Apple CEO Teases ‘Amazing New Products’

The latest fiscal reports were not what many analysts were hoping for for Apple, despite having revenue of $35 billion and profit of $8.8 billion. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook is very bullish on the near future for the company.

“We are really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline,” said Cook, after announcing the financial reports.

It is believed that an iPhone 5 and iPad Mini will launch later this year.

Wasteland 2 Developer Chris Avellone Says Kickstarter Won’t Replace Publishers

Obsidian’s Chris Avellone is working with inXile Entertainment on Wasteland 2, one of the most anticipated game projects funded with Kickstarter. He addressed the issue of demand, and whether having the majority of all your sales upfront was a good thing.

“I think that there’s a danger of nobody, or a small percentage of people buying it once it’s funded. But at the same time the advantage comes from the fact that you’ve developed a project with funding, you’ve hit the goals that the players want, they enjoy the product – chances are that you can do it again, with Wasteland 3 or whatever,” said Avellone. “The reward if people do respond to it after a kickstarter, and you sell shitloads and people really find it fun, suddenly things change in a different way – suddenly you don’t need kickstarter to sort the next project but you’ve proven the idea is viable and that people will pay for it, and not just the original backers. It becomes more validating.”

On encouraging a sense of entitlement Avellone said, “I think there’s always that danger, it’s already there to begin with. What has changed is that you get a lot more input about what people want to see, you can talk frankly about it. That makes you more likely to hit the end goal I think.”

“I think publishers are basically rolling the dice a bit when they start projects, they develop them in a vacuum for a year or so before they can say anything to the public, before any direction is shared. They don’t know if it’s going to be profitable or popular so I think that’s why they often play it safe with the sequels and the franchises etc.” he added. “With a Kickstarter you get that input early and you know how exciting people find your project, you’ve got that acid test.”

Some think that crowdfunding will eventuality be a replacement for publishers, but Avellone disagrees saying, “There’ll always be room for publishers and AAA titles, no matter what. People will always want those summer blockbusters and big production value games. I think the publisher model will always be there, Kickstarter will always be a better fit for indie and concept games. Kickstarter won’t be the silver bullet that changes everything.”

While Wasteland 2 was one of the most successful game projects on Kickstarter, Avellone agrees with the sentiment that fatigue is setting in.

“I think people already are getting tired of hearing about it,” said Avellone. “People are also running out of money for it – it had a contagious energy once Double Fine started doing it which caught hold of everybody because it was brand new and it was an exciting thing to get involved with. It had the appeal of being something special, something to get involved with that no-one else will.

“I think that all contributed to this huge emotional wave with Double Fine, but that’s been going down as it becomes more standardized and it’s harder to get excited by new appeals as the exhaustion sets in.”

The thing above all else that Avellone gets asked about is doing a new version of Planescape: Torment, one of the most acclaimed games to come out of his time at Black Isle studios. If Obsidian was to take up a game like that, Avellone intimates that they would look to change it in key ways.

“Yeah – I think the challenges we’ve spoken about would all have to be considered and to be honest I don’t know if I’d want to do it as a Planescape game – I think a better approach would be to ignore the D&D mechanics and respect what Planescape was trying to do and what the game did and see if you can do what Fallout did when it became the spiritual successor to Wasteland,” said Avellone. “I think if you made a game using some of the concepts of Planescape, the metaphysical ideas and the plane travel, without using the D&D mechanics, you could actually come up with a much better game. With Torment, I’d argue that the D&D base actually, in places, got in the way of the experience. It was a lot harder to make a game with those ideas in it with D&D mechanics. So much that we had to break a lot of them. We had to ignore certain spells, change up the class mechanic so that you can switch at any time you like by remembering abilities.”

“That was stuff that D&D didn’t allow for, it was to restraining in some respects. If we did do a spiritual successor, then I don’t know if we’d use the Planescape licence or attach the mechanics, perhaps something that has a different feel to Torment,” he concluded.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Darksiders II: Death Comes For All

Check out the first all-gameplay trailer for Darksiders II, where the Crowfather sets the stage for our tale.  The fate of mankind may be determined by the actions of the most feared horseman of the apocalypse: Death.

IPhone 5 Targeting Early September: Analyst

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple is pegging the iPhone 5 to release in early September and the iPad Mini soon after. Also, he expects an improved version of the third generation iPad to also come out around that time period designed to address the heating problems it had.

“Though shipments of iPad mini’s components will start in August, the new iPad line will end production, ready for transition to a modified New iPad line,” Kuo writes in the note. “As such, component shipments will drop in August as iPad mini’s components shipments growth will be offset.”

While the most recent Apple fiscal report was disappointing to the company, Kuo believes there will be huge iPhone and iPad sales for the fourth quarter of 2012. He estimates iPhone sales will hit 55 million and iPad sales are predicted to reach nearly 24 million during the quarter.

