Halfbrick Aims At Chinese Sales

Halfbrick Studios CEO Shainiel Deo recently announced at the Mobitalk Conference in Beijing that Fruit Ninja has been downloaded 20 million times in the Chinese region, representing 30 percent of all downloads worldwide. They’re looking to expand on that, however, and generate 70 million downloads in China over the next six months with an ad-supported version.

“When you see the rate of downloads per day and the rate its increasing, I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal to hit that target [of 70 million],” said Deo. “The Chinese market is our number one market going forward. We built the game to be accessible to a wide audience. I’m just grateful Chinese fans love it so much.”

Despite an estimated 50 percent piracy rate in China, Halfbrick wants to imitate the success of the creators of Angry Birds. “I think we are really following in the footsteps of Rovio,” Deo said.

Source: IDG News

Heavy Rain Maker Talks Marketing Problems For Non-Shooters

The games that are made my David Cage are often lauded for their originality, but that also makes them problematic to sell. When asked why the Quantic Dream founder has problems like with name changes from Fahrenheit to Indigo Prophecy, he gave a long reaching answer.

“The games I make don’t include a gun. Very often, American marketing departments have a problem with this,” he said. “They have this image of their market being gun-loving red-necks. It’s completely wrong. We had huge arguments with Atari in New York about Fahrenheit. We told them they were making a huge mistake not supporting the game ““ they will see the reviews and they will like what they see.”

“They should have put marketing dollars on the table, and I told them that, but they didn’t want to listen to us. When the reviews came in they were even better in the U.S. than they were in Europe, but by the time they realized, it was too late. Fahrenheit sold well in the U.S., we made money out of it, but it was a slice of the potential, because of this lack of trust.”

“The problem is that we are in a very conservative industry. Each time you come to marketing departments with very simple concepts, like ‘the hero has ten weapons and goes through twenty levels, and there’s a snow level and a jungle level and a sand level and a whatever level and it’s gonna be so great because I can display more explosions on screen than any other game and . . . then they have it. The marketing departments go, ‘oh that’s really interesting’,” he added. “When you come to them about a game based on a story. Or, a game based on child abduction, they think ‘my god’. It’s very difficult for them to commit to anything that’s remotely different. The only way to solve this is to keep at it; game after game, get more trust. Show them how successful you are, and hope that eventually they, and the whole industry, will turn around.”

Heavy Rain has easily been the most successful game for Quantic Dream so far, and the best promotion for the game was good press, according to Cage. “We spent two years talking to press at trade shows, and I think they played a major part in the game’s commercial success,” said Cage. “They’re the ones who created the hype and expectation for the game. I think that people were excited by what I was promising; a game where the heroes have no weapons, where you don’t kill anybody, where your choices have real consequences.”

“I felt people understood what I was going for. I think people weren’t sure about how it would play, but the concept sounded interesting. I actually think a lot of people tried out the game to see if I was lying. But all the same I knew people were saying ‘this is something new, this is something different, at least this is going to be something else’,” he added. “But y’know, the success was there for Heavy Rain, but at the same time, look at the biggest games of today and it’s always the Call Of Dutys, the GTAs, it’s always the games where you have a gun. It’s always the sequels. Yes, people want something different, but not too different. And not too often.”

Source: Develop

Social Gamers — 40 Percent Not Looking To Pay

A study from research firm Interpret and developer RockYou found that 50 percent of the current social gaming population owns at least one console. The Wii is the leading this field at 52 percent, but the Xbox 360 is close with 46 percent; the PS3 had 34 percent.

“Social gamers are a population who have gone from zero to 37 million in the U.S. in just a few short years–making them a formidable entertainment audience, yet they are not well understood. This groundbreaking research, for the first time, sheds light on who social gamers are, what motivates them as consumers, and why they are so valuable,” said Michael Dowling, CEO of Interpret, LLC. “Data from the study will be instrumental in guiding publishers, marketers, and advertisers to understand how to best reach, engage and influence a unique segment of the buying public.”

Social gamers were split three-to-two female to male. 40 percent of the audience said they would never pay for a social game and only 11 percent would be willing to pay for a subscription; however, 45 percent are open to viewing in-game ads to earn virtual currency while 41 percent are open to reviewing the game or spreading it via their social networking pages in order to earn virtual currency.

Source: IndustryGamers

Battlefield 3: War For $1.6 Million

Virgin Gaming and Electronics arts have announced a online Battlefield 3 competition. Gamers on the PS3 and Xbox 360 will be able to compete in the Battlefield 3 Worldwide Conquest Tournament with a finale planned for some time in 2012.

