Social And Casual Division Formed By Relentless

Relentless Software has announced the that they have formed a new division within the company. This division will focus on social and casual games, not unlike the company’s previous titles Quiz Climber for iOS, and Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle, on PS3 and Windows PC.

“The digital division in Relentless has been established as a separate division that reports to me as CEO,” said Relentless executive director Andrew Eades. “We’re serious about social and mobile games and that’s why we have taken the logical step to separate these activities from the console business.”

Former EA employee James Wright has also been hired as the division’s executive producer. “The formalization of the Digital Division is a valuable starting point to take over from Relentless’ self-publishing strategy,” said Wright.

Batman: Arkham City Skin For Free

Rocksteady today said they were offering a skin of Batman from Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc. for the support off the fans for Batman: Arkham City. They also announced that playing with a new skin at any time involves a simple code entered on the Main Menu screen after you have selected your save slot: Left, Left, Down, Down, Left, Left, Right, Up, Up, Down.

“You will be able to download the skin tomorrow from Xbox Live Marketplace, PlayStation Network and Games for Windows Marketplace,” said Sefton Hill – Game Director at Rocksteady Studios. “We’ll be sure to let everyone know exactly when the skin are available.”

Source: community.batmanarkhamcity.com {link no longer active}

Virtual Good Sales Come From Older Demographics: Survey

MocoSpace recently conducted a three-month survey polling nearly 500,000 gamers on the company’s network of 22 million users. The study found that while gamers aged 25 to 35 spend the most time playing social games on mobile devices, gamers over the age of 45 spend far more on virtual goods.

Gamers over the age of 35, who made up 18 percent of those surveyed, were responsible for 42 percent of virtual goods purchases. By comparison, gamers aged 18 to 25 (43 percent of those surveyed) were responsible for only 18 percent of the purchases.

“We’re seeing parents go from spending money on buying games for their kids, to spending money on virtual goods in games for themselves,” said MocoSpace CEO Justin Siegel. “The time-versus-money balance seems to come into play here, where young people have more time than money, and the reverse holds true as we all grow up.”

The results of the survey suggests that certain monetization methods should work better on different demographics. For instance, while younger demographic are likely to spend less, they might be more amenable to games that are ad-supported.

Source: MocoSpace

Mafia Wars Embezzler Pleads Guilty

Bettysue Higgins has pleaded guilty in Kennebec County Superior Court to theft by unauthorized transfer and forgery. She stole $166,000 from the group Maine Trial Lawyers Association.

What makes this particularly relevant to gaming is that the former administrative assistant for the Association said much of it was spent on social games. She issued the plea just as the jury trial on those charges was scheduled to begin.

Between May 22, 2006, and Sept. 9, 2010, Higgins signed off on 220 checks payable to herself. Association executive director Steven Prince noticed this when a check he had written for $5,500 bounced.

During the latter 18-month period, between January 2009 and September 10, 2010, Higgins had 78 checks that directly funded her pursuits in Zynga’s YoVille and Mafia Wars. “Apparently she was buying virtual coins for virtual property in a virtual world,” said prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin.

Defense attorney Ronald Bourget has noted earlier that Higgins’ personal bank account record for February 2010 shows she had more than $4,000 in gaming-addiction expenditures. A condition of probation will be that Higgins pay up to $166,700 in restitution, but it’s unlikely the full amount will ever be recovered; a home owned by Higgins and her husband is in foreclosure.

Source: Kennebec Journal

Social Gaming Company Outplay Stocks Up With Executives

Outplay has announced that it has named Karen Thomson as non-executive chairperson, while Randy Breen will act as non-executive director. Thomson was CEO for AOL U.K., president of AOL Europe and director of Vodafone U.K. while Breen director spent 14 years with EA as executive producer and creative director, another five with LucasArts and until April of this year he was CEO of Social Gaming Network.

“Karen and Randy bring a wealth of complementary experience and expertise to Outplay Entertainment,” said CEO Douglas Hare. “Karen’s marketing background and track record with large-scale consumer-facing internet and mobile businesses combined with Randy’s remarkable creative, production and business expertise will be invaluable to Outplay’s ambitious growth plans for 2012 and beyond. We are thrilled to have them on board.”

“Social and mobile gaming have only begun to show their full potential, and I believe Outplay are well positioned to become a major player in the industry,” added Breen. “I’ve known Douglas and Richard for more than a decade and having seen what they and the rest of the Outplay team have accomplished since April and what they have planned for the future, I’m very excited to be part of the board.”

Ninja Gaiden 3 Gets Collector’s Edition, Pre-Order Bonus

Tecmo Koei have announced that those that preorder Ninja Gaiden 3 from GameStop or Amazon will receive a two character demo of Dead or Alive 5. Also the Ninja Gaiden 3 Collector’s Edition gives a all four character Dead or Alive 5 demo stage, an exclusive Ninja Gaiden 3Unmask” game art book, soundtrack CD, and a unique “Duel of the Masked” figure; Collector’s Edition will only available at GameStop.

“With Ninja Gaiden 3, Team Ninja has created a fresh new way to take players behind the mask of the world’s greatest ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, where they must choose when to give mercy or wreak vengeance to learn what it means to be a dark hero,” said Amos Ip, SVP and General Manager of Tecmo Koei America. “Our preorder packages at GameStop and Amazon and our massive Collector’s Edition will give true fans their first chance to experience the unique fighting action of Dead or Alive 5 on day one when Ninja Gaiden 3 ships.”

Ninja Gaiden 3 will retail at $59.99 for the regular edition and $99.99 for the Collector’s Edition when it releases March 20, 2012.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Already Has Over 1 Million Players, Says Analyst

Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t technically released yet, but there are already plenty of people who pre-ordered the game and received early access. The game is up to roughly 140 active servers and Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz notes that average player densities on those servers “had increased meaningfully” over the past week.

“Based on the number of servers now in operation, and the relatively high densities thereon, we feel fairly comfortable estimating that the game already has in excess of 1 million players, and potentially could have as many as 1.5 million, with the official launch date of the game yet to come,” notes Creutz. “We note that EA gives players the first month free, so ‘players’ does not yet signify paying subscribers; however, our estimate does at least signify the number of people who have bought the game (and thus far, includes only a subset of those who pre-ordered the title).

“Our (very rough) estimate is based on (1) Star Wars now has 29 percent as many servers in operation as World of Warcraft in North America and Europe; (2) the average player density (relative to server capacity) on the Star Wars servers appears higher than it is on World of Warcraft; and (3) we estimate that World of Warcraft has around 4.0-4.5 million subs in North America/Europe,” he added “The missing pieces of our analysis are that we do not know the relative capacity of Star Wars vs. World of Warcraft servers, and we do not know exactly what the ‘full’/’very heavy’/etc. labels signify. Based on the progress of the launch so far, we continue to feel very comfortable with our FY13 2 million subscriber estimate for Star Wars.”