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Are Gaming Studios the Most Innovative Tech Companies Out There?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the aside-from-the-sequels dept.

Cloud 103

Nerval's Lobster writes "Computer games are big business, with millions of players and billions of dollars in revenue every year. But that popularity puts game studios in a tough spot, especially when it comes to mobile games that need to serve their players a constant stream of updates and rewards. That pressure is leading to an interesting phenomenon: while IT companies that create more 'serious' software (i.e., productivity apps, business tools, etc.) are often viewed as cutting edge, it might be game developers actually doing the most innovative stuff when it comes to analytics, cloud and high-performance computing, and so on. Broken Bulb Studios, Hothead Games, and some other studios (along with some hosting companies) talk about how they've built their platforms to handle immense (and fluctuating) demand from gamers."

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Just About (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046391)

I think it is a fair statement. Unlike most business software, games actually have to be high quality in order for people to use / want to use them. Compare this to trying to pay your verizon bill online. Talk about phoning it in, hahaha.

Re:Just About (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43047305)

Also, that Verizon bill payment is something mandatory, so people will just put up with the software even if it's a bit crappy. Games however are "optional fun" and if the game plays badly, it's easy to chuck it away and try some another. So yes, you are correct.

Re:Just About (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#43047621)

I think it is a fair statement. Unlike most business software, games actually have to be high quality in order for people to use / want to use them. Compare this to trying to pay your verizon bill online. Talk about phoning it in, hahaha.

And yet game authors are among the biggest plagiarists out there. Not many original ideas, but lots redecorating of old ideas.

Re:Just About (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051389)

The discussion is about tech, no about content. No one is saying games have the most detailed content, only that it requires the best/most reliable/highest quality tech.

Re:Just About (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052495)

The discussion is about tech, no about content. No one is saying games have the most detailed content, only that it requires the best/most reliable/highest quality tech.

Atari was building multi processor arcade machines years before PCs got even close.

Re:Just About (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | about a year ago | (#43049935)

Being Innovative in gaming is more than throwing millions of dollars and lots of artists at someone else's engine to make pretty graphics. There are defiantly some innovative gaming companies out there, but a lot are just piggy backing of the better companies, and using the stupid console crowd that will buy anything they see on the side of a bus.

Ummm... (4, Interesting)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year ago | (#43046449)

No. At least not the big boys. Unless you call invasive DRM, sequel after sequel and shooter after shooter innovative.

Re:Ummm... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046541)

I'm pretty sure the main innovation by gaming companies is treating high-skilled, high-demand employees like crap.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051861)

Or convincing [young] employees that they were high skilled, high demand (aka hot $h1t), by treating them like crap.... and giving them lots of free boring "stuff".

Just look at the Samsung [gaming company] commercials--sort of says a bunch of "douches".

Re:Ummm... (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43053083)

I think it's a question of indie vs. big studios.

I think there's absolutely no question that many indies, certainly the succesful ones are highly innovative, but I think it's frankly impossible to argue with any degree of rationality that the big studios are some of the most innovative companies out there.

Even outside of simply looking at the product they produce, the gaming industry has historically been so backwards when it comes to newer software development practices that help improve quality of development that they don't even really have an argument that the way they do things is innovative - quite the opposite. This isn't necessarily a fault, often tried and tested is good, but it does mean you have absolutely no ability to argue that you're innovative.

Re:Ummm... (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year ago | (#43046647)

You forgot about hiding a subscription model inside micro-transactions and day one paid DLC.

Justifying day one paid DLC (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43048577)

If the approval, manufacturing, and delivery time for a downloadable complement is substantially less than that for a disc game, then how is a "day one paid DLC" for a disc game unjustifiable? The developers ship what they have, keep working on new features after the game goes gold, and make these new features available to the public.

Re:Justifying day one paid DLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43048865)

There are day 1 DLCs which are basically unlock keys for stuff already on disk.

I don't believe you can put it in after game goes gold.

Re:Justifying day one paid DLC (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43049029)

There are day 1 DLCs which are basically unlock keys for stuff already on disk.

And there are day one DLCs for stuff that was dummied out [] of RTM because it couldn't be tested in time but became working after the game's first patch.

Re:Justifying day one paid DLC (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051193)

Because I said so!

Your argument is invalid.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046665)

Innovative means' they're leading the way. You can expect some missteps and over corrections on such things as the test the waters.

That said, they're starting to get it nailed down. Valve/Steam is a good example of this.

