Sin City: Booze, Broads & Burgers

In Vegas, you count your stay in nights. On second night of our visit to Vegas, we choose milder “approach” to experience women’s company; most popular and high-profile night pub: Omnia. After queuing amidst scantily adorned beautiful ladies for almost an hour, entry to pub was more like entering the darkest dungeon for “surprising catch”. All the tropes of night pub was merrily present and if something required to be criticized then it was not registered by our alcohol incapacitated minds.


As the night wore on, heat increased as well the party-goers. Leaving around mid-night, we ventured more in vicinity till decided to retire in company of roulette and Jack. Offering more of “hard-earned” money on the altar of betting God, we decided to call it night. Next day we had already planned to cater our taste buds rather than giving all the pleasure to intoxicated mind and liver.


Next morning we queued up for famous Gordon Ramsey’s Burgers. There were other Gordon Ramsay’s variant also present in Vegas such as Fish & chips and Steakhouse. Burger was delicious and nothing like I had tested before. After satiating the sweet tooth at Hershey’s chocolate factory, day was accomplished without much fanfare till late evening when we decided to take cab and indulge Vegas in old ways at Fremont street.


Fremont experience mainly composed of light show via covered ceiling, old cheap souvenir shops and casinos, live cabaret, a hard rock show, a very weirdly themed but hilarious restaurant (see photos at last), zip line stretching the whole street and lots of old style pubs and bars. Beautiful, nostalgic and unique.

Live show at Fremont

At night, we have secured seats for famous show Mystic, the Cirque du Soleil presentation of jaw dropping live stunts, enchanting music, kaleidoscopic colors, alien costumes and creatures and some of very humorous live pranks with audience.


Sin City: Family Values

Considering Vegas reputation, day started off sluggish and late on the next day of our arrival. Sunlight glinting off with golden hue from glass facade of Trump tower poured in as soon as marvelous strip view emerged from our Treasure Island hotel room window once curtains were aside. At other side of the strip two identical structures corresponding to hotels Encore and Wynn were showing off their best attractions on large size digital billboards. Day was just starting for Vegas at 10:00 in the morning.

Trump Tower at Las Vegas
Identical designs of Wynn and Encore
Shining Venezia

Due to coming Christmas festive time, all hotels on the strip were decorated with various Xmas fairy themes. Apart from that, all hotels also bear their own theme. Lynn was heavy on blossoming Xmas theme where flowers were main ingredient along with quaint little dreamy miniaturized towns. Dings of the slot machines and cacophony of roulette and blackjack tables intermixed with jingle tunes were doing spectacular effects of uplifting the mood for festivity and fun. Life-size carousal entirely made of flowers was taken straight out of the Disney’s fantastical movies.

Carousal made of Flowers at Wynn

Next on the list (and on the strip) was Venezia, residing beside Lynn. One of the striking feature of Vegas strip is all hotels were interconnected via cross-bridge or passages so that visitors can only leave when they really spent out, whether money or energy. Apart from imitating Venetian architecture adorning the outside of enormous hotel, inside was also furnished with famous canals and gondolas. Most striking feature was the false dome with eternal diffused blue sky with scattering of scarlet giving off the impression of setting sun.

Venice in Vegas


After capturing Caesars Palace’s in digital format from outside, we went ahead with flying visit to Flamingo’s famous food street.

During evening we had already planned to secure place in front of signature Vegas symbol, the famous Bellagio fountain. What time we had before fountain show starts was utilized to marvel at Christmas themes of the Bellagio hotel. Colorful Shogan warrior was adorning the foyer. In the back, impressionistic north pole created in wide area where polar bears made of white flowers frolicking around massive Christmas tree. Sky created in the dome was inspired from some of Van Gogh’s paintings (la starry nights).


In middle of 8.5 acre water body, thousands of spritzers shooting water jets to maximum of 460 feet in tune with Frank Sinatra or Jackson was sight to behold. Most calming and at the same time most energetic.

