Summer must be coming to an end because the new semester starts for my daughter next week. She and my wife left Wednesday morning to drive up to Oregon to get her moved into the dorm and settled, while I stayed behind. It took about a day before working from home and having nobody to sync up with on meals before all structure fell away from my existence and I began to live like the cats.
My wife will be back tomorrow to help return me to a more normal cycle, but until then it is time for another nap. But before I snooze, a few items that came up of which I wanted to take note.
Designing Virtual Worlds
On Monday this week Richard Bartle announced on his personal blog that he had asked for the rights for his 2003 book Designing Virtual Worlds to be reverted to him and he has now made it available as a free download in PDF format.
I actually found out about this via a tweet from Raph Koster:
Naturally I grabbed a copy as soon as I could. Even if you are not interested in the design aspects, the book includes a run down of the history of virtual worlds from MUD1 up into speculating about the launch of EVE Online.
As is noted constantly, the whole thing predates the launch of World of Warcraft, but is still remarkably relevant 18 years down the road.
Men Who Play Women
Nick Yee’s group, Quantic Foundry, emailed be about the release of a new publicly available report on the genders people choose to play when they have an in-game avatar.
Among the findings were that while only 9% of women play male avatars, 29% of men play female avatars.
The report goes on to try and explain why men play female avatars and comes up with some good points. But I suspect that the fact that so many games hyper-sexualize female avatars plays into it a lot as well. The game designers are very much in on the objectifying of the female body. I would be interested to see if there was any variation in the numbers between games that are all in on boob bounce physics and titles that don’t go down that path.
Esports in Asia
Niko Partners, which covers the video game trends in Asia, has a new report on the size and trends in esports across Asia, which makes up 54% of the global market. While the full report will set you back $5K, the intro page has some tidbits about the market that you might find of interest.
EA Making Loot Boxes Suck Slightly Less
In their quarterly earnings call EA said that they were seeing more engagement and more spending when they let players peek at what was in a loot box via special “preview packs,” which you could open before committing to buy. These were apparently received very well by the community and a lot of players who otherwise had not purchased loot boxes spent money on these new packs.
EA has literally discovered that if you tell people what you’re selling, more people are likely to actually buy.
More Bonus Skill Points in EVE Online
A quick one to slip in because it is time sensitive. CCP has a skill point login event going on this weekend. For Omegas that log in and claim the rewards on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there is 50K skill points in it for you. For Alphas, it is just 15K, but that is still better than nothing.
Reminiscing About EverQuest and EverQuest Next
Finally, last week aLovingRobot had Jeff Butler, one of the original EverQuest team members, on the show where they chatted about EverQuest Next, EverQuest, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, the early days of SOE, and the MMORPG market.
aLovingRobot’s channel has more than a few videos dedicated to the history and lore of EverQuest and related titles, so if the subject interests you, then you can certainly find some more to watch. There are a number of names from the past that appear in the series.
Hat tip to Feldon for finding this.