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What are the video game reviews of one obscure, foul-mouthed Brit worth nowadays? How does several million views and a four hundred percent jump in traffic sound? The site is The Escapist, a smart online game magazine that launched in 2005 to generally tepid page views. […] Read more »

Want to see how drastically the game industry’s market is changing in the U.S.? Take a look at the top 10 best-selling video games in 2007, recently released by retail sales tracker NPD Group, then compare that list to previous years. While several established franchises were […] Read more »

What will become of Scrabulous? The brilliant Facebook app created by two young Indian brothers has attracted enormous popularity — and with it, a nastygram from Hasbro and Mattel, two of the corporations that hold the IP rights to the classic Scrabble board game on which […] Read more »

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Chinese state officials are reportedly planning to issue new rules to combat “undesirable” elements associated with online gaming. It’s just the latest mixed message coming out of the country’s government with regards to this market. Online gaming is extremely popular in China; the country accounts for […] Read more »

They’re calling WeGame a “YouTube for Gamers” but it’s actually a lot more than that — think YouTube meets Fraps, the powerful but resource-hogging video capture software gamers use to record and share their favorite gameplay action, or create machinima. The WeGame application handles both the […] Read more »

As pundits ponder the resurgence of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, here’s a handy high-tech guide to the three Democratic frontrunners. Because as it happens, they’re best understood in relation to the top three video game consoles: Barack Obama is the Nintendo Wii: The multi-racial candidate […] Read more »

Call it World of Worldcraft. Amazon’s Questville, set for a late 2008 release, is a spinoff of the company’s Askville, a user-driven crowdsourcing question-and-answer service on topics ranging from everything from cars to electronics to relationships to science. With Askville, users who provide helpful answers are […] Read more »

After an hour of laughing my ass off to a dozen monkey videos, I pretty much decided I’d just happened into the next killer app for online videos since YouTube itself. Launched last Feburary (Liz blogged about it then) Stumble.TV is StumbleUpon’s version of StumbleVideo, except […] Read more »

As 2007 draws to a close, here are some educated guesses for the coming year, pegged to hard numbers. (Because there’s nothing lamer than meaninglessly broad, unverifiable forecasts.) Wii Install Base Surpasses 360 and PS3 Combined This would have very nearly been a fait accompli this […] Read more »

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Om just passed me the link to two contests on a Microsoft site that sells their office software to college students. I can just picture the meeting in Redmond where this was cooked up. “So what are the kids into nowadays?” demands the Microsoft exec. His […] Read more »

Here’s the elevator pitch I’ve heard most often this year: “It’s casual gaming meets social network meets X.” The number of startups and new launches that are being framed that way — with “X” being virtual items, or user-created content, among many other features — has […] Read more »

Last week, after 10-plus years with CNET’s GameSpot, the Internet’s top game coverage site, editorial director Jeff Gerstmann was summarily fired under mysterious circumstances. The subsequent outrage is still roiling the Net, so in the end, it doesn’t really matter if (as the theory goes) he […] Read more »

Earlier this year, the managers of popular MMO Gaia Online tried an experiment: they streamed George Romero’s horror classic (and public domain) Night of the Living Dead in one of Gaia‘s virtual theaters, to see if anyone would watch. Within two weeks, CEO Craig Sherman told […] Read more »

Unless you’re under 13 or living in Asia, Nexon is one of those companies you’ve probably never heard of until now — but then, you probably didn’t know anything about Pokemon, either, until seemingly every kid in America became obsessed with it. But you may hear […] Read more »

Holiday shopping for eco-conscious gamers just got more complicated. Earlier this month, we lauded the energy efficiency of the Nintendo Wii, especially when compared to their power-hogging competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3. But as is often the case, that’s not the whole story. […] Read more »

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d read outside of a cyberpunk novel: “The world’s largest Communist government is co-developing a 40-square-mile business and recreation complex entirely devoted to the metaverse.” But as it turns out, this is more or less the case. Recently unveiled under […] Read more »

Just weeks after Om brought news of Google’s game-focused advertising initiative, another — albeit much smaller — player is throwing its hat into the ring as well. After a year in beta, Alex Terry, CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based startup NeoEdge, tells me that their own […] Read more »

Here’s some television hardware news out of Japan worth keeping an eye on: According to the Tokyo-based J-Cast Business News, Nintendo recently began taking Internet orders for “DS TV” (link on the company’s Japanese site), an antenna/converter hookup for Nintendo’s extraordinarily popular handheld DS line. This […] Read more »

The BBC recently reported that Holland police apprehended a teenager suspected of heisting nearly $6000 worth of furniture that does not, in the strictest sense, exist. That’s because he stole the goods from members of Sulake Corporation’s Habbo Hotel, the successful Finland-based MMO for older kids […] Read more »

