Moving…again

Yes, that’s right I’m moving again. This time I’m only moving a couple miles down the road, rather than across the country. The new place has a bigger room and some pretty cool room mates, one that works part timem for a game development company that is making an MMO. I’m excited about the new place and I’m looking forward to living in a new area and hanging out with some new people. We’re right next to a river and a bike path so it should be a nice area to be in as the weather warms up 🙂

Work has started to pick up a bit and we’ve got some exciting things going on. This week we implemented some cool new features, like our Xfire Auto-Blogging feature which checks your Xfire account every day and creates an automatic blog entry about it. Players can later go back and add their own details to the blog entry, like your experiences, perhaps some screenshots or youtube videos, whatever you want. We’re going to be implementing the same thing for Xbox Live and World of Warcraft soon so I’m very excited to see some cool stuff on our site that we’ve been working on for awhile. We’re shooting to officially launch GamerDNA.com sometime in June so check that out and let me know what you think when we launch 🙂

This week we decided to kick it up a notch on our company blog and update it more frequently with information about new patches and features, stuff about the company or what we’re doing internally, funny little anecdotes from the office or stuff that we see on our site….all sorts of stuff.  We want to be transparent to our community and show them that we’re gamers just like they are so whether it’s an update about a cool feature, a blog post about how we’re all addicted to GTA4 and Age of Conan or whatever it may be, it’ll be up there!  We also just launched our GamerDNA Twitter which is a great way to keep up on what we’ve got going on, stuff that we’re talking about or checking out or if we’re having any uptime or killer bugs (hope not!).  Check those out and subscribe to our feeds and follow us on Twitter!

That’s about it for now.  I’ll try to update later with some stuff about this week, some of the games I’m playing and I’ll check in after the move this weekend.  Until then have a great 3 day weekend!

GamerDNA Launches!

Today we announced that GuildCafe has changed it’s name to GamerDNA! We’re all pretty excited about our new name as it reflects our direction of the company and our focus: Giving a place for gamers to have their own personalized space that is all about their gamer history and accomplishments. Towards the end of this spring we will have a GamerDNA that resembles the future of what our platform is going to do and offer. I’m so stoked about this and can’t wait to see where we go and watch us grow as a company over the next few months.

Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

GamerDNA Inc. announced that it completed a $3 million Series A financing led by Flybridge Capital Partners. The company, previously known as GuildCafe Entertainment Inc., will use the funds to expand product development, open new offices in Cambridge’s Central Square, and launch GamerDNA.com — a community that allows videogame players to join forces with friends, share their stories and discover what’s happening in the games they love.

For the full press release on our company blog go here.

Today Xconomy published a great interview with our CEO Jon Radoff that goes into more detail about what we’re trying to do with GamerDNA and what the future of the company will be. Check it out here.

That’s it for now. Cheers to GamerDNA!

GamerDNA Logo!

Big things on the horizon

I’m back! I’ve made a promise to myself that I’m going to keep up on blogging and I’m going to write about my feelings of different things going on in the gaming world, music, whats going on at work, etc. So, let’s get on with the updates!

I’m making some attempts at diving back into alternative media like IPTV shows and podcasts, as well as trying to use all the different Web 2.0 technologies. Over the past couple weeks I’ve started listening to podcasts much more than I used to because I’m now listening to them on my way to work and on the way back. I’ve found some excellent marketing and video gaming podcasts that I’ll make sure I add to my links on the side of the page. My current favorite IPTV (internet TV) shows are DiggNation and Cranky Geeks, though I’m checking out some of the other shows on Revision3. I really like being able to watch TV shows about stuff I’m interested in on demand through the internet. My hope is that this is the way things will go in the future and that eventually I’ll be able to watch History Channel, Discovery, Comedy Central, etc live via my internet connection via my browser.

In the Web2 department I’ve started using Twitter and I’ve added a little widget for it on the side of my blog page. Some of the guys I work with use it and really like it and use it as a way to keep up on news in the industry so I’ve decided to check it out. I’m currently using the Twitter app for Google Desktop which makes it very easy for me to Twitter whenever I want to. It kind of serves as a tiny little micro blog about what I’m doing right then or whatever I want to tell people about. I’m starting to really like it and plan to keep up with it quite often.

