Entertainment Convergence. I just saw the Max Payne commercial for the hundredth time and something hit me: videogames and movies are amidst a strong convergence. It's not the first time I've thought about this or anyone's thought about this, but the commercial was another indication of my growing belief.

The spot has the typical action shots of the movie but what was unique was all the intangibles. The voice-over was a typical movie voice. It was the same baritone man with a raspy voice saying phrases like, "Max Payne is a man without a conscious on a mission against evil. Follow his adventures as he uncovers the twisted plot of the street slime." The only difference between this and a movie ad is that they also threw in some of the technical features. Aside from the voice-over they focused on the narrative of the game more than usual. It was about Max Payne and his mission, not about the number of pixels or the variety of bad guys.

I have a belief that video games and movies will become one at some point in my lifetime. I don't mean to imply that there won't be your typical movies and your typical games, but there will be a new genre of narrative games entering arenas and theaters. You'll go in to watch professional players play the game and follow the story as they play. What makes this interesting is that everytime you go you may have a different experience since everyone has their own playing style, which is something studios will love because people are likely to go multiple times. After you've watched the game played for a few months it will be released six months after that, just as videos are, and the demand will be even higher because they'll be more time for people to build up excitement and anticipation.

I also think that we'll be watching regular games as well, but I won't go into it because this post is already long enough. Just keep track of how many movies are being made from videogames (Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, etc.) and how many videogames are focusing more on narrative and becoming increasingly cinematic (Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy). Oh, and GTA3 is a great example because even though it is a blast to run around killing prostitutes and blowing up cars, creating a storyline keeps you playing and interested for a lot longer. So just keep paying attention.