Despite all the work I’ve done on this website, and the time I’ve put into the OSAKit tool, I still don’t have a clear idea of where I’m going, business-wise. And one of the Big Questions I’m pondering right now is my future development platform.
Will there still be PCs, and PC games, in 10 years?
If we set the wayback machine, we see that games have traditionally been delivered by 1) a plug-in cartridge, sold at retail, and 2) an install pack, shipped on media and sold at retail. The current shareware game scene is a modification of 2, where the install pack is delivered digitally (no media and no retail). Valve’s Steam tech is the same thing, but with a slicker interface.
But now Flash and Java-based games obscure the whole download-and-install thing, and users just "play in a browser". Behind the scenes we all know there’s still code and data being downloaded, but if the user is paying, then what counts is what the user thinks.
I can already see that for kids, free flash games are where it’s at. Often they play on a parent’s computer, or at the school/library, and are forbidden to "download and install" anything. People at work often have browsers that are locked, so you CAN’T do any downloading. Plus Mac and Linux people get to enjoy games that are platform agnostic.
For four decades I’ve seen auto manufacturers "dumb down" their cars, trying to hide the fact that a cranky internal combustion engine resides within. Is it the case (now, and in the future) that people simply don’t want to fool around with the innards of their computers? That the thin-client, hardware agnostic set-top box is devoutly wished by 99% of the users out there?