Join The F1 2011 Wall Of Fame

To coincide with the launch of F1 2011, Codemasters has launched a unique Facebook application where fans can submit their profile picture to become part of the wall of fame. Once submitted, fans can click, drag and zoom into a mosaic of the box cover art made entirely of profile pictures that have been submitted by users. At the time of publication, over 14,111 “drivers” had been submitted to be part of the mosaic. Click “find me” to locate your own image on the wall of fame.

Feature: Steam Pirates Take To The Crimson Seas

Crimson: Steam Pirates is the first game from Harebrained Schemes and is also the first game to come from Bungie’s indie publishing wing, Aerospace. It has over 5620 Ratings and has an average score of more than 4.5 stars, showing that people really like it . . . and it’s free to download. We talked with Jordan Weisman, founder of Harebrained Schemes, about the game and his propensity for world-building.

Talk to me about the decision to make Crimson: Steam Pirates a free game.

A lot of that was taking place on the Aerospace side. It came late in the development process and the inspiration was something that came partially out of both studios in order to give the game more exposure. The thought was to make it free-to-play and give away the first day missions in order to garner a really large initial audience — I think it’s worked well.

What do you think of the reaction from consumers so far to Crimson: Steam Pirates?

It’s been really overwhelming; the number of downloads, the number of ratings and all very positive, which is very gratifying for us.

How has the decision to release the game for free affected the launch?

I think . . . ultimately, the free-to-play model is not a deciding factor; it’s the quality of the game. It drives a higher amount of trials, but you have to have a good game. I do think it helped add some fire to fuel, however.

What are your plans for monetization moving forward?

On iPad, we’ll sell additional chapters and if we move to other platforms we may switch to another model. Discussions are underway for other platforms, but no announcements to be made.

Tell me about your partnership with Bungie and how that’s helped your company get off the ground.

We have along standing relationship with the Bungie guys all the way back to when they were in Chicago with us at FASA. After I left Bungie, I helped to do the viral campaign “I love bees” at 42 Entertainment. When they wanted to get into the mobile social space, we bounced some ideas back and forth and it’s been a great experiment for both of us. Their feedback on the game was very constructive; they helped ship the game and made sure we had a high quality piece of entertainment.

For the record, what’s the extent of your work experience?

I founded FASA and helped oversee Microsoft Game Studios after Microsoft bought us out and I later created WizKids which produced the games like Mage Knight and HeroClix.

You were the one instrumental in making sure there was a wall between the rest of Microsoft and Bungie, correct?

Yes, it was important to preserve their development ecosystem, so one of the things I fought for was keep them insulated from the rest of Microsoft’s subculture. They were still learning the difference between running a business for productivity software and entertainment software; the Xbox was still in its infancy at that point.

Because of their scale, it only makes sense for them to get involved in something if it is big. Well, what about work on your old properties, Battletech, Shadowrun, Crimson Skies and the like?

When I was at Smith & Tinker, another start-up, we had worked to license them back, but the constraints of the license made it hard to exploit. But there are some interesting developments; we might still see something in the future.

Ah yes, there was that issue with Harmony Gold suing over the Robotech similarities with Battletech.

That was a fairly small matter. The problem was the economics of licensing the game from Microsoft. It just didn’t make sense to make the game unless we owned the property because of the limitations it had.

So what you’re saying is that making a AAA game for one home console is hard to make all the numbers add up?

Essentially.

So is Crimson: Steam Pirates like a spiritual successor to Crimson Skies?

Crimson: Steam Pirates is connected with the sort of pulp adventure history with a story that ties into it. In that it’s related, but there’s no actual connection between the two proprieties: Crimson: Steam Pirates is a Victorian inspired adventure, whereas Crimson Skies is an alternative history for America in the 1930s.

Any tie ins or promotions you’re looking to potentially do with Crimson: Steam Pirates?

Apple liked it enough to make it game of the week! I saw in Entertainment Weekly put it on the ‘must download’ list for the print and online. In terms of other promotions, none that I’m aware of, but most of that would fall on Bungie Aerospace.

With all your varied interests as evidenced by your past projects, why do this?

I love high fantasy to science fiction and I guess one of my reoccurring loves, from Battletech to Shadowrun to Crimson Skies, is basing fiction on history. Battletech is the Roman successor states in space; that’s a bit far flung, some I just stick closer to history. It’s fun to play with the history of an era by having people like having Thomas Blood try to assassinate Queen Victoria.

