Tuesday, September 25, 2007

News from GameBiz

"Sales of the PlayStation Portable have increased by over six times on the previous week's figure, according to Media Create."

If one title (Crisis Core: FF VII) can do this to PSP, I wonder what LittleBigPlanet will do to PS3 :)

"Nintendo stock has become the second most valuable in Japan. As noted by Reuters, Nintendo sits behind only Canon to become the second most valuable traded company. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has a bigger market value than Nintendo, but shares are currently suspended due to a imminent share split."

Goozex launched a new Facebook application designed to promote and support gaming communities on Facebook. Facebook members can share their own game reviews, ratings, and personal libraries for more than 23,000 game titles.

These and other interesting news from: Gamesindustry.Biz.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Exergaming from the North

I get to see a bit of Ruska (autumn colors) while wisiting Rovaniemi (near arctic circle). Unfortunately I lost my luggage and did not get it back until in the evening. Due to which my presentation ("Music as play" >> response is the medium -- music, rhytm and/or sound as a way to interact with a game or other kinds of interactive software) was not the best I can offer but people seemed to get something out of it which is of course the most important thing.

I also met some of my fellow students from the dawn of media studies. We had fun when listening artists like Desert Planet, Huoratron and Dj Scotch. Before Tivoli (the bar) we did some exercise. Asko Alanen from Smartus was kind enough to give us a tour at the Smartus Playground. This was the first time I actually got to test the playground and I was pretty excited. There were not that many variations of games but it has a lot of potential. There were still a number of issues to consider starting from usability to interestingness (longevity) of the play. Anyhow we went back to the playground on the next day and talked with the kids playing at the yard. They were really excited even though --evidently-- they had played the games for a number of times already. Motivational factors were similar to other digital games -- to beat one's own record, to top the high score and to have fun. At the moment the most obvious target group is junior level kids but with a bit different approach, design and placement I am sure this could work well with a bit older youth, families or other groups as well.

At the moment SmartUs playgrounds can be only found in distant places in Finland (from the Helsinki viewpoint) and few places in Europe (see Smartus website). If you are into exergaming or novel ways of exercise, "stealth exercise" or related, I recommend to test the playground. It is also effective reminder that one does not necessarily need a mobile phone to do "mobile" or digital exercise. In this case simple plastic card (exercise credit card for kids ;D) is all you need.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Boring puzzle & women's explosive clothing

Lately I have been talking about new approaches in game design. How to understand the users (gamers), how to renew the business with modete risk and create something new? Even though I know a lot about the users it is not always easy to reach the target nor to present somewhat novel idea to the cynical gamers. It is always good to remind how difficult it actually is to try to understand the end users.

For example:
Joystiq.org wrote about Neves game on DS: "The original Japanese Lucky Puzzle is a classic example of a wolf in sheep's clothing. With only seven pieces, players had to construct a variety of shapes and objects. Neves is attempting to capture the brain teasing market that the DS seems to dominate. Like other brain games on the platform, the game is immensely easy to pick up and play. Multiplayer is also a surprising and fun addition to the game."

Sounds good?

And what do consumers have to say about this?

"Seems boring." (FI)
"Don't worry, the final build will feature explosions and naked women too =P" (Leo)
"Will the final version also include women whose clothing explodes off their bodies?" (lessbiasedthanmost)

Another funny chain of comments referred to difficulties people had with the voice recognition on Braintraining.
"Blue! Blue! Bloo, Bluu, Blew...*some time later* Paper, Paper, PAY-PURR, PAIPIR, pay-parrr...*some time later*" (Kye)
"How on earth are they going to put voice controls in it? =p "Select piece number eight... move left, left, left, up, little bit to the right..." ?" (bm)

Yes, it is a question of pitching, usability, marketing, game design, focusing on right target group etc. But still.. if we end up with "gaagaa-guuguu" or naked women in a puzzle game -- something should be re-evaluated! Anyhow - funny comments! I had a blast -- in a Monday afternoon way!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

IGDA Finland Presentations #1

Place: Pääposti Auditorium (Postikuja, C), follow the IGDA signs
Date: Tuesday 11th September
Starts: 17.30
Ends: 19.00 — the chat will continue at the System Rock!

The first ever IGDA Finland Presentations (sponsored by Remedy) session will focus on money. We will give you tips how to get a share of 300 000 €’s for your game! You’ll also learn how the others have done it.

Erik Robertson from Nordic Game Programs will give you last minute hints how to get funds from the Nordic Game Program and beat the rest of applicants from other Nordic countries!

The second speaker is Ilari Kuittinen from Housemarque. He will talk about their experiences and future visions of downloadable console titles.

The last presentation of the evening will be held by Timo Vuorensola. Rautataivas crew would like to share their thoughts about Rautataivas game and find out possibilities for cooperation!

See you there!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Highligts from last week

* Elite Beat Agents for DS
* Trauma Center - Second Opinion for Wii


Helsinki Casino was full late Monday evening. Maybe that's everyday for others, but totally new experience (1st time!)for me

SuperMarit Bombastic cancelled

* Ars Electronica 5-11 Sept. in Linz
* First IGDA Finland Presentations on 11th Sept at Helsinki
* Media studies @ Univ. of Lapland 15 years PARTY! 21st Sept.
* MindTrek on 3-4 Oct. in Tampere

FaceBook applications (Egotics, TrendHunter, Pictogame's "I kick you")

Dopplr (travel), Extate (intelligent search), Garlik (identity), MindCandy (gaming), Moo (print on demand), OnOneMap (search), Touch Local (directory), Trusted Places (local UGC), Zopa (P2P lending) and Zubka (Recruitment).

Sort-of-Finnish-versions: Vailoma (travel), Faimous (intelligent search), MoiPal (gaming), Igglo (search), thinglink (directory), Oma Kaupunki (local UGC), IRC-galleria (P2P) Jaiku (moblog).

When I saw this Habbo-like front page of pdma conference I was excited! Finally someone has put effort on organizing a conference on innovation online. Unfortunately that is not the case, but Habbo for adults approach is nice anyway.