"We don't currently plan to support LAN play with Starcraft II, as we are building Battle.net to be the ideal destination for multiplayer gaming with Starcraft II and future Blizzard Entertainment games," a Blizzard representative said in a statement. "While this was a difficult decision for us, we felt that moving away from LAN play and directing players to our upgraded Battle.net service was the best … Read more
China has unveiled the first official rule on the use of virtual currency in the trade of real goods and services to limit possible impact on the real financial system. The Chinese government also spelled out the definition of "virtual currency" for the first time, which includes prepaid cards of cybergames, according to a joint announcement from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Commerce Friday. It said:
The virtual currency, which is converted into real money at a certain exchange rate, will only be allowed to trade in virtual goods and services provided by its issuer, not real goods and services.
The ban is primarily aimed at "gold farming," an Internet-age phenomenon in which players in less developed countries collect and sell virtual gold (common to games like World of Warcraft) to wealthier gamers in the developed world. This enables gamers who have the means to buy virtual gold to get ahead in the games without actually having to accomplish the grunt work.
The trading of virtual currency for real cash generates between $200 million and $1 billion annually, according to a 2008 survey conducted by Richard Heeks at the University of Manchester. … Read more
Studies that look at the effects of video games on kids have been mostly positive of late, with a focus on safe virtual worlds, and devices such as the Nintendo Wii that encourage physical activity.
The new report "Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children's Learning and Health" (PDF) urges educators as well as government and the health care industry to look beyond the stereotype of video games as harmful.
Video games have been shown to help children learn vital foundational and 21st-century skills, including:Content (from rich vocabulary to science to history) Skills (from literacy to math to complex problem-solving) Creation of artifacts (from videos to software code) Systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships as a whole)
Nielsen is out with a new report on media consumption by teens and the results are counter-intuitive to what we commonly believe to be the norm. According to the How Teens Use Media report (PDF), "teens exhibit media habits that are more similar to the total population than not."
Key takeaways from the report:Teens are not abandoning TV for new media: In fact, they watch more TV than ever, up 6 percent over the past five years in the U.S. Teens love the Internet, but spend far less time browsing than adults: Teens spend 11 hours … Read more
Speaking at a press conference in Los Angeles on June 19, the two guitarists said "they don't believe video games are an ideal way for people to be exposed to music or learn to play instruments."
As much as I enjoyed Guitar Hero, I have to agree that it's annoying that the game doesn't teach you to play an instrument and depressing that game buyers aren't really interested in the music itself--just how hard the game makes it to play the songs. The silver lining is that bands such as Dragon Force would be even more obscure if it weren't for the game.
"It's depressing to have a label come and tell you that Guitar Hero is how kids are learning about music and experiencing music," White said. He added that although he doesn't try to dictate "which format people should get their music in...if you have to be in a video game to get in front of them, that's a little sad."
Page added that he can't imagine that people are really learning anything significant about playing instruments by playing video games.
"You think of the drum part that John Bonham did on Led Zeppelin's first track on the first album, Good Times Bad Times," he said. "How many drummers in the world can play that part, let alone on Christmas morning?"
So, when I saw that the company launched a new "Dunkin' Run" iPhone application today, I bought the shiny new Apple product. But then I was dismayed to learn that Dunkin' is not in the San Francisco Bay Area (or really west of the Mississippi.) … Read more
The Nintendo Wii has already changed the face of video games and recently started breaking new ground in advertising and social gaming. With the recent launch of the Wii-no-ma service in Japan, Nintendo has figured out how to make gaming a family event.
According to Cyber Media Japan, Nintendo researchers found that 87 percent of Wii users use it on the biggest screen in the house, which is still the one in the living room.Accordingly, Nintendo believes that new forms of advertising--especially those encouraging togetherness in viewing ads and watching videos on the Wii--are bound to make money.
I didn't think much of the initial announcements, but after talking to a friend in Japan, I realized that Nintendo may have figured out how to become the entertainment consolidator that so many other companies have been gunning for.
Cable companies, Tivo, Yahoo, and AOL all come to mind as groups that have tried to consolidate content and games, but the diversity of user experiences along with the way people choose to consume content has proven to be difficult to manage.
Nintendo is looking to broaden the variety of things you can do with a single gaming device by establishing the Wii as the machine that provides more options than those available from a handheld device like the DSi, or a more gamer-oriented product such as the Xbox. (I wrote about the Wii catering channel here.) … Read more
Widgets, portable pieces of Web code, have become synonymous with interactive Web page components, often Flash-based games and ads can stick out like a sore thumb. Functions are great, but they need to be seamless.
Instead of just offering a page function, the widget technology is turning out native applications that blend seamlessly with newsfeeds and spread virally through friend lists. Accordingly, the w-word had to go and this morning iWidgets became Transpond. Transpond, a word that actually doesn't mean anything, calls to mind words like "translate" and "respond," more positive connotations than the has-been … Read more
Start-ups peddling virtual goods raised $69 million in funding in the first quarter of 2009, holding at a steady pace from the previous two quarters according to data from Show Initiative LLC.
I've long held the stance that virtual goods and services are an interesting way to make money online. What's not clear is what business models work and what segments of user populations are the best targets.
The amazing thing about the 10 financings listed below is how large they are. This indicates that VCs are betting big, or that the companies are giving away a lot … Read more
Video game sales were down by 23 percent in May, according to the latest data from NPD Group. The bright spot of the report is the ongoing domination by Nintendo, whose hardware and associated games outsold the competition by nearly 2 to 1.
As CNET's Lance Whitney reported, "NPD blamed most of the decline on the lack of blockbuster games rather than the weak economy. The report noted that last year's sales were boosted by the launch of popular software titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV. Nintendo's Wii Fit also was a hot commodity in 2008."
While there are a wealth of new games coming in 2009, including what appear to be some winners for PS3 and Xbox, Nintendo platform games made up just shy of 50 percent of the top 10 sales in May:UFC 2009 Undisputed(THQ) Xbox 360 - 679,600 Wii Fit(Nintendo) Wii - 352,800 EA Sports Active(EA) Wii - 345,800 UFC 2009 Undisputed(THQ) PS3 - 334,400 Infamous(Sony) PS3 - 175,900 Pokemon Platinum(Nintendo) DS - 168,900 Mario Kart(Nintendo) Wii - 158,300 Punch Out!!(Nintendo) Wii - 156,900 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged(Activision) Xbox 360 - 120,700 Wii Play(Nintendo) Wii - 109,800 Total Nintendo software: 1,292,500 Total other vendor software: 1,310,600