Gaming Notes

Rather than talking about one specific topic this week, I'm going to briefly mention several things that caught my eye.

· Algorithmic Design: Swedish programmer Eskil Steenberg has an indie game called Love.  And the game world's design is left in the hands of an algorithm.  Wired had a nice little  write-up on the project, and this is very much worth taking note of.  As the sandbox genre evolves, the issue becomes delivering expansive content to the box.  Some games, like Spore or LittleBigPlanet, are hoping to distribute the workload to the game user base.  Algorithmic design is another solution.  Watch this space.

·  Google In-Game: Google is  testing a new in-game advertising platform.  Time will tell if Google brings anything new to the in-game advertising table.  I'd like if they were able to tie in some of the PC and console ideas on geo-targeting into a user-friendly interface, opening up a "SpotRunner" of in-game dynamic advertising.  But my guess is that's just wishful thinking.  But they'll need some trick up their sleeve - there is already stiff competition within the in-game ad space.

· Wii-co: Geico integrated the brand as a static in-game advertisement into the Wii game "Big Beach Sports.".  Horizon Media was behind the placement, working with in-game ad company Engage.

· YouPlay: PS3 game "Eden" is enabling players to upload their game footage directly to YouTube.  This is very cool, and is likely the start of a larger trend.  Hopefully this gets built into the PS3 on a deeper level, as it would be a natural fit for their social-gaming focus.  My question: for in-game advertisement, what kind of longevity will game footage capture give to dynamic placement?

· Build and distribute: Microsoft's XNA looks cooler and cooler as they develop it more.  It's kind of like Apple's AppStore for the iPhone, except only for games, and without the press.  Indie console development is a very good thing - I just still have doubts about the Xbox 360's ability to attract casual audiences.  But indie console games that appeal to core demographics are a possibility as well, and this platform will be an interesting experiment to watch.

· Night of the Living Consoles: WildTangent's CEO is making a  claim that "consoles are dead."  Having seen his presentation at MediaPost's OMMA Gaming, I can say it's a very well done, with a number of great points.  But the core thesis of his presentation I have to take issue with.  Console gaming is not going to die any time soon.  It is going to undergo significant changes before the next generation comes along, and the technology behind game design is going to have to find a way to lower costs, but the console will live on - much like movies survived TV.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

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