The Doctor Doom of the games industry, Activision's Bobby Kotick, has made more assertions about how you're going to be spending your groats in the years to come. This time, it's on-demand videogame movies, distributed solely online, direct to your eye-holes. Interested?
Here's the telling quote, spoken from his mouth yesterday at a conference where men who make lots of money go to talk about making lots of money.
In reference to StarCraft II's hyper-lavish, ultra-biff cutscenes, he suggested:
"If we were to take that hour, or hour and a half, take it out of the game [note - I'm fairly sure he doesn't mean selling the cutscenes that are already in the game, but is instead using some slightly odd language to suggest a CGI movie of Blizzardian cutscene quality.], and we were to go to our audiences - for whom we have their credit card information and a direct relationship - and say to them, 'Would you like to have the StarCraft movie?'... and say we have this great hour and a half of linear video that we'd like to make available to you at a $30 or $20 price point, you'd have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever."
"Within the next five years you are likely to see us do that... There will be a time when we capitalise on the relationship that we have with our audience and deliver them something that is really extraordinary and let them consume it directly through us instead of through theatrical distribution."
So that's the concept. Not another Final Fantasy: The Spiritless Within hullaballo, but instead a feature-length CGI tale you can pay for and download through Battle.net or whatever other system for whatever other game.
It's easy to arm-wave and blither about the horror of Activision wanting to squeeze even more money from starving gamers - but isn't this exactly what half of 'em want? People love to associate with their favourite games' fiction, and a chance to do that probably would be extremely successful. Especially for Blizzard's lore-packed licenses. Hell, 15 minutes of Kerrigan waving her tentacles at the camera would probably make a fortune.
This way, too, videogame movies get made by the people who make the videogames. That's much more appealing than some rent-a-splode director who once played Tetris on a train being handed the rights to Silent Hill or whatever.
The isssue, of course, is the price Kotick suggests - $20 or $30 for a download-only movie is a horrific suggestion, but hopefully minds more in tune with what people actually spend on films will prevail.