There have been a few changes going on outside of Consoleation, and I know that activity has been slow here. I wanted to write a few words about what’s been going on.
For starters, I regret to report that the League of One project is on indefinite hold, and likely won’t be resuming. I won’t get into specifics, but changes at Kmart necessitated the decision to halt the project. This unfortunately means that any links to my work there are now dead. It’s unfortunate to see work disappear. I am grateful to Josh Deane with Kmart for the opportunities afforded to me as part of the project, from the privilege of covering E3 last June to getting a chance to share my work with thousands of other readers. Josh had a great vision and it’s unfortunate that the project wasn’t able to mature and grow as we all thought it would. Being a part of KmartGamer last year was one of my career highlights, and I’m honored to have been a part of it.
As a result of the discontinuation of the League of One project, I’m now a “free agent” on the writing circuit. I’m hoping to network with several sites to see if I can earn a writing position and stay active in the gaming press community. For now, I’m dedicating some time to a new independent writing venture, called Armchair Analysis. This site deals solely with the business and sales data side of my writing, including NPD analysis and interpretations of industry news. I’m keeping the content there strictly professional with the hopes of possibly getting the work syndicated or picked up by a larger website to gain a writing spot somewhere. I would like to resume writing reviews as well, although unemployment makes that a bit of a challenge as far as buying current games to play through. I have my fingers crossed that I can earn a spot somewhere soon. In the meantime, I invite those of you who enjoyed my industry-related posts here to visit Armchair Analysis and follow my writing there.
As far as Consoleation goes, this blog will remain active. I’m shooting for updating it once a week with assorted content, including reviews of older games and reports of additions to my collection. Thanks to a decent expected tax return– since I made so little last year– I’m hoping to apply some of that towards older games and systems. A Dreamcast was just graciously donated to me recently, and I’m looking to get an AV cable to test it and see if it works. The main target on my wish list is an NES, but other platforms including SNES, Genesis (w/SEGA CD), Nintendo 64, and the original Xbox are all on my radar. As the collection grows, I’ll be talking about it here. In about a week’s time, the laptop that I’ve been using for my writing will be mine to keep, so writing will be more consistent.
Finally, it looks like I’ll be heading to Weirs Beach, NH in a few short months to take part in the 14th Annual International Classic Video Game Tournament at FunSpot. It’s been 10 years since I last took part in the event, and I’m excited to participate and get together with some of the very best arcade game players in the world. In 2002, I set the a Twin Galaxies-recognized record on the Mania Challenge coin-op. It’s a record that stands today. I’m not sure what I may shoot for when I’m there, but to be in an actual arcade setting again is going to be pretty awesome.
Thanks to all of you who have been checking in with Consoleation and being so understanding as there’s been a lot of transition. The blog will be celebrating its fourth year in 2012, and I’m grateful for all of you who have taken the time to visit it.
I wanted to share some links to writing by me that’s been published recently, just in case you missed them.
First up, my review of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is up on KmartGamer as part of the League of One content creation project there. It’s my first review for the project, and I hope that you’ll give it a look. I went from having a strong dislike for the game’s new DFM mechanic to accepting that Assault Horizon is an Ace Combat game in name only. It was important to judge Assault Horizon on its own merits instead of how it holds up against previous titles in the series. I did wind up liking it, although I personally won’t be replaying it. On a personal note, I’m much happier with the numbered games in the series and don’t really prefer mixing Call of Duty and Ace Combat. It’s still better than the H.A.W.X. games, but it’s not the Ace Combat game that fans were hoping for.
