Game talkWoW addiction therapy guild!

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Jul 312009

An addiction therapist is forming a WoW guild so that he can reach the addicted where they live: on raids.

He has called on Blizzard Entertainment, the company that makes World of Warcraft, to waive or discount the costs associated with joining the game so that therapists can more easily communicate with at-risk players in their preferred environment.

“We will be launching this project by the end of the year. I think it’s already clear that psychiatrists will have to stay within the parameters of the game. They certainly wouldn’t be wandering around the game in white coats and would have to use the same characters available to other players,” said Dr Graham.

“Of course one problem we’re going to have to overcome is that while a psychiatrist may excel in what they do in the real world, they’re probably not going to be very good at playing World of Warcraft.

“We may have to work at that if we are going to get through to those who play this game for hours at end.”

via Addiction therapists signing up to World of Warcraft – Telegraph.

Gosh, I hope they don’t get addicted.

Game talkMore on vSide

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Jul 302009

Virtual Worlds News has been following the story. Apparently ExitReality bought the assets (meaning, the vSide tech and IP, so they are the new operators). Then Doppelganger disbanded as an entity. Then a bit later, some the people from Doppelganger resurfaced at a new company called Real Life Plus.

There’s some screenshots (looks like prerendered concept art) from this new project on their Facebook page.

No word from ExitReality on what exactly they are going to be doing with the vSide assets. They have their own client and server tech based on X3D, so presumably they are mostly interested in the assets and the vSide userbase.

Game talkImitating life TOO closely

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Jul 282009

Spotted via New World Notes: Ryker Beck’sTutorial For Photoshopping Avatar Skin Imperfections.

Yes, that is right, we are now to the point where we not only have to cover over the imperfections in real people, but also in non-real people.

This is a good example of what I mean when I talk about the fact that we have imported a bit more of real life into virtual worlds than may be strictly healthy. On the Internet now, people now know you’re a dog thanks to voice, increased realism, etc — but at least you’re an airbrushed dog.

Game talkWindows Mobile games you can’t have

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Jul 272009

At least, according to their new “app store” style marketplace (coming this fall) policies, laid out in this file: MarketplaceContentPolicies.pdf (application/pdf Object).

  • Any content with prolonged and/or excessive use of firearms or weapons or other content that facilitates the use of firearms or weapons
  • Any content that depicts decapitation, blood splatter, killing, gore or cruelty
  • Any content that depicts excessive violence
  • Requests or instructions to injure or otherwise harm a specific person or group of people
  • Repeated blows or shots inflicted upon people/creatures, violent blows to the head, guns/weapons pointed at head, impaling, exploding body parts, guns/weapons pointed towards reader/audience, depictions of fatal injuries, strangulation/choking, inflicting wounds with swords/knives
  • Excessive and gratuitous amounts of blood and/or fleshy body parts, blood spurting from wounds
  • Cruelty to animals
  • People/creatures on fire

Gotta love the specificity. How do you get gratuitous blood– or any, for that matter — without depicting guns, knives, blows, choking, swords… Guess we won’t see Plants vs Zombies, N+, Prince of Persia or any Tom Clancy games on here…  I also like the “guns pointed at reader” which seems explicitly created to prevent the James Bond title sequence from making an appearance. 🙂

Hmm, so Space Invaders… do they count as creatures, I wonder?

Game talkUO goes to China (again)

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Jul 242009

EA to redesign Ultima for China, sez the news.

Of course, we have been here before, sort of. Some anecdotes:

  • During the early days of UO, when PKing was rampant, we notice a major issue in servers hosted along the Pacific Rim — much higher rates of PKing, harassment complaints, etc. We dig in, and it turns out that we were seeing lots of warfare and animosity between players from Asia and players from the US.
  • Hong Kong servers suffered for a while from triad gang wars being imported into UO. Guilds would form that matched the gangs, and the streets of Britain would run with simulated real-life blood.
  • Years later, I visit China, and I am surprised that anyone even knows who I am, since China never officially got a UO release. I was told that UO servers running either pirated servers or gray shard servers probably hit as many as 400,000 players across China.

The article I have read on this doesn’t offer a lot of details, but I think there is a fair amount of potential for this project.

Game talkAn interesting industry picture

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Jul 222009

At present, Newell explained, games [AAA ones, anyway! – Raph] require an investment of between USD 10 million and USD 30 million before development can even begin. “There’s a huge amount of risk associated with those dollars and decisions have to be incredibly conservative,” he said.

Valve: Gamers should fund development // News.

Meanwhile on the other side of town…

yep, there are 300 games  a day coming on the iphone.

@deantak, aka Dean Takahashi, journalist


Continue reading »

Game talkToday’s post on gaming’s cultural influence

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Jul 222009

The soldiers call it the ‘Pacman challenge’ — dodging the scores of booby traps, trip wires and charges laid by the Taliban in the fertile soil of Afghanistan’s Sangin valley. The reference, to an arcade compujter game, is one of the ways the soldiers make light of the deadly gauntlet they run every day in the district.

— Daily Telegraph, July 11, 2009

Spotted in Time Magazine… one could quibble over whether it is the most appropriate retro game reference, but whatever.

Game talkCasual Connect

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Jul 212009

I will be at Casual Connect on Thursday, on a panel:

Sibley VERBECK CEO The Electric Sheep Company
Robin CHAN Founder & CEO XPD Media
Raph KOSTER Co-founder and President Metaplace

Discussion led by
Mark FRIEDLER Founder GameDaily

The World of Warcraft gets all the press and attention, but the truth is millions of gamers are logging on to casual MMO’s and virtual worlds every month. Over the last 18 months, more investment capital has been poured into this segment than any other in the games industry. Come and learn which companies will be winners of this growing category.