Posted on April 28th, 2006 3 comments
I read this on the “Game Over” column over at CNN.com.
“I think people have to look back and let it settle in,” [Perrin Kaplan, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs for Nintendo of America] said. “I’m sure people felt the same way when Google was named – or the iPod. Napster. Yahoo. There’s a whole host of unusual names that have become a part of everyday conversation and I think they’re viewed now as unique.”
Okay, see, the REST of America was actually USING the internet when those companies became popular, and we REMEMBER. If Google changed it’s name to “Hoohoo Dilly” then maybe you have a point, but Google, Napster, and Yahoo didn’t start out with a cool name that encapsulated their corporate world-view of the gaming industry and THEN switch. Revolution is a name that demonstrates a clear direction and everything that Nintendo has done since the Revolution was first announced has supported and strengthened the validity that yes, this console WILL BE a Revolution.
Now, a bunch of marketing people that obviously try too hard to be relevant, have decided that it’s more important to be unique just for the sake of being unique, than to have a Revolutionary concept. I seriously can’t express how these idiots could get it any more wrong than they did.
The fact that NoA’s chief marketing weasel is “sure people felt the same way” about Google… AND IPOD?
Perrin Kaplan needs to be fired. And whoever else thought up this awful “Wii” concept.
And… it looks like the rest of the blogosphere is feeling the same way:
I’ll just end with Tycho’s astute observation:
Nintendo clearly felt the name was so cryptic it required a Rosetta Stone alongside to contextualize it, which doesn’t really speak to its deep strength or intuitive character.
Posted on April 27th, 2006 2 comments
I just typed the title to this post using the comic book guy’s voice from The Simpsons.
The Nintendo “Revolution” is being named the Wii?
I’m trying to contact TopOfCool.com’s Japanese correspondent to see if Wii actually means something interesting in another language.
Update: Wii means nothing in Japanese. So, it’s official. Worst. Name. Ever.
Update 2: Apparently, in the UK, “to take a wee” is popular vernacular for “urinate”. Next time, Nintendo, just call it the Puu.
Posted on April 27th, 2006 No comments
I am obviously not really into this whole thing unless I, too, am attending trade shows and getting inundated with marketing gewgaws.
So, to help myself overcome this lack of in-depth… schmoozing… I am going to set a goal to attend one of these events next year:
That’s all I can think of at the moment. There might be some random Microsoft-sponsored events that might be worth attending as well. I think there is some big DirectX conference for game developers that Microsoft runs in Vegas. That might be interesting.
Anyway, this stuff gives me something to save my money for.
Posted on April 26th, 2006 No comments
This is just a filler post to push Peter Moore’s picture further down the page. It makes me feel weird when I pull up the site and see him glaring at me like that…
I realized today that I have more computing power in my living room (measure in FLOPS) than the most powerful computer in the world had in 1997.
Between the Xbox 360 my laptop, and my old modded Xbox, I think I should have more than the 1.338 TFLOPS that the Intel ASCI Red/9152 was capable of at Sandia National Labs.
Posted on April 25th, 2006 No comments
Microsoft has unveiled their pre-E3
hypeer, I mean coverage. Basically, this gives us a chance to listen to inspired counsel and guidance from Microsoft’s Powers That Be.
What caught my eye (only because it’s the biggest item on the whole page) is an “interview” with Peter Moore.
There he is… looks like a marketing weasel to me.
Anyway, the article is full of the usual marketing garbage. Nothing really new. More of what you’d expect from one of Microsoft’s VP’s. I did notice something that I liked, though.
Xbox Live Arcade also opens the door for small game developers—who may not have the resources to create full-blown high-definition games for Xbox 360—to get into the gaming industry. “The ability for Xbox Live Arcade to provide the ultimate distribution for innovative games takes it back to where you would hope that two guys in a garage could actually develop a game,” Peter added.
I recently picked up an Xbox 360 and one of things I have spent a lot of time on is the Xbox Live Arcade which is full of retro hits like Joust and SmashTV as well as “indie” products such as Mutant Storm and Outpost Kaloki. Most of these games are offered at the backbreaking price of $5-$10. I really disdain marketing crap, but to see MS’s VP of games talking so much about opening the door to indie developers, it gives the faintest, ever so slight hint, that maybe he’s not a complete corporate tool.
