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  • New Community Site Will Inform and Connect Gamers

    GameStreamer strongly believes in the power of community, especially in the gaming industry. We’ve been active in social media in an effort to connect to gamers on a more personal level, and now we’re excited to announce a new project that takes the initiative further. Up and running in the next few weeks, our new community site will feature a blog and game reviews by our staff, as well as by guest posters. The site will also contain a news section for press releases and bulletins. We anticipate some overlap with our corporate site, but much of the community site will serve up fresh content.

     

    People will be able to access the new site via our flagship game stores, as well as our game store partners’ stores. The site was designed with minimal branding to complement game store partners’ stores as much as possible. Because the community site is as much our partners’ sites as ours, we encourage game store partners and publishers to contribute ideas and posts for the blog and to submit relevant news releases for inclusion in the news section. Game store partners can opt out of linking to the site from their stores and replace the link to their own blogs or news pages.

     

    Site visitors can participate by commenting on blog posts and reviews. Comments will be approved by GameStreamer before being published.

     

    If you have any questions about or suggestions for the community site, contact us at info@gamestreamer.net or add your comment to this blog post.

     

    Watch this space for the community site’s launch date.

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  • Game Store Partner Profile: Rock the LAN

    This is the first post in a new series of profiles of GameStreamer partner game stores.

     

    What started two years ago as a local gaming tournament site has evolved into a full-fledged resource for geeks and gamers alike. Rock The LAN’s mission now is to create a hub for writers who have their own blogs, or small business crafts people or artists where they could come and have small marketing support and get the views that they deserved so that the Internet could be fun for them again. RTL covers games/tech, movies and comic books and sells geekified T-shirts and comic books. The site also has its own GameStreamer-powered game store.

     

      

     

    To get to know RTL better, we asked founder Justin Hurst about his website and his personal experiences as a gamer.

     

    GameStreamer: What are your goals for the site?

    Justin Hurst: The main goal is just to keep up the growth. We have so many fun and exciting things planned for this year that we just can’t wait to see the reactions. With over 3 million views a month now, we have a lot of impressing to do and I don’t think that we are going to disappoint.

     

    GS: What was the first video game you remember playing?

    JH: The first video game I remember playing would be the Pong console, with the tethered controllers, but the first video game that really captured my imagination was Pit Fall on the Atari 2600, I just couldn’t get enough of that game (until the NES, of course).

     

    GS: What’s your favorite shirt in your online store?

    JH: I think my favorite shirt thus far has got to be Blur’s shirt from Smallville. I have such a weak spot for that show and its fans.

     

    GS: If you could time travel, what era/time period, past or future, would you want to visit?

    JH: I’m really not a time-traveling guy. I enjoy living in the here and now and doing whatever I can to make these moments rock. That is not to say that if The Doctor [Doctor Who] were to offer a ride in the Tardis that I wouldn’t comply.

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  • How the Gaming Industry Should Talk to Women

    In this guest blog post, Sugar Gamers coordinating producer and editor Rebecca “Bonks” Rothschild shares her perspective on the game industry’s relationship with women.

     

     

    Sugar Gamers was founded in Chicago based on our founder’s desire to meet more women who enjoyed video games. I joined the company in its early stages as a coordinating producer and editor and watched our female following grow. The first thing I noticed was the incredible diversity. All sizes, races and walks of life are represented in these women. Even better, these women LOVE to game, and their gaming palate is as diverse as they are. This is clear evidence that the videogame industry has the potential to bring in a much larger female audience. 

     

     

    The truth is the industry has been male-dominated for a long time, and not really on purpose. Male gaming enthusiasts don’t always have the easiest time meeting women and I feel that like them, the industry just needs to work on its approach. Nowadays little hints of estrogen have been popping everywhere from developers to pro gamers. Not to mention female characters have taken on more interesting and empowering roles. And while this is all fantastic, I feel that the industry’s marketing has a little catching up to do. I have been aching to run into more ladies on my favorite shooters. Cute and cuddly is fine, but give us ladies some options. Some of us love shooting up evil aliens as much as the next gamer.    

     

     

    Women are multifaceted, as their gaming tastes will reflect. Don’t put us in one genre. Three games our female members constantly gush about are Gears of War, Soul Calibur and Final Fantasy. Three different genres with similarities that have incredible appeal to women, and all three are pretty light on the cute and cuddly.

