Chinese Gaming Market Now At $6.6 Billion

According to Pearl, China’s gaming business jumped 32 percent overall during 2011 to reach a value of $6.6 billion. Tencent, Netease, Shanda Games, Changyou and Perfect World accounted for over $5.3 billion of that amount, with Tencent posting over $1 billion in revenues for 2011.

In the future, Pearl suggests the Chinese gaming industry as a whole will grow to over $9.2 billion by the end of 2014, fueled by MMORPGs, casual, social and web-based games. More than $800 million in revenues were produced from browser-based games, and over 60 percent of those were in the RPG genre, while the most popular title is Tencent’s Qi Xiong Zheng Ba with over 800,000 concurrent users.

Home Gets Three New Free-To-Play Titles

Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that it is launching three free-to-play games in PlayStation Home. No Man’s Land is a cover-based shooter, Mercia offers RPG dungeon crawling and Cutthroats: Battle for Black Powder Cove is a game with pirate ship combat; gamers can also now talk to each other in the Adventure District.

“These new titles are delivering on the promise we made to the PlayStation Home community when we first launched the new core experience in November of last year, offering a variety of genre-based games to suit every gamer’s preference,” said Chris Mahoney, senior business manager of PlayStation Home, SCEA. “We’re bringing gamers the kind of experiences they expect from these genres with the social elements that are only available through PlayStation Home.”

Rovio Expands To Stockholm

Rovio Entertainment has announced that they will open a new studio in Stockholm. The Finnish company is recruiting for a general manager and between 20 and 30 personnel in their new Swedish office.

“2012 is going to be a big year in gaming for us, and we’re constantly on the lookout for great new talent,” said Petri Järvilehto, EVP of Games at Rovio. “We’re excited to expand to Stockholm and work in one of Europe’s gaming and innovation hotspots.”

“Rovio’s rapidly growing business provides continuous development opportunities for devoted professionals,” added Maria Sipiläinen from Rovio HR. “Our fun, creative atmosphere and unique brands, products and services make Rovio an internationally attractive employer.”

Ngmoco Predicts Free-To-Play Equivalent Of Skyrim Coming Soon

Right now, most free-to-play games are synchronous and asynchronous multiplayer experiences. However, Ngmoco’s Ben Cousins believes that single player games will eventually be viable for all sorts of experiences.

“I believe that single-player will be the next to be cracked in terms of freemium monetization,” he said. “And I’m talking about traditional, story-based, scripted, linear and non-linear single-player that we see on consoles. I am totally 100 percent confident – I will bet large amounts of money – that we will have, in the next few years, a free-to-play equivalent of Skyrim. A game like Skyrim, where you accrue skills and equipment over time, that you can play for hundreds of hours, is actually one of the easiest games to develop for a free-to-play model. That would be a big hit.”

“In the future I believe free-to-play will be the way that nearly everyone plays games, it will be nearly every genre, and it will be nearly every platform,” Cousins continued.


Sony Online Entertainment Goes Live With Fan Event

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that its fan event SOE Live, with identity designed by the Ayenberg Group, will take place at Bally’s in Las Vegas, October 18-21, 2012. The gathering will give the SOE community a chance to be social in person and will feature panel discussions and game-themed live events for their full line up of games, which include DC Universe Online, EverQuest, Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

“The ‘SOE Live’ name change represents a deeper meaning behind our annual event,” said Laura Naviaux, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Sony Online Entertainment. “As our game portfolio continues to expand, we wanted to better represent our diverse player base and games, including the newest additions to the SOE family, with DC Universe Online, Free Realms, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and the highly anticipated PlanetSide 2. Previous event attendees can rest assured that we are not removing any of our established activities in order to accommodate the new players; rather, they can expect even more to make this the ultimate SOE fan experience.”

Martha Stewart Reigns Over CastleVille

Zynga has announced that they are launching an integration with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in CastleVille. This will put the Queen of Domesticity into the game, allowing players to both interact with the entrepreneur and receive in-game rewards.

“I love playing games, but I love being in a game even more,” said Martha Stewart. “Turning my personal domain into an imaginary and fanciful kingdom is not only fun for me and the players of CastleVille, but a clever way to share my particular style of living with an interactive and creative audience. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to encourage my fans to take a little break in their day to play.”

Players will begin receiving invitations from Martha Stewart to visit her neighboring kingdom. Players can then interact with her in her home, which has its own unique animals and flowers, and participate in an Easter egg hunt, that will see players build a crafting gazebo to work on different crafts including egg decorating.

“Martha Stewart is someone who people across the world have welcomed into their home for years, and I’m thrilled to welcome her onto CastleVille game boards,” said David Rippy, General Manager of CastleVille. “Zynga is creating a new form of entertainment through our games, and we are always looking for ways to keep play fun and interesting, and to surprise and delight our players by bringing a bit of what they love in the real world to their virtual kingdoms. We’re honored that Martha has journeyed into CastleVille and hope our players will truly enjoy getting a chance to craft with their homemaking hero in the game.”

CastleVille currently has over 26 million players every month. Since the game launched in November 2011, players have completed over 2 billion quests, built 529 royal buildings, raised nearly 100 million baby cows and banished 1.5 million beasts.

Red Dead Redemption Informing Assassin’s Creed III’s Development

Red Dead Redemption was a huge worldwide hit, but unbeknownst to anyone outside of Ubisoft, they were planning similar elements for hunting and an open frontier in Assassin’s Creed III. The success of the Old West game actually influenced Assassin’s Creed III‘s development.

“I think it’s a convergence of minds. When people are thinking about the same topic at the same time, they’re bound to have some ideas come around at about the same moment,” explained Assassin’s Creed III lead writer Matt Turner. “We’d been working on the animal and the frontier stuff and then [Red Dead Redemption] came out. We saw it, played it cover to cover, and it was less of an ‘oh shit’ and more of a ‘aha! How can we do better than that ‘”

“Because that’s something that Rockstar does – it always strives to be the best. They always try to push things in new directions and I think we need to do the same thing,” added Turner. “As a team we saw how good [Red Dead] was and how they had tons of success and we were like, ‘OK, let’s look at their success and see how we can take it in new directions.’ That’s what I think we’ve tried to do.”

Source: CVG

Gears Of War Wasn’t Supposed To Be ‘Dude-Bro’

The Gears of War series has developed a reputation for being the embodiment of machismo in video games. Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski claims that it was never intended to make the game’s tone the way it was perceived.

“I didn’t always make these dude-bro games at Epic,” he said. “The intent was to make Gears of War a lot more Band of Brothers and take it a lot more serious. If we get around to ever doing more Gears games, I hope we can continue to drift back more towards a Christopher Nolan type dialogue as opposed to a Tim Burton or Joel Schumacher Batman. But that’s way down the line.”

Source: IGN