Source: Business Insider

Big Fish Unlimited Goes To The Cloud

Big Fish Games has announced that it has launched Big Fish Unlimited, a cloud gaming service that lets gamers play their titles on any PC and mobile platform. They have partnered with Roku to bring a gaming channel to connected TVs.

“Customers are increasingly adopting connected devices, and they expect games to be instantly accessible and playable across those devices,” said Will O’Brien, vice president and general manager of cloud gaming at Big Fish. “Big Fish will launch Big Fish Unlimited on PC browsers and tablets this quarter. Through our strategic alliance with Roku, we are adding a third screen: the connected TV. This marks the first time that customers can choose where to play, because our service is powered by the cloud and game progress will follow customers from device to device.”

Big Fish Unlimited will offer instant play for the top 100 titles in the Big Fish library, eventually rolling out other titles from the company’s library of 2,500 games every week. Subscriptions start at $7.99 a month and the service will also offer free access to a rotating catalog of up to 20 games supported by advertising.

Mobile/Tablet Games Played Increasingly At Home

According to a new survey released today by PopCap Games, half of U.S. and U.K. mobile gamers favor mobile devices as their primary home game platform. The finding was part of a research project that projects a 125 million mobile gamer population in the U.S. and U.K.

“We already know that people play mobile games ‘on the go,’ but now we are seeing mobile gamers largely favor their mobile devices for home use.” said Dennis Ryan, VP of Worldwide Publishing at PopCap. “If you add the fact we are seeing a deluge of new gamers coming in through mobile, we believe mobile gaming is invading the last bastion of video game consoles and personal computers: the home.”

50 percent of the mobile gamers in the survey agreed that mobile gaming is their favored method of game play at home over traditional consoles, computers and handheld gaming devices, while tablet-only players preferred home play on mobile devices even more at 57 percent.

The new survey also claims that the top five places to play mobile games are at home on the couch with 69 percent of U.S. and U.K. gamers surveyed, as a passenger in a car or on a bus or train at 63 percent, at home laying in bed at 57 percent, waiting for an appointment at 55 percent and while watching television 41 percent, while those who play mobile games exclusively on tablets confirmed that they play more at home on the couch and while watching TV (at 78 percent and 52 percent) than other mobile gamers. Those who stated that they play mobile games only on a smartphone were more likely to play in situations that required waiting, such as while at a restaurant, in line at a store, or at an appointment.

Many reported playing mobile games in offbeat places – a combined total of 10 percent confessed to playing mobile games either in a church or other place of worship, or while driving a car and/or while watching a movie at a theater. Of those surveyed, eight percent confirmed they had played mobile games while in class at school and nine percent had played at a sporting event, six percent of those surveyed had played mobile games at work during a meeting or a conference call, and four percent had played while at the gym and almost one out of 10 mobile gamers (nine percent) reported that they had been late or missed an appointment, class, ride or flight because they were caught up playing a mobile game.

These sorts of distracted or naughty gamers and those who play in unorthodox places tend to be male, younger than 35 years old, with 78 percent playing daily. This group also spends more money on mobile games and are more likely to play mobile games with friends and plan to spend an average of $49.63 in 2012 on mobile games, game currency or content vs. $29.04 overall.

Source: InfoSolutionsGroup.com

Gree Signs Four New Studios

Gree announced that the have signed new partnerships with Hothead Games, Soma Games, SpaceGum, and SiuYiu. This will bring the games Zombie Ace, Wind Up Football, G:Prime, Nuclear Destruction, Battlepath 3000 and Tiny Sheep to the platform.

“We are dedicated to supporting the independent game development community with our platform technologies,” says Eros Resmini, SVP of Developer Relations and Marketing for Gree International. “These partners represent a talented group of game makers that we expect will bring new experiences to our growing game community. I’m excited to offer Gree’s support in bringing their games to the market.”

6waves Launches WaveX

6waves has launched their mobile traffic exchange platform called WaveX. Designed to help grow user acquisition by allowing developers to spread games on multiple platforms, WaveX is being launched for free to help expand 6waves in the mobile and social publishing world..

“Developers asked us about the potential for cross-promotional deals,” said Jim Ying, Senior Vice President of Publishing, 6waves. “We listened. We built WaveX in response to their requests and decided to make it available not just to those who asked, but to all developers.”

“With the launch of WaveX, we look forward to working with an expanded pool of independent developers from around the world to help them grow the global audience of their games,” said Josh Burns, Director, Products at 6waves.

Find out more about WaveX at wavex.6waves.com.

Mobile Commerce Beats Retail Commerce

Mobile shopping continued to climb in the second quarter, while retail sales via social media dropped according to a new report from IBM. The share of online sales from mobile devices increased to 15.1 percent from 13.3 percent in the first quarter as sales from social media fell from 2.4 percent to 1.9 , underscoring marketers have yet to crack the code on social commerce.

Get the full report on sales here.