Bellagio Hotel at Las Vegas




Once the show finished, you turn back to marvelous re-creation of Eiffel Tower and arc de triomphe in all its glory at night-time accompanied by hot air balloon to complete the Paris world fair picture at and around Paris hotel. Though we had visited the real monuments in Paris it was the deja-vu of reminiscing past. Inside the Paris hotel, Casino floor was all bathed in Parisian vista of eye-catching props of small apartments  showcasing various stark black silhouetted couples against yellow light engaging in various activities. In one corner, theater stage was created mimicking opera style grandeur.


After witnessing the fire show at the Mirage, We had good north-Indian food at Tabla restaurant to get ready for long poisonous night.



Sin city: Hell and back

I am not good at numbers. Never was. I had barely the sense and mental prowess due to intoxication to solve the probability function which could have been not much beneficial anyhow considering how feeble human mind is when to choose between prayer and numbers displaying the probability. All I had was few seconds to decide; to envision the pattern and bet. I realized that bobbing of small roulette ball is most “adrenaline injecting” moment while you sip through Jack Denials. And getting what you predicted was elicit force to put more risk in next round.


Vegas at last. It was dream of me to be there. Not sure why. Might be due to that Bellagio fountain scene in “Ocean’s Eleven”. Might be due to fond memories of illuminating strip even in post-apocalyptic Nevada in “Fallout:New Vegas”. Might be due to impression from all entrainment media outlets promoting Vegas as kind of “pilgrimage” for the inebriated souls. Holy power center of all the probable sins humankind think of. And mostly due to the fun way you can take risk and get rewards. Trinity of money, girls and booze. If temples are created to search gods residing within human soul, purify it with prayers and faith to get ready for salvation and in the end heaven; places like Vegas might just want to find your inner demon, purify the body through most potent “alcohols”, satiating deepest wild desires burning your soul and mark it ready for hell. If you had will (and money), Vegas has the way.


So I had four nights and three days planned in Vegas during first week of December. Thought to accommodate other nearby places, mostly Hoover dam and Grand Canyon, but Vegas strip was more than exhausting enough for all days.

We arrived at the Vegas at early night on Friday; the initiation of blooming weekend. Nevada was devoid of any human presence from the air. Not a single twinkle of light. Sea of blackness and dark matter where still no star formation had started yet. In this vast black space, Vegas was illuminating like life supporting galaxy with thousands and thousands of heavenly bodies. Vegas is all about light and grandeur.


Hotel Treasure Island on the strip was our new home for Vegas stay. Travelling to the hotel gives flying night overview of the strip at night. Check inn was smooth. Rooms were comfy. And to relive the tiredness, my friend decided “to draw the first blood” at hotel’s casino.


Beginner’s luck on the high point of “pendulum” swing, roulette draw few lucky numbers on multiple occasions on which I choose to bet. Here it goes the vicious cycle of money, reward and luck. Economics or not but there is simple rule with money; more the reward, more the risk and more human greed.


Cashing out my first “earn” and again spending it on either alcohols or slot-machines or more roulette rounds was the recurring activity on the first night. Dings of rows of slot machines churning out “digital coins”, floating numbers everywhere, royal decor, kaleidoscopic view of drinks on the bar table, and alluring tune to invite people to bet, were the prime aspects of the dreams I had with whatever meager hours of sleep I managed to have.

Next day was planned to have trip of the strip in day to get hold of the lay and Christmas spirit and embrace the nightlife to wear off all the tiredness.

PS: This meant to be introductory blog to my three-day sojourn at Vegas. More coming up in parts with lots of amazing captured memoirs.


One more year passed by in blink and here we stood again at same conjecture to review gone year, wearing reading glasses with courtesy of  Passed year in terms of reading could be summarized in short as “the year in prose”. Where I still clung to tried-n-tested authors for modern literature; number of classics raised in significance.

I deliberately set reading challenge to one book per month so not to include short, anything on the way to reading list, just to complete the challenge. I had inclination of devoting time for classics. And reading classics can take time. Still I was ahead by 3 books at end of the year 2017.


