It's the end of E3 as we know it...
Next-Gen is reporting
that, "the E3 industry event, in its present form, has been cancelled for next year and the foreseeable future." E3
the annual mega industry event organized by the ESA
in Southern California which has been the bell weather of the gaming industry for over a decade may be no more. Originally a venue for publishers to showcase their wares for retailer buyers E3 is more a media feeding frenzy than a products showcase. Increasingly buying decisions for large retailers happen at one on one meetings or through much smaller events sponsored by organizations like The Entertainment Merchants Association
Next-Gen speculates that many of the large exhibitors feel the seven figure budgets of E3 do not justify the returns and have collectively decided to pull out. An official announcement from the ESA is expected shortly.
This is the latest and possibly the last in a string of criticisms of the expo. Journalists have felt it is too difficult to do their work at the show. Industry insiders have felt that the practice of booth babes perpetuates the negative image of video games. Independent publishers and developers have complained of the expense. Now the big hardware and software companies are feeling the pinch.
Even if E3 does disappear I feel the game industry is too big and too important not to have a large conference. I've been going to E3 on and off since 1998. Maybe E3's problems were that it tried to be an industry and consumer show at the same time? From the consumer side this can only be good for shows like PAX
. From the industry side I have always felt that we got better access at conferences like the Game Developers Conference
. It does help to know and like the organizers. The game industry will always need a venue for people to come together, exchange ideas and conduct business. It will also always need a venue to announce, posture and market the newest and greatest games and systems. I guess that it just won't be E3 anymore.
... and I feel fine.
Iggy Drougge hits 10 000
MobyGames contributor Iggy Drougge
has reached the commanding heights of 10,000 contribution points. When asked about the achievement he said, "Now I can finally find peace." Oh we hope not. Congratulations.
That Dude's a Girl!
Reuters via Yahoo! News is running an interesting story
about men posing as women in MMOGs to get free money, gifts and assistance. It has been my personal observation that female characters are much more likely to get twinked or invited to group than male characters. While I have never witnessed anyone virtually cross dressing I do hear that old joke that the 17 year year old elfin princess is really a 40 year old steel worker from Ohio all the time. Of course there are millions of reasons why people play characters of the opposite sex. It is of course called Role
What do you think?
Writing for the Computer Gaming Industry
In a recent and disappointingly short-lived thread of this forum, I rambled on about how game designers are usually plain bad storytellers, and how this shortcoming is holding back otherwise very interesting opportunities for gaming as a whole.
Gamasutra has an article
in which a bunch of writers for the industry speak at a panel at Comic-Con International entitled "Writing for the Computer Gaming Industry", wit some interesting takes:
"You have to start divorcing your ego," said another panelist, Neal Hallford, a contractor most known for his work on Betrayal at Krondor and the Dungeon Siege series. "I went off to college and I was studying proper story structure and all this good stuff, and where a lot of this broke down for me was when it was like, 'Hey, that's a wonderful dramatic scene, but you're tying a rope around the player's neck and dragging them through cutscenes.' And that's not what they're playing for."
I never played any of his games, but the man sure has a point there.
On a related note, GS also digged up a podcast
with teh Tim Schafer himself when he was working in the uncanny Psychonauts
, in which he has a word or ten hundred on "Memorable Character Design".
If there has been one person to be heard on this subject in the entire history of gaming, it has to be this guy.
PS3 to win Wii to show
As Next-Gen pointed out
a video game industry analyst is quoted
in Business Week predicting PS3 to outsell Wii 71 million to 40 million by 2011. The Business Week article is highly favorable of Nintendo and really talks about this console round as a two horse race, Nintendo and Sony. Little mention is given to Microsoft. All I can really say of this analyst estimate is that it smells like a wild ass guess
and nothing more.
