x.jpg The other day, I received a bit of an unfortunate pitch from the folks at GarageGames' game social networking site Great Games Experiment - unfortunate because it included as its centerpiece a reference to Wagner James Au's latest GigaOm editorial, called 'Game Business and its Crisis of Attention', as an attempt to show how 'stagnant' the game biz is.

Actually, I respect what GGX is doing to try to unite gamers and developers, a lot. But regular GSW readers may remember that I've gone on a few Au hunts before, as his relentlessly negative posturing metaphorically flags down the game media, the mainstream game biz, and pretty much anything not Second Life-related, and riddles it full of rhetorical holes. So the email sent me off deep into the Au zone.

Then again, there's a lot in the piece I agree with. The broadening of the game market into the casual mass-market, 'few minutes a day' players and onto web browser-playable games is an absolutely key trend. But it's the 'glass half empty', Au-trocious commentary like this that drives me crazy - apparently 'the game industry' will "...keep ignoring non-traditional gamers, Web 2.0, and the user-created revolution, assuming like Hollywood that their core product has enough global appeal to get them through the latest media revolution." So business as usual, just like EA just announced, then.

And furthermore, no - because Kongregate (whose Jim Greer posts in the comments) is the game industry too. And all the veterans setting up neat indie studios for digitally distributed games are part of the game industry. And besides, which, with the Hollywood comparisons - hello, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Spider-Man, ka-ching? There's room in here for a few blockbusters too - alongside a welcome widening of the market and (hopefully!) bigger opportunities for the little guy.

Also delighted to note that Next-Gen's Colin Campbell weighs in with some salient points on his blog: "Monday morning quarterbacking at its best can be seen in his assertion that EA’s slowness in grasping Wii’s importance is prima facie evidence of an industry unable to grasp innovation. Nothing to do then, with Nintendo’s previously piss-poor performance as a third party revenue generator."

So yeah - it's partly Au's nihilism that gets me down, but it's partly a resolute lack of constructive criticism - currently in its sixth glorious year. If you can't be excited for the future of games in ALL forms, from social environment Flash crossovers to big-budget Xbox 360 shooters (and it's clear that even the 'big' companies will adapt to add all of these to their portfolios), then - ack, just don't say anything at all.