Posts Tagged ‘gaming community’

Can the iPhone OS 3.0 do for games what iTunes did for music?

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Late last week MacLife ran an article that brought to light a whole lotta interesting insights and future plans from some of the top developers for iPhone apps, specifically regarding the upcoming OS 3.0 release. While a lot of these developers discussed a number of their plans relating to the new features peer-to-peer, wifi and Bluetooth multiplayer gaming, push notifications, etc., there were a number of standout quotes regarding the ability to utilize microtransactions, or rather, I should say, in-app purchases.

Bruce Morrison, senior producer at freeverse (Days of Thunder!) wasn’t able to reveal much information about the company’s upcoming products, but they’re clearly up to some big things.

“I can’t talk about our upcoming titles in full yet, but we are very excited about the iPod access, micro transactions, push notifications and a huge slew of other things,” he said. “That, in combination with the new Facebook APIs (which, while not part of 3.0, feel like they almost are), are giving us some very exciting possibilities.”

Likewise, Brandon Barber, VP of Marketing with runaway success story Zynga says, “Obviously, we’re also excited about the micropayment platform. For games like Live Poker, the ability to make smaller purchases of chips and gifts will allow us to normalize pricing, and give gamers more options to play and customize their experience.”

Bolt Creative (Pocket God) president Dave Caselnuovo has this to say about the OS 3.0 update, “In-app purchases and push notification are definitely the most interesting of the new 3.0 features, but I think that the design of our app would have to change somewhat to take advantage of them. When we first started, we released a limited feature set, so our job was to justify the $0.99 price of our app. If we took the time to start big, then I would be more comfortable selling upgrades.”

Looking down the road to users’ reactions and how best to approach in-app sales, Simon Edis, head coder and president at ezone (Crazy Snowboard) comments, “In-app purchases and push notification are definitely the most interesting of the new 3.0 features, but I think that the design of our app would have to change somewhat to take advantage of them. When we first started, we released a limited feature set, so our job was to justify the $0.99 price of our app. If we took the time to start big, then I would be more comfortable selling upgrades.”

So it sounds to me that developers are a bit more than excited about being able to offer users additional content, gear, levels, etc., and naturally, being financially rewarded for these additional developments. And why not? Now, with that said, this flood of information and sneak peaks at what a lot of developers have brewing under the hood got me to thinking about microtransactions in general.

Last week I had to pleasure of having someone else sum up the microtransaction concept better than I could, one Mr. Beau Turkey. In this article he makes a strong, valid, and very logical case comparing music listeners that purchase CD’s vs. those that pick and choose titles via iTunes. At it’s core, iTunes is one of the biggest example of how microtransactions work, what they’ve done for an entire industry, and what potential they hold.

So the question begs to be asked; can the iPhone OS 3.0 update do for gaming what iTunes has done for the music industry? And in saying that, what I’m getting at here is introducing the concept in a plain and easy to understand format that doesn’t chafe the end user. For years and years the vocal core gamers have been screaming about microtransactions, the nickel-and-dime me to death, and pay-to-pwn concept, but something tells me all the while they were very happy not to have to buy the entire CD, and just picked and chose the songs they wanted to load up on their iPod, or generic mp3 player for that matter.

Does this mean that the entire world is purchasing their music via iTunes or Amazon? Of course not, there are still the CD buyers, and naturally the pirates. However, while iTunes hasn’t necessarily saved the music industry, they have made leaps and bounds in getting people off the Napsters of the world, and actually owning up and paying for the music they enjoy. When purchasing music via iTunes, the end user knows exactly what they’re getting, an officially licensed, full (and consistent) quality audio file with all the tags and cover art included. Not to mention in an easily searchable, organized collection that is easily transferred to a portable device. The point here is that through creating an easy to access, navigate, safe and secure point of purchase, iTunes has revolutionized the way we look at purchasing music.

