Explaining Southern California's economy

Welcome to Silicon Bayou: Louisiana is coming after California's gamers

Silicon Bayou-Foodtruck-MDB

Matthew DeBord/KPCC

The good people of Louisiana want to steal our gamers! They've sent a food truck to E3 to entice Californians to cone to "Silicon Bayou."

You never know what you're going to find when you stagger out into the sunlight after watching a preview of the latest zombie-apocalypse videogame. But that's exactly what happened to me at Day 1 of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, the big computer and video-game trade show that's taken over the Los Angeles Convention Center.

"ZombiU," the new game from Ubisoft, does looks pretty darn scary. It also seems to be set in London, which somehow makes it even scarier — you can watch the trailer here, be warned, it isn't for younger viewers! I'm not even sure it was for me, so I made a dash for sunlight and ran right into...a food truck from Louisiana! Giving away alligator (sausage) and fried shrimp po'boys! And root beer! And two kinds of chips! 

But also providing helpful information on why, if you're involved in the gaming industry, you might want to come to work or set up shop in the Pelican State. I spoke with Heath Williams, the Director of Digital Interactive Media from Louisiana Entertainment and Louisiana Economic Development, who was completely unapologetic about bringing his state's fine cuisine right to the very heart of the California gaming industry, a roughly $2.6-billion-per-year business (and about $5 billion nationally).

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Can Hollywood win young men back from video gaming?

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Activision’s video game, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2," shattered sales records and became the biggest release of any entertainment property ever in 2009, earning $310 million in 24 hours and solidifying video games as the entertainment medium of today.

At The Wrap, Sharon Waxman offers a list of remedies for what ails the movie business. One of them jumped out at me:

Find a way to connect the gaming obsession of what used to be the core moviegoing audiences – young males 13-24 – with the movie experience. Learn from that interactivity and use that to drive them to the multiplex. (This is a challenge for marketing geniuses. Hollywood has plenty of those.)

Sounds great, but this isn't a marketing problem — it's a medium problem. Apart from technical innovations in digital filmmaking, special effects, and 3-D, the movies are basically the same as they were 30, 40, 50 years ago. A bunch of people sit in a large darkened room and wait for huge moving image to be projected onto a screen. The seats are more comfortable and the sodas are vastly larger. But the medium is about as 20th century as could be. Mid-20th century.

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