This month, casual games took a drubbing from industry skeptics, and now it seems next on the firing line is in-game ads. Speaking at a recent conference, Wild Tangent founder Alex St. John said that in-game ads, although they're generating a lot of excitement in the market, are not especially effective ways of communicating with gamers.
The business world seems to have a youthful crush on video games these days. Which is certainly justified. Nintendo is the quintessential example of the Blue Ocean Strategy, having moved into a space unoccupied by any competitors, mopping up with its brilliant play - supply still can't meet demand over a year later. In the past weeks, "Grand Theft Auto" had the largest opening weekend of any media, ever. However, much like young love, the business world is more infatuated with the idea of a relationship, than with actually getting to know the object of its crush.
By all reports, casual games are a booming sector of the gaming industry. Research firm DFC estimates that by 2011, they will have grown to a $1.1 billion industry. But this week, execs from prominent firms have been speaking out against the very concept of "casual" gaming and gamers.
There were a number of interesting news tidbits this week, ranging from EA's decision to take a severe Big Brother approach to piracy protection with the upcoming "Mass Effect" and "Spore" PC releases, to the drama between Take Two and the City of Chicago Transportation Authority regarding the removal of $300,000 worth of advertising for "GTA IV," in response to standard fare, violent game fear-mongering. But the most interesting story is Microsoft's new game building functionality from Popfly for its Silverlight rich-media platform.
When it comes to massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and market share, it's pretty clear that "World of Warcraft" is king. Its subscriber base is bigger than all its top competitors combined, and its lead seems to grow more every month. But although "WoW" has the biggest player base, this week there was a low-profile announcement that could fundamentally change the way MMOs are played.