The good, the bad, and the hope for a better tomorrow; all these are wrapped up in this week.
First, the bad. The XBox 360 turned 4. I'm not questioning the status of the 360 as the Ultimate Console Force in the Universe. I'm merely pointing out that, after four years, Microsoft still has issues ensuring the 360 remains Fully Operational, which in turn has left their XBox empire Vulnerable to Sony and Nintendo. Those of you reading this will likely fall into one of two camps: "Wow, fours years and no red ring of death yet!" or "Aargh! Four years and two 360s later, maybe this one will work." Sadly, for all the awesome brought to us by Halo, Assassin's Creed, and Madden, the 360 may always be remembered as much for its hardware issues as its gaming successes. And that's the bad side of the 360's birthday.
On the good side, we have the 5 year anniversary of World of Warcraft. The giant empire that sucked away the spare time of much of the free world has only been around for five years. Really, only five. Meanwhile, the origins of the Warcraft franchise are 15 years old. While I would love to join the masses celebrating a long Thanksgiving holiday with twenty hour marathon sessions in Azeroth... my internet connection at my current address makes WoW totally unplayable. I might have to stick with Orcs and Humans. And I'm ok with that.
And as for the hopes of a better tomorrow: Black Friday, meet the recessed gaming industry. Across the country, studios are showing a reluctance to hire. It is an understandable reluctance. Until we know for sure that the economy has stabilized and that the average consumer will open the wallet for a $50 title, development studios have to play conservatively. This holiday season is the perfect opportunity for consumers to provide that encouragement to the gaming industry.
So this weekend, do your part for the global economic recovery. Buy lots and lots of video games thus encouraging studios to invest in new workers, driving down unemployment and providing enjoyment and entertainment for all. Remember, only you can spark the gaming industry!