Monthly Archive for February, 2008

Hillary Schmillary

“…undermining core Democratic ideals…since when do Democrats attack each other?”
-Hillary Clinton, 02/23/2008

“…that’s change you can Xerox”
-Hillary Clinton, 02/21/2008

Collect Lego THE FOURCE!

Go here. Be stupefied. That is all.

Monopoly: The Movie

Hasbro Inc. (HAS) and Universal Pictures formed a six-year strategic partnership to produce at least four motion pictures based on brands such as Monopoly, Candy Land, Ouija, Battleship, Magic, the Gathering and Stretch Armstrong.

Sometimes the press releases speak for themselves.

Will Wright’s Spore a “creative risk”

EA CEO John Ricitiello commented in a keynote at DICE today that Spore is “probably the greatest creative risk maybe going on in the industry right now,” going on to assert that he believes ” it’s going to be one of the greatest franchises in our industry and will rival World of Warcraft or The Sims or Rock Band. It’s going to be right up there.”

This is all well and fine for the CEO of the game’s publisher to push, but is it believable? The biggest thing about Spore that I find risky is that the game has been in development for a full eight years now, a figure rivalling Duke Nukem Forever. Can Wright ever really get this game out the door? If so, we’ll find out whether it’s really a creative risk; from what I’ve seen demoed of the game, the lifecycle of each game is broken into several extremely disparate segments, such that it’s really simply three or four games in one rather than the grandiose game-to-end-all-games that it has been hailed as. I think there are many games out there whose progressions are far more natural, and therefore much worthier of the praise currently being heaped upon Spore. Sim City is a great example: as your city grows, the problems you need to deal with change slightly and subtly until you’re dealing with things on an entirely different scale, without breaking the essential core mechanic of the game.

If Spore ever comes out, we shall finally see whether it is truly worth a franchise. If it is, even, it’s going to be an insanely sporadic franchise indeed.

Are we really supporting our troops? [take 2]

Because I have discussed this issue before, I would like to point out an update to the disturbing and ever-climbing number of our troops that are committing suicide. The latest report is in, and the troops are suffering. The number of troops taking their own lives has leapt 20% in the past year, and the rate doesn’t appear to be slowing.

To all of you who still support the war in Iraq, I implore you to explore your human side, that side of you that believes in human decency and true morals. This war needs to end now, so we can bring our heroes home. Our heroes who give all they have to keep the dream of this country alive. Let them come home. Let us find them jobs, and homes, let them return to their families.

Please let them come home.

A world wherein Microsoft owns Yahoo

The big story of the day: Microsoft aims to acquire Yahoo to the tune of a lean $44.6 billion dollars. And what a story it is.

It makes sense, of course. Microsoft’s web presence isn’t where they want it to be. While long-term gains may eventually be gained from their online service convergence into the “live” brand and domain, what they have migrated now is fractured, and imprinting the live brand rather than the old services into peoples’ minds will take a while yet. Worse yet, Microsoft is loathe to let go of the MSN brand, which it has invested countless time and money into: MSNBC has proven its worth, and with the home page of seemingly every other web browser in the world set to msn.com, it’s hard to fault them for this. However, the move is one that has to be made if Microsoft wishes to truly unite its web presence.

The fight isn’t about services though, of course: it’s all about advertising. Microsoft’s purchase of aQuantive last year has made headway into the battle, but has been largely disappointing. The Google advertising juggernaut continues to plow forward, and with the DoubleClick acquisition having been approved and looming on the horizon, the advertising market for Microsoft is starting to look less like an uphill battle and more like Mount Everest.

yahoo stocks are up nearly 50% on the newsSo, Microsoft’s purchase of Yahoo would earn it at least a bit more foothold in a market one of its most fearsome rivals dominates. But what does Yahoo gain? They aren’t doing well financially at the moment, but then again, they haven’t been doing well financially for years. Perhaps the execs will see this as a chance to finally dump their woes on someone else for good; it remains to be seen. For now, while they appear to be extremely cautious about their public reactions, their stock is leaping by spades.

While Yahoo isn’t what it used to be, it will be extremely interesting to see how this story unfolds; could this be the end of one of the web’s biggest giants?