This is a blog about online video gaming and from time to time other topics that tickle my fancy. I'm the man in charge of a new start-up that takes the video gaming world and makes it a sport. Sports stars earn their living by playing their sport, and now so will gamers.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Sure Do Like Battlefield 2

I know it's been out for a while now but I still really like BF2. I didn't care at all for it at first, still choosing to play Soldier of Fortune II most of the time but as soon as I played enough to get a couple of new ranks I was hooked. Sure I had to upgrade my computer just to play it but you know what, I was going to have to do it eventually anyway. What's another gig of memory anyway? Now if I only had time to get those new Raptors...

I think this is the draw of games today. The game developers know that if they can get you to invest just a little time into their product, they will have you hooked. It's a smart way to do business but it's HARD to get people to switch games after their hooked on one. This is the dilemma of the producers; make a game so good you never want to leave it, but only until they come out with the next game. Tough business to be in.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Radio Paradise.com - I Like It

I was lead to Radio Paradise .com by Fred Wilson of A VC blog fame. It's a listener supported net radio station. Lots of great stuff on the play list and lots of formats. I've been listening most of the morning and I like it a lot.

They even have a 192K mp3 feed. Nice.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ghost Recon Advanced Fighter Comes to PC

You've already seen it on the 360, now Red Storm will be sending Ghost Recon Advanced Fighter to a PC near you. We missed out on the 2nd version but not this time. IGN reviews it here.

Here are a couple of screen shots from IGN:


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thomas McDonald, PC round 2

There's a forum post on the topic at the Maximum PC forum too.

PC Game Sales 2005: The Truth is Found

LOTS of talk in the last couple few months about a research report put out on January 17 by NPD Group of Port Washington, NY which states very briefly the status of the PC video gaming sales for 2005. This is what most people have been publishing:

"PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, January 17, 2006 - According to leading marketing information provider, The NPD Group, annual 2005 U.S. retail sales of PC game software saw sales figures reach $953 million, a 14 percent decrease compared to the $1.1 billion generated in 2004."

Judgments have been made based soly on this statement and not much further investigation into the matter.

I was reading Maximum PC magazine the other day and I came across another example of someone not paying attention. Thomas McDonald (picture from Maximum PC web site) wrote about how bad the PC game industry is doing and that the end is near for all of us PC gamers. Consoles are going to take over the world.

I have two words to say to that; No Way.


What most people fail to understand (or maybe just read) is that in that very same press release from NPD is this, they really don't accurately state what's happening in the PC game market. Here's what they say about this:

" 'While we have seen retail sales of PC games decrease for several years now, we know from talking to consumers about their online gaming behaviors that playing games on the PC, whether it's via online casual sites or through MMO subscription play, has been increasing,' said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. 'As a result, NPD will be launching its new definition of the U.S. PC game market this spring which will include a combination of sales from retail, downloads, and both casual and MMO subscription revenues. We expect this will add significant dollars to the PC game market size.' “

Exactly. PC gamers are smart, leading edge and, well, different. We don't buy games retail, we download them. We subscribe to online games. We have fun our way.

Will Smith, Editor in Chief of Maximum PC sees the light though. He wrote a rebuttal to Tom's article stating the very same type of facts I've listed. Will doesn’t believe that the PC gaming market is drying up or heading out to pasture as Tom does. No, Will sees it as a vibrant market and one not soon to go away. Will's the man!

Here's a list of the top games for 2005 ranked by units sold and compiled by NPD Group:

World of Warcraft
The Sims 2: University Expansion Pack
The Sims 2
Guild Wars
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3
Battlefield 2
The Sims 2 Nightlife Expansion Pack
MS Age Of Empires III
The Sims Deluxe
Call Of Duty 2
Source: The NPD Group / Point-of-Sale

New Game Review From Future

The people over at Future (Maximum PC, PC Gamer, Official XBOX Magazine, etc.) have added a new web site to their stable. It's called gamesradar.com and it focuses completely on gaming which is what we focus on as well. This is how they describe their site,

"GamesRadar is all about gaming. It's all about playing games and shouting about games and reviewing games and saying they're brilliant or trash and everything in between. GamesRadar is a truly global site. GamesRadar is new. GamesRadar is genius. Nothing like it has been produced before."




Check them out, post on their forum and tell them you heard about them from us.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Let's Help Hugh So He Will Help Us

For those of you who read here often I'd like to introduce you to Hugh Macleod. He's a publisher of cartoons (Disclaimer: some are adult oriented; you are warned.), helps his friend Thomas Mahon, one of the top six tailors in the world according to Hugh, run a Savile Row tailoring firm called English Cut , a marketing theorist, author of the Hughtrain ebook and for the rest of his day job he's a marketing/blogging consultant. Oh, and he's into Yachts at the moment.

His current day job as marketing blogger has him working on promoting a South African vineyard called Stormhoek. He posted recently about an old client needing Hugh's help with a project and instead of the typical payment Hugh posed the question, "How are you going to help me sell more wine?" He further prompted future clients to take note.

I've taken note and decided to try to attract some attention to his product in the hopes of Hugh attracting some attention to our service. I can't do this on my own, however and I'm asking all of you for help. All of you have contacts (some more than others) so promote Stormhoek and comment back on how and what you've done. Being from wine country (OK Western Michigan isn't Napa Valley but we do have some fine wines) we know about wines and how to drink them. So lets see what you people can do. And while your at it, have some people start looking at the World Series of Video Gaming web site and signing up for tournaments too.

PS. A new, more permanent World Series web site is being developed as you read this so don't let the temporary site fool you. We'll be in full swing very soon.

Another One of Us

Here's another gamer just like all of us. Looks like mournewind will be giving us some lowdown and some game clips in the future.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

American Express, Shame on Them

Seth Godin spotted a sign in a coffee/tea beverage retailer that, as he put it, is "a billboard screaming about a lack of attention to detail." The person who did this cared enough to try to make a pleasing color when they crossed the items off the list, but my question is why didn't they care enough to restock the out of stock items? And if they were not carrying those items any longer, why not make a new sign? Attention to details.

Today I had to call American Express about canceling my Corporate credit card. The reason for canceling it is irrelevant but it's because my company changed card companies to one that does not charge an annual fee for their services.

I look up the American Express contact information on their web site and I find a general 800 number. They have a decent automated system that is somewhat convenient to traverse; adding my card number, speaking to voice recognition software to be directed to where I need to go which is customer service. I get there the first time with little hassle and no elevated blood pressure to hear a recording that states their hours of operation, M-F 8am to 10pm (I think) and Saturday from 8am to 6pm. The next statement says that they are closed and that I should call back during normal business hours at which point it disconnects the connection. Guess what, its 9:45am on a Saturday. IT IS DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS!

So I think to myself, OK it's just a simple mistake on their part. Someone's forgotten to flip the switch and turn off the answering system. I'll just get my card out and get the "24 hour Customer Service" number off the back. I call it, get a different system than the first one but it leads me to the exact same hours of operation message I received the first time and disconnects again.

I try for 15 minutes (all the while my blood pressure is rising, and so is my anger level), every time with the exact same result. I look for an online chat feature on their web site and find nothing; no way to easily communicate with this service provider.

Finally after talking to the voice recognition system and only saying "CUSTOMER SERVICE" when it asked me different questions about my card number and such did I actually get to speak with a live person. I cancelled my card and simply told her that there was something wrong with their answering service. The only response I got was "Huh". Not once did she ask what the problem was. I didn't even get into the fact that my card says "24 hour Customer Service" on the back.

Attention to details. A company the size of American Express should be able to get this right. Seth said it best, shame on them.