The Blog

Been far too long since I updated . . more articles. . .

Posted on 13th July 2012 by Richard Browne
Well summer arrived and life has become really busy.  I recently wrote a long two part article for GI.BIZ on Sony’s rise in the video game business and apparent fall from grace in recent years.  It was a wonderful trip down memory lane in some respects, and a challenge to try and portray exactly where Sony is these days and where they need to go.  Interestingly I wrote this article before the rumors began of Sony buying Gaikai and their eventual purchase of them this past month.  It will be interesting to see what else in my crystal ball becomes reality!
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-05-31-the-rise-and-fall-of-sony-part-1
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-06-01-the-rise-and-fall-of-sony-part-2

Busy Month,  but this time the blog is global . .

Posted on 12th April 2012 by Richard Browne
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-04-12-the-real-cost-of-used-games

Hey, No DICE?!

Posted on 16th February 2012 by Richard Browne
Actually there was.  Last week saw the annual pilgrimage of the Video Games executives to the fantastic – yet odd – Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, Nevada ; or “just outside Vegas” as it’s fondly known.  Three days of hob nobbing with people you know, panels and talks from some wise men and women (and some not so wise on the odd occasion) and all that on top of a poker tournament, a go-kart tournament and golf.  Ah, as any old game developer would say – how the other half live.
This year was no different from those gone past, there were some interesting events and talks but for me the most interesting discussion items at DICE actually happened outside of DICE – well, it happened the day before.  That was Tim Schafer’s announcement of his Kickstarter project ; basically a crowdsourcing funding program for his next venture.  I’ve indirectly worked with Tim in the past and had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions, he’s a phenomenally smart individual, incredibly talented, somewhat a visionary of the industry and a nice guy to boot.  The trouble is post Lucasarts days he’s never really been terribly commercial.  Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Costume Quest and Stacking (the latter two we released at THQ) all had many great things about them – none of them met with any commercial success.  That Tim would go out on a limb like this in order to stay true to his vision I think is incredibly commendable, and he certainly has enough fans that it has worked (and then some).  To date he’s raised $1.8m – even though he was originally only looking for $400k.  Personally I can’t wait to see how that money is spent.  
A subsequent fallout from this process was potential backing for Psychonauts 2 coming from none other than Notch, creator of Minecraft – though over recent days there’s been some back and forth about exactly how committed Notch is ; especially after a $13m price tag was banded about.   There are many who would love to see Psychonauts 2 hit the shelf or more likely a digital network near you ; but at that price, alas I fear it would have zero chance of breaking even let alone making money, not unless it changes radically from the first installment.  But whatever happens it’s good to know we’ll be able to enjoy more antics from Mr Schafer soon – and on his terms.
 

What’s Old is New Again

Posted on 5th February 2012 by Richard Browne

If someone had told my parents twenty five years ago that I’d still be pursuing this video game business I think they’d have said – as the English would coin it – “you’re having a laugh”.  When I first left college to go and work full time up in London for Domark Software they honestly believed I’d be back in school in less than a year, they thought the computer game bubble would burst and I’d come to my senses and do a “normal” job.

Back in those days games were far more simplistic than the console generation of today, Domark specialized in arcade conversions – we had a long term deal with Atari Games / Tengen to port all of their works both famous (Toobin, Star Wars, Hard Drivin’) and more obscure (Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, Skull & Crossbones) to home formats such as the Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad, Atari ST, Amiga and IBM PC.

With the advent of the current generation of mobile games all that was old has become new again.  All of the mechanics and indeed actual games from the halcyon days of the 80’s and 90’s are being reborn at a rapid rate by people flooding into the App Store and Android Market.

Even some of the actual original creators of these IP are now getting into the act.  It was with great pleasure that I saw my former company THQ announce this week their venture with Innovative Leisure – a group founded by industry legend Seamus Blackley who has managed to corral such pioneers as Van Burnham (Supercade), Ed Logg (AsteroidsCentipedeGauntlet), Rich Adam (Missile CommandGravitarPGA Tour Golf), Tim Skelly (Rip OffStar CastleReactor), Owen Rubin (Major Havoc,Space Duel), and Ed Rotberg (BattlezoneS.T.U.N. RunnerSteel Talons) together to produce a whole new catalog of games for these formats.  I’m eager to see what they come up with, to see whether they can pioneer new ground as they did once before.

You can read all about it here : http://venturebeat.com/2012/02/02/seamus-blackley-launches-innovative-leisure-mobile-game-startup-with-atari-arcade-veterans-exclusive/

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