Online And Mobile Surpassing Consoles In Next Five Years, Predicts IBIS

As the console industry becomes increasingly expensive, online and mobile games become increasingly attractive to publishers. Tim Merel, director at IBIS Capital, in fact sees revenue from mobile and online games surpassing consoles in five years.

The video games industry is big, getting bigger and changing, with console game costs, revenue and risks accelerating and online/mobile games growing and fragmenting the market. Investment dynamics are entering a new phase, with growth investment opportunities in online and mobile games, as pure console sector growth is flat (and risky). Today online/mobile games generate around 1/3 of all games software revenues globally. In 5 years time they are forecast to generate 50 percent of all games software revenue, or around 1/5 more revenue than pure console games! Whether you have faith in the forecasts or not, CEOs and senior execs from the major US, European and Asian publishers all tell me that this is what keeps them awake at night,” Merel commented.

“What excites me about the online/mobile games markets is that they are both high growth and profitable, which is pretty rare, he continued. The leading competitors are growing revenue 100 percent+ annually while also delivering 20-30 percent EBITDA margins. Coupled with a fragmented industry structure, no real market dominance and clear strategic exit options to the major video games and media companies, the time for investment is now.

He also notes that the business structure of traditional publishers isn’t well aligned with mobile and online publishing and that venture capital is increasingly spurning console companies for online and mobile.

Source: IndustryGamers

Battlestar Galactica Spin-Offs Floated

Battlestar Galactica and Caprica co-executive producer Michael Taylor is working on an online series called Blood & Chrome. They are currently planning on having the project run nine or 10 episodes of nine or 10 minutes each.

“[Blood & Chrome is] about a young man’s initiation into war: both the realities of war as fought by soldiers on the ground (and in Battlestars and Vipers), and the somewhat less real version portrayed in the media,” according to Taylor.

The project, if approved, would be filmed on green screens and virtual sets. High-tech scans were made of all Battlestar Galactica‘s sets so a special-effects team will be able to re-create them for another show.

“I’ve seen the virtual, 3D version of CIC [Battlestar’s Combat Information Center] and it’s pretty damn cool,” said Taylor. “And yet the movie isn’t confined to Galactica. Far from it. It’s a story that will take us to new corners of the Battlestar world (or worlds), and yet it aims to be a very contemporary war movie in a lot of ways. I would say I’m thinking as much of Afghanistan and Iraq–the reality of Hurt Locker, Sebastian Junger’s Restrepo, and similar movies–as I am about about the largely implied past of Battlestar.”

Taylor said he’ll look for the sort of highly charged emotion that was part of the Battlestar Galactica series. “We’re not going to be shying away from R-rated blood and guts and sex,” Taylor noted. “Because this is initially meant to air online, we pretty much have no restrictions in that department.”

If it’s successful, it could serve as an opening for similar initiatives or as a pilot for a whole new series. Another spin-off Taylor is proposing is The Watchers; it will focus on espionage and the worrisome nature of having so much power over ordinary citizens.

Source: Chicago Tribune

PS3 Better Than Green Onions

While fans actively compare and contrast the capabilities of various consoles, Sony took a similar but different route in their latest Japanese commercial by comparing the capabilities of the PS3 to a . . . green onion. Delivered in a lightning quick, distinctly Japanese fashion, the humor translates pretty well.

IGN Getting Social With MyIGN

IGN is launching its own social network called MyIGN. This metagame that will reward IGN users in a game-like fashion for being social taps into the 12.7 million gamers that visit their game oriented site every month.

We created it because gamers are not currently served by social networks, said Peer Schneider, senior vice president and publisher at IGN Entertainment. If I post what I really feel about a game on Facebook, I ll get odd comments from non-gaming friends and family. In our setting, you can feel comfortable talking about gaming. No one else has nailed it.

MyIGN allows users to follow editors, game personalities and particular titles. The goals are to help you discover new games through friends and eventually incorporate matchmaking features.

Source: VentureBeat

Blizzard Would Consider Console Development

Most people probably think of Blizzard as being a PC developer; after all, for the past decade they’ve been defined by PC only titles like Diablo II, World of Warcraft and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Still, the company has roots in console development with titles like Blackthorne, The Lost Vikings and Rock n’ Roll Racing, and they aren’t ruling out future console titles.

Our heritage actually goes back to console, said Blizzard Entertainment’s VP and executive MD of internal operations Michael Ryder. In the early years Blizzard made console games. It’s not the heritage, it’s the design decisions and what we think is best for our players.

In the more recent years it has been PC and online orientated. But we play all kinds of games at Blizzard. We try to learn wherever we can. We play console games and we are up-to-speed on the console platforms. And if we see an opportunity where the game design would work well on the console, then maybe we will go that way. We just haven’t announced anything yet.

Source: MCV

Feature: Chevrolet Kinects With Volt

 Kinect is the new motion sensing device for Xbox 360, and many are enthusiastic about its potential for games. However, at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Microsoft showed off its potential for brands as well. The Chevrolet Volt factored largely into this and we talked with Mary Kubitskey, National Advertising & Sales Promotions Manager for Chevrolet, to get their half of the story.

