Meet The GANG: Gaming Death Podcast & EP 100 Party On June 12th 2014! #E32014 #E3Live #E3

Breaking News!

We have live coverage on the @GeekyAntics Twitter and GeekyAntics.net site.  Tonight, June 10th 2014, at around 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific) we’ll be doing a special E3 show with the Gaming Death Podcast.

E3 - Electronic Entertainment Expo - E3 2014 #E3Live

Big things going on.  Come join the GANG for #E3Live fun.  So far, I’m most enjoying the small studio and indie releases.  I dig what Microsoft is doing with the ID@XBox program.  Any time us little guys have a chance to level the playing field, that is exciting news to me!

Project Spark is particularly intriguing.  This is a sandbox game that actually allows you to create your own games.  Will this be like RPG Maker Ace VX or will it be more akin to Sony’s Little Big Planet?  Competition is heating up and it’s GREAT!

More E3 Coverage Here

Special thanks to the Gaming Death Podcast and GamingDeath.com for keeping us updated on all the latest video game news.  Even if you’re not into gaming, this technology and the game mechanics of it all are worth checking out.  E3 is, after all, a marketer’s wet dream, no?

So, what have you enjoyed of the #E32014 reveals so far?

Meet The GANG: Gaming Death Podcast & EP 100 Party On June 12th 2014! #E32014.

XBox Or PS4? Why It Does Not Really Matter

Soooo… The burning question these days people have for me is this:

Are you or should I get? XBox One or PS4?

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For now, I say neither. That was my opinion months ago and it will be my stance a year from now. I originally drafted this article when we started to see real demos of the PS4 and XBox One.

I find the launch titles are uninspiring. Call of Duty is old hat and I want to milk Battlefield 3 Premium before upgrading. Racing games and sports? I will pass.

Not enough for you? Let’s go through it point by point.

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SteamOS, Next-Gen Gaming Consoles, And The Future Of The Gaming Industry

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Yesterday’s massive response to Valve’s SteamOS announcement confirmed many of our predictions and expectations but, more importantly, it showed us that there is still a gaping hole in the gaming industry. With countless gamers looking forward to the XBox One and PS4, there are still many of us wondering if this next generation of gaming is really going to bring us anything new. SteamOS has addressed those concerns but Valve still has two more huge announcements to make.

Before I get into predictions and speculations, I would like to address the next-gen console war as I usually do here. From there, we can jump into what is confirmed and what we hope is next. The implications here go well beyond gaming as we see some major innovations in technology and shifts from pure gaming to multi-purpose computing systems.

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Why XBox One, Wii U, And PS4 Have Already Failed

Now that the silly debates over always-on, always-connected DRM and used game limitations are behind us (thank goodness), we can finally focus on the heart of the next-gen console wars. To me, your gaming console of choice boils down to a few simple core issues:

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A Look At The Gaming Industry, Player Motivation, And Social Media Dynamics (Opportunity!)

This blog post is so interesting to me that I posted it on my other blog (yup, breaking some SEO rules)!

I’ve been working on some projects lately with heavy social media and game mechanics involved.  Thing is, the majority of online marketers, brands, and businessses still do not see the massive opportunity here.  I think these numbers speak for themselves:

(I realize this image is HUGE and doesn’t jive with my theme so click it for the full-sized image, if you like statistics, market research, and/or gaming..  but hate long load times…  You’re welcome.)

ESRB Video Game Industry Statistics

I know you analytics and market research buffs will love this, even if you don't "game"!

What’s interesting to me here is that the data hints that socializers are the biggest group of gamers.  I look at everyone as a player, though not all players are necessarily gamers (being a gamer, in the more traditional sense, is more of a lifestyle choice, a conscious commitment)..  Yet we all play games in our lives: reward programs, social influence scoring platforms, sweepstakes, blogging, etc.

Socializers are driven by the interaction and engagement between others.  There is endless opportunity here for thought leaders, inbound marketers, brands, and, well, everyone.  I think the major paradigm shift here is in value propositions.  We’ve always thought of value and ROI in terms of dollars and cents (or traffic and visibility, the mass marketing, noise-making ways of old), yet Nexon, Zynga, FourSquare, and countless others have shown us that a virtual economy can ultimately be profitable, while keeping your overhead costs down.

These market leaders have also shown us that players may not be driven by achievement, high-level competition, or even curiousity.  As human beings, we are driven to feel connected, if not validated and accepted, even if we may be tagged as socially-recluse.  There is power in feeling like you’re a part of something bigger than you, a community, and networking with like-minded individuals..  even more so when we can meet our goals together!  Social is beating the pants off traditional marketing, especially for small businesses and start-ups trying to stay lean.

Zynga was valued at over 7 BILLION, last I checked..  their games are free and very similar to the myriad of mobile and Facebook games out there.  I’d say that should create urgency for us all.

Have you considered implementing game mechanics and design into your online projects?  How about now?

