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Analysts Talk Online Gaming Services 17

Gamasutra goes right to the source, starting with the first column in a new series querying analysts directly about gaming-related issues. Today they've got several views from the big thinkers about the importance of online gaming services in this round of the console wars. From the article: "Anita Frazier, The NPD Group: As technology and capabilities advance, not having some of these [online] capabilities would simply make the system appear to be behind the times. Core gamers are technology lovers and, whether they actually use online play features all that much, having that capability helps games appear more cutting edge. And we do know that, with teens and young adults 'hanging out' online so much these days (a la MySpace), there is an appeal of an online community."
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Analysts Talk Online Gaming Services

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  • by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @01:47PM (#15255477) Homepage
    There's a difference between gaming online and having an online community.

    I think it's more a Venn diagram really, I can play Quake online all day against total strangers and I wouldn't really consider that a community. Then you have places like MySpace that have a community but that doesn't mean that those people want to bring that community interaction into their gaming (or game at all). Then of course there are places where they co-exist like EQ and WOW.

    I think the point most miss is that An online community does not mean All online communities, and an online community does not fit for all online activities.
    • I think it depends on how you like to play. I've played quite a few FPS online over the years. Sometimes its fun to just jump in, pick a team (or not if its FFA) and play. Othertimes its more fun to play with a group of regulars, hence we get clans/guilds/whatever. I've been in a couple, more for the social aspect, and they pretty much always have a website, forums, etc. The nice thing about getting into a good clan is that you reliably get good fun, competitive games, and enough access to the server t
  • Console makers shouldn't (and usually won't) spend time/money to develop silly features that nobody actually uses.

    Having a single friends list and associated messaging interface is important. Having worldwide scoreboards gets pros hooked. Being able to compare progress through games with your local friends gets more people hooked. Being able to download smaller games brings a wider range of game developers to the table, and attracts a wider range of players.

    It doesn't just appear to be important, it

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Which is why with having much better online services the Dreamcast and XBox really dominated during their generation ... After all Sega was only knocked out of the hardware buisness and Microsoft only lost $4 Billion (approximately $200 for every system they sold); these companies would never over-estimate the importance of features.

      Face it, in 1999 every analyst was estimating that Revinue generated from online games (through the sale of the games and services provided) would rival the revinue made by the
      • Yes, the previous generation of consoles had multiplayer online games. No, that's not the important part.

        What's important is the centralized service that provides instant messaging, indication to friends of progress made through games, and downloadable content (on the xbox 360, there's a decent amount that's not crap, and is free or isn't overpriced). It shouldn't need to be said, but Sony is almost exactly copying the XBox 360's centralized online service. This sort of service is obviously really usef

  • It doesn't matter how much teens (or anyone else) like online gaming communities if they have a 56k modem. Playing Counterstrike:Source on a 56k isn't playing Counterstrike... I wouldn't even call it Duck Hunt. Consoles will work the same way unless you are playing turn based games. This really applies to the US because we still have such poor broadband coverage. MySpace, on the other hand, doesn't require a good connection.

    On a related topic, if Microsoft really wants to increase the percentage of xB
    • Re:Broadband anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Wednesday May 03, 2006 @02:08PM (#15255643)
      Notice that the 50% includes the free silver service (which doesn't let you play games). So it means anyone who's even looked at the system, wether they subscribe or not. And this is among the first adopters market. The original Xbox had a less than 10% subscription rate, I would expect about the same for the 360.
  • how does one "Hang out" on a website? Oh boy, why don't we leave comments on other profiles! We're so hip.
    • Obviously you've never visited forums for games like World of Warcraft. There is definately a huge community there. Being a "forum junkie" is definately something that's becoming more and more common with gamers.
    • I was just hanging out on /. and I thought I'd comment on your comment. Thanks for the add *^_^*

      P.S. I hang out on Slashdot all day. It's called the refresh button.
  • Maybe you mean like Qualcomm undervalued at $1000 per share? Please do not equate quantitative analysis with big thinking. These is just people spouting off their opinion. The way the statistics work, you could get as good thinking walking down the street asking people randomly.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.