Snoop Dogg Knocks ‘Em Down For Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Namco Bandai drummed up some interest during E3 for its upcoming Tekken Tag Tournament 2 by partnering with rapper Snoop Dogg, who’s helping to promote the game. There will also be a rap-themed stage in the fighting title. Check out this new promotional trailer featuring Snoop.

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Journey Developer Wants True Indie Experience With Next Game

Jenova Chen has nothing but kind things to say about Sony and the support the company had with their three games flOw, Flower and Journey. However, Thatgamecompany wants to be more independent for their next game and want to reach a “mass audience”.

“By raising the money ourselves, we have the control to do what we want,” said Chen, noting that being involved in everything from the digital delivery to online mechanics is important to him because, “I’m a game designer, so I care about the whole experience.”

Source: Wired

Max Payne 3, Ghost Recon Demonstrate Retail Doldrums

It was revealed recently that Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 in its U.S. launch month sold just 440,000 units, according to data from The NPD Group. Additionally, Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier sold just over 400,000 units. These are both triple-A projects that are clearly exhibiting signs of tremendous softness in the retail market. NPD revealed that total industry sales were $516.5 million, down 28 percent, while software on consoles and portables dropped 32 percent to $255.4 million.

The fact is that retail is losing its importance and even NPD recognizes that digital games are capturing a larger and larger portion of the games business every day.

“These sales figures represent new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories which account for roughly 50-60 percent of the total consumer spend on games,” NPD industry analyst Anita Frazier said. “When you consider our preliminary estimate for other physical format sales such as used and rentals at $155 million, and our estimate for digital format sales including full game and add-on content downloads including microtransactions, subscriptions, mobile apps and the consumer spend on social network games at $420 million, we would estimate the total consumer spend in May to be $1.17B. Our final assessment of the consumer spend on these areas outside of new physical retail sales will be reported in September in our Q2 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report.”

Humble Bundle V Breaks Record With $5.1 Million Haul

The fifth Humble Indie Bundle has shattered all previous records for the initiative, generating $5.1 million for the game developers and selected charities.

The key to the Bundle’s success was the visibility of the games. The package included hit indie titles Limbo, Super Meat Boy, Braid, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP and Lone Survivor, along with the mid-tier releases Psychonauts and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

In total, almost 600,000 people purchased the Bundle, paying an average of $8.53 each. Previously, the highest amounts generated were for the second and third Humble Bundles, which both closed at just over $2 million.

Source: Humble Bundle

Star Wars: The Old Republic Could One Day Go Free-to-Play

Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of just a handful of online games that still ask players to pony up a monthly fee. Whether subscription-based MMOs can last is up for debate, but EA labels boss Frank Gibeau acknowledges the trend and explains that Star Wars may one day embrace it.

“You’re right, it is a complex and difficult market out there on the PC because of the availability of free-to-play products like our own, like World of Tanks, League of Legends… WoW is a free download that you pay a subscription to after a period of time. We’re cognizant – we see that,” Gibeau said.

“We’re going to be in the business from a long term standpoint so absolutely we’re going to embrace free access, free trial, ultimately some day we can move in and embrace that model. It’s all a matter of timing and thinking things through. We have a great business right now and we’re not looking to make any abrupt changes. We made some good announcements in terms of giving you the first few levels free, because our telemetry told us that if we can get you to around level 8 or 9, you stick with us for the long term. So really the strategy right now is about opening up the funnel at the top so we can acquire more customers who are interested in Star Wars who perhaps aren’t ready to pay the full price.”

He added, “The advent of free-to-play is certainly a change in the dynamic of the PC market. I don’t think subscriptions ever go away, but when you have an IP as broad as Star Wars, we’re definitely going to look at opportunities to grow that business and look at different ways of bringing customers in and serving them.”

Source: GamesIndustry International

South Korea Banning Online Game Item Trading

According to the Korea Times, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) announced that it is planning to ban the trade of commercial game items, in order to keep students from wasting time.

Details will be announced sometime next month, but apparently all virtual item trades will be halted. “The main purpose of the games is for entertainment and should be used for academic and other good purposes,” said Kim Kap-soo, head of the ministry’s content policy division.

The Ministry said that the law would prohibit users from using programs that allow in-game characters to hunt and collect items automatically, without player input. The Ministry determined that over 50 percent of the items exchanged on the market were obtained by automated programs. Item trades contribute to many problems in society, according to the Ministry, including teenage crime, and therefore need to be halted.

Violators face up to a 50 million won fine (about $43,000) and a 5-year prison term.

The crackdown would also affect arcade games in Korea, which will be barred from listing in-game items to attract buyers. MMORPGs and other games that are free-to-play and depend on virtual item sales may be shut down, or will need to find other ways to monetize.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Are You Ready For The Rock Of Ages?

The official website and Facebook page for Rock of Ages is loaded with engagements that let fans show off their excitement and get ready for the show. Rock ‘n’ Roll Shout Out is a URL destination engagement that lets fans send their friends a Shout Out from the band Steel Panther. Fans can choose from a series of different, funny videos and share via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or via e-mail.

On Facebook, the app Band Name Creator fans are asked the question, “are you ready to rock?” After answering a few short questions, they are given their band name. At the destination URL, fans can record {link no longer active} and upload a video of themselves singing “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and share with friends. Featured videos and fan videos can be sorted by likes and date to view.


God Of War Creator Sees Consoles Going Extinct

Consoles are under attack, from smartphones, tablets, browser-based gaming, full-on PC game downloads and cloud gaming. Technologies and business models, like free-to-play, are rapidly changing, and according to God of War and Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe, the days of the console are numbered.

“Look, consoles are going away. I think in 10 years – probably sooner, but 10 years is always the safe thing to say so you don’t sound like an idiot – but here’s what I’ll say: I’ll go on the record and say that the next generation of hardware will be the last consoles. And they should be,” Jaffe asserted.

“It doesn’t mean you won’t buy a piece of hardware from Sony, but you’ll probably buy a television that streams the stuff. And you’ll still have Sony, loud and proud and strong making these great, big, epic games like God of War and Uncharted, and they’ll be making great little games like Sound Shapes, but they’ll become more like movie studios for video games. I’ll be able to stream in the next Uncharted and Plants vs Zombies and you won’t even think about it. It’ll just be like I can watch a public access show on my TV or I can watch Avatar.”

Jaffe continued, “So this is the last generation of consoles coming up. I’m going to go out on a limb, because why the f**k not I don’t care if I’m wrong, I’m not a business guy. I think next-gen consoles are going to do 40 percent of [the sales volume] of the current gen hardware.”

Ultimately, games with AAA graphics and budgets will live on, but they just won’t be on consoles anymore. “The asteroid has hit the Earth, the dust cloud is covering the sun and the dinosaurs are on the way out – but not the games! We’ll always have great games and bleeding edge graphics… it’s just going to be a new delivery mechanism,” Jaffe concluded.

Source: GamesIndustry International