That being said, I’m very impressed with the 360 and what it can do. Playing Halo 2 in 1080i is simply dreamy. As I mentioned earlier, the Xbox Live Arcade titles are great fun, especially when I need a break from Halo.
I do have some gripes, however. I love being able to stream MPEG4-compressed video to my modded Xbox. Not being able to do that with the 360 is… well… frustrating. It’s almost there. You CAN install Windows Media Center Edition 2005, which will allow you to stream Microsoft Approved™ video formats to the 360. This means WMV… and that’s about it.
However, the Xbox “scene” has already come up with a number of solutions to use Windows Media Center to stream DivX or whatever else you could imagine. Leave it to the modding community to provide the tools that customers REALLY want, as opposed to the ones that marketing departments would let them provide.
Posted on April 21st, 2006 No comments
It’s obvious that the Dixie State writer is misinformed about the video game industry and especially about the games that they specifically cite.
Since I am also living in Utah at the moment, I’d like to shed some light on the paragraph Kyle at vgmwatch.com quoted above and I’ll translate for the Utah-impaired.
I am not what most would call a feminist;
Around here, feminist pretty much just means “radical militant femi-nazi”. Either you’re a militant feminist, or you subscribe to Ferengi attitudes towards the fee-males. So, she’s just saying that she isn’t a militant.
I don’t fight for equal rights
In Utah, there was a lot of opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment that was a big deal in the late 70’s. If you are fighting for “equal rights” then you obviously support the ERA. There is still stigma attached to that phrase because of the very strong feelings members of the LDS church had about the ERA.
I truly do believe there are some things men can do that (most) women can’t do and I’m OK with that.
Why does anyone have a problem with this? It’s true. The converse is also true, that women can do some things better than men. *GASP* Men and Women really are different!
I don’t know how we, as a society, can sit back and let video games teach our children how the world should be.
Whenever a writer starts talking about “we, as a society” I start putting up my guard. I don’t think that “we, as a society” do anything. We are individuals. Independent, free-thinking, money-spending units. Sure, there are trends and influences, and people can act as a unified group, but I have a problem when someone starts talking about the societal whole acting as one. Just say, “I don’t know how anyone could sit back and let video games teach their children how the world should be.” Okay?
In summation, I can kind of see where the writer is coming from, as I’m not a big fan of using sexually charged materials to sell something. However, vgmwatch.com is correct that the writer is uninformed about video games. Would her viewpoint be taken more seriously if she had gotten her facts straight?
Posted on April 18th, 2006 2 comments
Well, I’m installing a Counter-Strike: Source server on my FreeBSD box here. Hopefully, I can get it up and running on here. The server is designed to run on Linux, so I figured I would document my procedures and steps that I took, so if anyone else wanted to get HLDS running on a FreeBSD box, maybe my humble efforts will be helpful.
I’m pretty much planning on following these instructions I found via Google.
I’ve done all of this so far:
1) adduser hlds && passwd hlds
2) su hlds
3) cd ~
4) wget http://www.steampowered.com/download/hldsupdatetool.bin
5) chmod +x hldsupdatetool.bin && ./hldsupdatetool.bin
5a) If you see an error about not finding /bin/uncompress type ln -s /bin/gunzip /bin/uncompress && ./hldsupdatetool.bin
6) ./steam -command update -game gamename -dir ~/hlds -username yoursteamaccountgoeshere -password yourrealpasswordgoeshere
6a) Replace gamename above with cstrike for CS, tfc for TFC, dod for Day of Defeat, “counter-strike source” for CS:S (yes, you need the quotations)
7) The tool will probably update itself, and then begin downloading the files. Eat a snack or get off your behind for a bit, and take a walk. This can take awhile.
