Welcome to the second half of my top ten list of the most seismic events in the media landscape over the last year.
With this device Apple has once again changed the landscape by not only taking an existing device and making it what it should be, but more importantly, redefining what it can do. While it may not change the rules of the game in the same way that iPod did, it’s definitely proven that a web-enabled integrated media gadget is something that consumers not only want, but are willing to pay for. And once again, everyone else is reduced to being compared to Apple.
2. The Writers’ Strike
At this point there’s no way to know how long this is going to last, or what the full impact is going to be. But as we reach the end of the year, and the original content begins to dry up, it’s becoming clear that the post-strike world is going to be different than what came before. Even before it began the days of the limited distribution monopoly were coming to an end. Now an audience that was already moving off of the tube and onto the web is now going to be migrating even faster. And with developers beginning to discover how they can monetize web content, there’s no reason that writers won’t start to look for bigger and better deals in a new media marketplace.
While MySpace pioneered the idea of using a web community as a content marketing mechanism, FaceBook has taken it to the next level by offering up an API that lets developers and users build content that’s available through their viral portal. It’s not always pretty, or intuitive, but applications like Scrabulous are proving that it’s an idea that works. And the fact that their competition have gathered together to create an open API of their own means that it’s important, even if they had some privacy issues.
The film that started 2007 out with a clang. This linear media mashup managed to encapsulate the current zeitgeist from the political to the technological. With scenes ripped straight from the comic book that spawned it, 300 features a casat of impossibly sculpted actors fighting virtual monsters inside insane digital environments with camera effects ripped straight out of a video game, All set in an ancient Persia that never was. While the story itself may be a little simplistic, there hasn’t been a film that’s landed with this much of an impact since the original Matrix.
Although most videogames may seem stuck in the silent era when it comes to telling a solid story, this game managed to break free from the pack by taking the player to an under-sea paradise that has fallen to ruin, and then building metaphors onto the metaphor. From the moment they enter this world, it is up to the player to uncover the narrative of corruption and violence that turned a Randian dream into an objectavist nightmare, and fight the monsters it spawned. Combining a free roaming environment with a carefully layered narrative, Bioshock has raised the bar for the kinds of stories that can be told through a video game.