Posts made in January, 2011

What Today’s Top Games Reveal About Us

What Today’s Top Games Reveal About Us

Earlier this month, the UKIE–that’s The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment–published charts of the best-selling video games of 2010. Obviously, the tastes of UK audiences are going to differ slightly from those of an American audience (or a Canadian audience, as Canada slumps between the two cultures like a bastard child). But by using these numbers, we can make some generalized observations about the state of the industry in...

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Storytelling and Games: Time to Get Serious

Storytelling and Games: Time to Get Serious

Warren Spector, Mickey Mouse’s current foster daddy, believes modern game design is lacking thanks to an emphasis on improving visuals instead of diversifying combat and developing worthwhile in-game storylines. “I’m disappointed by the fact that we still focus solely on combat mechanics and rendering techniques, at the expense of other things we could be devoting energy and effort to,” Spector said in a recent interview with Develop....

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Best Nintendo 3DS Games: 2011 Edition

Best Nintendo 3DS Games: 2011 Edition

Nintendo World 2011 over in Japan solidified some of the mistier elements of the Nintendo 3DS. For instance, we now know which games will launch with the handheld–at least across the sea. We still have little idea about which games are going to accompany the 3DS through its American launch in March, but we do have a general idea of what’s coming to the Nintendo 3DS in time, and it’s all very exciting. The movies, trailers, and screen shots...

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What Defines “Success” In the Games Industry?

What Defines “Success” In the Games Industry?

Success in the video games industry is usually measured by sales numbers. The faster those numbers are racked up, the greater the perceived success. Roughly 5.6 million copies of Call of Duty: Black Ops sold in 24 hours? Congratulations Activision, you have a smash hit on your hands! Medal of Honor sold a measly 500,000 units in one day? Ohhh, better start digging in your medicine cabinet for those cyanide pills, EA. No, long-term sales mean nothing: All that...

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Is it Time for Kinect’s Critics to Eat Crow?

Is it Time for Kinect’s Critics to Eat Crow?

The holiday rush is over, and the frozen white stretch of January is sprawled out before us. Let’s cheer ourselves up by recalling the jollier (and more hectic) period we left behind. Video game holiday sales were worryingly slow at first, but they picked up at the last minute. We can already determine 2010’s Christmas retail victor: Microsoft and its Kinect sensor, which sold 8 million units within 60 days. (Murmurs of approval, applause.) Not a bad...

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How Video Game Retail Has Survived

How Video Game Retail Has Survived

HMV is a music and video game retailer that’s popular across commonwealth countries like the UK, Canada, and Hong Kong (Free trivia: “HMV” stands for “His Master’s Voice”). Unfortunately for the chain, its popularity is waning: In the wake of poor profits through 2010, 60 HMV stores will be shut down by the end of 2011. HMV doesn’t command a strong presence in the United States, but maybe the chain’s loss of profits...

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The Problem with Social Games

The Problem with Social Games

The fish are belly up, the crops withered. The restaurants have failed and the cities gone stagnant. My empires and my superheroes… all forgotten. I surf Facebook on a wave of destruction and neglect. Should I feel guilty? The idea of playing games online with my friends is certainly appealing, which is a big reason that I have spent virtual lifetimes in MMOs. So the idea of a “social” game should really interest me, but does the current crop of social games...

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Can Zynga Keep Succeeding?

Can Zynga Keep Succeeding?

The dawn of 2011 belongs to Zynga. Its most recent time-gulper, CityVille, became Facebook’s most popular app after a mere six weeks of existence. The game, which lets players build their own city and visit their friends’ metropolises, reached a regular player base of 86.2 million by January 4. What range of feelings does CityVille‘s success inspire within your heart? Happiness? Irritation? Despair? It’s hard to feel neutral about Zynga; the...

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Can Multiplayer Hurt Games in the End?

Can Multiplayer Hurt Games in the End?

In December, Bungie released its initial batch of player stats for Halo: Reach. Conclusion: People sure like killing each other over Xbox Live Arcade. 33 billion times over, in fact. Since Halo: Reach hit North American store shelves in September, the FPS has seen 1.3 billion games played, which adds up to 24,000 years of play time(!). GamesIndustry.biz breaks down the numbers further, but what it comes down to is that Halo fans–and fans of FPS multiplayer in...

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Top Games Industry Predictions 2011

Top Games Industry Predictions 2011

When a new year begins, those of us who enjoy games feel a compulsion to go all digital Nostradamus and predict the industry events that will mark up the stretch of virgin days ahead. Sometimes we hit the mark, sometimes we’re way off, and sometimes it seems unlikely that God himself is capable of foreseeing some of the strange twists that fall upon the games industry in the course of a year. What will 2011 bring? Who knows? None of us are seers. But by...

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