Monotonik: the re-distribution (& musings on platforms)

mono-logoSo, firstly, the announcement – if you haven’t spotted it already on my social media feeds.

I’ve just kicked off a multi-year project (!) to resurface _all_ of the music ever released on Monotonik (aka Mono/Mono211), the free electronica net.label that I ran from 1996 to 2009, on modern distribution platforms.

What I mean by ‘modern distribution platforms’ is a brand new YouTube channel (streaming) and a SoundCloud page (streaming/downloadable), making it even easier to listen to all the music.

Uploads are going up regularly – about 30+ so far, all early MP3 releases. But will take a VERY long time – possibly a year or two – to complete due to the massive number of releases. Continue reading

My Top 5 ‘Underappreciated’ Games Of 2015

Following my top 5 games of the year list, and in the vast expense of holiday 2015 time with room to chill out and actually _think_, I had the opportunity to explore some video games released this year that – maybe – didn’t get the kudos that they deserved.

What does ‘underappreciated’ mean here, in context of the title of this post? For the purposes of this (highly subjective) list, let’s just say: ‘doesn’t appear on a majority of the other Top 10/20 lists, and you might have missed it or just not got around to playing it’.

So, without further ado, here’s the games that I think everyone should have cared a bit more about this year (alphabetical order): Continue reading

Best Of 2015: My Top 5 Games

smmOnce again, my colleagues at Gamasutra are rolling out their personal Top 5 video games of the year over the next few days. While I don’t write day to day, I still hang out in the site’s Slack channel, play games, and HAVE OPINIONS. So whether you like it or not, I’ll be imposing these ideas on you, re: my favorite games of 2015 – a remarkably fertile year for gaming.

As per usual, I freely admit that I don’t play a lot of longform games – titles that take >20 hours to play through. With my relatively short attention span – and plenty to do at work and elsewhere – I tend to favor shorter, sharper repeatable experiences. (Of course, I end up playing them for >20 hours, in many cases! There-in lies the irony…)

So, here we go (picks in alphabetical order): Continue reading

Prisoners Literature Project – a cause worth supporting.

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Over the past two or three months, I’ve become increasingly involved with a charity that I wanted to talk to you all about – and ask that you consider contributing to, if you believe in its cause.

In fact, I’ve just finished redesigning the official website for the non-profit in question, the Prisoners Literature Project, which is “an all-volunteer grassroots group that sends hundreds of free book packages to needy prisoners in the United States every month.”

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The Magnificent Seventh Video Game Storybundle Debuts!

bundle_80_cover-59ae5b5c14b57dc81d76e57c9bb735d2[We’re back again with another super-cool PWYW video game eBook Storybundle – one that has been percolating for the last four months or so! This particular one – the seventh in the series so far – includes a bunch of gems I’m super happy to be bundling up for your reading pleasure. See below for announce, also my ‘curator comments’ on each book.]

Continuing its popular “pay what you want” ebook bundles, StoryBundle is very proud to present the Video Game StoryBundle 7.0 – the latest in the series of its acclaimed ebook bundles. Curated over the past 4 months, this specially picked set of 8 fascinating game culture & history books once again features a multitude of great titles for a fraction of their retail price. Continue reading

How To Not Have Horrible Conference Sessions, Hopefully?

gdctalk[Through our company’s London office, I was asked by the Chartered Institute Of Marketing to write something on how events might pick good speakers for events. An edited version – because I got a bit overenthusiastic with word count – is available now on CIM’s website – and here’s the full version I originally wrote, hurray.]

One of the most infuriating experiences when attending a conference is to sit through half an hour – or an hour – of a tedious, scattershot panel, or a barely prepared, droning lecture with no takeaway. This experience is universal no matter what industry you’re in – bad content is bad content.

But it doesn’t need to happen on your watch! Some of UBM Tech’s notable shows in the United States (particularly Game Developers Conference – about video game development, and Black Hat – about information security) are known for the non-horrid quality of their conference talks. (You can see some of our top talks on GDC’s YouTube channel, if you’re interested.)