In related news The Register is reporting
that Sony PSP Wi-Fi hotspots will be going live in the U.K tomorrow. Sony has not looked like the innovation leader for some time and has repeatedly taken its queues from Nintendo. Its handheld Wi-Fi hotspots are only the latest in a long string of copy-cat moves from Sony. The article goes on to mention, "with only 11 sites [in the UK], perhaps 'network' isn't the right word, particularly given the 7,500 hotspots that are part of rival Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection for the DS"
Coming second to the party often is not a bad position. You get to see what works and what doesn't and adopt only the things that do. Innovating is risky. Making new things often means taking terrible risks. It looks like right now those risks are paying off, but who knows what the future holds. Maybe you do?
Video Games used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress
Business Week is running a story
( warning: BW doesn't render worth a damn in Firefox ) about a doctor at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego using games to recreate some of the stresses of combat to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. The technology used in many games have had serious applications for some time. Our buddies at CMP run the Serious Games Summit
, a conference for academics, policy makers and game developers to get together and share ideas about the non-entertainment benefits of games. Historically games have been used for education and training. This is one of the first instances of games as therapy and it is not surprising that it has come out of the military. Whether you love em or hate em the US Army has had a very forward thinking approach to games. The Army is well known for developing games for training and recruitment
. I am not quite sure of the efficacy of the PSTD treatment, but it is nice to see what we love so much being explore to solve real
Where else could games benefit society? Other than keeping everyone indoors and not out in the street hitting each other with lead pipes.
At least they call it a rumor
Xbox Evolved which is ... whatever ... is running a story
claiming Call of Duty 4 and Project Gotham Racing 4 are in the works
"According to an anonymous source with close ties to the videogame industry, two fourth installments of very popular franchises are in the work with the possible release dates of late 2007. "
This is about the thinnest piece of journalistic drivel I have ever read. A retail clerk at Gamestop is more in the know that this, "anonymous source with close ties to the videogame industry".
At least the clerk is ... well ... in the industry. You know. Selling games to people. This source
only has close ties. I can only imagine what these close ties are. Maybe the source has a cousin who is a retail clerk at Gamestop.
The sad thing is the story is most likely true. Both franchises are mightily successful and there is a strong probability that the developers have begun some preliminary work for follow on titles.
Come visit us in Austin
The MobyGames gang will be exhibiting at Austin Game Conference
September 6 - 8 in ... well ... Austin TX. We will be handing out MobyGames junk, talking games, getting feedback and basically just having fun. If you are not attending the conf ... well ... you should. It is a small venue and intimate venue without the armed PR phalanx of E3. Obviously the focus tends to be Ausincentric so expect a lot talk about MMOG, Wireless and Casual gaming. If you are going we would love to say hi. Tell us everything we are doing wrong. If you have something specific in mind, drop us a line
if you want to schedule a more formal meeting.
Wii Nov 3? Definitely maybe.
Pro-G in a blitz stellar of journalistic integrity is reporting
source at an "anonymous"
leading third party publisher has confirmed a November 3 Wii launch date in the UK.
Eurogamer sheds a little more light on the situation and reports
on the source of the Wii launch date speculation. Apparently EA
recently showed a November 3 release date for a number of Wii titles. To further fuel speculation the dates for the PS3 versions of the games were left “To Be Confirmed”
. EA has since fixed the oversight and announced,
“The date was put there by mistake and it is now listed as 4th Quarter 2006. We will make an announcement shortly and with the US already confirming their date we expect to be around the same time but it’s still TBC. Naturally it goes without saying the Wii release date was also an error and not an insight into the console’s launch.”
Video Game Bloggers provides some interesting insight
to the Wii launch date speculation. "One, assume it was an error and wait until in or before September until Nintendo announce the Wii launch dates officially; Two, make a list that point to this being an accidental leak on EA’s part and let you judge for yourself…"
VGB maintains a list of datapoints about the Wii and its prospective launch date;
- Nintendo plans to release the Wii before the PS3’s November 11-17 launches.
- Nintendo plans to release the Wii in Europe 10 days after the Japanese release.
- Nintendo consoles always get launched on a Friday in Europe (November 3rd).
- Looking at the in June started Wii production & historical Nintendo October-November launches, analysts expect October to see the US Wii release.
