Game talkThe Reiser Story

 Posted by (Visited 6860 times)  Game talk
Jun 302007

This article at Wired is an amazing story. However, I am struck by how much attention is paid to violent videogames — by the writer, by the accused, by the courts who presumably discuss the briefs — when it seems pretty clear that everyone in the story is a deeply screwed up person to begin with.

Does “geek discrimination” exist? Sure, and I am sure that in the courts, the issue of whether Reiser played violent games with his 6 year old was a factor. But surely somewhere along the line the drugs, self-mutilation, adultery, and murders by the lover deserve a bit more weight in the deliberations? Yikes.

Society really needs to stop seeing interest in violent videogames as a motive cause, and instead start seeing extreme fascination with violence in general as a warning flag. I read this article the same day I first browsed an issue of Entertainment Weekly with the headline emblazoned on the cover “Top 25 Action Movies Of All Time!!” — Kill Bill, Die Hard, etc etc.

I am sure Reiser saw Kill Bill. It was a geek thing to do. I bet nobody in this case filed court papers with the title of a movie in them.

Game talkAnalyzing console online revenues

 Posted by (Visited 7916 times)  Game talk
Jun 282007

Adrian Crook has an interesting article titled “The Economics of a Free-To-Play Console Game,” which attempts to break down the revenues that you could expect to see from having an online game on XBLA that was free-to-play and then monetized via upsells or item sales. In other words, monetized via what is widely considered the “rising wave” business model.

His conclusion?

Consoles are always going to be a subset of the addressable market of PCs and for now should be considered a secondary or tertiary platform for all but the cheapest-to-produce or most daring F2P endeavors.

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Game talkBloxorz

 Posted by (Visited 6839 times)  Game talk
Jun 272007

Bloxorz is a cool game, with some of the vibe of those puzzle games with aligning mirrors or setting up paths (like puzzle mode in Chu-Chu Rocket) and some of the vibe of the classic PS1 game Intelligent Qube. Nicely done…!

Game talkKorea starts taxing RMT

 Posted by (Visited 6797 times)  Game talk
Jun 262007

RMT Taxation starts in Korea from 1 July 2007, says this translation of the original Korean article. It only applies to those who have a certain volume of transactions — folks doing more than 6m won every six months (around $6500) will have the mediating party (e.g., the RMT company) collect the tax, and folks over 12m won in a half year have to get a business license.

Apparently, this is a deal cut by the RMT companies…

Jun 262007

You’d think there weren’t many examples. And you’re right. But when you do find it, it looks like what Stephen Totilo and N’Gai Croal are doing with their dissection of Manhunt 2 (The MTV version: part one, part two; the Newsweek/MSNBC version: part one, part two, hopefully more to come).

Not having played the game, it’s near impossible for me to comment on the game itself. I’ve publicly commented that much of the Rockstar output seems to me to simply enjoy pushing buttons and boundaries, rather than really reach for social commentary or redeeming value of any sort. Today at lunch, I had the odd experience of describing Manhunt (the original) to a table full of people — and oddly, the description sounding more artistic than the actual game was.

Lots of comparisons to film are used in the discussion between Croal and Totilo; the question comes up as to whether Manhunt 2 is comparable to a Bonnie and Clyde, a Natural Born Killersor whether it’s just the equivalent to a snuff film. In the end, we probably won’t get to decide, because pre-emptive censorship (both from the governmental and the platform-holder side) means that debates like the one that Croal and Totilo are having simply won’t be had. And that in itself seems to leave us all impoverished, regardless of the quality of the game.

Game talkSherwood Dungeon

 Posted by (Visited 19542 times)  Game talk
Jun 242007

I’ve mentioned it before, and of course Gene hangs out here on the blog from time to time. But now that Adobe has put up a case study of Sherwood Dungeon, it seems like a good chance to remind everyone that this browser-based Shockwave MMO has quietly amassed 1.3 million unique players a month, with 4000 PCU. It’s ad-supported, I believe. Oh yeah — and despite stuff like physics systems, mocapped anims, and so on, this is a small enough shop that Gene’s email is posted on the website.

As it happens, my daughter got hooked on Adventure Quest (featured there at as well) while I was away at the Virtual Goods Summit. Within minutes of my walking in the front door, she told me that she wanted to spend $20 on microtransactions for something. I told her no. 😉