Showing posts from September, 2008

Can We Be Done with Metacritic?: Critics Edition

I started playing Star Wars: The Forced Unleashed this weekend. I am not a ridiculous fan who rushed out and bought it on the first day of release. I waited until the second day. My son and I sat down together, put the game in the console, and found comfort in the score’s familiar refrain. The game started, and continued, to deliver exactly what we expected. Of course, relative to Metacritic and other critics of the game, our expectations were somewhat low. We were only looking for fun.

The game was not only consistent with the license, but provided a consistently high level of story and performance. In fact it was the first game I played in which the robots were infused with the same life and humor as those of the Star Wars films. Sure there were glitches in the game, but none of them significantly interrupted game play or stopped the fun. Again, the critics are jumping all over these, but lighten up fellas, we are dealing with complex software. When I watched the season …

Star Wars: They Don't Know How Good They Have It Edition

My son was a huge Star Wars fan. From ages 7 to 9 he was completely consumed and studied every fact. While it blurred the line between home life and the people I encountered every day at work, it was an interesting period. One day, he just lost interest. It was like someone snuck into his room in the middle of the night and changed the chip in his brain. I am confident the interest will come back, so I poke at the memory's corpse every once in a while.

A few days ago we were talking about it and I think I see the problem. I had to wait the better part of a life time to see the whole story. Having been born in 1995, it was just handed to him all at once. There is no appreciation for the wait.

"Do you think you ever want to watch Star Wars again?"

"Mmmm maybe."

"I thought you didn't like it anymore."

"Eh." I am learning that 12 year olds are mostly monosyllabic. I think it is a conservation of energy thing.

"So you do like it…

Something Think About: In Game Ad Edition

Kind of lazy, I admit, but I saw this in Brandweek today:

-By Mike Beirne

Just how effective is that Burger King ad in the game NFL Street? Marketers have often wondered. Considering that more than a third (36%) of gamers actually bought, talked about or sought information about a product after seeing an ad in a videogame, per Nielsen Games, a case can be made that they are very effective.

Not long ago, advertising within videogames was looked upon as an exciting new venue to attract a "lost boys" demographic that had stopped avidly watching TV. However, the excitement wore off for some as the ROI for such an unit was difficult to prove.

Looking to get a temperature check among today's gamers, Nielsen Games polled 534 active videogame players last month on Brandweek's behalf (both are units of Nielsen). Of those surveyed, 11% said they purchased a brand that was advertised in a game. Some 19% said they talked about it after seeing an ad and 10% said they recommended t…

Gamestop Needs an Intervention Part 2: WTF Edition

I am a bit behind the times, but I just read gamedaily's interview with Gamestop's new CEO and it kind of made me feel icky in my tummy. This guy is in charge of about a third of the video game sales and he is not on our side. His positions on digital distribution and used games make him sound either delusional, or like an ostrich with his head in the sand.

BIZ: What are your thoughts on the digital distribution options that connected consoles are introducing to gamers today? Do you see today's gamers bypassing retail one day, as music consumers currently do with iPods and iTunes?

DD: The first digital distribution was Napster and it was illegal. Let's just start there. The software publishers are afraid to death of piracy. Once a full game is lying on a hard drive, there's the potential for piracy. Aside from the games, the bandwidth, etc., our studies have concluded that the network won't be in place to do digital distribution of full games until 2020 to 2…

Party Conventions: Politics Edition

I never wrote about politics before, and I am certainly not qualified to do so. However, as I sat and listened to the vilification of the American Dream, I needed a place to vent. In this election cycle, Horatio Alger and Warren Buffet are being replaced by aspirational figures like out of work factory workers and single moms. Don’t get me wrong. I want to see job growth in America and support for people in difficult situations, but helping and aspiring to be are completely different. These guys are both saying it is bad to be rich - USD 75K per year in the case of Obama. It is bad to be a big corporation, like the ones who supply jobs. It is bad to be a special interest group – those people who speak on behalf of minority interests, which would otherwise not have a voice in government. It is all propaganda intended to create a bad guy, a target for anger. A way to focus those bitter feelings we heard about. Through these statements, both parties seem to be asking me to figur…

One World One Tech: Heresy Edition

I haven’t had a chance to write in a while because I’ve been traveling for my day job. By the time I get back to my room or on the plane I have absolutely no interest in blog building. So the following rambling dialogue has been rolling around my head without an outlet. It came out quickly and as my fingers channeled the semi coherent thoughts to the keyboard, they provided a gossamer thin filter of relevance and form when perhaps a steel sieve would be more appropriate. Please excuse the energy burst.

A common thread certainly emerged from the publishers. Games cost a lot, and they take a really long time now. Sure assets are expensive, but one of the biggest costs today is technology, and everyone is building it.

Recently, a bunch of game industry luminaries kicked the idea of a one console future. They said it was too hard to manufacture for of a lot of different platforms. Their right, it is hard, but their conclusion is stupid. Trip Hawkins knew this when he allowed Jo…