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06/11/2007

Fast Forward: In vino veritas...

Le jeu: Wine no Hajimekata ( Le vin pour débutant )

Le concept: Devenir maitre somelier grâce à sa DS.

L'idée: Comme le gout ne figure pas dans les possibilités techniques de la DS, vendre la cartouche du jeu avec une bouteille de vin ^_^

 

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Fast Forward: Bientôt, Cooking Mama vendu sur les marchés ?

Habbo Hotel !

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 Le succès de ce "jeu en ligne" pour adolescent à pris l'industrie par surprise il y a quelques années. Pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas, Habbo est un univers mignon pensé pour les ados et principalement axé sur les interactions sociales entre les membres.
 
 
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Sulka Haro revient sur ce qui fait le succès du jeu et de l'univers...
 
 
Haro then summed up the talk with six important points.


1. Create something to play with. "Lego are a good example of what you should be building."
 

2. Intuitive interaction. "You need to kill the UI. If the users notice there's a UI it's probably too complicated."
 

3. Set up a mood for play. "This is maybe the hardest part to explain. In the real world, as I mentioned earlier, it's increasingly hard to play. Just celebrate the fact that people do stuff and don't punish for failures."
 

4. Support user-created goals. "Players know the best."
 

5. Shared social setting. "Even when people create the content, let people walk into the room and [use] the stuff. If you want to play, you need to figure out how to play."
 

The bonus sixth point, according to Haro, is safety. "The users need to feel as comfortable as possible." Habbo bans players for passing personal info. "If you construct the game so that people can screw up what other people do, people won't bother... it's too difficult to maintain."
 
 
 
[ Gamasutra

05/11/2007

Keita strike again...

J'adore les jeux que fait Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy anyone?). Mais le plus drôlr, c'est d'assiter à une de ses présentations!

 

D'ailleurs, il a recommencé à la présentation de "noby noby boy", son prochain projet PS3 ^_^

 

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He began by apologising for having agreed to do a keynote, because he's shy and doesn't do well in public, and he followed by putting on gentle sounds of water and birds tweeting, "to calm us". Then, using a combination of Edgies and Desktastic (this is why macs pwn windows/powerpoint for presentations), he took us through a number of stories: how his favourite Havaiana flipflops broke at the thong, which is a bad omen. "Maybe my plane will crash".

 

...

 

And then the Nobi-Nobi Boy. This might translate to Freely Boy, but also to Free and Easy Boy or maybe even Postponed Boy.   I'm looking forward to seeing what actually comes out on the packaging; I suspect they might even stick with Nobi-Nobi Boy in US/EU, in the end.

 

[ Wonderland ]

 

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04/11/2007

L'histoire du Commodore 64...

Instant nostalgie ^_^

 

The Commodore 64 (C64) wasn't Commodore's first foray into the home computer industry. In 1977, Commodore had earned some recognition with its ground-breaking PET, which went through several iterations over the years and was quite popular in schools.

 

The PET was followed by the VIC 20 in 1981, the direct ancestor of the C64. The VIC 20 was a smashing success, eventually selling millions of units and establishing Commodore's reputation for making highly capable computers at prices that rivaled the era's videogame consoles.

 

“Why buy a videogame when you can have a computer?,” asked Star Trek’s William Shatner in a famous series of print and television advertisements.

 

Still, although the VIC 20 was a great value for the budget-conscious, its limitations were onerous for many enthusiasts. They wanted a more powerful machine and were willing to pay extra to get it.

 

Commodore heard their call, and the first C64 went straight from the assembly lines to the headlines. The personal computer industry would never be the same.

 

The C64’s unprecedented success demonstrated, once and for all, that there was a strong and viable market for inexpensive personal computers that could run the latest videogames. Today, tens of thousands of avid C64 fans publish websites, populate online forums, run C64 games in emulators, and develop new homebrew software and other products for the system.

 

There are even bands who specialize in arranging old Commodore favorites for the pub and bar crowds. For countless fans of the system, the "Commie" is still the best personal computer ever to grace the living room.

 

[ Gamasutra

 

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02/11/2007

SKU story...

C'est vraiment l'un des points les plus marquants de cette génération de console, l'incroyable multiplication des SKUs aussi bien pour la PS3 que pour la X360. On avait bien eu des consoles de couleurs différentes (comme la Xbox Crystal), ou de taille différente (PSTwo Slim), mais le contenu était en principe identique.

 

Il y avait bien eu quelques tentatives de la part de Nintendo (La Q de panasonic) où le lecteur DVR PS2 de Sony, mais sans grand succès... 

 

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[ Joystiq

01/11/2007

GameCenterCX: La télé réalité du jeu vidéo...

