Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal ran an interesting feature on the rising popularity of free online sports games. In tough economic times, free browser-based sports games are catching on with consumers looking to save money. Games such as MLB Dugout Heroes, a free online baseball game produced by OnNet Inc. (with the MLB license), have found success with those looking to jump into a quick and fun gaming experience on their PCs.
The future, Conan?
There are certainly lower entry barriers to playing sports games online on your PC as opposed to home consoles. For example, one does not need to invest in an expensive console setup to enjoy playing an interactive sports game. However, as a lifelong console sports gamer, I am not ready to trade in my controller for a mouse and PC. The experiences in such games, despite being affordable and easily accesible, are nowhere near as deep as they are on established console sports games.
Nevertheless, the article is a great read on a new phenomenon occurring in the sports gaming world. This is a definite read.
So, having the awesome opportunity to attend this year’s GDC, here are a few quick things I’ve noticed so far.
1. A lot of business goes down outside the actual conference. Sure, the floor at the Moscone Center is filled with many companies in a variety of different areas in the gaming industry (publishers, developers, etc.). But for the marketers, business is being talked up at company parties, surrounding hotels, restaurants, and even on the streets directly outside the Moscone Center. Pretty interesting to observe.
2. Twitter has a huge role in GDC ’09. People are exchanging Twitter names left and right. Tweets from people attending keynotes have become frequent. You do not even have to be on the show floor to know exactly what is going on – the Twitterverse has you covered.
3. The economy is still a factor. For as many companies that are here, there are a lot of companies missing. Booths are not huge, parties somewhat scaled back (from what I have heard- as this is my first year at GDC).
All in all, this is still a very exciting event, and an amazing way to see how the gaming industry all converges and comes together for a week in San Francisco.