Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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Simple and Complex Curvatures

Convergence... as the cost of specialised hardware (and need for it for complex function) decreases compared to the cost of batteries, case, and distribution of devices, the pressure for convergence increases. Cell phones, music players, handheld video games, radio, GPS, on some level we should expect them to, provided externalities don't get in the way, eventually converge into a small number of devices (as this has been going on for some time, some of this has already happened) - while the first cellphones and the original GameBoy had much less hardware in common, I imagine iPhones/Blackberries and the GameBoyDS/PlaystationPortable have a lot in common with the primary barriers to convergence now being "political" (that is, related to the personalities/distinctiveness of big players rather than inherent possibility). Neither the PSP nor the iPhone are weak devices - either of them are likely capable of handling all the nuances of the other (given an antenna and a bit of related hardware for the gaming system to meet its end). Games have been available on cellphones for some time, largely written in Java but limited by having little storage guaranteed to be available, download speeds, and other platform limitations. I suspect that if Apple (or any of the more advanced phones to come that will try to compete with the iPhone) put some effort into it, courted game developers (and ideally supported Java, SDL, or some other suitable API/library/platform), and decided to be open, they'd be able to enter that market (likely by partly-joining the PC platform and having compatibility). I've heard of a number of game development studios criticising the Wii for having inferiour graphics - Nintendo has taken the stance that the graphics arn't as important as the gameplay, while those studios (and their supporters) have argued that nice graphics are what gamers are really keen on. I suspect what's going on is that they're describing different parts of the gaming market in their statements - graphics and gameplay are probably differently interesting to different parts of the potential market, and there's also presumably a subset of the potential market that might have their interest preferences defined by either depending on how things are played (exposure through peers, etc). Having played a number of web-based games with little-to-no graphics, and having seen the usage statistics on them (KOL at about 15k logins per day and UrbanDead's stats), there is some portion of the market that cares even less about graphics (or raw interactivity) than the Wii provides - similarly, flash-based games (anything from yet another implementation of Puzzle Bobble to DOFUS) see a lot of use. I don't know how much these things represent a real market (their high usage may be strongly tied to the fact that they're mostly or entirely enjoyable for free), but they might drive secondary markets (adverts, hardware) or their cannibalism of commercial games may be strategically useful.

I hope that in the end we have open platforms on which to write games, and that plentiful free games (however they're supported, and hopefully open-source) cover much of the market. It's hard to tell what convergence will do though - maybe we'll end up with platforms that look like portable OSX or Linux/SDL, maybe more embedded Java. Interesting to think about.

On the way from work today, I came across an agressive bum and later a kind of airy lady who said she did Yoga and gave the impression that she was either very spiritual or off-kilter (possibly both) - she asked me things like "Do you have a pure soul?" "Are you a good person?" and similar. She implied that she had had a bad stay in Western Psych at some point (not a surprise - as I understand facilities like that are rife with abuse and problems). I'm still feeling moody, lonely, and for the last few days I've had a stomachache - hunger still shows up, but it's difficult to actually eat once I get food in front of me. I did have a decent lunch though - buffet at an indian place on 5th. Their menu is small, and their specialties are interestingly different than those of India Garden.

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The 61c has a new white tea that's one of the most pleasant I've had - next time I'll pay attention to the name and share it with y'all.


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