Let’s see what was hit and what was miss among these.

Book with most pages I read (Frankly speaking completed) in current year was “The complete collection of Sherlock Holmes”. It was long reading project. The book contains all the four novellas and almost entire collection of stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Though started reading long time back, I could only conjure up enough time to return the salutation to Holmes “Last Bow” in the year of 2017.


There are two candidates for “most surprising and enlightening read”. One is old world Russian literary classic “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov and the other modern world literary supreme “The Voice of Fire” by Alan Moore. Let me clear one thing. Lolita is controversial. But there is not a single word, prose or snippet which could be classified as vulgar or titillating. It is masterfully crafted in monologues. And served with one of the best prose writing competing to Charles Dickens. I had never had such eliciting experience of reading the word-formation in such delight.


When we are talking about prose writing, then let’s not forget only modern era master class in prose writing or any kind of writing; Alan Moore. “Voice of Fire” was his first novel after very successful writing history in Graphic Novels (From Hell, Watchmen, V for Vendetta are just few gems). Moore experimented heavily with first novel in terms of writing were interconnected stories’ timelines vary from initiation of mankind to Alan Moore himself; incorporating various historical events in process. He had started something called Geo-psychology where he traces the history and events of particular place and put it in more weird, contextual, and sometimes magical view. Not spending much time as it will take forever to discuss Alan Moore.

“You can always count on a murderer for fancy prose style” – Back cover of Lolita



Other notable reads are “1984” from George Orwell (Again classic) and more Russian literary classic “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy. One short, depressing Orwellian account of dystopian world  which has started “All seeing Big Brother” concept; while other was sprawling storytelling covering Russian aristocracy and class divide intermixed with love, family values, relationships and marriages (along with issues).


In terms of Graphic Novels, it was dominated by well-knowns. Great was the wine soaked narrative of Eddie Campbell on existence of Greek gods in modern times in “Bacchus”. At the same, though I’m crazy of such stuff, to-much-meta references has killed my interest in Grant Morrison in ” The Multiversity”. While Alan Moore’s “Top 10” was pleasingly light read, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier” (again by Alan Moore) was fun take on his own brilliantly conceived original TLEG.


In modern novels, “Metro 2035″ was satisfying but not as much as the previous two installments of Metro universe. ” “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”  was unnecessary addition to Lisbeth’s (Novel’s protagonist) journey. Dan Simmons “The Fifth Heart” was as I expected but still nowhere near Holmes magic created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most disappointing read for me was “Black Water Lilies”. Though it might be good for others but I had somehow “guessed” whole crux of the twist and story arc from very beginning and hence just dragged myself to complete it.

That’s it for gone year of 2017. While I am slowly but progressively sucked into more of literary classics, getting into more prose reading, once a while I’ll get my hands on modern popular. With few more Russian classics in-line along with “most diverse read I had ever done”, coming year is going to be really sensuous and enthralling.


Happy Reading. (And also new Year 🙂

PS: Ready player One was not meant to be present on “to read” list in near future, even after promising trailer of upcoming movie by none other than Steven Spielberg. But rifling through its pages in one of the book outlet at Las Vegas airport, I came across something which couldn’t be ignored. A statement; defining all geeks and nerds  and book itself a love letter to all grownups like me who spent their childhood in 80s (and 90s and 00s ….)with videogames. It was instant buy. And more rapid read. So this last-minute update changed above stat by +1 book.
Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable – Ready Player One.


Chicago Blues

Only three and half hours drive away, Chicago was neglected like a rotting flower which was never meant to be visited when whole lot of other places flashing their most beautiful visage to attract visitors like me till one weekend I reservedly complied to forceful request of my friend to accompany him in touring Chicago.

