EA Unfazed By Zynga Purchase Of OMGPOP

Zynga has confirmed that they are buying OMGPOP. Despite losing the social game studio and its hit game Draw Something to a competitor, Electronic Arts is happy with what they have in PopCap Games.

“This reinforces the value of PopCap, a studio with multiple proven intellectual properties,” said John Reseburg in EA Corporate Communications.

Panoptic Management Consultants CEO Asif Khan was not impressed, however. “Of course EA would spin it as how good their PopCap deal was, but their stock is down because they didn’t buy OMGPOP,” said Khan. “The question to Electronic Arts should be, ‘Why didn’t you buy OMGPOP ‘”

Source: GI.biz

Mobile Activations Now Led By China

According to a study by Flurry, China has overtaken the U.S. in mobile device activations. From March 2012, China now represents 24 percent of global activations, while the U.S. has 21 percent.

Additionally, China is the fastest growing country in terms of app sessions, showing 1126 percent growth since the first quarter of 2011. Early in 2011, China was the eighth largest country for app sessions; the country has now moved up to second place.

Source: Flurry

‘Pre-Owned Has Really Killed Core Games,’ Says David Braben

Used games are a consistent punching bag for game publishers and developers as a sign of what’s wrong with the industry. Frontier Developments founder David Braben thinks that the negative effects are killing projects and driving game prices up.

“The real problem when you think about it brutally, if you look at just core gamer games, pre-owned has really killed core games. In some cases, it’s killed them dead. I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won’t reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the re-sales,” said Braben. “It’s killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk. I mean, the idea of a game selling out used to be a good thing, but nowadays, those people who buy it on day one may well finish it and return it.”

“People will say ‘Oh well, I paid all this money and it’s mine to do with as I will’, but the problem is that’s what’s keeping the retail price up – prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells,” said Braben. “Developers and publishers need that revenue to be able to keep doing high production value games, and so we keep seeing fewer and fewer of them.”

Source: Gamasutra

Battlefield 3 NES Edition

The sound effects for video games have come a long way when when it comes to realism, but there’s a certain charm to old school explosion and gun sounds. Using the music for Journey to Silius and Batman with sounds from Contra and Top Gun, Battlefield 3 is a very different sort of experience.

Tablet Gaming Reaching $3.1 billion By 2014: Juniper Research

Juniper Research sees tablet gaming revenues increasing from $491 million in 2011 to $3.1 billion by 2014. While tablet gaming is expected to be a third of overall mobile games revenues by 2016, mobile game revenue for feature phones is expected to drop by half over the next five years.

“Tablets are expensive devices, typically retailing for around $500 with none of the subsidies from operators that are seen on smartphones. Owners tend to have a higher disposable income than the general smartphone user base. Thus they often spend more on game downloads and on in-game items than other demographics,” explained Juniper report author Charlotte Miller “[The tablet] is the perfect device for playing mobile games – the screens are large enough for the user to see the action, no matter how big their hands are.”

Source: JuniperResearch.com

Mobile Virtual Goods Could Hit Half Billion In 2012

The Inside Virtual Goods report has released, detailing the spending and usage patterns in the mobile gaming market in 2012. Mobile virtual goods sales to hit $500 million in the U.S., up from $350 million in 2011, but still behind the $2.9 billion expected from virtual goods sales in online social games.

“Mobile is still hitting its stride,” said Justin Smith, founder of Inside Network. “Social network games are growing more slowly, but they are still growing.”

The social gaming audience on Facebook is older and has a greater chance to be female compared to mobile, and most of the popular games on Facebook aren’t on mobile yet. “An interesting challenge is how to make an app that is relevant in both realms,” Smith said.

Source: VentureBeat

Star Wars: The Old Republic Affecting WoW Subscription Numbers

World of Warcraft has seen is subscriber base diminish over the past couple of years from its peak of 12 million. World of Warcraft senior producer John Lagrave said there are multiple factors leading to the decline in player-base.

“We certainly do look at [where WoW players go], and we have a very smart bunch of guys who do our analytics for us,” said Lagrave.”Of course people are trying Star Wars – our development teams are trying Star Wars! I’m one of the few people who are still playing it actually, but yeah we’ve seen a dip in subs. It certainly has to at least be attributable to The Old Republic, but it’s also attributable to people who want to wait and get Mists of Pandaria, so it’s not surprising. Are they going elsewhere Yes they are. We don’t have a lock on all the best games in the world – Skyrim was an amazing game.”

Right now, World of Warcraft is free-to-play until level 20, though that could change. “We could certainly look at extending the level of the trial,” Lagrave mulled, “what you can do in the trial in terms of the amount of gold that you can have and all that kind of stuff.

“There’s a fair amount that you can experience up to level 20, because you really get most of the core systems in by that point. But we can absolutely say, ‘Hey, why don’t we make it level 40 ‘ ‘Why don’t we make it level 60 ‘, do we let you at least experience the old world It’s all possible. Right now, no, but that’s all absolutely on the table.”

Still, Blizzard is not thinking in free-to-play terms for World of Warcraft just yet. “Right now we’re very happy with the subscription system with World of Warcraft,” Lagrave said. “We think it works very well. Mike [Morhaime] talks about the value we give you for that price-point, and that’s a fairly legitimate statement. Certainly a very cheap form of entertainment. So yeah, we’re comfortable with the subscription system. I won’t say never on that, but gosh not now and it’s been seven years! You’d think we’d have gotten there before now, so I don’t think so.”

Source: Eurogamer

Red Robot Bringing Life Is Crime To Asia

Red Robot Labs is partnering with Next Media for Asian market expansion. Next Media Animation will be building upon Red Robot’s R2 mobile gaming platform, investing $5 million, while Red Robot will launch its location-based mobile title Life Is Crime in Asia.

“As a location-based platform company looking to expand globally, Asia was the obvious next step for us,” said Mike Ouye Co-founder and CEO of Red Robot Labs. “After seeing Next Media’s dedication to the creation of innovative content so similarly mirrored our own business objectives, we knew we had to work with them. I have no doubt they’ll build cool games on our platform. They are the first of many third party studios that will be building location-based games on R2.”

“Next Media Animation is known for creating addictive content,” said Jimmy Lai, Chairman of Next Media. “We have been looking to expand into location-based gaming, but we were waiting for the right technology. We found it in Red Robot’s R2 platform. We can’t wait to let our creatives loose on their cutting-edge technology to see what we can do.”

Habbo Looks To Open Up To Games

Facebook is currently the leader for social games but Habbo (the top social network for teens age 13 to 16 worldwide) is looking to change that. With over 249 million total registered Habbo characters, an average of 100,000 new members joining every day, and more than 3 million new members joining every month, there’s every reason to believe they can become a force in social games.

“We’re actually working with developers today,” said Paul LaFontaine, CEO of Habbo developer Sulake Corporation. “We’re open for business when it comes to co-developing new entertainment products for the large teen market that we’re able to access.”

“We’re not experienced at building mobile games, we don’t have the best game teams in the world,” noted LaFontaine. “We are one of the best at monetizing teens and creating a safe environment, so why not put the best with the best We’re also moving towards more user-generated content. We’re going to provide best-in-class gaming with user-generated content in a safe environment where teens can spend, and that seems like a great way to grow the service.”

Source: GI.biz