Articles of Interest

Kim Pallister and Vlad Cole, two friends and colleagues here at Microsoft, have launched the Video Game Venture Capital (VGVC) blog. It tracks capital flows into the game industry, and is already chock full of goodies.

Article about dating games (or “dating simulations”, as the author puts it) in Japan. What I want to know is: why aren’t there more “career simulations” in the US, given our cultural fixation on money? There are the various Tycoon games and whatnot, but notably the “legal sims” (i.e. Phoenix Wright) and “medical sims” (i.e. Trauma Center) are coming from Japanese developers (and of course, I use the term “sim” very loosely here.) I’ve yet to play a great CEO sim, or sales sim, or biz dev sim, or marketing sim, etc…

A Nielsen research study finds that only 14% of TV-owning households in the US have fully-equipped HD TVs. That figure is much lower than those cited by the CEA (which claims 32%). If true, good news for Nintendo, not such good news for Microsoft and Sony.

A relatively shallow article about the importance of pre-orders. I only cite it because it made me recall an interesting conversation with a friend of mine at a top five publisher, who claimed they can predict the lifetime sales of a retail game with 90% accuracy, based mainly on pre-orders.

In this research study, kids equipped with Nintendo’s Brain Age were found to become better at math, faster in exams, and most interestingly, better behaved in class.

For my readers who are new to this industry: Raph Koster has posted a nice summary of every role in a game development team. You might be surprised by its length.

Via Kim, a game called Swypeout that ships with a USB bar code reader. Collectable Swypeout cards can be purchased, processed by the reader, and imported into an online racing game (i.e. car on card == car in game). This kind of thing is very popular in Japanese arcades; in the US, where arcades are a dying breed, Swypeout is a sensible translation.

3 responses to “Articles of Interest

  1. What I want to know is: why aren’t there more “career simulations” in the US, given our cultural fixation on money?

    When I was at Sony Online Entertainment, I briefly talked with Raph about proposing a massively multiplayer “career simulator” for training employees, as part of both orientation and professional development… I was told by him and others that such a product would not be a cultural fit. Of course, I disagreed, considering that all games are naturally unobtrusive. Games have the power to reinforce as well as shape and redefine culture.

    Raph Koster has posted a nice summary of every role in a game development team. You might be surprised by its length.

    I added to that list, in the comments, some assumptions about the quality assurance function.

  2. I only cite it because it made me recall an interesting conversation with a friend of mine at a top five publisher, who claimed they can predict the lifetime sales of a retail game with 90% accuracy, based mainly on pre-orders.

    Is that any different than using first-weekend box office revenues to predict the lifetime value of movies?

  3. Don’t know — I’m not intimately familiar with film revenue predictions. Probably very similar.

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