Though adorning one of the most memorable skyline and one of the tallest structure in the world, I was skeptical about liking it altogether. It was never meant to have blog on it.Continuing above analogy of rotting flower, sometimes you need a different pair of glasses like UV spectrum used by some of the insects and birds to visualize the true nature of it ( Some birds and insects use UV spectrum to choose flower for visitation which is not visibly evident to us as our eyes evolved only to be useful in visible spectrum).

Visiting the Willis Tower (Formerly known as Sears Tower) and witnessing spectacular night vista of the Chicago from its 103rd floor glass boxes was just tipping my “interest measure” above 5 on the scale of 10 till I observed something which I shamefully ignorant of. Having donuts as pre-dinner energy food at roadside deli late evening, Chicago downtown looked bit familiar. Imitating sodium vapor lamp, lampposts were feverishly illuminating underway which was surrounded by buildings with metro tracks passing overhead. Not at much height but just looming there as ominous steel serpent ready to devour anything in the way; crisscrossing the city with “rattle” of passing tram periodically. I imagined drive under it (which was not possible at all considering my under-driving skills). It had that deja-vu moment but if I had not experienced it then it means it had to be from my active imagination fueled by movie scene. And if I remember it so soundly it means it has to be from The Dark Knight.

The movie I so adorned and in love of that I have seen it so many times that I left counting after counter reached to double figure. How could I be so ignorant about its shooting locations? Chicago was there on my “liking chart” almost approaching 10, just after that particular moment.

So we visited other places like Shedd aquarium, Navy Pier, had experienced beautiful Chicago skyline, tried to be creative at Cloud Gate structure at Millennium park, had Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza and also lost in countless “Diwali” like illumination of city itself at night from Willis Tower which is evident from photos herewith.

But still for me the moment which instilled the “that’s what I want” moment was the self-realization that city which I was visiting was no other than Gotham city itself.

Navy Pier

Travelog: Niagara Falls

Just arriving to the land of abundant traveling spots and having 4th of July falling on Tuesday with Monday happily sacrificed in the name of long weekend had its merits in the name of prospects of long travel as well as demerits of stressful selection of the traveling destination. Though I didn’t have to go through such painful ordeal as group of colleagues were already looking for couple of companions to join their travel “crusade” to Niagara Falls. And hence when presented with proposal, I delightfully accepted the invitation.

So the 3 day plan was laid out like this: Start from Indianapolis early towards Buffalo (Where we secured the night out option), have brief on-the-fly visit of Cleveland, OH in transit to Buffalo, Visit the massive water fall in the morning for a day, visit Putin bay island while returning back (With one more night stay somewhere nearby) and get back to routine again next day. Plan was good and workable. And we almost stuck to it exhaustively except few pleasant changes of the visiting locations.

So here’s breezy travel commentary day by day.

Day 1

(Positive take away: First long travel within USA, Niagara at night)

(Negative put down: “Early in the morning” has most varied interpretation. That’s why humankind introduced numbers and clock)

Most of the day was spent travelling by rented car which was grand caravan by Dodge. It was comfortable and smooth on road. Apart from meagre coffee breaks, we managed to have our prolonged break only while reached Cleveland.

Plan was to have glimpse of Cleveland downtown which we did. Spent some time to skim through Cleveland civil war memorial towards fountain of eternal life. Had a glimpse of NASA science center from afar resting at Cleveland’s beautiful shoreline which is formed by Lake Erie.

From Cleveland to Buffalo was almost 190 miles run (around 3 hours). We reached there somewhere during late evening. It was ripe time to experience Niagara at night. So after having hefty Indian dinner we went to Niagara fall. Cacophony of the massive water body (flow rate: 2400m3/s) falling 50m was more of a guiding star without any directional instruction. Vista at night was more profound. Rainbow lights illuminating the fall, enhanced by equally intimidating roar was sight to behold; showing the tantamount power of nature while mocking the meagre existence of human life trying to capture the sight in ridiculous digital still frames and puny videos to post on cyber world.