Tomorrow(technically today) will be our third week in the GuildCafe office in Central Square. So far I think everyone really likes the office and it’s been great to work with in an office setting. Communication is so much easier now that we’re all in the same place and we’ve had a lot of very good, important discussions about the company in these past two weeks. What we’re doing now is determining the future and direction of the company so its quite an exciting time. It’s fascinating to me to be in the company in the very beginning and watch it grow week after week.

On Wednesday we’re having our Office Warming party at GuildCafe. In conjunction with that we’ve got some big announcements to make which we’re all very excited about. Over 60 people have RSVP’d and we’ll have beer, pizza and video games for everyone to enjoy. Expect a blog post Wednesday or Thursday about the announcement 🙂

Besides that Boston has been great so far. I’ve been to the Boston Web Innovators Group meeting as well as the Boston Chapter of the IGDA (Boston Post-Mortem). Both were great networking events that I enjoyed quite a bit and I plan to go to all of their meetings in the future. I’ll talk about those more in the future as it’s late and I need to get to bed.

Looking forward to this week and make sure to check back on Thursday!

Moving into the office tomorrow

GuildCafe moves into our new office tomorrow, March 31st.  The office will be right smack dab in Central Square in Cambridge, just a stones throw from Harmonix which is the company who made Guitar Hero 1 and 2 as well as the awesomely fun Rock Band.  It’ll be my first time ever working in an office environment so it should be interesting and a lot of fun since everyone I’ve in the company has a good sense of humor and we enjoy video games.  It’s pretty cool to be able to talk about the upcoming WOW patch or what our favorite games, at work.

So far work hasn’t been too bad, though it’s starting to get a bit stressful because I need to read about two books for work and I’ve got a final exam in my Business Principles class in about two weeks.  I’m learning a lot because there is quite the learning curve jumping into a company with very experienced and professional people behind it..and you’re 20 years old.  I don’t mind it all, though, since it helps me become more knowledgeable about what we’re doing here and it’s also exciting to learn new cool and interesting stuff.

This month has been very exciting at work because we’ve almost doubled the size of our staff in just a few weeks time.  We’ve hired four new engineers along with myself (I work in Marketing) and my hope is that with this increase in staff there will be an increase in production.  There are so many cool and exciting features that we want to put in GuildCafe…just a matter of time until they get done.   Hopefully the increase from 3 engineers to 7 will help things along 🙂

I’m enjoying Boston, though it’s ridiculously expensive to live here.  I’m looking forward to using the public transportation system to get to work instead of driving every day.  Since the office is right off of the red line I’ll be able to get to work in just about 20-30 minutes, a lot quicker than the commutes I’ve had to make at my past jobs.

Overall the transition from small town Ohio to Boston is going well.  I’m excited about exploring the city and going to new places in April with my unlimited bus/subway pass and work is pretty kick ass.  Let’s hope April is even better than March and that it brings some great times to GuildCafe!

I’m officially in Boston!

As of today, I’ve moved in to my apartment in Boston and I’m going to go to work tomorrow 🙂  I officially started last week and I’ve been slowly starting, getting some concepts and ideas together, as well as trying to track down some contacts. We’re supposed to be able to move in to the GuildCafe offices within a couple weeks..and they’re supposed to be the same offices that Harmonix is in..or atleast used to be in?!

Either way it’s pretty kick ass and I’m excited.

Now I just need to get a desk and chair and I’ll be like 10x happier 🙂

I’ve been hired!

On Tuesday February 12th I was offered a full time job at GuildCafe and I was asked to move out to Cambridge, Massachusetts.  I’ve signed the papers and accepted the offer and I’ll be starting on March 1st, moving out there about a week later 🙂

My job title will be “Game Talent Lead”, which means I’ll be in charge of identifying community influencers in the online video game space, working with them on projects or pointing out new features, then working with them to promote GuildCafe to their sphere of influence.  I’ll also be running our radio station along with some other various things for the company.