Game studios are pushing what computers do and how they do it. For good or ill, productivity is always playing catchup with ideas first hammered out in gaming.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43046725)

The end product may not be innovative, but the techniques that make it possible certainly are.

Re:Ummm... (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#43046849)

If my "innovative" you mean "improving".
There are suprisingly few truely new inventions for an industry that's supposedly creative.

Re:Ummm... (1, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43048039)

Are you retarded, or just stupid?

present participle of innovate (Verb)
Make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.

innovating and inventing are NOT the same thing.

Re:Ummm... (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43050913)

Pedandic asshole, douchebag, prick. I hope that makes us even but feel free to tweak the balance as you see fit. On with the topic...

new methods, ideas or products

What new methods, ideas or products?
If you take a lullaby and record it in hifi, does that count as "innovation"?
Independant game developers are doing some innovative things, but the industry at large is failing misserably.
Not even including the inevitable sequels, there are very few new things happening in the AAA games.

Re:Ummm... (1)

undeadbill (2490070) | about a year ago | (#43046809)

Agreed. I haven't seen any serious technological innovation come from gaming in a long time. The article in question gushes, erm, discusses how gaming companies are *using* technologies like Hadoop. Same goes for "the cloud", essentially someone bragging about how they wrote some scripts/apps to make their deployments faster. Essentially, these shops are bragging about work that many very experienced senior network and systems admins (ok, some are called devops now, etc) do already. Woo.

A serious innovation would be coming up with something more robust or efficient than Hadoop or GlusterFS. Maybe a new paradigm shift away from the QEMU based vitualization systems that currently exist (that would be all of them, btw). Or possibly a new distributed secure communications protocol (Friendica's RED, and work by the Calyx Institute both come to mind) to be the basis of a new kind of communications framework.

Most importantly, none of these shops are bragging about their contribution back to the open source projects they are happy to borrow from. Talking about performancing on Hadoop isn't the same as submitting and having accepted performance enhancing code into the Hadoop source tree.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051173)

High end game engines are definitely innovative, however an innovative engine isn't enough to make a game worthwhile and many games simply license an engine from someone else.

Re:Ummm... (1)

LandoCalrizzian (887264) | about a year ago | (#43047965)

No. At least not the big boys. Unless you call invasive DRM, sequel after sequel and shooter after shooter innovative.

Agreed. Big studio are innovative at making money. Indie devs make money by being innovative.

Re:Ummm... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43048013)

Yes, actually.

There is a constant demand for more realism, both in look and behavior.

Games are on the edge of AI, and the push that boundary.

Also in simulate consistent and contextual applications of physics.

" sequel after sequel and shooter after shooter innovative."
you really don't get it, do you.Can you really be that short sighted?

Yeah, anothe FPS sequal, so what? how does that apply to the conversation? each itteration has better computer bahaviouor then that last.

I'ts like saying car compnay don't innovate, they just mkae cars every year.

Bcasue you don't seem to know it, here is the definition:
  innovation - the introduction of something new.

introduction is what you probably should pay attention to.

Re:Ummm... (0)

jaymz666 (34050) | about a year ago | (#43048093)

  [ ìtt ráysh'n ]

        repetition: an instance or the act of doing something again
        step-by-step process: a process of achieving a desired result by repeating a sequence of steps and successively getting closer to that result
        repetition of steps: the repetition of a sequence of instructions in a computer program until a result is achieved

Iteration by definition is not innovation.

Re:Ummm... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year ago | (#43048165)

If games are on the edge of AI, then Kurzweil's AI singularity must still be a few millennia off. But yeah, I guess Angry Birds has shown that computer simulation of physics is close to perfection.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051461)

Games are undoubtedly on the edge of practical AI, AI used in the real world. Application of AI. However you can better understand it.

AI used in prototype Japanese robots or Watson are not applicable, are not useful on a mass scale. It's academic stuff. Right now, real world robotics are remote-controlled drones.

But, yes, if you count academics, brand new discoveries and inventions, new processes being created at Universities or R&D labs, then no real-world application is ever on the edge of anything. It's always academics. Which is why it's not useful to include them when discussing who's on the edge of some field.

The Big Question (2)

TechieRefugee (2105386) | about a year ago | (#43046491)

So what? How does this really help us? I realize that the same question could be posed for quite a few of these articles, but I really don't see the point. It's just self-applauding, if you ask me. *expects plenty of -1 Flamebaits and -1 Trolls* Oh well; I tried getting my idea across.

Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046503)

Let's see do you want to run and shoot, drive in circles, or fill out a spreadsheet of abilities/items and compare your spreadsheet to somone elses? 90% of games have you covered!

Military or university (5, Insightful)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#43046513)

I assumed the most innovative technology development, regardless of field, is in a military or university setting.

Re:Military or university (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046623)


Re:Military or university (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43046757)

maybe 50 years ago, but tech is going so fast that most new investments are in the consumer field now

by the time the government plans and funds a big project, the tech is out dated. don't even talk about implementation

Re:Military or university (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047245)

Obviously this person doesn't know anything about real university research...

-Private cell phone companies aren't working on 'mesh networks' that dynamically route packets around bad nodes or anything like this.
-Cell Carriers aren't looking into new software defined radio algorithms that automatically change frequencies to avoid interference
-Private companies aren't looking into producing new security models, encryption algorithms, and crypto systems (that aren't meant as DRM to stop people from doing what they think should be allowed, like ripping DVDs, etc)

-Show me what "private" company is looking to design ACTUAL secure Cyber Physical Systems (buzz word, but still) There is lots of univ. all working on this....
-Leap Motion: result of univ. research
-Occulus Rift :Direct result of Stanford research
-Google: Direct result of Univ. (Stanford?) research and 250,000$ government grant into search technology (which they published their results, elliptic curve search techniques... or some such name like that )
-MIT and all of its robotics& media lab results...
-Vanderbilt Medical school is doing amazing research into electronic healthcare records, and 'actually' trying to make them useful/secure

And thats just some of the biggest private schools, for public schools....ohh wait... they are having their money cut because people like 'parent' don't realize what good 'that silly university research' funding

Video game companies such and the resulting ATI/Nvidia/etc GPU hardware, Leap Motion, Occulus Rift, and i'm sure many many more that I'm skipping over right now, exist because of the drive for better video games/video game tech. Games implement the newest "shader technique" or "physics algorithm" that was developed ANYWHERE, and those "anywhere" are usually Univ.

So "big government" doesn't implement anything anymore(almost, i think the IRS still has some cobol coders) unfortunately we've outsourced most 'government' jobs to contractors such as boeing, lockeed martin, etc.

Re:Military or university (2)

dAzED1 (33635) | about a year ago | (#43047251)

odd - I work for a company that makes "integrated operating rooms" - cameras everywhere that feed to secure locations, store for training, etc - where via touch or motion-sensing, those participating in the surgery can change the lighting hue(different colors are known to be better for particular surgeries) or brightness, change what camera feeds are on what screens, change the temperature in the room, change the audio feed for the music they're rockin out to - including integrating with itunes, pandora, etc to select channels...all while not compromising the surgical field. And it's for the military - something they're rolling out to practically every MTF in the US. What's the OR look like in your local hospical?

Re:Military or university (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43048077)

not true at all.

The size of government programs for a big project develops new tech to fill needs.

Re:Military or university (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046783)

But in this case, universities only care about theoretical CS, and the military guys still have trouble understanding what a computer is.

huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046963)

You don't have much experience in universities or the military then. You have to make working programs in universities as students and researchers routinely make 'theoretical' breakthroughs that lead directly to commercial applications (I.E. the internet). The 'military' does not need everyone to know about computers, just one division, say the NSA, should suffice.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43052751)

Working programs does not equal practical application of theory. Not sure how you can claim "experience in universities" and not understand that. The forefront of academic research is a long distance from real world application, regardless of how many "working prototypes" can be made.

This is true for any field, even. Real world application always has more complicated factors than research and development.

Re:Military or university (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year ago | (#43047067)

About 1% of military is 10 years ahead of civilian tech, the remaining 99% is a cobbled together mess of decades old systems, "tried and true" designs, and things that are just too expensive to update.

Re:Military or university (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#43047959)

Innovation is a more incremental form of progress than what you're thinking. Universities tend to be more focued on the breakthroughs, the game-changers that maybe come once every hundred years. The private sector fuels a lot of innovation, and gaming pushes the computing industry in certain directions while it completely ignores other directions.

For distributed computing and computer graphics, I'd say gaming is pushing the boundaries of these fields. For storing, processing, and representing data (e.g. A.I.-type work), innovation is happening in other industries. It's not to say that there are no overlaps, but gaming is more focused on fancy graphics and letting 1000 people on one team fight 1000 other people on another team.

Re:Military or university (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43051483)

I guarantee you that, at least internally, Google is blowing both of those categories away.

