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This second edition of “That’s what he read”, brings you:

Article 1: Richard Garriott: the man, the myth, the mischief by Colin Campbell (Polygon)

Garriott is a legend among legends. Most of “old” gamers know him for his work on Ultima and the MMO genre. Polygon talks to him in a very lengthy interview following the release of his biography (Explore / Create)

“You’re probably thinking of Garriott as that fella who wrote the Ultima games and then bought a ticket to space. But his stock of reminiscences goes far beyond merely helping to shape video games and visiting the International Space Station for a fun fortnight. He’s explored the Titanic. Hiked the Antarctic. Built amazing ghost houses.”

The interview is filled with anecdotes and self-analysis. It’s amazing to see a person like him acknowledging his mistakes and shortcomings: we should all learn from that. 

Bonus points: the author speaks about Toastmasters! If you don’t know them, hurry. My favourite speech is this one, from Dananjaya Hettiarachchi

 

Article 2: They just want to be part of the conversations now by Bleda (Gamurs)

Sir Scoots is famous in the American esports scene, he is among the most vocal guys in it and fights for players’ rights.  Regarding his background, he worked for GotFrag (RIP, we’ll never forget you), GotFragTV, MLG and Evil Geniuses. On this interview, he speaks about his past, his expectations and how he helps teams/players to make esports great and sustainable for all parties. With the recent PEA debacle, this article sheds some light on what we can hope for.

 

Article 3: Nintendo Plays with Fire by Yuji Nakamura (Bloomberg Technology)

Yuji Nakamura and Serkan Toto (note: you should absolutely follow them on Twitter if you are interested in the JP gaming industry) try to explain the “gacha” concept and what Nintendo tried to do with Fire Emblem Heroes (I’m playing the game a LOT, and already spent money on it. Here’s the summary so far)

“If that makes gacha sound like gambling, that’s because in many ways it is. The word gacha — not to be confused with ’gotcha’ — is the sound Japanese vending machines make when dispensing toy capsules, whose contents can’t be seen prior to a purchase. In mobile games, the practice has drawn ire in Japan, where five years ago the government banned a technique called “complete gacha” and any approach that manipulates shako-shin.

That puts Nintendo in a precarious position. Super Mario Run didn’t use gacha to give parents a “peace of mind that kids can play it,” as President Tatsumi Kimishima told Bloomberg News in October. But the game still angered many fans who said the $10 price-tag for higher levels was too expensive — and it disappointed financial analysts who said it didn’t make enough money.”

Here is my take on the game:

  • I am not a smartphone player
  • I am a Fire Emblem fan (I’ll probably write an article about the license later)
  • The game can be expensive and addictive, but it’s ok
  • The game looks gorgeous and very polished
  • Mechanics of Fire Emblem are here (well, no duo and perma-death)

 

Article 4: Masaya Nakamura Shaped Pac-Man and Video games by Eleanor Warnock (The Wall Street Journal)

This choice has nothing to do with the fact that I worked at Namco. It is related to the fact that Nakamura-san helped shape the video games industry and a lot of us are playing them today, partly thanks to him and his visionary mindset.

In the article, the journalist tells the story of Masaya Nakamura, from his beginnings to the merger with Bandai.

“Mr Nakamura didn’t seek to recruit students with the best grades. Figuring that less-successful students might be more creative, he sent out recruiting pamphlets with phrases such as “Who cares about a lot of Cs?” and “An employment offer to an eighth-year university student,” referring to a student unable to graduate in the normal four years.”

“It doesn’t mean anything if you do your work grudgingly. You have to have fun,” said Mr Nakamura in a 2007 magazine interview after retiring as chairman of Bandai Namco.”

Fun fact: when I was working at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe, most of the Japanese management was insisting on “you have to have fun”, “We are an entertainment company and we need to provide fun for everyone“.

 

Article 5: What the Companies on the Right Side of the Digital Business Divide Have in Common by Robert Bock, Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani (Harvard Business Review)

Digital transformation is the flavour of the decade, but also mandatory. If you read French, and you are interested in the topic, here is an article my brother wrote. (He is an Associate Director at Julhiet Sterwen).

In this HBR piece, the 3 authors put together the results of their research, here is what the companies on the right side do better and have in common:

  • Digital transformation is paying off for those who embrace it: Digitally transformed organizations (“digital leaders”) performed much better than organizations that lagged behind (“digital laggards”)
  • Leading organizations are more likely to have a comprehensive data acquisition strategy and differentiate themselves from competitors based on their data platform.
  • Delivering the new business models requires adopting new operating models that change the very nature of the way companies explore new ground, experiment with new concepts, and deliver products and services to customers.
  • Four operating Pillars:
    • Customer Interaction and Relationship Management
    • Manufacturing, Product and Service Delivery
    • Product Creation and Delivery
    • Human Capital Management and Employee Productivity

The concluding words of the article come in the form of “Pro Tips”:

Driving digital transformation does not imply replacing old business assets and capabilities. But, like any significant building addition, doing it well requires modifying the existing structure. There are no blank sheets of paper. Digital transformation is about reconstructing the firm around digital operating principles, integrating traditional assets to address new challenges and pursue new opportunities. To do this well, leading companies invest not only in technology but also in developing the data-centric and network-centric capabilities and mindset to put that technology to the best use.

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