I’ve never been a big video game guy. Back when I played at all, games like Defender and Ms. Pac-Man were the big thing. Nonetheless, I’ve read a number of articles lately that make the point that video games have become incredibly immersive and realistic, in some cases creating a second reality for players. Here’s one such article expressing the concern that young men are so devoted to video games that they are not getting work and building future careers.
I have mentioned in previous writings my observation that part of what is lowering the attendance of live music shows (and thus musicians’ paychecks) is the competition from computer screens: apps, social media, games, etc. As video games get better and more immersive (especially via virtual reality technology) I have to wonder whether interest in live music will continue to drop.
But what if video games are part of the solution to this problem? In many video games a lot of the fun is wandering around and exploring the strange reality of the game. Will technology develop to allow musicians to perform in these game worlds? By this I mean could disparate musicians, separated by location, plug their instruments into their computer and perform together in the world of a video game?
This kind of Internet jamming has happened before though it’s certainly not ubiquitous. I think latency (the slight delays that occur when electronic signals are sent over distances) would be a problem at first. To some degree, this could be solved by building a certain time delay into performances. But there would doubtless be additional technical challenges.
That said, it’s an intriguing premise. I could see band members using avatars to present themselves in the world of a video game. Imagine watching a band of three headed aliens, or a group made up of famous musicians. (Bach jamming with Hendrix?!) Or perhaps musicians could “inhabit” avatars of Josie and the Pussycats or Alvin and the Chipmunks.