We’re not claiming we have it right – or anywhere close to perfect. But we have thought a lot about how we approach content. This is particularly because our shows are largely paid conferences where people are shelling out a fair amount of money to learn and be inspired. So here’s some of the things we’ve discovered along the way: Continue reading

Cyberia: The Future Is Now, 20 Years Later

64645.jpg~originalOne of my favorite recent pastimes – simply because technology writing is now old enough – is to dive back into future-leaning writing of the 1980s and 1990s & see how things turned out.

It turns out that book sales in the Bay Area are full of such ‘artifacts’. And Douglas Rushkoff’s Cyberia – originally written in 1992, and published in 1993/1994 – is writing that deserves looking at, more than 20 years later.

The original hardcover description of the book on Amazon explains of Cyberia: “In a vivid journalistic portrait of the underground trendsetters of the 1990s, Rushkoff ventures headlong into cyberspace–the weird and unmapped terrain of hackers, smart drugs, virtual reality, cyberliterature, and technoshamans.”

So yep, the meat of Rushkoff’s book actually delves deep into some of his own journalistic and personal interests – in particular, the ‘smart drugs‘ movement, as also showcased in crossover cyberpunk magazines like Mondo 2000.

But the first 50 pages or so of Cyberia are an overview of the burgeoning early ’90s technology scene, and an attempt to forecast where it may go. Rushkoff is known for coining terms like ‘viral media’, and while much of the book feels very much ‘of its time’, these pages are worth analyzing and highlighting to see how things actually turned out. So let’s do that:
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F2P $ Minus The Mechanics – Is There A Way?

highscorezSomething I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is how game creators get paid for their work, particularly on mobile. Specifically, I’m wondering whether there’s any middle ground between the minority of devs who rake in the vast majority of revenues, largely through higher-paying ‘whales’, and the rest of us.

Firstly, let’s lay out the ‘problem’. Obviously we’ve seen that certain F2P games are commanding large swathes of market share on mobile – Supercell‘s trio of titles – Clash Of Clans, Hay Day, Boom Beachgrossed $1.6 billion and had a $500 million profit in 2014 – crazy.

Besides the obvious ‘stickiness’ and quality of the games, these folks are making off with the lion’s share of the dollars because well-constructed IAP (in app purchase)-based  ‘games as a service’ are a sweet spot for today’s digital game biz, and have two major advantages.

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Welcoming The Summer Video Game Storybundle

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[We took a little bit longer to make something special for the latest video game-themed StoryBundle that I put together for Jason Chen’s excellent eBook bundle site! And the optional charity _and_ all of my curator cut goes to the excellent women in games org Pixelles. Here’s lots more info!]

Continuing its popular “pay what you want” ebook bundles, StoryBundle is proud to present the Summer Video Game Book Bundle – the sixth in the super popular series. Curated over the past 6 months, this specially picked set of 20+ fascinating game culture & history books/magazines.

It once again features over $100+ worth of books & magazines for a fraction of that price – including a world exclusive debut and literally thousands of pages of amazingly written and compiled content. This summer, either binge on the lot, or pick your favorites to read at your leisure!

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E3 2015: The Great Console Circus Rides Again

bbaileyThis year’s E3 trade show in Los Angeles, which I’ve just finished attending in person, was an interesting one for the video game business. While there’s been a lot of talk of the rise of mobile, indie, VR, or what have you, E3 itself has reinforced its focus on the core console gamer. And it’s emerged as a dynamic force in that particular space, which is still an incredibly important part of video games.

After a lot of painful consolidation (of both publishers and independent console developers), we’re down to just a few ‘big’ console game publishers and platforms – who are also the financial backers of the ESA, the trade organization which organizes the event. They’re notably led by Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Activision, and Ubisoft, with Disney, Warner Bros, Bethesda, Square Enix, Capcom, and Take-Two also having significant show-floor presence.
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