Amanita Design does it again with "Machinarium"

We at Neodelight were big fans of Samorost by Amanita Design and happy we could feature it on
So I was excited about their latest game „Machinarium„. And I can say I really, really enjoyed playing it. Can’t remember feeling so moved by a game as during the last screens, when I had freed the robot girlfriend, knowing it would be over soon.
Kudos to for making the game so challenging (riddles) and accessible (one button design, included walk through, Flash) at the same time.
From what I hear sales of Machinarium here in Germany seem to be pretty good. It makes me very happy that Amanita therefore does not only get the critical reception they deserve.
If you are interested in the creation of Machinarium check out Machinarium Deconstructed or this little interview.
Amanita also did a little serious game for BBC called „Questionaut„. Feels good :-).
So guys, keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to many others out there.

"Silver Gaming" in Germany

Videogames are more and more becoming a regular medium. Like older mediums (books, TV) they are increasingly being used by a variety of people (across gender and age barriers) for various different means (e.g. entertainment, learning). As part of this process different specialized markets emerge (this was one of the topics of my diploma thesis).
On the 25th of January 2010 the first congress about gamers exceeding the age of 50 took place in Germany. As project manager for the conference I was very happy we hit a nerve with the topic which we labelled „Silver Gaming“ (we were sold out 🙂 . The next conference will most likely be taking place end of April in Nuremberg.
I especially liked the presentation by Nintendo. They mentioned the pressure of the strong ageing in Japan as a main reason for the development of alternative input methods for their consoles.
Other presentations included:
  • Roland Weiniger (SpieleGilde (GamesGuild) Games Industry Association): Serious Games – A huge growth area for the cultural industry.
  • Prof. Dr. Karl-Werner Jäger (Committee of Standard Practice (ANP) in DIN registered association (e.V)): Standard framework for the development and organization of user interfaces of interactive systems and games
  • Guido Hunke (A.GE Bodensee agency for generational marketing, Ravensburg) and others: Games in the senior and generational marketing area
  • Hermann Beißer (Head of the Käthe-Reichert-Nursing Home Workers‘ Welfare Association (AWO) Nuremberg): Video games in assisted living and nursing homes
  • Prof. Dr. Helmut Herold, Prof. Ethelbert Hörmann, (Ohm-University Nuremberg): genesis – “nuts and bolts “ promotion/advancement with computer games
A first summary of the findings of the congress in German can be found in this press release. A more detailed documentation will be released on the website of the congress in the future.
If you are interested in the topic but Nuremberg is to far, you can meet many of the participants of the conference in the Xing (~German LinkedIn) Silver Gaming group.

Remote Control here we go!

Since beginning of May I am working for remote control productions running their research department.

remote control productions is an independent, internationally active production house, with an emphasis on mediation, development and production of entertainment software and research services. With its extensive experience and far-reaching contacts, remote control productions acts as an important interface between developers, publishers, distributors and investors.

It feels great to be here. The general focus of the company is very interesting with projects which try to do something new and/or have an positive impact on society or the video games business in mind. On top of that the company is very much involved in education, the local IGDA chapter, contacts to political institutions and the Verein für Videospielekultur (club for video games culture) on which I blogged here.

One of my main projects is our weekly newsletter which goes like this:

Up-to-Date in 30 minutes
Keeping an eye on current trends and affairs is an imperative for anyone concerned with the video games industry.

With the RCP-Newsletter, remote control productions are offering a compact overview on the latest trends and news as well as concise figures. Whilst we are tracking the international market very closely, our special focus lies on Germany. This not only provides our readers with detailed information about international happenings but also with insights into the German industry and current political developments.

Our newsletter summarises news items from more than 40 different sources, relevant to the games industry, in a short and clearly arranged way, thus giving you the advantage of having all relevant news at hand in only 30 minutes a week.
The sections of the newsletter are covering the following areas:

  1. Current Market Data: Software-Charts with sales figures, global hardware sales and company reports
  2. PC and Videogames: announcements of new titles worldwide on all platforms
  3. Online: news about digital distribution, social networking platforms and online games
  4. Companies: fusions, takeovers, openings, closings and partnerships
  5. Technology and Hardware: firmware updates, new middleware versions, technical innovations, licensing of engines
  6. Politics, Culture, Events and Education: political decisions and amendments, cultural events, changes in education, conferences and events
  7. Feature Recommendations: articles and blogs concerning current topics and trends
  8. Event-Calendar: the most important conferences and events of the next three months

The RCP newsletter is released once per week (48 times per year) in English and German language.

