Most Recent: Opinions

Hype Fatigue: Why I’m Exhausted With Viral Marketing, Elaborate Advertising Campaigns, and Countdowns

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The machinations of video game marketers absolutely baffle me. Obviously, “video game marketing” is an incredibly broad term that encompasses hundreds of different campaigns a year, all run by different people, and all carried out with different expectations. Whipsawing between a seemingly neverending series of hype events and viral campaigns has started to make my head spin. Following hashtags and decoding secret messages has become de rigueur if you want to come up with all the latest game news. Last week, three publishers launched three very different viral campaigns that made me long for the days of the simple press release/trailer combo platter. But maybe they aren’t to blame, as video game marketing has been growing increasingly insane for years now. (more…)

Posted in 3DS, Mobile, Opinions, PC, PS3, PS4, Top Story, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged , , , , ,

Calzones For No One: How Mayfair’s Cones of Dunshire Kickstarter Campaign Flopped

As we reported in January, Mayfair Games, the publisher of Settlers of Catan, took to Kickstarter with the dream of making Cones of Dunshire, a fictional board game from the Parks & Recreation universe, into a real game. Fans of the NBC show and of intricate and/or confusing cooperative board games rejoiced. It seemed like an impossible task to raise $300,000 to create a deluxe version of the game… and it was. So Mayfair canceled their original campaign and relaunched it in early February with some adjustments, including a lowered project goal ($125,000) and reworked pledge levels and rewards. Even at the reduced levels, it still took at least $400 (and a dream!) to reserve a copy of the game. As before, additional goodies and enhancements to the game were available at higher pledge levels. For example, backers would receive the game at $400, but at $550 they would receive the game with metal “Hero Bases,” and at $700 they would get the game with metal figures.

During the original campaign, pledges were slow to come in and it did not appear that Mayfair would meet its goal in the 60 days allotted. The second Kickstarter, which after a 30-day run ended on March 12th, fared no better. At its conclusion, Mayfair had raised $48,696 from 194 backers, only reaching 39% of its goal.

So how did it all go wrong? (more…)

Posted in Opinions, Tabletop Games, Top Story |

Opinion: Kickstarters Need To Kick It Up A Gear

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It’s the start of a new year, which means analysts are pouring over statistics from the previous 365 days, especially to do with the weird and wonderful world of crowdfunding, which still appears to be more of an art than a science.

So what have we learned? Kickstarter revealed that investment in the Games category is down to $89.1 million in 2014, compared to $105.6 million the previous year. Yet successful projects were up from 1,481 to 1,979. That’s nearly a difference of 500, suggesting investors are backing smaller projects that have a larger chance of success. According to Kickstarter’s own stats, the overall rate of success for Games is 34.18%, 5.5% less than the total success rate of the site, which sits at 39.68%.

In short, video games donations and numbers were down.

A lot. (more…)

Posted in Opinions, Top Story |


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Nintendo of America Needs To Fix Club Nintendo

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Nintendo confuses me at times. On one hand, their studios are among the best. Nobody can deny that when an official Nintendo game is released, it will likely be a great title. On the other hand, some of their internal practices are questionable at best. Case in point: Nintendo of America’s handling of Club Nintendo. Many diehard fans (myself included) have been left scratching their heads at some of the Big N’s decisions. What started off as an amazing way to get Nintendo swag has devolved into a barren wasteland of repeating digital games and greeting cards.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. The digital offerings we get every month are appreciated (although I would like to have more third party Virtual Console titles), and they are reasonably priced. The limited-edition freebies, such as the Smash Bros. soundtrack and Hyrule Warriors DLC are a step in the right direction, but with Nintendo’s merchandising partners and deep pockets, one wonders why the physical rewards are near non-existent. Do they not feel physical rewards are economically viable? Are they just liquidating old inventory before bringing out a new wave of products? Did they run out of ideas, or do they just not care anymore? The truth is that we’ll never know why Nintendo is giving their North American fans the cold shoulder. We may never see an actual renaissance of Club Nintendo rewards, but here are a few ways Nintendo could fix Club Nintendo in the eyes of many gamers. (more…)

Posted in 3DS, Opinions, Top Story, Wii U |

Bringing Ubisoft’s U Back to the Wii U

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Ubisoft has been sending out mixed signals regarding Nintendo’s beleaguered home console over the last few months. Despite a renewed momentum in sales thanks to the likes of Mario Kart 8 and the release of Hyrule Warriors in Japan, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot announced that Watch Dogs would be the last mature game published on the Wii U. Guillemot pointed to the fact that the Wii U accounted for a mere three percent of the company’s sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. The Xbox One doubled the Wii U’s total with 6%, and the PS4 tripled it with 9%. Impressive, considering they were both launched half-way through this period. The original Wii chipped in for 11%. (more…)

Posted in Opinions, Top Story, Wii U |

Bethesda’s Decision to Keep the Doom 4 Demo Under Wraps is a Stroke of Genius

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Hi. My name is John and I’m a Doom fanboy. It all started back in 1995 when my cousins gave me a copy of the game’s shareware edition. A year later, I bought a blazing fast Pentium computer (133 MHz!) with a massive hard drive (2 GB!) and Windows 95 pre-installed. With a little leftover money, I purchased The Ultimate Doom on compact disc. After playing around with the first episode for over a year, the full game just absolutely blew me away. It may have been one of the earliest first person shooters around, but I’ve never seen anything like it since. And on top of that, it made me a lifelong fan of the franchise. (more…)

Posted in Opinions, PC, PS4, Top Story, Xbox One | Tagged


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Ignorance Is Strength: Gaming’s Permanent War With Nazis, Terrorists, and PMCs

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In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell introduced us to a profusion of concepts that are especially relavant in today’s culture. Terms like Big Brother, thoughtcrime, doublethink, and Room 101 have all spread through modern society, but there is one line that resonates strongly in the world of video games: “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”

In the novel, it’s a prime example of doublethink, where people can simultaneously agree with two contradicting points of view. While doublethink is all over video game punditry in a thousand different forms, it’s this last part that I feel needs to be focused on. “Ignorance is strength” is the idea that the masses can live in blissful and perpetual incomprehension of the truth, and somehow gain a sense of power from this. (more…)

Posted in Opinions, Top Story |

Here’s Why Nintendo Should Get Into the Movie Business

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Nintendo is doomed! Doooooooommmmmmmed!

What? No. This is not going to be that kind of editorial. Per their latest financial report, Nintendo is sitting on a warchest of $10,997,600,854. Even though the company posted a major operating loss in their most recent financial quarter, they could still keep the lights on for 24 years just by dipping into their piggy bank. And while they might be conservative, they’re not as conservative as people like to think. Nintendo’s video game business was just an offshoot of their attempt to manufacture toys in the late 70s, which came after they tried operating a taxi service and running a hotel. (more…)

Posted in 3DS, Opinions, Top Story, Wii U |