Right now I’m looking at apartments in the Cambridge area on Craigslist and trying to line up some places I can visit while I go out to Boston next weekend to try to find a place.  It’s pretty crazy because I’ve never ever lived in a huge city.  I’ve lived in Delaware, Ohio my entire life pretty much.  This is going to be a wild adventure but I’m so freaking excited!

I’ll try to update with my progress as things pick up over the next month and beyond.  Right now I’m studying for a mid term exam I’ve got this coming week, then focusing on going out to Boston to find an apartment.  Just a week after that I start at GuildCafe!

Time to catch up

I thought I’d use this blog entry to try and catch up with what has been happening over the past six months. I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet because otherwise you could write a small novel about what all has happened since the last real blog entry, so here are the important things.

Back in July I became “Uncle Sam” when my sister had a cute little boy named Adrian:

Adrian

He’s been a blast to help take care over the last six months and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of his life. I look forward to making sure he likes good music, taking him to fun things with his uncle and making sure he gets an introduction to video games. I did my duty as a nerdy uncle and bought him a “Level 1 Human”jumper from Jinx.com and he should be able to wear it some time this summer.

A few weeks after Adrian was born I flew out to the SOE Fan Faire in Las Vegas. Through some convincing of the community management team for SOE they agreed to pay for my plane ticket out to Fan Faire. Las Vegas was a lot smaller than I thought it would be and it was ridiculously hot…when there was a breeze it felt like you were standing outside an oven. Since I was only 19 years old at the time I couldn’t really take part in the drinking and the gambling so that made the trip kind of lame, not to mention the Rio is a pretty boring hotel that is off the strip.

Overall, though, the trip was awesome and I got to meet tons of people in the MMO industry and the community around SOE games. This was my first chance to finally meet John Findlay who at the point of our meeting was the CEO of Uberguilds and I had only talked to on the phone and exchanged emails with. I also got to meet Ian Jones, the server/hardware guy for The Uberguilds Network. The guys were nice enough to let me stay in their room at the Rio, where I slept on the fold out couch and got up early every morning to setup our Uberguilds Radio booth.

Fan Faire Oh yeah, the whole point of us going to Fan Faire was that Uberguilds Radio was going to have a booth setup in the main Fan Faire hall and broadcast live all week. The broadcast went great and it couldn’t have been such a huge success without the help of TxTurbo who was our knight in shining armor and came in to make our broadcast what it was. TxTurbo came with a video camera, his laptop, mixing board, several mics, an LCD screen, speakers, a little marquee and more. This dude really made our booth stand out and we absolutely blew the competition out of the water. We filmed interviews with people all weekend and it put Uberguilds Radio on the map as a great source for MMO coverage. What we did in Vegas really showed the potential for what we could do with a relatively small amount of people, some hardware, and a love for video games. You can bet we’re going to be doing more of this stuff in the future…hopefully later this year.

I wanted to also mention that I met a lot of awesome people at Fan Faire, all of them being people I had either talked to online and become friends with or never talked to at all. Scott Hartsman was an awesome dude to meet and was so nice to me, it was unbelievable how cool he was to me..just some internet radio kid 😛 I also finally got to meet Steve Williams, who I interviewed back in March of 2007 about Vanguard’s Diplomacy and he too was an awesome dude. I want to give some shout outs to Silas Morse(Vanguard programmer), Troy from Voyages of Vanguard, the Flying Labs guys(Jess, Troy, Rusty), all my old friends from The Matrix Online(and even some guild mates), Brasse, and everyone else that we met at Fan Faire!

After that I went to Gen Con in Indianapolis, Indiana and filmed several interviews with game companies, with the help of Dan Salters from Uberguilds. There we got to meet Cuppa Jo from NCSoft, Theresa Prudenz and the rest of the Flying Labs Studios people, more Warhammer Online devs and that was about it. I hated Indy because it sucked to try to find a parking spot and if I had a choice I’d probably get a hotel room and walk next time because it was just absolutely shitty trying to park there.

Fast forward a few months and I started and ended a job from hell at Subway, I registered for the winter semester at Franklin University to study Marketing, and I started a job at Best Buy in the media department selling video games.  On November 21st GuildCafe officially announced that they had acquired The Uberguilds Network and Findlay and Ian now work for GuildCafe full time.  Dan and I both still don’t work for a salary and we’re currently considered volunteers.  Uberguilds Radio is still in operation and we’re currently making business plans for the future that will hopefully include it becoming a part of the GuildCafe business plan and become a full time job for me.

