Friday, March 28, 2008

GTA IV and music sales

My God this is cool. In game advertising done right, with consumer input and using the consumer's (gamer's) own interest to drive sales. THIS IS ONLINE SALES done right. Rockstar is a real trendsetter, as always. Hopefully the internet connectivity won't let this down.

Yahoo! is reporting that Rockstar and Amazon are teaming up to offer ZiT, a music download service specifically created for Grand Theft Auto IV.

In a partnership bound to shake, rattle and roll both the music biz and interactive entertainment, Rockstar Games and Amazon have teamed up to create an ambitious new model for digital music distribution. Built exclusively for the upcoming video game blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV, it allows players to buy real-world MP3s of tracks heard over the game's numerous radio stations in a very seamless manner. (Initially, this service will only be available in the U.S.)

Advertised throughout Liberty City, the cheekily-named "ZiT" technology is built into the game's mobile phone interface system. As players cruise around the world listening to the in-game radio, they can at any point 'mark' a song by opening their phone and dialing the number ZIT-555-0100. Gamers will then receive a text message with the song and artist names, and if they're registered at the forthcoming Rockstar Games Social Club community site, they'll find an e-mail waiting in their inbox with a direct link to a custom playlist on All songs tagged "ZiT" will be stored here, available for preview and purchase at Amazon's going rate of $.89-$.99 per track. Best of all, those MP3s are free of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) limitations imposed on files downloaded through Apple's iTunes store and thus can be imported into any computer or digital device with no constraints.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Next-Gen's fantastic review of Feb NPD numbers

Was bored out of my gourd today in a meeting one part in which I had no part and took the time to read through this fine piece of business analysis at Next-Gen concerning current and future sales trends in the console business. I was enraptured and completely fascinated. As a old gamer and an admitted dork over the gaming industry (see my Gygax post for proof) it was great to read some real business numbers and analysis on how the big three are planning their year and what challenges they will face.

I own a Wii but covet a 360, perhaps a PS3. With Grand Theft Auto IV coming out end of April I'll be watching closely to see if Sony or MS will come out with a new console SKU to promote themselves before this important release. I will end up buying one, but there are pros and cons of both - PS3 in potential and the blu-ray drive, 360 in current ability (game base), DLC for GTAIV, and the ability to be mp3 streaming from my home server.

I'd better start saving now...Sarah won't be happy...and not to mention that Mario Kart Wii is coming out the same week - I don't know how I'll manage it all with my personal accountant :)

Cheers to The Economist

If ever I could be any more proud of my adopted publication, it would be after reading their obit on Gary Gygax. First, if anyone knows me they know how much I gush about the quality of this paper.

But in this case they prove once again that they are the foremost newspaper/magazine being dolled out to eager subscribers.

Gary Gygax did have a HUGE impact on me and still does. I love the game he created and that does make me a certified, die-carrying nerd.

But this paragraph pefectly sets the context of a man few outside of DND had heard of:
His influence extends even to people who have never conjured a fireball in anger. Today's world is a nerd's world, and Mr Gygax did much to shape it. Blockbuster fantasy films like “The Lord of the Rings” are produced and directed by people who grew up with the game. Computer games are part of mainstream culture; “World of Warcraft”, an internet-based D&D clone, boasts 10m subscribers. Many of the people who built the internet (and their fortunes) spent their childhoods playing the game. The entry for D&D on Wikipedia is twice the length of the article on Proust
Rest in peace Gary - you were the grandfather millions of us wish we had. Thanks for the thousands of hours we had (and will continue to have). PS - anyone know a good gamer group in NE Raleigh???

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Guitar Hero and humility

33 next week. Crow eating this week.

Bought a Wii a while back but just recently got Guitar Hero III with all the 80s metal I love. Dude - there's even Slayer and Maiden on there. It was a no brainer for me. I had played it at my buddy's house couple of weeks back and thought I was a budding rockstar judging by my fairly decent ability at it on my first time.

Well now I watch Sarah's brother (who's staying with us while he finishes this semester online) play it on Hard - and yeah...I would rather everyone leave for a while so I can play with my toys...don't you guys need to take a walk?

It's one thing to rock out in front of others.

But getting booed off stage while trying to play my glory days teenage rock song isn't so good for the inner hero.

Practice Daniel-san. Practice.

ok, almost 3 weeks later and coffee ain't all that great

Maybe I'm turning British, but had my first cup of joe this morning in three weeks.

Survey says: "meh."

It's like using a sledgehammer to put a pin nail into a wall.

Where's the subtle flavors that great chai has??

Ok, so two years ago it was no pork for breakfast, now its no coffee. At this rate I'll be handing my Man Club card in soon.

That's ok though, if I keep it up I'll probably outlive the other members...

why home improvements will drive me to insanity

Ok, it's time to be honest. I should really reconsider doing my own home improvements.

Not because I do something sitcom worthy like knock a wall out by accident. It's because I'm my own, very personal, very picky, very precise and very grumpy critic.

We bought this Raleigh house with its horrible white carpet under the rock-solid stipulation that it had to go. Everything else about the house we loved - carpet however is not something Sarah and I can stand any longer after living in the 110 year old home in Winston with wall-to-wall ancient hardwoods.

So I'm working with Capital Hardwood Flooring in Raleigh, who so far have been really great - they're picking up the wood I ordered online from Washington state and are going to deliver it and install for a great price. Roger's a great guy.

But I've decided I want the studio (formerly known as "bonus room") to be rid of the equal-to-carpet-godawful popcorn ceiling gone. Good news: I got a great new tool ($15) for removing the popcorn - a pole scraper with a bag attachment that saves a lot of the mess. Bad news - I'm a total freak about getting the ceiling perfectly clean and smooth.

I have a mantra I tell myself in home improvements: "prefection is abstration." But about 20 years on, I still don't really live it. I obsess completely and wholeheartedly about getting these kinds of projects done perfectly - typically leading to me undoing and redoing projects until I am completely satisfied that they are "perfect." This also leads to about four times the amount of work most normal people would put into it, and definitely twice the consternation and consideration, and triple the worrying about it. I find myself wanting to sneak up in the middle of the night to take another review of my work before I'm done. It's a sickness. Sarah just sighs and tries to comfort and dissuade my closet OCD alter-ego, but typical for me I don't listen. I'm driven to make it perfect to my own eye.

Funny thing is, no one ever notices that I took the extra step to do it right.

But then, that really doesn't matter to me anyways I guess. No one else sees that the far corner, if you stand directly under it and look just right with the lights shining on it - there's still a lil bit of unsmooth spackle...