Game Developers Conference 2016 – Reasons To Be Cheerful

gdc30thSo, it’s 2016 already, and the 30th (how did that happen?!) edition of Game Developers Conference is almost upon us, rolling towards us pleasantly, imposingly, but inexorably.

GDC 2016, which I help to organize, takes place in San Francisco next week (March 14th-18th). It features dedicated Summits and Bootcamps on Monday and Tuesday, with the Expo running Wednesday to Friday alongside the Main Conference, as per usual.

You’ve probably already had plenty of people (maybe including us!) social media-ing or emailing you with a whole BUNCH of things to see and do at the show. I wanted to take some time to highlight some of the things I’m excited to see at this year’s GDC, as follows: Continue reading

Welcoming The Mega Game Storybundle

bundle_93_cover-d296f9f2d548de05576fceaae6d0cabc [The first Storybundle I curated for 2016 is a special one – definitely my favorite for a while, and featuring some killer books – from the awesome Second Quest graphic novel through Nick Suttner’s lyrical Shadow Of The Colossus book and even two books made _just_ for this bundle. Go grab it! 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 Mega Game StoryBundle – the latest in the series of its acclaimed ebook bundles. This specially picked set of 9 fascinating game culture & history books once again features a multitude of great titles for a fraction of their retail price.

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

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

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.

Continue reading

Welcoming The Summer Video Game Storybundle

[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!

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

The Four Horsemen Of VR

peppersghostAs Wikipedia handily notes, regarding the Horsemen mentioned in the title,  “in most accounts, the four [Horsemen Of The Apocalypse] are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine & Death”. And none of these things are particularly nice, to be honest. (The only Death I’m a fan of is the one in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and mainly because he’s terrible at Twister.)

But I wanted to use the idea of gradually advancing, uh, harbingers for virtual reality, now that I’ve tried four or five VR systems with games, movies, and apps. We can then apply them to a sliding scale of immersiveness within VR right now – and discuss why it’s vital to understand the differences, when it comes to mainstream adoption.

And it turns out the four steps that take us inexorably towards the Apocalypse are quite a handy metaphor for just that! So let’s go ahead and see which technology lies with each ‘ride’, and uh, exactly what the heck I’m talking about:

Continue reading

Three Lessons From GDC 2015

[This was originally sent to 100 or so subscribers to my TinyLetter email newsletter, but thought it might be interesting to the Internet at large, so am reposting here.]

16534653780_99b1edfe1a_zHaving finished up the behemoth that was GDC 2015 since the last newsletter (GDC Vault recordings coming this week, with LOTS of free talks, folks!), I thought it might be nice to pass out some things I personally learned from the show.

This edited post was originally posted on our company’s internal Wiki/Hub space, and while it needed to be pared down (it was originally Five Lessons, but a couple need to be internal only cuz reasons!)

It’s largely for an internal audience, and I hope it doesn’t come off too self-congratulatory. But we _did_ hit >26,000 people – another record for attendance – and it was a week that I know a lot of people regarded (and still regard!) fondly. So, some thoughts on it:

Continue reading