Google: ‘We’ve Seen Communities Ruined By Games’

Google wants Google+ to compete with Facebook on the social networking front. However, they are wary of making games available on Google+ but not annoying to users, as many have accused Zynga games on Facebook of being.

“We’ve seen communities ruined by games,” said Google+ engineering director David Glazer. “How do we find that balance between people who are interested in games… without having the problem of more spam ”

While Facebook is popular as a gaming platform, Glazer believes that users are interested in limiting Google+ to to chat, comment and sharing, according to research they have conducted. “We saw equal amounts of anticipation and… people who hoped we never allowed games on Google+,” he said.

While there are a limited number of APIs right now, Google is looking to fix that, eradicate spam and have players better control what they spread about social games. “What we’re trying to mostly do is put control in the hands of users,” said Glazer. “First and foremost, you choose your audience.”

Source: VentureBeat.com

Skyrim Sees 2 Million Downloads Since Creation Kit Released

ZeniMax Media has confirmed that the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Creation Kit pushed out over 2 million mods downloaded via the Skryim Workshop. This mark comes only three days after the game launched.

“More than 2,500 mods have been published by the gaming community, all of which are available for free. Worldwide revenues generated by Skyrim have placed it among the industry’s most successful titles, and demand for the title shows no signs of slowing,” announced ZeniMax. “Measured by revenue, Skyrim was the second best selling game of 2011, and 2012 sales remain strong, with continuing digital downloads and large shipments of units to retail. Within the first month following its release in November, Bethesda Softworks reported it had shipped over 10 million units of Skyrim across all platforms, representing approximately $650 million in retail sales, and those results have since increased substantially. Data from Steam, the digital download service, reveal that the average number of hours that a gamer plays Skyrim exceeds 75 hours, underscoring fan devotion to the game. The PC version of Skyrim in North America outsold all other PC games by a factor of over three to one in the month of its release, and Skyrim is the fastest selling title in Steam’s history.”

Unity Version 3.5 Launches

Unity Technologies has announced that their Unity technology platform has advanced to version 3.5. Said to be one of the largest updates ever for Unity, it includes a new particle system, AI improvements, better lighting and improved developmental control.

“This is one of the most spectacular additions we’ve ever made to Unity,” said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. “Recognizing that Unity was being pushed harder and harder, we launched our initiative to upgrade Unity with high-end capabilities that larger studios are accustomed to and smaller studios usually don’t have access to. We want to make Unity the best choice for everyone and Unity 3.5 is a massive demonstration of our commitment to that goal.”

“We are incredibly proud of this release and I think it’s our strongest yet,” said Nicholas Francis, chief creative officer, Unity Technologies. “A year ago, we took a deep dive and began working on developing features for more complex projects and larger teams. It took hard work to do this while preserving the intuitive and usable design that makes Unity so popular, but we are sure that developers using Unity will be as happy with the improvements as we are.”

Sony Admits To Dropping The Ball On Demon’s Souls

Demon’s Souls turned into a cult hit title when it released in the West, but Sony had passed on its rights to bring it over from Japan. Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida admits this was a mistake and reflected on how the situation came to pass.

“The game development in Japan typically is made horizontally where all assets are made in parallel, so it’s difficult to figure out what the final state of the game is going to be,” said Yoshida. “The western style game development is typically a vertical slice. So in the very early process, the team tried to create a small piece of the experience that resembles the final product. What happened with Demon’s Souls was until very late in the game’s development, we were not able to play the game through.”

“There were framerate issues and the network was not up and running. We underestimated the quality of the game and to be honest, the media in Japan did the same,” he noted. “For my personal experience with Demon’s Souls, when it was close to final I spent close to two hours playing it and after two hours I was still standing at the beginning at the game. I said, ‘This is crap. This is an unbelievably bad game.’ So I put it aside.”

“Game development is a tough process. We start and stop many games. Some get made to the finish, but we have to make decisions. I hope we won’t make the same mistake again. I should have been more stubborn talking to marketing people here in North America and Europe,” noted Yoshida, adding they still own the Demon’s Souls IP. “We never sell our IPs. Well, I should never say never, but it’s not our business. Our business is to grow our IP and we love Demon’s Souls. From Software is a very important business partner, so we’ll see.”

Source: Game Informer

Social Game CEOs Discuss Monetization, Advertising, Game Balance

Social game CEO talking at Inside Social Apps were very open with their opinions about Facebook credits. Kixeye CEO Will Harbin felt that the system was just the cost of doing business adding, “It’s nice to not have to worry about a payment platform.”

RockYou CEO Lisa Marino noted that “things became much more interesting and monetization definitely grew because you control your economy in a much more compelling way. It’s absolutely fair for Facebook to take their fair share because we’re leveraging their platform on a bunch of different levels.”

