Monthly Archives: March 2009

Warren Spector Is Right

“We’ve [games] been a niche medium that over-charges for its product and therefore generates a lot of revenue which makes us a little bigger than Hollywood, which is crazy. … If I’ve got a 20 dollar bill in my pocket I can go buy a book, go to a movie, but I can’t buy a game. I can buy a CD, I can do so much even now, but you cannot buy a game.”

— Deus Ex designer Warren Spector speaking to GamesIndustry.biz

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GDC 2009: Check Out ‘BioShock’ Mobile [Video]

I didn’t take advantage of my Kodak Zi6 nearly as much as I should have during the Game Developers Conference, but I did nab video of the mobile version of BioShock being produced at IG Fun. Enjoy.

Oh, and the HD version is available here (I can’t seem to embed it).

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Filed under Direct Feed, GDC 2009

‘Weapon of Choice’ Community Games Developer Unhappy With Current Sales

Weapon of Choice

We now have the first tangible evidence of whether Community Games, Microsoft’s independent-centric downloadable games service powered by their freely available XNA Game Studio toolset, has been a success or not.

The first set of sales data arrived to developers last week, in the midst of the Game Developers Conference (more on that soon, by the way). It’s up to developers to share their successes and failures. Mommy’s Best Games, the studio behind the well-received Weapon of Choice, isn’t sharing specifics, but have clearly stated disappointment on their development blog.

Weapon of Choice has so far sold less than 10,000 copies, falling into a sales category Mommy’s Best Games describes as “that hurts.”

“We want to make kick ass games, full-time. I left one of the best video game employers to strike out and make my own games,” explained co-founder and ex-Insomniac Games developer Nathan Fouts on his blog. “This is my full time job, I am not a hobbyist and Weapon of Choice shows that. It is a full-fledged game, which took a full year to make. Not only did we hope sales would recoup the savings we spent during the year of development, we hoped it would provide enough financing to support the development of our next game.”

It’s currently unknown what impact this will have on the future direction of small companies like Mommy’s Best Games, or if they’ll try to “ride it out” with another game and see if the market for independent games over Xbox Live expands.

Others will likely share their sales data in the coming days. I’m already in contact with several developers to talk about their responses to the sales so far — that article will appear somewhere that isn’t here. 🙂

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EA’s Bringing Red Alert, SSX, More to iPhone in 2009

Here’s all you need to know.

Joining Electronic Art’s iPhone lineup in 2009 are FIFA 10, Madden 10, NBA Live 10, American Idol, Spore Creatures, SSX, Wolfenstein RPG, Red Alert, Clue, Risk, Mystery Mania, Connect 4, Battleship and Monopoly.

More to come from GDC soon.

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BioShock Not-So-Secretly Coming to iPhone

BioShock

BioShock looks better than it should on a cell phone.

It’s coming to various mobile devices in both 2D and 3D forms, depending on the device’s capabilities, and there’s also a good chance it’s also coming to iPhone, based on some teasing IG Fun CEO Sean Malatesta did at a Game Developer Conference session this morning.

Malatesta’s presentation outlined his company’s successes and failures in bringing BioShock to the mobile format. He discussed the iPhone’s current impact on the mobile market, calling it a “bridging” device between handhelds and mobile phones.

As for BioShock coming to the iPhone..?

“Honestly, I can’t comment on BioShock on iPhone right now,” he said. “It’s top secret.”

Enough said.

[Graphic grabbed from OSX Reality]

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GDC: 2D Boy’s Argument For Going Indie In A Bad Economy

World of Goo

A constantly shrinking economy means that going independent isn’t as easy as it used to be, admitted 2D Boy (they made World of Goo) co-founder Ron Carmel at the Game Developers Conference today.

“My thinking at the time was: what’s the worst that could happen?” he said. “I quit my job, I go through some of my savings for a year and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just get another job. I realize today that maybe the same argument wouldn’t apply as much. [laughs]”

Still, Carmel doesn’t think that’s a reason to not pursue independent game development, even if the leap of faith is slightly scarier these days. If making games is your dream, Carmel’s advice was simple.

“You only live once,” he said.

Good point.

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Filed under GDC 2009, Jobless

GDC: Ngmoco Argues For Restraint With iPhone Downloadable Content

LiveFire

Ngmoco head Neil Young, formerly of Electronic Arts, addressed fears of downloadable content exploitation during his opening keynote at the Game Developers Conference.

Gamers became a little easy when Apple introduced the ability for developers to incorporate downloadable content into their iPhone games with the upcoming operating system update, currently dubbed iPhone 3.0.

Young showed a demo of LiveFire, their upcoming iPhone first-person-shooter, which famously featured a moment where a player purchased a 99-cent rocket launcher. That’s not indicative of where they’re going with iPhone downloadable content, Young told the audience.

“That’s not gonna happen,” said Young. “We’re not gonna prioritize greed over gameplay.”

The rocket launcher was just a proof-of-concept, he said.

Downloadable content is coming to the iPhone this year, though, and LiveFire will be one of the games taking advantage of it out of the gate. If we’re not buying rocket launchers, what will we be buying? So far, Young isn’t saying.

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