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Analysis of the success of World of Warcraft

Bob Moore from Terra Nova has written a nice summary of talks by WoW lead designer Rob Pardo and Bioware lead combat designer Damion Schubert at the Austin Game Conference, analysing the success of World of Warcraft. I've got a post in progress about Mr. Pardo's talk in particular, but hey, who knows when I'll finish that. This is a good summary.

Even though I occasionally stop playing for a bit, I am still involved in World of Warcraft, over a year and a half after it came out. It continues to offer new experiences, and I am sure I won't have exhausted the content before the expansion hits the stores. I continue to be impressed by how well-tuned the game is. As someone pointed out to me once, WoW is the first MMO developed by successful single-player game developers, and it shows.

This report by DFC Intelligence points out that WoW's success will be extremely hard to replicate, and that a lot of people are going to try, due to an influx of dumb money. I find it much more interesting to watch different MMO models.

The blog roll is gone

I've removed my links to other sites. I suddenly no longer saw the point. I mean no disrespect to the people I used to link to: I am just fairly sure that most of them didn't need it one way or the other, especially since I link to sites in my blog entries anyway. It nicely streamlines my site, and it removes all headaches about who to link to, how to organize it, etc.

Feel free to complain, in comments or per email. Perhaps I can be made to change my mind.

Wii News

Most of the important Wii news (except European price and release date, out today supposedly) has been revealed.

Here is a trailer of all the launch 'window' titles. Some good stuff there. I can't believe I'm dying to play WarioWare again.

And here are some videos of the system interfaces. Very interesting. If you've always wondered what a non-game app like a weather forecast would look like if Nintendo did the interface, check it out. They are masters at using sound and animation in interface design.

And I love the idea of storing player profile data in the controller so you can take it along to a friend, effectively turning the controller into a memory card. (Theoretically, you wouldn't need to store any data in the controller, just link its ID to an on-line profile. But storing data directly on the controller will allow it to work even if the console is off-line, which may still happen.) It works because the controller is small and wireless. And it may increase sales of controllers, since people will be less inclined to share controllers (including multi-player games with the console helps too).

Anyway, can't wait to get one.

Update: Not-really-auto-updating live transcript of Nintendo's European press conference courtesy of Eurogamer. Key data: December 8th, 249 Euro.

Next Generation's game industry's 100 most influential women

Next Generation has published a list of the game industry's 100 most influential women.

It's an interesting list, if somewhat US-centric, with a highly diverse range of companies and positions. One can always quibble with lists like these (as Jason has). I agree with Jason and Kim that Robin Hunicke should have been on there. The same goes for Susan O'Connor and several other kick-ass ladies I can think of.

Nevertheless, I think it can open some eyes. Have a look.

And I have the privilege of knowing some of these wonderful ladies. Congratulations to Alice Taylor, Ellen Beeman and Heather Kelley!

Update: Readers sent in their own nominations.

PlayStation 3 Euro launch delayed

OK, it's hardly news by now that the PlayStation 3's European launch has been delayed. It means I have to wait for four more months before I can refuse to spend a ridiculous amount of money for a console that's not worth it, in my humble opinion.

Before I get accused of exaggerated PS3-bashing: I waited a long time (until I saw Ico and played Tony Hawk, to be precise) before I bought a PS2, and even longer (until my mental faculties were worn down by an all-nighter and peer pressure) before I bought an Xbox. Only Nintendo gets my day-one love. (Of course, among my friends this means I am a cold and aloof party pooper - why am I not pre-ordering the Japanese version of Nintendo's latest console?)

One tiny thing from that article struck me though:

Ray Maguire, senior vice president and managing director of Sony UK, said: "We are extremely disappointed at news of this delay, and can truly empathise with everyone who was looking forward to PS3's imminent release."

What an odd way of phrasing this. Wouldn't you expect him to say: "We are extremely disappointed to have to bring you the news of this delay"? He seems to be saying that he is disappointed by the news from Sony Japan, as if he is not, in fact, working for the same company. Which seems to strengthen my impression that Sony's bits and parts do not always add up to one whole.

Logitech QuickCam Effects Demo

I just came across this demo for real-time 3D video effects that can be used with the Logitech QuickCam web camera. It is quite impressive - I remember seeing similar technology as cutting-edge computer graphics research only a few years ago. It doesn't seem ultra-robust, but good enough for having fun at least.

Together with voice changers, it kinda solves the non-anonimity problem of webcams and microphones.

Check it out, and think of Microsoft's upcoming camera, and Sony's EyeToy 2.

(The official info from Logitech on these effects can be found here.)