Twenty-five years ago today, Photics.com was created. In human years, that’s a long time! Back in 1998, the Space Shuttle was still in active service. The first iMac launched in 1998, with that iconic Bondi Blue color. The first Matrix movie would launch the following summer. It would be two years until the launch of the Xbox in 2001. Prince was still alive and getting ready to party like it was 1999.
A lot has changed since then, yet the world seems less fun. A perfect example is Baseball. The New York Yankees won the World Series in 1998, 1999, and 2000… but the year after that was 9/11. I remember wanting to be an airline pilot in the early 1990s. Today, I can relate to the catch phrase from Mr. T, “I ain’t gettin’ on no plane!” Flying today is not really an enjoyable experience.
And while the early days of the Internet were filled with wonder and excitement, there would be the dot-com bubble burst. Photics survived that… and then the great recession. Yet, there are battle scars on the Internet. Today’s websites are filled with cookie warnings and a general feeling of constant surveillance. And with the prevalence of social media, the Internet actually feels less social.
Such sites also consolidated Internet traffic. Google was also formed in 1998, which is currently the most visited website. YouTube (acquired by Google in 2006) is the number two website. As the top websites gained in popularity, independent websites like Photics became less relevant. Why visit a blog when there are so many high quality videos on YouTube?
Originally, Photics was created as an alternative to the monotony of a day job. Photics was something fun to do, but there was also the idea of making the website a full-time job. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear in exactly which area. The starting idea was a Staten Island Arts and Entertainment magazine. That didn’t work out.
That’s when the website switched to video games… which eventually lead to app development. There was some success with the App Store gold rush, but it still wasn’t quite what was envisioned. Looking back, like an insightful Christmas movie, what if Photics never existed? What if I simply invested in Apple stock or farmed Bitcoin/Dogecoin?
Well, the inspiration to start Photics wasn’t to hack reality with an infinite money glitch. It was to feed the need to create. That hunger still exists. Making money is a part of it, as that shows what people like. That’s a benefit of Capitalism. Entrepreneurs take risks and explore new ideas. If those ideas are good, people will spend money on that. I’m not saying the system works perfectly all the time, but that’s the general idea.
With the launch of Photics.TV on YouTube, there’s a growing community. It’s nice! Instead of focusing on a single topic, tech variety was chosen. With such a wide range of potential topics, the channel can stay entertaining and interesting. The point of Photics.TV was to promote Photics.com products. But when this article was created, there were no active Photics products.
So, what’s next for this website? 🤔
In the short-term, it’s probably going to be a focus on eBooks. The two biggest Photics successes are The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook and A Book About Hype. Currently the latter is being prepared for relaunch on Lulu — but as an ePub. Hopefully that works out.
Since that’s just a minor update to the book, the big question is, “What’s the next book?” There are lots of possibilities. The other reality is that Photics is a testing ground. A lot of skills were learned over the years. That helps a lot in creating educational books. If the ebook idea works out, perhaps the original Photics book should return. Revisions has undergone many revisions over the years.
When playing a video game, do you remember the score and the number of coins collected, or do you better remember the experience? If that’s the measure of success, Photics has been amazing. The idea of 1,500,000+ views through Photics.TV would have been astonishing back in 1998. The idea that people could read Photics books, from a device that could fit in a pants pocket, would be amazing. Seeing modern video games, from 25 years ago, would be quite the shock. But even more surprising is the explanation that future Mike can code. The tools to create these games are accessible to nearly everyone.
Will Photics be around 25 years from now? If so, what wonders will be accomplished?