Run Puma Run

Puma has turned into a site reminiscent of an old-school 8-bit video game. In ‘Run Puma Run,’ an HTML5 game, you can select a player from five options- the runner, the golfer, the footballer, the driver, and the cricketer. Collect as many medals as possible while running on a track while avoiding obstacles like hurdles and water puddles. Press the space bar to jump and use arrow keys to change lanes. ‘Run Puma Run’ comes complete with nostalgic Nintendo-like sounds, coin count, and hearts to indicate how many lives you have left.

Note that Puma isn’t an official sponsor of the Olympics, but if you look closely is the runner, who looks like he’s wearing a Jamaican jersey, supposed to be Usain Bolt, a Puma sponsored athlete And while golf isn’t in the Olympics, the golfer, dressed in all orange, looks oddly suspicious – is he Puma sponsored golfer Rickie Fowler, known for wearing all orange on the green The footballer is also a dead ringer for a member of the Italian team, also sponsored by Puma.

Casual Connect Sees Debate On The Change Of Digital Publishing

The concept of publishers, generally seen as the gatekeepers to funding in the traditional gaming sphere, is becoming controversial to some people. This came to a point when Jussi Laakkonen, CEO of app discovery firm Applifier, said that the days of milestones and strict control over a developer were over.

“All you’re describing here is how [the publisher] comes in and asks you to open his wallet, and then gives you money,” Laakkonen said. “That does not happen anymore. That is the reality we are all living. A game is an idea. It is data driven. It needs a partnership that goes well beyond a publication date. This panel should be telling me about the new world of publishing.”

Laakkonen noted that publishers face disruption from cloud gaming, free-to-play games and crowd sourcing. To him, publishing must become a partnership with developers where they zero in on the analytics data and optimize the game so that it can generate the maximum amount of revenue for both companies.

“My question to you is: ‘What is publishing 2.0, and how do you make it happen ‘” closed Laakkonen .

“I think that was a brilliant question. It strikes at the heart of change in our industry,” said Jamil Moledina, a panelist and former publishing executive at Funzio and Electronic Arts. “How do we adapt our practices and see the world in a more expansive way ”

Even with a digital game, where there is no need for someone to make a physical product, publishers, platform owners, monetization firms, ad networks, analytics firms, providers of social layers, and app store operators have all emerged. What publishers can do is acquire more users for a game, balancing the interests of the developer and a middleman, asserts Moledina.

“They all want to take 30 percent,” said Si Shen, chief executive of Papaya Mobile. “After a few services take their cut, there is nothing left for the developer.”

Zynga has stepped into the role of a publisher, offering their servers and analytics and Activision is doing something similar with mobile games. Japan’s Gree and DeNA-Ngmoco have their own social mobile gaming platforms, designed to help users discover new games more efficiently.

For Eros Resmini, senior vice president of developer relations at Gree, he is careful to call the company a platform owner, focused on games – not a publisher. “There are certain expectations when you say you’re publishing a title,” Resmini said. “We’re very interested in partnering with our developers.”

Even platform holders like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are changing what they do as app store operators that are able to take on digital publishing functions. Even traditional game publishers are acknowledging that the world has changed.

“If we look at tradition, the publishing models have changed too,” said Adam Boyes, vice president of developer relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America. “This requires constant communication between developers and publishers. You’re absolutely right. The world is changing. If you don’t change, you’ll get left behind.”

Source: VentureBeat

Apple Files Game Pad Patent

Apple has filed a patent to launch their own dual-analog stick gaming controller. The controller, with dual-analog sticks, resembles the PlayStation DualShock controllers, and also has four shoulder buttons, four face buttons and what seem to be start and select buttons.

The patent also describes the ability to use your iPhone as a universal remote for things like video game consoles, and the supplied image showing an Xbox 360. The description is not unlike what Microsoft announced for their SmartGlass tech.

While plenty of patents are filed and never followed up on, this would specifically address a need for the system long since demanded by the core gaming community.


Google Fiber Launches Search Company Into Cable Wars

Google has announced that is is opening a $500 million fiber optic network in Kansas City called Google Fiber. For $120 a month, users can enjoy Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than normal Internet.

Additionally, the service will offer a number of television channels, available on your TV, tablet (a Nexus 7 comes with the service) and smartphone. There will be no data caps on the service either, though neighborhoods will have to cross a certain threshold in order to get Google to install in their area.


Jade Raymond Urges More ‘Natural’ Control Methods

Jade Raymond, head of Ubisoft Toronto, produced the Assassin’s Creed franchise and is now working on Splinter Cell: Blacklist. While those are both fine traditional games, Raymond envisions more ambitious changes for games and control schemes down the line.

