Take-Two Brags On GTA IV Lifetime Sales

Take Two has revealed that Grand Theft Auto IV has sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide. The franchise as a whole has sold over 100 million units worldwide.

They also note that since last year, Red Dead Redemption has sold over 8 million copies worldwide and garnered over 150 Game of the Year awards. Additionally Civilization is 2K s most popular franchise, with over 10 million in sales worldwide.

Source: Take-Two Games

 

Feature: Need For Speed Shifts Into Second Gear

The first Need for Speed: Shift was a significant entry for the franchise, marking a change towards realistic racing generally not seen in the series before that. It also scratched a particular itch for simulation driver fans before the release of Gran Turismo 5. Now Sony’s venerable series is here, Shift 2: Unleashed looks to take it head on with more cars, more types of races and more online features. We talked with Andrew Hahn, Community Manager at Electronic Arts, about marketing Shift 2: Unleashed.

How were you looking to highlight that Shift 2 was a different sort of experience than most NFS titles?

Shift is the realization of plans discussed for NFS over the last 3 years. A single yearly design was not satisfying our own interests to explore automotive culture in all its facets. We knew that racing as a genre was as varied as Mario Kart to Gran Turismo. Fans of ours have grown up with NFS over 16 years; their interests have matured, in some cases towards hardcore motorsports. To create something in the spirit of NFS – a design based on the experience of being a race driver, is a tenet of NFS.

How important was Autolog to the overall package of Shift 2?

Autolog is now franchise DNA and is a key feature to all NFS designs. Online competition has always been popular amongst our community of fans. This collection of social features is now combined into one nerve-center, serving up Recommendations based on favorites, and direct challenges via the Speedwall. Regional as well as global leaderboards presented during load screens is a key aspect of bringing personal competition to our racing games.

Was there a particular progression of features you were hoping to show with the trailers to Shift 2

It’s been important for us to differentiate Shift from NFS designs in Arcade and Action, as well as other simulation games. The assets being released are meant to show how the overall design is now in direct competition with the best simulation games; how powerful the physics simulator is that SMS has created to power Shift; how much progress is featured in Shift 2 over its predecessor.

How did EA try to get the attention of fans of the Gran Turismo and Forza series?

We felt that launching a multi-disciplinary motorsport team that competed in events around the globe was a good first step. We use these expert drivers and first-hand experiences to educate our designs. By participating in real world automotive culture visa-a-vi our vehicle designs, our game designs were better informed in the construct, physics, and aural qualities. A great byproduct has been the communities use of Forza‘s visual customization to meticulously model our Team NFS cars in their game. In one instance our own NFS liveried BMW GT3 Z4 ran in Gran Turismo‘s 24hr Nurburgring race, and was then modeled in Forza‘s own game – two competing products featured in the third due to real world circumstance. Tres chouette!

What can we expect from the TV ads for the game?

Like many of the online trailers we’ve already released, our TV ads are will be aimed at presenting the game for what it is, a true-to-life motorsport experience and the best racing simulator.

Talk to me about the reception to the “Play a Pro” sweekstakes.

We received over 5000 entries in the first week alone so it’s quite popular. What’s been great about this contest is that we’re seeing entries from a variety of audiences; everyone from gamers to pure motorsport enthusiasts. Not that this wasn’t expected, we wanted to provide a prize that would draw in many different audiences. Who wouldn’t jump at a chance to race against a real world driver in Shift 2: Unleashed

What’s the reception been like to the announced pre-order Limited-edition?

With so many games available for pre-order these days it’s tough to get someone to pre-order your game over another. However, the pre-order offer available for Shift 2: Unleashed is very strong with three exclusive cars (the Nissan Silvia spec.R Aero (S15), the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV, and the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640) and 40 unique career events. Gamers seem to feel the same as we do because a lot of people are pre-ordering and a lot of people are expressing their excitement for the game across all of Need for Speed‘s social media sites.

