On Gaming

 

July 25, 2011

 


Celebrities overshadow video games at Comic-Con

Video games have become just as much a part of our culture as any other form of entertainment. However, with our societal obsession on celebrity, this industry finds itself playing a distant second fiddle to Hollywood as one of Comic-Con’s main attractions.

Amid the multiple copies of “Wonder Woman” or the ever-growing number of conventioneers donning their finest steampunk-inspired garb, attendees of San Diego’s Comic-Con International this past week could almost always spot a Dante or Master Chief tucked in among the ranks of masked revelers.

And while most convention goers could easily identify these latter characters as belonging to the “Devil May Cry” and “Halo” franchises, respectively, when given the option most would admittedly prefer to attend a panel on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” or director Kevin Smith’s yearly discussion.

In part, much of this can be attributed to hangover from E3, as the expo is well deserving of its moniker as the industry’s most important annual event.

As it stands, studios devote entire teams, as well as shift development schedules, to ensure their company has something to show off at the show.

Unfortunately, this also leaves little time for new development between the two events, which means that much of what gets shown during Comic-Con is simply recycled from the previous month.

In the past, this was more than enough to keeps fans engaged, and for their part game makers have done a much better job of putting a fresh coat of paint onto rehashed content.

However, the problem is that with news cycles now being measured in minutes, most gamers have already had more than enough opportunity to ingest just about every second of E3 coverage well before the time Comic-Con rolls around in July.

That is not to say Comic-Con is devoid of video game exclusives. To the contrary, each year, more companies have begun to use San Diego’s largest convention as an opportunity to continue the conversation they started about their product at E3.

This year for example, Bioware announced that it had begun accepting pre-orders for its upcoming “Star Wars: The Old Republic” at the event.

We also learned a few more details on “Batman: Arkham City,” including the addition of Talia al Ghul as a character in the game.

Microsoft unveiled a Star Wars-themed version of its Xbox 360, which will feature a 320GB hard drive, Kinect Camera and bear a striking resemblance to R2-D2.

AMD also showed off its presence at the event, as the chipmaker was the title sponsor of the event’s annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

Unfortunately, while panels from Blizzard or even the aforementioned “Star Wars: The Old Republic” draw their own set of faithful, most people found themselves talking about the premiere of “Cowboys & Aliens” or Steven Spielberg’s announcement of “Jurassic Park 4.”

Admittedly, it’s not every day San Diego gets a red-carpet premiere. But it does show that in spite of the video game industry now outpacing all other forms of entertainment in terms of sales, at Comic-Con it takes a backseat.


 

July 25, 2011

 

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