BioShock Infinite: The People Behind Booker And Elizabeth

The world of BioShock Infinite is composed of the narratives coming from single characters to the city of Columbia itself. Creator Ken Levine, along with the actors for the characters of Booker and Elizabeth, talk about the unfolding narrative for one of the most anticipated games of 2011.


NBA Players Do It For The Love The Game

The NBA lockout has put a damper on feelings about basketball, even after the league came off a great season, culminating in a highly watched finals. While negotiators for the owners and players are working hard at getting a deal done, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony won’t stop playing, as evidenced by this trailer with the song One by AWOL.

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War In The North Begins

On the official Facebook page for The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, fans can access an interactive trailer {page no longer active} and dive deep into the characters and backstory of the game. Start by hitting play and then choose a character to focus on. As each individual story trailer plays, icons will collect in the lower left that link to rich content about elements in the story. Other apps of note on the Facebook page include the integrated Middle Earth   {page no longer active} app that brings together connected social content into one central feed. Fans can also download a widget  {page no longer active} and check out a destination landing tab   {page no longer active}  with pre-order links and direct links to official content. If you want early access to exclusive videos, screenshots, contests, forums and more “like” the page and join the Council   {page no longer active} to check out an extended trailer.

Social Developer 6waves Lolapps Purchases Smartron5

6waves Lolapps has announced that they have acquired Smartron5. The Beijing-based will increase their presence in China while enhancing their ability to develop for the localized Asian marketplace, joining their 6waves’ studio network that includes London, San Francisco and other Asian studios.

“The Asian market is complex and the Smartron5 team brings western-production values with a deep understanding of how to be successful in China,” said 6waves Lolapps CEO Rex Ng. “This addition to our team is key to our globalization strategy and will benefit our own game development efforts as well as those of our publishing partners.”

Games Have Been Played By 81 Percent Of Americans Aged Five To Eight

According to a study by Common Sense Media, 51 percent of Americans aged eight and under have played a video game on a console. The first gaming experience tends to be under the age of four these days, given the ease of access to games on things like mobile devices.

The study also found that 44 percent had played a game in the two to four age bracket and over 81 percent of the respondents in the five-to-eight age bracket had also played. In retention, 36 percent of kids aged five to eight are continuing to play games at least once a week; 17 percent play once per day.

Source: Common Sense Media {link no longer active}

Sims Social Could Be Key Revenue Driver For EA

The Sims Social has quickly become the number two game on Facebook, putting out over 8 million DAUs. It is estimated that the game could produce between $20 million and $40 million for the third quarter of the year, and that overall social games revenues could exceed $200 million for the fiscal year.

“This revenue has high contribution margin, likely at the 50 percent level after taking into account R&D spending on other social games,” writes Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. More importantly, we think that The Sims Social’s large installed base provides a platform for EA to market its other social games, with players encouraged to invite the same friends to play upcoming games (likely Plants vs. Zombies and Sim City) when they launch. This model has worked well for industry leader Zynga, and we think that it can work for EA now that it has a large installed base playing its games.”

“In our view, the company can leverage its 67 million monthly active users (MAU) with each new game it launches, and we expect this figure to grow to in excess of 80 million by this time next year. Competitor Zynga generates approximately $250 million in revenue per quarter with 202 million MAU, suggesting that EA can generate $80 million or more per quarter from social games once the company enhances its ability to monetize players,” Pachter added. “We think that this kind of revenue growth will command a high multiple, driving EA shares higher.”

Mobage Getting Grasshopper Manufacture Titles

Grasshopper Manufacture has announced that they have signed a deal to create exclusive content for the Mobage social gaming platform, via an agreement with DeNA. They will also launch Grasshopper Social Network Service, which will become the home of all past and future Grasshopper Manufacture mobile operations.

“Our new venture with DeNA will allow us to explore creative ways to bring Grasshopper Manufacture’s universe to a new world of players,” said Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Goichi Suda. “Mobage’s world-class entertainment network and the power of social mobile games will unlock new types of experiences for our fans.”

“We are very excited to expand our Mobage catalog with great games from new genres,” added Kenji Kobayashi, DeNA director. “We are especially eager to deliver the creative magic of Suda51 to Mobage users worldwide.”

Zynga’s Pincus Determined To Hold Onto Company With Supervotes

Zynga and Groupon have already made waves with their unusual accounting metrics revealed in the original IPO filings. Now, however, potential investors are giving attention to the extra-supervoting shares granted to the company founders.

When Groupon goes public, they plan on granting three co-founders will have shares that carry 150 votes each and when Zynga similarly goes public, founder Mark Pincus’ supervoting shares will carry 70 votes each. By contrast, regular investors will have only one vote per share in corporate matters.

While the two tier system is not atypical at larger companies, supervotes are more typical at 10 votes apiece at companies like Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. In Pincus’ case, he wants the increased voting power because he only held 15 percent of’s stock after it went public in 2000 compared to 30 percent for venture capitalists.

For Zynga, Pincus wants to control more of the company when it goes public. While Zynga’s five VC investors will hold a combined economic stake greater than Pincus’, he will hold a larger percentage of the company’s votes.

Investors aren’t pleased in this, running under the belief that these founders, “will continue to run it as their own company,” corporate-governance program manager Michael Garland. “We believe in one-share, one-vote.”

Source: WSJ

Nintendo Seeks To Learn Lesson From 3DS Launch

Nintendo recently posted a loss that equated to over $1 billion dollars for the first half of the fiscal year and revised estimates for the full year downward from black ink to red ink. Much of this is due to the less than stellar launch of the 3DS and CEO Satoru Iwata seeks to correct that.

“We are planning to launch the Wii U, which is the successor to the Wii, during the next fiscal year,” said Iwata to investors in Japan. “We would like to show the final format of the Wii U at the E3 show next year. As we learned a bitter lesson with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, we are trying to take every possible measure so that the Wii U will have a successful launch.”

“[I feel] greatly accountable for missing our financial forecast for the half year ended September and revising downward our forecast for the full year,” Iwata explained. “The company was unable to launch much-anticipated first-party titles for the Wii nor for the Nintendo 3DS in a timely fashion in the first half of the term. In the game platform business, creating momentum is very important, but the momentum was once lost, and it has had a large negative effect on our sales and profits.”