EVE Fanfest 2012 – Cinematic Trailer

Dust 514 looks to expand the universe of EVE Online with infantry combat on various planets. As this epic trailer details, the plot for the game revolves around a technology that lets soldiers be easily cloned.

Look Who’s Talking

A combination of Google+ Hangouts, Skype and YouTube, OnTheAir is a new site that wants to create communities of like-minded individuals via live video conversations. Launched into private beta, anyone can create a live video chat on the site. The idea is to make interactive live video a seamless experience that helps people cultivate groups based on their interests. Here’s how it works: Say you want to host a channel about blogging, you can schedule live conversations at any time and moderate who speaks. If you connect the tool to Facebook and Twitter, the site automatically shares the time of the chat to Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Another cool feature — there’s no limit to how many people can be in the queue to ask questions. To help ensure the quality of the site, the designers implemented “aggressive checks,” including a requirement that anyone who signs up must have at least 25 Facebook friends to ensure they’re a real person and not a spambot. Right now, the site is free to everyone and, unlike Google+ Hangouts, there’s no plug-in requirement (Hangouts requires a 13.6MB install). As the team tests the site with new users, they plan to fix any quirks and add additional features such as the ability to record and save live chats.

Xbox Live Users Online 84 Hours Per Month

Microsoft indicates that Xbox Live use is up 30 percent from last year, but it’s not all due to gaming. While the online service of the Xbox 360 is at about 84 hours per month for users, over half of that is spent on streaming video and music services.

Right now, services like HBO Go, MLB.tv, and Comcast’s Xfinity TV on-demand service on Xbox Live have all launched, bringing more people into the fold. However, while this is a nice addition to current entertainment options, the necessity of outside subscriptions or cable plans means it is a complement to current entertainment options and not a full-on replacement.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Google Play Added To Navigation Bar

Google has added the Google Play store to the Google navigation bar. This puts the marketplace on par with Gmail, Google Docs, and Google+ as a feature on various Google web Applications.

Google Play is the combination of what was once the disparate Android Market, Google Music, and Google eBookstore marketplaces. This move will help make Google Play more competitive against Apple’s App Store and Amazon’s omnipresent online marketplace.

GOG.com Relaunches Services

GOG.com has recently been promising a newer, bigger, fresher version of the site. Today, the site went into more details as to what the changes will actually mean.

“Year after year we’re getting bigger and so our service needs to adjust,” indicated the company. “Bigger means more users, and therefore more website features, more social interaction, more customer love. Bigger means AAA new and newer titles and more partners–and especially developers!–signed every month. Bigger means a mix of the classic titles that you’ve come to know and love from GOG.com and newer with the kind of great gameplay that makes them feel like instant classics.”

They noted that they don’t need to completely reset the site. However, every site needs some sprucing up occasionally. “Fresher GOG.com means changes to the website layout, which now offers a more modern look; it also means we’re featuring our Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus accounts at the footer of every page and more social integration overall,’ said GOG.com. “Fresher means more of the features you want. The My Account page now has a built-in search feature, new organization options for the games library, and the website is no longer the only way to deliver notifications to gamers. We’re offering the new, faster than ever GOG.com downloader, which integrates support for downloading game patches, goodies, and notifications to keep GOG users up to date on changes to games they have purchased, replies to forum threads, or PMs.”

The company said that despite whatever changes, they’ll stand by three core values: “no DRM, Fair Pricing, and Love for our GOG-ers. Newer means simply newer games, whether they’re big, recognized names, indie games, day-one releases, or pre-orders. Pre-order for Legend of Grimrock for only $11.99 today, or pick up Trine and The Whispered World right now; Spacechem, Machinarium, and Darwinia are coming soon. We have more than 20 great indie and newer games signed on GOG.com that will be showing up in the next few months.. These games lead the way on our the transition from Good Old Games to simply GOG.com. It doesn’t matter what G, O, and G stand for, Gee Oh Gee dot com stands for high-quality, DRM-free gaming, each week with bigger and newer games.”

“As the world changes, so are we, and this is only the beginning. As always, we rely heavily on user opinions and wishes. A new revamped Community Wishlist now allows users to suggest, vote, and discuss games and site features they’d love to see on GOG.com. You make all of this possible. Thank you and stay tuned for more amazing in coming days, weeks, months, and years to come,” concluded GOG.

Source: GOG.com

DeNA Expands Mobage To Chinese Telecoms

DeNA has announced a new deal with China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. This will bring China’s three largest telecoms providers into the Mobage fold.