Next, my analysis of September’s NPD sales data is also live on KmartGamer. Rather than list all of the public numbers, I took a slightly different approach and talked about each of the three hardware companies. I followed that up with a short overview of software sales trends. Having access to data that’s not public, I’m able to see some trends that aren’t obvious to others… including what was an impressive month for Sony and the PlayStation 3. In hoping that you’ll head over and take a look at the piece, I don’t want to spoil anything here; however, it’s important to note that the PlayStation 3 was the only platform with positive YOY growth in September. There was also a significant jump from August to September in unit sales for the PS3. What’s fueling this rise? Is it the recent price drop? Is it consumers coming on board late? Did Resistance 3 have anything to do with it? It’s a curious situation, and it also somewhat dulls the continued domination of the Xbox 360 as the best-selling console on a monthly basis. I don’t think that Sony’s going to fade in Q4, and even if the PS3 can’t catch the 360 in any month, I think that it will be quite competitive. I hope you’ll read and react to the article over at KmartGamer.
Finally, I’ve been reviewing the latest Pinball FX2 table additions for Games Are Evil. My reviews of the Sorcerer’s Lair and Ms. ‘Splosion Man tables were a blast to put together as Pinball FX2 is one of my favorite games. Although both tables are a bit on the easy side, this difficulty is ideal for newer players. Racking up over a billion points may sound ludicrous, but when you have a run like that, it’s an “in the zone” feeling that’s hard to top. I’m hoping to do some more work for this site in the months ahead, particularly after my move is completed. Many thanks to Blake and Keri for keeping me in mind for these reviews and for their flexibility. Be sure to check out the Games Are Evil site for lots of other great content.
I hope that you’ll check out a few of these links. I write with the hope that people will read my work; that’s the real payoff for me.
I also wanted to let everyone know that the date for my move is rapidly approaching. I’m set to leave Arizona on November 8th, which is coincidentally the release date for Modern Warfare 3. I’m driving cross-country back to West Springfield, MA, so I’m going to be limited to my cell phone for internet usage. I’m still likely going to be active across my social networks (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+), so I invite you to follow me on any (or all) of those channels. I’m hoping to arrive back at home by November 15th. Once I arrive, it’s going to take a couple of more days to get situated and set my consoles back up. Since my HDTV is not making the trip, I’ll be gaming on a smaller 720p set for a couple of weeks until I can replace it. My PC is also not making the trip, sadly. I’ll be working from my little-used laptop for at least a few weeks and hoping that Santa Claus smiles favorably upon me with a new workstation or technology for the holidays. Even without the workstation, my laptop will get the job done and I’ll be back to writing more regularly once I’m settled.
As for my immediate future, I’m accepting the fact that I’m probably not going to be working too much. There’s a possibility that I may be able to transfer to a store close to where I’ll be living, but my hours worked will still be light. I’m hoping that some behind-the-scenes planning with the League of One project comes to fruition and that I’ll be able to cover at least a few games for review. I’ll still be contributing my Armchair Analysis columns at least once a month, too. I’m considering looking into freelance review work, but it’s a very competitive field at the moment and I’m not sure that I can break in. I have my fingers crossed.
So… that’s it for this entry. A little bit of self-promotion never hurts, right? I hope not.
My latest Armchair Analysis piece has been posted at KmartGamer, as I react to Sony‘s move to drop the price of the PlayStation 3 this week. I hope that you’ll give it a read and see what you think, as there are some good and not-so-good ramifications from the decision… which is long-overdue and one that I’d predicted would happen a couple of months ago.
So… my timing is a little late, but I was dead-on with the drop amount. I’ll take batting .500, thanks.
Consumer response to the cut has been favorable so far. IndustryGamers is reporting that Amazon has shown a significant increase in PS3 unit sales, which is a natural occurrence for price drops. August’s NPD report will show improvements for the PS3, which should break the 200,000 mark and has an outside shot at overtaking Xbox 360 unit sales for the month. It’s not a definite, but it’s not impossible, either. What remains to be seen is whether the trend will be sustained through Q4. Multiplatform games seem to go hand-in-hand with Xbox 360 sales, and Gears of War 3 will stem any potential sustained run at the top of the NPD charts by the PS3 in September.
