This shift, though more dramatic with Activision, follows an industry trend with other large game makers, like Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive, which have both seen consistent boosts to sales over the Internet in recent quarters. These companies are beginning to see success in the games industry as less a matter of selling the most units and more a question of how to get gamers to play a single game for longer — and spending real money in the virtual worlds as well.
Source: Activision Blizzard realizing future of video games as online services – CNET
The future for the gaming space, I’d say, is user-generated content (UGC) served up within a platform.
For RPGs or strategy games – whatever – the thing that will light up the space is when gamers themselves can develop content for their favorite games and then have that content be gamified in a marketplace.
So if our friends want to get together and play whatever, but we’ve already done all the content, we go online and find the best UGC (based on ratings) and play that.
Plus, people will basically become content generators just as there are full-time game commenters and reviewers, and they’ll be known for making the best stuff. Their content will be almost as anticipated as the games themselves.
That’s the key: get the users to keep the content evergreen.