The Mobage China platform will now reach around a billion more users with its apps and games. This agreement will also allow users to pay with direct billing, meaning transactions in free-to-play titles would be handled in regular monthly bills from the providers, starting with China Mobile.

Mobile Gamers Increase 35 Percent In 2011

According to Newzoo’s latest Trend Report on Mobile Games, those that use their smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch for gaming in America has now surpassed the 100 million mark, a 35 percent year-on-year increase, while Europe demonstrated growth of around 15 percent to 70 million gamers in seven key categories.

Gamers in this category are 52 percent men in the U.S. and 55 percent in Europe. Mobile gaming took 13 percent of all time spent on games worldwide in 2011, totaling more than 130 million hours a day, and 9 percent of total money spent on games, grossing $5.8 billion.

The free-to-play business model is increasingly important to the mobile gaming sector accounting for 79 percent of mobile game spending in Europe and 90 percent in the U.S.; paid games tend to generate most of their revenue up front rather than over time. In February, the top 5 grossing games for Europe and U.S. were all free games, with Dragonvale, Smurfs’ Village and Zynga Poker topping the charts.

69 percent of U.S. mobile gamers play games on a smartphone, 21 percent on a tablet and 18 percent on an iPod Touch. Figures for Europe are very similar at 69 percent, 16 percent and 11 percent.

“The recent launch of the new iPad did not bring us the edgeless display and other innovations we were hoping for, but… the two main upgrades, processing power and resolution, dramatically improve the immersive experience of ‘core’ games on that platform,” adds Newzoo’s CEO Peter Warman. “The intuitive interface forces developers to offer more casual gameplay, ensuring the games cater to a far broader audience, including the young moms and dads who used to play core games on their PC, Xbox or PlayStation. Immersive experience and casual gameplay combined is what ‘mid-core’ gaming is about.”

It’s worth noting that while these mobile platforms are seen as being “casual” there’s a significant crossover with core gamers, with 62 percent in the U.S. and 67 percent in Europe playing on PC/consoles and mobile platforms. Sven Ossebruggen, Co-CEO of Xyrality comments, “The success of Lords and Knights is based on targeting the experienced o-players from the browser area waiting for  a real strategy MMO in the mobile space. The players especially like the fact that they can play online at all times of the day.”

Find out more at www.newzoo.com/trendreports.

Adobe Working With Unity For Flash Ports

Adobe has announced that they have signed a new agreement to help port Unity developed games to Flash. Also, they have revealed new versions on Flash Player 11.2 and Adobe AIR 3.2, which allow for better 3D experiences, superior video decoding, along with better analytics and tools for revenue management.

“We weren’t working with [Unity] when they added Flash support, but this new partnership means that all Unity content will work when exported to Flash Player,” said Diana Helander of Adobe. “When it comes to games, we’ve seen some huge growth in social and casual gaming… We also saw that the market was pushing toward launching content on mobile, so we’re looking to capitalize on the opportunity on mobile, and really, on any screen.”

Source: Gamasutra

Shadows Of The Damned May Yet Yield Sequel

Shadows of the Damned was a game with a relatively good critical reception that failed to make many waves at retail. However, composer Akira Yamaoka is optimistic that EA would greenlight a sequel.

“I’m thinking of a sequel, actually,” he said. “I can’t tell you here, but clearly I’d like to.”

Source: Eurogamer

Diablo III On Consoles Not A Business Model Decision

Diablo III has been long rumored for consoles, and it seems more likely than not it will release on Xbox 360 and PS3. However, COO Paul Sams indicates the reason for doing so would not necessarily be a financial one.

“We’re continuing to explore [Diablo III on consoles],” he said. “We think that the way we built it for the PC may need some tweaking, but it will ultimately be the type of game that can really make sense and be really fun, well polished and a true Blizzard-level experience on a console. We get a lot of questions about why we haven’t made a game for consoles before and I tell them the same thing I tell them about business models: we don’t let business models or platforms drive our decisions. Those are secondary to what’s the most important aspect for us which is the gameplay.”

“We have to make sure the game is great and it’s something that everyone wants to play. If we provide a great game, a great experience, the business model – if we’re being fair with you – will work,” continued Sams. “Same with the console; we don’t decide up front that we want to make a console product. We just want to make a great game. If the best experience involves a mouse and a keyboard, we’ll put it on PC. If it plays better with a controller, that’s the route we’d take. If it works on both, and we don’t have to make any meaningful alterations or compromises to the experience, we’d make it for both.”

Source: CVG