We know that Sony has started fabricating PS3 units
which does put them slightly behind Nintendo. As compared to the 2000 launch of PS2 this go round seems ... well ... a little less organized. It may not be important news, but it sure is interesting. In this console foot race where is Microsoft and its one year head start?
Open the Portal!
With the release of Half Life: Episode 2, Valve
is also planning to release a new game whose development name is Portal. Similar to Prey
, Portal will feature, obviously, a portal system. However unlike Prey, the game's portals will be completely user made. The point of the game as it seems is to simply get from point A to point B. However Portal acts a puzzle game, where you must use your a two-way portal gun to come up with extremely clever solutions to problems. For example, you may have to use the portal gun to create a portal above a switch, and then create the other portal below a box or object, which will then flow through the portal and onto the switch. This is just one of the simplest tasks this gun can perform. Many trailers have been posted on numerous websites, but for your simplest viewing pleasure, here is the trailer
on YouTube. They say that the game will connect into the HL universe somehow, though at this point it is unclear.
If you looked at the trailer and start drooling, there is a way to enjoy the goodness of the portal gun before the release of HL:E2. The game was designed (or so I have heard) by the team who did Narbacular Drop. Narbacular Drop plays almost similar to Portal, allowing you to create your own two-way portals to solve puzzle, with the exception of simpler level design and graphics. So many people are rushing to get a taste of what the Portal game will be like, that Narbacular Drop's site has exceeded its bandwidth. The game can be downloaded at one of the game's mirrors
If you looked at the game and thought "gimmick", well you aren't alone. Many people think that once the novelty of the idea wears off, it will just be another feature.
I however think that this is pretty innovative. Valve brought us the gravity gun, which isn't gimmicky at all. In fact, they practically based an entire game around it. The idea of this gun being incorporated in a real FPS is mind-boggling. The game would have limitless possibilities. I can't wait to see what types of weird puzzles this game can throw at us with a portal gun.
Team Fortress 2 trailer released
You've heard it here, along with probably everywhere else, Valve
has released a teaser trailer for Team Fortress 2. The trailer is available from the usual suspects of download sites including 3D Gamers
TF2 is one of those long awaited games. I remember reading about Valve working on it way back in 1999. It is not quite as bad as 3D Realms
' Duke Nukem Forever which has been "in the works"
Every so often developers experiment with cel-shaded graphics from auto modellista
. Right now cell shading seems to be back in vogue with the release of A Scanner Darkly. Some are calling TF2's character models cel-shaded. I am not so sure. What do you think?
The Godfather of the Liverpool software scene dies.
Jul 21, 2006
Submitted by Geffel (22)
, known to some as the 'Godfather of the Liverpool software scene' has died at home, on July 18th 2006.
Steven had been battling lung cancer for over a year.
Steve was a larger than life character and will be sorely missed by anyone that worked with him in the industry.
His contribution to games dated back to the early eighties. He worked for such well known companies as MicroProse
, Denton Design
. Steve was a pioneer and a maverick, and will be remembered for his uncompromising nature, his Scouse wit and his enormous laugh.
Next Generation is running a story
that takes a fond look at some of the failed consoles of yesteryear. Each one of these lovable losers had a profound impact on gaming today and still has a hard core, albeit somewhat small, following.
The story is a fun read, but pretty much states what we've known all along. All games, even the ones that are not blockbusters, are culturally and historical significant.
The Difficulty with Difficulty
The Armchair Empire has an editorial on gaming difficulty
, and boy is that not quite a topic to debate about...
Innovations like scalable difficulty allow enough tinkering and fine-tuning to satisfy most players, though it’s harder to brag, “Just totally owned that game in five hours – on a difficulty level customized to my tastes and preferences.” Prey’s new adaptable difficulty system, where the game becomes harder as the player gets better, seems like another great development, and maybe introduces a new level of strategy into games, gaming against the difficulty system (ie. What’s to stop a shrewd player from, say, playing poorly in a few early levels to make that later boss fight a little more manageable?)
