And if it isn't the last cycle, it's certainly the next-to-last. As Internet
technology, computer processing speed and storage capacity continue the onward march to ubiquitous connectivity, soon there will be no need for CDs, DVDs, video-game consoles, etc.
However, advancement means intellectual property will become increasingly difficult to protect, which is a bad thing for the music and movie industries--but not for video games.
future of publishing is a real-time environment, since business cannot easily steal and distribute the "now." This is great for game publishers, which will be able to construct a game engine, keep it
running round the clock on an Intranet, and charge a subscription fee to use it. There are no manufacturing and packaging costs; games just keep giving back.
But writing and publishing games for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 is terribly expensive, and the profit margins are razor-thin. The hardware monopoly wielded by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo becomes irrelevant when you can play an unstealable real-time game on the family PC over the net. Games like "World of Warcraft," a massively multiplayer game that has done $1 billion in sales, are the future for the video game industry. And it looks bright.