Today was the first day that I spent in meetings, walking the show, in meetings, in more meetings, and wait, I only have 15 minutes to write this before . . . I go to another meeting!

1. I just met with John Osvald, Senior Product Manager at Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group (longest title ever) and the main man behind the creation and launch of the new Shockwave Web site and Club Shockwave product

John gave me a tour and though I want to sit down and play to see for myself, I liked what I saw.   Basically, Shockwave has added a token system throughout their entire site so that you can win tokens while playing their free Web games and redeem tokens for cash prizes ($50 per day, $5000 once a month, and $25,000 to one lucky winner once a year).    Club Shockwave enables you to earn and redeem tokens as well, earn trophies, play 12 exclusive online multiplayer games, and the entire archive of daily games.  John promised more exclusive games in the future for Club members.  The Club is $29.95/year but its included as a free bonus for all Shockwave Unlimited members (which is good news for all of you who are!).  We’ll have a much more detailed exclusive of the behind the scenes making of Club Shockwave soon. 

Before I left, John told me that he and his team have been reading Gamezebo’s forums every day to read your feedback on the new Club Shockwave product and he wanted me to express his gratitude and thanks to Gamezebo users.  So, from John from Shockwave, thank you!

2.  I also met with the new CEO of PlayFirst, Mari Baker.  Mari’s background is not games (though she does play games); she used to be at Intuit and Babycenter.com.  She is the second chief executive from outside casual games to join our industry, which I see as a good thing.  It’s time for new blood in casual games to bring more innovation to game play and how games are sold, so I was excited to meet with her.  We’ll have an interview to post with Mari Baker of PlayFirst soon on Gamezebo as well.

3.  The coolest thing I saw at the show today was not necessarily casual games related.  OnLive is the new company that enables for live streaming of games on any device via a browser plug-in — your PC, your Mac, or your TV via a small device called an online MicroConsole.  OnLive has been working on technology for the past 7 years that leverages cloud networking to stream any game on demand with the push of a button to your living room.  How exactly does it do it?  I could not explain it even if I tried (so I am linking to an explanation here as well as video and details on OnLive).  But, I did see a live demo and if it works as well in real life as it did in their booth, this could change everything in video games.   All the games press is saying how this will change video games in that there may no longer be a need for a console (more threatening to Xbox and PS3, less so to Wii since its so unique). 

But, having see a demonstration, I think this could change the way casual games are played and distributed as well.  Imagine being able to stream your favorite hidden object game on your PC or Mac for half the price of buying it.  I don’t know what the price points or offer will be, but if this works (and it’s a BIG IF), this could change everything – in both video AND casual games.  I’ll give you more information as I get it.  OnLive is slated to launch Winter 2009.

Off to my next party…I mean, meeting (I am working, I swear!)