Archive for the ‘Game Platforms’ Category

I recently read an article entitled “Game Over for Gamestop” on a website called SeekingAlpha.com which suggested that Gamestop as a business will collapse at some vaguely defined point in the near future if their business model does not change.  Now I see several flaws in the theory and logic that they are using to make this claim, but let’s begin at the beginning.  Who is Seeking Alpha?

Seeking Alpha is, first and foremost, a blog.  It is not news.  It’s not market research.  It is a financial blog that attempts to guide stock market investors with tips, analysis, and sometimes the support of news.  They are making an argument and drawing a conclusion.  According to their About Seeking Alpha page “Seeking Alpha is the premier website for actionable stock market opinion and analysis, and vibrant, intelligent finance discussion.”  And yes they really did boldface their font just like that to jump out at you so you won’t have any delusions about who they are or what their business mission is.  Now as with every business in the modern competitive world, they have to justify who they are and why we should be reading this blog as opposed to say the online Wall Street Journal.  In answer to this quandary, they respond “Seeking Alpha differs from other finance sites because it focuses on opinion and analysis rather than news, and is primarily written by investors who describe their personal approach to stock picking and portfolio management, rather than by journalists.”  And once again they did feel the need to bold those specific phrases so there would be no confusion.  So putting this all together, Seeking Alpha is a blog written by investors seeking to provide financial advice with regard to the stock market.  They are not journalists, which I believe is a two-fold point.  They are not writing news so if you are looking for stock market news, turn around and run the other way.  Secondly, they are investors not journalists, but specifically not stock market (Wall Street Journal?) journalists.  They are not judging companies based on the news of that company.  Well really they are, but that’s not why they are here.  They are here to take the news and take the history and take the products and take the numbers and take their own investment experience and coalesce all of that information into a coherent opinion of the company specifically with an eye toward consumer advice.  Really this just makes them bad editorial journalists and product reviewers, but I digress as that’s an argument for another time.  Now I apologize for having spent my first 500 words on this website and I’m sure you’re wondering what any of this has to do with games and gaming, but don’t worry I’m getting there.

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Guild Wars 2

Image via Wikipedia

When the iPad was announced earlier this year I wrote a blog entry that was generally sceptical of the device’s overall potential to revolutionize anything; nevertheless, I was still interested in its possibilities as a gaming platform.  At the time, I wrote this:

Apple will in all likelihood need some breakthrough application that really takes advantage of the size and scale of the device (since no significant new functionality was demonstrated) to allow people to do something that they couldn’t do before.  Alternatively, it will need to allow people to do something they could do before but much more efficiently.  Note:  much more efficiently.  I have a hard time seeing how anyone will part with the amount of money needed to get the version with reasonable storage and connectivity if it only does some things a little better than is possible at the moment.

This breakout app that helps to redefine the iPad hasn’t happened yet as far as I’m aware.  No one who has showed me their iPad has yet done the “but what you really need to see is this” move that made me jealous of any number of people with iPods and then iPhones.  Of course, I did underestimate basic human nature.  In fact, lots of people will part with a lot of money to get something that only does things a little better than other devices (and in some cases a lot worse: seriously, have you used the “keyboard” on this thing?  Better yet, watch a proud iPad owner using it: they grin with that kind of “No, this may look painful but I’m really having a lot of fun” look that is vaguely reminiscent of the way elephants look when trying to have sex). . .simply so they can have what most other people don’t have. . .yet.  There is a word for these people.  Posers.

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The iPad as Gaming Device?

Posted: January 28, 2010 by Twitchdoctor in game design, Game Platforms
Tags: , , , ,

And lo, The Steve descended the mountain with the Word of the Lord still heavy upon him.  Thus he spread his hands and calmed the roiling waters of commerce, and spaketh in tones of majesty to the huddled masses yearning to be freed from the burden of their cash.  “Behold, ” intoned The Steve, “I bring you revolutionary magic, a magic revolution, more magic, more revolution.  And I say unto you, in three score days thou will find within the holy temple of the golden apple a device that is like an iPhone only bigger and phoneless, and which resembleth the Book of Mac but smaller and less powerful, and which shall combat the wiles of the evil Kindleites by charging the people more to read.  Thy pockets will be barren even as the Ark of the Apple Covenant is filled unto bursting with the Wealth of Nations.  And the world shall be unchanged.”  So sayeth The Steve.  And the masses fell to warring among themselves.

OK, leaving aside the fact that I still can’t say the word “iPad” with a straight face (what the hell was The Steve thinking?), the product’s release schedule colors Apple’s generally high level of marketing savvy with just a hint of desperation.  In releasing the SDK yesterday but not making the device itself available for 60 days (and then only making the crappiest version available) Apple is tacitly acknowledging that while The Steve may be convinced that this device is “magical” and “revolutionary” at the moment it appears to be anything but.  Wishing will not make it so, but the work of some canny app developers just might.

Most of the touted uses of the iPad are already served adequately by existing software applications (and on other devices).  Apple will in all likelihood need some breakthrough application that really takes advantage of the size and scale of the device (since no significant new functionality was demonstrated) to allow people to do something that they couldn’t do before.  Alternatively, it will need to allow people to do something they could do before but much more efficiently.  Note:  much more efficiently.  I have a hard time seeing how anyone will part with the amount of money needed to get the version with reasonable storage and connectivity if it only does some things a little better than is possible at the moment.

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