By introducing microtransactions, or in-app purchases as the current buzzword dictates, is Apple setting the casual, and core to a point, gaming community up for the same revolution? Granted, not all developers are going to come in with the same standards of pricing, (perceived) usefulness, and bang for the buck, but they all still have to pass Apple’s stringent standards of quality and functionality. If in-app purchases deliver on their promises; providing new, exciting content with a bona fide entertainment value to the end the user, and the new OS provides a frictionless platform to do it, how long will it take before the gaming community at large starts to truly rethink these ‘microtransactions are bad…mmmmkay?’ preconceptions?

 

fatfoogoo on twitter and twestival

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

We’ve been flying a bit under the radar on this one, but it’s time to let the cat out of the bag: fatfoogoo is on twitter.  We’ve been slowly adding lots of interesting people from all over the business and gaming community and not only adding our own little bits, but more so, doing a lot of listening.  There are plenty of game community and industry folks actively participating on twitter, and lots of great news and opinions to be read and heard.

We’re also proud to announce that we’ve taken more than a passive interest in the twitter community, and are donating a Nintendo wii as the grand prize drawing in tonight’s Vienna westival event.  Twestival is a collection of over 185 cities around the world that are coming together not only to facilitate a twitter meet up, but to do so for a great cause, charity:water.

In September 2008, a group of Twitterers based in London UK decided to organize an event where the local Twitter community could socialize offline; meet the faces behind the avatars, enjoy some entertainment, have a few drinks and tie this in with a food drive and fundraising effort for a local homeless charity.

The bulk of the event was organized in under two weeks, via Twitter and utilized the talents and financial support of the local Twittersphere to make this happen.

Around the world similar stories started appearing of local Twitter communities coming together and taking action for a great cause. Twestival was born out of the idea that if cities were able to collaborate on an international scale, but working from a local level, it could have a spectacular impact.

By rallying together globally, under short timescales, for a single aim on the same day, the Twestival hopes to bring awareness to this global crisis.

charity: water is a non profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations by funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need.
But don’t just take out word for it, check out charity:water founder Scott Harrison’s video about the event.

http://www.vimeo.com/3170682

The foogoo team will be in attendance at tonight’s event, stop by and say hi, or tweet us!

Cynthia Lederer – @_whitenoise_
Dan Taylor – @MountainDan
Daniel Petri – @massiveattack55
Johannes Sperlhofer – @timeactor
Martin Herdina – @iznogud
Moritz Bayer – @ViennaMoB
Patrick Krippner – @locoloki
Patrick Pachner – @Adamantos
Ritchie Pettaur – @datadirt
Stevie Case – @killcreek
Thomas Stagl – @herrstagl

 

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fatfoogoo – a year in review

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

2008 has been a banner year for us here at fatfoogoo.  Not only have we had some amazing talent join us, but interest in not only what we do, but what we can do for the gaming community as a whole has skyrocketed.  Below are some selected highlights from an outstanding year for the foogoos.

I myself joined the foogoos back in April and started coverage of any and all things games, but quickly narrowed that focus down to any and all things free-to-play/microtransactions.  Given the nature of what fatfoogoo does, providing world-class microtransaction based economies to game developers and publishers, this seemed like an obvious choice.  Tie that into the massive upswing in microtransactions over the coarse of 2008, et viola, you’ve got the fatfoogoo blog.

While I couldn’t get an exact number or frequent flier mileage points out of him, our fearless leader Martin Herdina is almost certainly on a first name basis with a number of Vienna Airport staff members.  Back in May, Martin went back to his old stomping grounds and represented fatfoogoo at the ION Game Conference in Seattle, standing shoulder to shoulder with serious industry players including EA, Bigpoint and Crytek.  Martin was there not only to represent fatfoogoo, but to also offer up informed and detailed opinions on free-to-play gaming and how microtransactions can help developers monetize.  A summer full of incredible developments (See below) kept Mr. Herdina out of the check in lines, but as soon as September rolled around, Martin was beating feet (and being scanned with a magnetic wand) this time in Los Angeles for the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo.  A short time later saw fatfoogoo at the Austin Games Convention where we produced a live demo of just a few of fatfoogoo’s features (special thanks go out to the guys that work on the technical end of the foogoo system.  You DO know that Red Bull is an Austrian product, don’t you?  I think these guys may very well have been members of a beta test for super strength Red Bull).

