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May 7, 2010

Sony launch major Facebook game The Agency


If you're bored of your farm on Farmville or don't want to feed animals, run a hotel, dig for treasure or any of the usual Facebook game fodder you can now become a secret agent in a new game call The Agency: Secret Ops from Sony Online Entertainment. Launched just days ago in the lead up to "The Agency" which is their new spy based MMO (think World of Warcraft but with a James Bond setting) that as of yet does not have a release date. Not to be confused with EA's APB game which is an MMO with a cops and robbers setting.

Now rather than explain the feature their "trailer" does all this for me. First off you'll notice is that Sony have put a lot of work/money/time into this.

Here is a video from Mashable with an interview with the development team.

Here's what Kotaku and Mashable have to say about it.

What I liked
- The look and feel. Compared to more static Facebook games of this kind it is dynamic and fun. Compare this to the very popular Dante's Inferno game which at one time clocked up over 8 million players.
- The mini games break up the "click to do X" repetitiveness but you'll easily get sick of the "find an item" game and "word scramble" (which for me had the unfortunate big of choose a rather nasty 4 letter word on my first go. And no not that 4 letter word... another one)
- The deep gameplay: There are 6 locations and I'm 2 days in and haven't touched the surface of location 1. There are so many elements to the game (weapons, agents, general missions) so for those who are playing constantly it's enough to keep you interested for weeks.
- The integration with friends is simple and actually makes the game better. By adding friends you can use them in your group missions.

What I didn't like
- This is less of a promotional game and more a money spinner for Sony. There is a heavy push for their SC dollars and thus your progress is haltered along the way as you are pushed to buy credits.
- When you have no "cover" to make any moves the game gives you nothing to do but move around furniture. A few simple training missions or really anything to fill the time would have been nice.
- Why did this have to be in Facebook? Why not just use Facebook Connect/Open Graph and have the app live outside?
- The customize HQ. This just seemed like a waste of time. The amount of work that went into it is quite amazing though.

Here's my HQ with all the essentials.


It'll be interesting to see how this goes. This really raises the bar for other companies who are serious about "wanting their own Farmville".

I followed the Dante's Inferno app a little and it did amazingly well, even reported to have contributed directly to 2% of game sales. Source I wonder if this will have the same success?

Inside Social games has a great in-depth review of the The Agency: Covert Ops which also highlights Sony's first FB game Poxnora. Sony, it seems, is not just dabbling in this area but focussed.

It was interesting to see the comparison with Playfish's (owned by EA) Ganster City. I had not played it before but the comparison is quite close. It seems we're all stuck in the "this works so let's not rock the boat" mentality with the FB RPG games.

February 4, 2010

Wrangler Spring

There's some really nice interaction going on here.




January 29, 2010

I'm a bad person

For 2 reasons, that I'm aware of today at least. Although it's possible to justify why 1 of these reasons is not actually that bad depending on your view of the world and humans in general..

Reason 1: I've not blogged, noted or uploaded anything to Bannerblog for a good few months (the last was here) luckily there's several noted geniuses running the site and moderately sharp (like a butterknife after a bong) people like tc here can get away with things, most of the time.

Reason 2: I'm posting about online gambling. Now, wether or not you see this particular example as bad karma or not depends on:

a) if you can agree with me that placing bets, wagers and playing game of chance has been with us since the dawn of time - think old fellas and 2up in the trenches or trying it on with swedish twins at the same time even though their sisters/brothers - that sort of thing


b) if you can also agree that when it's peer to peer, mano to mano, that it's better, far better than TABCORP or the Victorian Government taking the profits and making desal plants with it. I mean the Victorian Government here in AU alone takes something above 1.5 billion ($375 per person old-ish data) annually.

Therefore, betfair is something closer to ok perhaps? I'm cool with it.

Anyway they've launched this site as part of the 8million seconds of summer campaign. It's pretty neat how it works using a Marumushi Newsmap type approach to display using scale and colour, available pools and odds, updating every few seconds.


If you're a betting man/woman, it's a better option than the pokies.

(by M&C Saatchi Melbourne)

June 16, 2009

Vodafone: #ukhols

Liked this because of what it does - sure it's irreverent gloating, but maybe it'll give you an idea of where not to go to avoid the surging crowds of brits in Northern Summer (now by the sound of it yesterday as a rainy 24 in London UK).


Simple mash-up G Map, #ukhols included tweets plotting along with key words the likes of location and UK postcode. Why you'd give Vodafone your age and sex with that I'm not sure, maybe it's so they can market to you or something...

Liked it more because it's similar-ish to an idea I was proposing for Tourism Vic about 2 months ago. They didn't buy it of course - probably a little bold for our lovely conservative approach here to digital in Australia ;)

no, I'm not sore at all - but... if anyone wants my version (bold brands out there) just sing out - seriously.

May 15, 2009

Lame Awards 09 - Della


Remember when we wrote about the out-dated sexism of the mock Madison Cookware campaign? Well it seems like Dell failed to recognize the parody. They've just launched Della - a microsite targeted specifically to sell computers to women. Or at least, women from the 50s.

From a CNN report:

Sounds silly, just as silly as Della is. Netbooks and laptops are presented as fashion statements, and the site's "tech tips" includes a feature, "Seven Unexpected Ways a Netbook Can Change Your Life," which starts out by saying, "Once you get beyond how cute they are, you'll find that netbooks can do a lot more than check your e-mail."

Contrived and condescending much? Seems like some marketing research firms are the ones who are decades behind.

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