Gree Wins Court Case Involving Social Fishing Game

A Tokyo District Court has ruled in favor of Gree in a case involving a social fishing game called Tsuri Star. DeNA will have to stop selling their game on the Mobage network and pay Gree $2.9 million in damages.

DeNA has already said they will appeal the ruling. The decision could be telling to the Japanese social gaming industry, since Klab is currently suing its competitor Crooz in a very similar case, Konami has sued Tokyo-based gloops for copyright infringement and GREE also sued DeNA in a separate case, saying that they pressure 3rd-party developers not to offer games on competing platforms to Mobage; DeNA reacted by counter-suing GREE earlier this month.


Halfbrick Announces Merchandising Bonanza

Halfbrick announced today that they will be teaming up with a variety of companies to bring Fruit Ninja licensed products to fans worldwide. There will be toys from Basic Fun, Jazwares, Mattel and Nanco-Nancy Sales, clothing from Bioworld Merchandising, Hybrid and MjC and various other products from Coveroo, Calendar Holdings, Healthy Food Brands, SmileMakers and Trends International.

Fruit Ninja continues to be one of the most popular apps in the world, with a nearly two-year run on the Top 10 Paid App lists worldwide. Working with partners to create Fruit Ninja products has always been part of our long-term plan, but we have been very selective, both in choosing our partners and in approving their products. The end result is a strong coordinated product line-up that will start hitting shelves this week and later this and next year,” said Shainiel Deo, Halfbrick’s CEO. “For the first time, we’re creating characters and personalities around the fruit that players slice through. I’m confident that the Fruit Ninja community will love these products.”

Social Game Publisher Making Fun Has Old-School Focus

John Welch, CEO of Making Fun, is bringing a more old-school publishing model to the mobile and social platforms. He and co-founder Lee Crawford are claiming it as the first full-service social games publishing company.

“There are lots of publishers in social, but what they really are is distribution networks,” said Welch. “We’re a publisher in the old-school kind of way. We fund projects, and we are very, very intimately involved creatively, presenting to the consumer a product that looks like it came from a big company. We take the passion and skills and creativity of an independent developer and package that in with our team where we provide things that only publishers can offer: scale, marketing firepower, the technology platform, financing, the expertise in doing casual game publishing for 12 years.”

The use of technology allows the company to stay small and communicate with developers everywhere. “There’s only about 20 people here. We’re mostly technical, though I guess I’m overhead,” said Welch. “We’re also trying to recognize that there are brilliant, passionate game designers around the world, not just in San Francisco.”

While they’re owned by News Corp, the global conglomerate promised to be hands-off. “News Corp is a loose federation of planets,” said Welch. “No one’s telling us what to do. They’re telling us to build a successful business. That’s an exciting place to be. There’s financial backing to help us grow.”

“We’re doing social and mobile today; I think in the future you’ll see those things coming together,” added Welch. “We’re technology agnostic; it’s really the core competency of the studio that we choose for any given project that matters. We’re not limited to or constrained or biased by what our bench has, in terms of ability.”

Story is a very important part of their first game Hidden Haunts and they’re looking to continue that with their future projects, which might include games based around TV shows on Fox and FX. “The narrative meta-structure, the sense of place, that seems to be missing from many social games. We’re starting to think about it in terms of seasons,” Welch said.

“In old school games where you made money at the point of sale, you need that narrative hook to keep them interested,” added Crawford. “People leave the grind of the average social game because they’ve used up all the content.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

Metal Gear Solid Project Hiring Causes Stir

Kojima Productions today revealed that they were looking to hire people in both Japan and California for the next Metal Gear Solid project. This game will come to “high-end consoles and PC” ostensibly meaning that Metal Gear Solid 5 will release on PS3 and Xbox 360.

The next Metal Gear Solid will be developed using the Fox Engine, a cross-platform engine designed by Kojima Productions. The images imply that the next Metal Gear Solid will be another game focusing on the adventures of Big Boss rather than Solid Snake.

Source: Konami {link no longer active}

Get Smart

Wisdom {link no longer active} for Facebook is a free collective intelligence application that gives you an unprecedented level of insight derived from the social graph of the Wisdom Network or your own. Wisdom is powered by the knowledge of millions of users. Best of all, the more people who get Wisdom, the smarter the application gets – and the smarter you become! Also available on iOS devices. Learn more about the Wisdom network {link no longer active} and check out the Oscar race {link no longer active} according to Wisdom.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Gets Treasure DLC

Uncharted: Golden Abyss has hundreds of treasures and artifacts that help tell the backstories of the game’s locations and characters, and all are tied to Trophies. Because looking up FAQs with the PS Vita is not always easy, Sony is offering a DLC that integrates the Treasure Maps directly into Drake’s Journal.

“When you buy and install the maps, a new Treasure Map Icon appears on the Chapter page for each level. Tap the icon to bring up the map,” said John Garvin, Creative Director of Bend Studios. “You’ll be greeted with a full-screen image of the level showing all of its major landmarks and the locations of rubbings, photos, artifacts, treasures and Mysteries. And in case you were wondering, there are 34 maps — one for each level in the game.”


2012 [a]list Summit Series Kicking Off In San Francisco

Ayzenberg Group is launching its 2012 [a]list summit series that will examine the growth of social media in videogames. The first of three summits under the banner “The Consumer Courtship,” this first one titled “Getting Acquainted” focuses on where the social game market is headed, and how game makers and marketers are increasingly relying on social media for audience acquisition. It will take place February 23, at RF80 Robert Fountain Studio in San Francisco.

The keynote will be given by Michael Pachter, Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities, who will talk about the role of social gaming and its relationship to all platforms. A panel, focusing on core social games, will feature John Getze, VP of Marketing at Kixeye, and Leo Olebe, Senior Director of Global Product Marketing at Kabam, joined by moderator Dean Takahashi (lead writer at VentureBeat) to discuss the next big trend in social games and what it means for audience acquisition and player retention.

Tabitha Hayes, Director of Online Marketing for Electronic Arts will chat with Keith Pape, VP of Social, Mobile and Emerging Media at Ayzenberg Group about social marketing for game brands. Finally, Dan Webster Enterprise Accounts manager at HootSuite and analytical expert, joins Rebecca Markarian, Director of Social and Emerging Media at Ayzenberg Group, to shed light on all of the numbers you can gather and which ones can be the most useful in a discussion of social marketing and game brands.

For more information on [a]list summit San Francisco, please visit {link no longer active}