Design Your Board

Do you have the passion for creativity and design? Are you talented with Photoshop? Do you love SSX? If so, then the SSX development team needs your help. They need you to create some awesome board designs to put into the final game. Immortalize yourself with your created designs within the SSX universe by logging into Facebook {link no longer active} and downloading a PSD, customizing and uploading the completed PSD. Some of the selected designs will be featured on the SSX Facebook page so keep an eye out for yours. Imagine – you might be able to unlock a board that features your design when the game launches!

Game Copying Vitriol At Inside Social Apps

Cloning is a large issue among mobile and social game developers. When ngmoco Sweden General Manager Ben Cousins was asked about the subject, he said he believes that the issue is temporary and will disappear when budgets increase.

“We saw this happening on console and 8-bit computers. There was a lot of crap on Commodore 64, clones of arcade games in particular, and then as development budgets increased it simply wasn’t viable. I feel like this is a blip, and it will probably not happen as much in the next couple of years,” said Cousins to Edge, noting that Zynga was more inoculated against this because of their larger production values. “It would be pretty hard to clone CastleVille, because it’s pretty high-resolution and there’s quite a lot of content in there.”

Ben Liu, Chief Operating Officer of Pocket Gems, said at the Inside Social Apps Conference, “Our strategy is pretty clear — it’s to continue to innovate and continue to evolve our titles and keep them fresh and new for as long as possible. With respect to developers that have made very similar games, as developers that pride ourselves on innovating, it does honestly bother us. We feel the market will judge what is fresh and new and we feel like what’s best for that is to continue to create new ideas and be first on mobile. Individual products can be copied, but the thing that’s hard to copy is creativity. We understand people wanting to share in that success, but we’re going to be ahead of them. By the time the similar game comes out, we’ve gone on to something new.”

Zynga of course came up at the conference and TinyCo’s co-founder Suleman Ali responded to that subject by saying, “Zynga is a great company and they made a bunch of great games like Dream Zoo. I think there’s a lot that they need to learn in mobile. I think the reason they’re out there cloning games made by folks like us is because they just don’t know that stuff yet and they’re really aggressive about learning. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes them to learn how different mobile gaming is from Facebook gaming. It’s effective for a short period of time but I think true innovation will soon be driving things.”

Innovation is a ripe fruit for mobile and social games compared to console games, according to Gaia Interactive CEO Mike Sego. “It’s an interesting path, the evolution of social games, that I view pretty differently from what a lot of people think about the evolution of console games,” said Sego. “You would have a shooting game, a 3D shooting game, a 3D shooting game with better graphics, a 3D game with even better graphics, and this sense that games on the social platforms will be a farming game, a farming game with better graphics, a farming game with even better graphics is definitely missing the point of what I feel the opportunity this platform provides. For both the social and mobile platforms, it’s an opportunity to tap into a broader audience. People who either enjoyed games before but might not play games on dedicated consoles any more, or people who historically haven’t played games but do enjoy games on social media. That sense that there is a much lower cost to developing for mobile and social platforms and a wider variety of audiences available allows for much more of a wider variety of games. Three developers working in a garage can open up an entirely different segment on social and mobile, so the opportunity for some entirely new genre or some genre that’s not currently present on the platforms but can be brought to the platforms in a new and innovative way is just much broader.”

Loot Drop COO Brenda Braithwaite, however, had some sharp comments on the subject of cloning and innovation, saying, “I’ll agree with the things that you said but I do see a trend that the social space is absolutely following the traditional game industry. If you go back to 1981, which is when I got in, we had a tremendous variety of games about a whole range of subjects, and we ended up in these specific genres and people tended to take far less risk. I see the social space following that same path where we have these genres and the innovation that we saw in early Facebook days – like Parking Wars – games about unique topics. Now that we have this ridiculous culture of ‘fast follow’ it’s getting even worse, because now it’s just take that, copy it, and let’s not even innovate. I’m finding at least in terms of genrefication, lack of variety of games, the social space is very much following the console space.”

“Cloning is a disgusting subject,” said Braithwaite. “Especially in the social space, the technology is not a challenge. You can finish a game if you have everything together in a month and a half. I’m not saying it will be a good game, but you could do that. What matters now is the idea. Just to give you an example from inside of Loot Drop, we had a meeting with a publisher and at that meeting one of our game designers discussed a potential game idea, and the publisher came back a week later and said, ‘We’re going to make that game, and possibly need you to do some consulting.’ That was an idea cloned before it ever even had a line of code written.”

