Much can be learned from this (games industry, are you listening at the back?): in the UK, female viewers have outnumbered male viewers on the Sci-Fi Channel for the first time evar. Wondering why?
"The digital television channel Sci Fi UK has seen a 10 per cent rise in the number of female viewers over the past eight years and 1.4 million women now tune in - 51 per cent of the audience. The channel, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, links the rise in "girl geeks" to the proliferation of heroines such as Buffy, Lara Croft and Xena."
I heard, a very long time ago so I have no written proof, that the first ever Tomb Raider had a female player base of 33%, which at the time (what was it, 1995?) was HUGE. Women were picking that game up because of the cover art and the content, presumably: who couldn't like a female Indiana Jones?
It's worth remembering that simple things still matter: strong female characters make for interested female audiences. Now - apply this to traditionally-reviled-by-most-ladies genres: football and FPS. If there were strong female leads in either of those genres, would the audience base change?
I'm very unexcited about the imminent launch of Starship Troopers, the game. You shoot bugs. You're a military person. The film came out years and years ago, was quite funny, but you can't really remember why, except the main bloke had an unfeasibly large chin.
I just found this banner ad hanging around on the Serious Games Summit site (Simon Carless of ffwd is going, so we should get some good updates, rah). This is some spin:
This is just such a bloody controversial title. It never ceases to raise my archly-plucked eyebrow. A few E3s ago, they had soldiers and army copters floating around/above the show floor, demonstrating their armyness, but not really doing anything useful. Not exactly the greatest use of military personnel and fuel, I must say.
Were they trying to recruit a few game geeks who are now on the frontlines, controlling robot soldiers with "nintendo-style gamepads"?
Sundays are supposed to be feet-up days. I just got the latest email (in a chain of approximately 50, I kid you not) from the man at PC Specialist who is 'dealing' with me and my dead PC. This post is mainly for the record, in case anyone out there is considering buying from these people. Skip this post if you don't like reading tales of bad customer service and expensive-yet-failed hardware. Go here if you want a nice roundup of your rights if similar happens to you, from the very clever man who used to edit MacUser.
A short story of woe and frustration: The PC's been useless for almost two months now - first it was a hard drive failure, after 7 months of average use. When they finally got a new drive to me (that took three weeks), and we installed it, a clean install of Windows XP showed up no USBs and no network capabilities. Both are on the motherboard. I presume: dodgy mobo. PC Specialist prefers to presume that I have a non-legitimate copy of XP, or a bad mouse/external hd/wacom tablet/DS charger/Creative Zen charger/USB hub/memory card reader. Neither applies.
Now that I've installed SP2 on it at their request (no mean feat considering no mouse or network), and it's still dead, they've finally agreed to take it back - except they sent me an email saying 'post it to us', rather than 'the courier will be round on Tuesday'. I have a one-year return to base free-pickup-and-delivery with these guys, and they can't even be bothered to check my contract with them even though we've been back and forth for 8 weeks on this. Sent email saying 'no I won't pay to return it'.
To-do list: I may as well have a boat anchor on my desk for all the sodding computing I can do. What a shoddy, shoddy service - if you're thinking of trying PC Specialist, I can't emphasise enough how terrible and difficult they've been. Their parts are unreliable ("top end motherboard"), their customer service is non-existent: calling their tech help line produces a 20m wait, but call the sales line and you get straight through. I can see their tactics: let's be as unhelpful as possible and maybe unhappy customers will just eventually give up and go away...
I'm going to call them tomorrow and politely ask that they not only pick it up and fix it, as per our contract, but that they extend the warranty by two months. Then, it's back to Dell or something next time round - anyone got any decent recommendations?
I might make it for an hour, but it's my ma's 60th birthday party today and I have a lot of preparing to do. Pete, you should go! Take pics!
They're auditioning - live - for a UK rep for Need For Speed Underground 2. Whomsoever steps up and wins, by getting the fastest lap at the end of the day, is automatically the UK Finalist Pr0-gam0r for NFSU2, and gets shipped off to Singapore for a week with all the other champs!
Damnit. Why'd I spend all those years shooting instead of racing? I kick arse at racing. Well, a bit, anyway. Maybe a square inch or so.
Sony Online Entertainment (Star Wars Galaxies, The Matrix Online, Everquest) recently experimented with allowing players to trade, buy and sell their in-game items and characters, with official approval. We can probably assume that this has been going rather well for them, because their next MMO game will rely entirely on the sales of items to players to make money. Well, that and advertising, I expect.
John Smedley, CEO of SOE. This man's chin means business.
It's not a bad model at all - worked wonders for Habbo Hotel, and in-game advertising can't be a bad thing for business, as long as they're careful with it. Best of all, it'll certainly open up MMOGs to an audience that hitherto hasn't liked the idea of paying for a subscription.
I'm looking forward to finding out what the subject matter is. Tenner says it'll have a neo-realistic theme, some sort of futuretopia in which Coca Cola billboard ads won't look out of place. Blade Runner (owned by Warner who just sold The Matrix Online to SOE and who probably wouldn't dare have another go at doing an MMO themselves) is the obvious one, but maybe they'll go the original IP route. Or there's always Doctor Who ...