In an article he has written on Edge, the General Manager and Vice President of the Hasbro Studios division at EA, Chip Lange, has stated that board games will never be replaced by digital entertainment and his group has no intention of trying. Instead, they’re focused on using the electronic games medium to represent classic games from the Hasbro library in ways that boards, pawns and dice can’t replicate on their own.
He claims that his company is approaching the development of these adaptations in fundamentally different ways. Typically, a board game that makes the transition to the digital space is designed to be released on every available platform.
“Unfortunately, that forces you to develop to the least common denominator. You can’t take advantage of the specifics that each of these different platforms brings, whether it be the social mechanics of a Facebook application or the next-gen graphical applications of the PS3 or the mobility of a cell phone.”
Ultimately, Lange views the projects that Hasbro Studios is working on as part of a partnership relationship between the electronic games and their board counterparts. His expectation is that sales of one will help to drive sales of the other. “I genuinely believe that just about everybody who buys one of our products will have these board games in their closet,” he says.
No, board games will never be replaced by videogames. People have been playing them for thousands of years. They’re almost as old as written language itself and have survived just fine for all of this time. Part of it is the inherent social value of the games, families and friends gathering together to enjoy each other’s company. And, just as text on a screen will never replace the experience of actually holding a book in your hands to read it, no videogame can replicate the visceral feel of picking up a piece, looking your opponent straight in the eye and saying, “Checkmate.”