big business, but BusinessWeek reports that the connectivity of the latest generation of consoles is providing opportunities for small players in the game development sector.

Consoles such as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 have built-in web connectivity, primarily for the purpose of allowing easy online gaming. But they also mean that players can download games from the web – thereby removing the barriers to entry that having to manufacture and distribute physical game disks presents.

Smaller games firms are leaping into the niche, developing games that are small on hi-tech bells and whistles but high on playability.

An example is Thatgamecompany, which last year released its first title for Sony PlayStation 3 called flOw. In flOw, players guide an amoeba-like creature through a soup of gauzy colours as it grows in size and changes shape to pulsing mood music.

It has earned numerous best-of-the-year nominations, including a British Academy of Film and Television Arts innovation award, but best of all it has been popular. A free, flash-based version of the game has been played around three million times online.



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