Silicon Insider: Video Gaming

GameBoy Advance makes up 25 percent of all gaming sales.

These are the kinds of numbers once associated with Laugh-In, Sgt. Pepper's, Schwinn Stingrays and Beach Blanket Bingo. What we are talking about here is the raw material of the Zeitgeist of 2015.

By 2015, the Boomers will be in retirement villages or awaiting their gold watches. The poor, benighted X-Gens, now middle-aged and still unhappy, will be trying and failing one last time to get everyone to be nostalgic for slackerhood, ecstasy and Kurt Cobain. And the Gamer Generation will be dancing in the wings for their moment in the cultural limelight.

They will arrive with TV shows and movies about LAN parties and Castle Wolfenstein and The Legend of Zelda. There will be fads for old Nintendo and Atari games, including Golden Oldie game sites on the Web — the Internet itself having transformed into a movie/TV/global gaming site. And parents will bore their kids with long recitations of top scores in Half-Life and Madden NFL — even as the kids watch their favorite Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons.

Old GameBoy Advance machines will command thousands on eBay, especially if it bears the autograph of one of its designers. Bars and restaurants will take on the motifs of video game arcades. Art film theaters (if they still exist) will hold Dragonball Z festivals, even as it is turned into a big budget, live action Hollywood film. And each night, 50 million people from around the world will compete for fame and fortune in a single global online game.

Sound nuts? Ever think you would tune in to a television series called American Chopper? Or watch this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees on the evening news? Or make Elvis' "That's Alright Mama" No. 1 again in 2004?

Michael S. Malone, once called “the Boswell of Silicon Valley,” most recently was editor-at-large of Forbes ASAP magazine. His work as the nation’s first daily high-tech reporter at the San Jose Mercury-News sparked the writing of his critically acclaimed The Big Score: The Billion Dollar Story of Silicon Valley, which went on to become a public TV series. He has written several other highly praised business books and a novel about Silicon Valley, where he was raised.

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