Friday, August 08, 2003

Tight / Aggressive

Mark Nau says I call too often. I'm tight / passive.

In case it's not clear, I'm talking about playing Texas hold 'em.

A good strategy for novices, according to him, is tight / aggressive. Rarely call. Raise or fold.

Right now, this is also the strategy that the big game publishers are employing. Take EA's *Return of the King* as an example: they know this one is a winner, and they're throwing money at it to make sure it ships on time. Last I heard, there's 175 employees on the team. If you use $10000 / employee / month as a rule of thumb, that's $21 million dollars. Match it with marketing, that's $42.

*Two Towers* sold 4,000,000 units, I'm told. I'm guessing that's $80 million for EA. So all *Return of the King* has to do is match it, and they've doubled their bucks.

So there's the aggressive. As for the tight: games are getting cancelled left and right. Full Throttle 2 got the axe just the other day. I'm not particularly sad; I didn't want to see Tim Schafer's masterpiece soiled by another director.

I realize metaphors - particularly poker metaphors - are dangerous, but it sounds like good business to me. But with only a few "hands" being played every year, the landscape of the players can be quite volatile in the long term.

Also, Greg Costikyan is right. There's little room for innovation on this landscape. Backing a crazy wild idea is like drawing to an inside straight.