Tag Archives: second life

Articles of Interest

The LA Times, which has historically been quite critical of Second Life (at least, in regard to its usefulness to businesses) published an article last month showcasing the increasing use of SL as a corporate meeting space.

Ubisoft is making a game for the DS based on Allan Carr’s “Easyway” to Stop Smoking. Love it. Really hope it works. This could be great for our industry.

Valve’s Steam Cloud has been unveiled. Steam users will now be able to access game-generated data (such as save and configuration files) from anywhere. Nice.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, DOTA is a hugely popular Warcraft 3 mod with an interesting development story. Very fun, too. A nice article about it can be found here.

Forbes publishes How Technology Can Save Retailers, which, in fact, is all about online games, not technology in general. The topic — using games as marketing and consumer research platforms — is something that I cover extensively in my upcoming book.

Sandra Day O’Connor is working on a video game that will teach children how the judicial system works. (Lots of great serious game-related links in this post, I’m realizing. It feels like an inflection point of sorts.)

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.

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. 😉