A research paper from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research has been released that suggests that games with online support can be crucial to a game’s retail success. Not surprisingly, another way to boost sales is to create a quality game (defined as those with a 90+ score on Metacritic), with these well-reviewed titles outselling the average release well above 5-to-1.
While making good games typically means making good money, naturally, it is a bit surprising to see the report indicate that sales can be doubled by dropping in an online mode. With online games selling twice the number copies that offline titles do, it’s curious to note that over half of games released don’t offer even basic online support.
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Apparently Nokia is nothing if not persistent. This week Nokia plans to introduce a third cell phone to bear the name N-Gage and try yet again to gain some traction with its cell phone/game device hybrid. This time they spent some time with the design firm Ideo to research what consumers wanted in such a device and think they have it right this time. “The graphics problem has been removed. And phones today are always connected and you always carry them with you. Phones are now the perfect device for gaming,” says product manager Tomi Huttula.
Most curious perhaps is the decision to stick with the name N-Gage, which at this point carries some pretty negative baggage. The idea of a cell phone that plays half decent games isn’t particularly bad on the face of it but the Finland-based company learned the hard way in 2003 that gamers, who are likely to be the early adopters and initial market for such a device, won’t jump on board just because an idea has potential but lacks proper execution. There’s no reason to stick with the brand name when it has already failed twice.
Still, Nokia seems undaunted by past disappointments and is focusing this time around on the multiplayer features and streamlining the experience to be more attractive to casual gamers. Also Nokia isn’t focusing on a single model this time around but will offer N-Gage games on a few of its Series 60 smartphones, presumably as a trial run, before gradually expanding to all Series 60 models. The prices have yet to be announced, but more details should be available later in the week.
The reviews have been coming in for a week now, and they have been phenomenal. Consider that according to GameRankings.com, BioShock is the 4th best game of all time. On Metacritic, BioShock has received more perfect 100 scores than even The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, usually the game cited as the best of all time. Clearly, 2K‘s Mature-rated, failed utopia FPS is a critical smash hit.
Perhaps then there is little need for another glowing review of the game. Except this is not a glowing review in the strictest sense, because BioShock is not exactly the masterpiece of perfection indicated by these scores. Instead, BioShock is a wonderful game that happens to draw to light the inadequacies of the way games are typically reviewed and the inherent inconsistencies of how games are judged.
At Gnomedex 7.0, we caught up with Stacy Wolff of HP. This is the man in charge of designing all those shiny (literally) new laptops we have been seeing come out of Hewlett-Packard. We talk to Stacy about product design in a day and age where fashion can be just as important as function - after all, Apple has turned computers into accessories. Stacy shows us the thought process behind a couple of new consumer-level and professional-level HP notebooks in this video.
We show off the Ergodex DX1 Input System in this episode of Unboxing Live. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an insanely cool keyboard that allows you to move it’s individual keys all over it’s smooth surface, creating your own customized keyboard.
Let us know what you think, or what you want us to unbox next!
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