Android Tops 300 Million Devices

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Google SVP Andy Rubin announced some impressive numbers for Android devices. The Android platform has hit 300 million total devices, of which 12 million are tablets. Those numbers don’t include the Kindle Fire and other devices that don’t use Google services. Over 850,000 Android devices are activated every day.

The number of Android apps has hit more than 450,000, with over 1 billion apps downloaded every month. “These numbers are a testament to the break-neck speed of innovation that defines the Android ecosystem, “ said Rubin on the Google Mobile blog.

Mass Effect 3 Preorders Leading Mass Effect 2 Preorders

Electronic Arts has confirmed that Mass Effect 3 seems to be making a positive impression when looking at sales figures for pre-orders.  Despite major complaints from core fans of the franchise, and even the game’s story being leaked, gamers are still clamoring for a shot at rounding out the Commander Shepard trilogy.

EA has said that Mass Effect 3 pre-orders are “well ahead” of Mass Effect 2, when measured at the same point of time before launch.  Mass Effect 3 will launch on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on March 6, giving gamers just a week more to wait now.

The publisher is also preparing for a huge marketing campaign to kick in, saying that gamers should expect major TV, film, online and billboard advertising in the coming week.

[Thanks Gamespot] {link no longer active}

Social Web In Asia Is Booming

It may seem like Facebook and Twitter everywhere in the U.S., but they aren’t even in the running compared with the popularity of social media in Indonesia, according to an article from the BBC. There, some 80 percent of Internet users are engaged in social activities online, compared to only 55 percent in the U.S. Other Asian countries aren’t far behind Indonesia, with the Philippines at almost 79 percent, Malaysia at 73 percent, and India at 68 percent. China is at over 67 percent, even though the country blocks Facebook.

Users are engaging in a variety of ways, including managing a social network profile, writing a blog, or using a microblogging service like Twitter. Asian countries often have their own home-grown social networking tools, like QQ in China or Cyworld in South Korea. “Indonesians like to chat, they like to express their opinions but in a shy way,” says Danny Wirianto, chief marketing officer at Kaskus. “Sometimes they don’t dare say things in front of people, but in a chatting forum they will.”

Double Fine’s Kickstarter: Kicking iOS Development

Double Fine Productions, a San Francisco based developer, decided to use Kickstarter to raise money for an old-school adventure game project (headed by old-school adventure game developers Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert of Monkey Island and many other LucasArts adventure games fame). They were shooting for a mere $400,000, and hoped to reach that in 30 days. Instead, they hit that in 8 hours, and the money continued to pour in. With weeks left to go, they’re already over $2 million in pledges and counting, and the money is still rolling in.

This kind of success does not go unnoticed, particularly in the world of iOS development where a few hundred thousand is a very respectable game development budget. “The Kickstarter ecosystem requires that inventors create a good pitch and hone their ideas into a form that potential customers can easily understand, and that can only be a good thing,” said Paul O’Connor, brand director at Appy Entertainment. “Even if your idea doesn’t get traction, your project will be better for going through the process.”

“It’s great for the industry,” said Dave Castelnuovo, co-founder of Bolt Creative. “A lot of these big name developers are between a rock and a hard place. They see all the fun that’s being had in the app space with people creating their dream projects without interference from a publisher.”

Beyond that, The Game Baker’s Emeric Thoa feels Double Fine’s use of Kickstarter will encourage more developers to use it, and more players to get involved.

“Maybe an indie dev will have a better chance to reach $50k now that everyone has heard about Kickstarter,” said Thoa.

“It would be quite a gamble to give up working on AAA titles and start a game for the iPhone,” said Castelnuovo. “I’m sure that we will see more of this as time goes on, but I can’t quite predict if this will change the way games are made for everyone. Big name game designers can probably use Kickstarter to get a couple million to develop a project, which I feel is a fair amount for the types of games they are looking to create. But for inexperienced devs, I have a feeling they probably won’t be able to get nearly as much money, and even if they do, I’m sure you will see many of them fail to finish their ambitious projects with the funds they raised.”

With this in mind, the companies that may succeed the most are the ones that excelled long before Kickstarter existed.

“Double Fine’s Kickstarter success will change the content creation/distribution model only for a minority of developers who are already successful without Kickstarter,” said Ernest Woo, founder and CEO of Woo Games.

Share And Ride

For the first time ever, hit the SSX slopes as a pro rider. On the official Facebook page {page no longer active} for SSX, just share the “EA Sports SSX: Travis Rice – The Evolution of Tricks” trailer with your friends.  Once the app has hit 100k shares, EA will start releasing codes to unlock Travis in game. Check back frequently and don’t miss out!

Doctor Who Game First Unreal Title On PS Vita

Epic Games has confirmed that Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock will be the first PS Vita game developed using the Unreal Engine. Supermassive Games is developing the game exclusively for PlayStation systems.

“At Supermassive, we always try to be very pragmatic about our choice of technology and choose the right tool for the job at hand,” said chief technology officer at Supermassive Games, Jonathan Amor. “Our aim for Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock is to match it as closely as possible in aesthetics, tone and sound to the television series, and also to achieve a new level of quality on Sony’s outstanding platforms. Critical factors in our decision to license Unreal Engine 3 include the capability and maturity of the Unreal Editor and tool chain, and we required an engine that has proven success in the marketplace.”

“We are big Doctor Who fans here at Epic,” added Epic European territory manager Mike Gamble. “It’s brilliant to see the world of Doctor Who brought to life by the team at Supermassive and especially to see Unreal Engine 3 powering the game that’s bringing this universe to a whole new platform and an entirely new generation of gamers and Doctor Who fans.”

Real Life Goldeneye 64

Goldeneye 64 is a classic game and a seminal title in the history of FPS titles, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its idiosyncrasies. Here, a parody video gives an amusing and fairly accurate portrayal of escorting Natalya in the game.