Game Center CX est une émission de télé réalité japonaise qui de prime abord semble toutefais similaire aux autres: suivre les aventures d'un quidam dans des circonstances plus ou moins naturelles. Ce qui distingue cette émission, c'est que le protagoniste principal - Shinya Arino - a un seul objectif à atteindre, battre les jeux vidéo les plus difficiles possibles!
 
 
Et ça cartonne! Déjà la huitième saison apparement ! A quand sur NoLife ? 
 
 
It's a typically dramatic moment on the Japanese reality show Game Center CX. The concept is that Arino must defeat the most difficult videogames ever made.
 
 
The star's demeanor is businesslike: Before the shoot begins, he hands me his card, which reads Kachō (section chief), then puts on an aqua blue workman's uniform over his shirt and tie. His tireless perseverance has audiences rooting for him like an American Idol underdog.
 
 
Arino plays at a standard office desk, his Nintendo consoles surrounded by piles of dried squid and other salty snacks sent in by fans. "A regular person would've turned off The Quest of Kihas to keep playing." after 30 minutes," CX producer Tsuyoshi Kan says admiringly. "But Arino-san can't.
 
[ Wired ]
 
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30/10/2007

GarageGames: Histoire d'une acquisition...

Voici une histoire intéressante: GarageGames, la petite boite indy qui monte, s'est fait récemment racheter par un très gros conglomérat, preuve de l'attrait de plus en plus potant pour l'industrie du jeu vidéo. Ce genre d'affaire est toujours un peu obscure. On l'apprend quand le contrat est signé, on sabre le champagne, et puis voilà.

 

Mais cette fois ci, Jeff Tunnel raconte le processus de rachat, de la prise de contact à la signature!

 

A year ago when I was on my first vacation to Italy and France, I got an email from Josh Williams in an Internet cafe. It was really short, “IAC wants to talk to us.” We had just gone through a couple of months on another acquisition offer that we ended up turning down. I was tired, and ready to just put pedal to the metal with GG and make it go on our own, so my answer was “no thanks.

 

Then the business side of me kicked in, and I said, “OK, I’m in for discussion, but they need to allow us to keep doing things the way we are, i.e. making game development accessible to everyone, and treat developers like we want to be treated.” BTW, that was pretty much the reaction from all of the GG partners/stakeholders, so Josh pursued it, they loved our strategy, and it kept looking good.

 

So, as soon as I got back, Josh and I made a trip down to Los Angeles to meet with Victor Kaufman, the Vice Chairman of IAC, to see if we should move forward, and if a deal made sense. We left the meeting stoked. Victor is a finance guy, but he has made movies and done a lot of really creative things in the past, and he made us feel welcomed and genuinely understood what we were trying to do.

 

On the way home we circled through Portland to meet with Andy Yang (that we recruited to come to GG after the deal was done… now he works at GG), who was very instrumental in working with Shana Fisher inside IAC to develop their gaming strategy. Andy was there to make sure we passed the technology hurdle. It was pouring rain outside, so we huddled over a great lunch and we all seemed to hit it off well. Again, Josh and I were stoked. We kept meeting great people that really seemed to understand what we wanted to do, just in a bigger way!

 

[ GarageGames

 

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29/10/2007

levelHead...

Avec l'arrivée de l'Eye Toy sur la PS3, de nombreuses nouvelles applications vont voir le jour, à l'image de Eye Of Judgement.  Level Head est un projet qui repose sur le même principe...

 

levelHead is an interactive game that uses a cube, a webcam, and pattern recognition. When the cube is rotated or tilted in front of the camera the user will be able to see ‘inside’ the cube and guide a small avatar through six different rooms.

 

[ Networked Performance ]

 

Le top 10 de la PS2...

Pfiou, ça en fait des copies!

 

  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (13 million)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (12 million)
  • Grand Theft Auto III (11 million)
  • Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (11 million)
  • Gran Turismo 4 (8.79 million)
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (7 million)
  • Kingdom Hearts (5.6 million)
  • Final Fantasy X (5 million)
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (3.7 million)
  • Final Fantasy XII (3.68 million)

 

[ Joystiq

28/10/2007

The niche economy...

L'industrie du jeu vidéo a débuté comme une industrie de niche, et aujourd'hui encore, la majorité des pros travaillent sur des produits de niche. Des débuts de l'industrie jusqu'à nos jours, 1UP revient sur les petits studios d'hier qui ont disparu ou qui sont devenus grands...
 
 
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Supply and demand is the cornerstone of basic economics. The company with a product that appeals to the most consumers stands to gain the most profit. It's no different in the video game industry...
 
