November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’ve been busy job hunting over the last few days, so I haven’t had much time to write anything. However, there has been some interesting stuff going on that I haven’t covered, which I thought would be cool to highlight here.
- XBox LIVE Indie Games developers saw their titles moved back to the Games & Demos section of the 360 dashboard, as they rightly should have stayed in the first place. Great news for those devs that reportedly saw their sales halve overnight, and it puts Microsoft in a pretty good light, too – listening to the little guy, and responding. (Via Eurogamer.net.)
- A bunch of Black Ops stuff: strong review scores all-round; record-breaking sales; problems with the PC version of the game; and patches and promises from Treyarch. Pretty bummed out to see the PC version released in a state that left the multiplayer unplayable for a lot of people, and in the end it convinced me to buy the cheaper 360 version instead. I just can’t be arsed with the hassle of broken games any more, and then waiting for a patch to come out. Too little, too late, for me. (Multiple sources.)
- This slideshow presentation on “Gamification” and how marketers misunderstand the concept, where they go wrong with it, and what makes games actually “fun” to play. These are essential, fundamental ideas that marketers – both social media and digital – need to get their heads around for their efforts to succeed in this space. Badges aren’t enough, people! (Authored by Sebastian Deterding.)
- Trouble for Windows Phone 7: after initially optimistic reports of high demand around the world, it appears that handsets featuring the new OS have only sold 40,000 units in the US so far, while in Europe the numbers stand at around 250,000, faring slightly better. I suggested it could be a supply problem holding back demand. Nevertheless, it’s not auspicious news, but the expectations for the phones have been remarkably, somewhat unfairly, high. The word “flop” has been thrown around too quickly, in my opinion, and in others’. It’s certainly possible that the phone will indeed flop, but it’s still too early to tell, and I think it’s a mistake to count Microsoft out just like that. I hope the platform achieves some sort of success, as competition breeds innovation and, generally, lower-priced deals for consumers. (Multiple sources.)
- More phones news, but this time it’s Android: alleged photos on the Nexus S, the heir apparent to the much beloved Nexus One, from Engadget; and TNW has some very limited information on what kind of carrier availability to expect. Not a whole lot of substantiated facts, to be honest, but at this point I think it’s plausible that there will be a Nexus-branded phone coming out at some point, if it wasn’t already in the making. Too many people want it to happen. (Multiple sources.)
- In a pretty clever PR stunt, Sega set up a road crossing in London for one day to raise awareness around hedgehog-related road fatalities – and also to promote their new game, Sonic Colours! It got coverage across gaming sites and in at least one broadsheet. (Hey! The Daily Mail counts, right?) Worth it if only for the above featured super-cute picture of an actual hedgehog wearing teeny-tiny Sonic boots. Priceless. (Via Eurogamer.net, again.)
- Giant Bomb published a Quick Look on Tron: Evolution (thankfully, someone came to their senses and got rid of the additional sub-title, “The Video Game”). Having not really followed Tron’s progress, I was totally surprised by what I saw: it actually looked good – like, really, really good; like a game you’d want to play for more than five minutes, as opposed to the usual film-licensed shovelware. I don’t know why I should be so surprised, though. Disney Interactive has really started to take gaming seriously: they released Split/Second: Velocity earlier this year, which I derived immense enjoyment from, out of both its innovative concept and slick execution; they’ve got Epic Mickey on the Wii coming out, also looking like a quality product, from Warren Spector, one of the industry’s greats; and they’ve got this, Tron, too – also looking phenomenal. (Via Giant Bomb.)
- Rockstar has announced a new trailer and release date for L.A. Noire, which seems styled like a Chinatown-esque, third-person action game. It looks stunning, really; I’m at a loss for words. I’m a big fan of film noir, and it’s hokey, pulpy, melodramtic elements often can play out very well in a video game setting. (Via Joystiq.)
- Finally, we get to me shamelessly self-promoting my new article featured on Resolution-Magazine, entitled “The Miser’s Guide to Gaming On A Budget“. Hopefully it will serve some use for people who, like me, don’t have all the money in the world to spend on games – but wish they did. (Via Resolution-Magazine.)
And that’s all, folks! Tune in next time for… something else, I suspect.
July 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
I don’t know why exactly, but I’m finding myself more and more drawn with interest into what Google’s doing these days. Only at the beginning of this month it was unveiled that they may be entering in to the travel market – and maybe the price comparison market – as they bought up travel information firm ITA Software (who basically supply flight info and pricing to major travel websites such as Kayak, Orbitz, Hotwire and Microsoft’s Bing).
And now, only a week or so later, Techcrunch has discovered a secret $100 million plus investment deal Google has made with Zynga, part of a strategic partnership to both a) prepare for Google Games, coming later this year; and b) put a bullet in PayPal, Google Checkout’s direct competitor and major beneficiary of Zynga as a payment medium. But it’s also a shot over the bow of Facebook, too, as Zynga (if you didn’t already know) makes such masssively, massively popular games such as Farmville (approximately 62 million active users) and Mafia Wars (close to 18 million), which of course have their foundations built upon on the number one social networking site on the web.
(To put these numbers into perspective, World of Warcraft, the poster child for massively online social experiences, has around 11.5 million active subscribers from the last count taken around late 2008, and that took them four years to develop, whereas Farmville was launched only 12 months ago.)
So, this is Christmas present, but what about Google’s future?
June 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
I just realised that I never actually got around to giving my impressions on the iPad, despite making several fervent statements elsewhere. To sum up my original position, I thought it would underperform, and I happened to mention this on a friend’s status update on Facebook:
So, essentially my reasoning was: they’re entering into an unproven market; it’s too big; it doesn’t do all the things a laptop/netbook can do; it looks delicate; and it will become old tech within a short period of time. Ergo, it’s likely to fail.
Unfortunately, I underestimated one thing: the Apple factor – by which I mean the strength of the brand and Jobs’s (or his team of engineer’s) uncanny talent for designing accessible, shiny-looking user interfaces.
And why am I mentioning this all now?