Tales of Vesperia

The Reason the Video Game Industry Is Bigger Than Hollywood

Tales of Vesperia continues to rock my world.  I played for several hours again today after reading wealth reports and working on the upcoming About.com content I’ve been writing this week (I tend to publish the good stuff over there in big batches because I like for it all to work together and be cohesive).  The rest of my week is going to be consumed by preparing for a Board of Directors meeting with my sporting good company, which will probably be held in Kansas City or Houston, I haven’t decided which yet.

I still think it’s funny that the 35 and under crowd – we get video games and we have made it a bigger industry than Hollywood.  Yet, statistically if you talk to someone middle age or higher, they still associate most games with 13-year-old teenage boys.  Their generation grew up going to movie theaters; our generation grew up playing Legend of Zelda on the original NES console (path through the forest to the graveyard and death mountain: left, up, left, left, down, left).

Tales of Vesperia

Why is the video game industry bigger than Hollywood?  I think it comes down to economics.  I look at this way … for $30 or $50, we get between 30 and 100 hours of “interactive movie”, which costs between $0.30 and $1.67 per hour of entertainment.  If you go to a movie and pay $10 for a ticket, you are paying $5 per hour (in some cases more if the film is only 1.5 hours long).  Not only is a good game cheaper in the long-run, but you can spread it out over several weeks or even a month.  That is, of course, assuming you have a life and a job.

Knowledge Worker

How to Solve the Trade Deficit – Part III

This is Part III of my special on How to Solve the Trade Deficit.  If you missed the earlier parts, you can read Part I or Part II first.

How to Solve the Trade Deficit – Knowledge Workers vs. Manual Workers

In many ways, your question about the trade deficit has very little to do with global trade policies and everything to do with the rise of the “knowledge worker” class that Peter Drucker predicted in 1959.

Drucker, the management guru who is to executives what Warren Buffett is to investors, realized decades before most of his contemporaries that rapid gains in technology would eventually result in blue collar jobs disappearing and causing somewhat of a crisis in the population. Drucker hypothesized that the economy would split into several major classes of employees: “knowledge workers”, “production workers” and “manual workers,” just to name a few.

What Is a Knowledge Worker?

A knowledge worker is someone who has a set of skills that cannot be easily replicated or automated. A heart surgeon, a nurse, a nuclear engineer, a chemist, and a lawyer are examples of knowledge workers. No matter who employs them, they are, for all intents and purposes, their own business.

A nurse can move across the country and find work at another hospital far easier than someone who flips burgers for a living because the competition for the fast food job is much more intense (after all, almost anyone can flip burgers but not everyone has the years of medical knowledge necessary to save people’s lives in a hospital setting). Likewise, an attorney can put up a shingle and go into business for himself, getting clients to pay him on a case-by-case basis.

How to Make Money in Fable 2 – Or, How I Made My Fable 2 Character a Millionaire in a Few Days Without Cheating

Fable 2 Limited Edition Box Set for XBOX 360It’s remarkable that the same concepts that allowed me to be effectively retired by my mid-twenties allows me to frequently become rich in video games. That’s the nature of compounding.  It is a law, exactly like gravity.

This weekend, Ashly and Ian drove in from Columbus to visit – they are thinking about relocating to this area next March so that she can work with us on the businesses and he can work as a nuclear engineer at a nearby facility.  Right now, she’s a risk mitigation analyst at a well-known bank, so her skills would be a useful addition to the staff.

Anyway, as we were out having Chipotle and Coldstone, we stopped by a nearby video game store and went in just to see if anything was new.  I came across a game called Fable 2 and, having seen the preview of the original fable on the XBOX 360 Live service, it interested me.  Long story short, I picked up about $100 worth of games and merchandise, figuring I’d get to play them when I had time.  Given the fact we’ve quintupled the number of e-commerce sites under our control in the past six months, that seemed like a long, long time away, frankly.

Um.  No.  As Aaron et. al., made the Julia Child beef bourguignon recipe, Ashly suggested I start playing the game (I’d grown hesitant when I realized it was rated M, which I incorrectly assumed was used only for grotesque violence).  None of us had any idea what we were getting into when we turned on the console.

The Premise of Fable 2
The premise of Fable 2 is simple.  As in life, every choice you make influences the quality of your soul and the outcome of your journey.  Your choices are pretty much like those that every man and woman has when they are born – be good by giving money to orphans, helping those in distress, donating clothes, charging below-market rent to those in poverty, and working to rid the world of evil, or you can be evil by murdering innocent people, having unprotected sex and catching STD’s, terrorizing cities, gambling, stealing, sacrificing people … you name it.

When I say there are practically no limits, I mean it, even in details that are absent in other games such as growing fat if you eat too much food or your character’s sex life (e.g., you can raise a family, go the church (in the game, “The Temple of Light”), and become known as a prude, or you can have homosexual orgies, get drunk, and vomit in the town square after a night of pub games during which you amassed large gambling debts).  Before I continue: For those who think games like this are offense, that’s irrational and unjustified.  We, as humans, have these same choices in life.  It’s called free will.  Why is it okay for us to have the God-given right to self-determination in the physical world, but demand punishment for software studios that do the same in virtual ones?  It’s a mental malfunction to think like that.

Sometimes You Just Have to Accept Who You Are – And I’m a Capitalist
The first three days I played Fable 2, I did nothing but work in the game, earn money to buy real estate and businesses, and then for the rest of the time, didn’t need to exert any effort because I was able to live off the dividends generated from these assets.  It mirrored the precise course of action I followed in my own life beginning with my decision to become an investor when I was ten years old.

Here was my plan for becoming a millionaire without cheating …