Articles of Interest

It’s been clear for a while that the iPhone and iPod Touch are evolving into competitive video game platforms, but the announcement of a new Metal Gear Solid for these devices really seems to underscore the point. Look for it in March 2009.

Danc has written a nice article about his lightweight prototyping process using Post-it notes. Anything that encourages developers to experiment and iterate more quickly is (generally-speaking) good in my book.

The difference between copywriting and marketing, as only Seth Godin could put it.

Lots of news about the November NPD data. Here’s the quick summary: 2m Nintendo Wiis sold (breaking all records for that month), 836k Xbox 360s sold, a year-on-year increase of 8.6%, and 378k PS3s sold, a year-on-year decrease of 19%. The Nintendo DS continues to rock, at 1.57m units. Top five sellers for the month: Gears of War 2, Call of Duty 5, Wii Play, Wii Fit, and Mario Kart. Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge both turn out to be big disappointments for EA, sales-wise. Music franchises like Rock Band and Guitar Hero perform less well than expected. Lastly, Wii Fit sales exhibit a curious but encouraging pattern, increasing every month since second month, for half a year, and culminating in November sales of 174k (better than launch.) Bottom line – Nintendo continues to kick serious ass.

Quite a lot of bad news for Sony this holiday. (BTW, I’m not writing this to “gloat,” or out of some foolish notion that my little blog can influence the console war. I’m writing because I have to track this stuff for competitive reasons anyway, so I might as well share what I track. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.) Anyway, in addition to really lackluster PS3 sales — driven, no doubt, by the PS3’s high price and weak-ish holiday title lineup — it turns out that LittleBigPlanet isn’t moving the needle, relative to the hype. The PSN Home beta has been panned (Tycho, of Penny Arcade, went so far as to compare Home with, ummm… the AIDS virus. That dude can be mean!) And as it turns out, most holiday shoppers (92% of them) could care less about blu-ray. Most don’t see the change in quality between DVD and Blu-ray as “significant enough” (I argued that would be the case three years ago, for the record.) Yahoo even called blu-ray one of the worst tech products of 2008.

There’s more to life than games:

New research finds that credit-card holders pay down their debts more slowly when their statements suggest a minimum monthly installment. Those consumers who wanted to pay just part of their bill handed over 43 percent less on average when presented with a minimum payment! In the real world, this would roughly double interest charges. I’ve watched credit card debt hammer some of my friends and family, and it’s not a pretty picture. If you have loved ones in a similar situation, do them a big favor — get them to cut up their credit cards. An ATM/debit card is just as convenient, and much less dangerous.

My good friend, Gummi, is a product manager on Google’s mobile team, an extremely smart guy, and self-professed “productivity addict.” He’s just started a blog on his productivity techniques and experiments, a couple of which seem really promising.

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