Passing this bill may deal a major blow to the video game community and subculture itself. If you or anyone you know lives in Oklahoma, please send a well-written letter to your state senators, or tell your friend to do so.
More info: Video Game Voters Network
Spread the Word: Send a Letter to OK residents
Hey there was a petition to get MobyGames to support the Spectrum and that worked. Who knows?
Well... Today was the second day of the Mobile and Online Games Forum and it really was a pretty good compliment to the setup of yesterday (although arguably less strong of a showing). It seemed to be more elaboration on the thoughts expressed yesterday, but that being said, today some people came who hadn't yesterday and its always interesting chatting with people who are into the gaming scene in different ways. Lots of varied sentiments were expressed ranging from the comparison of the flooded mobile games market to the Atari game boom of the '80s to trouble of trying to predict the level of industry growth for the next three years. However of the day, there were really two high points for me:
1) A representative of Konami told me that they would be putting some game music on iTunes in the next two months - which is very promising for the video game music market.
2) Chris Early, Studio Manager for the Microsoft Casual Games Group kind of got caught for a loop when news of Microsoft's purchase of Massive Inc. came up in the middle of a Q&A session just as the news broke on the net. It made for some pretty interesting spinning and recovery to say the least...
Overall a pretty good forum for discussion and I'm probably going to get to work shortly on compiling my notes into something that resembles coherent thought soon because I'm not quite sure how I was supposed to come away feeling about mobile gaming, especially considering I didn't know a whole lot to begin with. As an outsider looking in, I get the feeling they've got quite a ways to go before they'll reach any sort of stability.
Do you play cell phone games? What do you think.
Robert, Wade and Eric really helped to put the mobile and online games market in perspective. For someone who hasn't really followed the mobile or online game business market, they pretty much summed up the stop gaps and pitfalls of development for the respective platforms. Very thoughtful presentations and really will take a bit of time to digest. Overall though, it sounds like the mobile games market could use a hand in its business model and the games need to take better advantage of the platform's features ( IE voice, text messages, GPS and for some, camera abilities). Tomorrow should be just as interesting...
Project Gray Company
What exactly is this?
U.S. copyright law states that "copyrights owned by corporations are valid for 95 years from the date of first publication", meaning that we won't be seeing a video game have its copyright expired any time soon. Half-Life 2 was made in 2004, for example. If Vivendi doesn't shut down or they sell the game rights to another company, then HL2's copyright, as well as games that were released in 2004, won't expire until 2099. The legal mumbo-jumbo of it all is ridiculous, because we wouldn't exist by then.
The Gamesroom will be back, but only as a "fan site". I suspect that it would be the old one -- minus the downloads.
E3 is about a month away and already we're starting to see the first pre-E3 announcements. Games getting announced so that they can beat the E3 rush of news and announcements so that they don't get lost in the see of new games that everyone will be talking about.
Among the pre-show announcements are :
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance from Raven Software Frontlines: Fuel Of War from Kaos Studios Guitar Hero 2 from Harmonix C&C 3 from EA Destroy All Humans! 2 from Pandemic Studios Eragon from Amaze Entertainment TerraWars: New York Invasion from Tri Synergy Legend of Ares from Mgame Red Steel from Ubisoft Paris
And I'm sure I'm missing a bunch and those are just some from the last few days.
The trick is if you can announce yourself before hand, be the talk of town while the show is going on, AND be on everyone's minds after the show has come and gone; you're set and are in prime position to have your game do awesome.
That is... provided you can get your game out in a reasonable time.
But... does this maybe cause E3 to lose some of its luster? Wouldn't you rather be surprised about the titles coming out? Sometimes it just seems a bit much to be getting a whole month of a head start of covering games that are just going to get more detailed coverage in a month.
We decided to add Macintosh as a single platform and break out the various operating systems and versions in the attributes. No one is perfect. Even tough we have really poured over the system I am sure we have missed something. Please drop us a note and let us know what needs to be added, changed or dropped altogether. Start digging around your closet and dusting off those old games. We have a lot of Mac games to get into the system.
StarForce is going through a rough time. Recently, when Galactic Civilizations II was released and topped the American charts, without relying on copy protection, a StarForce administrator posted a torrent link to an illegal version of the game on the company's forum, with the message: Right now several thousands are downloading the pirated version from that web-site. Is it good for the sales? Unlikely. [sic] Good game surely would have the high sales rate even if it doesn't have any copy protection, but not because of that. Good protection is the tool, which increases the rate. The offending post was soon removed, but this move raged gamers worldwide, accusing StarForce of relying on mafia-style blackmail activities to run its business.
Ubisoft's move does not imply, however, that copy protection will disappear. Other, and hopefully less intrusive systems will be used. One of the reasons leading to this sudden move is probably the $5M class action suit Christopher Spence filed against Ubisoft for using Starforce DRM in their games.