So, right now, I’m just waiting for everything to download to my server. I’ll update when that finishes…
Update: Bleh. Trying to install addons is worse than pulling teeth. It seems that most of the documentation predates the Source Dedicated Server, and when it doesn’t the documentation is usually flat out wrong. For now, the server itself runs great… but the addons are a completely different issue…
Update 2: I managed to get mani-admin-plugin installed and working. I gives me all of the functionality I wanted, and then some. I also installed Webmin and set up an interface theough Webmin to start and stop the server, and edit some of the config files. So far, it seems to be running pretty smoothly. If anyone has a desire to check out the server, simply add a server with the address of “www.topofcool.com:27015″ and you’ll be able to get on.
Posted on April 17th, 2006 6 comments
I really dislike game industry executives that think games need to be dumbed-down or simplified in order to sell to the so-called “casual” gamer market. Here is a prime example I found in an article on Gamespy.com titled “Do ‘Hardcore Gamers’ Still Matter?”:
GameSpy: Can hardcore gamers ever be harmful to development?
Kowalewski: Sometimes, yes. It’s a fine line to develop games that “anyone” could enjoy, and if you pay too much attention to pleasing the most vocal of your audience (the “hardcore” gamers), you run the risk of making the game unappealing to the market you’re really going after (the “casual” gamers) by making it too difficult or specialized.
I hate this attitude. There is this belief that complexity and intelligence will alienate people. I completely disagree. What some consider to be specialized today ends up being popular tomorrow and vice versa. I don’t think this has anything to do with how difficult or specialized a game is. Katamari Damacy is probably about as specialized as you can get, yet it certainly is appealing to the “casual” market. (At least my wife liked it.)
What’s funny is that the big-wigs in the game industry want to marginalize these nefarious “hardcore” gamers. This should be obvious when you look at the whole tone of this Gamespy.com article. Next, they talk to a marketing weasel.
GameSpy: How much attention do you think developers give or should give to hardcore gamers?
Ervin: Right now, very little, because the types of games these guys get excited about are often the types of games that don’t sell well. Very often you’ll avoid marketing to them because no matter what you do they’ll be unhappy. If a game isn’t 40 hours long, very often the hardcore gamers will complain that the game was too short. Meanwhile, casual gamers complain that they only made it 20 percent of the way into the game before they lost interest or it got too hard.
This sounds like someone who has had way too many of their marketing campaigns utterly fail. Oh wait, where does “Ervin” work again? Oh yeah, he’s the head of marketing at Infogrames. How’s that whole “selling off your game developers” thing going for you? Sorry… forgot that your company hasn’t posted annual profits since 1999.
Let’s see what a developer at another profitable company, Bioware, had to say:
GameSpy: How important is this hardcore gamer group to developers?
Ray Muzyka: Hardcore gamers are the “early-adopters” of our industry — they set the initial public opinion of a game because they’re the first to pick up and play something when it comes out. They are the opinion leaders that influence other players — other players often consult with early adopters to get their opinions, or read their comments online right after a game comes out — and hence early adopters can have a huge impact on your ultimate success. This seems particularly relevant to BioWare’s types of games — RPGs and MMOs, games driven by story, character interaction and progression, and exploration. As well, hardcore gamers tend to buy more games per person than other demographic segments do. They are very important members of our community at BioWare!
Make no mistake about it, if you’re a “hardcore” gamer, the industry is out to get you. Or at least marginalize you. The reason is that we typically don’t tolerate crap. Casual gamers do. There’s nothing morally wrong with you for buying and enjoying the latest licensed game from Big Publisher X, but it’s a lot easier to dupe Joe Q. Non-gamer into buying that crap than it is the hardcore gamers. If they can push us to the fringe and make us less influential, then we won’t have the ability to influence what the casual gamers buy (or don’t buy). That’s what drives these guys nuts. It kills them that less experienced gamers listen to us, and take our opinions seriously. You don’t believe me?
GameSpy: How important is this hardcore gamer group to developers?
Kowalewski: Hardcore gamers are very important to developers and publishers because they are the “influencers” when it comes to driving buzz and sales for a game. Hardcore gamers may play up to 100 games per year, but they only make up about 1/5 to 1/4 of game purchasers, but their influence over the rest of the game sales is enormous, potentially turning a moderate hit into a monster.