Re:Military or university (1)

recharged95 (782975) | about a year and a half ago | (#43051869)

university: innovative thinking
military: innovative action (processes and products)

then there's

Silicon Valley: innovative way of making money... hey, aren't there lots of gaming companies in the valley?

Of course they are (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046547)

Just ask them!

Nope because at the end of the day (-1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year ago | (#43046553)

No because at the end of the day Video games are art, not technology. Sure it's got lots of technological aspects, but it has them in the same way that Architecture does. Ya Architecture is an art, one that includes all sorts of technical fields, from material science to wave forms, when trying to determine the acoustics of a room but that doesn't mean a highly innovative architectural firm is the most innovative tech company out there.

Re:Nope because at the end of the day (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43048115)

"No because at the end of the day Video games are art, not technology."
BULLSHIT. The graphics, in some case, can be consider art.

But decision making? response behavior? creating consistent and complex context aware physics simulations?

Please, it's engineering and science more then it's art.

Unnles you define art as "anything I happen to like becasue I am a Pretentious fuck"

Only the game engine developers... (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a year ago | (#43046569)

I would consider companies like ID and Crytek to be innovative as they build the underlying game engine. Most other game developers then license the game engine on which their games are developed.

Re:Only the game engine developers... (2)

admdrew (782761) | about a year ago | (#43047201)

Agreed. Carmack is oft considered one of the most innovative devs (games or otherwise) ever, based on the incredible work he did on their various engines, as well as his foresight to what console and PC gaming would become.

I'd also give a big nod to Valve, who has been tied with highly technical work (building the Source engine out of q1/quakeworld), general gaming innovation (scripted scenes and impressive NPC AI), and business innovation (Steam!).

Re:Only the game engine developers... (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about a year ago | (#43047261)

Ok, but that was like 20 years ago. I don't really view Carmack as relevant to gaming anymore. Rocketry, maybe...

Re:Only the game engine developers... (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about a year ago | (#43048281)

I think that you're being a bit too quick to judge. If you read/watch any modern interviews with him, he'll talk about all of the R&D type work he does in testing the current possibilities of ray-tracing, voxel engines and how hardware is changing and how they can utilize those changes in 3D graphics programming.

Re:Only the game engine developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050937)

All of which is was done sooner and better by others.

Fast inverse square root (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046619)

I'm reminded of this:

When I first read about this it was attributed to John Carmack. Looking it up again now I see there's been further speculation.

Not the big companies anyway... (1)

olip85 (1770514) | about a year ago | (#43046651)

The big players such as EA will never invest in a project that hasn't been already proven to be successful. This is why most if not all new breakthroughs come from indies (e.g. Minecraft).

Web developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046667)

It seems that the article mostly dropped names for websites, big data, and hosting. Most of the tools they mentioned were started at large internet based companies. Shouldn't the summary be about how web developers for gaming companies are the most innovative tech companies?

No. Nooooooooo. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046671)

With a rare few exceptions (ongoing development of Steam, engine development at Epic, Valve, Crytek and Unity, the ongoing reinvention of the voxel wheel, MMORPG development) the vast majority of game developers are some of the least innovative people in programming, if you are looking at it from a coding perspective. If you hate middleware today, consider that most games these days are built almost entirely out of middleware, with only the art, animation and SFX assets plugged in.

In their defense however this is a money issue, not a motivation one.

No, and also no (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43046691)

Some game companies do innovate, I don't want to take that away from them. But they're not coming up with new technologies most of the time. Stuff tends to appear in a technical paper before it ever appears in a game these days, maybe gets presented at siggraph or something even before anyone can put it into a commercial product.

"Tech" also covers a lot of ground. When you consider the complexity of what's going on in biotech, video games are a footnote.

MMO development may be (5, Interesting)

Shalian (512701) | about a year ago | (#43046697)

I've always said that an MMO is literally the most complicated piece of software one can make. Take every single problem that exists in software engineering, and you have it in an MMO.

A) Every problem from a normal game.
1) Resource streaming for an open world.
2) Particle system running on 5 year old commodity hardware
3) Physics system to handle projectiles (Even if it's not havok you still need something for the characters falling from the sky.)

B) Every problem that a business app would have.
4) High availability clusters
5) Billing systems
6) Massive databases
7) Customer Support back end
8) Call center support

C) Every problem that 'internet companies' have
9) Latency kills
10) World wide datacenters mapping 1:1 and 1:many architecture pieces

D) Some nice unique problems for MMOs only
11) Cross server object replication
12) More hackers targeting it than they would some banks.

