There is a hilarious zero-punctuation review of Bioshock floating around which actually hits hard and true:
Splicer: Go ahead and hack, I’ll politely wait until you are done to attack you voraciously
The review touches on the drastic dumbing down of the game for those consolers (hacking anyone?), the actually limited use of weapons / splicing / other skills, the unlimited regeneration points EVERYWHERE that make dying fun, and the storyline mirrors the original system shock to a T. But still, it’s a gorgeous game with a terrible ending, so enjoy the experience of it all.
Tristan Louis, an application development VP for HSBC, recently made public his economic analysis of the pertinent numbers available on Second Life’s website. For those of you who don’t know, Second Life is the highly controversial MMO 3D digital world in which paying subscribers interact in ways analagous to real life. The only things truly connecting it to reality are a) subscription fees for high-tier membership plans, and b) its in-game economy, which can be exchanged for real money. Like all real currencies, the exchange rate from “Linden Dollars,” as the currency is called, to USD fluxuates.
But back to Louis’ economic survey of Second Life. By dissecting the pecuniary affairs and the raw number of users who’ve subscribed since last August, Louis arrived at a conclusion that affords us a new perspective on Second Life:
On average, the number of logins over a 60 day period seems to be about 35 to 40 percent of the total population reported. The people who log in, however, seem to spend a fair amount of money ($50-60 a week) within the Second Life economy.
If accurate, this would mean that some 200,000-230,000 active Second Life users are on average currently spending more on their in-world experience than any existing online world by far. (For comparison, a World of Warcraft subscription is but $15 a month, and that’s money paid to the Blizzard/Vivendi, not user-to-user.)
To summarize Tristan Louis’ conclusions, Second Life is relatively sparse according to its amount of active users, but absolutely economically lively based on the average amount of cash trading an active user’s hands. Furthermore, even though Second Life doesn’t have an enormeous amount of active users, Louis predicts that that’s all going to change:
[I]t looks that, under the most conservative growth rate, we will see 3.5 million users registered and over 600,000 using the service by the end of April 2007. Under a liberal interpretation of the data, those numbers would shift to 9.6 million and just under 7 million. However, in the most likely case, it is probable that there will be 7.2 million users registered with 1.6 million logging in over the previous sixty days. Not too shabby.
“Not too shabby,” Tristan Louis concludes, but he also advises his readers “to go with the most conservative estimate because [his] data set is still relatively small. Even then, this type of growth mirrors some of the growth patterns we’ve seen in the early days of the commercial web and seem to support the contention that LindenLab is going to be a very strong player in the future.”
In response to Tristan Louis’ analysis of Second Life’s economic situation, Tateru Nino analyzed his analysis, ultimately judging that although many of the user-to-user transactions aren’t meaningful, there is still significant economic activity:
The way money moves in Second Life with tip jars and alternate accounts and refunds means that probably about half of the value given is double-counted. That would leave us with roughly 75% that we could count on, but let’s go the highly conservative route and say a mere 40% of that figure represents actual meaningful transactions, where there’s a net change in the distribution of funds that is in line with the stated figure. Averaging out Tristan’s weekly samples for December 2006, and then applying our own conservative 40% figure to it, we get a daily movement of L$ equal to $269,848 USD.
If we were in France this would be the Wii-cat forum. Just think how cute that would be:
The first thing I noticed when I came across Wii-chat was how active it seemed to be. The forums are brand-new, but there are already 12,000 members making almost 170,000 posts. On my own blog, I only get that high if I count spam comments!
There’s some interesting stuff on there. Kunu has written an exclusive guide to the Nintendo Wii, hundreds of pages of friend codes for you lonely wii-ers, and threads like this Canadian one trying to help find stores actually carrying Wiis.
As you can see, the site itself is covered in ads, but with so much activity it probably has reasonably high server costs:
Oddly, there’s a tags page section of the site, which seems to mostly be a predefined set of keywords the site owner thinks are interesting that hook into the site search. Perhaps it’s useful, perhaps not–I don’t see any easy way for end-users to tag threads or posts:
This is supposed to be a sponsored review of Wii Chat, but I’m finding it quite hard to review … a forum. What can you say? It’s like every other forum I’ve seen–slightly customized with a template that suites its theme. It’s solid, and active, so it seems like a good forum. It’s also the leader right now in the Google SERPS. So, if you’ve got a Wii and are looking for a place to meet other Wii users, chat, or debate, Wii-chat is probably for you!
The latest demo to grace Xbox Live is the latest installment of the FIFA series: FIFA ‘07. According to IGN, FIFA 07 ”throws you into the rollercoaster ride of a football season, [where you must] employ real world tactics, make realistic decisions, and think like a player in order to win matches.” And with a score of 8.1 from GameSpot, FIFA 07 is far from shabby– so go get the demo!
Keith Bakker, the American director of the Smith & Jones clinic for gaming addicts in Amsterdam testifies that “the phone has been ringing constantly. Computer game addiction is obviously an even greater problem than we imagined.” Mr. Bakker is a former drug addict himself, and in his mind a computer-gaming addiction is just as severe as any narcotic addiction because they share similar symptoms:
It is not a chemical dependency, but it’s got everything of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and all of the other stuff that comes with chemical dependency
One of their patients, a 21 year-old from Utrecht, said that he barely left his room during a 5 year gaming stint because he was so fixated with his electronic fantasy world. Such cases are quite rare indeed, for most people who game do so in moderation. Quite frankly, I think we should do away with these clinics. Addiction to video-games is a harmless and voluntary occupation, and individuals should be able to do as they will with their lives. Let Darwin do his work.