‘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

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

Witcher 2 Content Sign Of Maturity, Says Developer

The Witcher 2, releasing soon on Xbox 360, has nudity and sex in its content. To CD Projekt Lead level artist Marek Ziemak, the inclusion of this content is a sign of games maturing.

“I think games are evolving. At the beginning the audience was a bit different and some people still think games are for children. We believe that’s not true,” said Ziemak.”Our opinion is that they’re like interactive movies. You can compare it to reading a book or watching a good series on TV because there’s a deep storyline and our target definitely is a mature audience.”

“We’re using all the stuff that’s being used by other authors and creators like writers or movie directors,” he added. “It’s not about delivering sex just to have sex in your game, it’s about creative freedom and having the same opportunities and using the same weapons as all the other creative people.”

Source: CVG

Apple: What To Do With All The Cash

Apple has announced that it will pass out about $45 billion over three years to shareholders, including some $30 billion of dividends and $10 billion of buybacks. Robert Cyran, however, thinks that number should be looking to more buybacks, with anticipated product launches this year.

“Apple had $98 billion of cash and investments on its books at the end of December. Close to two-thirds is held overseas, and repatriating it to the United States would involve a big tax hit. So Apple is keen to avoid tapping this, preferring to let it grow while it awaits a possible tax holiday,” writes Cyran. “That still leaves $34 billion in the United States. Even this domestic stash probably won’t be touched, despite the new payouts. Apple tends to avoid big acquisitions, and the company has been disciplined with its investments in research, development and the like. And the dividend is set to start only in the three months ending in September, by which time another few quarters of cash will be in the bank.”

If Apple does make $50 billion in free cash flow this fiscal year, a third will be in the U.S., which can easily cover $15 billion a year of dividends and buybacks. Along with this, Apple’s revenue and profit are growing, with the company’s top line increasing 73 percent in the last quarter of 2011 from a year earlier and earnings more than doubling.

“Growth isn’t going to grind to a halt, either. The company’s new iPad went on sale last week and Tim Cook, the chief executive, said on Monday’s call that the result was a record weekend. Other new or refreshed products are expected in the fall,” proposes Cyran. “All that means the near-$100 billion cash pile is still going to grow, not shrink. Not surprisingly, shareholders welcomed Apple’s payout announcement, pushing the company’s market value up by approaching $10 billion. But as the money rolls in, they may soon start asking the big question again: What is Apple really going to do with its cash ”

Source: Reuters

World Of Warcraft – Mists Of Pandaria Zones

World of Warcraft – Mists of Pandaria will introduce a whole new continent for players to explore and experience. For those that want to play their own kung-fu panda, new areas await that are more Chinese looking than Ancient China probably was.





Join The Parade

Cadbury have launched the ‘Cadbury Keep Team GB Pumped Parade’ to rally support for the British Olympic athletes in the lead up to London 2012. The virtual parade can be viewed from within a Facebook app on the Cadbury U.K. page which lets users create an avatar to join the parade. Users can select their gender, choose an outfit and accessorize their avatar before they join the march. Everyone that joins is entered into a weekly draw to win tickets to the Olympics. Users are encouraged to invite their friends from Facebook and Twitter to help gain support for team G.B., as well as posting pictures of their avatar during the parade to their Facebook wall.