Re:MMO development may be (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43047129)

D) Some nice unique problems for MMOs only
11) Cross server object replication

Only MMOs replicate objects across servers? How amazing, tell us more.

Re:MMO development may be (1)

Shalian (512701) | about a year ago | (#43050631)

That could have been worded better. What I meant is real time object replication where state on an object one on server is mirrored on other servers. IE: If you are standing near the boundary between two servers, you on one server, your opponent on the other server. Each server is constantly updating object state to each other as well as to the observing clients. What are the other cases that this is common? I'll be happy to move the location in the future because I know on MMOs I worked on this was the single cause of the most # of bugs in the system and one reason why a lot of early MMOs were Zone based rather than open world.

Re:MMO development may be (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43052069)

It is an issue for anything realtime and clustered, like any large social media site.

Re:MMO development may be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047319)

Fortune 1000 customers that depend on your system to run a chunk of their operations with five 9's reliability? Security of customer data that can hit the front page of the NY Times if it's stolen? Patches and backwards compatibility for *every* prior version of your system going back eight years? Support for *customer* installation and upgrade of complex software stacks developed by multiple vendors on *clusters* of servers? Get real. An MMO goes down, some young customers whine and some of them cancel their subscription. Enterprise software fails, banks and utilities can have problems serving thousands of customers.

Re:MMO development may be (2)

Shalian (512701) | about a year ago | (#43050613)

To be clear, you believe that if the credit card numbers of 11 million subscribers of World of Warcraft was leaked it wouldn't be on the front page of NY Times? What percentage of the banks and utilities you are talking about there have on the order of 11 million subscribers?

And I described software complexity, not software importance.

Re:MMO development may be (1)

Erbo (384) | about a year ago | (#43047773)

I've always thought that the way certain MMO games use cluster technology to support a massive single-instance world was pretty innovative. Second Life, for instance, uses a system where each 256m x 256m region of the world is mapped to a single server CPU core. (That's for "full" regions; the lighter-duty "homestead" regions get mapped four to a core.) EVE Online does something similar with its individual star systems, but more dynamically based on traffic in those systems. Certain heavily-trafficked systems, such as Jita and other trade hubs, get dedicated servers; other systems are shared among cluster nodes and "migrated" from node to node for load-balancing. There's even a means in place for alliances planning a major space battle to "reserve" dedicated nodes for the systems where the battle will be fought in advance. And now, they've even tied a second game into that same game world, DUST 514.

Re:MMO development may be (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#43048157)

That's why it's modularized into more or less the components you've described. Each one is developed and managed separately, and communicates amongst each other via established protocols.

MMO's are, for the most part a jack of all trades. They don't usually push the boundaries of existing technology, only use what's available out there. Otherwise, it becomes too complex to handle.

The one area they tend to lead in under your D category (though I somewhat disagree with what you've listed). These are unique challenges to MMO, and that's where existing techniques simply won't cut it. For the record, I agree with object replication, but I'd also put in there distributed computing, specifically geospatial load balancing, and take out security (which is hardly any different from the level of security that any large online ecosystem not produced by Sony would have).

Re:MMO development may be (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#43048329)

You're quite right. Having been both a pro and a hobbyist games and games engine developer, I have lost track of the number of times that I have explained to people, sadface engaged, that their MMO goals are unrealistic. Even MO goals. Or O. Or M.

Finishing a game to completion, any game, is a massive undertaking, and the vast majority of those who try it fail. You have to be delusional to even attempt it, which is why the ledger of successful games developers is replete with visionaries who refused to believe in what can't be done.

As a game developer ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046717)

... I'm biased :)

I'd say the industry is at the top of innovation on some areas (e.g. GPU programming, SIMD programming, and performance-oriented programming in general). BUT on the other hand we're near the bottom for innovation in some other areas like database design, use of modern languages, and architecture vs coding.

That's not to say some games companies don't innovate in those areas, but it's atypical. OTOH, if you want your audio codec or video codec or GPU-based algorithm optimized to within an inch of its life, go talk to a game developer.

(I am biased though as I realized the above early and specialized in optimization.)

