The Dollars and Cents of Star Wars (Infographic)

Last week, someone pointed out to me that we’re under a month to the premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Putting the biggest movie franchise in the world in the hands of one of the hottest sci-fi directors who happens to be a noted Star Wars fan has The Force Awakens expected to be one of the biggest movies of all-time. Analysts are expecting Episode VII to top a $1 billion gross, a half-billion dollar opening weekend and maybe even beat $2 billion at the box office.

For more on the money made by Star Wars and the money spent to make that money, we have a handy infographic for your perusal.

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Wednesday Link-Off: Election Blues

lights-junos15-01I’m a little disappointed I don’t have enough time in the morning to prep the links at the last minute. I’d love to have some links about the Israeli election included in the post but that was still a dead heat last I heard. I suppose that’s what I have the Sunday links for.

Anyway, if it’s Wednesday, it’s time for the links. Let’s kick things off with Lights.

I don’t know (or care) what this Hilary Clinton email scandal is but it’s gotten her presidential aspirations off to a rocky start with two years of campaigning still to go. (Rolling Stone)

Political parties often put a lot of time and effort into finding the right candidate. For the Democrats, if they put that much effort in getting people out to vote, they’d never lose. (Al Jazeera America)

This time of year brings up plenty of questions about why college “student-athletes” don’t get paid but they aren’t the only cogs in a multi-million dollar machine going unpaid. Canada is going through the same thing in junior hockey. (Vice Sports)

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Wednesday Link-Off: Not E3

shay-mitchell-esquirephilippines14-04With this week being E3, I have been extra busy over on et geekera with all the news and trailer roundups from the press conferences as well as with the other bits of news that devs are giving out to the press. There’ll be scads of E3 coverage here starting tomorrow but you can get it early on etg.

Today on The Lowdown, though, it’s time for the links. Let’s start with Canadian actress Shay Mitchell. What does she have to do with gaming? Nothing but neither does this post.

In Venezuela, prostitutes make better money as a currency exchange than they do as prostitutes. (Bloomberg)

Google did an internal examination of its hiring practices and found that impressive transcripts and degrees don’t translate to on-the-job results. Hell, anyone that works could’ve told you that. (Business Insider)

In Utah, you can’t have bare arms if you’re a woman. Such a wonderfully equal state. (Standard Examiner)

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Sony Raises PS4 Console and Game Prices in Canada

ps4-moneyBack in January, we brought a story about EB Games Canada quietly raising prices on almost all of their new releases from $60 to upwards of $70 whether they were on current or last-gen consoles. Last month, Microsoft quietly announced that the price of Xbox One games would increase to $65 each. Now, Sony has announced that the price of the PS4 console in Canada will increase along with the price of games and peripherals.

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EB Games Canada is Quietly Raising Prices

eb-games-canada-logoThe Canadian currency market is probably not something most gamers pay attention to but it might be something that will concern Canadian gamers if what EB Games is doing becomes an industry-wide trend.

The Canadian arm of GameStop has very quietly raised the prices of some much-anticipated upcoming games. Rather than being $60 as it was for new games in previous years, EB Games is charging up to $70 for new games that are available for pre-order.

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The Economics of Steam Trading Cards and the Steam Wallet

steam-trading-cards-headerIt’s been six months since Steam introduced their Trading Cards. When they first launched, I was utterly confused as to why anyone would be interested in virtual trading cards that had no purpose and no value. It just seemed like a way for Valve to make some money that no one would buy into.

However, having just completed the Steam Holiday Sale, it’s readily apparent that Valve has hit a home run with the Trading Cards. It’s not just the transaction fees that are making Valve money. The spin-off effect from Trading Cards does just as much to make Steam even more profitable.

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How Much Do Top YouTubers Make? (Infographic)

Since we cover games fairly frequently on this blog and since the most subscribed channel on YouTube is the games channel of PewDiePie, I thought it would be fun to find out how much the top YouTubers make. Fortunately, we have this handy infographic that estimates how much YouTube’s top earners make from ads.

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Why March is the New Video Game Christmas

gamestop-black-fridayIt used to be that all the big products were launched in time for the Christmas shopping season (or your religion’s December equivalent). This included video games. Last year wasn’t much different with big releases in the run up to Christmas including Far Cry 3, COD: Blops 2, Hitman, Assassin’s Creed 3, among several other triple-A releases.

The reason for releasing games in the fall in the run up to Christmas is obvious. Christmas is the biggest shopping season of the year. Everyone is asking for and looking for Christmas gifts so what better time to get your big products out there than when people are spending scads of money anyway.

So why do I bring up March? If you’ve checked the release calendar, you’d have noticed that this month has more noteworthy games coming out than seemingly any single month in the past year. We’ve already had reboots for Tomb Raider and Sim City start the month and BioShock: Infinite will close it up. In the intervening time period, there you can buy StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, prequels for Gears of War and God of War, and The Walking Dead cash in from Activision.

So why has March turned into such a hotbed for big game releases?

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Does Anyone Believe What They See In Ads? (Infographic)

It might be the cynic in me but I have a hard time believe a lot of promises in advertising. It’s generally a case of if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It turns out that I’m not the only one who feels this way. This infographic shows there are a great many who have a hard time believing what they see in ads. Continue reading

The Economics of Video Game Development

call-of-duty-black-ops-2-wallpaperA few weeks back, one of the hot stories in the video game world was that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 reached gross sales of $1 billion in only 15 days. What sounded like good news for publisher Activision was quickly reigned in by writers pointing out that CoD: Blops 2 sold fewer copies to reach $1 billion of gross sales than 2011’s CoD: Modern Warfare 3.

This raised an interesting question in my mind: How profitable are video games to make? Even if Blops2 sold fewer copies, shouldn’t Activision still have covered the sunk costs of development and marketing after paying for the variable costs of each unit sold? Continue reading