Game Developers Cooperative?

I was asked the other day by an interviewer about the past and future of manifesto games, with which I have been glad to have been involved. As I was telling him, though, that a portal dedicated to indie games is redundant by definition in the current environment, where a thousand flowers are definitely blooming, it occurred to me that what is needed now isn’t a distribution channel, but cooperative representation for marketing and business development. Continue reading “Game Developers Cooperative?”

Another Streamed Video Game Play

Today, Dean Takahashi wrote up a new game distribution technology, called OnLive, that’s announcing at the Game Developers Conference this evening. He feels that it has the potential to destroy retail, with a new technical model of games executed on the server side, enabling gameplay (video) instantly streamed back to the player. This may be a valid threat to retailers, and it’s a danger I’ve warned retailers about for years. Specifically, I first warned of it because PS3’s cell technology seemed focused on the fast video decompression necessary to this sort of system. But, despite the breathless adoration of Venturebeat, I would point out three things: Continue reading “Another Streamed Video Game Play”

The Moral Difference Between iPhone and xbox: The Gabo! Problem.

I have been pondering today the question of why it so bothers me that Gabo!, by Yoot Saito (of Seaman fame), was rejected by Apple for iPhone.  The obvious issue is that it’s a curious and problematic situation when corporate entities own the tools of creative expression, and can stop distribution of an individual’s work. And this case is pivotal, as I don’t believe you can argue that his work isn’t art on some level, which could make it the Lady Chatterly’s Lover of the digital/hardware-approved content era. But, for me, it’s also more subtle, as I have long argued with more indie friends that the game console model of content control is fair because a) the hardware is subsidized, and hence the manufacturer is giving you better hardware than you’d buy for yourself for this use, in support of software sales and b) it’s focused primarily on commercial games, and not really a common carrier, as the PC serves as such an appropriate and parallel vehicle for content transmission. From a functional perspective, it never seemed to me that a non-commercial developer would bother putting in the time to learn the tools to put out a product onto a platform so customized to expensive development, and having an installed base so focused on gamers. This situation has changed slightly with xna and digital distribution, but still, developing for the console remains something that is logically targeted at gamers, under firm existing expectations on the part of creator and end-user. Continue reading “The Moral Difference Between iPhone and xbox: The Gabo! Problem.”

Why are New MMO Games Dropping like Flies?

Hellforge has an interesting post up now about the causes of several subscription MMOs tanking in the past year. The author posits poor execution as the cause, and while I don’t disagree that that was an element in sales numbers, I’d suggest that even if these efforts had been supported by adequate execution it would have been a pyrrhic victory. These games simply could not have succeeded on the business model under which they were conceived. Continue reading “Why are New MMO Games Dropping like Flies?”

New Download Tech, Same as the Old Download Tech

Techcrunch is highlighting a startup called Baseshield that’s created a marketplace for software that downloads into a virtual environment, protecting the user experience and keeping them safe from malware, etc, and ensuring compatibility. It does look like a well executed initiative, and I hope that it ends up being significant, but Techcrunch seems unaware that that there have been similar technologies around for about ten years. Exent, Yummy, and Into Networks all have/had their own versions, and I’m sure there are a few others that escape me at the moment.

What is a Game Console?

As more diverse boxes come into the living room, not least those supporting Netflix streaming service (of which 360 is but one), and PC content creators show themselves significantly more agile in adopting new models for game content,  the question of what next generation game consoles will look like only gets more interesting. Some recent optimism about the current PC gamer marketplace is probably overstated, but it’s a curious time right now. -Especially compelling to ponder after the latest add-on to games’ subscription model leviathan. Continue reading “What is a Game Console?”

New Game Consoles, Old Game Console(?)

Silly new Brazilian console sounds like old silly American Console, but not quite as hopeless. -Cheaper to build, cheaper to buy, and probably didn’t manage to waste $73 million on the way to (not) releasing it. Interesting that, historically, Phantom did go through a semi-but-not-really credible stage, where actual game industry folks commissioned creation of a sorta neat lapboard/keyboard and perhaps (although I doubt it) streaming technology, and now Phantom seems to be sort of releasing these as products. A problem with Phantom from the start was that it wanted to be a premium device, but always consisted of elements that had already been better enabled by other entities. Hence, the threat was that if Phantom actually launched, and succeeded, a competitor could be put together with an afternoon of phone calls to vendors (Exent, Alienware, Alphagrip, hmm, what else…)