Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, March 06, 2015

I mentioned Game of War: Fire Age back in January. Briefly, it's a game you play on your phone. At the time I was kind of surprised
that the thing made enough money to run commercials featuring a supermodel during NFL games. I'm still nonplused, but I guess I shouldn't be-- the thing is as craftily engineered as the Bellagio-- and it grosses a million bucks a day. When you load it up for the first time you are prompted to build things in your city-- farms, quarries, barracks for soldiers. It prompts you to go on quests to gather resources for your city, and gradually you figure out how to do more elaborate things. All of these things essentially involve tapping on buttons-- there is really no virtual reality here, but doing stuff generates a feedback response-- a chime, or a banner or something like that. It makes money by selling players "gold". Although there are a lot of things one can spend the in-game gold on, what these things mostly amount to is faster play. Here is the genius of it: as one acquires resources and advances into upper levels the pace of play starts to get slower and slower unless you pay to speed it up. Every time you launch the game it opens with an ad you can tap to buy a package of goodies-- mostly "gold" but other in-game things as well. If you buy a package the members of your alliance all get goodies too. Game developers talk about "stickiness"-- the tendency of players to keep playing, or return to the game. The alliance system is another ingenious way to increase the stickiness of the experience, because members of the alliances can use a chat function, giving the experience a social dimension. It's a slot machine that doesn't ever pay out any quarters, or have to comply with any pesky Gambling Commission rules-- but it'll get you in Dutch with the wife just like real gambling.

| Comments:
We're getting closer to the Matrix every day.
I'll stick with Snake.

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