Tag Archives: MMO social

Articles of Interest

Raph calls out the McDonald’s Line Rider commercial, which I hadn’t seen yet. It’s a neat idea for an advertisement, and Raph draws on a few numbers to make the interesting point that Line Rider might be better known than the TV shows that host this advertisement.

Also from Raph, word that Habbo has reached 100m registered users worldwide. Quite a milestone.

Soren’s been on a bit of a “Spore creature watch” since the free creature creator was released. These particular creations will make any fan of Star Wars smile. (Take one guess as to the identity of the creatures before clicking the link. You probably won’t guess correctly.) Soren also points out that 500k creatures were created in two days. An auspicious beginning for a product that I really hope does tremendously well, commercially-speaking!

An account of the first meeting of CCP’s Council of Stellar Management, a democratically-elected group of players who meet with CCP twice a year to inform the future development of Eve Online.

An interview with Neil Young, who left EA to found an iPhone game publisher called Ngmoco. This quote caught my eye: “The iPhone, from a performance standpoint, is pretty close to a PSP, but unlike the PSP, it’s got a touchscreen, accelerometers, a camera, it’s location-aware, it’s got all of your media on it, it’s awake with you, it’s always on, and it’s always connected to the network. So if you think about the types of games and entertainment experiences that you can build on a platform like that, it’s got to get pretty exciting pretty quickly.”

The guys who made Duels.com (a mind-numbingly tedious — but very popular — web game) have taken their simple, asynchronous multiplayer design philosophy and applied it to baseball. The new game is called Baseball Boss. It’s in closed beta, so I haven’t had the chance to play, but something tells me Baseball Boss will be very successful. Accessible, short-session, asynch multiplayer gameplay and baseball (with its wide audience) seem like a good match to me.

Lots of people made fun of Activision for porting Guitar Hero to the DS. Looks like Activision got the last laugh: it sold 300k units, in North America only, in the first week.

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.