Gaming Geek Stuff The Marketeer

I am going to be in Halo 3!

Unless I get outbid on the chance to buy a part in Halo 3, which would seem to be an absolute certainty, but it’s fun to dream. How cool to fire up Halo3 on the Xbox 360 and hear me in the heart of combat?

Update: I only held the top bid for a couple of hours… Looks like I need to scrape up more cash.

Gaming Geek Stuff

Boston WebInnovators

Tonight I went to the latest Boston WebInnovators session. The cat is out of the bag on this one, I think there may have been more than 200 people there. A bunch of social media folk were in the house including Steve Garfield, C.C. Chapman, Bryan Person, Chris Brogan and Dan Gorgone. There was also staff from EmergePR including the principal, Mara Bartucca who I always enjoy catching up with.

But most important were the concepts!

  • Guild Cafe – Jon Radoff showed off their Social Network for Gamers. Pretty cool for that niche, but I imagine competition is going to get fierce in this space between established players like Gamespot and existing networks such as XBox Live. However I can see it making money if it can build a critical mass and allow it to become a marketing vehicle for new games without an established base. Something like Diablo 3 could stand on its own. I wanted to ask what they thought about the social stigma of being a gamer but decided to shut the hell up.
  • MyPunchbowl – Matt Douglas showed evite on Web 2.0. Lots of cool AJAX… no, lots and lots. I’m not sure how hot this spot will be, but the guys that can set up that many partnerships and integrations that fast will make it big. It’s not a matter of how, but when.
  • Goombah – Diane Sammer showed off their client app that enables a social network based around what’s in your iTunes library. Also very cool but there’s a lot of fighting in that space. I don’t follow it close but I can think of iCueMix and Pandora right off the top of my head. This is also a space that iTunes could take if it wanted to (although maybe that would include buying Goombah….)

It’s all about the social networks. I get the feeling these will all be dogfights, I didn’t see anything that I would consider new, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to make a lot of money but they’ll have to be more persistent than the guy next to them on the web.

Brain Buster Gaming Geek Stuff

DRM and Getting Kicked Off the Island

Yesterday I was talking about DRM and the XBox 360 – basically you can download movies which self-destruct after a fixed time period. Ninja Penn commented about some tools out there that would (theoretically, I’m saying) allow you to get around that. Cracking DRM is stupid! Stay in School! Don’t do drugs!

Here’s the Brain Buster though – yes you can crack it, but if you get caught you can get kicked off XBox Live. Since it’s their proprietary hardware they can update their protection schemes every time the cat and mouse battle does another revolution. Yesterday’s cracks may set off the alarms tomorrow. The whole community is about building your gaming mojo – the more you win and the more games you complete the better your rank. Crack your box and you get kicked out of the community.

I’m not sure whether this is good or bad?

Brain Buster Gaming Geek Stuff

HD for High Definition – XBox 360 Delivers Movies

Over on The M Show I mentioned an article last week from Variety that named the XBox 360 the leader in movie downloads via the web (beating out even Amazon). Since I managed to score a 360 for Christmas I thought I would put it to the test and download my first HD movie.

You buy (actually rent) the movies by spending Microsoft Points from your XBox live account. So – just to bring you up to speed – you need the XBox 360 console at $399 (includes a 20GB hard drive, not the core system which is cheaper, but does not have the hard drive), and then an XBox Live account which I think is around $50 a year (I rolled my old XBox account onto the new box).

You then by the coin of the realm – Microsoft Points at 1000 points for $12.50. I can see why they do this so that they don’t have to worry about international currencies, but there is what I call the “casino chip” effect – you’re not really thinking hard about how much a point is worth and you don’t really think of it as “real money” so you tend to burn through them.
I was also suprised there was no volume discount on Microsoft Points, you can buy in increments of 500, 1000, 2000, or 5000 but all at the same rate.

There are currently 64 movies available, and 71 different TV shows (multiple seasons for many shows such as CSI, and you can select individual episodes of the TV shows). I chose V for Vendetta (great movie by the way) at 480 credits – $6 – for HD (320 credits – $4 – for the widescreen 480p – DVD resolution). Note that the file sizes were 1.7GB for the 480p and 6.1GB for the HD version. This is smaller than a normal DVD file for the 480p and same for the HD so there’s some kind of funky compression going on (probably a flavor of WMV?)