I remember having heard about "adaptable difficulty" before, I seem to remember it from The Fall of Max Payne
and I definitely
read it about SiN: Episode One
, but either I'm impossibly gifted or shamefully lame and in any case the system just couldn't keep up with me, because I never found those games any hard nor especially smart --In the case of SiN: Ep1
I actually found the A.I. to be borderline braindead.
Then again, maybe I fell into that "gaming against the difficulty system" thing without noticing?
In any case, I think this is a really interesting topic to talk: Games seem to be becoming shorter and shorter, and to make matters worse, I usually find them disappointingly easy to beat. Psychonauts
is impossibly fun and fairly challenging, but it keeps steering me through the puzzles (And boss-fights/puzzles) with excessively revealing clues, which looks like it's treating me like a moron. Rogue Trooper
is a shooter I enjoyed immensely, but even the "Extreme Impossible Nightmare Dood!!!!!11"
or whatever difficulty level you unlock upon beating the game is ridiculously easy. Tomb Raider: Legend
is real fun, but it's also stupidly easy and short, something even more noticeable when you take the challenge of the "time trials", which shows that most of the 12 or so levels can be clocked in about 10 minutes each.
Does everybody feel like this or is it just me? Do you believe in Prey
's promises? Anybody got to try it already? What do we do with difficulty then?
Sony will start stockpiling PS3 units this month
Forbes is reporting
that Taiwanese microelectronic manufacturer Asustek Computer, known in the US as Asus, will start delivering PS3 units to Sony this month. The report goes on to state that shipments will start at 200k per month and rise to 2 million by October. Not one to put all its eggs in one basket Sony will also use another Taiwanese firm, Hon Hai Precision Industry, to manufacture PS3 systems.
Hon Hai is often referred to as the "biggest company you never heard of". They are responsible for making many of the computer and consumer electronics for such gold label companies as Dell, Apple, Cisco, Sony and Nokia.
Obviously the PS3 pipeline is ramping up. Will Sony be plagued with the same supply problems as the Xbox 360? Will the high price be enough so that everyone who could afford one will be able to get one? Could we even see a PS3 glut on our hands come Christmas time?
Mama wants her stories
As reported, blogged, posted and noted just about everywhere, but probably best to read it for yourself on his blog
, outspoken game designer David Jaffe
has decided that making games with stories suck. It's just too hard. Games with stories are great to play, but his interest lies more with pure gameplay.
I really liked God of War
. It was one of those purchases I made long after I thought I had put away the PS2 for good. About the only game Brian or I play with any level of consistency on the PSP is Lumines
. Is this what we should expect from Jaffe's upcoming PSP title? What about God of War II? What is Jaffe's "real"
role in that project? Does this smack slightly of Hollywood and star directors leaving after the first installment in a franchise?
Too much of a good thing?
Gaming Bits is reporting
's upcoming Dead Rising is too gruesome for the German public. The USK will not rate the game, thus effectively banning it in Germany.
I played a demo of the game at E3. The level of violence is extremely high, as there is little else to do in the game but hack and slash zombies. However does this really warrant a ban?
Aw shoit, not again
So this was posted on /. so I am loath to post it here, but the article is just so wrong I just can't help myself. Our friends over at GameDaily ( honest, I know Mark and he is a good guy ), have an Op-Ed
piece running saying the "The Video Game Business Is Broken "
Is it me or has the game industry supposedly been broken since ... well ... 1972? Ok the dice and paper game industry is pretty much ... well if not broken .. pretty ill. Comic books, and I LOVE comic books, are kinda broken. Games?!?! No way. Anyone else agree?
Rare Interview with Game Designer Roberta Williams of Sierra On-Line
Adventure Classic Gaming has posted an interview
with game designer Roberta Williams
. Williams is best known as the creator of King's Quest
among others. In what is likely her first interview in eight years, Williams speaks about her game design philosophy, her career retrospect with Sierra On-Line
, her view of the current state of adventure games, and what life holds for her in the future.
