At a recent conference in Jerusalem, a noted American video entertainment company head reviewed the future potential for Israeli success in the development and marketing of a new generation of video gaming, now a world-wide $25 billion business. Speaking before a group of more than 200 young software company representatives, Jesse Sutton, CEO of the New Jersey based Majesco Entertainment Co. said that a new generation of home video games will change the entire market, by making them more attractive to virtually all people “from 8 to 80”, and not just a limited group of mostly young male ‘game jockeys’.

Sutton, an Orthodox Jew living in the Flatbush district of Brooklyn, said that Israel is already a leader in software design products for internet security, biotech, and medical devices; and that programmers and other computer professionals are “overflowing with creativity”. The seminar, organized by the Israel branch of International Game Developers Association in conjunction with Jerusalem Joint Venture Partners, invited Sutton, whose company sells video game products playable on most popular gaming devices, including Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and GameCube, Sony’s Play Station 2, and Microsoft’s Xbox.

Sutton’s company being publicly traded, has sometimes resulted in his having to consult religious authorities concerning the ‘content’ of some gaming programs to exclude those with too much sex or violence. “Being Orthodox, I have my limits” he added.

FuntactixMaking the games more ‘virtual’ and easier to play will entice a much larger user audiences, Yaron Laitenberg of the Funtactix company added, citing the example of improved resolution, game details and artificial intelligence which will make game players feel that they are actually in a movie. Games will be used more by people in all types of settings, including using hand-held devices and cell phones while waiting for office appointments, public transport, and other settings; playing with other people all over the world, via the internet.

Game sales in the USA have already surpassed sales of cinema tickets, due to new game programs and user possibilities. Ilan Grazier, Laitenberg’s partner at Funtactix, added that games will become a “new social experience”.

The Jerusalem Joint Venture Partners have already set up a computerized animation company which now has over 105,000 ‘free’ subscribers world-wide and 10,000 paying members.

Ease of playing and playing instruction are two very important factors, the participants added, as games will have to be able to be played with one thumb and without an instruction manual, and not requiring deep thinking. “Even political leaders will be able to enjoy using these game programs”, they added jokingly.