Zynga Opens Floodgate

Zynga has announced that it is acquiring Floodgate Entertainment; the independent game developer will be integrated into the staff for Zynga Boston. The studio developed the mobile titles Flowerz and Civ IV: War of Two Cities, as well as PC titles such as Dark Messiah of Might & Magic and Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide. Many of the veterans of the studio worked for Looking Glass Technologies on games like Ultima Underworld, System Shock, and Thief: The Dark Project.

This addition showcases our commitment to working with top-notch talent that shares our passion for building innovative and fun social games. Industry veteran and Floodgate founder Paul Neurath will join Zynga Boston as Creative Director, reads the Zynga blog post. Paul brings over two decades of experience in game development to Zynga and is responsible for a number of acclaimed titles. In 1990 Paul founded Blue Sky Productions, which became LookingGlass in 1992.

Source: Zynga Blog

IPhone For T-Mobile Not Impending

The acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T for $39 billion has raised a lot of questions, not the least of which is about an iPhone for T-Mobile customers. While it’s unlikely to happen immediately given certain compatibility issues, it should happen when the acquisition completes.

“T-Mobile USA remains an independent company,” a T-Mobile FAQ reads. “The acquisition is expected to be completed in approximately 12 months. We do not offer the iPhone. We offer cutting edge devices like the Samsung Galaxy S 4G and coming soon our new Sidekick 4G.”

Both parties assert that the merger will improve network quality and boost speeds. The merger will ensure the deployment of a robust 4G LTE network to 95 percent of the U.S. population, something neither company would achieve on its own,” reads the FAQ. “Also, because of our compatible networks and spectrum, the customers of T-Mobile USA and AT&T will experience improved voice and data service almost immediately after the networks are integrated.”

Source: Apple Insider

Heavy Rain Director ‘Fed Up With Space Marines’

David Cage, who is also the co-founder of Quantic Dream, challenged a lot of gaming conventions as director/writer/producer of Heavy Rain. He’s achieved success with the title, and he thinks that other developers are eager to explore more unconventional stories.

“Games always explore the same things, said Cage. They’re about being powerful, being the good guys against the bad guys that’s a very tiny part of what can be done. There are so many other stories to tell, so many other emotions to trigger this is a fantastic new medium, we can do much more than we currently do with it.”

“In Europe, we are not as easy to satisfy; being given a gun to hold is not necessarily enough in a game, added Cage. But it’s not just in Europe, I hear many developers in the U.S. saying the same thing ‘look, I’m 40, I’m fed up of writing games where you shoot at everyone. It was fun when I was twenty but now I want to do something else. I don’t watch the same movies as I did when I was 20, I don’t listen to the same music, but I’m still making the same games!’ Developers are fed up they want to talk about their families, politics, whatever why not in a game? Why not ! There is no reason.”

Cage was particularly flattered about the Bafta award for best story, saying, “It is the one I was dreaming of. I worked so hard on the story, and it’s the first I ever wrote that was based on something personal. It was not about space marines fighting aliens, it was about my relationship with my first son and how he changed my life and also about how loving someone without expecting anything in return was something totally new.”

“There should be more people trying this,” he continued. “Don’t write about being a rookie soldier in WWII, because you don’t have a clue what that’s like. Talk about yourself, your life, your emotions, the people around you, what you like, what you hate this is how the industry will make a huge step forwards. I’m fed up with space marines.”

Source: Guardian

Angry Birds Are The New Mario Bros, Says Developer

Nintendo has made comments derogatory of mobile titles and their quality of late. However, an App Store developer has said that the winds are shifting towards mobile phones and not portable consoles.

“If you look at the market cap for easy-to-play casual games vs. the market cap for epic first person shooter type games,” said Sourcebits’ VP of Sales Dan Gonzales, “you’ll quickly understand the importance of Angry Birds. The hardcore gamer, while fairly large in a historical context, is completely dwarfed by the number of casual gamers adopting smart phones and tablets.”

“The world is changing and fast,” said Sourcebits’ VP of Sales, Brian Meehan. “Angry Birds is the world’s new [Super] Mario Bros. My kids will never own a DS or PSP. They have everything via smart phones and tablets. When I travel, I love to walk from the back of the plane to the front and see what people are doing on their devices. Not surprisingly, it’s mostly games. I particularly see a lot of Angry Birds on iPhones and iPads. Not just one or two, but ten to 15.”

Source: Modojo.com

Sucker Punch: The Trenches

To promote the upcoming movie Sucker Punch, a series of animated shorts is being released inspired by the movie. This one details how one of the mechanized soldiers in the movie came to be.


Blizzard Can’t Wait For Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic is shaping up to be one of the biggest potential rivals to World of Warcraft, which has monopolized the subscription MMORPG space over the past few years. While one might think the team at Blizzard is secretly hoping the BioWare effort falls on its face, on the contrary executive vice president Frank Pearce wishes them well.

This is a game that has an opportunity to grow the MMO market if done right and therefore is very important to the industry as a whole, not just EA, said Pearce.

It s certainly a strong franchise and BioWare s a great developer, added Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. We ve talked about this internally and from our perspective we hope they make an enjoyable game because they re going to bring in a lot of new players to the MMO genre, and those players idea of whether or not they like this type of game is going to be determined by that experience.

Source: MCV

TV Product Placement Mentions Noticed By Users

Product placement has been a part of television for a while now, and it’s becoming like its own art form. While most of the time the product is merely there, some attempts at more direct communication have also bore fruit.

According to Nielsen, the highest brand recall was owned by Castle where the title character mentioned the Ferrari is a high-performance vehicle with the sixth such highest remembrance coming from Bones when that show’s title character mentioned Toyota’s adaptive cruise control. Still, it can be a fine line to walk between good integration and audience alienation.

Source: Ad Age