Games are up in the US
As reported all over the place, but probably best at our friends at Gamasutra, U.S. Game Sales Jump 25% In June
. Hardware was up quite a bit and software alone was up 15%. Xbox 360 hardware sales still lag sales of PS2 which just goes to show how price sensitive US consumers are. My guess is this bodes well for Wii and horribly for the outrageously priced ( yet I am still going to get one ) PS3.
In a related note to the widely predicted Wii preeminence, EA fully commits to supporting the Nintendo Wii platform reports
Reuters. Shares of EA rise on the news. It appears the market expects the Wii to be a major platform.
At last tally the worldwide video game market was $30 billion. Compared to Music at $40 billion and movies at $90 billion, games are a ways off. The big difference is the growth numbers. Music sales have declined worldwide from $60 billion six years ago to $40 billion last year. Movies are relatively flat. The video game market grows at 4-6% in an off year and 17-20% in a good one. At this rate games will easily surpass movies and everything else for that matter in a relatively short period of time.
I didn't do it
Yahoo! News is reporting
that 11 year old Jacob Woods found an adult ( as in porn ) movie instead of the game he supposedly purchased. The father Tony Woods has contacted an attorney.
I imagine it went something like this:
Kid buys an UMD porno off his friend or off the horrible, evil Internet. His father catches him.
Father, "Boy, where the f@*! did you get that? I am gonna skin yer hide."
Boy, "It came in the video game box. Honest. I didn't even know it was a bad movie."
Father, "I'm calling my lawyer. Someone is going to pay."
They claim it was purchased new at a local Wal-Mart and was sealed in the box. Now I have bought hundreds, if not thousands of brand new records, CDs, DVDs and games. Never once was a disk missing or incorrect. Has this actually happened to anyone? Is this kid trying to pull a fast one?
It had great special effects
Our buddies at Game Set Watch posted an interview
screenwriter DB Weiss
. Weiss is the author of Lucky Wander Boy
, which many felt did a good job portraying gaming culture in fiction. Can he do a good job with the Halo screenplay?
I feel there hasn't been a good video game movie ever. While it is true games do have stories. If you look at Halo of the 30-40 hours of gameplay I would be surprised if there were more than 15 minutes of dialogue. That is awfully thin, even for an action movie. Can this one be different, or is it another check your brain at the door flick cashing in on all the fanboys?
A slight change in policy for online releases
Jul 14, 2006
Submitted by WildKard (12184)
Mobygames has been trying to document as many different games accurately as possible. Some of those games don't actually come in a box and are distributed entirely online through direct downloads or from unlock keys. Until recently, the release info for these types of games has usually been the country in which the website was hosted, or the company was based.
This was confusing, so the green light's been given on something else: There's now a new "Worldwide" selection that can be chosen when you're selecting a release date country. Note that this should not be used for traditionally boxed copies of games where different editions (or publishers) may be used for different parts of the world.... even if they release them all on the same day.
So in short, use "Worldwide" release country for games sold online. Feel free to submit corrections to previously approved content in the database to reflect this new standard.
Youth Crime is down and it's Video Games fault
Filed under, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure"
, that bastion of journalistic integrity, GameRevolution is speculating
that violent crime is down amount young people ( 14-24 ) largely due to video games. While I would very much like to believe their hypothesis I am a little skeptical of the actual causality between games and violence for good or ill. Violent crime is down across the board, across ages and across genders. Most crime unfortunately is committed by the young and so one would see the most precipitous drop in crime among those age groups. There is obviously some macro trend at work. However, I think it is much more complicated that a simple single factor. There are some obvious positive forces in gaming. Child's Play
is one that comes immediately to mind. Are video games the midnight basketball of the new century? What do you think?
I guess Mark Rein doesn't agree
Obviously having heard MobyGames was working on a feature about episodic gaming, Mark Rein
VP at Epic Games
calls episodic gaming a “broken business" during his keynote at the Develop Conference in Brighton, England reports Next Gen
. He also goes on to claim Intel “ruined the PC gaming business.”
