Zynga Talks Sequels

Webtrends vice president of apps Peter Yared recently argued that Zynga needs to start making sequels to its games. When asked about sequels, Zynga’s chief game designer Brian Reynolds didn’t deny the possibility.

“Well, it’s so early in our industry, is it time to have sequels I don’t know,” said Reynolds. “It sounds like something we might do.”

“It’s never too late to do a sequel, by the way,” he continued. “It’s not like we need to be quickly running for the sequels because you can do sequels even 10 years after the original game.”

“The first Civilization sequel came out 5 years after the first one and the next one was 5 years after that,” he noted. “And we’ve only even been a company for 3 years.”

Source: IndustryGamers

Windows Phone Getting Mobile Payments

According to reports, Microsoft will include mobile-payment features in the next iteration of Windows Phone. This will be done in order to try and bridge the sizable gap the company has to make up with Google and their Android mobile OS.

This Near Field Communication (NFC) technology allows users to make transactions with nearby electronics devices. While mobile payments were $32 billion in 2010, it may increase to as much as $245 billion by the year 2014, according to Gartner Inc. research.

Source: BusinessWeek

Facebook Real-Time Ads Could Be Golden Opportunity

Facebook recently announced that they would be delivering real-time ads based on wall posts, status updates and conversations. The key to doing this right is mixing this relevancy information Facebook already has about users in their profiles, such as location, age and gender.

“If Facebook can combine people — who they are, how old they are, where they live — with intent, it essentially becomes the most massive ad platform ever,” said Michael Lazerow, CEO of Facebook marketer Buddy Media. “There’s no other platform in the world where there can be 10,000 people a day saying ‘I’m having a baby’ or asking ‘Hey, what’s your favorite hotel in Turks and Caicos ‘”

One of the biggest differences between this ad servicing and what search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo do is the fact that posting on social networks is public, whereas searching is done in more isolation. “It’s different because searching is inherently an insular activity — it’s you and the search box and no one else sees what you see,” said Ian Schafer, CEO of digital agency Deep Focus. “On Facebook, you’re sharing something for everyone to see — your intentions are laid bare and it’s an opportunity to influence conversations.”

There’s also a privacy factor in this; consumers might not want to have an ad system that eerily reacts to their every post. “But this development is also fraught with all kinds of possibilities of invading into the user’s inner sanctum,” aid USC Graduate School of Business professor Hank Wasiak. “It’s essential to realize that everything you do may not be about a sale,” he said. “The companies that do that will be the ones that succeed.”

Source: Ad Age

PlayStation Rewards Put On Hold

The recently announced PlayStation Rewards Platform was supposed to grant gifts and digital items for players who played certain games, downloaded certain content, took part in Home, or rated titles. While the program had been in beta for some months and was set to launch in April, now it’s release to the public has been postponed indefinitely.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation in the PlayStation Rewards Beta, which is ending on March 31,” an email to PlayStation Rewards Beta participants read. “Your feedback helped us understand the kinds of things that make you feel appreciated and valued. Based on what we learned, we have decided the program is not ready to roll out to the public in April as originally planned. But rest assured, we will continue to thank loyal and devoted customers like you with innovative offerings.”

Source: CVG

Modern Warfare 3 Announcement Coming In April – Report

Reports are that the next Call of Duty: Modern Warfare title is set to be announced in mid-April. Earlier rumors that the game might deal with the past of the character Ghost may also be true.

“Based on the ending of MW2, we’d be surprised if the story doesn’t pick up with Soap and Price on the run, after they were set up by General Shepherd, writes PSM3.

Call of Duty games have used the NFL Draft as a launching point for more promotions in the past, and the event will take place between April 28 30, right about when the announcement is expected to come.

Source: CVG

Apple WWDC Sells Out In One Day

Apple recently announced that tickets were available for their latest Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Despite a potential conflict with E3 during June 6 10, the event is already sold out.

Tickets to the anticipated WWDC were going for $1,599, though internet auction sites might soon be hosting them for twice that price (the buyers will still have to be licensed Apple developers). Rumors are that the revelation of iOS 5 and maybe the iPhone 5 will come at the event.

Source: PC Mag

God Of War Team Hiring Senior Online Programmer

A year after the successful release of God of War III, Sony Computer Entertainment America’s Santa Monica studio appears to be gearing up for their next title. A job posting suggests that the new game will feature online elements of some sort.

The new job posting is for a Senior Online Programmer, who will designing network systems for “in-game communication, client-server, match-making [and] leaderboards. While some will take this as a sign that the God of War franchise is going online, God of War III ended the story arch of Kratos and the development team offered no guarantees that they would be working on another game in the franchise. Then again, the job listing does start out with Join the God of War team!

Source: Gamasutra

Grand Theft Auto V: Biggest Hint Yet

A casting call by Take-Two has provided a hint that Grand Theft Auto V is indeed in development. The recent casting call by the publisher mentioned a character James Pedeaston, “a man-boy love activist” who appeared on radio channel WCTR in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Recent rumors citing another casting list for a variety of colorful characters placed the new game in Los Angeles (or the Grand Theft Auto equivalent Los Santos, located in the state of San Andreas). Also, several URLs like CashForDeadDreams.com, StopPayingYourMortgage.net and LifeInvader.com were registered by Take-Two recently, which fits with the GTA series references to parody websites that can be loaded up on the Internet outside of the game.

Source: Ripten

Killzone Universe Explored

The universe of Killzone is expanding with every game, and the backstory is one of increasing interest to some gamers. This live action video takes place before any of the Killzone games, showing the growing conflict between the ISA and the Helghast.