Millions of Indie Dozens

BusinessWeek is reporting news of a new independent videogame publisher on the block, Manifesto Games. From the BW article:

According to the press release, Manifesto will employ a digital distribution method to sell its games. The site will offer gamers a place where they “can find ‘the best of the rest,’ the games that the retail channel doesn’t think worth carrying.”

I need to check out the indy game dev boards to see how they’re responding to this “Long Tail” news. Distribution is one topic that seems to come up repeatedly on those forums, so this will doubtlessly make some waves in those ponds. And who knows, we may even see someone take an open-source Quake engine, and sell what would have once been a total conversion. Cool. And can indy game content be far behind?

…and BW on Pro Gaming

Let the (video)game sponsorship frenzy begin! From BW’s article “Pro Gaming Attracting Big Corporate Sponsors“:

PC hardware companies have been sponsoring Counter-Strike teams and individual pro gamers for over seven years, but more general youth-oriented brands and corporations have been slow to catch on to the phenomenon. In fact, last week’s announcement that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals (makers of Tylenol) was sponsoring pro CS team Ouch is believed to be the first of its kind.

I can’t help but think someone inside Johnson & Johnson has been working feverishly for years trying to convince a bunch of out-of-touch upper management types to do this. This news kinda makes my earlier post on CPL a little more interesting. Wonder if I can create something branded with a fake pain-reliever and let it go head-to-head with Tylenol. Or should that be headache-to-headache? It’s about time corporate America realized the importance of videogames in reaching a portion of their market, I just wonder if they also realize they’re now on a different playing field. Literally and figuratively. This could get interesting.

CPL Chooses Quake IV

For most people this announcement by the Cyberathlete Professional League (via Blue’s News) probably doesn’t mean much; however it’s caught my interest for personal reasons. One of those reasons is that I’m watching for opportunities to enter Microsoft’s XBox360 virtual market. Yesterday I watched some online game videos, one of which was a collection of game footage from the titles that would be available for the new console; Quake IV was included. The second reason is that I have experience with the Quake games and feel comfortable working on content for them, so it’s a little less daunting. And the third reason is that I already have an item I’d like to upgrade (it was originally designed for Quake 3) and test the waters with.

Consequently, this news means that there’s a good chance whatever content I develop for Quake IV will get some attention… even if only minimal. And what better way to have content shown than in the hands of a professional “cyberathlete”. Now that I think about it, maybe if Mark Cuban carries a tournament in one of his digital theaters, I’ll get to see something I’ve done on the big screen. Interesting thought. Almost as cool as having a real object made from the CAD model I’ll use for the normalmap.

Entertaining Shifts

BusinessWeek online has an informative article on the entertainment industry’s current DVD-sales woes. The reasons for the sales slump are obviously speculative, but some of the guesses are interesting to consider. At the core of this problem is: What are people doing with their leisure time (assuming they aren’t so tired from the long work weeks that they have the energy to do anything more than sit in front of the tube)?

One interesting bit from the article:

During its first quarter, ending May 28, Best Buy said it saw revenue declines for DVD sales that were “comparable” to the double-digit sales hikes it reported for video-game sales.

With the continued press about the growth in casual gaming, I’m wondering if the “fragmenting market” comment isn’t the most accurate. And perhaps some of those casual gamers who might be part of a new fragment are moving onto the harder stuff. I’m curious to know how many are female. And how many make their way to There or The Sims Online.

Ministries of VideoChina

BBC News online has an informative article on the amazing growth of online gaming in China. Interesting to note the government’s involvement: three separate ministries oversee the videogame industry. Of course there was no mention of virtual worlds. So maybe they could see fit to add another “ministry” – if just to help this poor virtual world resident posting on one official forum:

I Always Play Slingo, I Seen 10k Pot In Xxlodge Club, And Last Night Always From 3k-10k Changing The Pot, I Think The Players Are Mad, But To A Pity , I Was So Bad Luck Played All Night Didn’t Win Any , When I Near Ly Win I Met Devils,
So I Think, We Need Make A Script To Keep Us From Devils

I’ll update this when a “Soul-Saving Script” turns up in the virtual marketplace. Any day now…