Tag Archives: advergames

Articles of Interest

Kim writes a thoughtful post about EA’s Battlefield: Bad Company, and the rumor that it will enable players to purchase more advanced weapons with MS points. Kim makes a comparison to paintball (i.e. some players have an advantage because they can afford to purchase more paintball pellets) that had never occurred to me.

Via Raph, news that players of Eve Online will have the opportunity to elect the members of a player council that will dictate in-game policy. Seems like an exciting experiment in MMO democracy — looking forward to hearing more about it.

I just heard about Grand Theft Childhood. which appears to be a rare, thorough, and balanced look at the issue of violence in games. And it has a great pedigree (its co-authors are co-founders of the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital, and are also on the psychiatry faculty at Harvard Medical School.) Check out the book’s website — it’s full of interesting information that could be useful in combating stereotypes about video games.

A “Club Penguin-like” virtual world called Handipoints, which rewards kids for doing chores, was apparently launched in beta form back in November. When kids complete activities such as cleaning their room, they gain either “handipoints” that can be redeemed for real-world toys (distributed via Amazon) or “bonus points” that can be used to buy virtual items. Parents decide which type of point is rewarded. Handipoints as 150k users (don’t know what percentage of those are active), with 3.5 users per family on average.

Now this is really cool: a company called Brand Experience Lab has developed AudienceGames, which are basically advergames that get played in movie theatres before a film begins. Audience members play the game by waving their hands to the left or right; a camera captures the activity and majority rules. An AudienceGame created for Volvo enabled theatre-goers to steer a virtual car around obstacles, scoring points when they did so. (Via Ilya.)

In response to the recommendations made by a commissioned report, the UK will require all packaged games to display BBFC ratings in addition to the now-standard PEGI ratings. The BBFC ratings are described as “cigarette-style health warnings.” A step backward for the game industry, but at least the BBFC has shown itself to be a thoughtful organization in the past, re: games.

Articles of Interest

LeapFrog has unveiled the $50 “Tag”, a plastic stylus that turns paper books into interactive playthings. It will be available this summer with an 18-volume library of children’s classics. Seems to me like a really neat learning tool for kids! And hopefully, more successful than its predecessor — the $100 “Fly.”

Valve has introduced Steamworks, a suite of (free) publishing and development tools. It includes real-time sales tracking, an encryption system, auto-updating, territory control, voice chat, multiplayer matchmaking, social networking, and development tools. Notably, it can even be used with games released through digital distribution services other than Steam.

Kim writes about the DRM-free tactics of Stardock Games, which recently published Sins of a Solar Empire, and Galactic Civilizations II before that. Both are big-budget retail titles, the latter of which apparently sold quite well. Key quote: “if you provide reasonable after-release support in the form of free updates that add new content and features that are painless for customers to get, you create a real incentive to be a customer.” Speaking of piracy, check out this interesting debate. Piracy may be rampant in Asia, but Nexon Director Min Kim is right to point out that used game sales in the US play a similar role in the market.

Three cheers for Seattle, my current home and, apparently, the new Silicon Valley. Maybe this will prevent my house’s value from dropping 25%+

I like occasionally playing the part of Second Life cynic. I also like pointing out when something really cool pops up in there… like a detailed replication of Yosemite Valley in 1883. Or a giant, floating 1790 World Globe.

Moviestorm is a free machinima development tool that will generate revenue by offering $10 asset packs. It will focus on offering better camera controls and significantly more character animations than found in typical game engines.

Brenda Brathwaite takes a hatchet to the H&R block advergames on Facebook. In particular, I agree with her criticisms of “The Financial Match Quiz.” Who could think that a “compatibility quiz” based on questions like “how do you feel about debt” and “do you know what tax deductions you qualify for” would be fun? One lesson for advertisers: get a reasonable number of people to test your game before launching it… preferably in a context that encourages them to behave naturally, not tell you what you want to hear.

I just discovered I’mInLikeWithYou.com, a vaguely game-like online dating site that enables you to potentially meet people by answering their random questions, which you can only do if you’re willing to bid more points than the previous person who answered the same question.