Archive for the ‘Xbox’ Category

Xbox Achievements are wildly successful

Friday, January 5th, 2007

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So says an article today on GameDaily
It’s kind of funny how people can succumb to something as simple as points and collecting. I feel pressure to beat my friend Charlie on Xbox Live despite the fact that he is a more avid gamer than I am. While I haven’t gone as far as getting the Japanese version of games like the article described (hmmmmm…..), I have rented games like John Madden Football due to their extremely easy to get achievement points, even though I don’t like sports related games.

The point is that the meta-game of Xbox Achievement Points in some ways is more interesting than the real game.

Why do people do this?

Gears of War developer describes the fanaticism:

“It’s nerd cred, man!” says Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer at Raleigh, North Carolina-based Epic Games, whose tactical third-person shooter Gears Of War is one of the hottest Xbox 360 titles around. He was skeptical when Microsoft first informed developers that they would need to participate in the program, but no longer.

“It’s so clever,” he says. “I mean, it’s just a score. You may say it can’t be used for anything, but gamers use them for pride. They’re pride points! You can compare it to the feeling you get when you pull up to a restaurant in a Lamborghini. People go, ‘Oooo, he must be somebody.’ In the virtual world of gaming, points create that same sense of rank and envy, and that’s why gamers have latched onto them. I read that people are picking up the Burger King Xbox games just so they can score additional points. If that doesn’t prove how well this program is working, nothing does.”

The first hit is free

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the gaming mechanism of collecting is very powerful. If given a choice between playing a game on the Wii and playing on the 360, I’d always choose the 360. Sure, the graphics are better on the 360, but it’s the points, man, the points. Gotta… beat… CharlieI’m never gonna beat Darren, though, he’s more obsessed than I am.

I’m an addict and apparently, I’m not alone.

Read
[via Slashdot.org]

How to bring people back to your site in droves

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

So, you’ve built your totally kick ass web 2.0, long tail, peer to peer, social networking, beta meme review wiki that has all the paradigm shifting, AJAX created reflections you can shake a stick at.

You’ve been on TechCrunch, Engadget, Boing Boing and you’ve been properly Dugg. You’ve gotten great press and lots of people have tried your site. Trouble is, people come to your site once and return only periodically, but they never add anything to your site. The trouble is, your site isn’t fun.

Make your site fun

I heard a talk that Amy Jo Kim gave back at Etech that really stuck with me. fun.gifShe talked about using gaming mechanics to make your site more fun. Gaming mechanics are essentially elements of games that make them addictive by employing elements of behavioral psychology. A great book on this is Theory of Fun by Raph Koster. According to Raph, “fun is about our brain feeling good.”

I thought about the sites I’ve liked, used and help design and the best, most successful ones all use gaming mechanics to bring people in and keep them there. Community based sites tend to use this best.
I’ll give you the basic outline of some gaming mechanics and then draw a few examples from a number of sites.

Gaming Mechanics

Amy Jo outlines 4 very powerful techniques to bring people back in droves. Most of these items aren’t intended for blogs, but for community based web sites.

  1. Collecting
  2. Earning points
  3. Levels
  4. Scheduled Reward

Each one is a powerful mechanism, but used in combination, they add up to a pretty addictive experience for some. For today, I’ll talk about collecting.

Collecting

Collecting is essentially amassing stuff and showing it off. You know people that are very susceptible to this. Your crazy aunt’s beanie baby collection or your friend who bought all those Magic cards back in college are great “real world” examples of this behavior. Collecting is directly related to the primal instinct to hunt and gather. Primitive men and women who were good at hunting and gathering got better mates. Web sites use this mechanism very successfully (although this is often counter to attracting better mates).

Xbox Live
Ok, I realize that Xbox Live isn’t just a website but it serves as a great example.

When Microsoft launched Xbox Live, they did it to reinforce certain activities they wanted gamers to engage in. The folks at Microsoft want you to a. buy an Xbox and b. buy games. One way to get users to do this is to make the games fun (naturally), but building in some extra elements of fun can’t hurt reinforcing this.

On the Xbox Live site, you can show off your gamer card that shows all the games you’ve played and the “achievements” you’ve collected in a given game. You can then compare how well you’ve done against your friends.

xbox-live-achievements.jpg
Comparing accomplishments and competing against friends is pretty powerful and it makes you want to do better than your friends to show off. Finishing a game, having a higher score, accomplishing something difficult both increases your score (which gets into Points) and the number of accomplishments

Naturally, adding lots of friends to your Xbox profile is powerful as well, but it’s even more powerful on LinkedIn.

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Must. Complete. Profile.

There are a number of activities on LinkedIn that are natural. First, adding your immediate friends and colleagues is probably the reason that you are there, so that’s a no brainer. But adding a recommendation isn’t necessarily a natural thing, but yet you feel compelled to do so in order to have a complete profile. It’s also something that strengthens LinkedIn’s network. That ties into the end point of collecting and that is completing a set.

When talking about collectible card games, beanie babies, Xbox live profiles, or whatever, completing a set is what you are striving for. No one wants an incomplete set and marketers are keen to exploit this angle.

What do your users collect? What sets do your users need to complete?

More later.

Tuesday Links

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Behind the scenes at Technorati
How Technorati works.

Battlestar Galactica available on Xbox Live
The first full length episode available on Xbox Live. A hint of things to come?

