Playfish Talks Evolving Business Models

Free-to-play titles have increasingly become viable in the industry compared to retail offerings. However, EA Playfish doesn’t see AAA games going away any time soon.

“I don’t think that the $60 paid game is going to go away,” said Playfish London GM John Earner. “I think if you make a great first person shooter or a great role playing game, that there’s going to be an audience of millions of people who are probably going to be males, just as they are today, who are going to want a really high definition experience that’s very engrossing and the best way to monetize it is going to continue to be upfront payment.”

“I just think that market’s going to get smaller,” he added. “Or maybe, more importantly, that the total market of video gamers is going to get a lot bigger and a lot more diverse and the way to expand the pie is to add the new business models. If I were able to make a Battlefield game with the kind of economics that they’re able to do, I would continue to make those games. I just think that it’s going to command a lower multiple in the market and that it’s going to fail to reach as many users as it could. So I think EA’s done the right thing, which is diversifying in all those directions.”

“I think that in a few years time we won’t say social games anymore because all games will be social, even if the game is a $60 purchase download from Steam or from Origin; a first person shooter, that game will be social, and you’re already seeing the beginnings of that both with EA and Battlefield and also with Activision and Call of Duty,” continued Earner. “These games are bringing in social elements. So the term’s going to go away, because these days, why would I not want to play a game with a friend when the alternative is to play with some 13-year-old from Kansas who’s got all day and swears at you over Xbox Live.”

“As a developer, I have an interest, and I think we have an interest, in making games and thinking less and less about platforms. So one of the things that’s most appealing to us is increasingly being able to develop games using technologies that are platform agnostic. That’s a long way off, and it’s not going to happen overnight, but with things like HTML5 and other technologies, it will get easier and easier for us to make a game that you can play when you’ve got time to play it,” he said. “Maybe you’re on the subway and you’ve got your iPhone. Maybe you’re at work – wink, wink, and it’s on Facebook. But the notion, as a player, you don’t really care as much about platforms. You care about what’s available to you and what game you want to play.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

Yahoo Vet Jim Jones Joins Tapjoy

Yahoo veteran Jim Jones is joining advertising platform Tapjoy. The former America’s regional vice president at Yahoo will be vice president and general manager of sales.

“Tapjoy is quickly becoming known as the go-to source to help brands connect with the vast and highly engaged mobile audience worldwide, and as we continue to build out our ad sales team and create lasting relationships with brands and their agencies, Jim is the perfect person to oversee our growth,” said Mihir Shah, Tapjoy CEO. “Jim’s extensive industry connections and his previous success managing large teams will serve us well as we continue to help leading brands succeed in the evolving world of mobile advertising.”

“Tapjoy has an excellent reputation as a pioneer in mobile advertising, and the company is uniquely positioned to provide brand advertisers with the ad products and solutions they need to capitalize on the growing mobile tsunami,” added Jones. “I am thrilled to be joining such an innovative and high energy team, and I look forward to contributing to our success in this fast-moving market.”

Tapjoy recently hired SCEA veteran Peter Dille for its executive team.

Free Realms Reaches 20 Million Registered Users

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) announced that Free Realms has reached the milestone of 20 million registered users. To celebrate, SOE will offer a special promotional in-game varsity letterman jacket to each character, for players that log in at least once between October 21 through October 31, 2011.

“This benchmark is an honor and a true testament of SOE’s success with Free-to-Play games,” said John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment. “Free Realms delivers a truly captivating, quality gameplay experience that keeps our community engaged and continues to attract new players every day.”

Sony Might Snag Rights To Assassin’s Creed Movie

Sources close to the situation are saying that Sony is close to signing an agreement with Ubisoft for rights to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. This is part of the continuing efforts of Ubisoft Motion Pictures to expand out the company’s properties to TV and movies, including the recently announced Raving Rabbids series on Nickelodeon.

Sony declined comment and Ubisoft said they had nothing to announce right now. “As we’ve stated before, Ubisoft is actively looking for film opportunities for our top brands,” said the Ubisoft spokeswoman. “There is high interest from top Hollywood studios to collaborate on these brands.”

Source: Variety

Xbox 360 Bundles For Holiday 2011

Microsoft is making two bundles available for the holidays. The first one is more family oriented, having a 250 GB HDD, Kinect, Kinect Adventures and Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do, plus three months of Xbox Live Gold for $399.

There is another bundle more oriented towards core gamers. It also has a 250 GB Xbox 360, Fable III and Halo: Reach, plus three months of Xbox Live Gold membership for $299.

Toyota Plans Facebook Racing Game For Concept Car

Toyota has announced that they are launching a new Facebook game to promote their new concept sports car. Their game Social Network Racer utilizes Adobe Flash Player 11 to deliver 3D-accelarated graphics to give enthusiasts a chance to sample the car.

“Racing begins October 19 and continues through December 31. This is not your typical Facebook game; racers will have the ability to create and host their own races with personalized information from their Facebook page, gain points to improve their vehicle capabilities, and compete against friends and the Facebook community in major racing events hosted by Toyota,” read the release by Toyota. “The Toyota Championship will be held against racers from all around the globe. By participating and winning races in the tournament, racers will have the opportunity to win the ultimate prize– a free trip to Japan where they will wave the checkered flag at the ‘Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival’ and meet the car’s designer.”

Twinings Gets You Back To You

Charlene Soraia has made her debut in a unique way – through an advertisement. Check out the charming advertisement (which is for tea) and then the video of her cover of Calling’s Wherever You Will Go.

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