Game talkSome interesting links

 Posted by (Visited 5316 times)  Game talk
Jul 302007

I have thoughts on Comic-Con as well, but have some errands to run over lunch, so… those are for later. 🙂

Jul 302007

I chatted for a while with the folks at Kingdom of Loathing while at Comic-Con. These guys are determinedly indie: they sell merchandise, but they do it just about at cost. For income, they mostly rely on donations for the premium items, but they don’t engage in what most of the industry would call a real microtransaction business.

And it’s working for them, at least at this scale. Some stats, slightly lower than usual because of the usual summer doldrums:

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Jul 292007

I’ve got a real challenge for you. Write a poem on Areae without divulging any secrets, directly at least.

Well, more of a poem about what I spent some time thinking about at work last week…

Network Optimization

Packet size, packet size, info little lump,
This coded, that coded, TCP’ed and dumped.
    Piling into buffers, stacking up the K,
Header bettered, ack lettered, MD5ed in clumps.
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Game talkWhen Worlds Collide | IGDA San Diego

 Posted by (Visited 5047 times)  Game talk
Jul 262007

I will be a panelist at When Worlds Collide, an event put on by IGDA San Diego and attached to the Sandbox Symposium which is part of SIGGRAPH. (I think I have all those connections right). The topic is pretty interesting:

Steve Crane, EVP Product Development (Midway)
Raph Koster, President (Areae)
John Baez, President (The Behemoth)
…and another panelist to be announced.

With innovations in technology and business, video games (like mobile phones) are becoming smaller and more distributed; at the same time, video games are also becoming bigger and more integrated. Mammoth productions from heavyweight studios supported by hordes of A-list developers and “garage” games developed on shoestring budgets by independent and comparatively unknown developers are now pit against each other in competition for leading positions in the same league.

While worldwide sales of video games are expected to reach $13 billion by 2012, the once-homogenous market for video games has expanded to comprise serious, casual, and mobile games in addition to traditional forms of interactive entertainment. In this panel, leaders and pioneers will meet to share their thoughts on the challenges of diverging markets for video games. As game developers and business executives from both sides of the “big versus small” divide, each panelist brings a unique perspective to the discussion.

Anyway, it’s on the 4th, and there’s pretty limited space, so if you’re in town and interested, head on over to the website.

Game talkPaul Heydon on casual games

 Posted by (Visited 8849 times)  Game talk
Jul 252007

Investors look for the “Holy Grail” of casual gaming is an interesting article over at Ars Technica, about a talk at the Casual Games Association’s conference last week, given by a managing director at an investment bank. Basically, he outlines the key things that investors are looking for in the space:

  • diverse portfolio, but not mere aggregators: “companies that offer game portals, in-game advertising, and casual MMOs”
  • not hardcore: “lasting appeal and a strong casual base along with a strong monetization potential”
  • ad-friendly: “in-game and on-site with banners”
  • Web 2.0-ish: “user-created content, and a simplicity of design that allows making and inviting friends a painless process”

Why the interest? Because it looks like these are games that draw recurring revenue from mass audiences, as opposed to drawing recurring revenue from hardcore audiences or no revenue from mass audiences. And costs are low. He specifically says that the Holy Grail is not World of Warcraft, because it’s too small and based on subscriptions.

Heydon’s slides are available here (PDF). One slide claims that in 2007 there were over $135m raised for this sort of project, and he lists some of the ones that raised the most money. Even scarier, he projects almost a half a billion dollars in acquisitions happening in 2007. Yikes.

So what’s the Holy Grail in his opinion?

MySpace + YouTube + Maple Story + Skype + Habbo Hotel = 100 million users.

MiscRamblings on Social Networking Services

 Posted by (Visited 7417 times)  Misc
Jul 252007

Clickable Culture notes a new study about how young people use technology which has a number of interesting observations, but this one stood out to me:

Technology enhances, rather than replaces in-person interaction.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my experiences with various social networking services — lately, Facebook.  There’s a ton of heat around Facebook right now, with lots of companies landing major funding to build applets to live on top of Facebook; it’s basically the darling of the Valley right now.

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Game talkCooking up Chemistry

 Posted by (Visited 8845 times)  Game talk
Jul 232007

I finally got around to reading Dan Cook’s The Chemistry Of Game Design on Gamasutra. At the rate other folks are going, I won’t have to write “A Grammar of Gameplay.”

The skill chains he describes are, of course, basically the same as the game atoms I’ve been messing with, and very similar to the diagrams that Andrew McLennan & co. have been working on, and to Ben Cousins’ stuff, and so on. I tend to think that the reason we’re all saying roughly the same thing is because, well, this is kinda how it is.

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