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Business - Written by on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:25 - 2 Comments

What time did you make it back from Liberty City?

Well, Grand Theft Auto IV was released last night at midnight, which means that there were people lined up to buy it. From where I sit, dressing up like Niko Bellic is less geeky than Dumbledore and certainly better than dear Jar-Jar. Some of your co-workers may be a little sleepy if they spent the wee hours commiting mayhem in Liberty City.

The game has great reviews so far as well as the typical hoopla about inappropriateness of the material.  Thing is, adults make up a huge percentage of the gaming population and some games are just not made for children — just as the Godfather (parts I and II), Silence of the Lambs, Pulp Fiction, and the Usual Suspects are all considered great films, but not ones that you would watch with your tween.

What’s the wikinomics angle? User-generated content delivered through “walkthroughs” are a huge value ad to the game and the best ones are prepared by volunteers. Below is an excerpt from a study that Alan Majer and I conducted about a great walkthough creator “named” AggroSk8ter.

Chase Ansok works diligently to improve gamer experience regarding Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. For a six-month period starting October 2002, Ansok (or his handle AggroSk8ter) compiled a user’s guide (titled “Full FAQ and Walkthrough”) by collecting, investigating, and organizing thousands of emails and instant messages from users. The end product is a highly organized, comprehensive and exhaustive 35,000 word document that provides maps, game hints, glitches and a full inventory of assets, properties and vehicles available in the game. By way of comparison, the “official” instructions from the game’s producer, Rockstar Games, is less than 2,000 words, and the instructions provided by Blockbuster for a rented game consists of only 12 words. Ansok is thorough, thoughtful, and occasionally pedantic (“check the FAQ!” he often pleads), and an important member of the Rockstar b-web. How much does he cost? Nothing. Ansok and dozens of others craft these user guides as hobbies, competing with eachother to build the best, most complete or easiest to use guide. In a similar vein to bloggers, AggroSk8ter reluctantly promotes and praises his competition, encouraging visitors to view their walkthroughs with different specializations. Along with Ansok and his ilk, there are thousands of active members of the Grand Theft Autocommunity that meet online to discuss strategies, debate the merits of the game, and provide detailed modifications and extensions to the game series— there is even fan fiction, not all of which would be rated PG, featuring the Vice City’s protagonist antihero, Tommy Vercetti. All of this activity adds value to an already immensely successful game.


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Chase Ansok (AggroSk8er)
May 22, 2008 1:52

Hey Mike, thank you very much for the write-up! It’s really nice to see that some of what I do doesn’t go completely unnoticed. I just sent the link to all my friends to prove that I’m famous on the internet.

Mike Dover
May 22, 2008 8:31


I’m going to upgrade to PS3 so I can play GTA 4. Looking forward to your walkthrough for that.

I finished Vice City (with your help), but didn’t really like San Andreas.


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Don Tapscott and Anthony D. William's latest collaboration, Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet. Learn more.

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