A Special RAM Edition of Dirty Coding Tricks

Article URL: https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/310660/Memory_Matters_A_special_RAM_edition_of_Dirty_Coding_Tricks.php

Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15947039

Points: 19

# Comments: 0

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The ‘hollow husk’ of mobile Animal Crossing is gaming’s sad future


You know how people have been saying, for years and years now, that the triple-A video game industry’s weird hyperfocus on mostly white, mostly male demographics would eventually bite it in the ass? As evidence of this I give you: the “free-to- play” mobile videogame.

Exhibit A: this piece by Sam Machkovech over on Ars Technica describing how the new Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp feels like a weird, hollowed-out husk of what the author considers a proper video game. Like Machkovech, I too grew up playing triple-A video games on console and PC. I share his sense of revulsion towards this latest Animal Crossing product; indeed, this has been my reaction to every popular mobile game I’ve ever encountered! (The fact that I happen to make these games for a living is, well, a testament to what life under capitalism is like.)

The F2P mobile industry does not produce video games I enjoy on any level. What it does produce, however, are the most popular and lucrative video games in the world. And it does so, in essence, by completely ignoring people like me: those the triple-A industry has chased on for decades. Where triple-A mostly restricts itself to grittiness and vengeance and bloodshed, mobile games embrace the endless cross-cultural appeal of “soft and cute.” Where triple-A designs for multihour play sessions, mobile games make certain to offer objectives you can complete in 30 seconds. And perhaps most importantly: Where the triple-A crowd loves to express boundless outrage over things like loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II, the mobile crowd overwhelmingly prefers these mechanics to anything triple-A has to offer them.

The key thing to understand about microtransactions is that games like SW:BF are using them completely wrong. The microtransaction’s purpose is not actually to nickel and dime people who’ve already paid you $60. Instead it is to completely obliterate any initial barrier between your game and the billions of people who own smartphones. A top-grossing mobile game can be played for zero dollars on any old mobile device produced within the past 5 years. Their download size is optimized so you can acquire them in the absence of good wifi; their design is optimized to pique your interest within the first 6 seconds of play. It’s not about crazy high-resolution graphics, and it’s rarely about epic storylines. Those things barely even matter. An F2P game developer’s only significant priorities break down as follows:

  1. Get your game into as many people’s hands as you possibly can
  2. Keep 7-10 percent of them playing for as many months as possible (even if in 30 second chunks, and even if they never spend a dime)
  3. Convince some tiny fraction of that 7-10 percent to make regular in-app purchases

The reason why games such as Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp seem alien to folks like me is that these games were not made for us. The mobile game audience is not descended from the traditions of triple-A video games; triple-A ignored these people for decades, spurring the development of a completely separate design tradition. The mobile game audience does not want the same things console gamers want. They want free to play. They want incentivized video ads. They want daily rewards, and limited time offers, and yes: They even want loot boxes. The best part, of course, is that they also happen to outnumber us by such an astounding margin that it’s a wonder anyone even bothered releasing a triple-A Star Wars game in 2017.

A company such as Nintendo has far more incentive to court these mobile folks than they do we “core gamers,” and courting mobile folks is precisely what they’re trying to achieve. It seems to me the big N still has work to do in terms of building those “top 100”-style phone games with all the latest F2P trimmings. But that is clearly what they’re attempting to do, and they’re getting better at it each time out.

For me it’s been rather tragic to watch the deluge of triple-A media coverage mocking the loot boxes in SW:BF, and now accusing the new Animal Crossing of feeling weird and hollow. Weird and hollow is video games now! That already happened, y’all. It happened years ago while we were busy critiquing the frame rate in The Witcher II.

What we’re seeing now are the woolly mammoth-like triple-A video game publishers struggling to catch up with an industry that has overtaken them. This happened because they remained glued to their little local maximum, pandering to the usual audience with the usual entertainment, instead of adapting their ideals and sensibilities for the rest of society. These are our just desserts.

Brendan Vance is a game developer and cultural critic based in Vancouver, British Columbia who’s written for Waypoint, Unwinnable and The Arcade Review, but his most vociferous howls of agony emanate from @4xisblack over on Twitter.com.

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ZipSprout Connects Small Businesses to Local Sponsorship Opportunities

ZipSprout Sprout Seeker Connects Small Businesses to Local Sponsorship Opportunities

Marketing and SEO matchmaking platform ZipSprout is introducing a new tool in 2018. The Sprout Seeker Tool aims to help local businesses automatically find the sponsorship opportunities in their area and most relevant to their target customers.

ZipSprout Sprout Seeker

Because local businesses are so tapped into their community, it makes these sponsorship opportunities a natural fit for a lot of small businesses.

Megan Hannay, co-founder and CEO of ZipSprout said in an email to Small Business Trends, “A small business has a few distinct advantages when it comes to local marketing – and the biggest one is that local business owners know their community much better than their national competitors. Many local business owners are already giving to local organizations, maybe 5Ks or youth sports team. Getting involved is a natural extension of being a local entity. ZipSprout helps businesses build strategy around the local marketing they already do. Like a meetup.com for local businesses owners, ZipSprout helps find local sponsorship opportunities that fit a business’s brand and mission.”

ZipSprout Sprout Seeker Connects Small Businesses to Local Sponsorship Opportunities

And that’s just one of ZipSprout’s offerings. The company actually launched back in December 2015. At the time, Hannay was working at ZipSprout’s parent company, Citation Labs. And she started working on ZipSprout as a side project.

Hannay says, “At the time, I was developing a campaign for a national brand client, finding local sponsorship opportunities in San Diego. After about 100 conversations with local organizations, my cofounder – Garrett – and I realized that we’d found a large, untapped channel for local marketing. So we formed ZipSprout, hired a team and have been building local relationships for two years.”

Since that time, ZipSprout has facilitated more than $746,379 in local donations and sponsorships. But until now, those connections came from the company’s more full-service marketing matchmaker service. The new Sprout Seeker Tool is supposed to be a more DIY type of option, allowing businesses to automatically find the opportunities in their area and filter by category, reach and relevance.

The company also has a newsletter businesses can sign up for to receive information about sponsorship opportunities in their communities. This, in tandem with the new tool launching next year, can really help businesses better reach local customers through those sponsorship opportunities.

Hanney says, “For small businesses, our monthly newsletter and upcoming tool are the two best options. Both are subscription offerings, so local business owners can sign up on the website and go from there. These offerings make it easier for local (and national) entities to find out about sponsor-able events in any location. We believe that if the research is easier, then business owners can instead focus on relationship building with local organizers.”

After the beta phase of the new tool, Hannay says the tool will be available on a subscription basis for a low monthly cost. If you’re interested in signing up, ZipSprout is accepting applications for beta testers now. You can sign up on the company’s website.

Images: ZipSprout

This article, “ZipSprout Connects Small Businesses to Local Sponsorship Opportunities” was first published on Small Business Trends

Show HN: GiveHongBao – Raise Ethereum for any cause, anywhere in the world

Article URL: https://givehongbao.com/campaigns/support-jimmy-wales-of-wikipedia-and-net-neutrality-this-holiday-season

Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15908025

Points: 12

# Comments: 2


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