Demo scene (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#43046847)

You just gave me a flashback of the demo scene back in the 90s. I was blown away by future crew []

Re:Demo scene (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047513)

Yeah well a lot of old demo coders ended up in the games industry :)

Uknown Worlds Entertainment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046731)

Putting a plug in for Natural Selection 2:

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046769)

Yes, they cured cancer and made life wonderful for everyone. (Sarcasm)

I don't agree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046869)

Look at how Activision butchered the WoW universe lore and arguably its gameplay core ideals to improve sales. Just google for 'Bobby Kotick gaming quotes'. They're happy with any decision as long as it improves revenue, and risky newthink is risky.

Also refer to the myth (!) that companies' foremost responsibility and indeed sole raison d'etre is to make its shareholders richer.

If your idea of innovative is syntactic to 'imaginatively milking existing IP for every available buck' though...

If by innovative you mean... (1)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about a year ago | (#43046879)

...shooting for the worlds longest switch/case statement, you may be onto something.

The biggest ones maybe, but on average, no (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#43046945)

I guess something on the scale of League of Legends probably has something. Games Guild Wars2 have interesting things like being able to hot patch without restarting servers (which is trivial for web servers or even databases, but for systems with persistent connections you need to do a bit of magic...but even then not that much).

But that is still nothing compared to what retail manufacturing (actually having to deal with real physical thing... When you code can break non-standard machines permanently in ways you can't just google for), or finance (some of the big banks are a decade or more ahead in term of data stores and analytics).

Game innovations are generally incremental. New rendering algorithm for this or that, new compression this, new network that. Nothing revolutionary.

Once a game makes a billion dollar out of a single algorithm, wake me up.

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43046999)

1-Add quick-time events

Yes and No? (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year ago | (#43047013)

Isn't it a bit too black and white to say one sector is unequivocally more innovative than the other?

Call Of Duty 8: Kill The Arabs (or whatever money spinning title the publisher is mulching out now) isn't innovative in the same way Half Life (1 or 2), Deus Ex (original!), Doom or Starcraft etc. were, but likewise I don't doubt with modern AAA titles a lot of work goes into the graphics.

Microtransactions are innovative, certainly, but moreso in a psychologically manipulative sort of fashion.

I guess my point is does it have to be one or the other?

Yeah, maybe, when they're not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047019)

...busy making 37 versions of the same fucking game. How many CoD games are there, now?

What a dumb topic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047099)

In the 80's, 90's, and even the first half of the 2000's game companies were huge innovators, even the big ones.

Today, game companies use the Hollywood formula:if a game is successful release sequels 1-3 with minimal changes, then when people finally realize they've been playing the same game but in a different box and get tired of it, make a few changes, put in fresh characters and release it under a new name so people will think they are buying something new.

Actually indie and small studio games still have it, but any big-gaming-company game, with a few exceptions, is just a rehash the previous version, with updated multilayer maps, and 20% more cut-scenes. Hey, if people buy the games then why not, huh?

And I am so sick of 'the cloud' being mentioned as an innovation. Remote storage and remote processing has been available for decades. That's all 'the cloud' is, but on a larger scale.

In a word ... No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047123)

In a word ... No.
I have played video games since there were video games, and most certainly the last decade of games (bar very few) have had no innovation other than graphics, which wears thin quickly.

No (1)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | about a year ago | (#43047157)

Gaming companies as whole have dated client side and server side architectures. The software they write is still stuck in the early 2000's for the most part. Things like distributed, highly available systems are still far beyond there grasp. They have a hatred towards modern languages (C++ EVERYWHERE YO) and tend to have a poor understanding of where, when, and what to optimize. I am sure there are some game companies out there that do push the edge and "get it", but for the most part game studio are some of the most bassackwards part of the industry.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047463)

Yeah, I bet the GTA games are written in JavaScript

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047853)

and tend to have a poor understanding of where, when, and what to optimize

This shows your ignorance. You have never worked at a real game company. I have and currently do. Our smartest and most innovative people are the performance team. You have no idea what optimization is until you've seen them rewrite your supposedly awesome code so that it fits into the L1 cache on the CPU, interleaves I/O to maximize CPU usage while I/O is pending, or out right pushed everything into the GPU so that it can be run parallel on hundreds or thousands of GPU stream processors.

The game industry isn't the only industry that optimizes like crazy, but it is very good at the parts it does optimize.

Re:No (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | about a year ago | (#43048553)

What do you suggest games be written in if not C++? What exactly is a modern language by your definition? The only thing i can think you might mean is some interpreted or managed languages which are definitely not optimized for game development. Perhaps the poor understanding is from yourself and not an entire billion dollar industry?

