Tag Archives: sports

My Top 5 “Earth Day-Centric” Video Games

Earth Day has inspired me to post a top 5 of games that made me think of “saving the environment”. Now I am all about being eco-friendly, so let’s take a look at the games that contributed to this mindset:

5. Metal Gear Solid 3

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Nothing like learning to appreciate the environment by blending in with it to survive. Between putting on camoflague, hunting in the jungle for food, or taking on crazy bosses surrounded by bees, MGS3 is for the tree hugger in all of us.

4. Madden 09

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Hmm, two words: Weather effects. Having the rain cost me some yards while rushing with Brandon Jacobs, or the wind disrupt Eli’s throwing (no playoff jokes, guys), made me think heavily about the effects of global climate change

3. Super Mario World

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Okay, this is a stretch. But as one of the first games that I officially became obsessed with as a kid, I appreciated the world Mario fought to protect against Bowser. This made my want to protect my own world, the Planet Earth.. Let’s move on.

2. Fallout 3

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Nothing like a nuclear wasteland to make you realize the importance of trees, lakes, breathable air….

1. Duck Hunt

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At an early age, I learned it is important to appreciate the marshlands and protect wildlife santuaries. A lesson one is never too young to learn. Thanks NES!

In all seriousness, REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE folks! Earth Day FTW!

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AndyTheGiant.com is LIVE!

If I can get a site up and running, ANYTHING IS POSS-UHHH-BULLLL!!! Finally settled on “AndyTheGiant.com”  Yeah, it is my GamerTag as well… 360 marketing all the way!

AndyTheGiant is up just in time for some live blogging from GDC ’09 next week.  Hope your brackets are doing well!

Stay tuned!

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Shaq Twitters and So Should You!

I’ve recently become addicted to Twitter.  It is a great way to network with people across all industries.  For me personally (@AndyTheGiant), I have been able to connect with many people across the video game industry that I would not have been able to had it not been for Twitter.   shaq-hed

I also can follow the latest updates from my favorite athletes, including Shaq (@THE_REAL_SHAQ).  The big man does a great job at extending his personal brand and connecting himself with fans through Twitter updates.

When I was an intern at the NBA, I pitched that more athletes needs to have blogs  (such as Gilbert Arenas’s Agent Zero blog).  Activities such as blogging humanize athletes and stars alike.  Twitter takes it to the next level.

When using Twitter, athletes, celebrities, and up-and-coming video game marketing superstars like myself have a chance to connect with one another on an equal level.  We all are limited to 140 characters.  We all have the same tools at our disposal to talk to one another.  Ahh, it is almost an Internet utopia.

Video game developers have taken advantage of Twitter as a way to give updates to the community, and also receive feedback on products.  Twitter can be an extremely effective marketing tool, one that goes beyond sending out messages, encouraging dialogue between consumers and a product.

Sure, this could all fade as soon as advertising and spammers creep their way into the Twitterverse.  But for now, I am enjoying the benefits of “tweeting” and you should too!

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Fair Play or Out of Bounds? DLC and Microtransactions in Sports Video Games

At my current internship, many of the clients I work with are those in the MMO and virtual worlds business. I have been involved in multiple discussions and brainstorming sessions regarding how such companies can profit off of featuring downloadable content (DLC) and microtransactions (in-game actions that generate currency for the developer- such as buying a level 50-billion sword for your Super Elf- hmmm.) One does not have to go far to see that DLC and microtransactions are very profitable in the MMO world- just look at the sales figures for World of Warcraft. But this form of revenue stream has branched out. Console gaming is now subject to DLC and microtransactions.

Perfect examples of the successful implementation of DLC in console gaming are Activision’s enormously cash-money franchise “Guitar Hero” series and Harmonix’s “Rock Band”. Consumers are more than willing to pay for new tracks which they can download onto their home consoles. New tracks add “legs” to the already purchased game, and allow fans to “jam” to their favorite bands. I’m all for DLC in this sense.

But there is a dark and ugly side to DLC, and one needs to look no further than the recent news that Capcom will charge $4.99 for a multiplayer mode in Resident Evil 5 that most will argue, should have been in included in the release of the game in the first place.

