Live Blog: DICE 2009 - Dave Perry, Acclaim Entertainment


Posted February 19, 2009 - By bleahy

Lunch has been had and it's time to get back to bringing you live blogs. First up after my delicious meal is Dave Perry, creative officer at Acclaim Entertainment.

Dave, responsible for the creation of Earthworm Jim and MDK, always gives exciting presentations. For this one, i'll just show you how DICE is describing it because I can't see into the future:

Embracing the Future and Finding Success - Year after year, how can the band U2 thrive when their competitors wither? How will your company do the same? It's certainly more than just talnet. David Perry has been racking up the Air Miles on his search for answers, and will present his findings. This is Perry's first time speaking here at DICE.

Perry is currently directing a community-created MMO at Acclaim with a reported 52,000 people contributing to the project.

Excellent. Afterwards, I'm going to force him to make a new Earthworm Jim game some how. The presentation should kick off in a little bit so get ready to hit F5.

2:53 PM - David Perry is up. Here we go. Memory lane time. Dave is talking about his first computer and how he was using it to make games in Basic. He didn't even have the cassette backup for the Sinclair so he had to reprogram the game each time.

He's going extremely fast so I'll try to keep up.

In the future, Dave sees that we're going to get to fast storage that is unlimited. He points to Facebook as an example. They have streaming applications that run fast and are available anywhere.

As for processors, Dave thinks we're heading to cloud processing and distributed computing. However, the bottleneck will be internet speed.

David has an MMO that runs entirely on external servers. The display is run in Flash, but isn't processed on the client's computer at all. Also, game saves are saved directly to the servers and they don't need a local storage medium.

If you had unlimited computing power, what would you do with a Flash display?

2:57 PM - David believes that everything will be moving online and the online stores from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will be the retail spaces of the future. He now rips on GameStop, calling it "Used GameStop" and talking about how they still need retail spaces to sell hardware.

As far as digital distribution stores go, space on the store page will become more important. Perry sees problems with first-party games competing with the third-party games attempting to sell online. There's going to be a problem with visualizing all of these games as more and more content moves online.

As far as Flash games go, there are an estimated 20,000 Flash portals. It's very hard to make money on these games and distributing patches gets incredibly difficult. Dave has been trying to think of a better distribution models that are good for developers.

I think Dave is about to announce a Flash game API that will be available to developers. He's basically subscribing an embeddable Flash version of Steam. This is an incredibly good idea. This will be funded by a site David will be running called TheFanHub.com.

NEWS TIME: The Fan Hub is in its final stage of development. This API will be pro-developer with an 80% split in favor of the developer. Interested Flash developers can sign-up at http://thefanhub.com/dice.

3:05 PM - Now, David is talking about where graphics are going to go in the future. After HD, obviously, is 4K, which is movie theater resolution. David has just finished the largest book on game design ever. It's called "David Perry on Game Design" and is entirely non-profit.

He also worked on GameIndustryMap.com, which details where game companies are. They put dead or questionable companies in the Bermuda Triangle. Hilarious. This year they plan on adding where all the jobs are.

He also created GameConsultants.com, where he basically got asked where people could make money.

He's also funding a site called GameInvestors.com to help people connect in this industry and make business deals.

3:11 PM - David went to China to discover why the Asian game markets grow differently than the US. Side note, because so many students are learning English in China, they will become the largest English speaking country in the world. Dang.

He visited SNDA, "the EA of China", where he found that they were studying American games very carefully. They gave a game to Dave to bring back to the US: Super Dance Online, which led him to free-to-play MMOs.

Social gaming? Do you ignore it or embrace it? He points to Stardoll, which has 26 million members. Why do 26 million girls choose to do this? As developers, do you stick with what you know or do you embrace the future?

Ponystars, a new HTML game from Acclaim, already has 600,000 girls playing. It's a static game. HTML... there's no animation. When certain users choose to buy-in for extra features or premium services, this pays for the game.

He's going REALLY fast and it's blowing my mind.

3:17 PM - Basically, David can't ignore these casual and social games because they are extremely profitable for very little development costs. He thinks developers should use viral promotion and friends recommending friends as a business model. World of WarCraft is trying to go viral.

After China, David went to Korea to check out one of their video game shows. Perry picked up a game called "Spellborn". He told the press that he'll never make a single-player game again. He thinks single-player games are dead. Ouch.

In-Game item sales? He thinks that Western MMO's do it wrong. Perry thinks that the Asian method is better. The games should be run on microtransactions and not subscriptions.

Game pricing? Every generation the cost of retail games increases. Google was successful by letting advertisers pay anything that they could afford? What would happen if a Halo-quality game was going to be free-to-play. It would be impossible to compete with. The companies in China and Korea will surprise us in the future.

3:23 PM - He's helping a company called "ReputationShare", which will let people find out if users are sexual predators or scammers by their online handles. What?!

As far as localization goes, David is experimenting with user-translation and localization. Instead of paying translators that don't know the game, they allow bi-lingual users to translate their games. This is a pretty impressive way to look at user-generated content. They save $135,000 for each game.

Now, David's MMO Top Secret!, which is being developed by random gamers, is an example of this type of user-generated content. He supports things like Microsoft's XNA program and iPhone App Store because it lets users express themselves.

The conclusion is that developers are going to be interfacing with gamers as we move forward. The future of the industry is an online service industry. Community is the most important thing.

Live Blog: DICE 2009 - Dave Perry, Acclaim Entertainment


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