Articles of Interest

How far can you get by cynically cloning and heavily marketing a successful Facebook game? FarmVille, Zynga’s FarmTown knockoff, now has 30m monthly active users. Zynga itself has 93m monthly players across all its games.

Some clever cross-promotion: Microsoft is devoting two whole episodes of 1 vs 100 to Beatles trivia in preparation for the release of The Beatles: Rock Band.

Check out Pierre: Insanity Inspired, an interesting GAMBIT game designed to explore your response to being taunted and cheered on during gameplay. Added bonus: the game itself is pretty cool! One minor gripe: the game has minor playability issues which may exaggerate a player’s negative reaction to being taunted. I’d be curious to know if players are more willing to suffer insults when they truly have no one to blame but themselves for their failures.

Konami has launched Konami Play, which features web-enabled versions of classic Konami titles and which uses Facebook to encourage social interaction.

Henry has posted a really nice article about the marketing of District 9. Quote: “The film… has been the focus of a transmedia marketing campaign for well over a year in advance of the film’s release. Signs prohibiting nonhuman use of restrooms surfaced at Comic-Con a year ago. By the start of the summer, such signs were appearing on park benches, the sides of buses, and in a variety of other contexts around major cities.”

Out of nowhere, 2K Games bursts onto the scene as a publisher of quirky, stylish indie XBLA projects. Interesting!

Seth Godin on how to interview potential new employees (the right way and the wrong way.) Wrong way: pretty much the way every company does it. Right way: dating before marriage (aka contract vs. full-time) or alternatively, a vastly greater number of candidates interviewed for shorter periods of time (call it speed-dating, perhaps?) I’m not sure about the speed dating, but I couldn’t agree more with the contract approach.

Simple but useful marketing checklist for indie games.

There’s more to life than games:

Random fact: the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in NYC reportedly earns over $350m a year, or about $35k per square foot (possibly more than any other retailer in history, including jewelry store Tiffany & Co.) How’s that for a strong brand?

Research suggests that changing circumstances in your life increase your willingness to make other, unrelated changes to products/services you consume.

This was a great week for the always-funny XKCD. First: are you tech support for your parents or grandparents? Send them this. Second: I fully intend to try this stunt on someone who doesn’t read XKCD… *grin*

California: where you can be sent to jail for life for stealing a two-buck pair of socks. (Also notable: California spends $216k annually on each inmate in its juvenile justice system, but only $8k on each child in the Oakland public school system. Ever heard the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”)

Wonderful Wired article about Craigslist.

Another excellent article by Kristof on health care reform.

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