Articles of Interest

McDonald’s is sponsoring an ARG called The Lost Ring in partnership with the Olympic Games. It may prove to be the most diverse ARG ever launched (no surprise, given the context.) Lots of puzzles in different languages and set in different countries, requiring international cooperation. Cool stuff. :-)

Accenture Careers, a Second Life-based employee recruiting initiative, launched this month. It offers “fun tests” that visitors can take, and it is implied that Accenture’s HR people might well be watching and reaching out to visitors who catch their attention.

BuildABearville.com hit one million users after its first month, and has now surpassed two million. The toy-turned-virtual-world trend continues. I wonder how many toy brands will NOT have virtual worlds associated with them five years from now? (I also wonder how many will flame out in the face of such intense competition, given that many of these virtual worlds won’t do much to differentiate themselves?)

Apparently Xbox 360 sales have jumped 36% in the UK since March 14th’s price cut. Hooray for us. ;-)

207 responses to “Articles of Interest

  1. sechster angriff

    If you’re the “Worldwide Games Portfolio Planner” like ou say you should take notice of this please…

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=265110

  2. supporting the first comment.

  3. I’m disappointed to hear that Microsoft allegedly turned down Japanese company 5pb’s desire to bring acclaimed arcade shooters DoDonPachi and Ketsui to XBLA because “we are going to cut down faithful arcade ports”.

    Microsoft’s hope for XBLA to become a platform for original and XNA-based games is commendable, but reducing arcade ports to achieve this “image” is questionable.

    XBLA has more than one audience. It appeals to those gamers eager for online multi-player and social gaming, those looking for fresh and experimental ideas, those that like reinterpretations of classics, those simply feeling nostalgia of their childhood, and any combination of these.

    Discouraging arcade ports ignores some of this audience, people not necessarily interested in the original/XNA path, people who might feel disenfranchised or left out by XBLA, people who would gladly pay for games that others can simply ignore if they are not interested. Further, these games such as Ketsui are “new” in that they aren’t available on other formats to most players, and indeed many have never heard of them. XBLA would be an opportunity to bring these worldwide (and by a company that seems enthusiastic to do so, and is instead turning to dubious and expensive chances of success in the 360’s retail market).

    Overall, I think limiting XBLA’s audience should be reconsidered, and multiple avenues (such as arcade/original or international/import groupings could have benefits and strengthen the platform.

    Some original and XNA content seems rough and sporadic now, especially judging by the XNA demos available earlier in the month. Relying on these at the exclusion of acclaimed arcade games seems dangerous for the platform’s current image, its future, and judging by what games are already successful in XBLA.

  4. A.Chan The Man

    XBLMP is a great service that makes distribution of content very easy to many different consumers.

    However, upon hearing that the two arcade SHMUPs, DoDonPachi and Ketsui, were denied entry into XBLA simply because the service wanted to “cut down faithful arcade ports”, I could not help but feel disconcerted.

    XBLA is such a great outlet for Arcade-type games since they can easily be downloaded and played. It’s difficult for game development studios to create these type of games for say Nintendo or Sony since the companies do have their favoritism. Nintendo wants to see their unique controls realized in their games (My Life as King is a different story since it’s friggin Square Enix, even then, I don’t know what type of controls gimmick they’re going to use). Sony, for the most part, at least since the PSOne era, has not ever condoned the existence of 2d games on their entertainment platforms. (PSP doesn’t count much since it’s a mobile gaming console) With maybe the exception of Street Fighter 2 HD Remix, not many 2D-esque games go to Sony’s current generation console. Only during the end of the life cycle of the PS2 did a greater frequency of 2D games start appearing. However, many were compilations of older games to cash out on the install base. Even games like Disgaea or Odin’s Sphere were failures in providing 2D gaming experiences. Disgaea was a SRPG and Odin’s Sphere was such a complete waste of programming/art resources and was so unoptimized that I really don’t want to talk about it. Any other games that are 2D usually have no representation in the market and are undermarketed, if marketed at all.

    Considering the Xbox 360 has captured a good share of the “Hardcore” contingent, expanding the current target is not a bad initiative. While admittedly trying to control the entire Roman Empire under one leader is not ideal, this is not the case in the present situation. If control is not expended as a cost to expansion, then there is no reason not to expand. Considering XBLA digital distribution completely skips over the step of having to actually press and pakage the games, it’s a very attractive alternative to games just like DoDonPachi or Ketsui, or even games like Wartech: Senko no Ronde (A 3D SHMUPS), games that would have greatly benefited from the XBLA model of distribution. Also, due to cheaper costs, more people would experience the games without having to pay full retail price on said Arcade ports.

    We may falter backwards, maybe half a step, but never a full step. There is no need to drag back the progress that Xbox Live has made within Microsoft’s gaming initiative. As long as gamers exist, then games will be profitable eventually.

  5. What’s the deal David? You just shot down one of the hottest Arcade shooters in the history of shoot-em-ups. I called to cancel my Xbox Live subscription today and PSN is looking hotter and hotter with their ability to NOT pass up fantastic downloadables. Very disappointed.

  6. http://www.xblah.net/2008/03/5pb.html

    Please XBLA lord! Let this not be true. You Fail! Oh by the way Bliss Island and Rocketmen Axis of Evil suck ass. Nice job letting those get through.

  7. I would ask you, as the person in charge of Xbox Live Arcade, to please take the time to review our arguments and concerns presented here.

    http://forum.teamxbox.com/showthread.php?t=573870

  8. As a European, I can say that the price cut was a step in the right direction. However, the public perception of Xbox 360 in Europe still isn’t very great. One of the reasons is that it’s too much an American console, with American type of games instead of games appealing to worldwide audiences. One example of this limitation is just above, with the unfair restrictions placed on games like DoDonPachi and Ketsui and other games of their kind. Just because those horribly lame early 80s arcade ports didn’t sell well doesn’t mean that you should ban actual quality arcade games from the service because of them.

    This aspect of games for the American audience and pretty much nobody else was also illustrated by the Xbox-era decision to cancel Metal Wolf Chaos for its good-humored parody of America. Why deny even Europeans this game (which was already in English) just because some Americans might be a little sensitive to it? However, you still have the chance to correct this mistake by releasing Metal Wolf Chaos on the Xbox Originals service, also in Europe.

    Yet another example of how European game tastes are ignored on Xbox 360 was the low marketing push for the high-quality, big-budget epic Lost Odyssey. A game of this caliber should have received at least as much marketing in Europe as American FPS titles like Gears of War and Halo.

    The question is, do you want to be third place in Europe? A price cut isn’t enough, you also need to appeal to European tastes in both the niche and the mainstream. The 360 should sell better in Europe, but you’re making it hard by working against the console.

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