The Video Game Industry: Economy Of Gaming And The State Of Video Games

Recently I posted my long-delayed “Economy Of Gaming” article on Duel Pass Online (DPO), citing the driving forces behind video game pricing and subscription fees. The key take-aways were as follows:

  • Video games cost money to make and maintain, so someone has to foot the bill somehow.
  • There are plenty of cheap online gaming options out there.
  • Free online games are not always what they’re cracked up to be.
  • Paid video games are better than free video games usually.
  • You get what you pay for.
  • Gaming companies need to put the gamer at the center of everything.

I’d like to revisit PlayNoEvil’s article on the negative impact of used games and piracy on the video game industry. The author of the articles on PlayNoEvil.com makes some very valid points. He discusses how it’s easier to see how profits shift with the growing popularity of used video games, whereas piracy is mostly a non-issue.

If you do a little digging, you can see that large corporations waste quite a bit of resources with their anti-piracy and copyright efforts, along with virtually pointless interrupt marketing. You’d think it would make more sense to just re-invest that money in research and development. Building innovative video games with incentives for early adopters and long-term supporters seems like a smarter investment of the billions of dollars thrown away with silly business.

Any self-respecting gamer will invest money on their gaming lifestyle and favorite video games, especially if they have strong online components. They want to keep their favorite video game franchises alive so it only makes sense. Surprisingly, even though online gaming has kept many video game companies alive, some fans wish there were video games with only single-player modes. I understand the need for story-driven video games but the money makers and trends point to a better way… Continue reading

Gaming Clan Series: Let’s Make Video Games Fun Again And Why Gaming Clan Unity Matters

Let’s unite and GAME On!

I just wrote on my Bite Size page about plans to bring video games back to the masses by uniting casual gamers, social clans/groups, and like-minded (indie) developers together. On the surface, it may seem like a excessively redundant, auspicious, or ambitious but I know many of you share the vision and the dream: bringing back the true spirit of video games.

The premise and need is simple: professional gaming and competition as a whole takes the fun out of video games, bringing the focus to money and self-glorification. We want to reward good sportsmanship, principle-driven leadership, and a focus on fun and friendship. The ideal is to give small/ tight-knit clans the tools they need to succeed and maximize their gaming experience. I believe gaming clans and social groups (N-o-F falls into both categories) are the backbone of the video game industry: we make video games more enjoyable and promote the stuff that matters, rather than bolstering mere unsubstantiated hype.

In preparation for the web site launch, I want to gauge everyone’s interests and ideas. This especially applies to folks that remember the “good old days” of video games and want to play with like-minded people to limit the amount of asshat factor in online gaming. The proposed site will be a meeting grounds for gamers that are passionate about the aforementioned ideals. Principle-driven clans/guilds will be able to forge alliances and have the tools needed to recruit efficiently, lead effectively, and set up/join fun events so you get more out of your gaming investments.

…And now for some special thanks… Continue reading

XBox Code of Conduct: Lessons in Customer Service and Parenting

Today I am blogging via mobile so this is going to be a mostly vanilla post (until I get a chance to polish it a bit, of course). My topic of choice today can fuel quite a bit of different blog entries. I wish to discuss Microsoft and their continued bad customer service. I’d also like to touch upon the concept of the video babysitter, a lazy strategy used by parents today.

Console gaming is mostly community-driven (after all, the hardware is obsolete the moment it hits store shelves) and this is especially so with XBox LIVE, arguably the best overall onling gaming service (at least on consoles). Unfortunately, console manufacturers fail to see that their customers are part of the service they offer. Microsoft has definitely missed this point by not doing right by their customers. The Red Ring of Death, Open Tray Error, and Code of Conduct are amongst many things hurting what could otherwise be an amazing, fully-engaging console experience.

While we can get into all the facets of Microsoft’s missed opportunities, let’s look at the Code of Conduct. It is dressed up as a way to preserve the integrity of the XBox LIVE online community but, instead, it only becomes nuisance to paying subscribers. More times than not, the people being reported are merely the ones defending themselves; meanwhile, the real offenders and troublemakers remain online harassing on XBox LIVE.

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Microsoft Reminds Us Why They Suck: XBox LIVE Outages and Poor Customer Service

Well, I couldn’t fight the urge anymore. With as much work as I have on the table, I owe it to you, my loyal readers, to bring back the passion and frequency of my blog and what better way than to take potshots at one of the biggest and crappiest pseudo-monopolies out there? That’s right, it’s time to attack Microsoft once again!

XBox LIVE Dies - ZOMG!!!

No, XBox LIVE is not dead but, the way it has been running the past couple of weeks, it might as well be. If you have lived under a rock or are not really a gamer, you may have missed all the scandals regarding XBox LIVE customer horror stories and continued outages. I’m going to give you all a little grocery list of some of these horror stories:

  • XBox LIVE customer support analysts actually laugh and hang up on customers.
  • The ultimate solution for most problems plaguing XBox 360 seems to come down to buying a new system, creating a new account, or hearing “we can’t help you”.
  • XBox 360 units are still experiencing random crashes (surprise), red rings, and other hardware failure.
  • The magical XBox 360 warranty (which comes at an additional cost) does not include much at all; in fact, shipping and even boxes come at additional premiums in many cases!
  • Prepaid XBox LIVE subscription cards are more trouble than they’re worth – some don’t even code with a code behind the silver coating, due to misprints (good luck getting anyone to give you credit or a full refund for that)!
  • The most over-used line of any XBox LIVE customer support representative is “sorry, but that’s our policy”.
  • No one on the XBox LIVE support team seem to speak English natively, nor do they understand the root cause of your issues and what the customer TRULY needs.
  • It is not unlikely for random people to harass you, just for fun, and file false complaints against you which, ultimately, get you terminated. Since the XBox LIVE team doesn’t really understand English, they just go by “what’s in their system” and follow their scripted courses of action. A few strikes and you’re out. Good luck appealing.