What do you think about it? And if you are interested, please request a free sample copy at my new email address: utausend [) 😉

Searching new opportunities

2008 was a very busy but also very successful year for me.

  • In January I sold my online gaming company to 7Seas Technologies (press release).
  • I also did some consulting e.g. for (more).
  • In August I completed my master’s thesis titled: „Explanatory Models of Computer Gaming Consumption“ an empirical survey focusing on the differentiation of casual and hardcore games (more).
  • In December I wrote my final exams for my Master in Sociology, Political Science and Psychology and now am officially a „DiplomSoziologe Univ“, hooray!

With my company successfully sold and my diploma certificate in the pocket I now have my head cleared for new challenges.

So if you

  • know of any interesting jobs (preferably near Munich)
  • or are in need of a consultant with 8 years of experience in the social, online and casual games market (and an additional year shooting documentaries 🙂
  • or you need a researcher who does not only know the business side of computer games but has also researched them from a scientific angle,

then I am at your disposal.

If you want more information on what I did, can do and want to do in the future then check out my LinkedIn or Xing profiles or go back to the main page of my website at

As I am travelling North America until 14th of march reaching me though email might be easier than calling my cell (you find the contact info here).

Diploma thesis completed

I completed my diploma thesis and are waiting for my result. Right now I am preparing for my final exams. I will have completed my studies in March 2009. I will prepare a summary of my findings then.

In short: There were huge differences in demography and play style between the Hardcore Game Player and Casual Game Player audiences. There is not just ONE computer games culture. Gamers associate different functions and meanings with gaming. Generally restrictions (like income, time, experience with input devices and games) are less relevant when choosing which games to play than preferences (like attitude towards violence in games).

Edit: I was awarded the mark „very good“ on the thesis.

Fishing in Lake Sagar

As I wrote in another post we sold and all our sources to 7Seas Technologies.

In January 2008 the Neodelight staff was in Hyderabad/India to train the 7Seas team on our sources. We wanted them to learn on the job and therefore created a nice little game with them which even has some serious thoughts to it:

When we were sight seeing in Hyderabad, we visited Lake Sagar, a picturesque but heavily polluted lake (to keep us from doing foolish things a man told us „When you swim here – you die!„).
Around the lake we saw many „not littering“ signs which hopefully will have an effect soon.

We crossed the need to train the team with the problem of the polluted lake and got as a result the game „Clean Sagar“ in which you have to fish out garbage from the lake so it can recover.
Three days after the idea the completed game was released on the official press conference and the game became a big hit in the press as well as with Indian gamers.

The other game which was released on the press conference was Mouse Maze. This very nice mouse avoider which we created in 2007 even won the FICCI FRAMES Best of Animation Frames Award for the online gaming category. By the way, Halo 3 won best console game and Gears of War best PC game awards.

So everybody was very happy with the press conference. Especially the fish in Lake Sagar.

Do Casual Gamer become Hardcore Gamer over time?

End of last year I conducted a survey on a casual games website (the German part of and two Hardcore Games websites (,
In this blog I call the players from the casual games website casual gamers and the gamers from the hardcore games websites hardcore gamers.

I was very busy selling my own casual games company since the survey was online. Therefore I was only able to take a very brief look in a not statistically significant part of the data yet.
But this brief look already changed my view on the „most Casual Gamer will slowly become Hardcore Gamer“ topic.
The typical argumentation line is the following:
Casual games are way easier to pick up than hardcore games and are therefore the natural starting point for most non gamers.
Through playing casual games these gamers will over time become more experienced with computer games (becoming computer game literate) and will then slowly migrate to the more sophisticated hardcore games.

But my data does not support this as the Casual Gamers are already playing since 16 years while the HC Gamers only play since 10.

Therefore if you only look at the years of experience with computer games, the Casual Games are ahead.
This speaks against a general trend of casual gamers migrating to become hardcore gamers the longer they play.

In my survey the hardcore gamers have an average age of roughly 20, while the average age of the casual gamers is a bit below 40.
Youngsters are considered to have much more time to play games than older people.
And you generally need more time to play hardcore games than casual games. So how about hardcore gamers becoming casual gamers when they get older?
I did not ask about it, so this one is pretty much open for speculation. But what do you think judging your friends and family?

To sum it up I don’t think the years of experience are very important, but the age someone did play computer for the first time.
I think older persons are not as playful with new things like computers as kids are and therefore more easily frustrated and turning to the simple to learn casual games.
I my survey the hardcore gamers started playing with 10, the casual gamers with 20.