26 October, 2012

Alt Minds, living the game

Alt Minds is a new kind of total immersion game. A joint venture between French game developer Lexis Numerique and Orange Valley, the innovation investment arm of the telecoms operator.

The starting point is video footage of five physicists being kidnapped from the university in Belgrade. Then the player has to investigate, or at least help the ongoing investigation. Linked to the game via all possible connected media, she follows the course of the game over an eight week period. For example, an investigator breaks into a suspect's appartment, which the gamer can watch online in real time. But the investigator needs to crack the password on the suspect's laptop; this is where the gamer can step in. And so on. Social networks, web streaming, android and i-phone apps, tablets, and laptops, all are called into play. The first session of Alt-Minds will start on 12 November, in various languages. It will be replayed early next year. The first "chapter" (week) will be free, the subsequent chapters €3 each or €15 for the whole game.

A massive amount of effort is involved. About 100 people working for four years and video shot in five countries. Let's hope it pays off.

24 October, 2012

Yasound, is this the future of web radio?

Yasound launched its French "platform to create your own web radio station"  web site last night at a painful press conference  - for one thing, we were all kept standing for three hours. The i-phone app should follow in a few days as soon as Apple has approved it. A preliminary version has been up since March. UK and US versions of the service are in the pipeline. The different country versions are all kept separate for rights reasons. As the system is closely tied with i-Tunes, I don't think there's much chance of seeing an Android version in the near future.

So, what is Yasound?  How does it let you "create your own web radio station" in just a few clicks. Entirely legally and at no cost. 

Basically, you upload the titles of your personal play-list to Yasound. Their server checks whether it already these songs on its database. If so, it just plays it out in sync with what you are listening to on your i-Phone. There is, naturally, a social networking aspect.

What the whole thing boils down to is that you can now chat with other people who are listening to the same piece of music as you at the same time.

But this is not radio as we know it, with interviews, phone-ins, reports, panel discussions and maybe even advertising.