Smurfs & Co. Hits 9 Millions Users First Month

Ubisoft has revealed that The Smurfs & Co. has over 9 million monthly players since it launched in August. More amazing is the fact that most of this was done without any external promotion.

Smurfs went from zero to 4.2 million without marketing in two weeks,” said Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot. “So it’s amazing how fast, when the content is adapted, those products can grow. So it really shows that people are very interested by new content in games. So we will continue to develop and make sure the quality of the game experience is adapted to what people are looking for.”


THQ CEO Talks About Cloud Future For Consoles

THQ CEO Brian Farrell recently gave the keynote at Cloud Gaming USA and talked about how cloud gaming is the future for the industry. He talks about a scenario where game consoles will no longer have disc drives, lowering the prices of consoles, and how there will be no retail mark downs to negatively effect the business of game publishers and developers.

“Our games are always on and our players are always connected . . .We have the opportunity to interact with players in new ways that can be reactive to their desires, play habits, and buying habits,” Farrell noted. “The box, ship and done model is transitioning to: observe, measure, and modify [like] a games as a service model where direct consumer feedback allows the ability to operate in this always on, always connected environment.”

He noted that Saints Row: The Third will have more than 40 weeks of DLC. “We intend to create an online digital ecosystem with the consumer that keeps them interested for almost a year, perhaps even longer. And we expect most of our large console games going forward will extend the base experience with DLC packs. Things like online in-game storage, and consumables and other online items that will go on for at least a year post-release.”

Farrell noted that there is the potential that new business models will become viable, such as episodic, freemium and subscription. “Frankly we think the business model will vary based on the type of content being offered,” though admitted it was too early to tell what these dominant models will be,” he continued. “We’re starting to see a world where players can pay different amounts based on preferences with casual players paying a small amount, and more hardcore or passionate players investing more into their experience.”

MX vs ATV Alive was cited as an example of THQ experimenting with new business models, trying to sell the game for $39.99 with lots of optional content. “But what we found was unlike free to play, $39.99 just wasn’t low enough to drive a big enough install base to push the level of DLC we had initially hoped for,” he said.

Going to the cloud also presents consumers with potential cross-platform advantages as well. “You might primarily play a game on your PC, yet play subgames on your phone then share stats and improve your progress in the main game,” he added. “Technology alone will not give a clear benefit to the consumer. Cloud computing and data storage could potentially do a lot, but it’s what we do with it as game designers and publishers that really matters most.”


DC Looks To Digital Reboot

DC is launching a full reboot of its various comic super hero franchises, putting the number of all of its most famous comics back to 1. Perhaps even more significant is the acknowledgment that the future of comics probably will not be on the printed page.

With only 60 percent of the United States is currently within 50 miles of a store, it makes sense for DC and Marvel to look intro distribution systems with companies like comiXology to bring comics to tablets and other similar devices. Many popular comics used to sell over 1 million copies as recently as two decades ago; now top comics are lucky to do over 100,000 a month.

DC has been experimenting with “day-and-date” releases with digital and retail, and so far, comic sales have gone up, implying that the digital releases aren’t hurting comic shops. “People who go to comic book stores like going to comic book stores,” says comiXology CEO David Steinberger.

Source: AdWeek

Ubisoft Talks How Casual Games Business May Overcome Hardcore

Ubisoft has hardcore gaming franchises like Assassin’s Creed, but the company’s casual offerings now make up 40 percent of their revenue. Along with successful properties like Raving Rabbids, Just Dance, and the Imagine series, they also maintain 20 Facebook apps, including CSI: Crime City, Horse Saga and The Smurfs & Co with around 10,000,000 monthly active users.

“In the long term there’s no reason why the casual would not overcome the hardcore business because there are more people that are interested in buying casual,” said Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft CEO. “We were amazed by the success of Just Dance and it showed that lots of people, when you really bring the game that they are interested in, they actually buy huge quantities.”

When asked what he wants to see from the next consoles, he responded, “More interaction with people, the possibility to adapt content to the time that people want to play. To to be more of a service to consumers that can get and get out. So the software will have to be very different so that everyone can play and can take from those the games the bit they want to get.”


Battlestar Galactica Online Reaches 5 Million Registered Players

Bigpoint has revealed that Battlestar Galactica Online has reached the milestone of 5 million registered users. The MMO has seen roughly 25,000 new players sign up every day since the launch in February 2011.

“As BSGO continues to evolve, we’re excited to offer new content to the fans and growing community,” said producer Sarah Levantine. “We listen very closely to what the players ask for and are happy to announce that more features and items, including a number of new ships, are on the way.”

Gears Of War 3 Nearly Didn’t Get 3D

Gears of War 3 joins a list of Xbox 360 titles that have 3D support that includes Call of Duty: Black Ops, De Blob 2, Halo Combat Evolved: Anniversary and Crysis 2. According to Epic Games president Mike Capps the feature barely made it in the final game.

“I think 3D was the very last thing we did. We’ve been playing with it for a long time and it added a lot of complexity and testing time. We didn’t think we’d make it, which was part of the reason we made a late announcement. But we got it working and we think it looks pretty good,” said Capps. “I think there’s room for improvement in what the console supports in terms of 3D, but for folks who are looking for a stereo experience I think it’s really good.”

Source: CVG

X-Men Destiny – Stan Lee Speaks

Ready or not, X-Men Destiny is releasing at the end of September. With only a few short weeks away until release, a new behind-the-scenes video has released with some of the game’s developers, along with the legendary Stan Lee.

NFL ‘It’s Good To Be Back’

The NFL season will kick off this Thursday, with the specter of a labor disagreement vanquished over the Summer. Appropriately, they’ve launched a series of ads trying to capture the sentiment and jubilation of this opening week with a series called “Back to Football.”