Mid August must mean games in Germany, as who could miss the Games Convention Leipzig?  True to form, the GCDC also heard from Martin talking about in-game economies and item trading, while yours truly along with Patrick and Loki, scouted the convention floor, speaking to a number of games developers about current and upcoming projects.  No time to slow down now Martin, there’s the Virtual Worlds Forum London to get to in October.  Don’t like the fish and chips?  No problem, you’re slated to join Stevie in San Francisco at the vgSummit on October 10th.  James Brown may be the hardest working man in showbiz, but Martin Herdina might well be the hardest working man in the  microtransactionbiz.

But let’s not just make this about Martin, as there are plenty of other folks that make the heart of foogoo beat.

Back in July, our programming team reached a milestone and introduced elements of our technology to the Sun Partner Advantage Program via Project Darkstar.  The open source engine for game developers has already received a number of accolades, and via fatfoogoo, developers can now plug a monetization module into their game from day 1 or add it at a later date.  If our Project Darkstar integration wasn’t enough, a month later we received a nomination for “Best Business Idea of the Year” from German tech magazine Internet World.

2008 also saw the addition of two powerhouse figures at fatfoogoo.  In early August, we made the official announcement of adding Clive Jefferies as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Sales to the foogoo team.  Clive brings over 25 years of software product experience to fatfoogoo, and to say that he knows the ins and outs of international product development and management might be a bit of an understatement.

Likewise, in late September, we really lit things up with the appointment of industry veteran (and some might say legend) Stevana Case, aka KillCreek of Quake fame.  If you don’t know who Stevie Case is, chances are you might be filed under n00b, as Stevie is one of the first professional female gamers and the first woman in the Cyberathlete Professional League.  Stevie heads up our San Francisco office and serves as Vice President of Business Development and Sales.

All in all, 2008 has been an outstanding year for all of us here at fatfoogoo.  While there have been plenty of wins on a number of fronts, the above represents selected highlights.  Daniel Petri’s team of techs are the unsung heroes here, making all the pretty pixels play nicely together, and my hat goes off to them.

Looking forward, Martin has bound my lips with duct tape regarding some projects in the works, and while I’m bursting at the seams to tell the world about what we’re brewing up in the fatlabs, we’ve still got a few nuts and bolts to turn and tweak before it’s ready to be unveiled.  Stay tuned…  (no really, stay tuned, this is some pretty hot $*&#)!

So from all of us here at fatfoogoo, from Vienna to San Francisco, we wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2009!

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NVIDIA seeks to set Guinness Record at NVISION 08

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

If bringing in super hottie Tricia Helfer wasn’t enough to get the numbers up at NVISION, NVIDIA is pulling out all the stops, and attempting to set a Guinness World’s record of “Longest Non-Stop LAN party” ever.

In itself, this is a massive undertaking.  Guinness has shown support as well, “This will be one of the most exciting gaming record attempts of the year. I’ve been really impressed with the enthusiasm of the NVISION team and I look forward to being the official adjudicator for this great event,” commented Gaz Deaves, records manager, Guinness World Records.

NVIDIA has ramped up the stakes:  Not only will players go down in history, but NVIDIA is also chucking in numerous prizes including: a commemorative medal, custom gear, and gift cards.

“I have faith and confidence in the NVIDIA gaming community, one of the most loyal, energetic, and enthusiastic core audiences of NVIDIA since we were a startup,” said Sheryl Huang, NVIDIA marketing director and veteran of countless LAN events. “At NVIDIA events in the past, these guys have been up all night anyway. Their energy is incredible. I’m looking forward to them setting this record and earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s glory time.”

The Guinness attempt is quickly shaping up to be a flagship event at NVISION with a separate area for LAN Game record attempters.  The will play continuous for 36 hours with an allotted 10 minute break per 60 minutes played.  Is that the smell of RedBull in the air?

The attempt is made possible by EVGA, the Marquee sponsor (read: big money), and Patriot Memory, an official sponsor of the event (read: money, but not as big money as EVGA).

Interested in seeking fame and glory at NVISION?  If you’ve got enough no-doze and pwning skills, take your best shot at being invited on the team at: http://www.amireg.com/nvision08/intro.html

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