Gamecraft is a limited series about the modern history of the video game business. Beginning in the early 1990's, the video game business began a radical transformation from a console and PC packaged goods business into the highly complex, online, multi-platform business it is today. Game industry legend Mitch Lasky and game investor Blake Robbins go on a thematic tour of the last 30 years of gaming, exploring the origins of free-to-play, platform-based publishing, casual & mobile gaming, forever games, user-generated content, consoles, virtual reality, and in-game economies across this eight episode series.


February 22, 2023 62 mins

Mitch and Blake take on the complex topic of in-game economies. They discuss how the endemic problems of trust and arbitrage were present in the earliest in-game economies of the late 1980 and how they have persisted to the present web3 economies. They look at the concept of mudlfation, a unique economic problem of massively multiplayer online games, and the strategies for controlling it, as well as the idea of economic play. Mitch...

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Mitch and Blake discuss the recurring industry obsession with the idea of virtual reality, beginning in the mid-1980s. Mitch recounts a story about his encounter with VPL and the weird world of digital artists and promoters in the early days of personal computing. They look at the second failed wave of VR investment in the 1990s and the importance of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Mitch talks about how Linden Lab's Second Li...

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February 8, 2023 61 mins

Mitch and Blake debate the continuing relevance of dedicated gaming consoles to the video game business. They begin with a discussion of the economics of the console business, and how console manufacturers built defensible moats that have remained relevant for over 40 years. Mitch compares the current state of the console business to the theatrical feature film business -- and how both have become the domain of big budget blockbust...

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February 1, 2023 71 mins

Mitch and Blake propose a framework for understanding user-generated content in games based on two central metaphors -- the playground and the stage -- representing the two ways users "create" content in games through play and performance. They discuss the rise of sandbox games, The Sims, GTA3, Runescape, Second Life, EVE Online, and Minecraft. Mitch explains the evolution of games as performance spaces, beginning with earl...

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January 25, 2023 81 mins

Mitch and Blake discuss how the rise of games-as-services has privileged durable, long-duration play-patterns -- leading to the modern idea of the "Forever Game" which can persist for decades. Mitch outlines his five attributes of long-term engagement and provides examples of each from games like Ultima OnlineWorld of WarcraftAge of Empires, and League of Legends. They look at the two distinct strands of long-duration p...

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January 18, 2023 70 mins

Mitch and Blake discuss perhaps the most important developments in the video games business since the 1990s: the explosion of casual and mobile gaming. Mitch explains how the casual business was catalyzed by the most unlikely of heroes. He talks about his time as the CEO of the first public mobile game company in the US (JAMDAT) leading up to the launch of the iPhone. They look at the rise of so-called "social gaming" on Fa...

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January 16, 2023 63 mins

Mitch and Blake take a deep dive into the game industry’s migration from physical goods at retail to electronic distribution over the internet. They explore the rise of platform-based publishing — a new concept that marries the internet’s remarkable utility in aggregating customers on digital platforms with the traditional publishing roles of editorial, marketing, and sales. This episode covers the origins of the innovative Steam s...

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January 16, 2023 69 mins

Hosts Mitch Lasky and Blake Robbins discuss the rise of free-to-play as a dominant business model for video game marketing and distribution. They look at the roots of free-to-play in the shareware business, where companies like id Software and Apogee used it to build independent game businesses. Mitch shares some stories about his time as id's publisher in the late 90's. They then look at free-to-play as a response to rampa...

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January 11, 2023 11 mins
Gamecraft is a limited series podcast about the modern history of the video game business hosted by industry veteran Mitch Lasky and investor Blake Robbins. 

In this introductory episode, Mitch and Blake discuss the series as a whole, breaking down the eight episodes and why the themes explored in the episodes are so relevant to understanding the modern business. They discuss their backgrounds in the industry and why they chose to ...

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