What’s killing the video-game business?

In a Slate article “What’s killing the video-game business?”, N. Evan Van Zelfden writes: “During Electronic Arts’ last quarterly call, CEO John Riccitiello explained that the company would be pursuing blockbuster hits as a primary revenue source…the industry has long discussed going with this “Hollywood model.”

I like the conclusion about going with the old hollywood model. I think making shorter games, but producing new ones more often could be quite lucrative, especially if you connected the games to a single story, kind of like expansion packs, only not.


Reflection: Theories and Practice of Interactivity

This course was eye opening to me, not because I learned so much, but because so much was reaffirmed for me. I’ve known the importance of good design and usability in theory, but have never taken a class where the actual processes have been laid out for me to dig through. Being able to pick apart websites and compare them to their competition was fun. Reading Moggridge’s book was tough due to the amount of knowledge it held, but once done I looked back and appreciated the overall knowledge and timeline of technology presented. Often I find myself searching for the whole process or view, saying to myself “please just start from the beginning for the sake of us newbies;” Moggridge’s book is comprehensive. For example, it detailed the evolution of the mouse and the rise of Macintosh, two every interesting points.

To be more specific about my learning in this course, I came across two eye opening things. One, I wasn’t aware I found video games so interesting…yes strange I know. Not simply interesting because they’re a form of entertainment, but interesting in the development of them. They are the apex of creativity, with so little recognition going to the creators. I can relate the video game industry to my knowledge of the movie industry, which I worked in for the better part of my 20’s. I find the breakdown of gamers (casual, hardcore, etc) very interesting as well the marketing tactics that go into hitting those different groups. I see the evolution of the gamer from nerdy school boy to female socialite fascinating and see this progress attributed to console changes in products like the Wii and Xbox. In my first journal entry I note the “shift in perception of video games, meaning the tight conception of “gamer nerds” is splintering and experiences are becoming shared. This sharing aspect might have been a contributing factor to the inclusion of women into the video gaming experience, as well as the research linking increased female participation to casual gaming.” Continue reading

Spore.com, a Journey Through Usability: Case Study Proposal

What makes a consumer decide to purchase a video game? Is it advertising through commercial or viral channels, consumer loyalty, or just an impulse buy? Within my final paper I will do a usability case study of Spore.com, the website for EA’s new game. Using Jakob Nielsen’s ten usability heuristics I hope to determine how desirable it is to purchase Spore using their website as a marketing tool. This study will help understand the importance of good web presence and how that might relate to increased sales. Within this proposal I will defend my reason for choosing this project, discuss the information I already know, and wrap up by discussing my strategy for completion.


Not often we find ourselves actively seeking out entertainment; rather entertainment is weaved into our lives, almost instinctual. As a video game consumer I shop with a goal. I already know through reviews, loyalty to the previous version of the game or attractive advertising, what I want to purchase. It’s important for companies to realize that traditional methods of advertising are not longer effective. Within that statement rests my interest to study the usability of Spore.com. As Hayes notes in my post on Interaction Design in Video Games, video games are a child’s first venture into the digital world. Why do we choose to make this statement true?

  Continue reading

Interaction Design in Video Games

A typical videogame user is no longer a teenage boy sitting in his bedroom for hours on end clicking away, a tower of soda cans and pizza crust scattered aimlessly near his trashcan. Now insert into this picture some friends, girls included, and instead of them frozen with thumbs feverishly gliding across a controller, they are jumping up and down playing Dance Dance Revolution. What are the important changes in this second scenario? It’s important to note they are no longer motionless because we’ve seen a shift in game design to include body movement, and with this shift a demographic change to include women. Why is this important? Could this shift in video game design, aimed to confront the obesity issue and remain innovative, cause the side effect of expanding the target market?

The other night in our Interaction Design class we played video games, which was really cool. Most of these games fall into the casual gaming category because they are not “hard-core games such as first-person shooters and fantasy games” (Hayes, 23). We were asked to think about what characteristics make these games exciting (or boring) and our overall thoughts while playing these games. The games were diverse, from PacMan to Rockband to Lego Star Wars and online games like LambdaMOO, Tower Defense and the Club Live game portal. Continue reading