« April 2006 | Main | June 2006 »

Dear game companies (Blizzard in particular)

I don't blame you. I know it's hard to look away from the freight liners full of cash that keep arriving at your door. I know it's even probably fun for you to make MMORPGs. But honestly, there's a large swath of us out here that have a life and simply can't patronize you. Yes you've got a killer business model. Yes you're making truckloads of cash. Yes you're putting out some amazing stuff.

But I beg of you. Please. Please stop.

Or at the very least, take some of those zillions of dollars and humor us with something like Starcraft 2 in the tradition of Warcraft 3. Humor us with good single player and multilayer action that isn't a MMO game which is designed only to work for fanboys with 13hrs/day to dedicate to it. You know how to do it, you've mastered the art. 

What I'm really asking is for you to return to your roots. Today's technology and ideas and lessons, but yesterday's appreciation for the single-box sale with near limitless playability for your customers. I know, I know. $50 and I'm gone till you release the expansion pack, compared with $14/mo. Millions as opposed to billions. I know it's hard. But I'm begging you.

And in fact, tell you what: raise the price. I know it costs more now to make games than ever before, and I know that in spite of more sales than ever before, it just doesn't pay as much. So I'll meet you half way (or 1/7th the way), go ahead, raise the price.

And here's why: If you don't do it, really lousy companies are going to fill the void. And then we'll have a universe where those without responsibilities will be fantastically served by you and your insane license-to-print-money-business-model games. All the best brains, the best tech, the best of everything will go where all the biggest money is. And the rest of us poor slobs will be stuck with John Romero caliber offerings that aren't worth the precious time they'll take to play or get excited about.

Yes, I miss the good old days.  But I'm begging you, please. Don't abandon us.

A big fan with a life.

Jimmy Kimmel's Interview with the Hanso Foundation

In case you missed it (or like me, think JK should be thrown back into the putrid abyss from whence he sprang and wouldn't even consider watching his show).
No finale spoilers, fairly interesting. (don't read the comments however, there are spoilers there).

GeoTrust sold out...


Dear Valued GeoTrust Reseller,
Today, GeoTrust announced it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by VeriSign.

I stopped reading there. They've hopped in bed with the devil. I need know no more.

What unfortunate news. What a shame. I guess I've migrated away from Verisign before, I can do it again. *sigh*

Yahoo! breaks out the flashlight and vaseline

If you've spent any time at all dealing with Google's AdWords program, you know that it is  superb. Google gets how to make mind-reading-ly good tools that help you do just exactly what you want to do. Their usability is second to none.

But that's not saying much. Their only real competitor is Yahoo! (formerly Overture).

The difference between the two is like the difference between shooting a bullet, and throwing one.*

Where Google amazes, Yahoo! actually lowers your IQ. You become dumber the more time you spend with their tools. They are not just useless, they're infuriating. They're broken, stale, horrid, and I refuse to work with them unless I have to. It's not worth the agony. Life is too short.

But the puzzling thing is that Yahoo has bright people. They understand good web applications, they get usability. They're playing me-too to Google in many areas, sure. But with the license to print money that AdWords has given Google, it's been extremely puzzling that Yahoo has let so much opportunity pass uncaptured.

Well, it looks like this fall things will change. And it can't happen soon enough. I got an email from them this morning promising the following, as part of a complete overhaul:

Easy-to-Use Control Panel
A completely redesigned, easy-to-navigate control panel will help you see what's working and what's not--at the level of detail you choose--so you can take action and get even better results.

Fast Ad Activation
Most new ads will go online within minutes, allowing you to connect with customers quickly, and easily make changes to your ads whenever you need to.

Ad Testing
Easily test multiple versions of an ad to find the message that works best for your customers and provides the greatest return on your advertising investment. You can then choose to shift impressions to the ad that performs best.

Display your ads broadly or narrow your geographic distribution to better target your customers, customize your ads and control your costs.

Campaign Budgeting, Forecasting and Scheduling
Create, budget and schedule individual advertising campaigns for greater control over your advertising strategy and spending. Review forecasts of your potential clicks based on your bids and budget and see how many clicks you're leaving to your competitors.

Understand how well your ads are performing relative to your competitors with the new Quality Index displayed for each ad. You'll also see the bid range necessary for premium placement at the top of the search results page.

Easy-to-Use Control Panel
A completely redesigned, easy-to-navigate control panel will help you see what's working and what's not--at the level of detail you choose--so you can take action and get even better results.

In other words, exactly what Google AdWords has now. But that's a good thing. It's about flippin' time.

* Thanks Scott, for the metaphor.