 
Corporations like Electronic Arts and THQ have made a fortune by catering to a mainstream audience. Given this huge potential for profit, it's surprising to discover that there are companies out there that narrow their focus to a specific group of customers.
 
 
It would seem that these developers are missing a golden opportunity, but there's a method to the madness of niche developers. Chris Jelinek, the president and CEO of O3 Entertainment, offers this explanation:
 
 
"We have a desire to bring different genres of games to the marketplace. We appreciate everything the large companies do, but we believe that many gamers are seeking out products that the big public companies choose not to deliver. Consumers are hungry for new gaming experiences. We would like to satisfy that hunger."
 
 
There is a greater motivation for niche developers than the recognition of video games as an artform, or a desire to bring fresh ideas to the industry. The key factor for appealing to a niche market is necessity.
 
 
When a newcomer needs to test the often rocky waters of the industry, or when a better established game company with limited resources finds itself financially overshadowed by giants like Electronic Arts and Activision, they must turn their attention to a market that hasn't yet been serviced by the industry's big players.
 
 
Otakus, or gamers obsessed with Japanese culture, have traditionally been a market untapped by large companies, and a reliable source of income for smaller ones. However, the smart niche publisher looks beyond the anime enthusiast to other gamers left stranded in the industry's blind spot.
 
 
They can be small children first learning to hold a controller, thirty-somethings longing to relive their own childhood, or mature adults who need a healthy activity that doesn't require them to step outside their retirement homes.
 
 
However, they all have two things in common... needs that aren't being addressed by the rest of the industry, and hefty rewards for anyone who can satisfy them.
 
 
 [ 1UP ]

22/10/2007

Character design is key...

Réussir à vendre son jeu au Japon quand on est occidental, c'est un peu le Graal du jeu vidéo. Japanmanship revient sur un détail fondamental au Japon: le design des personnages...

 

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...

 

What brought on this chin-stroking session on the tribulations of Western developers trying to create game characters that appeal to the Japanese market was my surprise at the recent release of My Sims for the Nintendo Wii, published by EA, the mega-corporation and convenient pantomime villain to blame all our industry’s woes on.

 


It was released in Japan as “Boku to Sim no Machi” (“Me and Sims’ Town” roughly) on September 27th. I had previously read in an interview published somewhere on-line that the team was mostly comprised of people that love Japanese games (whatever that means) and that this was a concerted effort to appeal to Japanese gamers.

 

Looking at the title it’s easy to see this was their goal, and though it’s a very good effort, and I feel a dick for saying this as it’s a very nice game, they just missed the target. This is partly due to a fairly complicated control scheme, despite its outwardly user-friendly appearance, but the real test lies with the characters. My Sims’ characters are just a tad too Western, or rather, they are a Western copy of Japanese style characters and as such they have made a few mistakes.

 

... 

 

[ JapanManShip

20/10/2007

Qualité ou chiffre de ventes ?

Il y a une tendance forte en ce moment dans le marketing du jeu, c'est de dénigrer l'importance d'obtenir de bonne notes dans les reviews. La logique est celle-ci: puisque de nombreux jeux de très haute qualité n'ont pas réussi à se vendre (Shadow Of The Collossus, Psychonauts, etc...) malgré un cout de production très élevés, cela signifie que l'investissement n'en vaut pas la chandelle.
 
 
Et de fait, il y a en effet eu un certain nombre d'"accidents industrielles" mettant en grade les éditeurs, en particulier avec les nouvelles IP.
 
 
Soit, c'est là qu'intervient Chris. En compilant les stats des ventes de jeux PS2 comparé aux scores de tests moyens, il a découvert un certain nombre de faits très intéressants.
 
 
Même s'il est vrai que de nombreux jeux ne semblent pas avoir le succés qu'ils méritent, les jeux qui ont du succés ont tous obtenus de très bon scores. En d'autres termes, pour vendre des millions de boites, il vaut mieux être au dessus des 80%. 
 
 
Les ventes ne découlent donc pas nécessairement de la qualité du produit, mais la qualité est une condition sine qua non des best sellers...
 
 
If you keep up on the gaming press, you've probably read about various industry figures arguing about next gen costs and quality. There's Midway marketing guy Steve Allison arguing that 93% of new IP games fail (followed by this retort), Blast Entertainment CEO Sean Brennan decrying next gen console development costs, and industry analysts divided over the amazing success of the Nintendo Wii in spite of its comparatively underpowered graphics hardware.
 
 
Developers and marketers alike are struggling with the idea that the costs associated with next generation game development may make it unprofitable, which, as I've ranted about before. Next gen is a high-risk environment right now, and as previously discussed, risk means a dearth of innovative or niche games. 
 
... 
 
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