Save the Whales! And exploit them I guess.
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 May 2013, 5:12 pm
Edward CastronovaA report just out from the fine folks at Playnomics confirms that much of the money spent in digital economies is spent by a fairly small share of the players. Vegas calls them "whales." Playnomics says that fewer than 1 percent of players spend any money at all in games, on average. Most of us free ride on the top 1% of spenders who contribute a third of the money. I still like the game Lord of the Rings Online. It's free to play. When I look around in there, I see a very cool version of Middle Earth. It...


Diablo III Hyperinflation
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 May 2013, 12:49 pm
Edward CastronovaDiablo III's real-money auction house had some potential to be a major innovation in virtual economies. Instead, it looks like the designers failed to grasp lessons of virtual money management that are now more than a decade old. Namely, make sure you have enough sinks. There's a wonderful, well-informed, economically expert write-up over at Mises.Org, by Peter C. Earle. Mr. Earle knows his econ and he knows the game as well. It's some of the best virtual economy analysis I ahve seen in a long while. Thanks to Waiyen Tang for the heads-up!


The Clausewitz Engine: A Major Scientific Advance
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 May 2013, 11:26 am
Edward CastronovaWittingly or no, the folks over at Paradox Development are making an amazing scientific instrument. It's called the Clausewitz Engine. I know almost nothing about it, other than having been its victim over and over again. The Clausewitz Engine is apparently a gigantic autonomous agent model. Tens of thousands of agents act according to a sophisticated set of instructions. These instructions are apparently very flexible. In Hearts of Iron, they drive divisions, armies, and countries to war against one another, whereas in Crusader Kings, the instructions drive men and women to seek marriage partners. The information on which the agents...


Hector Postigo's: The Digital Rights Movement
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 April 2013, 3:02 pm
Ren ReynoldsThe latest Social Change Technology podcast is out. Dr Burcu Bakioglu interviews long time friend of the show Hector Postigo about his latest book: The Digital Rights Movement. Those that have been around a while with know Hector's foundational work on modding. You can listen to the show here: http://www.virtualpolicy.net/sct013.html


New Survey - Please Participate
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 April 2013, 9:19 am
greglasI'm conducting a survey on creative play within video games. If you have 15 minutes to spare, please consider letting us know about how your creativity intersects with your gaming: https://camdenrutgers.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0VzeOA1fJHthpkN And please spread the link around. Once the survey is completed, results will be published on the Player-Authors website.


Did you know? GDP ignores digital value
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 April 2013, 12:33 pm
Edward CastronovaReal world experts are starting to think about all the economic value stored up in digital currencies. Here's a blog post about it by Joel McKendrick, pointed out to me by Robert Gehorsam. Thanks Robert!


GDC Expo Floor
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 March 2013, 6:23 pm
Edward CastronovaA few things I noticed wandering the expo floor. I was surprised to hear some people say that this is a fairly decent year for hiring. I thought it was a down time for the industry, but perhaps in interactive entertainment, down just means, not growing as fast. Or, we get this impression from the problems hitting consoles and AAA companies, but perhaps they are as big a source of new employment as they had been. The level of physical fidelity continues to surprise. Trees with leaves blowing gently in the wind, canvas straps that look so real you can...


Are you ready for movies that think
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 March 2013, 4:54 pm
Edward CastronovaSlant Six Games will deploy a procedural cinematic engine in Microsofts Galactic Reign. The segments of film are available to the engine and it creates a linear visual narrative that depends on player actions and the game state.


Time Scales
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 March 2013, 1:44 pm
Edward CastronovaWhen I was a wee lad, the turnaround time for a piece of research was 5-6 years. From the first idea to the day it appeared in a journal. We now see functional models in game analytics that address practical social science problems in a couple months. Seems fast! But isn't fast enough. Game builders are making decisions hourly as their player bases shift and roil. I wonder if we are on the wrong track in game analytics. We are using big data sociology, economics, and public policy as our models. Maybe the right model is meteorology. The weather is...


