Interview with Nicholas Holland of Side Hobby

26 10 2009

I wrote a brief article not too long ago about a recent iPhone obsession of mine called gpsAssassins; if you haven’t checked it out please do so. Due to that obsession and my obvious persistent nature I recently had the opportunity to ask Nicholas Holland CEO of Side Hobby, who developed gpsAssassins, a few questions about their game along with the overall challenges that arise when developing for the iPhone. Check out the full written exchange below. Enjoy!

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gpsAssassins: A Perfect Way to Kill Time

24 10 2009

gpsAssassins_large

With the possession of the iPhone comes the opportunity to play thousands of games. While personally my thoughts of the iPhone as a gaming platform are still undecided I can not deny that many of the games are excellent for those small doses of time that you need to fill.

A perfect example of that is the recently released text based role playing game called “gpsAssassins: Kill your Neighbor” where the basis is kill or be killed.

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Factoring Price In Review Scores

23 10 2009

Opinion

I have been bothered by a habit in the gaming enthusiast press which recently has gotten severe enough for me to write this article. What habit might that be, well many issues need to be revamped but as I divulge deeper into this culture I find issues that to me make no sense.

For instance, why are price points not factored into review scores?

This issue first came apparent to me when I wrote an article about retail price point and how I think the current price structure is flawed. Anyways when I read reviews I rarely if ever see these reviews even discuss price besides the infrequent blurbs simply stating the manufactures suggested retail price (MSRP). Why is this? From what I can tell one of the deciding factors in a purchasing decision is the price point, especially in this economic climate. Is it because most of the major blogs receive free copies for review? Personally, Yes, I think this has something to do with it along with how disconnected most reviewers are from their audience. Most gamers can’t or don’t play every game or play through a game and then immediately jump to the next title like many in the enthusiast press are forced to do. Instead they pick up a game they hope to enjoy and play that over and over until the next purchase which can be months away. Therefore the value of that purchase is a great deal more important to them versus the reviewer who rarely plays a game again.

So why isn’t price point included in review scores if we know that is a factor? Well some may say that price doesn’t affect the quality of games.

So let’s address that, are certain games better or worse because of their price? I don’t think price changes a game, but do believe it changes the experience. So as a reviewer you are critiquing that game from your experience so why shouldn’t price be included? Let me attempt to be more clear, let’s say I bought both Call of Duty 4 and Terminator Salvation for $60. One of those games I have gotten a tremendous amount of play time out of while the other I had trouble even finishing to write a review. Therefore inherently I felt I received a better value with one over the other which also affected my overall experience with those titles. Obviously that should be reflected in my review. Would that experience and feeling of value change if let’s say I got Terminator Salvation for $30 instead of $60? Of Course! The game didn’t change at all but my experience did so I believe that should be reflected in people’s review of that product. The same could hold true for a good game, if I feel positive towards a purchase because I got a good deal no matter the price then that would favorably show up in the review.

Look, I understand reviews are subjective and only one person’s opinion and that different people have different likes and dislikes. But I believe the reader should be given all the necessary information in order to make a purchasing decision. Then it is up to the reader to make an informed decision on the information they have gathered regardless if they agree or disagree with the reviewers value judgment or even their review at all. Gamers depend on reviews to help guide their purchases, so why shouldn’t this information be included?

Ultimately reviews are for us, gamers, and its obvious price point is a major factor in a consumers buying decision. Discretionary income is decreasing and consumers want to find the most bang for their buck. It is of my belief that gamers are willing to tolerate flaws and length of a game for a cheaper price. Ultimately the decision by the consumer to open their wallet and purchase a game is the only review that matters.

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