     

     

    Male or female, anyone can appreciate a beautifully crafted game of any kind. Lucky for the industry, women have flocked to gaming without much attention from marketers. The industry may want to consider a little conversation with its female fans. Every woman loves good conversation, and we’re notoriously loyal to good listeners.          

     

     

    About Rebecca Rothschild: A sci-fi and gaming junkie who was working in corporate America as an IT and not feeling fulfilled, Rotschild is currently the coordinating producer and editor for Sugar Gamers in Chicago, a local female-oriented gaming community. Her biggest project on the side is her graphic novel still in the works. She loves comic books, anime and, of course, video games, first-person shooters being her specialty.

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  • Synergy: Publishers and Game Store Partners Working Together

    Our publishers and game store partners have one very important goal in common: to sell games. Working together, both parties can make this happen more quickly and successfully.

     

    Exclusive promotions or discounts: Game store partners, you can request exclusive discounts from our publisher partners. We encourage this co-marketing and will facilitate the introductions. Just let us know what game and what distribution (regional, worldwide) requested.

     

    Real-life example: Just this week, game store partner Gamer Reaction teamed up with publisher FRONTLINE Studios to promote the game Gene Labs and its contest. Gamer Reaction is able to sell Gene Labs at an exclusive discount in exchange for talking up the game in a podcast and other promotional methods.

     

    Contests: Publishers, promote new and older titles by coordinating giveaways (free games, merchandise) with game store partners. Game store partners, choose winners by hosting trivia contests, scavenger hunts, competitions or other challenges. Get creative.


    Interviews: Game store partners, do you have a gaming-related site? Even if you don’t, why not interview one of our publishers for your site blog or news section? You will benefit by promoting your game store, and publishers will benefit by promoting their games.

     

    What are your ideas for synergistic relationships between publishers and game store partners? Share them with us and let’s make things happen.

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  • New GameStreamer Game Stores

    A big welcome to our newest game store partners, Gamer Reaction and Digital Download Game World! Their game stores are branded to their sites and contain the same games that GameStreamer carries on our stores, GameStreamer.com and PCGameStore.com.

     

    Gamer Reaction is a popular gaming news site that features podcasts and articles for the “common gamer.” Marketed worldwide, Digital Download Game World covers news about the growth of the digital distribution sector of the video game industry.

     

    For both sites, a game store is a perfect fit with their audiences.

     

    “At Gamer Reaction, we are constantly talking about all the games we are playing or looking forward to or remember from years ago,” says Dianna Lora, Gamer Reaction Producer. “A GameStreamer game store seemed like the obvious choice to us. We tell people about games, and then they don't even have to leave our website to get them. Gamer Reaction tosses the ball up, GameStreamer dunks it.”

     

    Daniel Awadalla, CEO of Digital Download Game World, says, “As digital download game sales continue to grow worldwide, we can’t be anything but excited about an opportunity to enter into a partnership such as this. We found the staff at Game Streamer Inc. to be highly motivated and professional and the integration of the store with our current site could not have gone more smoothly.” 

     

    Game store partners have full administrative control over their stores, including which games to sell and which ones to feature. Templated game stores cost partners nothing, and they receive a cut of their stores’ revenue. Fully customized stores require a fee. Game store partners are responsible for marketing their own stores, but GameStreamer does offer a few free tools. Partners can create banner ads to promote games on their websites. Also, GameStreamer creates a customized, weekly newsletter featuring new games and specials that partners can send to their users.

     

    If you are interested in adding a game store to your site, contact us at info@gamestreamer.net.

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  • GameStreamer Protects Its Users

    A recently well publicized alleged breach of online gamers' privacy may be causing concern about other gaming sites’ safety. Rest assured that GameStreamer strictly abides by the privacy policy on our game store sites. Users’ privacy is very important to us, and one of our goals is to earn and maintain the trust of the online gaming community.

     

    You can read our privacy policy in its entirety on our game store sites, but here are a couple of key points:

     

    • GameStreamer may use personally identifiable information collected through the Web Site for the specific purposes for which the information was collected, to process Orders made via the Web Site, to contact Users regarding Content, products and services offered by GameStreamer, and otherwise to enhance Users’ experience with GameStreamer and such affiliates, independent contractors and business partners.
    • When we first collect information about you, we will offer you the opportunity to opt-out of having your personal information shared with parties outside of GameStreamer or its subsidiaries or affiliates (except to the extent required by law, court order, or as requested by other government or law enforcement authority).

