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What does 'video game' mean, anyway? Social network games like "Pet Society" and "FarmVille" continue to attract tens of millions of players.

What does 'video game' mean, anyway?

Fans look toward mobile, online and on-demand gaming experiences Social network games continue to attract tens of millions of players Video games can't all be lumped into the same single grouping any more Editor's note: Scott Steinberg is the head of technology and video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global as well as the founder of GameExec magazine and Game Industry TV. The creator and host of online video series Game Theory, he frequently appears as an on-air technology analyst for ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CNN.

(CNN) -- From plummeting sales to a shift to social networks, critics love to endlessly debate what ails the gaming business. But ironically, the biggest problem of all may be that there is no singular "games industry" to speak of anymore, and that the term "video game" itself is hopelessly outdated. "Anyone who thinks that they're deeply entrenched ... is fooling themselves. " Are video games the next great art form? - Nonfiction - Video games have come a very long way since the 1980s, when we were all still blowing into our Super Mario Brothers cartridges and admiring the graphics in Metroid.

Are video games the next great art form? - Nonfiction -

Over the past three decades, they’ve gone from a geeky and often-ridiculed kid-centric pastime to a cultural juggernaut with a massive adult consumer base. The average gamer is now 30, and the gender ratio is approaching equilibrium (the male-female ratio is roughly 60-40). Video games are now the most consumed medium ever, with annual sales topping $20 billion. But it’s not just the audience that’s changed. As Tom Bissell, a journalist, former Salon writer and lifelong gamer, explains in his new book, “Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter,” the graphics, storytelling and interactivity of gaming have all made tremendous leaps forward in recent years, allowing players to intermingle with nuanced, fleshed-out digital characters in near-photo-realistic environments. He based his argument on footage of the games in question.

Okay, kids, play on my lawn. I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place.

Okay, kids, play on my lawn

I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn't seen. Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so. Some opinions are best kept to yourself. At this moment, 4,547 comments have rained down upon me for that blog entry. If you assume I received a lot of cretinous comments from gamers, you would be wrong. I should not have written that entry without being more familiar with the actual experience of video games.

This is inarguable. In my actual experience, I have played "Cosmology of Kyoto," which I enormously enjoyed, and "Myst," for which I lacked the patience. Gamers tried to make it easy for me. I stalled. Actually, I did know. My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds. I was accused of not responding in detail to the arguments against me. Well, yes, that is what I think.

They had me there.


The Most Impressive Thing I Saw At E3, News from GamePro.