Ahoy mates, it’s been too long again. I am a bad blogger. Bad Cap’n! I promise to be better. Apart from whiskey and wench (note the shocking lack of plural there) here’s what’s been keeping me busy and amused;
- Whirled proceeds apace. We will be making announcements soon — for now we’re still in super secret closed alpha, but there are a few invites floating about. Lots of fun watching people create new stuff.
- All kinds of excitement on the high seas of Puzzle Pirates, which I’m not allowed to talk about either. Monstarrrs!
- I spent a lot of time talking to prospective investors earlier this summer. More on that soon.
- Conferences: The Virtual Goods Summit (videos on the site) was fascinating. This emerging business model is obviously capturing the attention of very smart entrepreneurs and investors — lots of competition for the likes of us, which is great. I very much believe that the best thing that can happen is for the market to be grown and lots of experimentation to take place. It was also noticeable at Casual Connect that a lot of investment is going into casual MMOs from the likes of Viacom. I remain sceptical that large corporations will lead the charge here, my bet is with the startups. Nonetheless, it does seem that 2007 is the year of the online game.
- Talking of startups, competition and investors, there’s been a rash of funding announcements recently; Thinglefin raised $1M (congrats Toby and co), Conduit Labs raised $5.5M (congrats Nabeel, Dan, and co.) and Kongregate raised $5M (congrats Jim and co)! All three of these seem to have great prospects (what little I know of Conduit and Thinglefin as they are very sekrit), playing in the same space as us. Good!
- Like many others, I noticed that Club Penguin got acquired for loadsamoney. Congratulations to the founders and penguins! I think this is great news for ‘the industray’ and, given $30M in net profit on $60M revenues, I don’t think the price is outrageous. That said, it looks pretty rich on the per-registered user or subscriber side, but I believe that Disney can make Penguin grow. I was annoyed but unsurprised when the press releases and coverage generally gave no mention to Miniclip who have powered the majority of Penguin’s growth, along with Runescape and Puzzle Pirates (miniclip have contributed ~1M out of our ~3M registrations).
- Second Life banned Wagering on non-skill-based games. I’ve been waiting for their move here a while, and I think that this is probably the best policy they could adopt. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. I share some recently blogged concerns that the Linden might not do well in a liquidity crisis without a bail-out from Linden Lab, but we shall see.
- I was very, very drunk when they shot this video at our GDC party.
- I love the Paleo Future.
- Finally I’ve been quoted by the Beeb. My legacy is complete! Actually I was paraphrasing A. C. Clarke; This medium is going to destroy TV – and it’s going to happen in short term.” I’m pretty sure I gave attribution at the time!
- Talking of legacies, I was immortalised in Toast.
- The office, much more deserving, got immortalised in Wired.
- If you fancy working somewhere this fabulous, Three Rings is hiring.
Next week I am off to the desert for ye olde Burning Man. The theme this year is ‘The Green Man’ which slightly annoys me for such a totally entropic event in the same way as would a self-righteous hippy lecturing about recycling, organic food and cycling everywhere before holding forth about their fabulous trip to Bali (thus negating their low-carbon lifestyle in one fell global warming plane flight). Still, I am being ‘green’ by recycling last year’s art project, Dora’s Boxen, and trying to generally avoid buying any new stuff to cover in dust. Talking of recycling, last night I put a bunch of old dusty rubbish out on the street and lo! this morning it was all whisked away by eager passersby. Go San Francisco!
Back from BM and I’m straight off to Austin for ye olde Austin GDC where I’ll be on a panel about startups with some of my friendly competitors. I’m also going to be speaking at the Virtual Worlds conference in October. Then I think there’s a conference breather until next year. I can’t make it this year, but I recommend anyone who’s not heard of it to consider Project Horseshoe which was totally fabulous last year.