The 1983 Atari 2600 created crash of the video game industry was good for the nascent entertainment genre because it allowed companies to create better business models and also promote the PC to its prominent role in gaming.
Richard Hilleman, the chief creative director at Electronic Arts
, told Gamasustra that “The 2600 crash, from my perspective, was a good example of creative destruction, and anybody who's spent any time reading about Atari at that time recognizes that they needed some creative destruction; they clearly were not the right custodians of a great new business.”
The executive believes that the crash was instrumental in creating the current video game retail business model, which focuses on lean stores and in answering consumer demand rather than stocking too many titles that could become dead ballast.
He added that the crash has “left a hole, and the hole got filled by computer games, and those computer games were really different in form. 2600 games were, almost without exception - maybe Star Raiders being the sole exception - they were essentially 90 second arcade experiences.
“There was no changing of the form; there was no changing of the granularity, no changing of the expectations.”
The domination of the PC over the gaming space was linked to the fact that they could write on local media and created a space for piracy, which allowed for the rapid increase in popularity for video games that took place in the late ‘80’s.
Some industry watchers believe that the industry is heading for another crash at the moment, because the current home consoles are unable to compete with the PC in terms of graphics quality and features. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft
will all see heavy losses on their upcoming home consoles and at least one of the major players will be forced to follow SEGA’s example and remain involved only with video game publishing.