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Day 2

(Positive take away: Niagara at Day, Maid of the Mist)

(Negative put down: With long summer weekend, comes longer waiting queues)

Amidst disappointing quantity of massive human gathering and long queues, sole relieving factor was to get through them and experience Niagara in its utmost proximity by means of the Maid of the Mist. Droplets of water floating like mist due to sheer force of falling water and wind had created dual rainbows across falls’ wide chasm where the secondary mirroring the primary in color pattern. It was like venturing in some Disney-world. And when you get near the Horseshoe Fall then only you would realize the propensity of madness which had caused those adventures to cross Niagara in name of stunts.

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As for other attractions, not much was as impressive enough as Maid of the Mist. Cave of Winds allows you to get wet in icy cold Niagara water, but nothing special apart from crowing of seagulls and their stinking nests with adorable chicks hanging out besides walking path.


There were not much time left once we done with Niagara. And hence left in late evening on returning path.

Day 3

(Positive take away: Watkins Glen State Park)

(Negative put down: No time left for Putin Bay)

We changed plan to visit Watkins Glen state park on the third day of our trip. We experienced beautiful glens, lush greenery, pockets of brooks, intermittent canopy churning the sunlight creating golden shafts, slippery, wet stones carved by water having rippling design permanently imprinted upon and wooden bridges to complete the natural setup on our long walking trails.

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In the evening we had brief informative visit to Corning Glass Museum.

Exhausted and satiated to the full; only thing left was to mull over beautiful memories and publish the memoirs like this.

Till next time.


PopCon, IN, USA 2017

Being present at two pop culture events 8203 miles apart (miles!!! Yes. I’m in USA now) in the same year; both generating the polar opposite emotional response in a manner representing their geological diversity along with distance quoted above, could also be classified as event itself. While the former was tepid, same, boring with few exceptional burst of joy (check the blog here), other was stuffed to the brim with nostalgic, modern, novel and absolute maddening fan service events to the point of bursting out.

Above para also explained the dormancy of my blog for so long. First event I mentioned was ComicCon 2017, Pune, India while the other is PopCon 2017, Indianapolis, USA. Last week I got chance to visit the same during my probably long future working sojourn in USA.

Before I proceed further, first check out below amazing display of Cosplay culture presented by visitors. Please bear the fact that it was such classic display of geekiness which acts as an energy induced plasma to make the fun event more energetic besides professional Cosplayers.

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Merchandise galore; what was more prominent was the milieu of artists and writers of the pop culture world with their latest and best. With pack line of famous artists and TV stars available for signing events along with chit-chat with their devoted fans to you-tubers and twitch channel artists marketing their prowess in digital world what made the PopCon event true to its name.

If I have to describe the event in single word, I would shout “Nostalgia”. Rows of Arcade machines staked up for young generation to gobble up retro-feeling in large area was one of the prime attraction. Stores selling old Gameboys along with prized old titled cartridges along with comic vendors selling old comic runs 1$ each was meant for collectors and aficionados alike. In one large corner I saw rows of players getting their hands on most primeval way of gaming: Board-games. Hexagonal dice and character sheets of Settlers to D&D to civilization, played equal part role with massive rooms dedicated to competitive gaming on large with CoD, Overwatch and many more to entertain the mass. It was enchanted amalgamation of old and new.


For me, event reached its nerd peak when I found the store of Troma movies along with none other than Lloyd Kaufman himself (I also picked up two movies personally signed by him). Troma movie is the satirical mixture of overtly used grindhouse, splatter, sex, nudity, violence and other 50’s themes in almost superficially farcical way.

I bought Gaiman to Teen-Horror “Tomie” to R rated Troma movies

The event regarding to pop culture won’t have Star Wars fans is always unusual and hence a whole Star Wars section was dedicated to their fans to get their universe together. Separate section was having Yo-Yo tricks competition for kids and young ones. Indie game developers also got their chance to showcase upcoming or in-development titles to get instant user feedback.

Yes, Force wants you to join next time.