“I know one of the things that people traditionally say is ‘Oh, you know this has been happening since the beginning of the game industry.’ Well, not really. Having been in the game industry for 31 years now I never heard the term ‘fast follow’ until I came to the Facebook space,” she asserted. “It’s unique to this culture, the culture of the social space, and there’s a certain kind of bravado that’s attached to it. ‘Yeah, we copied your game!’ Congratulations, you are empty of inspiration, you failed to be a game designer, you are a game copier, congratulations. You belong in a subset of human beings in a circle of Hell.”

“Ultimately, this is about monetization and not about creativity. The tremendous danger that we face with this open cloning is that developers who are game designers who are excited about entering this space, and companies that are excited about entering this space just might not,” asserted Braithwaite. “It’s very unfortunate. I’ve never seen anything like it. Eventually, as we see bigger companies from the traditional game space come in, they have the money to fight the Clone Wars, where maybe smaller game developers don’t. It’s also a challenge because game rules are not protectable. You can just outright copy the rules as long as you don’t just copy the creative things associated with that. That’s the way it’s always been, going back forever.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

Rayman Origins ‘Already Profitable’ For Ubisoft

Rayman Origins was a critical darling when it released last year, but some in the industry were skeptical that a 2D platformer game could sell at retail. While it wasn’t a runaway success for Ubisoft like Assassin’s Creed Revelations or Just Dance 3, it has apparently done well enough.

“Two successes more than compensated for the performance of Rayman: Origins, Tintin and the non-dance Kinect titles,” said Alain Martinez, chief financial officer for Ubisoft. “We believe Rayman: Origins, which is rated 89 percent on Metacritic with enthusiast reviews and is already profitable, has the capacity to become a long-term seller for the company.”

To find out more, check out this exclusive interview on [a]list.

Source: Joystiq

Assassin’s Creed III Coming Halloween 2012

According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, Assassin’s Creed III will release on October 30. It is expected that the game, which has been in development for three years, will sell beyond the 7 million copies managed by Assassin’s Creed Revelations.

Assassin’s Creed III is the true next generation of both the Assassin’s Creed brand and interactive entertainment/storytelling in general,” Guillemot said during an Ubisoft financials call.

Source: Joystiq

HTC Might Get PlayStation Certification

Reports are that HTC will be one of the first companies to get PlayStation certification outside of Sony. The announcement that PSOne titles will be playable on HTC devices might come as early as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“It expands the PlayStation experience beyond the PSP border,” said soon-to-be Sony president and CEO Kaz Hirai of PlayStation certification. “It is the first cross-platform endeavor.”

Source: Pocket-Lint.com

Ghost Rider Director Signs Up For Twisted Metal Adaptation

Sony Pictures has signed a deal with Brian Taylor to write and direct a live-action adaptation of Twisted Metal. Avi and Ari Arad, who produced Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance that Taylor helped direct, will also produce this film.

The film will revolve around a car combat competition just like the game, with Calypso pulling the strings and granting any wish to the person who wins. Key characters will include Doll Face, a young woman who is trapped behind a porcelain mask and who drives an 18-wheeler, and the iconic Sweet Tooth, a homicidal clown who drives an ice cream truck.

Source: Deadline

Humble Bundle ‘Mojam’ From Mojang

Mojang has announced that they will be creating a new game live and contribute all of the money made to charity, thanks to the HumbleBundle.com. The team at Mojang will get started with their game Friday, February 17 at 10 a.m. CET and will work on the game for 60 straight hours.

“We’ll also have some fun and silly incentives for reaching certain amounts of money (like Aron FINALLY creating a Twitter account). We’ll also be doing some giveaways and Q&A’s with the Mojangstas,” announced Mojang. “Make sure to follow @mojangteam and @notch for updates. Also use #Mojam to submit questions! We want your help to choose the theme and the genre. The highest and lowest voted from each category will be combined for the game. Of course, you’ve always wanted to play a Shoot Em’Up Dating Simulator with a Candy Land World War II theme. Choose wisely!”

Find out more at Mojang.com. {link no longer active}