As I built my outline for this editorial, I nearly halted the piece altogether because of a little known gentleman named Sun Tzu – you may have heard of him. While The Art of War is sitting on my home office desk’s bookshelf right now, I decided to follow through with this article because while there will be similarities, I am writing this through my own lens – a lens which arguably pulls the worlds of business and war together perfectly through maybe my most beloved gaming series of all-time, Command & Conquer. While I am still a fanatic of the series, this post could easily be re-titled to encompass the entire RTS, or real-time strategy, game genre since fundamentally they are all pretty much the same. That being said, as I approach the end of my MBA, and having been in the business world now for nearly six years, I bring you six key tenants that Command & Conquer has taught me about business – there are actually dozens more, but I’ll leave those for the comments!
Many game publishers would be thrilled after selling 2.7 million copies of their latest title in a month, but Blizzard is not your average video game publisher. In their latest press release, Blizzard announced some impressive week one sales for their first Diablo III expansion pack, Reaper of Souls, with sales topping an incredible 2.7 million units. As a proud owner of this excellent expansion pack myself, I couldn’t be happier, and I would argue that it is well-worth the somewhat steep asking price of $40. That being said, let’s put on our business hats and see what kind of week one revenue the D3 division is staring at! Hit the link below for the details!
Has the retail onslaught that the likes of eBay and Amazon have brought forth over the last decade or so taught anything to the likes of big box retailers? What about the fact that I can more easily, not to mention more conveniently purchase and download a new PS3 or PS4 game without even having to leave my fancy, fake-leather couch? Market disruptions are nothing new, and new ideas and new technology has always forced agile businesses into pivots, whether they liked it or not. Some companies however, still don’t seem to accept the reality of the market that is moving around them, and by some companies I mean GameStop. Just recently – yesterday in fact – Paul Raines, GameStop’s Chief Executive Officer, announced “that the company plans that to open 300 to 400 retail locations which will have a focus outside of games”. (SeekingAlpha, 28 March) Yeah, I’m scratching my head too – more brick and mortar overhead, and lots of it, but not to sell games. Rather, these new store shelves will house smart phones and wearable technology products. Still confused? So am I.
Yusuf Mehdi, a senior vice president of the Windows giant’s Online Audience Business Group has placed Microsoft’s profitability bet, and it’s a steep one: “break-even or profitable on Day 1”. Mehdi, a 21-year veteran of Microsoft Corp. with degrees from Princeton and Washington (BA Econ + MBA, respectively), is not only a smart dude, but incredibly successful. According to his CrunchBase profile, he has led or been at the forefront at some of Microsoft’s, and even Reuters’ (his previous professional stop) biggest achievements. He’s looking to add the Xbox One to his list of professional accomplishments, and with launch day just 16 days or so away, the day of reckoning is just around the corner. So how realistic is this bet that he dropped this past Tuesday at the Citi Global Technology Conference? Would you take it? Based off his credentials alone, I think many folks would; as always however, there is more to the story line.
Holy pivot, Batman! In a stunning one-80 (you’re impressed, aren’t you?), Microsoft issued a mega press release through the executive fingers of Don Mattrick, President of the software giant’s interactive entertainment business, highlighting two big changes. First: that ridiculous, once every 24-hour online connectivity/piracy check is no longer in place. In fact, gamers will only need to connect to the Interweb to validate the game disc after the game is purchased; from then on out no Internet required. Second: no more fine print or confusion whether or not Xbox One games are trade-inable. In other words, and to quote Mr. Mattrick, “There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.” Touch the link below for the official press release from El Presidente, as well as for more of the juicy details.
Remember this rumor? We can finally put the $70 video game chatter to rest, at least for a few years for both the PS4 and Xbox One, so go ahead and turn off the oxygen machine, and relax. Although Microsoft released the much needed good news after their recent media firestorm due to the “always online” fiasco, Sony just recently announced the news through the highly-reputable, PC Gaming-heavy website, ShackNews. Although Sony only mentions first party launch titles as part of the $60 pricing model, I would wager it is safe to expect all third party and future software to follow suit, at least for the first few years of the PS4’s existence. If you’ve been gaming enough to remember when the last price hike occurred, then high five; well, you probably just Googled it, but whatever – the last hike from $50 to $60 hit our respective wallets in the late days of the long-lasting PS2. Can we expect the same towards the end of the PS3’s existence, or will $60 hold true until next-next-gen? Hit the link below for more thoughts as well as the exact quotes from Sony’s mouth.
With the American media dominated by CNN and Fox News, many of us turn to other country’s news outlets for a more objective approach to not only what goes on over in our hemisphere, but throughout the entire world. So like many Yankees (or White Sox fans; no offense, New York), I have news sites like BBC in my regular web rotation; it is through their recent technology news archives that I come across this incredibly interesting news story: gaming experts in the UK are predicting that by the end of the 2013 calendar year, the majority of British gamers will be female. Shocking? Yeah, I would say so. Hit the link below for the full report!
Approximately 31 days ago, well I guess that would be “exactly”, but whatever; a month ago Precursor Games dropped the video gaming bomb that they were resuscitating the long-awaited Eternal Darkness GameCube sequel under the name, Shadow of the Eternals, which followed with this stellar game trailer. Precursor went the route of a Kickstarter campaign in a courageous attempt to crowdfund $1.5M to get the sequel out of a financial hope and into developmental reality. Today, Precursor CEO Paul Caporicci released a disappointing statement that the Kickstarter campaign would be pulled since they only raised 1/5 of the funds needed. But hold up: there may still be hope for the Eternal Darkness sequel. You just have to hit the link for the details, because we’re cool like that.
The rumor mill hath finally ended, thankfully. Yesterday gamers around the world were entranced as Microsoft unveiled its third Xbox console, crushing the rumor mill once and for all with the true name, Xbox One. What happened to 720, Durango, Stingray, and Infinity? Gone, and it goes to show us all that they were most likely all generated just to garner the classic 15 minutes of fame, or they were just completely misled by Microsoft from the beginning. Either way it’s a sad, depressing day for those rumor makers. But what about us gamers? It was “Xbox Reveal Day” after all; how did the unveil go, and what can we expect this November? Hit the link below for all the details on One!