Action and Virtue
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 March 2013, 1:45 am
Edward CastronovaRobert George in the April edition of the magazine First Things makes a case for limited government that relies on an Aristotelian view of human flourishing. For Aristotle, he says, "flourishing consists in doing things, not just in getting things, or having desirable or pleasant experiences, or having things done for you." You have to act to be well. Active entertainment is better for people than passive entertainment. To do things in games would probably not be accorded the same respect by Aristotle as to do them in real life, I suppose. Not at first glance anyway. On the other...


Next steps for AI
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 March 2013, 7:53 pm
Edward CastronovaGames will become more reactive to us. The industry is beginning to build systems to produce environments that react in novel ways to the user. A World Manager that directs your experience. Entities that analyze statistics before making choices. Game objects that dynamically acquire new properties. Props that think. Even small scale developers can build these things. The tools are making it possible.


Game education is scaling rapidly
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 March 2013, 2:52 pm
Edward CastronovaJust saw a report from RIT, UCSC, and Northeastern about their efforts to build game programs. The meta data here is astounding. Ten years ago, nobody had anything. They launched little programs over significant opposition. The demand for places however vastly exceeded supply. The programs grew and now, top level support is creating huge cross campus centers to serve playable, interactive, game media.


Scale
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 March 2013, 1:18 pm
Edward CastronovaIf you've never been to this conference or E3, the first thing that impresses you is the scale. Gigantic and global. I still have trouble grasping how big the business of designing play has become. This talk is by the CEO of Kongregate. It's about retaining players for the long run. She reminds us that games like EverQuest are still making money after a decade. Time scales are bigger than you realize too.


From GDC
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 March 2013, 10:58 am
Edward CastronovaLet's all go back to 2007 when blogs were proto-tweets. This week I'll be sending stuff from the Game Developers Conference. My iPad doesn't support Typepad's nice text editing features so its just going to be plain text, no cutesy images and all that. Links? No, I can't do that either without writing <a href etc. etc. and the iPad of course buries HTML braces in its third keyboard. If youre interested in following up n something, Just Google it and you'll find it I guess. And this mode doesn't autocorrect either. Typos and bad grammar on the way. Stop...


Conferences are boring, I want to play games
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 4 March 2013, 9:42 am
Edward CastronovaI know everyone has been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to spend money to get one of my papers. The wait is over!!! It's this paper where I say "Instead of having talks at conferences, can we have games?" I don't know, I find talks so boring. I just get antsy. And it seems to me that the real work at conferences gets done outside the context of the talks anyway. So I had this idea that you could get rid of the talks and replace them with board games. During a board game, Player A is thinking while Players B,...


Valve Economist on EconTalk
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2013, 2:51 pm
Edward CastronovaEconomist Russ Roberts runs EconTalk, a rather cool series of podcasts on edgy topics in economics. These are the guys who brought you the Keynesian-Monetarist rap debate. What's not to love? Well, they've got a great interview with Valve's economist Yanis Varoufakis. It's important for non-specialists to be aware that Econ is having problems right now. Different people point to different issues, and they point in different ways forward. From my brief interactions with Dr. Varoufakis, I'm convinced that he's pointing in a good direction and is very much worth listening to. Perhaps the most exciting thing about him is...


Fun with mapping
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 February 2013, 12:02 pm
Dmitri WilliamsHoly smokes, but someone did a real Mapping test using SimCity and his hometown's traffic. It's not exactly rigid science, but this is the sort of application I've been hoping to see since writing this thing.


Virtual sports offer better betting
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 15 February 2013, 1:18 pm
Edward CastronovaAs you may know, football (soccer, not handegg) is broken. The game as designed is strategically light (not enough scoring, too much luck - from a Euro game? How odd) and it has fallen victim to two unrelated forms of corruption, the unelected-international-body corruption that plagues the Olympics and the UN, and the big-money corruption that plagues US college sport and politics. Football would have doping scandals too, but FIFA is only just now getting around to it. Who in their right mind would wager money on professional football? It's like betting on the outcome of a novel. No matter....


