Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Announced the Juno Game?



I was invited to speak at the DICE Summit 08. I never spoke at DICE before and I was excited by the invitation. The conference is for game people, and you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who invented an amazing game. My panel was a free form, intentionally raucous debate inspired by the movie fight club. The other side of my debate was a really smart guy by the name of Mitch Lasky. Mitch was a very senior guy at both Activision and EA and was the founder and CEO of Jamdat Mobile. In other words, lots of success. We talked about consolidation, the world heard the announcement of the Juno Game.

After the jump is the tragic email chain with Tor Thorsen the writer who wrote the Gamespot piece that started it all, but was not at the talk.




-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Boesky [mailto:keith@boesky.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 11:21 PM
To: Tor Thorsen
Subject: Juno

Tor,

I did not say that a Juno game is in development. I have never even seen the movie. The reference to Juno was made when I analogized a low budget, small game breaking out and being a hit to examples from the film business like Juno. Kelly then said he never heard of it
and I said it is a successful film. Then I referenced My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Blair Witch as other examples.

Keith
_________________________

Boesky & Company



www.boesky.com


On Feb 7, 2008, at 8:23 AM, "Tor Thorsen"
wrote:

Hey Keith,

Well, the quote I have in the notes is "People are making a game basedon Juno to cater to this [casual] market" when you responded to
Min's claims that Nexon's games were driving the casual market. You replied that that's not the case, as games are being made just to cater to said market, and gave the upcoming juno game as an example.

The rumor is that Fox Searchlight, Crave Entertainment and 7 Studios are working on a juno game a la the Napoleon Dynamite game, and I
took this as public confirmation of the project. We videotaped the session so I can go reference the videotape, if you'd like.

Cheers _ TOR

Tor Thorsen
Senior News Editor | GameSpot


CNET Networks | ENTERTAINMENT
GameSpot | TV.com | MP3.com
235 Second Street | San Francisco, CA 94105

-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Boesky [mailto:Keith@Boesky.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 9:10 AM
To: Tor Thorsen
Subject: Re: Juno

Please go back to the tape. That is absolutely not what I said and now it is spread across the web and attributed to me. Not cool.

-----------------

Boesky & Company


-----Original Message-----
From: Tor Thorsen
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 9:22 AM
To: 'Keith Boesky'
Subject: RE: Juno

Well the last thing I'd ever want to do is attribute something to you which was inaccurate, so I'll go dig up the tape. However, the reporter we had on the scene took very thorough notes and_insists_ that's what you said, and he's never been wrong before, so I don't really see how there could've been any confusion.

On Feb 7, 2008, at 9:56 AM, "Tor Thorsen"
wrote:

Hey Keith,

So this day gets better and better: So apparently the videographer on hand was simply filming "highlights" and didn't have the tape running the whole time, so there's no footage of the disputed section. However, my reporter is adamant the quote is accurate and has notes detailing the context to pretty thorough degree. (His name didn't get put on the byline because I wrote the story body and the byline was auto-generated by our content tool.)

To give you a public forum for your grievance and to make sure its seen by people currently linking to the article, I am going to adjust the article. I'll give it a more speculative tone and update it with your strident denial that you revealed a juno game was coming to market.
That way, people will know that you've publically distanced yourself from the quote and are insisting it was taken out of context.

In addition, our of professional courtesy, I'll remove your name from the dek so it won't be as prominently featured and will reference the aforementioned rumors about the Crave/7 Studios project. Would that be to your satisfaction?

-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Boesky [mailto:Keith@Boesky.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 10:14 AM
To: Tor Thorsen
Subject: Re: Juno

I don't want a denial issued. I want an accurate statement. Your position is very irresponsible in light of a statement made in front of 200 people.

-----------------

Boesky & Company


On Feb 7, 2008, at 10:33 AM, "Tor Thorsen" wrote:

All right, well to defuse the situation I was going to change the story to the following--let me know if that's satisfactory.

