Crispy Gamer

CES Day 0 Report: The day in quotes

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Much like last year, I spent most of the day before the proper CES show started this year sitting in uncomfortable chairs and listening to people smarter than me talk about various facets of the game business at the CES Game Power conference. While 95% of the sessions were filled with dry and insidery business talk, there were a few gems sprinkled throughout the day like a light sheen of glitter on a stripper's chest (hey, we are in Vegas). Here are a few choice quotes that sum up the more interesting ideas discussed:

  • “I've been playing a lot of Bejeweled in the ten minutes before I go to bed. As a hardcore gamer that's the last thing you'd expect to hear, but late at night, a hardcore gamer becomes a casual gamer in those ten minutes before he goes to bed.” -35 year veteran game developer and Stormfront Studios President Don Daglow on how his gaming habits change throughout the day
  • “I have data that says that gender flipping is not as popular in online worlds as everyone thought it would be. ... When we released our voice modification [tools] everybody said the most popular ones would be men pretending to be women, women pretending to be men … they didn't even rank in the top 10. People want to be munchkins. I don't get it.” -Vivox Vice President for Product Development Monty Sharma on the surprising fantasies of online gamers.
  • "Think Pokemon meets a souped up Tamagotchi as if it were directed by Quentin Tarantino.” -Smith & Tinker CEO and Co-Founder Jordan Weisman on his recent handheld social game Nanovore
  • One of the things we see in new gamer demographics is that solo play is bizarre to them. I got Modern Warfare 2 for my twelve year old son and asked him how the campaign was, and he said 'I don't know, who the hell would play that?'” - Sharma, on the changing nature of play.
  • “EA took a year to make [the Facebook version of] Scrabble and it's a crappy Scrabble game.” -Magid Advisors President Mike Vorhaus, illustrating how big companies can't compete with the four guys who took three weeks to make Farmville a massive Facebook success.
  • I don't think that 18-35 demographic is going to give up playing shooters on the console in favor of playing first person shooters on the iPhone. … Books didn't go away when movies and television came out.” -Weisman, on why casual and mobile games aren't the existential threat some console gamers think they are.
  • “I go to Farmville these days, and all my friends' farms are abandoned. You forget about it for a week, you go away for a weekend, you come back, your farm's dead, you're like 'fuck it....'” -Bunchball founder and CPO Rajat Paharia on the fleeting nature of many social game addictions
  • “I think there's a bright dividing line from the '70s around people who grew up with computers and those who didn't. As we get farther away from that line, gaming will start to look more like any other entertainment form.” -Daglow on the reasons why the gaming market is finally starting to broaden these days. 
  • “We call them mass market games because they sell so many copies at a very small price, but they're really not mass market, they're just really big niches.” -InstantAction CEO Louis Castle, on what the success of iPhone games really means
  • “A lot of CEOs at game companies are worried about this. They're used to getting $60 for a boxed product. You could argue the iPhone is devaluing some of the console products. Madden is $60 on console, $10 on the iPhone. Obviously it's an inferior experience on the iPhone, but you have to wonder where is that value going? Are people buying more games?” -Spike TV Host and Executive Producer Geoff Keighley, on how digital distribution is changing gaming business models
  • “I wouldn't say it's a console killer. It's an interesting technology, and if anything we'll see consoles using that technology.” -Keighley, on the potential market-chaning impact of streaming game services like OnLive.
  • It's gotta help. Not everyone is used to paying real money for virtual items... They're teaching a whole generation of people to buy things in games, and that's got to help us.” IMVU PResident and CEO Cary Rosenzweig on the effect Farmville is having on the sale of virtual item sales in other games.
  • “On Facebook, you can send a message to Adidas, you can become a fan of their page. In Gaia, you get Nikes, you run faster. It's just cooler.” Gaia Online CEO Craig Sherman on the potential for intelligent in-game advertising
  • Studios stick to the old rules, which are: 'If we don't control it, you can't have it. If we can't make it, you can't make it.' … It's fear of losing control, they're scared that revenue is going to leach out of their pockets. I think [control] will come back eventually, because that's where the users are going. It's just going to take some time.” Rosenzweig, on why user-generated content hasn't yet blown up to the extent that it could
  • “If you think back over the last 20 years, [the market] came from a geeky group of gamers to a very wide audience. Back when I met her, my wife wasn't a gamer ... now I think she plays more games on her iPhone than I think me or the kids or anyone!” -GGV Capital CEO Hany Nada shares some anecdotal evidence of the explosion of the gaming market
  • "I just discovered this last week. I've been carrying my Blackberry around for years and I had no idea I could do anything more than Brickbreaker on that thing. So I think we have a long way to go.” -PC Gaming Alliance President Randy Stude on his discovery of free online-enabled Blackberry games on the phone's new app store, and the need for more mobile consumer education
  • Since the dawn of humanity we like to play games. We like to play with other people. We like to play with other people we know. Where can you find that online? Facebook! … The games actually suck. They're not actually very engaging games... but it's engaging because your friends are there, you're competing against your friends, you're bragging to your friends, and that's what Facebook creates.” -Nada, on why even bad games can succeed on Facebook