Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why the Emphasis on Sales Figures?

Can we please stop with the constant barrage of consoles sales figures being tossed around the Internet. It seems like the only thing that makes news headlines these days seem to involve market analysts and NPD numbers. I mean, do people really find this kind of news exciting? Yes, sales numbers are important, but honestly, we shouldn't base our decisions solely on how many Wiis are selling this week or how well Sony is doing in Japan.

Look at it this way... are you ever excited to hear about the latest number one movie in America? Does the fact that millions of people flock to the theatres mean you're going to love this movie? I would have to say no, the collective mob is not a good barometer for what should be considered "good" entertainment. Imagine if the stock market were covered in the media this way? But it's not, because it changes every week, every day, even every hour. Instead, financial analysts focus more on the trends that appear over time. This is what matters. The big picture.

If you're going to announce sales numbers, do it right. I mean seriously, please explain the significance of declaring the top 10 highest selling games in Japan or Europe or any other geographically isolated region of the world. Different regions have different tastes, so the success of a product shouldn't be tied to one country. It's nice to have market penetration in every region, but that's clearly not necessary in order to be successful. If you're going to post sales charts, post global numbers. Otherwise, they're utterly meaningless and only stand to fan the message board flame wars that will inevitably ensue.

Monday, April 16, 2007

You Might Call This a Post-Modern Problem

Is there a 12-step program for internet addiction, because if there is, I need it. Okay, maybe that's a little bit over dramatic... But it wouldn't be a stretch to say that I like to check my RSS feeds like a madman (thank you Google Reader!). The whole Twitter thing doesn't really help the problem either, which is why I will say "goodbye" to Twitter. The whole micro-blogging thing is a bit too ADD for me.

I'll admit, it's nice to use blogs and sites like digg to get news and information as quickly as humanly possible, but the updates get to be like crack, and when that happens it's certainly not a pretty sight. In all seriousness though, I'm getting a bit jaded over this whole "information-fix" mentality that sites like digg and gamerblogs like joystiq and kotaku provide. Mark this day on your calendar folks, because from now on, I will be limiting my time on sites like this, and relying more on podcasts to keep informed on all things tech (hey, it's still better than watching the news!).


We'll see how long this actually lasts. I'm curious to see if I can even go one day without opening my Firefox browser... even I have my doubts.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Whatcha Been Playing?

I've been pretty busy playing a variety of things these past few weeks. I'd say the majority of my free time was spent on completing Zelda Twilight Princess for the Wii. Clocking in at just over 45 hours, Twilight Princess is by far the longest Zelda experience I've ever had. Not that I'm complaining -- on the contrary -- the game was top notch. I'll admit though, those last 3 dungeons were a little unncessary. IMHO, I would have liked it better if the other dungeons were better and more developed. I'm guessing that the delay to Wii launch actually afforded the developers more time to add the last few and make it a longer game, but longer is not always better. Nine times out of Ten, quality beats quantity. Overall though, the game definetely lives up the Zelda legacy. Here's to hoping the next iteration breaks the mold, and does for the Zelda series what Resident Evil 4 did for that series. Some more Zelda II-style RPG elements would be nice!

I also just started Super Paper Mario. I'm on Chapter 2-1, and so far, it's pretty fun. I'm curious what other interesting gameplay mechanics this game has to offer, but at the very least, the 2D/3D switching is very clever.

Over on the 360, the new (and free) Gears of War DLC (downloadable content) was released last week. Most notably, this added the much awaited new multiplayer game mode "Annex." More Unreal Tournament 2004 than Counter-Strike now, the new mode allows infinite respwans (every 15 seconds) and a capture point system that makes it more strategic and much faster paced. I played online and was immediately reminded how rusty I've become at the whole "stop and pop" gameplay of Gears. The good news is that a few kind souls bumped my 3 star Xbox Live rep status up a bit. Now if only the free Crackdown DLC would arrive already, I could dust off that game and get back to lunging 50 feet in the air again.

I got to try out the new Boom Boom Rocket Live Arcade game demo, but I'm pretty disappointed with how that game turned out. I think those Geometry Wars guys should go back to the drawing board and give us what we really want... a Geometry Wars sequel w/ onlnie co-op. I did enjoy the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Arcade xbox live arcade port though. The infinite lives feature sorta limits the game's replay value, but it's hard to beat 4-player ninja turles nostalgia (...and Donatello still kicks ass!!!)

Next month should be pretty crazy. Forza Motorsport 2 is coming out for the 360, but I'll probably wait on that one (the first game was pretty good actually). But the big thing in May would have to be the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, coming May 16th. It's only gonna be 3 weeks long, but let's be honest here.. any amount of face time with the as of now unreleased Halo game is something to get excited about. And with Mass Effect just around the corner and Ouendan 2 lined up for a DS release, my spring and summer are basically set.