They know that we influence the market, and that’s why the marketing weasals end up having pipe dreams like this:
GameSpy: In the future, what do you think will happen to the hardcore demographic?
Ervin: There will always be hardcore gamers, there’s just going to be fewer and fewer games for them. That being said, there’ll always be enough content for them to keep them happy because there are always at least a few great games coming out each year. But the lion’s share of games will be aimed at general audiences. For example, Electronic Arts is a success because they are a good marketing company and they appeal to the larger market of casual gamers.
The point being that it would be better for a lot of bottom lines if we just all shut up. It’s easy to make endless streams of shovelware and have it all be blindly accepted as Quality Video Games. There will be no end to crappy video games, just as there will never be an end to crappy movies. Just ask Uwe Boll.
The key here is that we still matter. As long as there are buttons to be mashed and zombies to be slain, the voice of the hardcore gamer will be taken seriously, in spite of the secret desires deep in the cockles of marketing wonks’ hearts.
Posted on April 12th, 2006 No comments
I noticed an interesting note on Evil Avatar. Apparently, Battlestar Galactica’s producer, Ronald D. Moore has been talking about video games. He spoke at the Game Developers’ Conference this year, and even commented on the differences between our beloved video game industry and the traditional entertainment industry.
What was particularly interesting to me was this:
Moore says no one has come up with the great TV/video game hybrid yet, the game that everyone in the U.S. has to play. As a result, there’s the opportunity to be a pioneer in this space.
Well… that’s not exactly true. See, in Japan there was this project called .hack (pronounced “dot hack”). It was a project designed from the beginning to tell it’s story through all of Japan’s most popular mediums including anime, video games, manga (Japanese comics), and books.
Unlike other popular anime series or video games, this wasn’t a whole bunch of loosely related marketing-riffic tie-ins. The anime series told one point of view. The PS2 video games revealed more of the story from yet another point of view. The OVA (release-to-DVD-only) series developed the plot from yet ANOTHER point of view. In order to really GET .hack, you need to take part in all of the mediums.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t wildly popular over here in the States. Although, it did garner an English-dubbed broadcast on the Cartoon Network.
Part of the problem is, I believe, fundamental to how marketing departments in the “industry” categorize and stereotype the American audience. Supposedly, we are a bunch of short-attention-span, caffeine-drinking, ADHD-plagued, malcontents. We would rather fritter away our precious video game time on first-person shooters and demolition-derby racing games. Who cares about nonsense like STORY or PLOT? Well, judging by the most marketed video games coming from big publishers like EA and Ubisoft, no one cares about it. Or at least, very few people.
However, I think that the recent popularity of deeper, more intelligent titles (like GalCiv2 and Oblivion) shows that American video game players are more complex than SpikeTV’s Video Game Awards would have you believe. I know that saying this borders on stating the obvious to many of you.
I for one look forward to an American .hack project. The Matrix series and King Kong are showing that movie producers and directors are more and more often taking an interest in how the video game side of things is done. I’m not sure that this will lead to better “licensed” offerings, but if it leads to one high qaulity all-encompassing super project, then it this is definitely a Good Thing™.
Posted on April 5th, 2006 No comments
Remember how Apple was going to be selling Intel-based Macs?
Well, now they will start OFFICIALLY allowing multi-boot configurations on Apple hardware.
I’m not even sure how to react to this. I mean, it’s undeniably a good thing, but the effects of such a strange development in the PC market are… unpredictable at best.
I guess it depends on whether or not Apple allows Mac OS X to run on standard non-Apple PC hardware. There are hacks and workarounds to get such a thing done, but if Apple gives it’s blessing to run Mac OS X on 95% of the home PC market…
Well, let me put it this way. If Apple legally allows Mac OS X to run on my non-Apple PC, I’m getting into that, so fast! I am somewhat familiar with the Unix-like OS’s, and there is something pure and wholesome about having access to a meaningful command line interface.
I don’t know, I mean… this whole thing is CRAZY! DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER! MASS HYSTERIA!