Gaming Kids: 90 Percent In U.S. Do Game, Says NPD

According to the NPD, the growth of gamers ages 2-17 has outpaced the population growth of that age group. Over 90 percent of kids ages 2-17 (population of approximately 64 million) are gaming in the U.S., an increase of 9 points when compared to 2009.

“Year-to-date through August 2011, kids comprised 44 percent of new physical software dollar sales, representing a vitally important consumer segment for the games industry,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Knowing how kids are spending their gaming time and dollars in both traditional and non-traditional outlets is key to staying relevant to this highly engaged audience.”

The growth of gamers has mostly been among kids ages 2-5, with females and teens ages 15-17 also contributing. Mobile devices have, not surprisingly, contributed quite a bit to in the increase of gaming; since 2009 gaming on mobile devices is up from 8 percent to 38 percent, gaming on traditional portable devices was up from 38 percent to 45 percent.

iOS and Android devices have proliferated greatly over the past couple of years, as has content for these systems. It is worth noting, however, that the amount spent on physical game products was over five times what was spent on app-capable devices in the past 3 months.

Rage On PC: id Explains The Issues

The game Rage was made on 64-bit PC systems and submitted to a “build system,” to build all the platforms. The game’s creative director Tim Willits says that helped produce a smooth console product at launch… but there are issues with the PC version.

“This system has led to incredibly solid and bug-free 360 and PS3 versions,” Willits said. “Unfortunately, we have had video driver issues that have caused problems and frustrations with our PC fans. Everyone at id Software is very upset by these issues which are mostly out of our control. We are working with both AMD/ATI and Nvidia to help them identify and fix the issues with their drivers. We’ve had assurances that these problems are being addressed and new drivers will be available soon.”

“The driver issues at launch have been a real cluster !@#$,” wrote id founder John Carmack. “We were quite happy with the performance improvements that we had made on AMD hardware in the months before launch; we had made significant internal changes to cater to what AMD engineers said would allow the highest performance with their driver and hardware architectures, and we went back and forth with custom extensions and driver versions.”

“We knew that all older AMD drivers, and some Nvidia drivers would have problems with the game, but we were running well in-house on all of our test systems. When launch day came around and the wrong driver got released, half of our PC customers got a product that basically didn’t work. The fact that the working driver has incompatibilities with other titles doesn’t help either. Issues with older / lower end /exotic setups are to be expected on a PC release, but we were not happy with the experience on what should be prime platforms.”

This sounds like an indication that Rage was not developed as a “PC first” game, and that’s a sentiment that Carmack seems to back up. “You can choose to design a game around the specs of a high-end PC and make console versions that fail to hit the design point, or design around the specs of the consoles and have a high-end PC provide incremental quality improvements,” Carmack replied. “We chose the latter.”

“We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games,” Carmack added. “That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console versions will have larger audiences than the PC version. A high end PC is nearly 10 times as powerful as a console, and we could unquestionably provide a better experience if we chose that as our design point and we were able to expend the same amount of resources on it. Nowadays most of the quality of a game comes from the development effort put into it, not the technology it runs on. A game built with a tenth the resources on a platform 10 times as powerful would be an inferior product in almost all cases.”

Source: Kotaku

Battlefield 3: Rep Your Class In A T-Shirt

Players tend to have preferences for classes that they play online in Battlefield 3, and DICE wants players to express their preferences in one of four new shirts. The designs, for Support, Engineer,Dice Recon and Assault are available now for pre-order for $34.99 per shirt.

Source: {link no longer active}

Social Networks Other Than Facebook Expected To See $5.6 Billion Revenue By 2014

According to Viximo, worldwide revenue generated in the social gaming market from non-Facebook sources will expand from $3.2 billion to $5.6 billion in 2014. Facebook currently represents only about a third of worldwide traffic for social networks, leaving plenty of opportunities for local social networks and especially in countries like Brazil, Germany, Russia and Turkey.

“The social web beyond Facebook is often overlooked when it comes to games and applications.  As it turns out, social networks beyond Facebook represent a non-trivial – in fact, significant – and fertile ground for games and apps,” said Dale Strang, CEO, Viximo. “What we uncovered with this study was just how quickly non-Facebook social gaming is exploding around the world, giving game-makers a terrific opportunity to reach new audiences and generate new revenue.”

The study also revealed that Russia and Brazil are the two Western countries with the largest social gaming audiences, with 35 million and 32.6 million respectively. While Facebook does dominate in North America, it represents only about a third of worldwide traffic for social networks.