     

    GameStreamer does not share personal information to third parties without users’ permission, and we respect users’ wishes regarding their privacy.

     

    In addition to our policies, we protect our users’ credit card and personal information via our payment-processing vendors PayPal and Authorize.net.

     

    Should you or your customers have any questions or concerns about users’ privacy on any GameStreamer-powered site, please email us at info@gamestreamer.net.    

     

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  • Advice from an Independent Game Developer

    This post is the first of a series of posts by independent game developers. They will be sharing their experiences and advice for aspiring developers, as well as their viewpoints on the game industry. Our first guest blogger is George Hufnagl, co-founder of My Escape, an eight-month-old development company.

     

    As we conclude production on our group’s first game and dovetail into the sophomore title, I am letting out a poignant sigh of relief because, for our group My Escape, we are about to achieve a victory toward which our progress had me holding my breath for months. Four artists, three programmers, one designer, audio designer/producer and advertising consultant later, we are excited to release Critter Cubes, a micro game that serves as a stepping stone for what we aim to be a long and healthy journey as a developer. Our current team of seven (wonderful) members is pumped, not because we are breaking any technological barriers or hailing in a new epoch of development, but because we finished a game. Yep. That’s it.

     

    In the eyes of the gaming community, this will likely be a minor contribution to what is, in reality, an overcrowded carnival of multi-million-dollar AAA games, match three variations and everything in between. In our eyes, however, it means the world, because despite having eyes that were bigger than our stomachs, the unkept commitments of former members, the multiple changes in direction for a game that we never completed, the technological uncertainties and the fact that we work exclusively online with a 14-hour difference in time zones, we finished a game. Yep. We did it.

     

    Entering our eighth month as a team, I am building up a nice tab of lessons learned, including:

     

    • Enthusiasm is paramount. Don’t work with anyone whose voice doesn’t get higher when they talk about their work.
    • Someone needs to be the boss. Bohemia is nice for vacation, but not for game development.
    • Structure your time before, during and after development, both individually and collectively.
    • Encourage your teammates.
    • Encourage yourself.
    • Be creative.
    • Be nice.
    • Be honest.

     

    The question to ask is, “when the proverbial hits the fan, what will carry us through?” Is it the accolades, the (virtual) bags of money, the legions of fans? Those are nice, but they’re all superfluous to the main event – your gaming Id – desire, passion, enthusiasm. The rest is just noise.

     

    George Hufnagl

    Producer/Audio Designer

    My Escape™

     

    About My Escape: To etch the brand in online gamers' memory, My Escape seeks to create games that will entertain and appeal to those seeking a less-immersive gaming experience and a quick escape from quotidian reality. Competing in the online gaming industry that boasts to reach nearly one out of every two Internet users (Flash Games Market Survey, ComScore via Mochi Media, 2010), My Escape is set to play ball by introducing games centered on oddness, strangeness and peculiarity.

    For more information about My Escape, please visit www.my-escape.net.

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  • Banning Violent Video Games

    The free-speech-versus-videogame-violence issue will be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States next month.

     

    The case, Schwarzenegger vs. EMA (Entertainment Merchants Association), has already been heard in California.

     

    As posted on the Supreme Court of the United States Blog:

     

    Issue: (1) Whether the First Amendment permits any limits on offensive content in violent video games sold to minors; and (2) whether a state regulation for displaying offensive, harmful images to children is invalid if it fails to satisfy the exacting “strict scrutiny” standard of review.

     

    Plain English Issue: Does a state law restricting the sale of violent video games to minors violate the First Amendment right to free speech? (Source: SCOTUSblog)

     

    Oral arguments will start November 2 with a decision by the judges expected quickly. This will be the first time the Supreme Court weighs video games versus the First Amendment, so the ruling will set a precedent.

     

    Seventeen documents have been filed by organizations not directly involved in the case. Known as amicus briefs, 13 of the 17 documents are in support of EMA and all of the information contained in them can be taken into consideration in the case.

     

    Australia has a similar but even stricter and controversial ban on violent video games that extends to all ages, not just minors.  

