July 8, 2016—Video games have been an existing and growing component of popular culture for my entire life. I literally cut my teeth on the Atari 2600 while I was still a toddler. From there I spread into bowling alley arcades, Nintendo, PC Games, Playstation, Nintendo 64, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, and Playstation 4. Over that time, the gaming industry grew in popularity, volume, and innovation.
Over the past several years and over the following few years, there have been and are likely to be significant new developments that are going to expand the gaming industry even further. Simply put, its an exciting time to be alive for a “gamer.” So called eSports appear to be gaining a significant foothold such that they will be regularly broadcast on TBS on Friday nights. Vegas is “looking to video games” to bring in a new crowd of gamblers. And it appears that hardware and software capabilities are almost finally to the point where VR games are something people will actually want to play.
The rise of the games is also an exciting time for the legal profession. Each of these new avenues of gaming promise to provide new and interesting legal issues. For example, top gaming talent is likely to end up working with agents similar to sports stars. The gambling angle is likely to raise tricky legal issues regarding whether the games are “games of skill” or “games of chance.” And one can only start to imagine the issues that will begin to arise in an entirely virtual world. (“Virtual infringement,” anyone?)
Being both a gamer and an attorney, I’m excited for the possibilities, and I’d love to hear from any readers with thoughts on what they think the future may hold.