Unreality


A few months back, Clint Hocking did a “rehearsal” of his GDC exploration lecture at IGDA Montreal. Since I had just started playing Crackdown, his one point of “providing many small/dispersed rewards, encourages exploration” really stuck in my mind.

Those dang agility/hidden orbs scattered across the map motivated me to explore the richness and depth of Pacific City, way beyond what I would have done in a normal, more linear, game.

crackdown.jpg

Mind you, the fact that they were linked to Xbox achievements was certainly part of the motivation as well. And, more generally, the idea of all those achievements serving as small rewards to more thoroughly explore the game overall is an interesting one. That is, minus the achievements, would most folks simply clear the 21 gang leaders and be done?

Raphael van Lierop has a lengthy discussion on achievements running in the IGDA’s forums…

A self-confessed digital/pixel art junky, I’ve been a big fan of the AIAS’ “Into the Pixel” game art exhibit since year one.

They will be accepting entries up until May 4th. Hopefully, there will be more stuff by Daniel Dociu, who’s had some of the most stunning pieces in the exhibit so far… IMHO

Interesting to see the reference at GamePolitics… While game art is certainly art and contributes heavily to the validation of games as art, it doesn’t quite get at the are games art debate (like this and that, for example)… That is, the art of the games is not the art of games.

I still remember Clint Hocking telling me about his X360’s blog when he first got his system last year. So, when the recent Escapist article on 360voice came around, it reminded/inspired me to get my own system’s blog set up.

Since it is new, it’s not saying much interesting. Yet… This one from another box made me laugh:

DCitron6 was absent yesterday… I was smelling something that reminded me of sweat… He better not be playing with a Nintendo Wii… burning calories while playing games is just wrong.

Never really heard of the game, but the October issue of Edge pointed to a trailer/vid created in Trackmania Sunrise, a PC racing game. The vid is essentially the cumulative replay of ~1000 cars through the track. While there is certainly a tech fetishism aspect to it, it is just darn cool and artful. Mesmerizing really. The Moby music adds to the experience as well :)

Makes be think of one of the quotes from the 8 BIT documentary trailer: “…when somethings part of your everyday life, you’re gonna make art about it.” Hopefully I’ll get to catch a screening of that flic…

The next meeting of the IGDA’s Guildford UK chapter will be a discussion on unions. More specifically, reps from the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTu) will be on hand to discuss their initiatives to orgnize UK-based game talent. Should make for an interesting and lively event.

The irony, however, is that EA is the sponsor for the evening. Or, more precisely, they are sponsorsing the bar. Not sure how that got worked out ;)

This is an easy one… In the coming years, we’ll see more and more games adopt a “free-to-play” model where the game itself is given out for free along with access (and, I’m not just talking about the casual games space). Revenue will be generated via the sale of in-game goods, premium services or supported via ad dollars.

I’ve been pointing to Korea as an example of this since I was there in the fall of ‘05 and was stunned by their business developments. They are even starting to abandon the transitional MMO subscription model in favor of micro-transaction based revenue. Korea got there faster than the rest of us since they had to be smart about ways to make money in a market with rampant piracy of retail/boxed product.

Other examples of this would be Second Life, with a rich internal player-to-player economy. It is free to play, but you need to pay if you want some virtual real-estate. Runescape is an ad-supported MMO that’s free. Runescape has over 9million active subscribers! Also, Activision recently announced that it has generated $1million dollars from downloadable content for Call of Duty 2 on Xbox 360.

At what point does it become more profitable for Activision to give out the game for free and put more effort (marketing and game design wise) to encourage the sale of in-game content?

(Oh, and as this post was idling in draft mode, the fine folks at Terra Nova have written a post titled “How will ‘free-to-play’ business models affect the gaming landscape in the West?” I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but I’m sure it’s good - those guys are so smart :)

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