Right now I’m taking a business principles class at Franklin that is all online and I’m reading a ton of books about internet radio, radio, and marketing.  I’ve been told that GuildCafe is very interested in me working for them full time and possibly moving out to Boston to work directly with them.  I’m just concentrated on being as qualified as possible for any job that they want me to do and coming up with a solid plan for the station.  While this has caused a lot of stress on me because I want to work for them so bad I’m trying to stay patient and work hard to prove to them that I’m worthy of being employed.

Well that’s about it….besides the fact that I was let go from Best Buy(I was seasonal), I’m out of a job and I bought an Xbox 360 for myself for Christmas.  Maybe I’ll write some other time about the 360 😛  Until then I hope you can read my ramblings and have a good day 🙂

Late Resolution: I should start blogging again

I should probably use this since I just spent about 100$ for hosting this for another year.  I partly did it so I can have my own personal email address that isnt tied to anything work and I own completely….and if I ever need a file server I can host stuff on here and not worry about bandwidth or disk space.

Lots of stuff is happening these days,  I might start updating this this week to track my progress in school, track how things are going with GuildCafe and what has happened with that…and just life.  Sounds like a plan!  Tons of stuff has happened since I last updated and I should get back into this!  I’ve become an uncle, GuildCafe acquired The Uberguilds Network, I went to Las Vegas for the first time and covered SOE Fan Faire, I took a semester off from college and switched schools….tons of shit happened!  I’ll try to catch you up today!

MMO Industry, why aren’t you mobile yet?

I realize I’m a bit late but I wanted to comment on this apparent rumor that Blizzard is interested in making some sort ofWoW Gone Mobile World of Warcraft mobile application for your cell phones, iPhones, etc. The reason I wanted to add my two cents is mainly just because I’m so excited about the possibilities with this. Everything is going mobile these days, from internet browsing to internet radio, people want to stay connected and our technology is allowing them to do so.

I want to echo what Pocket Gamer said, with this:

“Forget mobile games, and make a mobile application instead. Something that gives you access to guild chat, or other admin aspects of the PC version of WoW. Instead of selling it through mobile operators, Blizzard might tack this onto the regular WoW subscription – pay a quid/dollar extra a month, and get the mobile app.”

I agree, everyone should probably forget about hoping to raid Onyxia on their iPhone. They should instead be excited about how they could manage that raid on their phone, how they could check up on their sales in the auction house, work on crafting a new item, or maybe just chat with their guildies and friends. I doubt these applications would be super complicated to build, definitely not as complicated as trying to fit WOW on a mobile device and have a graphical version playable.

I think in general as video games go more and more online that they should be making mobile tie-ins to their service. To me it’s all about surrounding yourself with your hobby and with something that you love and enjoy. After all, that’s why I do internet radio for gamers. This could do all sorts of good for your brand royalty and after all, the more time people spend in your game the better, right? If you could provide tools for your players that could make it easier for them to do things, like coordinate raids for example, I bet you’d make them quite happy. I’d much rather send out a message on our integrated mobile device raid function than have to coordinate a last minute main-tank change via IM or phone call.

This isn’t the first time that MMO companies have talked about doing stuff like this but I do wonder why WoW has been so slow to act with regards to this. SOE’s The Agency has talked about possibly integrating game features into mobile devices, for instance getting a text message from your own Q when your new car is ready. I’m pretty sure 38 Studios has also talked about integrating into mobile devices, as well as a slew of other things like movies and other media forms. In my opinion more and more companies need to be thinking like 38 Studios and be proactive about the future and lead the way. I think this is the future of MMO/Online gaming and I don’t understand what is taking developers so long to act.

Is Raph Koster’s MetaPlace talking about this? Why hasn’t Second Life done something yet? It’s time to start thinking outside the box and creating an entire experience(in marketing terms, your brand) for your players. It’s just a matter of time and I can’t wait 🙂 What do you think MMO companies should do to break outside the mold and do something new and unique, beyond just adding new ways to PVP and raid?