The man is entitled to his opinions and the future of gaming will definitely play out over the next so many years. The statement that gets me is, "Intel ruined the PC gaming business.” I cannot even fathom how someone can make this connection. PC game sales are down. I personally believe it is largely due to piracy. You can hop onto BitTorrent and grab an ISO of just about any PC game out there, along with key generators and software to emulate an optical drive. Brian thinks PC games slumped because it is just too hard and expensive to keep up with the myriad hardware requirements. I pretty much have a PC dedicated to gaming. It is an expensive hobby and possibly one fewer and fewer people are willing to afford in the light of the next gen consoles. A rational person would probably believe it is a combination of the two.
How Intel had anything to do with this is anyone's guess.
We've been playing them all along
Contributing writer Ronald Diemicke
had a chance to talk with a few developers about the future of gaming and wrote an in-depth look
at what has been on many game developers minds; Episodic Gaming. With this next generation of systems, game development is becoming increasingly expensive, requiring large teams of talent people and taking longer and longer to finish a game. Valve
's answer has been to make smaller games quicker as demonstrated with Half-Life 2: Episode One
. Is this the future? Or is it already here?Digg me!
PS3 to play all Playstation titles?
Widely and wildly reported ... or blogged ... on The Register and elsewhere, PS3 to play all PSOne, PS2 games
. This little tibit was gleaned from an interview
on Electronic News with Tom Reeves, VP of semiconductor and technology services at IBM. Most of the interview is about IBM's new chip technology and the Sony/IBM/Toshiba Cell processor. Way at the end Mr. Reeves says, "Sony is very concerned about quality and backward compatibility. They want to get this right. They tested game after game after game. When there were about 40 Playstation 1 games that didn’t work properly, that didn’t pass their criteria for quality."
Some have interpreted this to mean that of the 7,000 Playstation titles
only 40 will not work on the PS3. However Tom really didn't give a number of games tested. Just, " game after game after game"
. Did they test 80 games and determine that a 50% compatibility rate is not acceptable? Does it play using the original media or do you need a service like Playstation Live Arcade or whatever they are going to call it? In the context of the interview Tom is really talking about the fab quality of the chip. Was Sony using the Playstation games just as part of a test suite for the chip with no intention of releasing them commercially. Mr. Reeves never mentioned anything about PS2 games. Where did such a claim come from?
Ipod killed the video star
According to the Seattle Times, Microsoft's upcoming portable doohickey plans on being more than an "Ipod killer"
. Code named : ARGO it aims to kill the PSP and DS
as well. Is it me or does Microsoft just seem to have too much money laying around? I always lose track, but I believe Microsoft is sitting on something like $53 billion dollars in cash. I am not sure what they are saving it for, but most sensible folks would go out and spend it on something. In the business world this would be acquiring other companies. Heck MS could almost buy Boeing if they wanted to. Be the largest Aerospace-Software company in the world instead of just the largest Software company. That or give the shareholders the cash and let them invest it ... or spend it on an Ipod ... or ... whatever. Alas Microsoft feels that the best way to spend its cash is to build divisions that lose buckets of money. It is estimated that MS has lost $2 billion on its games endeavor. Of course with Sony looking that way it is that $2B bet may turn out pretty good in the end.
Not content to just lose $2B Microsoft is widely rumored and now confirmed to be working on a portable device. The problem is the Ipod is near perfect. When I owned my first Rio MP3 player I could barely fit a CD on the thing, memory was expensive and the doohickey looked ... well ... totally fugly. If anyone was going to create the dominant portable music player this was the time. I can only imagine what was on the Ipod product development team's whiteboard, "lots of songs, not ugly". Seems obvious now, but back then it was considered "revolutionary"
Here is the Microsoft product development team's whiteboard, "lots of songs, not ugly, plays games". What they seem to be describing is the PSP. The PSP is beautiful, plays videos, music, games and connects to the Internet. The problem is that ARGO is already the PSP killer, because the PSP is dead. Well ... ok ... not dead. However, I own a PSP, I love my PSP and I have no idea where the damn thing is in my house. I haven't bothered to look for it since I really have no reason to use it. Between the bad games and infuriating load times the PSP is a horrible portable gaming device. The DS is a great little portable game system; small, cheap, with wonderful games you can play instantaneously in the 5-10 minutes you have waiting for the subway. The DS embraces the slightly Japanese aesthetic of, "less is more"
. This just does not seem to be Microsoft's way.