I would like to end reporting on such spectacular event on its most prominent note which make it unique; uniqueness itself, whether among people who make them differ to established social norms or artists who made their own niche against usual career approaches. These people are rare and unique. Most of the time hiding their instincts against pressure of outer world and due to aloofness but when come to such event they found out that there is lot many like him/her. Let’s not differ. Let’s celebrate. Kudos to fan’s CosPlay for such boldness.

Till next event……………………….


Comic Con 2017 – Pune,India

“More of the Same.” is befitting summary to this years’ Comic-Con, Pune 2017. As if venue and layout almost matching to the last year’s event, there was no variety in terms of shops and merchandise also baring few surprises.

Comic-Con is always celebratory conglomeration of the geeks, nerds and all the fantastic not-so-fit-in-social-conceptions individuals. At the same time Comic-Con is social event all in all. It is fun and frolic event as any other. It can be enjoyed equally by comic enthusiast as well as all of those who believe in superhero fantasy; children and adults alike. Not wasting too much time in establishing the Comic-Con’s reputation as it will always be regarded as celebration with likes of the festival by its devoted fans. Though I would rate this year’s Comic-Con held at Pune, India as lukewarm.

Start was made as ideal as it could be for any Comic-book and DC fan with free giveaway of DareDevil poster for each entrants at ticket pickup counter. Considering the sitcom and binge-watching on rise in India, AXN has grabed the opportunity with both hands to market it with life-size billboards propped at every corners. And usual flair continued then onwards.

Outside the dome same colorful Maruti Alto who is official sponsor of Comic-Con, India displayed which was surprising for those who were first-timers but failed to excite me. Same large Comic-Con peculiar poster to get yourself photographed for future memoirs was also present. Inside the dome, I had deja vu of shops selling same merchandise for fans such as t-shirts, masks, fancy accessories and all other “not so easily available superhero stuff”. Surprisingly, very few shops dedicating to actual comic books which was disappointment for me. In fact only single shop by Crossword book store selling famous DC comics. It was small section and frankly there was no variety in collection also. I could see all those titles which I already owned or read before. I was hoping to lose myself in comic shops this time to find some hidden gems. Alas, no such opportunity presented. Indian comic-shops also selling the same old comics with no new-arrival announcements. Somehow I had the feeling that everyone was going through their zombie-routine to finish the act and not interested in catching the attraction of the audience.

After so much bickering about down-points, let’s move to good points now. Rows of screens connected to high-end consoles (mostly PS4) for visitors to battle out competitive gameplay either against human opponents or AI was always good sight to behold. Along with usual tropes like FIFA and NFS, Battlefield 1, Titenfall2 and Uncharted 4 were more than satisfactory. Promotional booths erected for just released movies Logan and upcoming Indian epic fantasy Baahubali 2 were, I must confess, novel addition. You could live out your fantasy with available props for a while and to be immortalized in digital photo (especially cool for social media update aficionados). Best part and the real highlight for me which has acted as fuel to warm this event review from completely “cold” to “lukewarm” was 30 seconds short animated VR experience (Setup mojo was Radeon Fury with Oculus gear).  AXN booth also held some fun activities such as shooting with blind and passing through laser a la Entrapment imitation to attempt and win goodies.


At last, let’s not forget the most appealing aspect of Comic-Con anywhere in the world; Cosplay. Fans were fabulous again with their Cosplay as usual considering heat already making news here in India at start of summer . I witnessed lot more variants also amidst all-time favorite lot like Jokers, Batman, Star Wars characters and all. As far as special guest concerns, world-famous artist of V for Vendetta, David Lloyd had graced the occasion with his mild presence and signing event.

David Lloyd-Prime attraction of this year’s ComicCon

All in all, I am still having mix feelings for this years’ Comic Con. And my disappointment is purely due to comics themselves were put aside to give more emphasize on commercialization of other merchandise. Which was not bad idea but fans like me still want to scour through multiple outlets completely devoted to comics and emerge with something which,doesn’t matter if old or new, but it must be fresh.

