News Of The Day 7/27/2010

Disney buys Playdom, GameStop buys Kongregate, and everyone else is buying StarCraft II. It's your must-know news for career geeks, profans, and protaku!

Local government may not be a place for you: up to a half million public jobs expected to be cut. Of course that's an estimate, and we'll see what happens when people experience the repercussions.


Who owns US Treasury Debt? Lots of juicy information – including one thing I didn't know is how much Japan was invested in the US.

US Consumers are a lot more pessimistic. Really, I wonder why . . .

Also in case you forgot the last decade was lousy for US job growth. Plenty of political arguing in the comments.

Are things getting too attractive too fast. Some food for thought, though I can't say I agree with all of this.

Anime and Manga:
Cowboy Bebop writer Dai Sato blasts the Japanese anime industry and culture, and says anime is dying out. He also feels that the 'Cool Japan' concept is being manipulated politically.

Working in the area of printer technology not exciting? Well Lexmark is showing growth and some good deals. Maybe you want to get that resume ready . . .

Tech company Elemental gets $7.5 million from a Disney VC branch. Their stuff sounds interesting, but I'm interested in their future with an investory like that – I figure that's a sign they know what they're doing. Plus the article notes they're hiring, so people – go for it.

Video Games:
Zynga is going to announce its alliance with SoftBank of Japan. Which of course is of no surprise to anyone. What we will get is more details, and probably a better picture of Zynga's plans – and Japan's plans. Meanwhile get some insights on Zynga from Bryan Reynolds who makes a few points I hadn't thought of, including that some of the smaller social games represent a return to "the old days."

It looks like GameStop's future strategy is a bit more clearer – they just bought online game company Kongregate. It seems like their goals are a mix of moving with the times, expanding and brand consolidation, where GameStop will be a mix of stores, services, free games, and even community. I have to say I'm pretty bullish on them – and I think the approach that's evolving seems to differentiate themselves from Best Buy and other retailers.

Big News: Disney buys Playdom for $763 million. That's a big purchase by Disney of a good company that makes good products and is smack in Silicon Valley. This ALSO positions Disney to compete with . . . Zynga, Playfish/EA, and . . . well maybe GameStop? A new front in the Everything Wars? Looks like it – and I wonder how geeks are going to react to Disney snapping up so many geektastic properties, though Kingdom Hearts seemed to herald the re-Hipness of Disney.

EverQuest II to launch a free-to-play version with a twist – the free-to-play version will have lots of pay-for-options that would affect gameplay, so thus the separate game. An interesting idea, though it seems to be very limiting on free players, enough to seem awful blatant. Still, watch and see what happens – it's another free-to-play experiment we can learn from as we vaguely try and predict the future.

StarCraft II launches today. Surprising, I know.

Total Nerdity:
In 1956 Arthur C. Clarke predicted Sattilite TV and GPS

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What do you think GameStop's overall strategy for the next few years is?

– Steven Savage