I have a sneaking feeling the ARGO will play music, movies, games and connect to the Internet. ARGO will probably also be the Homer Simpson car for regular guys
Hell is other people with your Source Code...
Gamers With Jobs
has a post up about the alleged theft of the source code for 'Hellgate:London' - the first person shooter diablo-esq game that's been being worked on for quite a while.
How does your source code get stolen? You'd think that after the Valve/HL2 incident everyone would have put a bit more into the network security budget. Is it negligence or just misfortune? I feel bad for them - but I'm still trying to decide exactly how much so. I know if I were working on something that had millions of dollars worth of work put into it that I'd make hella
sure that it was protected with every possible measure I could take.
What's the next step for a company who's just had their source code robbed (besides added network security and calling the police/FBI) ?
Yet another Top 10 ... or ... what the hell is wrong with us?
Cnet recently released its Top 10
of the last 10 years. After perusing the list I must say, surprisingly I am pretty much in agreement with their picks. Half-Life
and The Sims
all make my lift. As a point of comparison I decided to check out the MobyGames Top 25 Games of All Time
. What is weird is that of the top ten, nine are PC games and seven are LucasArts
What gives? Is this an artifact of MobyGames PC roots? Is there some adverse selection going on? People come to MobyGames because we are strong in a specific area ... say ... LucasArts PC games for instance. Since a lot of the visitors are fans of that specific genre obviously the rankings reflect this bias. Is this a problem? If so, how could we correct it?
Halo 3 Pre-order
Yup. You heard it right. BestBuy is taking pre-orders
for Halo 3 over 8 months ahead of time. They estimate it shipping around March 1, 2007. Of course knowing how tricky games releases are it could be later, or earlier or whatever. BestBuy has also, oh so creatively, taken one of the early stills from the Halo 3 preview video and slapped it on what looks kinda like a Xbox 360 cover.
The question is what is the point in pre-ordering games? Occasionally there are shortages. However, I could manufacture a game DVD ( provided it was legal ) in my house. A DVD burner, a printer and a little injection molded plastic is all that it would take. Compared with a console system which has thousands of parts and hundreds of different vendors all a game requires for someone to pull a lever and out poops thousands of copies of the game. Shouldn't Microsoft just make one copy of Halo 3 for every Xbox 360 in existence? For third party publishers there is a significant manufacturing cost since that is where they pay the licensing fee. This means the publisher has to pay the console manufacturer roughly $8-10 per copy pressed. To maximize profits publishers try to accurately predict how many games will sell and when. Yet, this is Bungie and they are Microsoft. Bungie doesn't have to pay the fee ... or if they do it is just corporate funny money that moves from one column to another in some accountants ledger somewhere.
I for one am not pre-ordering the game. I fully expect to be completely up to my eye balls in available copies when Halo 3 does eventually come out. What about you?
The Columbine Diaries
is among the many sites reporting on the release of the "Columbine Diaries." These notes, written by school shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, contain references to first person shooters Doom
and Duke Nukem 3D
and include lines like, "It'll be like the LA riots, the Oklahoma bombing, WWII, Vietnam, Duke and Doom all mixed together." With major media outlets re-reporting this connection are we set for more anti-video game vituperation? CNN links to the released pages here
Slight policy change on cover art
Increasingly games have been distributed to customers outside of the traditional retail channels. Game are available for download from the Internet and using ESD packages like Steam. Games for consoles are and increasingly will become available for download from services like Xbox Live Arcade and whatever Sony and Nintendo plan on offering. Cell phone games are almost exclusively available for download.
