I've heard a lot of commotion recently over Capcom's refusal to pay dues for the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences in order to be nominated for their annual game awards, and much of the defense of the AIAS's policy stems from the fact that it modeled its awards after the Oscars. While many will say the games industry needs to stop actively mimicking the film industry, I don't think we should be fighting to avoid becoming similar to it.
I was watching an old clip from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and it got me thinking: the games industry will most likely reach a point where it has guests on talk shows just like that, and not just guests on G4TV or Spike. "Wait!", you may shout. "The games industry has its own character. There's no fair argument why we'll become like another very different entertainment medium!" Well, you raise a good point. Thank you. However, keep in mind that our industry going more mainstream will have some effects to that end. Sure, we have a very different culture right now, possibly stemming from the fact that talent in the industry never goes in front of a camera to entertain. Our creative minds are mostly writers and designers, not actors and charismatic personalities. I think this will change a bit, though.
We haven't seen this happen with other non-camera media like books and graphic novels, but I don't think they have quite the cross-media saturation that games have begun to. I think, ultimately, we'll fall somewhere in between their situation and that of film. We may not have tons of talent cross over between TV, music, and film, since those three are much more likely to share talent pools, but we'll definitely get more mass-media, pop saturation. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the more interesting game figures (see David Jaffe) show up on Letterman soon...well, maybe Conan O'Brien first.
I think games will be able to maintain their unique culture, and definitely a certain dorkiness from their roots, but we'll probably start to see major figures button up a bit more and start to give a more "grown up" appearance. We're no longer just a group of kids with a fascination with Japan, we're a mass-media entity. Like someone pointed out recently, not too long from now, the President of the United States will have grown up with video games. Until then, get classy, gamers.