Pokemon Company Warns Against Knockoffs

A recent app on the App Store labeled Pokemon Yellow was downloaded thousands of times before it was pulled. The Pokemon Company, shepherd of the seminal brand, was not amused with what happened.

“We continue to combat the unauthorized release of games, applications and merchandise that trick our fans into purchasing something that does not meet our quality standards,” said a Pokemon Company representative in a statement. “Fans who encounter questionable products should report to us immediately so we can keep other fans from falling victim to these scams.”

Source: Develop

Jagex Says Mobile, Social Bubble Will Burst This Year

It is a belief among many that the App Store is the next great frontier for game development. However, Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard says that his company had four top titles on the platform that never made more than $4,740 – $6,320 a month in profit.

“Everything’s moving online,” Gerhard said. “This is controversial, but the mobile bubble will burst this year and the social bubble will burst, too. There just isn’t the money there. The only people that are winning right now are Apple and consumers. Everyone’s rushing to make games for the new iPhone, and in that Apple makes a lot of money, but it’s a race to zero.”

“I think any closed platform, be it Microsoft, be it PlayStation Vita, XBLA, PSN, the App Store, ultimately are taking such a big chunk that people just aren’t making money. Facebook, too,” said Gerhard. “I think that fundamentally, bar a handful of winners that Apple is keeping, nobody makes money on their platform. It’s great for consumers, not good for developers, and that’s going to be the death of it.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Sony Patents Camera With Kinect-Like Motion Sensing

According to a patent filed in late 2011, Sony is working on a camera that would plug into a PlayStation and recognize a player’s movements and their positioning in a 3D space. The patent was filed by Richard Marks, the main development talent behind Sony’s PlayStation Move.

The new devise appears to be an evolution off of the PS2’s EyeToy, and the PS3’s PlayStation Eye and Move peripherals, along with Microsoft’s Kinect. While this is an intriguing, even likely, addition to the PS4, the patent is not an announcement or verification that such a device will ever release.

Source: Kotaku

Hutch Games Says Indie Development Exciting And Liberating

Five developers recently started up Hutch Games after leaving Sony’s London studio. While they were keen to emphasize that the decision to leave was amicable, the appeal of iOS development was the deciding factor.

“We had had a project cancellation,” art director Whill Whitaker. “It was an inciting incident. It was just very exciting for us to realize we could do something on Unity. The App Store allowing you to self-publish is a very democratizing situation. We were all motivated to take accountability for our own destiny. It was a very exciting thing to try out.”

“It didn’t happen at a fast enough pace for us,” said technical director Sean Turner. “We would get behind an idea and you didn’t have the control to continue or thrust ideas forwards as much as we’d like. So possibly that lack of control was the impeding thing, not lack of creativity.”

Hutch recently released its first game, an iOS racing title called Smash Cops, and is working in a production capacity with Microsoft Soho Productions on Sesame Street Kinect.

“Console games, which cost upwards of 10 million bucks to make, these companies, like Sony and Microsoft, they can’t take quite so many risks with them because there’s so much money involved,” added Whitaker. “One of the things that attracted me was, let’s just do something that’s innovative and quick to make and we can just get on and do it and there’s a lot less bureaucracy and money men behind it. It’s liberating.”

Source: Eurogamer

Thumbstar Hires Executives For Move Towards Development

Thumbstar Games has announced the appointment of two new executives, reflecting their shift from being a publisher of over 2,000 games to a developer of its own IP. Tony Fitzgerald (veteran of Psygnosis, Rage, Jester Interactive, and Telcogames) has been made sales manager while Phil Brannelly (manager at Game and Ubisoft) will take the role of marketing manager.

“The pace of growth at Thumbstar continues and both Tony and Phil bring many years of experience into the fold,” said CEO Gareth Edmondson. “That sort of experience is priceless for any company, such as ours, with big ambitions. They are a welcome addition to the team.”

“Thumbstar are already well established as a distributor of third party mobile games content but the creation of our own IP, and taking that to a highly competitive market, is very exciting,” said Brannelly. “Everyone involved with Thumbstar has one goal and that’s to be the best. I’m thrilled to be given the chance to be a part of it.”

Control Your Dreams

A Japanese smartphone app, the Yumemiru, lets you maximize the time you spend every night just sleeping. Yumemiru takes the self-help craze of the nineties to new scientific heights by leveraging the bundle of sensors in your smartphone. The app utilizes microphones to detect when the user is in REM sleep, the point in the night when you begin dreaming and also the moment when you are most susceptible to suggestion. The free app has 8 different scenarios to choose from including a walk in the forest, getting rich, flying and for those romantically disposed, a scenario that stimulates dreams of love tailored for both men and women. After selecting the type of dream you want to drift off into the app runs in the background and detects the time passed before you go into REM sleep. Once you’ve entered REM sleep the soundtrack begins to stimulate your dreams.

Ubisoft, Gameloft Sign Up For Gree’s Platform

Gree announced that it has signed a publishing partnership with Gameloft and Ubisoft to bring titles to its mobile platform after it launches in the middle of 2012. Gameloft will launch its card-battle game code-named Gang Domination, while Ubisoft will be providing a game supplementary to Assassin’s Creed III.

“Social card games are considered the most popular social games in Japan. Gang Domination will be Gameloft’s first social card game, and we’re thrilled to work on this project with a leading player in this market such as Gree,” stated Michel Guillemot, President and founder of Gameloft.

“I am very happy to be able to provide a new Gangs game of Gameloft, which has strong track record with its Gangstar license,” stated Michel Guillemot, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gree. “We hope the game will take full advantage of our 190 million users worldwide on our platform.”