Sequelitis Hits Gaming!

Are megamergers healthy for the industry?

In many ways, the game industry is beginning to parallel Hollywood, where power is concentrated in the hands of a few studios that pour millions into making movies and therefore want to play it safe. Show studio executives something daring and they break out in a rash-but give them a Die Hard or a Rambo, and you wind up with a zillion clones. More car chases! More explosions! More silicone-puffed tits!

But, in response to that creative stagnation, we've seen a rise in independent filmmakers taking on the projects the studios won't touch. Folks like Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez (before the latter went Hollywood) proved you can make darn good movies on pocket change and have fun doing it.

Perhaps that will happen in the game industry, too. Gamers just acquired their own Sundance Festival: the Independent Games Festival, which opens in San Jose on March 15. And there's the thriving shareware industry. Wilson thinks an indie revolution is possible, and he thinks game developers' savior is the Internet.

"The great equalizer is going to be online distribution," he said. "E-commerce is potentially an equalizer that could give you a chance to do something with a niche product."

Treat Wyn as your equal at machineage@mediaone.net.

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