Articles of Interest

Raph calls out the McDonald’s Line Rider commercial, which I hadn’t seen yet. It’s a neat idea for an advertisement, and Raph draws on a few numbers to make the interesting point that Line Rider might be better known than the TV shows that host this advertisement.

Also from Raph, word that Habbo has reached 100m registered users worldwide. Quite a milestone.

Soren’s been on a bit of a “Spore creature watch” since the free creature creator was released. These particular creations will make any fan of Star Wars smile. (Take one guess as to the identity of the creatures before clicking the link. You probably won’t guess correctly.) Soren also points out that 500k creatures were created in two days. An auspicious beginning for a product that I really hope does tremendously well, commercially-speaking!

An account of the first meeting of CCP’s Council of Stellar Management, a democratically-elected group of players who meet with CCP twice a year to inform the future development of Eve Online.

An interview with Neil Young, who left EA to found an iPhone game publisher called Ngmoco. This quote caught my eye: “The iPhone, from a performance standpoint, is pretty close to a PSP, but unlike the PSP, it’s got a touchscreen, accelerometers, a camera, it’s location-aware, it’s got all of your media on it, it’s awake with you, it’s always on, and it’s always connected to the network. So if you think about the types of games and entertainment experiences that you can build on a platform like that, it’s got to get pretty exciting pretty quickly.”

The guys who made Duels.com (a mind-numbingly tedious — but very popular — web game) have taken their simple, asynchronous multiplayer design philosophy and applied it to baseball. The new game is called Baseball Boss. It’s in closed beta, so I haven’t had the chance to play, but something tells me Baseball Boss will be very successful. Accessible, short-session, asynch multiplayer gameplay and baseball (with its wide audience) seem like a good match to me.

Lots of people made fun of Activision for porting Guitar Hero to the DS. Looks like Activision got the last laugh: it sold 300k units, in North America only, in the first week.

16 responses to “Articles of Interest

  1. Ernie Camacho

    I’ve been playing a very similar game called Barnstorming at http://www.thetoolsofignorance.com for over a year. It isn’t as pretty, but I think it is deeper and easier (and faster). If you are a stat geek, you will probably prefer Barnstorming.

  2. Hey Dave, have you read the Harvard Business Review’s Should You Invest in the Long Tail? article yet? A little long, but certainly interesting, and would like to see your take.

    From the article: “But my research indicates otherwise. Although no one disputes the lengthening of the tail (clearly, more obscure products are being made available for purchase every day), the tail is likely to be extremely flat and populated by titles that are mostly a diversion for consumers whose appetite for true blockbusters continues to grow. It is therefore highly disputable that much money can be made in the tail.”

  3. Hey Mike — I read it (as well as Anderson’s response). Think I’ll do a longer post one of these days covering both. In short: I think too many important subtleties are lost when people devolve into “Long Tail: Yes/No” arguments. It isn’t a yes/no argument. There’s no question that many people have bought into the Long Tail as some sort of panacea for indies, when in fact the vast majority of indies will fail in a Long Tail world. And there’s also no question that hits continue to matter (or, in the words of the HBR article, matter even more now.) The Long Tail absolutely has been overhyped.

    But on the other hand, it’s also clear that the Long Tail can drive profit for distributors, *if* they can reduce their content acquisition and distribution costs for less popular content to near-zero, and *if* they can help consumers effectively sift through all that content. Amazon.com has managed to do both of these things. Kongregate seems to be doing both of these things (though it’s telling that Kongregate is also actively seeking out more polished content). The Long Tail also has important, positive social/cultural consequences that are rarely discussed in debates like these.

    Anyway, definitely deserves a longer post.

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