Thanks for following my work on KmartGamer and here at Consoleation. Look for more League of One content on KmartGamer soon, plus some more insights on games gone by for the PSone and PS2 here on my home blog. It’s a really exciting time in my writing tenure, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that more opportunities are coming. In the meantime, feel free to send a shout to me on any of your favorite social networks: Twitter, Google Plus, or Facebook.
My first Armchair Analysis piece has been posted over at KmartGamer, as part of the League of One project. I invite you to take a peek and see what you think. My format hasn’t changed much from what I was posting here, but I’m hoping that it’ll get a little more exposure as I try to fit in with other analysts (who are actually legitimate), such as Michael Pachter and Jesse Divnich.
I think it’s important to note that, while the numbers in July were certainly grim, we have some very active months ahead. The long-overdue PlayStation 3 price cut that was announced today will help a little this month, and then we have over three months of solid game releases. December is in play not only because of residual holiday and game catch-up sales… but Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS could be huge.
The alarm is on silent for now, but the situation bears watching. How will holiday spending be affected as the economy twists and turns? Will too many games lead to confusion at the register? Will consumers react enough to the PS3 and 3DS price cuts? All of these variables could be substantial factors in shaping the success of Q4 this year. I’m cautiously optimistic.
Hope you like the piece, and feel free to drop any comments you wish.
As expected, today marked the official rollout of the League of One project. It’s definitely exciting as all of us are seeing our work posted under the KmartGamer banner for the first time.
First, check out the official League of One announcement. This piece introduces all of the writers on the project. Those of you who were following my E3 trip likely remember Amy and Stephen, but the additions of Brittany, Josh, and Jonathan are noteworthy. The introduction also explains the project in a little more detail.
My first League of One piece was also posted today. I posed and answered five big questions about the state of the console gaming industry leading into the last 5 months of the year. This kind of writing represents one of the unique features that I’ll be bringing to the table as part of this project and will hopefully inspire a little bit of conversation about sales trends and topics moving forward.
Be sure to check out the KmartGamer website for more League of One updates, as the other writers are seeing their first work posted. Jonathan has a great piece about the high price of retail games and Josh gives a first look at NCAA Football 12.
I am honored to announce that I have been chosen as one of a small group of writers to join an ambitious new writing project that was hand-picked by KmartGamer. This project, called the League of One, is the unannounced project that I mentioned last week… and it’s an amazing opportunity.
This group of writers is a diverse and unique group, which includes the two other writers who were selected to cover E3 for KmartGamer with me back in June as well as three other talented and hard-working voices. It’s a mix of enthusiasm, experience, and a desire to hopefully land a position in the gaming industry. The best part is that we will serve as a strong gaming-related voice for KmartGamer, supplying various content including game reviews, previews, discussions, and industry analysis. KmartGamer is sponsoring this project with the retailer’s support, which is a huge deal. This makes it possible to find visibility with various publishers and PR reps for the first time for many of us. We basically go, with the backing of KmartGamer, from being relative unknowns to hopefully gaining exposure and visibility.
As this is a new project, a lot of details are still being worked out behind the scenes, but now that the news is official… I wanted to share it with you. I’m aiming to supply a few different kinds of content:
- Game previews and reviews: It’s possible that review copies may start coming in, which means that I’ll be reviewing them for the League of One project. I’m confident that I’ll be reviewing games more often than I have been, and am looking forward to getting back to doing so. Writing game reviews is how I got into writing to begin with, before branching out to sales analysis and being an industry pundit, in general.
- Sales predictions and analysis: After writing pieces like this for Consoleation for the last three years, I’m now going to be getting more visibility for my work by moving them to the League of One project. I’m very excited to see how these pieces are received by readers. My introductory piece, which will hopefully go up this week, is an example of the kind of work that I’m planning to do. Look for a link soon.
- Event coverage: One thing that the League is hoping to do is to be able to send members to various events, including CES, E3, and others. Now that I have my feet wet with a bit of E3 experience, I’m a bit wiser to how to best cover events like this, and am looking forward to another shot in the not-so-distant future. This part of the project is still very early in the planning stages, but holds a lot of exciting potential.