The setting is pretty accurate for Crimson: Steam Pirates – England rules most of the world, the Caribbean is a hotbed of piracy; we just amp up some of the weird science. It helps make the world seem more real, even if someone isn’t a history buff themselves, because it feels like something that’s really happened.

Anything else you’d like to add?

It’s been a great coming out party and look forward to working with [Bungie Aerospace] more in the future and you’ll hopefully seem more great games from us down the road.

Jordan, it’s been a pleasure.

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App Store Game Revenue Mostly Coming From In-App Purchases

Analytics firm Distimo indicates that in-app purchases now account for 72 percent of revenue generated by the App Store. A sample of the top 300 apps in each category showed that the number of free apps has grown by 34 percent since 2010, with paid apps increasing by 7 percent.

Only 4 percent of apps allow in-app purchases, however their revenue has increased 28 percent from the same point last year. 48 percent of that revenue comes from free apps, with 24 percent coming from paid apps that allow in-app purchasing.

Source: distimo.com

Unreal Not On Epic’s Docket Right Now

Unreal is one of Epic’s best known IPs but the company hasn’t done anything with it for a while. According to Epic president Mike Capps, they’re not working on an Unreal game now, but it’s legacy lives on.

Unreal and Unreal Tournament continue to have a huge influence on the studio here, even though we’re not currently working on an Unreal IP project,” said Capps. “Unreal and Unreal Tournament continue to have a huge influence on the studio here, even though we’re not currently working on an Unreal IP project.”

“I’m not quite ready to call Gears of War 3 completed yet,” he added. “Epic loves supporting our fans with tons of great additional content, and much of the Epic team is still working on new material for the game. We continue to explore the franchise outside of the console games with great novels, comic books, and the like. Just in the last month we’ve launched a new board game with Fantasy Flight, and HeroClix of Gears characters. So while the trilogy is complete, we’re still working pretty hard on Gears.”

Source: Forbes

IPhone 5 May Be Coming Late October

Rumors are that Apple will hold a major media event on October 4 to unveil the iPhone 5. The roll-out of the device is expected to come a few weeks after this revelation.

“And while the iPhone 5 is a much-anticipated handset, the event itself has a lot more importance for Apple than many previous ones,” writes John Paczkowski. “That’s because it will be newly installed CEO Tim Cook’s first big product introduction, and the place where the public will get a first lengthy impression of him that may well set the tone for Cook’s new role. So, like his predecessor, and as Jobs’s right-hand man and chosen successor, Cook is expected to be the main presenter at all big Apple media events going forward. That said, according to sources, he’s sure to have help from Apple lieutenants, such as marketing head Schiller, iOS chief Scott Forstall and Eddy Cue, recently named SVP of Internet Software and Services.”

Source: All Things D

Magic Of Ni No Kuni

Ni no Kuni is coming to the U.S. and here’s a sample of it in action. Take in the bright animation and the richness of the musical score – it’s truly a wonder to behold.

Like, Share And Unlock Items At Launch

A new trailer and Facebook page for Mafia Wars 2 has been launched challenging fans to “like” the page and “share” to earn exclusive in-game rewards at launch. At the time of publication, 52,277 fans had already “liked” the app and had a chance to earn rewards like black mohawk hair (20,000 likes required), a casino row t-shirt (50,000 likes required) or a graffiti wall (100,000 likes required). Zynga knows how to keep it interesting, at 500,000 likes everyone gets their own animated lion.

Battlefield 3 Pre-Orders Rise To 1.5 Million

EA Has confirmed that Battlefield 3 has reached pre-order numbers of 1.5 million, increasing a quarter of a million in two weeks. Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia thinks the map pack was a good incentive for players to pick up the game early

“Management remains optimistic that the title has potential to exceed sales of its predecessor (Battlefield Bad Company 2), which has sold through 9.5 million units life-to-date. Critical ratings for BF3 should be at least 80,” added. Bhatia. “The combined marketing dollars for BF3 and Call of Duty: MW 3 could reach $100 million this year. The two week head start for BF3 versus CoD will facilitate a big launch for BF3. Once CoD launches, there would be a natural slowdown in sales of BF3. Then, at holiday, momentum for BF3 should rebuild. BF3 is expected to have a long tail as more digital content is introduced over time. At peak, BF3 had more than 100 developers. Note that BF3 will include a map pack if the game is pre-ordered. This $15 to $20 value should be a big incentive for customers to pre-order BF3. The mix of BF3 should be 60 percent US and 40 percent international.”

Source: IndustryGamers