5-10 year old 'templates' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047171)

Gaming studios have been milking identical game concepts, or 'templates' innovated by companies such as Nintendo and Blizzard several years ago. Creating something completely new requires risks that companies (particularly EA) aren't willing to take. Innovation at most is incremental, in which game features are borrowed from previous games and a very small amount of 'new' is added to make the game competitive.

Not in the slightest (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#43047299)

They're about as innovative as Hollywood is creative. The problem is that all the good gaming studios out there get bought out by one of the 3 large publishers, essentially forced to make yearly installments of whatever IP they created. To compound the problem, they have been targeting consoles rather than PC's, which means the actual hardware and specs in use are 10 years old.

big ones are Innovative in makeing them suck (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43047327)

big ones are Innovative in makeing them suck with loads of crap like DLC, Haveing to buy stuff in game, killing user mods and maps with a big load of DRM.

Same as it ever was (1)

Stuntmonkey (557875) | about a year ago | (#43047409)

For as long as I've been involved with computing (early 1980s), two things have always held true:

1. Gaming has driven the performance envelope in many areas, which then filters down to other applications. For example, GUIs in the late 80s/90s would not have been possible if gaming hadn't pushed graphics technology 5-10 years earlier. More recently, GPUs led the way toward general multi-core processing, and game UIs led to the "tactile" interfaces that are now common on smartphones and tablets. Expect to see more recent gaming innovations like motion controllers and VR technology migrate into non-gaming applications over time.

2. People look down on gaming, and "gaming" machines. The C64 and Amiga were dismissed as "toys" by many, just as today a lot of people dismiss an Xbox 360 or PS3 in the same way. This I think is gradually changing, as people (and companies like Intel and AMD) realize that gaming is where the demand for higher performance is coming from. People only need their spreadsheet to go so fast, but gaming can always make use of more resources (for now at least).

Re:Same as it ever was (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047565)

1. Gaming has driven the performance envelope in many areas, which then filters down to other applications. For example, GUIs in the late 80s/90s would not have been possible if gaming hadn't pushed graphics technology 5-10 years earlier

This is false. GUI's in the '80s and '90s were descendants of the Alto and other work at Xerox PARC in the '70s. Those people weren't particularly hardcore gamers. The hardware graphics technology was improving continuously at places like IBM's Hursley (UK) labs. It wasn't exactly a secret that customers wanted better resolution, more colors/bit depth, and higher frame rates for things like CAD/CAM and scientific visualization, and even for business graphics, along with gaming.

Re:Same as it ever was (1)

Stuntmonkey (557875) | about a year ago | (#43048205)

I'm not saying that gaming led to the ideas behind the GUI; these came from the Alto and elsewhere.

I'm saying that gaming was what drove graphics price/performance to a point where GUI-quality graphics hardware could be present in most PCs. Some market force had to be present to drive the industry toward a $100 graphics card that was GUI-capable. That market force was gaming.

You mention the graphics workstation companies (Apollo, Sun, SGI, NeXT, etc.), but they were not a factor. Yes they had a lot of R&D and high-performance hardware, but they were targeting niche applications (CAD/CAM, imaging, research) where cost was not a factor. Perhaps some of their ideas filtered down, but we would never have seen a $100 graphics card come from these companies; the market forces were not present.

Games companies are more ... incentivized (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047419)

One big AAA failure can sink an entire gaming studio, and everybody loses their jobs.

We had a story on Slashdot 2 weeks ago about how California spent $135 Million on a now-scrapped computer system for the DMV. HP (the contractor) could have hired trained chimps to work on that project and the outcome would have been the same.

In one industry, failure is not sufficiently punished, and sometimes even rewarded. In the other industry, failure means that you are looking for a new job, with a crappy game as the last entry on your resume.

Impossible to tell, impossible to measure (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43047645)

There's no obvious measure of "innovation", so there's no way to say which tech companies are the most "innovative". All the word "most" is is totally pointless speculation.

There are ways in which hardware OEMs are innovative. There are ways that OS vendors are innovative. There are ways that databases are innovative. There are ways that financial software are innovative. There are ways that game companies are innovative. I could keep going with every sector in "tech".

But it doesn't really matter, because "innovation" isn't really what helps users. What helps users is solving their problem, which is sometimes innovative and sometimes mind-numbingly dull. It isn't even what helps tech companies: What helps tech companies is enough hype to get the market's attention combined with solving their users' problems enough to keep the revenue flowing.

