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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.

April 14, 2010

Samsung 3D TV Viral

The advertising has started for the 3D TVs. Samsung as always lately have produced a viral film and like all their latest efforts it's actually pretty awesome. Although they all seem to be aimed at my sense of humour. I'm guessing this is from The Viral Factory.

Once the novelty and the PR factor of having a 3D TV wears off I feel we'll see these silly TV's fade into obsoleteness.

March 20, 2010

Mob (a near-future science fiction story) by Tom Scott

Mob (a near-future science fiction story) by Tom Scott from hurryonhome on Vimeo.

Engrossing story (and format) that shows a potential dark future for our connected world.

Seen via @bigspaceship

The Last Ad Agency in the World

Glib would be the term I'd file this video under but it's still quite funny.

February 13, 2010

T-Shirt War & Stop Motion

They say "sex sells" and that is still true but if you want to "go viral" stop motion is a much safer bet.

T-Shirt War is one of the more original stop motion videos I've seen in a while.

If you analyse the video there are a number of factors at work here that make it work.
1: Stop Motion
2: Humour
3: "How did they do that" factor
4: Pop culture references

I also found the credits at the end interesting. The talking to the camera and driving the views to the BTS video, their site, the collaborators sites and an offer to buy and make my own shirts. Great use of the time and a much better call to action that works on all embedded videos too.

Here is the BTS video.

And if that wasn't enough here's another stop motion video doing the rounds this week

This one combines
1: Stop motion
2: "OMG a student did this!?" factor
3: Humour
4: Pop Culture references

At the other end of the spectrum "super slow motion" is another sure fire "viral" hit.

If I owned a Subscription TV company I would commission a stop motion and super slow motion TV channel. I think people have had enough Nature docos they want to see shit exploding in slow motion.

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