Articles of Interest

Call of Duty 4 has apparently struck such a cord with consumers that retail chains (such as Circuit City) are selling it for $40 (i.e. loss leader) to attract foot traffic. Activision must be pleased.

Warner Bros. is going exclusive with Blu-Ray. As I’ve written previously (well before joining Microsoft, in fact), I see this as big news in the DVD format war, but small news in the console war. The jump from DVD to Blu-Ray is far less significant than VHS to DVD. Back then, DVD offered greater functionality, greater quality (to anyone with a TV+VHS), and greater ease of storage. Blu-Ray only offers greater quality to a select few consumers with HDTVs larger than a certain size. And many of the consumers in that category (with an interest in gaming) already own a PS3 and/or 360. Blu-ray wasn’t and isn’t going to save the Playstation. Whether anything else can… I suppose only time will tell.

The Wii is on the verge of selling 20m units. Gonna see a lot of headlines when they officially crack that ceiling. Happily (for me!) the 360 has sold roughly twice as many units as the PS3.

The Electric Sheep Company laid off about one-third (22) of its employees three weeks ago. It also canceled several projects, including the creation of an ad network within Second Life. The CEO noted, “We felt that large scale advertising to the current Second Life user base by real world companies is not a big opportunity in the short term.”

Duels.com, a simple online RPG that enables players to “duel” asynchronously, has reached one million duels per day. Bear in mind that from what I can tell, an obsessive player could rack up 100+ duels in a single day, so this doesn’t mean anything near a million users. What it does mean is that tens and maybe hundreds of thousands of users are willing to grind for “cool” items in a world almost completely devoid of meaningful plot development, entertaining quests, thoughtful strategy or action, etc… as long as the game is free. That sounds more cynical than I intended… sort of. It’s also fairly obvious, but perhaps that’s a cynical statement, too. 😉

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