The Launch of PitchVision's Batting Simulator - the "Batting Studio" - at mainstream entertainment venue Bloomsbury Lanes in London has brought the future of the game into the spotlight.
The arcade-style batting lane, where anyone can face up to virtual bowlers and compete with friends, seems tiny compared to the behemoth "real" Test, ODI and T20 games. However, that doesn't detract from the wider implications, especially as this lane is the first of many worldwide.
What are those implications?
The world is changing faster than ever. Instant gratification is available with entertainment piped to you in ever faster ways. If you want to play a game you only have to reach into your pocket for your phone. If you feel like a movie or TV show you can stream it over your broadband connection. If you want to head out for the evening, the entertainment choices are staggeringly wide and relatively cheaper than ever.
Cricket responded to this flood with Twenty20. The IPL took it up another notch, turning the 3 hour game into whirlwind of celebrity, drama and hype. Alongside this, T20 changed the longer formats, with faster run rates, better fielding and more canny bowlers. The crash-bang-now culture is a long way from Test cricket's 5 days of glacial pace.
But it is the reality of most people nowadays.
The natural extension for cricket as entertainment (because that's what cricket is) boils it down even further than Twenty20 and into an arcade game played in real life.
We launched the Batting Studio last Friday night, and the reaction amongst the media, the boys from Ealing Cricket Club, the lads from nearby offices and university, and many of the girls and women there was remarkably similar: They were all engaged with game, engaged with the feeling of bat on ball, beating the field and scoring the most runs.
They were engaged with the game we love.
It's not "serious" cricket. No one is a professional player, the games are not televised to audiences of millions, and the pride of countries is not at stake. It is fun, realistic, and easy for everyone to play. Your own pride is at stake when you take on your friends.
And of course, it takes the fraction of time it takes to watch an IPL game.
What these simulators will do, as they spread throughout the world, is put cricket in the face of people who never gave the game more than a sideways glance. Each revolution in format brings more people to the game. It started with one day cricket, continued with Twenty20 and the IPL and will be boosted again by the technology that goes into simulating the game at breakneck speed.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to live in a world where cricket simulators are as much a part of the entertainment landscape as PlayStations and bowling alleys. It will drive more people into loving cricket. With the modern world based more and more on high-speed technology, simulation was only a matter of time. With the PitchVision-based technology on show at the Bloomsbury Lanes, that possibility has become a reality.
If you want to experience the Batting Studio for yourself, you can book in at Bloomsbury Lanes 10-pin by calling +44 (0) 20 7183 1979. Bloomsbury lanes is located at Lower Level, Tavistock Hotel, Bedford Way, London WC1H 9EU