Haining Wang, CEO of Happy Elements, was not on the same page as the other CEOs, saying, “We see around three to five times higher conversion rate versus using the in-game currency, but a much lower ARPPU (Average Revenue Per Paying User). Probably because a user can pay easier, but they pay less in a single transaction. Generally speaking we have 10-20 percent higher revenue per game.”

Marino also emphasized that advertising had done well by them. “In the case of Zoo World, that franchise generates 40 percent of its net revenue after Facebook Credits from ad units,” she said. “It’s very, very highly tuned to ads because we found that our ARPPU overall was much higher than trying to continue to tune for digital goods monetization in games that are very 40-year-old mom-centric. We’ve always been huge pioneers on the advertising side, and we’re beginning to expand that to third-party games that we don’t own and operate.”

“I’ve been quoted saying this a lot lately, and I’ve been extremely frustrated by the social gaming genre for several years, because for some reason people have thought that that segment of entertainment was above being a media company,” she continued. “Let’s call a spade a spade. When you’re dealing with the number of eyeballs that we have in social gaming in general, you’re a frickin’ media company. Especially people like Zynga, people like RockYou that really serve these demographics that are very, very interesting to large advertisers.”

“When you think about media companies in general, you’ve got three things that are very common in all of those models. One is they do have their owned and operated content; Second, they source content from third parties; and they all have dual monetization,” she added.

Harbin, however, feels the emphasis should be on games and not advertising. “Some of these things we’ve been talking about can move the needle in a big way for a game that does a few cents per daily active user, but to really talk about monetization around 50 cents, a dollar, two dollars, or even higher in some cases, it’s got to really come down to the core game dynamics,” he said. “No amount of blasting media or offers towards users is going to ever get you to that point if you aren’t attracting the right audience, and if you aren’t making the right kind of game. For us, we don’t do a lot of optimization when it comes to monetization, it’s just kind of inherent in the gameplay. Our core value is just to build a game that we love first, that we think other users are gonna love, that follows a certain set of rules and a timeline. Users in our game really just spend money to speed up time. The game allows balance for people who pay and people who don’t pay.”

“There’s lots of elements around engagement that help with monetization, such as synchronous real-time gameplay. There’s something that lends to monetization and engagement when you’re watching your base be destroyed in Battle Pirates in real time. When the battle’s over, you’ve seen what they’ve done to you, you have that option in front of you to exact revenge immediately if you don’t want to wait and repair what’s been damaged. For us monetization’s inherent in the actual gameplay itself, it’s not an ancillary thing that we add on in a layer later,” said Harbin, adding, “We monetize revenge.”

For Harbin the focus is on appealing to the hardcore gaming demographic. “I think it’s really come down to user acceptance and what users are comfortable with in terms of how they spend their money. This kind of model is new to a lot of gamers in the Western hemisphere,” he detailed. “Most of our audience is used to paying $50, $60 for a title and putting it in their console. I think some are actually finding that this model works better for them. You can play it for free, try it for free, if you like it and you want to move faster in the game, you pay some.”

Harbin was quick to emphasize game balance with virtual items people can buy. “None of our items are exclusive to paying users. Every one of our items are completely free if you play long or hard enough. I’ve spent over $200,000 of free currency in Battle Pirates on my account and I get my ass handed to me daily by users. I think all of those kinds of things balance out, but who knows what the limit is ”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

MLB 2K12 – Finger Mechanics

2K Sports cover athlete Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson all want to pitch a perfect game in MLB 2K12. Supermodel and 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue cover girl Kate Upton provides a lesson in finger mechanics and pitch control as hostess of Perfect Club… it’s advice any guy would listen to.

{video link marked as “private”}

 

‘Remove’ App Deletes Unwanted Elements From Photos

Though you might be loving the one you’re with this year, by the time Valentine’s Day 2013 comes around, your snuggle pie might become “that jerk who broke my heart into a million pieces and ruined love forever.”  With a new smartphone app called Remove {link no longer active}, you won’t need to even change your Facebook profile pic if you don’t want to – just take that ex right outta there. Made by Swedish software makers Scalado, Remove works {link no longer active} by taking a quick series of photos on your smartphone with a single press of the shutter button to create a composite image, and identifying potential objects you don’t want in the final photo. Simply tap on those unwanted objects later to manually remove them. Since it seems like objects might need to be moving, just instruct your significant other to walk into the shot with you or make some kind of movement, just in case.

Killing Floor Reaches 1.1 Million Sales

Tripwire Interactive has announced that Killing Floor has sold over 1 million copies on PC. To celebrate, the developer is offering the game at 85 percent off during the Steam “Midweek Madness” sale at http://store.steampowered.com/app/1250/.

Significant stats for the Killing Floor include 1.1 million copies sold on in 2 and a half years , with nearly 2 million Killing Floor DLC packs sold also sold. 45 million hours of Killing Floor have been played to date, and 440 million Zeds have been dispatched in Achievements alone (including more than a quarter-million Christmas Santas) at the rate of over 20,000 an hour. The community has contributed hundreds of custom maps.