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Published on February 5th, 2011 | by simeon

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Tech Expert Scott Steinberg Talks About the Future of Gaming and Technology

by Gareth von Kallenbach & Genevieve McBride

Recently we were given another opportunity to interview technology expert Scott Steinberg. Scott is the CEO of high-tech consulting firm TechSavvy Global, and a celebrated gadget guru and video game expert who frequently appears as a technology analyst on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and CNN, and has contributed to 400+ outlets from The New York Times to Playboy and Rolling Stone. He’s also the author of Video Game Marketing and PR and host of online industry insider video series Game Theory.

What have been some of the most exciting trends in technology at the CES?

We’ve seen tremendous innovation in mobility and convenience. Dozens of tablet PCs from the BlackBerry PlayBook to Motorola Xoom promise to make high-performance computing more manageable for road warriors, while smartphones such as the Atrix 4G, HTC ThunderBolt and Xperia Arc continue to gain in power and practicality, adding features like casual videoconferencing and netbook-grade processors. Of course, you can’t beat the rise of affordable 3D either, thanks to new video camera units like Sony’s Bloggie 3D, which bring three-dimensional movie making home.

What have been your biggest suprises and disappointments?

I think most surprising is just how quickly manufacturers are flocking to make tablet computers the next standard, when just last year we were fixated on netbooks, and wondered if there was even a market for a higher-grade touchscreen units, given historical performance prior to the iPad.

Also shocking is just how prevalent Google’s Android operating system has become, and will continue to be going forward thanks to the launch of dozens of new smartphones and the tablet-specific Honeycomb operating system upgrade. I think the biggest disappointment thus far has been in the eReader space (we’ve seen a lot of talk, but little action outside of Kindle, Nook and software-based platforms), and how slow digital publishers have been to take advantage of these platforms.

What do you think the future holds for 3DTv and 3D gaming?

Greater affordability, thank heaven, and growing ubiquity, as prices come down and more 3D content becomes available. The dawn of affordable 3D video cameras for home or professional movie making, growing range of 3D solutions, including glasses-free options like the Optimus 3D smartphone or 3D video recording units such as the G-Slate tablet and increasing variety of 3D gaming content available like PlayStation 3 Killzone 3 and the glasses-free Nintendo 3DS, are all helping 3D become much more palatable. Of course, don’t forget the success of Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s PlayStation Move – which enable 3D gaming in the form of 360-degree movement – also point towards a bright future as well.

When do you believe we will see the next generation of gaming consoles?

A greater push towards online connectivity and digital delivery of content, as well as the drive towards more app-like bite-sized on-demand software, ongoing downloadable updates (including regular microtransactions and in-app purchases) and total functionality as a full-fledged entertainment device capable of delivering music, movies, apps, streaming media and more on-demand. You can bank on more social networking and connected multiplayer features too, as well as cloud-like instant delivery options, as Gaikai and OnLive are trying to push.

What do you believe is the next great technological leap for PCs and PC Gaming as well as in handheld devices?

Free to play titles available via Web browser that approach the production values of full-fledged retail blockbusters, including the evolution of MMO games into browser-based outings that don’t require massive installs. Also, cross-platform titles that allow you multiple points of entry – Facebook, tablet PC, handheld console, etc. – into the same game, offering multiple experiences, yet tangible overarching progress and benefits.

What is your take on the growing tablet market?

Extremely positive – while tablets are tricky to upgrade, they make computing much more intuitive and convenient, and are effectively acting as a Trojan horse to get computers’ in more people’s hands. Apps are just software programs, and touchscreen monitors are just simpler ways to navigate. They’re just doing a better job at translating computing basics – Web surfing, email, productivity, multimedia, entertainment, digital reading, etc. – for the general public, and are a hell of a lot easier to cram in a carry-on.

What do you believe are the biggest problems and challenges in the industry today and moving forward?

Part of the challenge is pioneering new markets; part is juggling with new standards of value as the price of content (e.g. apps, social games, etc.) is quickly becoming a race to the bottom; part is massive audience fragmentation across platforms and devices; and part is increasing pressure given a growing range of competition and shrinking barriers to entry. Today’s developers, publishers and manufacturers have a bigger opportunity to reach a wider audience than ever – the question is just how do you connect, and how effectively?

What is your take on the Move and The Kinect?

Great solutions that are helping introduce a new generation to gaming, and have tremendous potential to complete redefine how we interact with games and consumer electronics. But applications thus far have been very simple. It’s time for developers and publishers to step up and add new dimensions to the experience that illustrate how they can redefine gaming for hardcore as well as casual audiences alike. We’re just scratching the tip of the iceberg in terms of capabilities, though.


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