It's the most playful time… of the year…

As just released by the ESA

Washington, DC – December 11, 2013 – Approximately 79 million Americans intend to purchase video games during the holiday season, according to new market research and analysis released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

The report, “Holiday Purchasing Study 2013,” found that nearly 30 percent of those who said they intend to buy games and game-related items as gifts also plan to spend more on these items than last year. This demand is driven by a strong line-up of video game releases, and the launch of new next generation video game consoles, including the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U.

“With a new generation of consoles and growth in expanding genres such as mobile and social games, video games continue to be among the most sought after holiday purchases this season,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “This new research underscores the industry’s ability to continually innovate and anticipate consumer demand, making it an economic engine, especially during the holidays.”

Other key findings in the report:

  • Video games and related items are among the top five categories of gifts that Americans plan to buy this holiday season;
  • Physical games and next generation consoles are among the top three categories of video game items most likely to be purchased by gamers; and,
  • Consumers aged 25 to 44 are planning to spend an average of $219 on video games and game-related content.

The NPD Group conducted the survey for ESA among a U.S. representative sample of approximately 3,000 individuals over the age of 13. Survey respondents said they currently play video games on at least one system or device, such as a smartphone, video game console, portable game console, computer, or other game system.

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Platform Mayhem: Xbox One versus PlayStation 4?

Today I got a phone call from a journalist who was writing an article for 14 local newspapers. He asked me about my opinion on the ‘battle of platforms’ and wanted a response to the quote that ‘the AAA hardcore game platforms are doomed to die’…

I wrote an item about this recently when I saw new platforms were emerging like the Ooya, the Gamestick and the Steam Box.

If you saw the release of the Xbox One (great name by the way) yesterday you know that Microsoft is trying to claim the battle for the living room entertainment with a ‘all-in-one’ content solution (music, moveis, TV, series, games, etc.) and I must say I was impressed that finally one company dares to really claim that spot. However… shouldn’t (or didn’t) Sony have taken that spot years ago…??? They have the hardware (TV, Audio sets, PlayStation), software OS, content (Sony Music, Sony Pictures, Sony PlayStation)…?? I still wonder why they never managed to make it happen….

What Sony PlayStation does is claim to make gaming social and play ‘anywhere – anytime’ on different devices (cross platform gameplay). Finally the integration of devices revolving game content! And finally ‘social connections and ‘instant share’ of ‘in-game moments! They even added a button on their controller that facilitates that. Sony PlayStation sees that gaming has truly become a ‘social activity’ and understand that gaming is accepted around the globe. Thanks to Apple of course! Because if you can say one thing about the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad…they are all game devices and Apple has made ‘gaming’ cool, easy, accessible and mainstream! I remember when people looked at me when I told them I am a fanatic gamer like: but you are not fat, hairy, smelly and eat chips and drink coke all day??? Not without rum at least… and I DO SMELL! 😉

I sincerely thank Apple that they made gaming as an ‘anytime – anywhere activity’ acceptable and that they managed to make touch screen devices work in a superior manner.

Where is Google Play by the way? Oh yes of course. Well Android is a great follower in this matter and the Ooya will bring Android games to our living room on a big screen for who ever wants that. It will be great I am sure. And as for Nintendo? I respect their choice of target group: family and children. And that’s just fine and swell.

So… back to my main question: who will win the battle of the platforms? My answer: ALL OF THE ABOVE and more…

It’s just a matter of context, target group, interface and game genre. It all depends. Example?

I love to play shooters and strategy games on PC, because I need an analogue control to react quickly in shooters and need a lot of buttons to control my armies in Shogun 2 (a strategy game). I love to play ‘The Walking Dead’ and Machineria with my girlfriend on the PlayStation 3 in the living room. I love to play Angry Brides (just kidding: birds – BIRDS) and Ridiculous Fishing on my iPhone where ever I have to wait for an appointment… so there is no ONE game console (except for the XBox One but that’s not a game console anymore, it’s a HES – Home Entertainment System, just like the PlayStation 2, 3 and 4… and Apple iPhone, iPad and Apple TV…).

This video above is a joke of course…

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Gaming platform evolution…

Since I will be speaking about games, gamification, applied games and my book the upcoming two days in Istanbul I might as well share this slide about the evolution of game platforms, also because the most recent addition to platforms can be pre-ordered per direct. The Game Stick that works with a controller and a USB stick is a sheer novelty!

Although they (Ouya, Gamestick, Onlive) still have to prove their success I am really curious if they will change the way we will play our games in the living room. Yesterday I tweeted that Apple will introduce the ‘next gen’ game console in a form called ‘Apple TV’ probably this year. Providing gameplay through their iPhone, iPod Touch and iPads as controllers. How great it may sound, personally I still prefer controllers that have buttons. And what will Sony introduce along with their PlayStation 4…? Indeed – touch screen – in between their two sticks. Another mistake in my opinion. They could better have made their buttons even MORE analogue. So I can use the buttons as a ‘gas pedal’, or for sneaking (pressed slightly), walking (pressed normal) or running (pressed all the way). I advice the traditional companies to stick to their competences and optimize their systems in line with their own vision to keep hold of their fan-base instead of trying to become a ‘all in one- product… Stick to the Core I say! And let the young innovative companies try to shake up the world with novelties like the Game Stick….

Posted in PlayStation, Wii, Xbox | 1 Comment »

Microsoft Kinect Xbox 360 Experience in Florida


We were invited to test the Xbox Kinect in Florida USA – this is a short video of that experience.

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E3: Live from Microsoft's Kinect and New Xbox 360 Unveiling

Microsoft Xbox Project Natal is renamed to Kinect!

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E3 2010 Microsoft Press Conference – Part 1


And Microsoft Xbox press conference of the E3…

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Project Natal: Meet Milo


Interesting presentation by Peter Molyneux on Microsoft Xbox’s Project Natal

[14-12-2010 currently known as Kinect!].

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Xbox 360 Project NATAL – Official E3 First Look


The first examples of how motion controlled gaming can really enhance and uplift family play following in Nintendo Wii’s footsteps.

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LEAKED: Microsofts Robbie Bach Discusses Project Natal and Avatar Game Room


A slip of the tongue reveals the release of Project Natal (Xbox’s new way of controlling games using 2 camera’s and your body) this year! It should generate a total new game experience when the Xbox can actually recognize you and start virtual dialogues! Also games that invoke physical movement (best-sellers on the Wii) will become more likely to hit Xbox as well. The console will finally become a 100% home entertainment system where films, music, living room exercise and family entertainment unites!

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