Monthly Archives: March 2008

On the Best Buy HD-DVD Gift Card.

So Best Buy announced earlier this week that they’d be giving away $50 gift cards to those of us unfortunate enough to buy into the HD-DVD format. This just landed in my inbox:

Our records show that you may have purchased an HD DVD player from Best Buyâ„¢. Recently, Toshiba announced that they will no longer produce HD DVD players, and movie studios decided they will no longer release new movies in HD DVD.

At Best Buy, we are dedicated to making sure you always have the right technology for you. That is why purchasers of an HD DVD player are eligible to receive a Best Buyâ„¢ gift card. To confirm your purchase, please call us at 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289) with your receipt handy.

If you are interested in trading in your HD DVD player and HD DVDs, check out our technology trade-in service at where we will accept HD DVD hardware and software in exchange for a Best Buy gift card based on its market value.

We truly appreciate you as a customer. If you have further questions, please go to

I called and asked a few questions. Anyone who purchased the HD-DVD player with a Rewards Zone card should automatically receive the Hah Hah Wrong Format Sucker Here’s Fifty Bucks Gift Card in a month or so. Everyone else, as the email above states, can call with their receipt (yeah, the same receipt they probably sent away in the envelope for the free movies offer) and get things sorted out for a free card.

Maybe I’ll use the gift card for HD-DVD movies.

I like ours better.

A comparison of covers, discovered by an astute observer on the Petro forums. Alien Front Online for the Dreamcast, the first console title to use voice chat online, and our very own Universe at War, out on the 360 this week.

While I own a Dreamcast (and recently jumped headfirst back into it, a topic for another post), I was a latecomer to the console, and never had the chance to play AFO while the servers were still active. Just picked up a copy for super cheap on, I want to see this thing in person.



Sigh. They’re even doing the same dance.

Does it come down to trust?

Brad Wardell, founder of Stardock, had some interesting things to say about piracy in a post he made on his blog last week:

So even though Galactic Civilizations II sold 300,000 copies making 8 digits in revenue on a budget of less than $1 million, it’s still largely off the radar. I practically have to agree to mow editors lawns to get coverage. And you should see Jeff Green’s (Games for Windows) yard. I still can’t find my hedge trimmers.

Another game that has been off the radar until recently was Sins of a Solar Empire. With a small budget, it has already sold about 200,000 copies in the first month of release. It’s the highest rated PC game of 2008 and probably the best selling 2008 PC title. Neither of these titles have CD copy protection.

While I don’t see Sins as the best-selling PC title of 2008 (leave that to the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Spore, or The Sims 3 if it’s out in time), that’s not the interesting part. Brad goes on to say that the key to a successful PC title is to find a demographic that buys games, and then to build them a game.

When you make a game for a target market, you have to look at how many people will actually buy your game combined with how much it will cost to make a game for that target market. What good is a large number of users if they’re not going to buy your game? And what good is a market where the minimal commitment to make a game for it is $10 million if the target audience isn’t likely to pay for the game?

If the target demographic for your game is full of pirates who won’t buy your game, then why support them? That’s one of the things I have a hard time understanding. It’s irrelevant how many people will play your game (if you’re in the business of selling games that is). It’s only relevant how many people are likely to buy your game.

He also says that the key to a high selling PC title is to develop a game that will play on the widest variety of hardware configurations out there, ie to support players beyond the traditional hard core frequent video card buying market. While I agree that catering to a lower spec machine is one way of increasing sales, it’s not a requirement. Relatively demanding games such as Crysis breaking into the top 10 are not an anomaly. There’s something more. Let me say at this point that I don’t have the answer, so here’s your way out if you wanted one, but I am going to ask questions and throw out a few bits that I feel correlate with the above.
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