Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I'm not a big fan of Stephen King's, but some time ago I'd heard good things about his non-fiction work, On Writing. I recently got to it on my Amazon queue, and got through this week.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
"Putting well established franchises such as Madden on the iPod Touch for USD 10 cheapens their value, he explained. "Whether it's the same experience or not, and it's not, why would I ever spend USD 60 for Madden if I can get it for USD 10 on my iPod Touch?"
"It's a serious threat to pricing. And once people start to look at this as a substitute for the DS for smaller kids, for 12 and unders, then you're going to train a whole generation of 12 and unders that this is a perfectly acceptable gaming experience at that low price point."
- Different platforms merit different pricing. I'm surprised at the first quote. Madden on PSP today retails for under $40, vs $60 on PS3 or 360. By his line of thinking, why would anyone buy the $60 version? The reasons are that the experiences *are* different, the consumer may own a particular platform and not be swayed to another for an individual title, and the economics of each platform is different (dev cost, distribution costs, etc). To take it to the extreme, There's a version of Prince of Persia on cell phones that doesn't go far in displacing the $60 console version, despite selling only for a couple dollars.
- Meritocracy in the market. Pachter seems to claim that kids playing on an iPod touch won't 'move up' to other platforms as the previous generation did from GBA to DS/PSP/Home consoles. First, I'm not sure this platform graduation is anything but myth. If true though, the reason the gamers would 'move up' is because the next platform would offer a higher quality experience and or different content to suit their changing tastes. If other handhelds, or home consoles for that matter, can't offer a superior experience to the Ipod Touch, then they will fail - and should fail. On the other hand, if they do offer a superior experience, then they should be able to charge for it. If Nintendo or Sony can't compete on their own merits, it's not up to EA to prop them up - and if they do, then they should be compensated in a way that lets them lower the price of titles to better compete.
- No man, nor publisher, is an island. The Appstore, while not an open platform*, is certainly more open than the controlled, curated, catalog of titles available for handhelds. What that leads to is the tens of thousands of apps that we've seen show up on it, and I'm not sure that any publisher, even EA, refusing to publish on it is going to make any difference whatsoever. [I suppose that a cartel of publishers could agree in unison to boycott the platform, hoping that absence of ANY big-name content would poison consumer interest in the device. This has happened in the past with things like music labels boycotting Napster, or (IIRC) movie studios with betamax - however, its legality is questionable, the games publishers aren't organized in such a fashion, and there's enough of an indie community that I don't think this would work anyway]. In any case, the publishers seem to be faring fine while still charging a premium for their IP (see the top grossing list)
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession was a fun little book. It's based on the true story of John Gilkey, a obsessed thief of rare books, and Ken Sanders, the book-dealer-turned-detective that set about catching him.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Walked by the 'Kitchen Kaboodle' while out at lunch today. Noticed they've reduced to a 4-day work week in an effort to cut costs, and then promise to pass some of this to the consumer.
Interesting that when many retailers (e.g. grocers) were faced with increased competition, they chose to increase their hours of availability, not decrease them. Doubt they're both right.
My guess, KK is wrong. I'm not sure many who shopped there were price-sensitive, plus I'm not sure how genuine the 'savings' pass down is when the markup was already hefty. And now they've proven they are ~60% as convenient as their nearest retail competitor, and 3 days a week they are less convenient than Amazon, whom I'm betting beats them on price.
Posted 3:30 PM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I went on a bit of a Batman kick lately, playing the game, watching the latest movie, and so when a coworker offered to loan me the Batman: Arkham Asylum - A Serious House on Serious Earthgraphic novel set in the same mythical psychiatric hospital in which the game takes place.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I've just finished William Patry's excellent book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars and found it brilliant on a number of levels. I've been reading his blog (first here, now here) for some time now (linking to him occasionally), so I put the book on my reading list as soon as I learned about it.
Friday, October 9, 2009
After several years our Roomba finally gave up the ghost, so we replaced it.
Somewhere along the lines, it got all mac-ified. Here's a before'n'after.
In other notes, it's pleasing tones have been accompanied by voice messages, but in third person. Such a disappointment. "Please clean the debris from Roomba's brushes" is so much more lame than "Help! My brushes are dirty! Clean them out and I will return to serving you, gracious overlord."
Posted 12:23 PM
Thursday, October 1, 2009
A few people have linked to this awesome story from Tim Schaefer about how he did a very unique job application that landed him his job at Lucasarts many years back. It reminded me of another unique approach I'd read about, taken by John Newcomer, designer of Joust, who got hired by Williams after handing in a resume rolled up and stuffed down the neck of a rubber chicken.