The study conducted by SuperData Research also says that Asia remains the largest market for social games and has an estimated $2 billion in total revenue for 2011, however key markets in South America and Western and Eastern Europe may have more room for growth. Germany is the Western country currently generating the most social gaming revenue with more than $173 million; this is predicted to reach $250 million in 2014.

Nexon MMO Suffers Real-Money Trading Downtime

Nexon has confirmed that it has taken the MMORPG Mabinogi offline as a result of illegal real-money trading issues. Use of ‘bots’ to harvest goal and reproduced gold are also believed to be contributing to the extended downtime of the game.

“We have found lots of RMT rising from ‘the workers and auto players’ during last holidays. So we are working on investigation over it and proceeding broadscale system maintenance to root it out,” said Nexon. “Some are saying the reproduced gold caused this server down, but it’s not true. This is totally about the RMT and the workers. Since this such huge situation happened inevitably without any notice days ago we will compensate the players reasonably.”

Source: This Is Game

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Confirmation

Reports are that Mass Effect 3 will indeed have some form of multiplayer. The first details of which are apparently the scoop of PC Power Play, an Australian magazine.

“That’s right – Mass Effect 3 is getting multiplayer!” teases Daniel Hindes. “We travel to BioWare’s office in Edmonton for hands-on time with the series’ first foray into online gameplay, and chat with Mass Effect Series Producer and Mass Effect 3 Project Director Casey Hudson about the decision to go multiplayer in the epic battle for the galaxy.”


Rift Top Fan: Guild Launch Wants To Find You

Guild Launch has announced a contest to try and find the Rift Top Fan. The winner will receive a one year subscription to Rift and a GeForce GTX 570; other winners will receive the graphics card, a six-month subscription to Rift or SteelSeries gaming headsets.

“Gamers want to be recognized for being the best. Sharing videos and images of their exploits is a lot of fun,” says Mike Bilter, Community Manager. “On top of that we have the in-game item Dwarven Smithy Goggles and a chance to win a GTX 570 just for voting in the contest. You literally can’t go wrong by participating in our Rift Top Fan Contest.”

To find out more, please visit {link no longer active}.

iPhone 4S Pre-Orders Over 1 Million

Despite a lukewarm reception to the iPhone 4S by some, Apple, AT&T and Verizon Wireless all announced they had exhausted supplies of pre-orders of the phone. Sprint, meanwhile said they had run out of inventory of the 16GB iPhone 4S, though they still had 32GB and 64GB phones available.

“Amazing,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. “It shows that the iPhone 4S is not necessarily for the leading edgers. Apple has become very, very mainstream.”

Apple revealed that iPhone 4S pre-orders have topped 1 million in the first 24 hours, a 66 percent increase over the first-day sales of the iPhone 4 in the summer of 2010. Many on the Internet were disappointed that the screen size of the iPhone and lack of support for the LTE networks of AT&T and Verizon caused some disappointment, but clearly it was easily dissipated.

“This was a great upgrade if people weren’t waiting for a rabbit to come out of the hat,” said Gottheil. “People who were disappointed are the ones who are always very interested in being surprised [by the latest Apple move]. They’re always looking for that ‘I never would have thought of that’ moment.”

“There has been lots of buzz in China surrounding last week’s unveiling of the iPhone 4S and we believe the product will be available in China during December,” said White, who is currently in that country on business. “We believe the iPhone 4S will take Apple fever to the next level in China.”

“While the unveiling of the iPhone 4S received a muted response, both from the market and tech blogs, the customers have the final word, in our view, and they have spoken with resounding enthusiasm for the iPhone 4S,” said Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities. “There has been lots of buzz in China surrounding last week’s unveiling of the iPhone 4S and we believe the product will be available in China during December. We believe the iPhone 4S will take Apple fever to the next level in China.”


Xbox 720 Logo Spotted In Real Steel

While Microsoft has been reluctant to talk about the next Xbox console, a logo recently appeared in Real Steel that might give us a hint at what it is named. The capture of the screen shows the logo for a ‘Xbox 720.’

What adds a slight amount of credibility to this is the fact that the image it is included with includes several real, current brands like Cadillac, Capital One, Mercedes-Benz, Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Microsoft’s own Bing. While this is far from a confirmation, it gives a hint that Microsoft is still looking towards the future.

Source: CVG  {link no longer active}