Innovation = releasing broken software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047881)

Since I have been gaming (around 22 years now), I have noticed this disturbing trend: Since the inception of streaming data, games are being released before they are debugged. Because why pay someone to check your work when you can get your software installed on millions of machines, and then just send the patches down a couple months after release when your customers REALLY start bitching. So, no, innovation isn't really on my list of thoughts about the gaming industry. It has turned into a money grinder.

If they are the most innovative.... (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about a year ago | (#43048007)

... we are right royally screwed.

Try Defense R&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43048029)

No doubt, video games have pushed hardware a long quite a ways, but defense R&D has pushed technology much further along than this narrow commercial industry.

Two different sides of the same coin (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43048179)

The way I see it is:

1. Games innovate coding techniques a lot of times, algorithms, methods, best practices, etc...
2. Business apps innovate the methodologies, techniques, and things related to saving the business money by streamlining processes, pretty sure MVC came out of this, but MVC is NOT for games by any means. Agile though... :)

MVC and game portability (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43049003)

MVC is NOT for games by any means

How not? To me, the key concept behind model-view-controller is separation of the part of the game engine that handles physics and AI from the part of the game engine that handles graphics. Provided you aren't trying to port to a platform that only has a single language (such as JavaScript for the web, Java for applets and the earliest smartphones, or C# for WP7 and Xbox Live Indie Games), you can remake the same game for different platforms by slapping a new graphics layer on top of your already tested and balanced game.

Re:MVC and game portability (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#43050395)

MVC type 2 (I think thats how the current mainstream version of the MVC pattern is refered to) is a pretty darn specific implementation of a separation of concern.

If you have a presentation layer, a backend layer, and something to mediate between the two, that COULD be MVC, it could be MVP, it could be MVVP, or countless other patterns. And thats just for web and thick clients. In the graphic world you have plenty of other patterns.

Innovation is dangerous (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about a year ago | (#43048945)

When I started working on my game several years ago, I decided to actually *use* the hardware.  As a result, almost nobody could even play it reliably until the last couple years or so.

In other words, I am insane--unlike professional game studios.

If yer curious it's free please please come play my game :-)

No, Porn is... (1)

stretch0611 (603238) | about a year ago | (#43049367)

Believe it or not, I am serious with that answer.

  • Porn was on the front line bringing credit card payments to the web.
  • Its not universal, but they have single sign-on across there brand network.
  • Guess who helped to bring video streaming, and video chat to the web... PORN.
  • They would also love to get a standard for Virtual Reality.
  • Most porn actresses/actor embrace social media.
  • More people in the general public probably heard of Craigslist because of prostitution than any other reason. (not exactly porn, but related.)

Heck the web as a whole grew in no small part due to the existence of porn.

Is there a gaming equivalent to Rule 34? No, Rule 34 relates to internet porn [] .

Looking back even further, porn embraced VHS tapes before major movie studios ever did.

Compared to the games industry which only uses the web to force always on connections even for single player.

Instead of allowing people to play peer-to-peer online force people to join their online community only. (and will turn game servers off forcing your game to be useless.)

The same game industry which only recently and reluctantly allowed downloadable distribution.

Is it even a competition?!?, porn beats the gaming industry easily for embracing technology.

Innovative is another word for 5+ year old tech? (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43049453)

Game studios are NOT innovative. They keep making games based on 5+ year old tech, while the tech world has moved well beyond it. Most PC games are straight ports without anything added to make it better.

Okay, now that we have new consoles, that is supposed to change? For what, 2 years? Then once again, the tech will be beyond what consoles can do, and yet, everything released will be based on the current generation of console tech, no matter how much the tech has moved beyond it.

Yes, I am looking forward to see how games have improved, and yes, I hopefully will have to upgrade parts of my computer for them. Then I'll be good for 5+ years again. And No, I will NOT buy a next generation console, considered a Wii=U, buy honestly, I'll probably just go with a cheap ass OUYO, and maybe check out the Steam Console, but probably not.

Consoles: Ants are the Most Innovative Architects. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43050981)

You fucking twits. Games are being neutered by ridiculously underspec'd hardware on consoles. That's why a side by side comparrison on an 8 year old console looks identical to the PC version -- The assets / polly counts are the fucking same (except shaders and texture res -- because that won't break the game enough to require a whole new batch of logic testing like AI or new meshes would).


Perhaps a FEW basement indie game devs are being innovative. But "Gaming Studios"? -- NO!

To infinity and BEYOND! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43052775)

Call of Duty 1054: ITS SUPER NEW! We Promise

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