The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack is streaming online for free
We just published a post with an embed of the entirety of The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack streaming for free over at The Interactive. The stream is courtesy of Empire magazine, a popular film rag.
It’s distributed with Brightcove, a video distribution platform for the web that is attractive to marketers because of its detailed metrics and analytics, among other things.
First off, check out the soundtrack; it’s awesome. Second off, I find it interesting that these things are being released as marketing materials freely on the web. Has music been so undervalued that it now exists mainly to hawk IMAX ticket sales?
I’ll bet you that for some people the soundtrack was as highly anticipated as the movie — or even more so. It’s a funny world we live in when they just give it away like this.
But no one’s complaining. It’s awesome.
Sony VP Scott Rohde on PS3 digital downloads: “Inevitable”
One of the most interesting conversations I had with video game industry folk at E3 — and boy, did I have a lot — was with Sony Senior Vice President Scott Rohde, who manages Sony’s first-party game development studios in the U.S., like the God of War team and so on.
The full interview will go up on The Interactive on Monday, but we just published one of the most interesting tidbits this morning. When I asked him if Sony is moving to a digital distribution strategy (that is, offering full, triple-A games for download, not just retail, like Mass Effect 3 earlier this year), he very definitively said, “It’s something we want to do, and it’s inevitable.”
You can read this morning’s article on the Sony PlayStation digital download strategy for some more details and quotes.
Suffice to say, this is exciting news for cord-cutters and folks who think it’s a little absurd that we’re still buying discs in jewel cases. The PC industry has already gone completely that way — we touched on that in the interview a bit also, but you’ll see most of that conversation on Monday.
You have to wonder, though, how news like this (and Nintendo’s own announcement that it will offer its first party games as digital downloads on their respective release dates, and strongly incentivize third parties to do the same) sounds to GameStop and Best Buy.
As analyst Michael Pachter is fond of saying on his GameTrailers talk show, the relationship between game publishers and retailers is a deeply established one. It’s not easily shaken, and if retailers feel threatened, I wonder whether publishers will be fair weather friends or not.
You could certainly argue that the digital download future looks better for publishers. We’re always hearing how used game sales are cutting into their profits; you can’t resell a download, can you?
The Elder Scrolls Online: Can it match the spirit of the franchise?
The Elder Scrolls games have always presented absolute freedom as a video gaming philosophy; Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim each place the emphasis on the player’s freedom to customize is or her character and wander where he or she wants, doing whatever task he or she wants.
Now a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) based on the franchise has been announced — The Elder Scrolls Online.
But here’s the problem: That’s counter to the direction the massively multiplayer online game has been moving for the past decade. From EverQuest to World of Warcraft, the emphasis has moved from virtual worlds to highly directed experiences with rigid classes and environments created for people at exactly this level of experience and not that one.
The most recent major entry into the fray — Star Wars: The Old Republic — took this even further. Its story-oriented format drives players through linear quests that have to be completed in exactly a certain order. Players from level 10 to 20 hang out on the planet Coruscant; players outside that range never go there again.
Though many of the earliest MMOs like Ultima Online and Meridian 59 let players configure their characters intimately with flexible skill-based gameplay, the current trend is to set players on a carefully planned path from level 1 to 50.
That’s the opposite of what The Elder Scrolls games are all about. With the announcement of The Elder Scrolls online release date sometime in 2013, fans of the series have to be wondering if this new title will buck MMO tradition and honor the franchise that birthed it, or just copy World of Warcraft like all the others. Which are you expecting?
Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPhone docks at the App Store
The iPhone is second only to the PC as a platform for gamers who love the oldschool classics. That was proven once again when 2K Games released Sid Meier’s Pirates! for the iPhone today for just $2.99 — a far cry from the full box price the PC re-release originally cost back in 2004.
I have a theory that a generation of now-30-something PC gamers have all largely moved on from gaming because of growing adult responsibilities such as career and family. But the truth is that at heart, these are the most hardcore gamers at all. They put up with some wild stuff back in the day.
Now many of them own iPhones, and even though they suspect they won’t have time to sink into something like Pirates!, they’re making enough money to spend the $2.99 anyway — just in case.
I have this theory because I’m one of them. It’s one of the reasons I started The Interactive — to help high-tech folks find ways to make their preferred digital entertainment media entertain them on their own time, in the way they want to experience it.
The iPhone is perfect for this. We’re on the go, we’re busy — but we still want those deep gaming experiences. If we can pause it at any moment and always have it running in the background on our phones, we might just accumulate enough play-time over the course of a few weeks to match the experience we enjoyed in high school or college.
It just won’t be quite as immersive. Is there some truth to this theory? Let me know if you’re one of us.
Get your James Bond fix on Kindle, but not iBooks or Nook
Among the most interesting news items today is the revelation that Amazon has signed a 10-year exclusive deal to republish all 14 of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.
That means if you have a Nook, you won’t be reading those books digitally any time soon — though obviously iPad owners will be able to just use the Kindle app.
One wonders if this kind of fragmentation will lead folks to adopt the iPad over the Kindle or Nook — just to make sure they get access to everything. After all, you can get apps for any bookstore on the iPad.
Apple’s invested in iBooks somewhat, but at the end of the day, it’s a hardware company so that’d be no skin off its back.
It’s enough of a concern now for consumers that they don’t really technically “own” or possess the media they buy anymore. But they also have to worry about buying and maintaining multiple devices to keep up.
If I’m a James Bond fan and my Kindle dies, I have to buy another Kindle to access my favorite books again, even if I also own a Nook.
It’s not good for consumers. This digital media thing has a dark side. But is it all worth it?