If you’re like me, you may be looking at this list with great disgust. Anyone that knows me knows that poor customer service, unwarranted rudeness, and poor product “follow-through”/overall quality are things that I absolutely abhore. As a gamer and someone that happens to be an XBox 360 owner, I feel that Microsoft’s business tactics are completely unethical, to say the least. We shouldn’t be surprised since the XBox franchise is a microcosm of Microsoft’s track record in all other facets of their huge corporate monster.

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Gaming Shop Talk: Microsoft’s Majestic Marketing – Halo 3 Zero Hour

Today is the day that many geeks and overly-competitive gosu gamers have been waiting for: the Halo 3 launch. For me, it is business as usual. I played the beta and wasn’t particularly impressed and I am not a huge fan of Halo to begin with (you’ll have to forgive me for that) but, whatever way you chop it up, this is a historic day. This is the story of a somewhat obscure developer that hit it big by allying with one of the biggest brands out there – Microsoft! It is also the story of how online multiplayer games really got put on the map. Halo brought a gleam of hope to those that wanted something different…

Halo 3 - a ray of light for a different type of gamer!

For many years, the online gaming community has thrived in great numbers on the PC front but it was mostly underground, cult-like, not very organic or viral. Some home consoles tried to capture the magic of PC gaming but failed, mainly because they treated multiplayer modes as an after-thought. Along comes Halo to change everything. Halo is, without a doubt, the killer app of the XBox, comparable to Final Fantasy and Super Mario, easily. It is all a matter of brilliant marketing. The XBox cultivated a huge gaming space that was, for the most part, a vacuum waiting to be filled by a big idea. Bungie was a quiet developer that gave Mac users what they rarely got: fun games that weren’t family-oriented or overly-nerdy. Marathon arguably started it all yet few people even heard of the game. In this case, it is clear that the Bungie brand made little difference as crossing over to the “dark side” (Mac users tend to dislike anything Microsoft) would have lost the long-time followers. Surely, the amplifier of the Halo franchise was something outside of the developers and branding, surely the market was ready and waiting for something to come along. Halo certainly filled void by meeting the needs of those that wanted hardcore competition in a not-so-nerdy package. Finally, an FPS that was fast-paced, revolved around multiplayer (both coop and versus), and didn’t have a complex control scheme!

Had Halo been released on the PC like Microsoft originally intended to, it would not have been as popular; instead, they attacked the console market and used college dorms as marketing hives, the gaming bees buzzing about about their latest gaming addiction. Why do I say this? Well, the game is a rehash of what has been done before but, since it was new to those that only knew console gaming, it was easy to spread.

The brilliance of Halo was never it’s unique storyline or break-through architecture. The technical aspects are all commonplace in a marketplace where ideas are just repackaged and regurgitated. The marketing is where the real money was made and where the Halo franchise became rock-solid. The console market was in dire need of a fast-paced online multiplayer game. Something that was easy to find (accessible), easy to talk to others about (smooth), and simple to play (inviting). The major gripe for people that dabbled in other First Person Shooter (FPS) games is that keyboard-and-mouse control schemes were too complex. Halo opened up the FPS genre to the masses and targeted the most aggressive, competitive gamers as well as everyday, casual gamers that needed something simple to enjoy with friends. These two segments spawned many fans spreading the message: here’s something UNREAL! Continue reading

Microsoft Brings Out SECRET WEAPON B: Premium Price Drops & XBox Elite

I have returned with more information about the rumored XBox 360 price drops and system reinvention. I think this topic alone has created much buzz, simply because everyone keeps waiting for the huge holiday sale, only to be disappointed with empty promises. I promised Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day sales for the XBox 360 and it happened, in spite of all the nay sayers trying to discredit the news bit (and spamming me on MySpace – thanks Brandon).

ZOMG - Halo 3 in HDMI? I can't wait for Christmas 2007!
[ If you are like many console gamers and Halo 3 really excites you, you may want to read on! ]

With the first quarter of 2007 being mostly quiet, we see the same trends carrying on from 2006’s year-end news: PS3 still suffers from supply issues, forcing Sony to focus on their PS2. This leaves the next-gen arena mostly to Microsoft. Many say that this is the reason for which they will not be pushing price drops for a while, but I still beg to differ as it is much more complex than that. In fact, my colleagues at YouNewb have been dubious for a while until we got some mixed signals from certain Microsoft representatives. It turns out that the folks at Microsoft were telling consumers one thing and certain press/PR contacts another, essentially pitting us against each other!

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