I have a fast RCN cable modem and I think the download took around 30 or 40 minutes. I’m not really sure, I started the download and switched to a game and it finished in the background, not exactly on-demand, but faster than Netflix or me carting my fat self over to the Hollywood Video.
The Digital Rights Management (DRM) is hardcore. You have 14 days from original download, or 24 hours from the first time you start watching it before it deletes itself. Not a huge deal because the 20GB drive can only hold 2 or 3 movies because I also have game demos on the drive.

A downer – you have no DVD chapters, only the normal tape controls (FF, Rew, Pause). This was a bit of a bummer because there was only one scene where the higher definition took my breath away and it was only a split second so it wasn’t worth going back a second time.

I can see why HD is fantastic for sports, but it only made a difference in once scene for me in the film. On the other hand I switched over to a normal DVD next and was surprised at how fuzzy it looked. It’s strange you don’t notice going up, but then you do notice going back down.

The thing I liked most is that for $6 I’ve been able to skip the HD DVD format wars completely. Let Sony choke on Blue-Ray (didn’t anyone learn anything from Betamax?). Why even bother with the XBox 360 HD upgrade? I’m not going to buy a single disc until the format wars are over if I can rent first run HD for $6 a pop.

Brain Buster Daily Life Gaming

Drowning In Media

Am I the only one feeling that way? DVD’s have become the new magazines, just a couple of bucks and not even worth reselling (and more fun to just pass on). There are a number of great podcasts that I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never get to them. Vidcasts are even worse, Tiki Bar and the Rumor Girls make the cut, and even they pile up now and then.

I’ve got the XBox 360 up and running and the integration with Live has been stretching my brain – how cool is it to be watching a DVD and get a pop-up that a friend on the other side of the country is looking for a game?

Add producing my own media to the mix (I saw the New M Show template today!) and that’s it – I’m doing this morning’s post at 11pm. But – I’m having more fun than ever. The bad news is that the bar is rising and the mediocre content is falling off my list. Perhaps the rising tide will raise all boats. Please comment if you’ve dropped casts or other media that you used to find compelling but no longer have time for.

Daily Life Gaming

Happy Holidays!

To me that means Merry Christmas, if that’s not the case for you I hope you enjoy whatever your celebration of choice is. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who celebrates Kawanzaa, I hear a lot of people mentioning it to be PC but I’ve never met anyone who actually celebrated it.

It’s been a great year again for the Podcast, especially with PodCamp on the scene. The blog has already been a lot of fun, I was surprised to see over 100 uniques today on a day I expected things to be totally dead. The past year has been incredible, if 2007 is even half as interesting it’s going to be great.

I’ve been posting daily but I may slip a day or two here until Wednesday (unless I get bored (usually every 2 hours or so)).

In other big news Carin scored with a killer Geek gift, I got the tricked out XBox 360! HD Games here I come!

Gaming The Marketeer

Big Bumpin’

I was a the local Burger King this week feeding my junk food addiction with one of my favorites – the Burger King Chicken sandwich – basically the chicken equivalent of a hotdog, rolled in batter and deep fried. Add a toasted bun, mayo and lettuce and I’m ready for the defib to zap my rapidly hardening arteries.

BK has a great campaign going now where if you buy a value meal you can get an XBox game for $3.99. The games run on both the new Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. Always a sucker for a novel campaign, and a card carrying gamer I had to try one out. I immediately had to laugh as I asked for a copy of “Big Bumpin“. Am I just being too Beavis and Butthead or does this seem outright blatant:
The lit marquis on the game cover says “Big Bumpin'” and you’ve got the king, known for slinging the meat, and his huge (game) cock right there with him. I haven’t actually had time to try it out myself but the reviews on the gamers sites I hit now and then say that this is the best of the three and not bad, especially at the price. So if you hear that 70’s scratch guitar theme later these week, you know I’ll be busy in round of Big Bumpin’ with the King and will deliver my verdict.