In the mid 90s, during a strike against The San Francisco Examiner, a bunch of staff writers and editors abandoned the newspaper to start up their own “web magazine.” Though it seemed like a weird idea at the time, the web mag eventually became, now […] Read more »

VC funding is flowing into the backbone of online games. Last week, Hummer Winblad put $4 million into game billing service Aria Systems; this week, Benchmark is investing $7.8 million into Vivox, the official VoIP solution provider for Linden Lab’s Second Life and CCP’s sci-fi Eve […] Read more »

[qi:060] Here’s how hot the online gaming space has gotten: not only are developers and advertisers landing venture funding, now billing services for games are, too. Om just passed me word that Philadelphia-based Aria Systems just secured a four mill Series A investment from Hummer Winblad. […] Read more »

6 years ago, Richard “Lord British” Garriott sat in my San Francisco apartment telling me about Tabula Rasa, the new MMORPG he was planning to create as a follow-up to Ultima Online, released in 1997 and more or less establishing the genre as a commercially viable […] Read more »

Katie just passed me word that the latest Playstation 3 model is getting a chipset that’ll greatly reduce its power consumption, from 200 watts to 135. Some Diggers are calling this an eco-friendly move: “By reducing power consumption on the new play station, Sony is trying […] Read more »

When Cartman and friends jumped into World of Warcraft for an episode of South Park last year, it garnered huge buzz, even winning an Emmy. A WoW-themed truck commercial uploaded to YouTube earlier this month has already attracted an amazing 1.6 million views and counting. So […] Read more »

London – I’m still recovering from the jet lag and energy of last week’s Virtual Worlds Forum, where I moderated a couple panels, but managed to cobble together some notes from the inaugural conference/trade show. Incongruously (but very coolly) held in a cavernous, velvet wallpaper-lined, Victorian-era […] Read more »

Can web 2.0 principles revive the old school, hack-and-slash MMO? That’s the question that occurred to me when Henrik Bennetsen of the Stanford Humanities Lab showed me some YouTube machinima uploaded by players of Lord of the Rings Online, a fantasy MMO released earlier this year. […] Read more »

Yesterday Jane brought news of Google actively reaching out to game developers to partner with its Adsense/Adscape network. I just got word that San Francisco-based casual game ad network Mochi Media is partnering with London-based, a casual game site with a user-created flavor. is […] Read more »

While Electronic Arts provoked a lot of conversation over the excessive purchase price of hardcore gaming studio Pandemic/BioWare last week, I think a quieter move by EA deserves about as much attention: They recently added a very curious feature to Pogo, its casual gaming site, and […] Read more »

I still haven’t gotten around to unpacking from last week’s Virtual Worlds Expo in San Jose, Calif., but I have had time to streamline the biggest takeaways from the conference into a personal top five list: Big Tech Doubles Down on Virtual Worlds: IBM (IBM) announced […] Read more »

“We’re boring people to death and making games that are harder and harder to play,” John Riccitiello, then-newly appointed CEO of Electronics Arts (ERTS), told the Wall Street Journal last July, summarizing the main challenge of the company he had just taken over. And so what […] Read more »

[qi:020] First the good news: virtual worlds are experiencing their own dot com boom. Now the bad news: virtual worlds are experiencing their own dot com boom. Tomorrow and Thursday, the second Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo launches in San Jose; the first one went off […] Read more »

The number one use of user-created content in virtual spaces, as Metaplace creator Raph Koster once sagely observed, is the screenshot. “That’s actually where the action is,” he said, “things that have a far lower barrier to entry.” Trouble is, it’s difficult for the millions of […] Read more »

Forget about Zombies, Ninjas, or even Texas Hold ‘Em– if you’re looking for the Facebook game with the numbers that matter most, think more old school. Facebook developers recently added a Daily Active Users metric to their Applications page, and those numbers drastically changed my thinking […] Read more »

By now you’ve probably been buried in the hype surrounding Halo 3, Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox 360’s exclusive “killer app” game released this week– the canny live action commercials featuring old veterans praising the franchise’s hero, Master Chief, the prominent coverage in the New York Times, the […] Read more »

Here’s some recent Second Life-related news items: • A development studio based on an SL avatar secured venture funding from a NYC financier. • A consortium of U.S. government agencies (including the Navy and Air Force) announced plans to develop a substantial presence in SL. • […] Read more »

Last weekend, despite poor reviews, Resident Evil: Extinction dominated the U.S. box office, opening with an impressive $24 million take. That makes it the third hit entry in the Resident Evil franchise, and something even rarer: one of few successful video game-to-theatrical movie adaptations. There’s been […] Read more »

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