Articles of Interest

Man, wait a couple weeks to write an AoI and the notables really pile up:

CNN explores Second Life’s “real potential” as an experimentation platform (rather than an entertainment experience). Emphasis on ease of use and cost-savings.

As you must already know, EA bought BioWare/Pandemic for $620M (cash) plus $190M in other charges. I think Bioware is (next to Blizzard) possibly the best developer on the planet, thanks in very large part to Drs Ray and Greg — but for that kind of cash, Bioware Austin better be cooking the next WoW.

Sony has announced EyeCreate, a video capturing and editing application for the PS3. IMO, consumers will respond quite well to non-game applications that make good use of console videocams (if the apps are good, of course).

Eye-catching… Activision is launching a cross-platform Guitar Hero community portal on 10/26. Play on a 360, compare your progress with a friend using a PS3 or Wii. The portal offers its own achievement system, “groupies.” The more you play the game, the more groupies you get (but stop playing for too long and you lose groupies — a logical motivator, but one likely to repel less hardcore customers.) There are also tour groups (clans) with private forums, pooled groupies, etc, and tools for creating tournaments. Lastly, there’s a Hall of Fame (inductees will have their own private message board, prizes, etc.) All in all, sounds like a fabulous experience for hardcore fans, and a notable third-party cross-platform milestone.

Hewlett-Packard will include the WildTangent platform with the HP Games Console, included on all new HP consumer desktop and notebook PCs worldwide.

Giant Interactive, a Chinese developer of online games (ZT Online), hopes to raise $735M through a NYSE IPO. Maybe the EA/Bioware deal wasn’t so big after all. *grin*

A year ago, fantasy baseball leagues were sued by Major League Baseball, which claimed that only MLB had the rights to the statistics from MLB games. MLB lost the original suit, and just lost their appeal as well. Makes sense to me — how can anyone “own” historical facts? Anyway, as fantasy gaming continues to grow beyond sports (to celebrities, politics, etc) this ruling will prove important.

A research study has revealed that more and diverse achievements lead to better reviews and stronger sales. Furthermore, games that reward points for online elements generate 50% more sales than those without. (I’d like to see the study, as 50% sounds quite high — but not unbelievable, depending on the definition of “online elements” and “points.”)

13 responses to “Articles of Interest

  1. …but for that kind of cash, Bioware Austin better be cooking the next WoW.

    I’m surprised BioWare/Pandemic even bothered to solicit bids. Nevermind the extreme incompatibility of the BioWare and Electronic Arts brands. Oh, looks like the deal was spearheaded by Riccitiello. Unsurprising. I’m not holding my breath. I’d likely suffocate.

    Harsh? Probably, but the acquisition looks like yet another M&A led by someone who actually thinks portfolio diversification is a good thing.

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