Blog Archives - Claystation
 
Picture
As the battle for Smartphone supremacy wages on Blackberry makes a move to stay neck in neck with their biggest competitor, Apple.  RIM (Research In Motion) recently announced that they will be releasing their own version of the tablet, the Blackberry Playbook.  This offering should not only attract new customers but solidify old ones as Blackberry faithful.

                Much like the “I’m a Mac” campaign would suggest people are brand loyal.  That has been a driving force for their phones sales.  People who use Apple computers would probably want an Apple phone. This is further solidified with the variety of ‘I” devices including the iPad.  Now that Blackberry has created a companion device of their own, they should be able to retain existing customers that may have been enticed by Apple’s iPad.

                The Blackberry Playbook said to be released in early 2011 boasts some features that trump the iPad.  It offers a 7 inch touch screen as well as front and rear facing cameras. The Playbook will have a mini USB port (in/out) as well as an HDMI out.  One of the most notable features that the Playbook will offer is one that the iPads may never have (based off of Apple’s previous resistance).  The Playbook will use both Adobe’s Flash and HTML5.

                The Playbook will also be able to sink up with Blackberry phones and provide 3G access through existing service plans.  3G access on the iPad runs about $30 a month.  These savings may also entice iPhone users to make the switch to Blackberry devices.

                I myself am a creature of habit. Being a Blackberry user I would be much more inclined to purchase a Playbook than an iPad.  I think RIM’s new tablet will fill the biggest shortcoming of the Blackberry phones, the lack of mindless apps. 

                Blackberries have always seemed like more of a business oriented device.  As a result they may not be as appealing of a choice to non-business types.  Just as a name like the Playbook would suggest, it will offer users the ability to stream video and play a variety of games  This will surely help to attract a different demographic of potential customers.

                Brand loyalty aside I think the features of the Playbook will make it a better device than the iPad.  This will probably provoke Apple to step up their game for the 2
nd Generation iPads. 


 
As a video game enthusiast it has become apparent that video games are as ripe with advertising as television, print publications, and even billboards on the street.  Gone are the days of old school 8-bit games and there scrolling backdrops that go relatively unnoticed.  Today’s games are much more realistic when it comes to the graphics and offer a great place to sell ad space.

            The target market for advertisements in video games is 18-34 year old males.  Estimated demographics based on the type of game; fantasy, sport, racing, etc. also allow advertisers the opportunity to reach a more specific target over and over at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.  In a recent study conducted by the Nielson Company it was made apparent just how successful advertisements within video games can be.  Gaming giant Electronic Arts Inc. teamed up with Gatorade and allowed the drink company to make use of product placements within their NBA and NHL titles.  The placements included in game arena signage, water bottles used on the sidelines, as well as score updates and penalty calls.  The study showed that the ad campaign increased household spending on Gatorade by 24% by consumers who had purchased at least one of six titles.  This was the first study of its kind to be conducted. 

            Over the years advertising in videogames has become more and more prevalent; there was just no data to show return on investment.  However, fear of the unknown hasn’t kept advertisers from trying though.  Advertising of this type goes back to the early 1980’s, although methods have changed with technological advancements.  Early advertisements were static.  Images would be placed into the gaming environment in a fixed location, a billboard for example.  Now that most game systems are internet accessible it allows advertisers to change ads on a whim.  This also allows them to monitor the effectiveness of placement by tracking the players time spent near an ad in the virtual environment.
               
            
To me these types of ads don’t bother me.  If you are playing a video game that takes place in an urban environment why wouldn’t there be billboards.  Why shouldn’t these billboards have advertisements for real products and businesses? Would it be any less distracting if the billboard read burger barn instead of McDonald’s?  I don’t think so.   Selling ad space will only help to generate revenue for the game manufacturer.  This in turn could correlate to lower priced games or even a bigger development budget which could mean better quality games. 

                To me these types of ads don’t bother me.  If you are playing a video game that takes place in an urban environment why wouldn’t there be billboards.  Why shouldn’t these billboards have advertisements for real products and businesses? Would it be any less distracting if the billboard read burger barn instead of McDonald’s?  I don’t think so.   Selling ad space will only help to generate revenue for the game manufacturer.  This in turn could correlate to lower priced games or even a bigger development budget which could mean better quality games.