Game on…

Numbers are dry; drier than the Sahara desert. But at the same time, as all statisticians and analysts agree, numbers are the perfect lenses to observe the trend and future predictions. Best way to click the perfect picture and see what is out of focus and what caught the center of frame for any business trends and market in general. Every year ESA (Entertainment Software Association) come out with data encompassing sales, demographic and usage in terms of entertainment software, in short, gaming. I blogged about it before here with my own insights. After almost 2 year back let’s take measure again and see how deep the rabbit hole is. Let’s start.

Average game player age is 35 indicates that I have a couple of years more before I go out of the league. Though the fact that 26% gamers are 50+ years; almost catching up with younger competitors (Under 18 years-27%) and prime age personas(18-35 years-29%). I have all the sympathy with mid-life crisis sufferers (36-49 Years-18%).

Gender demographic is almost equally balanced with obvious minor lead for male (59%) over female (41%).

52% gamers believe that games are better over Movies, DVDs, Music etc. when it comes to value for money. And I completely agree with them. Take example of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from Polish developer CD Project RED. Even though I pre-ordered and bought all DLC without discounted price, the main game contents itself spanning over 200-300+ hours of game-play excluding DLCs and other tons of goodies. Combine that with AAA quality graphics and RPG engagement and it will be free deal on sale prices.

48% gamers are social gamers. Now that is very contradicting statement when you use “social” and “gamer” in single statement. But I think this is because of lot many co-op and family games available nowadays on console as well as on mobile platforms. It shows smartphones share 36% of all gaming devices with my favorite PC topping the chart with share of 56%.

In terms of co-op, gamers still prefer to have friends at their side rather than family members, parents and spouse/GF/BF in that particular order of receding preference. However anti-social still most of the world believe games are, 51% gamers believe that games help them connect to their friends on regular basis. However anti-educational still most of the world believe games are, 75% gamers believe that games are more mentally stimulant and educational than other “stuff”.

As predicted 2 years back in similar kind of post here, VR is the next in thing for future gaming. Considering 40% gamers ready to buy VR devices in one or the other way, it’s becoming “game” changing scenarios for future developments.

Only 11% M-ratings games compared to 37% E-rating in the year of 2016 also shows how diverse the gaming is becoming. And why the rise of family games. Gaming has stopped becoming geeky-business anymore. There is also shift in accepting the effects of gaming on child’s upbringing. 68% parents believe that it’s positive part of the life. 62% parents themselves participate in gaming sessions with their offspring.

Shooter and action genre still dominate almost 45% of all the genre available on the market. But when it comes to PC, strategy is topmost choice for 34.4% gamers. Notably RPGs also occupying 18.7% share in terms of PC gaming. It’s always difficult to play strategy and RPG without keyboard/mouse combo.

As support to my previous consumerism blog, data shows that 18% gamers buy game titles if it belongs to some continuing series or looks familiar. Though still biggest factor in influencing the consumption is price: 21%. That explains peak buying during winter/summer/autumn sales going on all the time on digital distribution sites. Quality of graphics has lost its charm though with all the new Indie but well-designed and immaculately conceived ideas. No need to have life-like graphics to get immersion.

Total consumer spend in the year of 2015 is 23.6bn $. No need to say that digital format is the best deal for distributors. Comparing to 2010 where physical format was having its golden days with 71% market share, now, in 2015 it’s reduced to mere 44%.

Magical future still awaits. No one has predicted that future holds such fantasy as living and playing out your dreams literally.



Consumerism & Gaming

“Consumerism is a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.” – Wikipedia.

I was rifling stacks of digital shelves teaming with gaming titles in my Steam library along with GOG to choose next best gaming title to be installed after completing SOMA.  Honestly, it was and is becoming most “stressful” decision-making process. In upcoming years, it’s going to get worse as I realized my “to-be-played” game list is ever-increasing tail of snake in that classic old Snake game we used to play longingly on our handhelds. Only exception is, no “Game Over” in sight. Even though I somehow able to run through all titles bought by me on current date basis for single play through, there is much more fodder to chew upon for next few years. Forget about second runs. Co-op and multiplayer also not counted. Is such consumerism good for Gaming industry?

