Ian Bogost has an interesting editorial over at Edge Online entitled 'The End of Gamers,' a title which he admits doesn't really capture the main argument: "["The End of Gamers"]is lurid but might not capture the main argument of the piece, which is more like "Things People Do with Games". Much of his point is that other media has a wide variety of applications, and isn't shoehorned into a few limited types of uses ('entertainment' vs. 'serious' and so on). Bogost isn't arguing for 'games as art' or 'games as useful' or anything else, just pointing out that some perceptions about the industry start to break down when one considers the wide range of applications current games can have:
When we acknowledge videogames as a medium, the notion of a monolithic games industry, which creates a few kinds of games for a few kinds of players, stops making any sense. As does the idea of a demographic category called "gamers" who are the ones who play these games.
The point is not whether games qualify as art or not. Nor whether games are useful tools or not. Rather, the point is that there are lots of other things people can and do accomplish with videogames. Some are well-established, like entertainment, and some are emerging, like meditation. No matter, all of those uses taken together make the medium stronger and give it greater longevity.
I'd quibble with some of his assertions on books (We don't distinguish between 'serious' and 'entertaining' books? C'mon Ian, you can't possibly believe that — and if you do, I've got a couple of bookshelves I'd like you to see), but it's an interesting essay on the wide and varied uses of games — and what that may mean for the industry.