Take-Two CEO Says Zynga Has ‘Issues’

The prerogative of Take-Two, with its expensive AAA developed titles, and Zynga, using cheaper committee driven social games, seem diametrically opposed. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has serious doubts about Zynga’s fundamentally different business model.

“I would argue being the No. 1 player in (social gaming) is complicated, which is why Zynga hasn’t gone public yet because their metrics are sketchy,” said Zelnick. “Zynga is a direct marketing company, 97 percent of [users] don’t pay them anything, 3 percent who do. They churn quite quickly and they get new customers. That is their model.”

“I think they have disclosure issues,” added Zelnick, talking about user retention. “I think you are seeing their acquisition costs go up, marketing costs go up and they have very high churn.”

Source: Reuters

Ultima Creator Talks Future Doom of Consoles

Richard Garriott thinks that the future of gaming is in free-to-play, along with synchronous and asynchronous gameplay that is platform agnostic. What he doesn’t think is the future is dedicated game consoles.

“I think we might get one more generation, might, but I think fundamentally they’re doomed,” asserted Garriott. “I think fundamentally the power that you can carry with you in a portable is really swamping what we’ve thought of as a console.”

Source: IndustryGamers.com

AT&T Withdraws On Parts Of T-Mobile Acquisition

Reports are that AT&T will likely give up on the $39 billion T-Mobile acquisition. AT&T recently announced that it was withdrawing its FCC application, and that it would take a $4 billion pretax accounting charge, covering the $3 billion-negotiated break up fee with T-Mobile.

FCC senior officials recently said that combining AT&T and T-Mobile would hurt competition and result in a massive loss of U.S. jobs. The FCC review was headed for an administrative law hearing, an extended legal procedure that would have pushed the approval procedure beyond the proposed date to finalize the deal with T-Mobile.

AT&T isn’t surrendering on all fronts, vowing to defend the $39 billion merger in court against the Department of Justice. “AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG are continuing to pursue the sale of Deutsche Telekom’s U.S. wireless assets to AT&T and are taking this step to facilitate the consideration of all options at the FCC and to focus their continuing efforts on obtaining antitrust clearance for the transaction from the Department of Justice either through the litigation pending before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Case No. 1:11-cv-01560 (ESH) or alternate means,” read a statement by AT&T. “As soon as practical, AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG intend to seek the necessary FCC approval.”

Andrew Schwartzman, svp and policy director for the Media Access Project thinks that AT&T should hang it up. “It is time for vainglorious managers at AT&T to accept that there is no way that this deal can obtain approval of the FCC and the courts,” he said.

Analysts agree with the pessimistic evaluation. “All in all, we view this as a step towards concession,” said a Bernstein Research Report.

Source: AdWeek

Spec Ops: The Line – ‘The Journey’

Spec Ops: The Line seemed to be dormant for a long time, but 2K Games has confirmed that they are still working on the title. The shooter set in Dubai looks to tackle heady issues over the consequences of war and the devastation of a sandstorm.

Shogun 2: Total War – Fall Of The Samurai

Shogun 2: Total War was set during the ‘Sengoku Jidai’ or ‘Warring States Period’ of Japan, while the expansion Rise of the Samurai dealt with the ‘Genpei War’ some 400 years prior to that. However, a new stand alone expansion Fall Of The Samurai leaps a few centuries into the future to depict the ‘Boshin War’ and the modernization of Japan during the ‘Meiji Restoration.’

The Adventure Continues With Infinity Blade II On All IOS Devices

From Epic Games and Chair Entertainment comes Infinity Blade II, the sequel to the critically acclaimed, best-selling iOS game Infinity Blade will be available on 12/1/11. Infinity Blade II continues to raise the bar for triple-A mobile gaming by allowing players to build skills and upgrade characters all while delving deeper into this mysterious, timeless adventure. On the official destination site, fans can connect with the community or download Brandon Sanderson’s “Infinity Blade: Awakening” the story of a young knight named Siris that has fought through an army of Titans to face the tyrannical God King in one-on-one combat. His quest for freedom will take him on an epic journey in search of the one being in the world who can unravel the secrets of the Infinity Blade.

Kinect 2 Reportedly Can Read Facial Expressions

According to reports, Microsoft is already planning a next-generation Kinect device that can read lips. Kinect 2 is said to offer improved motion tracking and voice recognition and come bundled in future Xbox consoles.

Specific abilities of the Kinect 2 are said to determine player facing, emotions like anger and the pitch and volume of player voices. The reason for the limitations on the current Kinect are because it is a USB device, which the Kinect 2 is not.

“[Kinect 2] can be cabled straight through on any number of technologies that just take phenomenally high res data straight to the main processor and straight to the main RAM and ask, what do you want to do with it ” the source said.

Source: eurogamer.net

LA Noire Creator’s Next Game Lined Up With George Miller

George Miller has acquired the rights to Team Bondi founder Brendan McNamara’s next game, Whore Of The Orient. The man behind Mad Max said that his seminal post-apocalyptic series will also get the game treatment.

“With the government’s support we can immediately go forward with two games,” says Mitchell. “Warner Bros is standing by, willing to do Fury Road; the incentive would bring it back here in a New York minute. It’s not immediately obvious but the potential in the video games sector is massive. Just from the statistics people are showing me, it’s a $60 billion industry fast-tracking towards $90 billion. And it’s not dominated by any particular country. Films are very expensive, so studios… are making drastically fewer of them, but much higher quality, and they invest in sequels, because they know that they’ve got an opening which they don’t have to buy with their marketing dollars as aggressively.”

“They’ll make 10 films where they used to make 20. So, instead, people are drifting to game acquisition because of the budgets. The cost of a film may be $170 million – twice that to market it – whereas the basic cost of making a game might be 10 per cent of that. Look at LA Noire, they sold about 3 million units in a week, about $135 million net revenue, off a cost base which was infinitely lower than even your average low-budget film.”

On game making, Miller said, “It’s four-dimensional storytelling. A game can literally become the equivalent of a novel. That is the thing that people like me who write screenplays envy about novelists: that you can actually stop time and explore little cul de sacs. Whereas in a movie, you’d love to stop and examine that character, but you can’t. You’re on a rail . . . and if you talk to Brendan [McNamara], who is the brilliant mind behind this, it’s all the same issues as film. Instead of writing a 100-page screenplay, he wrote a 2800-page screenplay. But it’s the same dialogue, acting, blocking, wardrobe, costume, lighting, vehicle simulations. It’s a movie that’s played interactively at home.”

Source: Australian Financial Review