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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

I don’t have time to go into details (too busy discussing bad movies in the previous post) but I figured I would link to two interesting stories. Joystiq has the scoop on some new details for Fallout 3: The Pitt DLC and it sounds awesome. Sign me up for working with, instead of against, the Raiders and another set of weapons and armor. This will be released in March and I will definitely be updating as more information gets released.

Other then that, Microsoft announced the creation of their own line of retail stores. This guy could go either way. Apple seems to be the ideal here, where Microsoft probably wants to avoid the failures of Sony at all costs. Either way, another interesting move from everybody’s favorite monopoly. That’s all for now, enjoy the remainder of your Fridays!

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As the gaming community continues to gain exposure and more and more people are playing different kinds of games, I remembered a store that was open in my hometown when I was growing up. This place was magical to me when I was 10, as not only did it sell video games, but it had a row of televisions and consoles lined up against the wall when you walked in. For a small fortune (around 10 bucks) you could play any system with any game for a set amount of time. It was like that one smelly kid in school that everyone was friends with cause he owned a super nintendo, only if they showered and charged hourly fees to hang out at the house. The owner was the inspiration for The Comic Book Guy and there was no place I would have rather been in 1995.

More then a decade later, I have never seen a place like this again. The days of the small, independent game shop have emulated the small music store (a la Empire Records) and the independent hardware store that has been replaced by massive Home Depots. This is a troubling trend, as most chain stores are only as good as the people who work there, and they are most likely pushing strategy guides and discount cards on you by their corporate mandate.

All is not lost, however! Earlier today, and at least once a week since it opened, JPark and I have been visiting a GameStop that opened in downtown Boston. If you are ever in Downtown Crossing, I strongly urge you to stop in. As far as mass consumerism goes, this place is the mecca of retail game stores. I’ve never seen a cleaner, more modern setup. Everything is easy to find, the people who work there are knowledgeable, friendly, and are just as crazy about games as we are. Other then their early attempts at selling us their discount cards, this place is the perfect place to not only buy games, but kill some time as well.

What I’m truly wondering is how often do people go to a place like GameStop and not buy anything? Is there a modern day equivilent to the arcade? I don’t mean the quarter draining ticket printing chance games at Foxwoods that occupy small children while their parents gamble. I mean the old school, ski-ball and pinball machine that most of todays gamers grew up with. Does GameStop feel the need to be both a store and a hangout?

Talking with one of the employees, he told us a funny story. Teenage kids were waiting outside on a random Thursday at 7am just to hang out at the store before going to school for the day. They were treated to Rock Band, NBA Live, and a slew of other options to kill time and play some free games. Throw in some tournaments (Street Fighter IV on 2/21, FYI) and you have a wonderful addition to the standard, emotionless standard in gaming retail.

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This picture is just too damn funny. Thanks to Major Nelson on Twitter, BuzzFeed, and Veronica on Twitter as well. That is all, go back to work y’all.

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A recent overdose on sports games has gotten me thinking about in-game adverstising and their place within the sports gaming spectrum. While my opinion on in-game ads in shooters and adventure games is that of skepticism and distaste, I can’t help but soften my view on advertising in sports games.

While sponsorship and product placement are an integral part of sports (and arguably everything mainstream,) they add a certain touch of realism and authenticity to their video game counterparts. Consider a BirdNest favorite, Fifa 09. Ignoring for a moment the banner ads in the stadiums that ensure realistic locations, every single licensed kit is by nature an advertisement. And we relish these ads! If EA left 02 as Arsenal’s sponsor, well, I would be pretty disapointed. We stare at these ads and love every moment of it, as soccer/football fans and gamers who desire authenticity.

This is an easy one to defend, we wear these ads proudly on our chest, so who cares if it shows up in our video games. But after the jump, there are some pretty outlandish ads that don’t really bother me as much as they should.

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So EGM, Electronics Gaming Monthly, will be officially closing it’s doors. The UGO Entertainment has recently purchased 1UP Network and has shut down much of their content. The 1UP network consists of 1UP.com, MyCheats.com, GameVideos.com and GameTab.com. The last issue of the magazine will be the already-on-shelves January issue. More here.

While it’s terrible that the magazine will be shut down, causing a few lost jobs, I think that this is the future of gaming news. With hundreds of blogs (including our humble wordpress) reporting the new instantly to your personal computer, magazines and other printed presses will be defunct. This is just the first sign of it.

What do you guys think? Sad or glad?

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Happy Monday afternoon gamers and gamettes. After playing around with the theme and layout all day (still a work in progress, evidenced by the ugly and out of place legacy banner,) I figured it was time for a word or two of actual content. My roomate forwarded me this Wall Street Journal article about the lack of PS3 sales and how the Wii is dominating the market.

At the end of September, the Wii had a wide lead with nearly 35 million units sold since its launch in 2006 compared with about 22 million Xbox 360 consoles and 17 million PS3 machines. Nintendo last month sold 2 million Wii machines in the U.S., while Microsoft sold 836,000 Xbox 360s and Sony sold 378,000 PS3s, according to NPD.

To think that the little white box with Gamecube-esque graphics and fancy motion sensors is just crushing the heavy hitters makes me naseous. Obviously if you are a frequent nester, you know how the Wii is recieved over here. But, seriously, 2 million consoles for the holiday seasons!?!? In the middle of a recession!!!! It’s impressive, yet equally infuriating.

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Forgive me for the academic subject for this mornings post, but my colleague MJ clued me in on this from the Economist about the durability of the gaming industry. There are some interesting points in here, including their assessment of the cyclical trending of the industry.

Every few years a new crop of consoles is launched, spurring a wave of sales as gamers upgrade. During the cycle the prices of the consoles fall, bringing in more buyers. Each cycle is bigger than the last as gaming becomes more popular and the average gamer becomes older and richer.

This is a good look at how the current generation is dominating the last one, which dominated the one previous, and so on and so on. The article continues to discuss what I told Microsoft when my Xbox broke – that working males in their twenties “who regard gaming as an important part of their lives, rather than a form of discretionary spending” are their bread and butter. I couldn’t agree more.

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