“As more of a hardcore gamer I want to see that stuff integrated into hardcore games in a way that makes them better because as fun as all those games are, I don’t really play exercise games – I can’t picture myself doing that,” said Raymond. “I’d love to be able to lean and look round the corner and just integrate more natural motions. The tech for those things isn’t quite there, but I hope it will soon.”

“Even people who played games when it used to be just one big red button and a D-pad can’t play games now,” she noted. “You have to master face buttons, triggers and they all do different things, so obviously we’re never going to get to that really mass-market place where we’re touching a really broad audience with our messages with controllers, so Kinect and other more natural ways to interact with games are incredibly important. I think we can go further.”

Source: OXM

Stardock Looks To Move Digital Sales Only

Stardock recently released an expansion for their strategy title Sins of a Solar Empire called Rebellion exclusively through digital means. With sales of over 100,000 units, a better sell-through than the original game’s release during the first month, the studio is considering ditching retail for good for GameStop’s digital platform, Steam and directly on the Stardock website.

“When we combine our direct sales of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion with the sales from GameStop, we see unit sales similar to what we’ve seen previously when at retail. This contradicts our projection that sales via Steam would share the overall digital pie we’d previously seen,” said Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock. “Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion on Steam didn’t cannibalize its GameStop or direct sales.”

“Normally, when you get sales figures, the publisher is talking about overall sell-in, not sell-through,” Wardell continued. “But that figure is largely irrelevant, other than sounding awesome because anything that doesn’t sell at retail later gets marked down or returned.”

These results are pushing Stardock to re-evaluate its future with launching its games at retail at all. As a result, the company’s remaining titles in 2012, The Political Machine 2012 and Elemental: Fallen Enchantress, will be released digitally through Steam, GameStop and other digital distributors, skipping retail entirely.

“I remember it was somewhat dramatic in the community when we announced that Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion wasn’t going to be at retail,” said Wardell. “The reason was because we have moved away from having set release dates, which are largely announced for to kickoff presales, or for shareholders and retail distributors. Now we don’t plan a release date until the game has reached a quality level where we feel comfortable doing so.”

“Retailers require a six-month lead-in to reserve shelf space for indies, and that’s if you can get in,” he noted. “By contrast, with Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, we didn’t set a release date until after the public BETA feedback was universally positive.”


Wasteland 2 Screenshot Releases

inXile Entertainment released the first, in-progress screenshot of Wasteland 2 over the weekend. inXile CEO Brian Fargo noted that this was unusual for him, but he felt it was important to give backers a good feel for how the project is progressing.

“We also have our first pass at a Wasteland 2 screen shot to share that is running inside the Unity engine,” wrote Fargo. “The process up till now has been in getting up to speed with Unity but also much discussion about look and feel.”

“Releasing a screen shot this early in the process is a new concept for me as we typically want to hone in every element before we show it,” he added. “But based on the requests and our desire for fan input, we are doing so to solicit feedback on the basic look. Please keep in mind that we have not put in the particle effects and post-processing which will have a dramatic effect on the scene, and this represents just one of the various environments for Wasteland 2 so expect to see other quite different locales. Also, this particular camera angle is on the low end of a range that the player can adjust upwards to a much more top-down view, for those who prefer that style during game play.”



OnLive Coming To Ouya

OnLive will launch its full service on the Ouya console. This adds hundreds of games to the Android powered console, and enhances OnLive’s cross-platform functionality between PC, mobile devices and now Ouya.

“When OnLive first heard about Ouya, we were excited to see console gaming becoming more available and open. Like Ouya, we came to gaming with a new vision for making top-quality gaming accessible to more people, and we continue to look for ways to expand on that vision,” said OnLive’s U.K. general manager Bruce Grove. “Ouya is rethinking the console business, making waves by using standard technology to make gaming for your living room accessible, affordable and more innovative than ever. In OnLive’s case, we pioneered a groundbreaking, cloud-based system that instantly delivers games to any device on demand.”

Facebook Says Ads for Battlefield 3, Diamond Dash Turn Out Good Results

Facebook’s first financial report since going public was a bit rocky, but revealed some positive results. For instance, Facebook COO Sheryl K. Sandberg said that campaigns from companies like Electronic Arts and Wooga turned out great ROI.

“We’re making great progress measuring our ability to help marketers generate sales,” said Sandberg. “Independent analysis of more than 60 campaigns, 45 of which were completed in the first half of this year, show that 70 percent of those campaigns delivered a return on ad spend of 3x or better. And 49 percent of those campaigns delivered a return of 5x or better.”

“Electronic Arts recently spent $2.75 million promoting Battlefield 3 on Facebook. They attributed $12.1 million of their sales to these ads, translating to a 4.4x return on their Facebook marketing spend,” she added. “Wooga, an international games developer, used mobile News Feed to drive installs of its Diamond Dash game. They increased downloads by 26 percent in the U.S., 29 percent in Germany and 37 percent in France, all at attractive costs per app installed.”

Source: GamesIndustry International