Zynga Dials Up Area/Code

Zynga has acquired game studio Area/Code for an undisclosed price. The indie game developer that is based out of New York City is the ninth acquisition in eight months for Zynga.

The casual game maker has made the Facebook game CSI: Crime City, along with Parking Wars and Drop7 for the iPhone. Area/Code will become Zynga New York, with the studio s executives Demetri Detsaridis and Frank Lantz becoming general manager and creative director, respectively.

Source: VentureBeat

Capcom Says Smartphones Have Usurped Portable Consoles

While Nintendo has just unveiled more details for the 3DS, the world is a much different one than the DS launched into in 2004. In fact, Capcom thinks that much of the traditional role that portable consoles have played has been replaced by smartphones.

The casual gamer that used to play on the PC and the hardcore gamer that used to play on a dedicated gaming portable now plays on their smartphone, said Capcom Interactive’s president and COO Midori Yuasa. The iPhone and larger smartphone markets are extremely important to Capcom as, like no device before, smartphones have the potential to become a universal game platform. We have a lot of stuff on the horizon for both hardcore and casual gamers, so 2011 is shaping up to be huge on Capcom’s mobile front.

Capcom launched Smurfs Village, and with its sale of in-game items, it actually managed to outpace Angry Birds as far as income. The virtual purchases in that game (typically various increments of Smurfberries) range all the way from $4.99 to $99.99.

A freemium business model can be extremely effective as illustrated by the success of Smurfs Village. However, the key is that the game has to be designed from day one as a freemium title, added Yuasa. If you try and shoehorn in an alternate revenue model into an existing design, you end up with a muddled experience that users either ignore or hammer with user reviews.

Source: MCV

Kongregate Talks About Android Market Withdrawal

When Kongregate released its Arcade App on the Android Marketplace, Google removed it in less than 24 hours. This surprised many people, and perhaps Kongregate more than anyone else.

“We were very surprised, especially since we had shown it to several people at Google in mobile, said Kongregate CEO Jim Greer. “The reason for the removal, and we didn’t find out until after it was already gone, was that they claim you can’t use their app store to distribute another app store — which is a reasonable restriction. But to us, what’s really bizarre, to call [Kongregate Arcade] an ‘app store’ seems like a pretty extreme stretch.”

The Kongregate Arcade App is a portal to Kongregate’s Flash site with over 300 titles. The difference is that for the app, it allows players to play games both online and off.

“If you download them,” Greer explained, “it’s essentially caching the file, and then when you play the game it actually uses a browser. It’s a browser — you can’t see the address bar but it’s a regular Android browser using WebKit. And WebKit loads the Flash file from the cache and you play the game in the browser, then you head back and you can play another game. So, it’s all essentially cached content delivered in a browser, which to me is just bizarre that that would be considered an ‘app store.’ It’s just browser-based content.”

“Every other removal that Google’s done previously has been, you know, fraudelent banking apps and other stuff that was just clearly over the line,” Greer said. “We were just shocked. I’m not ready to say it’s a philosophical shift from Google; you could misinterpret our app and think those are all native experiences, but right now I’m just confused.”

When asked why Google removed it, Greer said, “I just think they’re misinterpreting this. I think the people making this decision weren’t necessarily engineers. My background is as an engineer, so I’m hoping we can sort of have an engineer to engineer discussion where we say, ‘Hey, we’re playing content in the browser. This is crazy. We’re not distributing apps.'”

“Our understanding is that this wasn’t even a gray area; that it was totally fine. And that’s why we’re so surprised, he concluded.

Source: Joystiq

Dead Space Action On IPhone

Some have wondered how the iPhone version of Dead Space would look in action or what you would do to control it. Wonder no more with this video, which shows the Dead Space experience mostly intact.

LittleBigPrius Goes Green

As previously revealed, there will be a special contest resulting from a collboration between Toyota and SCEA. As you can see by the trailer, there’s a good amount of variety in the custom Prius level.

Google Co-Founder Takes Up CEO Role

Google has announced that Larry Page will be taking up the mantle of CEO at Google. He replaces Eric Schmidt, who will become executive chairman and focus on tasks like corporate management and government outreach.

Page, who helped co-found Google, takes on day-to-day operations in order to make a cleaner chain of command and streamline decision making. Google’s fourth-quarter earnings were recently announced to be $6.37 billion, beating analyst estimates.

Source: Reuters

Nintendo: ‘Retail Happy With 3DS Price’

The 3DS is an expensive little gaming device from Nintendo, costing $249 in the U.S. and the rough equivalent of $365 in the U.K. Still, Nintendo U.K. general manger David Yarnton doesn’t think the price will hold the system back from success.

“Indications that we’ve had so far from retail is that they are really happy with the price and demand indicates it will be our biggest launch in terms of hardware,” said Yarnton. “The DS for us was huge in 2005 and in 2006 the Wii was even bigger. Retailers – especially with the environment they are in – are right behind it. It’s a new format. In the last ten years, the innovation that we’ve brought to the market, people may have looked at the price to begin with but it was soon forgotten because of the quality of the product and the content that’s available.”

Without a way to convey the 3D capabilities of the system via traditional advertising, hands-on demos will be even more important, and that’s something Nintendo is prepared for. “We’ve had huge sampling experiences on Wii and DS in the past and we properly started that whole touring the product, we’ve been doing that for years. With 3DS it’s going to be the biggest sampling campaign that we’ve ever done, said Yarnton. “We’re looking at between 4-500,000 consumer samples up to Easter this year. And because we’re doing a combination of not only interactive in stores but also consumer events, and then samples in shopping centers . . . we see the opportunity as so important. How do we explain the 3D We can paint a picture but until you actually experience it you’re not going to see the full value of it. Sampling is huge, it’s a major investment for us.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Valve Might Expand Steamworks For Other PS3 Titles

Portal 2 on PS3 is a landmark moment for Valve, showing not just their commitment to the platform, but also linking PSN and Steamworks. Portal 2 on PS3 comes with a copy of the game for Steam, and it might not be the last game with such a collaboration.

“The goal is to give a Portal 2 customer access to their game on as many devices as possible. We introduced this notion when we launched Steam Play for Mac and PC games in the spring of last year,” said Doug Lombardi, Valve’s VP of Marketing. “Giving a PS3 owner of Portal 2 the ability to also play their game on the PC and Mac is an extension of this philosophy. From our perspective, it’s not two copies of a game; it’s the same game, but with Sony’s help we’ve worked out a method to allow that Portal 2 PS3 customer to also play their game on the PC and Mac.”

“We are hoping other titles will benefit from the Steamworks tools and services we’ve created for Portal 2 PS3, but we don’t have anything to announce today,” he added.

Source: Ars Technica

Nintendo: Hollywood Has ‘Tremendous Interest’ In 3DS

Nintendo has touted the 3D capabilities of the 3DS since the beginning, and are claiming that it will be the first mainstream 3D console. What’s more than that, however, it seems like they’re playing up the system’s multi-media capabilities.

“One of this device’s values is that it can play back 3D videos.” said Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata. “When we show 3DS to people from Hollywood, they express tremendous interest. We believe many people will be happy if we make it so that you can use the 3DS to watch things like, for instance, 3D movie trailers.”

Nintendo has already announced they are partnering with Eurosport and Sky to deliver sports content to the 3DS.

Source: Andriasang.com