 
 
  Recently I watched Frontline’s Digital Nation, a film about the digital revolution and how it is changing our lives.  Of the many points brought up, one that really struck me was the military’s use of video games at recruiting centers.

                Although I feel it is unethical on many levels to exploit the passions and pastimes of many young boys and girls to further the potential for new enlistees, I have to admit is a stroke of genius.  Not only are recruiters capable of implanting themselves into lives their billboards may have never reached but they are able to see who may do well at military type engagement.

                The process is pretty simple.  Set up shop in a location that is heavily trafficked by youth, i.e. a shopping mall.  Provide a number of expensive gaming systems at no cost to the target market.  Make sure the games are reflective of military ideals.  Look for kids that become regulars and introduce yourself; both as an enthusiast of gaming and as a trusted member of society.  Tell how the military has positively impacted your life and provide information on how to enlist.

                The military seems to have no problem surrounding themselves with the soldiers, I mean youth, of tomorrow.  Why is it that the only games provided are that of battle simulation, like SOCOM and Medal of Honor?  If they want to promote violence why not chose a fighting game or Grand Theft Auto?  My guess would be that they want to promote and provide the right kind of violence.  The kind of violence that will lead you to signing up to defend Uncle Sam’s honor, this brings me to my next point.

                In the upcoming weeks EA games will be releasing their latest version of the popular military based game Medal of Honor.  As in most military games, and all previous versions of M.O.H., players can chose to fight as either the “good guys” or the “bad guys.”  What seems to be the problem you may ask?  Well it seems the two opposing forces are the U.S. and the Taliban.  It would appear this isn’t the message the armed forces wants to promote.  As a result the game will be banned from being sold on military bases worldwide. 

                I just find it interesting that the military can promote violence to today’s youth in the hopes of gaining future soldiers, but they want to make sure that violence is directed at the proper target.  Clearly they must not feel that these games will have no effect on the way people who play will act.        
 
Google has changed their website's logo, and once again it is interactive.  The normal fixed logo was replaced with a collection of small dots that come together to form the logo once you are on their homepage.  If you move your cursor near the logo the balls disperse and resettle once your pointer has come to rest. 

            In the past Google has changed its logo to celebrate holidays and festive occasions, or to pay tribute to an achievement of the past.  Some of the most noteworthy have been the previous three interactive logos.  The falling apple for Isaac Newton's birthday, a playable version of Pac-Man in honor of the games 30th anniversary, and a version of the Buckeyball that users could manipulate to mark the 25th anniversary of its discovery.  Most likely the change was made to celebrate Google's 12th anniversary.  Whatever the reasoning behind Google’s latest logo change may have been it has certainly provided many, including myself, with an amusing displacement activity. 

            So congratulations Google on another successful year, but I think the HTML5 used to make your logo come to life has stolen your thunder.  HTML 5 (Hypertext Markup Language version Five) allows images and objects to be imbedded and used to create interactive forms on web pages.  What is so notable of the latest version is that it features video-playback capabilities as well as the ability to drag and drop.  These features have previously been dependent on third-party browser plug-ins like Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight.

            Anyone who has heard of Steve Jobs should know that he is strongly opposed to third party dependence.  He stated that the use of third-party software can create problems between the platform and the programmer, which would result in substandard apps. He even went so far as to bar Flash from being usable on the new iPhones.  What’s his beef with Flash you ask?  In an open letter published by Jobs back in April he claimed:  "Flash was created during the PC era--for PCs and mice. New open standards created in   the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."

            Jobs recently relented somewhat and has decided to loosen the restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as said apps do not download any code.  However, the restriction on Flash content running in the browser on iOS devices remains in place.

            While the battle wages on we consumers will reap the benefits.  I'm sure there will be more to come as the most recent version of HTML is fully functional, and it should be a lot more interesting than Google’s latest logo.

 






medal of honor, flash, google, html 5, emerging media, marquette