I am no economist. On a chilled winter night, having discussion with one of my colleague-cum-friend, he raised the topic of consumerism and impact of the same on our daily lives. If I count myself conservative for consumer goods, I am extremely likely opposite of it when games and books come into picture. Currently Gaming industry is booming billions dollar business globally. In USA and European countries along with few technology-forward Asia-Pacific countries like Korea and Japan, buying games is quite mainstream. But in developing countries like India it’s still in lower gear, accelerating gradually. Credit goes to digital distribution model and inclusion of local currencies. Steam has almost claimed the market with local currency model and all the deals cropping up on regular basis. Other digital distributor also going to follow the trend soon. Still Consumerism won’t hold the same meaning when we are talking about Gaming Industry as there are some peculiar features which can only be applicable to Gaming. Here I would like to focus on PC and console gaming which is comparably more expensive than mobile or F2P model.

Pricey Affair: First and foremost, though user base is quite diverse, Gaming is considered as prime hobby, kind of expensive which could only be claimed by upper or upper-middle class. Average price of the high-end Consoles are approximately 35-42% of per capita income if we consider latest figure of 93,000 Rs. To build high-end gaming PC would cost much more than that. Price of newly launched Console title costs around 4000 to 5000 Indian rupees which is  almost 5% of per capita income. So, gamers are reluctant to buy new title right away if price is on higher side. They tend to wait out till some discounted price is on offer. And that is quite good approach when it comes to gaming as though shelf-life is short, lifespan of a typical title lasts very much longer. There is always something else on offer on lower price tag to satisfy the itch. And that’s when hoarding starts. As a Gamer you want to acquire titles during sale even though you didn’t have time to play as tempting slashed prices are too good to ignore. As soon as you see title with 50-60% price of the original, you right away make your mind to play the game at later date and buy it now. Series and franchisee loyalty also play big part in buying the title. For publishers, new IP is always difficult decision. It takes some time to get traction.

Value for Money: It’s always debatable topic that when should gamer be satisfied in terms of value for money. In gaming, user or consumer is active part of the value. In simpler terms, I might be perfectly happy with short but quality game-play. On the other hand others might not feel satisfied with hours and hours of content. Genre also play the bigger role here. One don’t want to have RPG of 10-12 hours of total gameplay. Contrary to that, 10-12 hours of FPS gaming is more than enough. In short, Gamers are specific buyers. They know their genre well. To draw new consumers is entirely different beast. Though genres also applied to other media like movies and books but they get advantage of peer-review and mouth-to-mouth publicity. Also you don’t have to invest yourself completely to experience them. In Gaming, you won’t take others word for your experience. There are examples of flawed gems where patchy designs actually enhances the gameplay so much that these titles are now considered as cult. STALKER series, Deadly Premonition are few to name.

Sliced: This brings us to sale and discounted prices. And consumer market is same as for other consumer goods. If particular title on discounted price, there is always chance of picking up the sale. And all consumers are attracted towards slashed prices. Gamers no different. Though it’s always difficult to perform valuation in the first place. Softwares or services tends to have various business models and choosing the correct one makes all the difference. Weather to go for F2P or premium package or MMO with gradual contents or go for low-investment cost mobile gaming, are just basic inception ideas Publishers/Developers have to face. Though most of AAA studios back their breads on many burners, kick-starters and Indie developers had gained much appreciated welcome to introduce their own quality flavor. Economic model and value chain of Gaming industry itself is vast topic. I would take that up in future series of blogs.

No Pay, No Gain: I have already put emphasis before on the fact that you need to fuel the economic engine by paying up fair if you don’t want your favorite entertainment to be vanished from market. Paying up for indie development also encourage more quality and passion-driven projects. Game lovers like me do this often. Long list of “to-be-played” games are fair proof of that.