Question: Why is 3rd Party RMT Evil?
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 February 2013, 12:15 pm
Edward CastronovaTom Mason blogs at the Nosy Gamer and is intrigued by CCP's ongoing efforts to combat botting and 3rd party RMT. It does seem strange, given CCP's libertarian philosophy, they they would actively resist trade in these limited cases. Years ago I wrote a model that treated botting and farming as a pollution effect. Using hypothetical numbers, I showed that these things can be very costly to ordinary gamers; their fun is degraded. Tom asked me to reconsider and possibly update the analysis. His questions and my responses are below the fold. Have you gone back and looked at the...


Amazon launches virtual currency
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 February 2013, 2:11 pm
Edward CastronovaLarry Dignan at ZDnet reports on Amazon's new money. The company sells everything, but the Amazon Coin will initially be used only for apps in the company's Kindle Fire platform. Still, if they build the currency, they can use it for anything else that they do. That means, the only reason you cannot use the Amazon Coin to buy this Batman Apron, this pumice stone, or this wood chipper is because Amazon has decided against it. For now.


World's biggest bank in 2023: Starbucks?
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 January 2013, 11:18 am
Edward CastronovaSquare. Square has invented a smooth, cheap, flexible virtual transaction system. Paypal works only online. Dollars work only offline or online through expensive credit card companies. Square instantly makes offline transactions into online ones, utilizing small-computer technology.Your smartphone talks to Square. Starbucks. A coffee seller with 17,000 locations.They also have a customer loyalty program. Buy stuff, get Stars. You can spend your Stars in Starbucks or at their online store. Square and Starbucks have struck a payments deal. As an astute analyst has pointed out, Starbucks can now use the Square system to extend the purchasing power of Stars. Square's...


How fractured the world - Wolf's Building Imaginary Worlds
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 8 January 2013, 1:43 pm
Edward CastronovaEarly in Mark Wolf's awesome new book about subcreation, he makes note of Eco's discussion of cult products. Wolf highlights the fact that a good cult film is not necessarily completely coherent. Rather, it has chunks and pieces that allow the audience to participate in creation. A good world is not a clean story from end to end, its a lattice with hooks for people to hang other things. As we all know from building toys, anything you hang on a hook should itself be a hook. A few weeks ago, we discussed what makes good computer game worlds different...


The Decline of Worlds
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 14 December 2012, 12:32 pm
Edward CastronovaSimon Ludgate documents the experience of another big-ticket MMOG, Star Wars, the Old Republic. Like many others, this one is going from subscription to free-to-play. Ludgate characterizes this as failure. While it certainly is the failure of the revenue model, it may not mean failure of the IP. F2P products make plenty of money. But before we conclude that to use subscriptions is to fail, consider venerable EVE. She has reached new population milestones in her old age, having never abandoned the old subscription model. I think something cognitively different happens when we enter a world as opposed to a...


Evans v. Linden class certified
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 1 December 2012, 9:02 am
greglasThe Evans v. Linden Second Life virtual property class action lawsuit has overcome the class certification hurdle. No time for a full post, but Rebecca Tushnet covers the case here.


Micro rewards have weird effects on decisions
Posted by Terra Nova [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 November 2012, 10:32 am
Edward CastronovaMost games use a sequence of little rewards to nudge players around. This is very different from most salary and hiring and review structures, which are big rewards in big intervals. Much has been made about the power of the games approach and how it should be used everywhere. To date (I haven't been looking very hard), I'd not seen a hard analysis of how a sequence of little payments might affect the quality of decisions. Do they help people solve new problems? Do they help people remember what they are doing, and transfer the learning to other situations? Here's...


<< Newer Entries · · Older Entries >>

Show: [ALL] [NEWS] [BLOGS] [PODCASTS]

Updated Today:
A Green Mushroom [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
DocHoliday's MMO Saloon [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Engadget Gaming [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Eve Bloggers [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
GamesRadar [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Lineage II [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Massively Overpowered [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
mmocam! [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
MmoQuests.com [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Reign of Gaming [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Rock Paper Shotun [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
The Instance [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Van Hemlock [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Updated this Week:
Mystic Worlds [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Tobold [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Wolfshead Online [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Updated this Month:
Chimps in Space [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
DDOcast [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
MMORPG.COM News [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
PC Gamer Podcast [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
The Servitor [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Welshtroll [HTML] [XML] [FULL]
Zen of Design [HTML] [XML] [FULL]