“The Battlefield series has always been a very social experience with its best-in-class multiplayer gameplay and we’re honored to have such passionate and loyal fans,” commented DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson. “We want to give them the best Battlefield experience we’ve ever created with Battlefield 3. The Worldwide Conquest Tournament with Virgin Gaming is a great way to celebrate the gameplay and reward our fans.”

Find out more at virgingaming.com/tournaments/worldwide-conquest.

NFL Thursday Night Package Nixed

Recently, talks were happening for the negotiation of a Thursday Night Football schedule. Despite eager suitors in Comcast/NBCUniversal, Fox Sports, and Turner Sports negotiations have beenput on hold, a perhaps a byproduct of the NFL’s failure to get the players’ union to agree to an expanded season.

“It’s not likely that we would do it in the next year,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “We’re going to continue our discussions with our current partners and evaluate aspects of our new labor agreement as part of that.”

“I was sure that things would start heating up once the ESPN deal was out of the way,” said one programming executive who asked not to be named, mentioning the $15.5 billion extension of ESPN’s Monday Night Football contract. “My understanding was we’d resume talks as soon as that was off the books and that someone would have a deal by early, mid-October.”

The reasoning is believed to be a byproduct of a priority shift for the NFL. “The way it looks now, the league will probably want to close out its renewals [with CBS, NBC, and Fox] before they come back to Thursday night,” the executive said. “It’s a little disappointing, but this is the NFL. When they’re ready to sit down and talk, we’ll be right there with them.”

All three broadcast deals are set to expire in 2013; Fox’s agreement is worth $720.3 million per year, while CBS’ has $619.8 million and NBC pays $603 million per season for the rights to air Sunday Night Football. Without being able to secure two extra weeks worth of football from the players, and therefore being able to increase games without taking them away from the broadcast partners, the NFL has to change tack.

“The NFL doesn’t want to lead things off with [CBS Sports chairman] Sean McManus or [Fox Sports chairman] David Hill by saying, ‘We want more money, and oh, by the way, we’re taking some of your games,’” said one sports TV executive. “Until they get all those legacy deals squared away, Thursday night is going to have to wait.”

Source: Adweek.com

Valve Invites Protesters In For Studio Tour

Valve recently had to deal with the unique problem of having protests over the release of Half-Life 3. Valve founder Gabe Newell indicates that the Seattle-based developer took it all in stride.

“We thought it was awesome. We wanted them to stay,” he explained. “We took them pizza – they’d only brought two sodas and they were planning on being out there for two days. They were very nice and very passionate about our games. At one point, somebody else in our building called the police and we were worried, but it turned out the police officer was a huge Team Fortress fan. He’s like: ‘Oh yeah, I totally understand, let me go get my sign!'”

Valve then graciously gave the protesters a tour of their office, afterward they continued their vigil. When asked how many protesters it would take for word on a new Half-Life, Newell responded, “I don’t know, but if they’d like to come out, we could find out.”

Source: CVG

City Of Heroes Freedom Flies Into The Sky

City of Heroes Freedom is now available to the masses, letting them experience the most popular superheroes MMO with its new powers, dangerous villains and epic monsters. Check out this Ayzenberg Group produced trailer to see what the buzz is about!

Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012 — Epic Miss

There’s always an inherent conflict when it comes to hunting game trailers: they’re inherently about shooting fuzzy animals, but shooting fuzzy animals doesn’t always provoke a positive reaction from people. Activision found a way around this in the action shots – showing a guy missing really well.

Angry Birds Creators As Angry Birds

Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka (CMO of Rovio), Jaakko lisalo (Senior Game Designer of Angry Birds) and Serdar Soganci (Web Games Manager) are appearing in a ad for Google Chrome. The twist: they all appear as angry birds themselves!

Reclaim Your Lost Soul

Fans that visit the official site for Dark Souls at preparetodie.com will be prompted to start their journey by Facebook connecting to the site. Start earning more soul energy by “liking” the official page on Facebook. Gain valuable soul energy by solving the glyph wall, successfully arranging scattered puzzle pieces, finding valuable Easter eggs, risking dire consequences at the death box and staying in touch on Facebook. Beware, danger lurks in the shadows at every turn. Once connected, scroll to the top to check out your recent achievement and community rankings. Keep clicking and you will find and experience more!