     

    What is your opinion on the case? Is it unlawful censorship? Should the government be guarding our children’s gaming habits or should it be solely up to parents and guardians?

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  • GameStreamer, Series Sponsor of World Challenge

    When you hear the words “GameStreamer,” you think of fast, competitive, technology, innovation, speed and so on.  I find an easy connection with all those words with sports car racing, so it seemed logical to see how we could cross-promote this in some way.  With all the hot racing games, many based on cars that are part of the World Challenge series, partnering with World Challenge presented a great way to help get a new startup company out there to the millions of race fans.

     

    It’s hard to believe that six months have passed so quickly. I recall having just moved to Sarasota a few weeks prior and I went to the season opening race in St. Petersburg for the World Challenge / Indycar Grand Prix. GameStreamer is the 2010 Number Board sponsor for the series and is displayed on the number decal of every car in the GT, GTS and Touring Car classes. This series is essentially the “sports car series of Indycar” and is comprised of cars ranging from purpose-built Corvette, Vipers and Porsches all the way to Scion, VW and Honda production-based race cars. There are plenty of gamers within this series with both fans and participants, so this looked like a great place to “get our feet wet” within the racing industry. Check out some great pics on the GameStreamer Racing facebook page.

     

    They guys at WC Vision have put together a great deal of effort and creativity to make this a great deal for everyone involved. The GameStreamer Mid-Year Review show was put together and can be seen on www.worldchallengetv.com. I attended many of the races over the 2010 season and even got a few rides in the pace car. Not only is GameStreamer on each car, they were the title sponsor of the Mid-Ohio Grand Prix. This is one of the highest attended races on the Indycar circuit with more than 175,000 people, and I was able to drive a Mustang FR500S in GTS and represent GameStreamer on the track. Watch video of the race here

     

    The season finale is this weekend at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah and the year-end banquet will host a 10-minute “GameStreamer Year in Review” video. The “GameStreamer Rookie of the Year” awards will be given out to the top rookie in each of the three classes. This has been a great year, and the 2011 season looks like it will be even better with great new tracks added to the schedule and an improved television package. So, stay tuned and keep up to speed at:  www.world-challenge.com and see past races online at: www.world-challengetv.com


    - Gary Savage

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  • Video Games as a Learning Structure

    This past week, the New York Times published an extensive article about an experimental school program in New York City in which sixth and seventh graders’ lessons are primarily based in video games. You can read the whole article here, but I've written up a synopsis.

     

    The program, called Quest to Learn, was created by video game designer Katie Salen as “a way to make learning feel simultaneously more relevant to students and more connected to the world beyond school.”

     

    “There’s been this assumption that school is the only place that learning is happening, that everything a kid is supposed to know is delivered between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., and it happens in the confines of a building,” Salen said. “But the fact is that kids are doing a lot of interesting learning outside of school. We acknowledge that, and we are trying to bring that into their learning here.”  

     

    Going into its second year, Quest to Learn is based on the premise that school should be hands-on and fun, just like playing a game. Students aren’t even graded on a traditional A-F scale, but rated by level of expertise.

     

    Kids still learn the basics, like pre-algebra and writing, but within interdisciplinary classes where the students try to complete quests. The students also do multimedia projects, such as recording podcasts, making videos and blogging. They get to make their own games, too.

     

    Probably the most immersive part of the curriculum is Smallab, which stands for “situated multimedia art learning lab.” The device is like a Wii intensified and very educational. Students hold motion-sensitive orbs and wands whose movements change what happens within a game. The computer projects images onto the floor so kids feel like they’re really part of the action.  One of the lessons focuses on geology, which they can learn by building and shifting digital layers of sediment and fossils on the classroom floor.

     

    The viability of the program remains to be seen. Quest to Learn students who took standardized tests in the spring “scored on average no better and no worse than other sixth graders in their district.”

     

    There are advocates of the idea of games replacing tests, as well as the idea of “failure-based learning,” in which failure is brief, surmountable and often exciting just like it is in most of today’s popular video games.

     

    It will be interesting to see how the Quest to Learn program fares as it continues to develop and grow, if it’s allowed to do so.

     

    What do you think of the program? I believe most of us would love to have been a student in the program – who wouldn’t want to play and create games all day? – but would you send your child to a school like this? Share with us your opinions and suggestions.

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The opinions expressed here and by those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of GameStreamer.