Games as Motivators

31 05 2007

IGDA: Speaking Out For Games. It’s a little ranty, but sketches out a case for games as a gateway for subjects that have lost appeal in recent years.

“If you really want to make games, you need to do well in math, science and English.”

Artifical Intelligence in the Uncanny Valley

31 05 2007

Gamasutra just posted a feature I wrote for them: Uncanny AI: Artificial Intelligence In The Uncanny Valley

There are lots of things across all media that can already fool us. The crucial question, though, is how well do they do it? Distance and brevity obscure all manner of flaws, but at some point in a game, the player can always get closer or look for longer.

Microsoft launch touch control system – Surface

31 05 2007

Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division – the same department responsible for Xbox 360 – has unveiled a new

“Entertainment and devices has a long history of bringing innovative product experiences to market – such as Xbox, IPTV and Zune. Today, E&D’s vision is anchored in delivering end-to-end hardware, software and services across different pillars of Connected Entertainment, such as music, video, communication and gaming,” said E&D executive Tom Gibbons.

“That’s exactly what we’re doing with Microsoft Surface… The new hardware and software in Surface, along with a predominant focus on the consumer experience, support the Connected Entertainment vision – making entertainment more personal, more interactive and more social.”

Gibbons added, “As a new product category, we see the Surface computing group as extending Connected Entertainment to new devices, categories and platforms.”

Microsoft Surface will initially roll out through partners such as Starwood Hotels, T-Mobile and Harrah’s Entertainment, plus gambling game company International Game Technology. It will be priced at between USD 5000 – 10,000, but Microsoft plans to produce cheaper versions to sell to home users within three to five years.

NY Times Carries Games as Editorial Content

25 05 2007

From Water Cooler Games:

Today, I’m excited to announce that Persuasive Games has a new publishing relationship with The New York Times, in which they will be publishing newsgames we create on their op-ed page, as editorial content, not just as games. This is unprecedented, and at the risk of tooting my own horn, I think it represents another important shift in videogames as a medium. This is news/editorial in videogame form, rather than videogames trying to make news fun. The fact that the Times is often considered the national newspaper of record makes this moment even more notable, and gratifying.

Doak: British gov. Driving Developers Out of Business

25 05 2007


“The UK Government needs to do something more useful than just criticising violent content in videogames,” Doak told during an interview about Haze, Free Radical’s upcoming next-gen shooter.

“Here’s an industry that 20 years ago we led the world in – through bedroom rock-and-roll development on the early home computers – and now there’s a very real chance that what is now a real profession is going to be driven out of the UK because they don’t make any concessions to it,” he complained.

Monumental Announce Football MMO

25 05 2007

This just in from Monumental Games:
Football Superstars

A sports MMO based on 3 to 11 a side matches, offering everything from a kickabout to leagues. Genius; the market for this could be gigantic, and I can’t believe anyone ever thought Blizzard had the MMO market sewn up.

Charles Cecil: Only Blockbusters Work at Blockbuster Prices.

24 05 2007

Charles Cecil speaks about videogame price points and diverse markets on today:

Gears of Wars was clearly a blockbuster, people are happy to pay GBP 40 for that and feel it’s good value. But then we have all these smaller games like Katamari Damacy that get very well reviewed and perceived very fondly by people within the industry, but don’t sell to a wider audience. My view on that is you can only sell something for GBP 40 if it’s truly epic. Therefore, what we need to do is explore ways of bringing these highly innovative and great games in a different way. And that’s more like the TV model where you sell something cheaper and find ways to distribute it to a wider audience and maybe advertising can cover some of the revenues. We’ve got to find different models where we have the epic games on one side and the more ‘indie’ games on the other.

Steam Reaches 13 Million

24 05 2007

Valve’s digital distribution service Steam has now reached more than 13 million subscribers.

I do wonder: How many of those accounts are regular users?

EA Buys Into The9

23 05 2007

EA have bought a 15% stake in major Chinese videogame publisher The9. Says Joystiq:

The US-based publishing powerhouse will have 15% of the The9’s common stock, which amounts to US $167 million. The two companies also announced a licensing agreement that makes The9 the sole publisher of FIFA Online in mainland China.

EA had previously half-denied reports of an investment, saying that at the time there was “no signed agreement with The9.” Rumors of an investment date back to at least September 2006.

Brand Traffic in SL

23 05 2007

There’s certainly a lot going on with brands in Second Life at the moment. This recent post from the Business and Games blog includes a link to this PDF chart of traffic stats for many brands in the world.