How did the collaboration with Microsoft for the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival come about?

We were looking to launch Volt in a unique way; we were looking for different places to go with that because it’s an innovative car so we needed to innovate on the advertising side as well.  We love to talk to companies that do that same thing, and Microsoft really fit the bill.

I saw that the way that the Volt is unlocked in Kinect Joy Ride is by watching a video advertisement in the Xbox Live dash.

See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Initially, the people who are going to embrace that new Microsoft technology are going to be important early influencers, and they were looking for people who are a good match for that. Volt is also a leading edge technology, so it fit together perfectly.

Tell me about some of your mobile brand experiences you’re considering, like using Bing, reserving to test-drive a Volt and the Windows Phone 7 initiative.

What you saw in Cannes . . . was all preliminary. We’re looking to launch the Volt in September, so what we premiered in France was showing potentially what technology could be used to enhance the brand, so we had a lot of fun with it. Our thoughts were that you could interact with it everywhere, be it mobile, with Kinect, or Microsoft Surface, so we threw a bunch of ideas out there.

However, even if some of the creative you saw ultimately doesn’t end up happening, Volt will still be in Kinect Joy Ride.

The 2011 Volt, on what appears to be a putting green.

Tell me about the ability to examine the Volt exterior and interior and why you think this will be important for automotive purchases going forward.

The technology allows you to interact with whatever medium you’d like for a virtual test world. It’s great for Volt; using it, you could build your own car, try different colors, see how the seats and dash might look different. It’s something that you could do before you go down to the dealership and it’s better than a catalog or a website.

Talk to me about the potential to show off Kinect Joy Ride at Chevrolet’s promotional events and showrooms.

The two opportunities that stick out are with the dealership experience and at autoshows. Kinect technology at the events is great because it lets us get out the experience everywhere. It’s just like with some of the smartphone or PC initiatives; people could interact with a push of a button and get a screensaver or send an image to yourself.

Sounds like you’re bullish on the Volt being the face for the “new” Chevrolet as it were, being the model of the future for the brand.

That’s a big part of what the Volt will be for Chevrolet. The car is the most innovative GM has ever built. Most electric cars have between 80 and 100 miles in range. Volt can generate its own electricity using a gas engine, so it changes the game. It’s huge for the automotive industry. This is the first of probably several things that you’ll see from GM.

On a side note, will we see the Volt in Transformers 3?

The Volt was in Transformers 2, actually! He wasn’t one of the main characters, like Bumblebee as the Camaro. You will definitely see Chevrolet cars in Transformers 3.

Also, was there any truth to the rumors that Chevrolet was looking to abandon the Chevy nickname internally?

There’s no way we could stop Americans from using a beloved nickname like that!

Thanks Mary.

EverQuest II Launches Free-To-Play Option

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that they are launching a free-to-play option for EverQuest II. Called EverQuest II Extended, most of the content of the game will be available for free, with options like more character slots, spells and levels available for a certain price.

“As the digital entertainment market evolves, SOE is focused on continued innovation in content delivery that best fit the needs of the growing consumer base,” said Sony Online Entertainment President, John Smedley. “Our goal with Extended is to offer players an alternative to our current subscription program that gives them the option to choose a program that best fits their play style.”

“The very nature of an MMO is change, and the decision to create Extended was fueled by evolution of the industry landscape,” said EverQuest II Producer, David Georgeson. “By offering two services side by side we have given the power to our players to determine the program that best fits their game play style.”

Iron Man Director Talks Recasting

Recasting can be a tricky thing, as Iron Man director Jon Favreau knows since he replaced Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes for Iron Man 2. While he was promoting Aliens & Cowboys at Comic-Con, he was asked about the decision to cast Mark Ruffalo in place of Edward Norton as Hulk for Avengers.

“It’s tricky,” said Favreau. “I know Edward, and I dig the guy’s talent tremendously. He’s always been a very great guy . . . I’m sure that however this comes out, it’s going to be something that’s amenable to both the filmmaker and the studio. I know that we faced the challenge of recasting with Don Cheadle and Terrence Howard, and although I think breaking continuity is always a challenge and should be avoided whenever possible, it is the reality of the movie business that sometimes things don’t work out.”

While Norton’s absence is sad, the show must go on. Favreau said he’d make himself available to Thor director Kenneth Branagh and The Avengers director Joss Whedon for whatever they might need. “I’m here because of my success with Marvel for the most part,” he said. “I’ve felt tremendous creative support, and as they cut their teeth as a studio, I cut my teeth as a big filmmaker. So we’ve grown a lot together and I am completely invested in the success of that studio. I really want to see the Iron Man stuff play out really well through these other movies and hopefully collaborate in the future.”

Source: IGN

Irrational Teaser Asks ‘What Is Icarus?’

 A new site has gone up at While it currently doesn’t depict very much, it is expected to blossom into a full-fledged promotional site for whatever Irrational Game’s next title is (labeled Project Icarus at the moment).

Domain name registries run back to both Irrational parent company Take-Two and Rockstar Games. It is expected that whatever the game is will be revealed on August 11.

Source: Joystiq