Now, it appears that Fox Searchlight Pictures, the studio behind Juno might be set to earn even more revenue from the film.
Today during the opening session of the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las
Vegas, former Eidos Interactive president and current intellectual-property migration specialist Keith Boesky made comments
which GameSpot interpreted as indicating that a casual game based on the film is in development.

[UPDATE] Later, though, Boesky clarified his comments, saying, "The reference to Juno was made when I analogized a low-budget, small game
breaking out and being a hit to examples from the film business like Juno."

Would that be to your satisfaction?


Mitch and I went back and forth for an hour on the realities of consolidation in a world where innovation happens on the edges. Guitar Hero, Bioshock, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot all originated from independent studios. Now they are part of consolidated companies and are blessed with sequel after sequel. I can talk about this a lot, and much to the dismay of those around me, I often do. I though the people in the audience cared about this, and from the questions we received, it appeared they really did. However, the reporter taking the notes which were then relayed to the Gamespot reporter who wrote a blog piece, really felt this discussion was insignificant. The important part was the announcement of the Juno game. The funny thing is, I never announced it. I have not even seen the movie.

Maybe this is a commentary on the blogosphere, maybe this is a commentary on poor, irresponsible reporting, whatever it is, I have to vent. At the end of two hours of discussion which included Minho Kim of Nexon, publishers of Maple Story, and industry veteran Kelly Flock, I mentioned how great it was that XboxLive, Sony Network and the emerging casual game market provides a platform for smaller games that can be built quickly and inexpensively, and can find an audience. I suggested that much like the movie Juno, which was low budget, but made over 100 million dollars, small games can break out. Kelly asked what Juno was, so I also mentioned, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Blair Witch. The four other panelists thought it made sense, as did the 200 people in the audience. I am sorry, make that 199 people in the audience. The reporter felt something different.

I got back to my room at midnight and saw a google alert indicating that Gamespot reported my announcement of a Juno game. There were 4 other links as well. All making fun of the idea. I never announced a Juno game. So I wrote to Tor Thorsen, the reporter who wrote the story and got a series of responses that are too amazing to describe, so I will just put them in here. It turns out Tor was not there. He was working off of someone else's notes. Even though the event was video taped, even though there were 200 people who disagreed with him, he would not change the story to be accurate.

As a result, and at last count by google search, there are 443 web sites citing me for my announcement of the Juno game. Moreover, in some kind of evolutionary game of telephone (chinese phone tag for you brits) I have been given a title and had it convoluted and denigrated. Gamespot anointed me an intellectual property migration specialist, their words not mine, other sites called me a marketing specialist, kind of nice not true. All in all, it is kind of a pisser that someone can't plant a meme like this watch it spread like wildfire. Of course, the analogy breaks down when we consider that wild fires can be put out.



1 comment:

thorsen1nk said...

Hey Keith,

Finally got around to reading this and say I am impressed with your Bill O'Reilly-esque method on twisting the fact to suit your own self-serving narrative. After dropping everything I was doing during a jam-packed session at DICE to deal with this. I did, in fact, change the article to say that we misinterpreted your statement, and then posted the quote you asked us to.

"[UPDATE] Now, it appears that Fox Searchlight Pictures, the studio behind Juno might be set to earn even more revenue from the film. Today during the opening session of the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, former Eidos Interactive president and current intellectual-property migration specialist Keith Boesky made comments which GameSpot misinterpreted as indicating that a casual game based on the film is in development.

Later, though, Boesky clarified his comments, adamantly saying he did not announce a Juno game. "The reference to Juno was made when I analogized a low-budget, small game breaking out and being a hit to examples from the film business like Juno," he said. He went on to say he hadn't even seen the film."

Guess you didn't didn't feel that was worth mentioning in this piece. Advantages of controlling the forum, I guess.

Also, getting tips from sessions isn't uncommon. If someone overhears something at an event, they often call someone with the info so they can write it up. That sort of reporting has been done since the invention of the telephone. Remember all those old timey movies of the reporters with the big "PRESS" signs in their fedora rushing the phone bank after someone was declared guilty in court? Same thing.