So where does DLC belong in the sports genre? EA is currently releasing two forms of DLC that I am all in favor for. For its NCAA College Basketball ’09 title, an expansion pack for the upcoming “March Madness” tournament has been released. For $15, fans can play through the excitement of the NCAA tournament, and do so through the ease of downloading, never having to leave the couch. EA easily could have released and profited off of releasing a separate version of NCAA in retail and charge $40 for it – fans would have bought it. But going the route of a game add-on, and charging a reasonable price for it, EA recognizes how to properly implement DLC into console gaming.

Similarly, EA is releasing an “Ultimate Team” expansion for FIFA ’09. This mode will allows players to collect and trade card packs of players, ultimately giving them the chance to take the pitch with an ultimate and superior collection of superstars. Anyone who has played FIFA this year knows it is packed with enough content to last year well into 2010. The franchise has already experimented this year with game add-ons in the form of “Adidas Live Season”, a feature that allows you to update your favorite players stats and performance through their performances on field in the real world. A feature that caters to die-hards, it is not a necessary feature,but one well-appreciated by those who really care for the sport of soccer. Both expansions in Fifa do not take away from the “out-of-the-box” experience for consumers not wanting to spend any more money, those who are satisfied with the original product. But they do give a whole lot more to those who desire it.

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So, is there a golden rule for the inclusion of DLC and microtransactions in sports games? No, it is too early to determine what will work and what is necessary. In South Korea, EA offered up FIFA as a free-to- play title, charging players to buy new kits and more (the model seemed to work, generating over $1 million (US currency). I’m not sure if this will work for all titles, nor am I convinced that I would want it to. If free-to-play becomes standard somewhere in the future, I worry that developers may strip down games upon release and charge more through add-on features.

If a company can release content that will add onto the fan experience, while not scaling back on the amount of substance and depth in the original release, I say, DO IT! Sports gaming is a business,but the fans always need to be kept in mind. Anything that can “add-on” to my own “fandom” is fair play to me.

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Weekend Update – Fantasy Baseball Edition

Good weekend to all 37 of you you have taken the time to visit the site! Much thanks. Keep coming and spread the word!

Exciting time for me this weekend. My fantasy baseball draft is tomorrow. I’ll probably take the day off from job hunting and concentrate on scouting. I think my addiction to fantasy sports is growing close to that of my addiction to sports video games. I guess the two are very closely linked. Both deal with taking control of professional players and making you feel more immersed in the professional sports world.

EA got the ball rolling with some fantasy integration this year for Madden 09. I’d love to easily take my fantasy rosters online, be able to simulate matches (and play in them), receive scouting feedback based off of these matchups, etc. I think EA’s efforts last year were definitely a step in the right direction, and I’d love to see a deeper connection between fantasy sports and sports video games.

What do you guys think? How can fantasy sports be further integrated into sports video games?

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Updates and thanks…

Hey  and thanks to all those who are joining me on my job hunt.  I’ve updated the blog with a section containing some of my creative work from my portfolio.  

I’m also abusing the hell out of my Twitter account (which is scary since I only really started using it yesterday).  It really is a great way to communicate and network with a lot of different people. 

On the gaming front, I played a few games of NBA 2K9 today.  I am finally getting better at it, after actually reading the manual and learning some of the off the ball controls.  Hopefully I can get the Knicks to the championship before Lebron arrives in 2010.  (Shout out to Nate Robinson on winning the Dunk Contest!  Nate, you give all 5 foot-something ballers like myself hope.)

Finally, if you do add me on Xbox Live, you might notice that my Gamerscore is a pathetic “15”.  I had to create a new profile on XBox Live when I bought my new Xbox 360 (old one died- sold it- it’s a long story).  In time, I will get it to a respectable level (probably as soon as Madden 10 comes out, as I have been playing 09 on PS3 before I re-bought 360).  Killzone 2 looks to probably take a good chunk of 360 time away from me as well.

Thanks again for following and as always, look forward to hearing back from you!

-Andy

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