Historically MobyGames has recorded the cover art of the physical packaging of the games in the database. However many of these games no longer have a physical package. To accurately reflect this we have added a new packaging type:
Electronic Cover Art
Games that this applies to would be games where there is no actual media and packaging. Games like Cell Phone games, Xbox Live, PC games that are only available through download, and other platforms to be added in the future I'm sure.
* Cover art for these games should come from the official publisher/developer.
* Since there is no actual package a "digital" image is acceptable.
* Some companies provide a type of "electronic cover" for their games, these are acceptable in the highest original resolution possible - do not resize up or down.
* Some companies provide these on the site and/or in press kits.
* Some companies do not provide these "covers" at all, currently no other image is acceptable.
* Source of images is a requirement.
* We are looking into accepting screenshots of the title image as an acceptable image in lieu of a "cover" if no cover image exists.
* Images from sites other than companies involved with the game - fan site or media site is not acceptable.
As with everything with MobyGames this is a work in progress. We will try to adapt to the changing landscape to accurately document every game ever made.
Just spell my name right.
Sony, never one to follow, is releasing the PSP in white. The companies new ad campaign in the Netherlands is drawing complaints of racism reports
CNN Money. Critics say the ads of a bare navel white woman grabbing a black woman in a possible sexually aggressive pose as, "horrifically ill-advised".
Ill-advised or not Sony has managed on getting us ( whatever we are ) talking about it ... and ... for free. Additionally these billboards are in the Netherlands ... THE NETHERLANDS!! This is the place where prostitution, drugs and all sorts of other stuff is ... well ... if not totally legal, socially tolerated. I think the people of the Netherlands can handle a little multi-racial mild B&D without much trouble. Heck I think I remember seeing full nudity in an ad for eye cream or soap on TV while I stayed in Amsterdam a few years back.
Is all this hoopla for nothing? Has Sony cynically created a "controversial ad" just to get some free press? In this increasingly global world can or should a company make local marketing or does everything have to speak to a world audience?
The Real Unreal Tournament ....
So... often my mind wanders to subjects of gaming and how they operate now and will in the future... Pro gaming is just one of those subjects that crosses my mind about every 3 to 6 months at which point I get into a discussion with someone who things I'm out of my mind.
But I was just thinking back to and article that had come up a while back about video games being brought up to the Olympic committee for inclusion into the games in China... and I can't help but wonder "What would it take for Pro Gaming to be taken seriously?"
Maybe the question I should be asking is "Will it ever be taken seriously?" Does anyone actively think that people in American or Europe will ever go to a stadium or sit in a pub watching televised video game competitions in the same way they watch the world cup?
Is it a matter of just waiting for the right people with the right money? Or is it about having the right game that everyone can understand visually just by watching it? Or maybe we need that first sports pioneer with charisma to get people invigorated about it?
Or is it just a pipedream?
What do you guys think?
Xbox Live Arcade
So after much pondering and talks Xbox Live Arcade has been added as a tech spec for Xbox and Xbox 360. So if you want to add a game that is on Arcade you would submit the game as normal under either Xbox or 360 depending on what one the game in question is available on. Make sure to add the tech spec Xbox Live Arcade.
64DD and the Satellaview (BS-X) will be also be add shortly, entries for games released on these should enter like above.
Me n Supermen
Have both returned. I from Los Angeles, Superman from where ever he went. Over the weekend I did manage on seeing Superman Returns
. A friend who works in the film industry insisted on seeing it. He's been banging away on Warner Brothers films for a while believed it important to support the company. I personally felt he just really wanted to see Superman and didn't want to let on he is that nerdy. The movie in my opinion was not great. Superman is not a complex character. He's basically a good guy with no faults which makes him pretty boring to watch. I found myself rooting for Lex and was extremely disappointed when he lost. There were also a lot of messianic parallels in the movie, which is frankly just not to my taste. The film however is technically excellent. It is summer and in many places of the world it is also pretty darn hot. I imagine there are worse ways to spend an afternoon.