Forget the Wii. Nintendo's real golden goose, and likely the only thing that kept them going during the dark "GameCube" years, was its grip on the handheld market. (Yes, I'm very punny). I, among with 48+ million others, am a proud owner of a Nintendo DS. And for the marketers out there, that is a genuine 24-carat golden egg.
Lots of news for casual games lovers this week. For one, a study by Macrovision found that 83% percent of gamers surveyed would be willing to watch a 30-second ad in exchange for free gameplay. That's a good sign for the longevity of the 30-second spot, as DVR penetration increases and more online advertisers switch to shorter ads to avoid abusing consumer attention.
What do the movies "True Lies," "A Christmas Story," and "The Game" all have in common? They all relate to the topic of this week's Gaming Insider. In "True Lies," one character gets caught up in an imaginary spy scenario, swindled by a used car salesman. In "The Game," the protagonist gets caught up in a huge mystery, which is ultimately just a game bought by his brother for a birthday present. In the classic "A Christmas Story," Ralphie finally gets a decoder ring and finds the secret embedded in his favorite radio broadcast: "Drink More Ovaltine."
It's been a good summer for movie tie-in games: "Spiderman 3," "Transformers," "Ratatouille," "Shrek the Third," "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," and "The Simpsons Movie," with some other possibilities upcoming in late July and early August. Sadly, these licensed video games are, for the most part, mediocre at best. They are rarely innovative, often derivative, and almost never worth the $60 that the latest-generation titles go for. And it's going to stay that way until Hollywood studios start taking video games seriously.