Showing posts from October, 2008

Take Three?: Third Time Is Not Yet a Charm Edition

[I put this up a few weeks ago, and then took it down. I don't know why, so now I am putting it back up. Enjoy.]

A couple weeks ago Take Two announced the termination of takeover discussions with all parties, but it seems the “victory" over the would be invaders is Pyrrhic at best. While the company will certainly survive, whether the actions were in the best interest of the shareholders is up to debate. With the decision to remain fiercely independent seeming set in stone, maybe Take Two will finally move to more fiscally responsible plan than “Rockstar makes all the money and 2K spends it” If last quarter’s events taught us nothing else, we learned GTA’s value has always been factored into the stock price. After the smoke cleared, we see the company is worth roughly the same thing as it was the day Strauss Zelnick entered the board room.

I know all the game stocks are down now, but the most recent USD 380 million plus decline in market value happened before any of t…

Check it Out: Stuff You Didn't Know About Lego and Gummy Bears Edition

In between posts about the new Macs Gizmodo posted these very cool Jason Freeny posters.

You can buy high quality prints of these and more at this link. (I don't get paid for selling these things, I just think their cool.)

Nothing more to say. . . .

Greenlight Process: Guest Blog Edition

A while back put a sidebar up asking for submissions, here is the first. A developer who, in the interest of protecting future business chooses to remain anonymous, submitted the following report from the front. Enjoy:

Production Green Light Process

A friend at a developer pointed out a recent article titled ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT by Matthew Wasteland in this month's Game Developer Magazine.

In a humorous manner the article details a series of comments made by a Publisher to a Developer through the course of their production. The associated timeline indicates to anyone on this forum the (expected) absurdity of some of the remarks.

However, it did highlight the relative value to production of certain comments and how - as far as successful production is concerned - not all roles should have an equal voice in the oversight or direction of the development process.

For example, at the beginning of game production, the development team is focused on creating R&D based prototypes th…

Did EA Endorse Obama?: In Game Politicizing Edition

According to this post, wholly stolen from Jalopnik, pro Obama ads appeared in Burn Out.

Barack Obama has begun advertising on billboards within the virtual world of an online video game in what appears to be a first for a presidential campaign. Players of the online racing video game Burnout Paradise on the Xbox 360 Live network noticed billboards promoting Barack Obama and the website, which helps people determine how to register to vote and where to vote. This was later confirmed by a representative for the game's publisher, Electronic Arts, who said:

"Like most television, radio and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates. Like political spots on the television networks, these ads do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development teams.”

We Should All Want Brash to Work: They Can't Help Themselves Edition

Writing this blog makes me a nicer person in business meetings. It is cathartic. Before the blog, something like Mitch Davis' interview with Gamedaily would set me off and dominate the first 10 minutes of the next meeting I had. Now, I can write it, get it out, and move on. Thank you dear reader for your help and indulgence. It also explains why the post is a bit on the snarky side. The whole thing could be avoided if Mr. Davis, the CEO of the company, took responsibility for the company's actions rather than shirking responsibility and holding tight to plans the market has already rejected.

I want Brash to work. We should all want Brash to work. With coverage in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, everyone who would ever think about putting significant amounts of money into the game business saw their story. Never has a company name been so appropriate as theirs in describing their securing of capital and approach to the game business. If Brash make it, we …

Are Critics Gamers?: I think Not Edition

Yes, I am still ranting about critics. The tension between creators and critics is as old as narrative itself. I'm confident Plato's critics were late comers to the process. But as we enter the season for release of highly anticipated, high production value, very expensive games the critics seem to be in a bad mood - or, the industry is releasing a string of the worst games in history. I don't think it's the latter because the games seem to be selling very well. Brothers in Arms is getting an equal number of scores 50s and 60s to its 90s. Fracture and Mercenaries 2 are faring even less well and I already talked about The Force Unleashed. The first reaction is to grab the critics by the lapels and scream "Have you ever tried to make a game?" I guess it's a common refrain across all creative media. Even though it would feel really good, let's take a look at the issue. There seems be a growing divide between what the critics are looking for…

Larry Probst: Shattering the Glass Ceiling Edition

While the world is focused on our presidential slates poised to shatter glass ceilings over race or gender, Larry Probst just crashed through the one cantilevered over video game executives. It's not as historic as Jackie Robinson, or Dick Parsons, but it is a major leap for our industry. I wrote about mainstream perceptions of our industry in a post about similarities between porn and games in a post heavily edited and improved by N'Gai Croal. I left out the part about executives. Until yesterday's announcement of Larry Probst's new position as Chairman of the Board of the United States Olympic Committee, game executives were mentioned in the same breadth as "real executives." Yesterday, Larry Probst's announcement treated him as the veteran executive he is.

"There wasn't any debate at the board meeting," Ueberroth said of the unanimous vote that ended in Probst getting a four-year term.

The 58-year-old Probst will be involved in the b…

Check it out: Silobreaker Edition

I may be late to the party, and everyone in the world may already know about it, but just in case, The site gives you a 360 degree of the news and searches not only the story, but the connections and the stuff around the story. It is kind of a removal of media bias through a visual presentation of the google algorithm.

What are you still doing here? go look, there's nothing more to see here.

You Are Not Alone: Empathy and Inspiration Edition

A little while ago I wrote about our industry's lack of respect for the final product. Sure, we are a business, but we are also making an entertainment product which must entertain. Unfortunately, entertainment in any media doesn't always come out on exactly the date we planned. When the breakdown is caused by the developer or director, they should suffer the consequences and bear the burden of the missed date. But, often, it is not the fault of the person, or persons making the thing. Sometimes, like in the case of the film "The Reader," as described in a lot more depth, and exclusively, by the most astute and outspoken of all entertainment industry journalists, Nikki Finke no one can anticipate or do anything about the delay. The film was delayed by Nicole Kidman's pregnancy and a minor's lack of age.

The film is currently at what we would call alpha. If the alpha period is not compressed and beta virtually eliminated, the film will be released too…