Many industry leaders turned out including representatives from three of the largest players in the push for in game advertising, Massive Inc, Double Fusion, and Adscape Media. Also in attendance were the other parts of the equation, representatives from publishers like Vivendi Universal and Midway and from developers like Bioware. Talks ranged from the discussion of the latest in-game advertisement technology, to case studies about certain marketing campaigns to other ways for advertises to penetrate the gamer market. This thing goes deep. VERY deep. In a way, it’s scary. Today was a meeting of the minds to get the ball rolling even further on what advertising content you might see in and around games in the next couple years – and you had no say in it. Like most things, you’ll end up voting with your money. And the industry will correct itself.
Lets just hope it won’t take a Ford Focus being featured in Tam’ riel to get people in the industry to learn to be careful.
Anti-game activists are sure to throw their weight behind the claims from Dr. Sonya Brady from the University of California, San Francisco and Professor Karen Matthews from the University of Pittsburgh. According to the report, of 100 males aged between 18 and 21 asked to play either The Simpson's: Hit and Run or Grand Theft Auto III, those who were assigned the more violent game "exhibited greater increases in diastolic blood pressure from a baseline rest period to game play, greater negative affect, more permissive attitudes toward using alcohol and marijuana, and more uncooperative behavior in comparison with men randomly assigned to play The Simpsons".
The study, published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine concludes that violent video games lead to "permissive attitudes toward violence, alcohol use, marijuana use, and sexual activity without condom use".
Specifically: "only among participants with greater exposure to home and community violence, play of Grand Theft Auto III led to elevated systolic blood pressure in comparison with play of The Simpsons". And it continues: "Although youth growing up in violent homes and communities may become more physiologically aroused by media violence exposure, all youth appear to be at risk for potentially negative outcomes".
Please go ahead and show your support for MobyGames in the People's Voice Awards.
But not all games are created equal, as the Mobygames database itself will show, and ZDNet's Clive Thomson writes a quick piece on how the best-selling first person shooter are over the top and focus only on one thing, blood!. Discuss.
Here is where the tricky part comes in. The console system by itself is pretty worthless. As much as I LOVE my XBox 360 I would never buy the thing if there were not a few good games to play. People buy a new console to play games. The publishers make games for a specific console only if there is a sufficient number of them out in the wild for the publisher to make some money. It is chicken and egg problem, but if one manufacturer become the dominant system the rewards are huge. In business we call this a network externality.
Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo all want their system to be the dominant one. Microsoft has a huge advantage by being first to market. They have a whole year to sell systems before Sony launches the PS3. Of course Microsoft is squandering its lead with supply problems. The problem is first one of supply. Once a console is finalized that is pretty much the console that Sony or Microsoft will have to live with for the next generation cycle. They may be able to make slight modifications, but nothing fundamental that would affect how the game performs. A manufacturer basically wants to jam as much horsepower and functionality as possible to be competitive in the marketplace while still giving the publishers time to produce the first set of launch titles. This means that at launch the on hand supply and manufacturing capabilities are no where near demand.
So why is a simultaneous launch stupid? Well first it makes already chronic supply shortages even more acute. Instead of blasting out one type of console Sony or Nintendo will have to make a few different versions with different power requirements and video standards. This diminishes their economy of scale and ultimate lowers their initial manufacturing capacity. Demand may vary in different geographical regions. Five months after launch you still cannot get a Xbox 360 in the US. However in Japan there is a plentiful supply. Unless the console maker has a worldwide shortage the net effect is that there are fewer systems in the hands of gamers since the systems that go unsold in Japan could very easily be in the hands of gamers in the US. Second, games are published regionally. While the top AAA titles are published world wide on all systems the video game publishing business is still rather regional. The math is simple. As a publisher would you rather make a game that you can sell on 1 million systems all with the same language, all with the same regional tastes OR make a game you can sell on 1 million systems, but with three or four different languages with three different regional tastes. I know for a fact that Madden NFL 06 is more popular in the US than it is in Europe. I don't know why. It is a great game. Yet these regional preferences exist and publishers have to be aware of them.
What should Microsoft have done? The answer is simple. Microsoft should of launched the Xbox 360 in North America. The US is still the largest video game market, it is Microsoft's home territory and demand is incredibly high. Once Microsoft had fixed its capacity problem and dominated the US market it should move on to Europe and then possibly Asia. If you look at the most successful console launch in history, Sony's PS2, that is exactly what happened.
Right on! Really this is cool on two fronts. First, an obviously dumb law is overturned. Second, this ruling lends credence to the arguments that video gamess are art.
Every once in a while the good guys win.
Read more at News.com....
The poor sales could be for a number of reasons: a) The format only runs on the Sony PSP. The format cannot be played through any other storage device; b) The region-coding for DVD also applies for UMD, meaning that the word "Universal" is irrelevant; and c) UMD movies do not have an advantage over DVD. Other than the movie itself, it does not have the extra features. I believe many people buy DVDs because they enjoy the extra features.
Ed note: What do you think? Will the studios stop releasing films on UMD?