Tom Chatfield makes some interesting points about the maturation of digital entertainment in a recent article anticipating the new World of Warcraft expansion: Cataclysm.
Nostalgia and novelty have long been the two most significant forces driving interactive entertainment–and they have always tended to pull us in two different directions. Today, though, within places like World of Warcraft, they are increasingly powerfully aligned. And this inherently conservative force is already having major consequences for just for the games industry, but for digital culture at large. We play games because their miniature worlds are places where everything makes sense: where effort brings rewards, where neither we nor the place ever grows old. The little Eden of Azeroth may be about to be transformed, but in an important sense it will always also remain the same. We should be both grateful for this, and--if we believe that change and innovation are the lifeblood of the web–a little afraid as well.