Sunday, February 24, 2013

Les Misérables - Too Much Singing!

So I recently saw Les Misérables.  It was the first time I ever saw it in movie form or otherwise.  My immediate reaction after watching it was, "All they did was sing, there was no talking."  I'm used to musicals where it's half acting and half singing, and things just seemed out of whack in Les Misérables.

I wasn't sure if I was just imagining this, so I looked up the number of musical numbers in the following musicals. The musicals I selected are pretty much at random, whatever came to mind. I didn't bother to differentiate between orchestra only or singing numbers, b/c I haven't seen all of these.  I just counted the number of different items listed on Wikipedia.

Musical Number of Musical Numbers
Les Misérables 50
Wicked 21
The Sound of Music 26
Phantom of the Opera 39
My Fair Lady 24
Cats 27
Chicago 21
The Book of Mormon 22
Grease 21
West Side Story 27
American Idiot 30

So I guess I wasn't imagining things, there are just way more musical numbers than the average musical.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Apple TV vs Xbox/Playstation

I saw this article, The Fall TV Lineup May Include Apple Dominating Gaming,  and wanted to comment, because I couldn't help but disagree.

The author makes the argument that an Apple TV would completely crush Xbox, PS3, Wii, etc.

Here are some of the arguments in the article:
Apple is going to dominate where their rivals cannot simply because of the support of small, third-party app developers.
That the Apple TV is already nearly powerful enough to run [games like Call of Duty]. Perhaps not the highest of the high end, but give it a year or two. That’s the thing: Apple will likely push yearly hardware (and software) updates for anything they do. Microsoft has not updated the Xbox in over 7 years. Huge mistake.

the audience for non-hardcore games when Apple opens up an Apple TV SDK will be much larger than the audience for the hardcore games.

Apple will not win this space by playing the game that Microsoft, Sony, and to some extent, Nintendo, are playing. They will win by changing the rules of the game. And that game is all about developers, developers, developers, developers.
I disagree with these based on one major theory:

The TV is not a casual entertainment device, it is a serious one.

People spend a lot of money on better sound, better definition TVs, etc. because they want a much higher quality experience when they sit down.

They pay a premium on cable, on video streaming, and movie disks (i.e. blue ray vs. DVD) simply for the privilege of experiencing this higher quality content.

On phones, people can play Angry Birds or Words With Friends in 5 minute increments, but I don't believe people do that on a TV.

This isn't to say there isn't a casual market for this.  After all, the Wii sold 100 million units.  There is a market for the casual, but is it one that can destroy the Xbox or Playstation?  I'm skeptical.  This is not a world where a Zynga can thrive, it is one where an Activision can thrive, where investing $50 million in the development of a game results in huge sales and profit.

Now, this isn't to say there won't be people that develop the $50 million dollar game for the Apple TV, I'm sure they will.  But will they develop it only for Apple TV or also for Xbox & Playstation?  If you're willing to put $50 million into the development of a game, I can't imagine it being for only one platform.