WordPress.com’s Beginner info
Want to learn WordPress? Here’s a good resource including some videos for starting up a WordPress blog.

AOL Music DownloadsYet another Plays for Sure clone, but this one includes some XM Radio channels in the mix.

Monday links

Monday, August 14th, 2006

New York Times compares Canon’s H10 to Sony’s HC3
HD camera smack-down! It’s pretty amazing how quickly these cameras dropped in price.

User created games on Xbox 360
Looks like MS made it a lot easier to create games for the Xbox. This really opens up 3rd party development for the Xbox to almost anyone who develops games.

Peter Moore on the Long Tail of Gaming
Xbox head honcho talks about rationale for opening up the Xbox.

Fox to sell video download on MySpace
Between this and the Google deal, I think this whole MySpace thing might make Rupert Murdoch some money after all.

Gaming Quickies – Xbox update, Seattle #1 gaming city

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

Xbox Live returns with Message Center integration
Looks like no other fancy-pants updates with yesterday’s downtime. Damn…I’m falling into Xbox 360 fanboy hype. On the other hand, I’ve got a really fancy answering machine for Xbox 360 now.

Microsoft Buys Seattle Top Spot In Gaming Cities Poll
Glad to see my epic Oblivion playing last week might have helped our fair city gain some notoriety.

Btw, if you are on Xbox live and want to play head to head, my gamertag is stewtopia.

Xbox Live outage on Tuesday

Monday, May 1st, 2006

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As in tomorrow. Xbox Live will be down for 13 hours tomorrow for what many presume to be a major update. Many are speculating that this update will include background downloading for Marketplace content.

For those of you that don’t have an Xbox 360, one of the cooler features is demo and content downloading on the unit. Demoing a new game before purchase is pretty wise on almost any gaming system, but before Xbox Live, demos were for PCs and game magazine subscribers only.


Microsoft has said recently that E3 will have lots downloadable coverage on Xbox 360 and this update makes sense before such an update occurs. What makes this interesting to me is that this new feature and a deluge of HD or SD content could really test a video download system. Oh, ya, and Xbox Live is free to non-subscribers next week.

If Microsoft wanted to start a video download service, the Xbox 360 could be a perfect Trojan horse to get them in a lot of living rooms. Apple might own the portable content, but no one owns the living room just yet.

Serious side bar aside, don’t plan on playing Burnout Revenge between 2am and 3pm tomorrow morning.

Xbox Live down for 13 hours

E3 on Xbox Live

Xbox 360 is in the house!

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

xbox360logo.jpgSo, I’ve been secretly lusting for the Xbox 360 for some time. I told myself and others that I wasn’t going to hang out at Best Buy or Costco like the other nerds, but all the while I’ve made side trips into these dens of electronic goodness for the past several months.

The persistence finally paid off yesterday, when everyone and their brother could finally get the 360. Apparently, local Best Buy, Walmart and others received shipments of around 60-80 Xbox 360’s. Mind you, they still sold out, but a lot more people got their hands on Xboxes this weekend.

I’ll post a more detailed report later, but so far the experience has been fairly positive. While a minor detail, the most impressive thing so far is how well the wireless controllers work with the Xbox. If you’ve ever tried to pair Bluetooth devices, you’ll appreciate how you turn the Xbox on, hit the big X button on the controller and it just works. You’d think Apple made it :-)

Xbox 360 to triple shipments this week

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

Ok, I admit it. Once I found out that Best Buy received their shipments on Thursday mornings, I have been known to find a reason to visit them a little more often towards the end of the week. But apparently, the news wasn’t exactly an exclusive.

This week, however, their might be a reason to take a trip over to the local BB. Emboldened by the delayed PS3, it looks like all y’all that have been waiting for an Xbox might get one real soon now.

“Today we have turned a major corner,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice
president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and
Devices Division at Microsoft. “With more consoles on their way to retail,
80 games available by June, and new content and experiences coming to Xbox
Live(R) all the time, there has never been a better time to own an Xbox 360.”

Oh, yeah, and to you other guys hanging out at the Best Buy on Thursday mornings, you should get lives.

Read

(Via Engadget.)

PS3 Live?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

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Looks like Sony is planning an online service to launch with the new Playstation 3 to compete with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The folks over at Joystiq have been trolling the Playstation message boards and came up with a scan a user had uploaded from March’s Playstation magazine.

No real details other than Sony plans on matching Xbox Live “feature for feature and then some.”

Game geeks rejoice.

Read

(Via Joystiq)

External HD-DVD for Xbox 360

Friday, January 6th, 2006

hd-dvd.jpgJust to keep it nice and confusing, Microsoft has announced an HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360. The announcement talks specifically about movies rather than games, so this unit better be cheaper than standalone units, or MS has a nice Sega CD on their hands.

Read

Xbox 360 Weekend News Roundup

Monday, November 14th, 2005

We’re excited about the Xbox 360 launch next week like the next guy, but watching the drama on Engadget and Gizmodo was a little exhausting.

Here’s the latest:

Xbox 360 launch list – all the games, accessories and what not.
Xbox launching on Friday at CC? – Ain’t happenin’.
Xbox 360 backwards compatibility list – 200+ Xbox games will work on the 360. Thanks Charlie.
Harmony Xbox 360 Remote released – $129 remote for the ‘other‘ uses of the Xbox.

If that’s not enough for you, check out either Gamespot or IGN’s Xbox launch coverage.