Why Mattel should look at Guitar Hero Sales

Gh3  I have just been reading about GH3 sales passing one Billion Dollars …Not too surprising I suppose knowing how gaming is the fastest growing 'entertainment' market – It was only a few months ago that GTA IV was the fastest grossing entertainment 'product' ever in its first weekend of release (if I remember correctly).

Some nice other stats too which would serve a nice purpose in any presentation I had to do in the near future – loads of User Generated Content being created as just one example.

But, perhaps the one stat  and point of interest I liked the most was how games like GH are creating huge amounts of interest away from the virtual environment…

…sales of real guitars were also up. Griffith [not me!] said two-thirds of non-musicians exposed to music games plan to start playing a real instrument in the next couple of years, while three-fourths of musicians said they've spent more time with their instruments since picking up a music game…

I should say that I don't understand exactly what the above means and the use of the word 'plan' intrigues me to some extent (not to mention the use of the word 'fourths') but I guess we should be fairly comfortable with the bottom line message.  My point, in case you hadn't guessed already, concerns Mattel and their determination to remove Scrabulous from Facebook (last year was it?).  One can't help feeling that their fight to remove 'their game' from one of the world's largest and fastest growing internet properties with an exposure that one can only be dreamed of in more traditional advertising spaces might have been a little hasty and one they might now be regretting…

Call of Duty – World at War

Call-of-Duty-5-World-at-War-1665 I've had this game a few days now and already I'm enjoying it just as much as I did the last one (Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare).

Several reviews have said that it's just too much like the last one.  Well, that's just absolutely fine with me!

I just love the dramatic and cinematic action scenes, the clear 'route' through the game and the focus on a good narrative and game-play.

Great visuals, a truly atmospheric and immersive experience and a gritty story. Perfect.

Wii Fit – better than I expected

WiifitIt’s not often something exeeds my expectations.  But Wii Fit did the other night as I was introduced to it by a couple of friends.

I’ve had little exposure to the Wii in general – in fact, my exposure has been largely through a couple of friends championing the console and some of the games to me.  I should have taken more notice I suppose.

I was expecting something pretty cool but my reaction was simply that I want this and I want it now and I was immediately thinking through in my mind setting up my own Mii and adding targets for my weight and BMI (too high at the moment as my Mii on my far thinner friend’s Wii will testify too – he’s fat!)

I have an xBox 360 becuase of the graphics but the overall experirnce of the Wii Fit engaement means that the more ‘cartoony’ feel to the whole thing becomes irrelevant and even part of the attraction.

My flitting between Amsterdam and Singapore means having to either find more space in suitcases or leaving new toys behind at the moment.  But I might just go get one anyway.

Go play it for yourself and understand why it might be worth excess baggage payments.

Call of Duty 4 is Incredible

Cod4_x360_thetaI recently finished playing Call of Duty 4.  I’ve played Games on Computers and consoles for years – my earliest memories being catching falling arrows in a little green line drawing truck on a BBC computer, the tennis paddle game on a TV at a friend’s house and also  Manic Miner.

But I have never been really into them and my playing has come in fits and starts depending on who’s been around and other external factors.  There was a time 5/6 years ago when I played a lot of Pro Evolution Soccer on the PS2 with my brother, Edward in South West London.

So, basically – on and off for a long long time with a pretty good idea of what’s around based on my general fascination for all things techy rather than as an active participant.  And, I suppose, with games like COD4 I am interested in them for their immersive qualities as part of my broader interest in what it takes to get someone immersed in an experience. 

I have been playing Halo 3 on and off since I got my xBox 360 and I suppose it’s pretty good.  The graphics are beautiful and all the other stuff is great….. it’s just that, well, I find the whole futuristic setting detracts from my experience.  There’s something about immersing myself in an environment I can relate to (if I can relate to modern warfare at all) that I find hugely appealing. 

The sniper mission in the game was just awesome.  Crouching in the long grass as a patrol (including tanks) passes by just inches from your position was incredible.  Visually it was comparatively ordinary compared to some of the other episodes in the game but from an immersion point of view the experience was very powerful.Sniper_escape

The game continued to surprise and delight me.  I really enjoyed the lack of a puzzle element.   I remember playing games where  it was a real pig to find your way and then you had to remember a series of confusing turns to get back.  I’m not interested in this.  COD4 makes it extremely simple to find your way and progress to the next episode.  This leaves someone like me able to concentrate on becoming part of the  incredible experience.  I will be looking to repeat  this kind of experience with other games.  A couple of people on the xBox forums  have suggested BioShock although I’m wondering about that futuristic element again.

And then again, there’s always a Wii and Super Mario Galaxy