Andrew, thanks.

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Wii Units Unused by Half Of Owners, Survey

A recent survey by My Voucher Codes polled a survey of over 1,000 Wii owners revealed that nearly half had not used their Wii in the past six-months. What’s more of those who used their Wii console in the last month, 39 percent said they only used the system to play Wii Fit.

“The Wii really was a novelty when it first came out, but following the release of new motion controlled gaming platforms it appears that people have lost enthusiasm for the console,” said Mark Pearson, Chairman of My Voucher Codes. “Wii’s are a great choice, particularly for families who want to keep all ages entertained; but, inevitably, new platforms start to take over, as motion-controlled technology develops and improves across the board.”

“It’s quite surprising to see that over half of people who own a Wii haven’t used it in the past six months or more; but realistically, it’s simply another example of the latest technology starting to become outdated, he observed.

Source: Gamerzine

Facebook Taking Measures Against Cyber-Bullying

The White House recently held a summit on bullying, and noted how its much more extensive that just in-person bullying, extending online now. Facebook has come out in support of the movement, and said they are looking to roll out an improved Safety Center.

We’re working on a new reporting feature that is social by design, notes the Facebook Staff. In addition to reporting offensive content to Facebook, the tool lets people report that material to someone in their support system (like a parent or teacher) who may be able to address the issue more directly.

Source: Facebook Safety

APB: What Went Wrong

A lot can be learned from APB about how to not launch a game years in development, it folded in just over a month. Despite all the time that was spent working on the game, some very basic balance issues plagued its short life in retail.

“When they released it they didn’t have enough time to polish all the components and make it coherent,” explained Gamersfirst COO Bjorn Book-Larsson. “Shooting and driving weren’t really feeling that great and they had made what we think were some silly business decisions. The first gun you got only let you shoot 25 meters, while the people who had been in the game for a long time could shoot 100 meters. They could kill you at four times the range. The first wave of players that went into the game would slaughter everyone else. No one else had a chance. It was no longer a shooter based on specialized skills. It was literally a slaughter-fest. If you look at the reviewers who didn’t like it, generally they were showing up and getting killed.”

Communication breakdown were a large part of the reason certain major issues did not get addressed. “There were teams who were supposedly sitting idle while they knew about the game’s problems but didn’t have the green light to fix the bugs, said Book-Larsson. Nobody from the design team had told the other team that they could do it.”

Source: Eurogamer

Zynga Expands Indian Development

Zynga has expanded aggressively over the past year, buying up and founding new studios around the U.S. and now it’s targeting the sub-continent of India. The new Zynga Studio will be based in the company’s office in Bangalore.

They plan to double their workforce in Bangalore to 200, about half of which would be game developers. Shan Kadavil, Zynga’s India manager, said, “we expect to tap creative development people from the Bollywood industry.”

Source: The Times of India

X-Men: First Class Posters Amp Up Hype

X-Men: First Class saw the release of some posters for the film today. These are more along the lines of the teaser variety, with silhouettes of Magneto and Professor Xavier serving as the backdrop for head shots of their younger incarnations.

 

Zynga Reportedly Turns Down MySpace Offer

Zynga reportedly was in discussions with News Corp about purchasing MySpace. Reports are that News Corp wanted $100 million or over in stock from Zynga, and not cash.

While Zynga currently dominates games on Facebook, having a large platform all to itself might be the next logical step. However, with MySpace revenues down to $80 million from $300 million a couple years ago, Zynga is not likely to pay more than $50 million in cash.

Source: SF Gate

Doom May Return To Theaters

Reports are that Universal is looking to launch a new Doom movie. While it is still in early stages of production, it will reportedly not follow the events of the 2005 movie, starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson.

While the original film was not a box office success or well received critically, Universal is keen to do the film in the wake of the success of G.I Joe : Rise of Cobra. They’re looking to film the movie in 3D.

Source: Hollywood Insider