Articles of Interest

Way, way too much interesting news over the past ten days. Will be breaking things up into several posts. First:

  • Transcript of Will Wright’s amazing SXSW keynote. Just brilliant. Focuses on storytelling in games and on user-generated content. My favorite quote: “We could have the computer come to some understanding of the story the player is trying to tell… We can even present dramatic obstacles to achieving those goal states, and this amplifies the drama… If we can parse intended story, we can change the presentation, the lighting, music, events… I wish games were more like [the movie] Truman Show.” Interesting to contrast this talk with Warren Spector’s GDC presentation.
  • Interesting casual game statistics from GDC: Puzzle Pirates is reaping $100K/mo from subs, $250K from microtransactions. Club Pogo has 1.4M paying subscribers. Good news on both fronts.
  • Most of you have heard of Sony’s PS3 “Home” by now. Achievements meets Miis meets Flickr/YouTube, with ads. Honestly, a very cool initiative (how’s THAT for grudging praise!) Honest opinion: this will have little-to-no impact on Sony’s sales until they significantly drop the price of the PS3. “Home” (even assuming solid execution) is the kind of thing that existing customers love, but potential customers generally undervalue. Oh, LittleBigPlanet seems very cool, too.
  • Viacom sues Google over YouTube, and (unrelatedly), analysts reveal that YouTube only reaped $15M revenue in 2006. Google better figure out how to squeeze more juice out of their $1.65B investment soon… $15M can’t even cover YouTube bandwidth costs (or legal fees, for that matter…)

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