Posts made in September, 2010

Why So Many Developers Are Dying

Why So Many Developers Are Dying

Video games need some kind of a budget before they’re able to blink into existence. A game like Halo: Reach costs tens of millions of dollars to produce, distribute, and advertise. The three-person developer team putting together the latest viral hit for the iPhone App Store also needs to pay rent on the hovel they rent at the edge of downtown. Even the teenage kid tinkering with some Pong clone needs a steady influx of Doritos and Mountain Dew to keep...

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Indie Game Studios: A Bunch of Sellouts?

Indie Game Studios: A Bunch of Sellouts?

Xbox Live’s best-selling independent game of 2009 (based on connectivity) was Ska Studios’ I Made a Game With Zombies In It! Or, if you demand accuracy, “I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMB1ES 1N IT!!!1. Launched in August 2009, I Made a Game With Zombies In It! sold 160,000 copies by January 2010. Its popularity can be attributed to a winning mix of humor, mindless shooting, and an attractive price tag of $1. Ska Studios’ founder and the game’s...

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Can Digital Downloads Save GameStop?

Can Digital Downloads Save GameStop?

In July of 2009, gaming retail giant GameStop claimed that it saw no major threat in digital distribution, and that brick-and-mortar stores would be customers’ go-to center for games until at least 2014. But as Judge Danforth said in The Crucible, “A year is long.” In the summer of 2010 alone, GameStop took two big steps into digital distribution: It bought Kongregate, a highly popular hub for indie-made flash games, and it also began installing...

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Can PlayStation Move Survive?

Can PlayStation Move Survive?

A year or so before the Wii controller was unveiled, I had the chance to sit down with Satoru Iwata, president and CEO of Nintendo. As I expect every other reporter did that day, I bobbed and weaved with him about what was so “revolutionary” about the company’s next product – and why they were guarding that secret so closely instead of getting consumers excited about it. His answer always stuck with me. Competitors, he said, tend to copy the company’s...

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Motion Controls: A Bad Move for Gaming?

Motion Controls: A Bad Move for Gaming?

With Sony’s PlayStation Move now on sale and Microsoft’s Kinect coming soon, we recently connected with CNN to take a look at whether or not motion controls were the future – or even a wise move – for video games. You can see the results in recent story Will Motion Controls Reinvent Gaming?, which brings up a few worrying questions, at least from our perspective. Check out the list of a few key troubling issues below, and see just how many...

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Social Games: Why Designers Keep Defecting

Social Games: Why Designers Keep Defecting

Last June, I traveled to the new Zynga office near Baltimore and interviewed Brian Reynolds for a GamePro  feature. Interviews can be a little nerve-wracking for the writer conducting the one-on-one, but more often than not, the rule your mom taught you about bears applies to game developers too: They’re more scared of you than you are of them. Reynolds, however, was just the most cheerful and accommodating person I could ever have asked to interview. Which...

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How Do Web-Based MMOs Make Money?

How Do Web-Based MMOs Make Money?

When you go about your business on the Internet, you’re bound to come across a fistful of ads for browser-based massively multiplayer online games (MMOs). Many are “!!!FREE!!!” to play, and take place in fantasy realms bursting with dragons and treasure. The infamous ads for one online Civilization ripoff, Evony, go so far as to promise you doe-eyed maidens who spend a lot of time on their knees, their generous cleavage bopping about. Hint: Evony...

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ESRB Ratings: Do They Work?

ESRB Ratings: Do They Work?

When you’re a kid, warnings of Mature Content exist to be skirted. Nothing feels cooler to a 12-year-old than chilling with your friends through a contraband R-rated movie. Never mind that the characters’ contorted expressions of agony are forever branded on the back of your eyeballs, or that you really have no idea what just happened between the male and female lead. You’ve initiated your own rite of passage. You are a grown-up. You can handle...

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Gaming’s Hottest New Business Model

Gaming’s Hottest New Business Model

Video game piracy may seem like it’s a plague, resulting in failed development studios, shuttered publishers and freefalling sales of leading PC and console games. But as we succinctly point out in recent CNN column Video Game Piracy: Is It Good for Business, free online downloads may actually be the answer to reinventing the gaming business. By lowering costs, enabling effortless access, prompting massive software pass-along and providing a range of tiered,...

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Is The Industry Being Focus-Tested to Death?

Is The Industry Being Focus-Tested to Death?

The creative process is inherently risky. It involves convincing other human beings that the picture, story, or idea your brain barfed up is worth a minute of their precious time. They might slow down to admire what you’ve done, or they might wave you off with a surly mutter. As for which occurrence is more common, consider that most artists don’t achieve any measure of popularity until they’ve become dust. Convincing someone that you’ve...

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