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

Shanda Games Invests In EFusion MMOG

Shanda Games has purchased a majority stake in eFusion MMOG, becoming a large part of the Chinese publisher’s push into Europe. The German company will use the money to launch the action MMORPG Dragon Nest, which they just licensed from Korean company Eyedentity Games, in Europe.

“We are really delighted to become part of Shanda Games and are also excited about the tremendous opportunity to offer Dragon Nest, a skill based high-quality MMORPG, to European gamers,” said Michael Lim, founder and CEO of eFusion MMOG. “Launching Dragon Nest in Europe will be a huge milestone for us, but most of all, we’re looking forward to Dragon Nest attracting lots of fans among European gamers. The online game market in Europe is growing very fast but the competition is becoming tougher. We are ready to face the challenge and to build on eFusion MMOG’s success in this market.”

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

EA’s Firemint And Iron Monkey Become Firemonkeys

Electronic Arts announced plans to merge its two mobile studios Firemint and Iron Monkey into Firemonkeys. The merged mobile studios will be housed at EA Melbourne and will continue work on existing games like Mass Effect Infiltrator, Flight Control and The Sims FreePlay, along with new IP.

“This is simply the most practical way to be successful, for both Iron Monkey and Firemint. It wasn’t our original intention to merge, but since we work in the same building and we often help each other out on projects it made a lot of sense,” detailed Tony Lay, the GM of Iron Monkey. “We want to sit shoulder to shoulder with EA studios like DICE and Criterion, and we’ll get there by having IP ownership, whether we create our own or take ownership of an existing one. In the immediate future, this means making sure all Firemonkeys titles are of the same quality and standard as existing Firemint and Iron Monkey titles. I want us to be seen as a creative entity, not simply a porting house.”

“Ultimately, the name Firemonkeys respects both the studios’ legacy. People can still judge us by the products we make,” he added. “Iron Monkey has always retained creative control over the games we make and that won’t change. All this merger means is that we can be a lot more efficient in the way we do business. We can share resources and knowledge with Firemint and become the best of the breed in mobile development.”

Source: GameSpot

Facebook Sees People ‘Creep’ Exes Often

 

According to research by Western University, people who break up are likely to follow their ex on Facebook. In the thesis called It’s Complicated: Romantic breakups and their aftermath on Facebook a vast majority of people engaged in behavior that included re-reading old messages (64 percent), deleting photos of you and your ex (50 percent), and even looking at your ex’s posts and those you think might be dating them now (74 percent).

“I wanted to see how breakup distress is related to Facebook use,” said Veronika Lukacs, who wrote the Masters thesis.”What I found was that whether you were on Facebook all the time or not, your distress level changed based on how much surveillance you were doing (post break-up).”

Lukacs had the hypothesis that Facebook increased post-breakup distress, which proved true often because of so-called “creeping” checking out an ex-partners profile to check up on what they were doing. Lukacs found that 88 percent of respondents creeped their ex’s page, and 80 percent looked up their ex’s new partner or suspected new partner.

“The more surveillance there was, the more distress there was, but it’s difficult to say why,” Lukacs said. “Does surveillance make you more distressed, or are you distressed so you do more surveillance My hunch is that it’s a bit of both.”

There’s also an added dimension if you and your ex have mutual friends, as you’ll still see their posts around on content from other people. The solution isn’t as simple as deleting an ex from your friend list, Lukacs’ research found.

“Deleting seemed to be really effective but it depends on the severity of your creeping behavior,” Lukacs said. “Some people are active Facebook creepers and seek out information while others are affected by what comes up on their news feed.”

There’s a stigma attached to deleting a friend on Facebook, putting on extra pressure. She noted that people should always change their Facebook password post-break-up as several survey subjects admitted to hacking into their ex’s profiles, or being hacked themselves.

Other results from the study said that 48 percent of people remained friends with their exs on Facebook, 33 percent posted a song lyric or quote about their ex as their status, and 31 percent posted pictures to try to make their ex jealous while 52 percent said they were jealous of a picture their ex posted.

Source: NiagaraAdvance.ca

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.

WildTangent Opens New Seattle Studio

WildTangent has announced that they are opening a new development studio in Seattle. The new studio is expected to have about a dozen people with a focus on titles for iOS and Android.

“We’re firing up a game studio to build mobile games first,” said studio EVP of product development Matt Shea. “We’ve got a vault of intellectual property. [Mobile is] a crowded space, but we have access to a great talent pool.”

Source: VentureBeat

Indie Developers Vocalize Complaints Over Console Certification

Indie developers have often had a bumpy relationship with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Some prominent indie developers made their frustrations very specific in a recent article titled “How certification requirements are holding back console gaming.”

“The edge that both Apple and Valve have going into the future is that they both genuinely care about the end-user experience and want to make it as good as possible,” said Braid creator Jonathan Blow. “Which coincidentally seems to be the place that these consoles are handicapped due to their corporate culture. Can anyone look at the current 360 or PS3 dashboards and legitimately say that those are products of an entity that deeply cares about user experience ”

Blow contrasted the experience with the console manufacturers to Apple, saying, “There is almost no certification process for iOS, so by the Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo theory, the apps should be crashing all the time, everyone should think of iOS as sucky, etc. But in fact this is not what is happening. There is no public outcry for more testing and robustness of iOS software.”

World Of Goo designer Ron Carmel was very negative describing working with Microsoft Studios on XBLA. “Contract negotiations [with Microsoft Studios] are drawn out and adversarial,” said Carmel. “I’ve heard many complaints about having to work with a producer, and their terms are the worst among all modern digital distribution channels.”

Derek Yu, creator of Spelunky, issued a warning about the expense in both time and money bringing his game to XBLA. “In my opinion, the entire process of console development is prohibitive-not just the expenses but also the selection process and the time invested into understanding the platform,” said Yu. “You should only do it if you have the resources and really want to be on a console.”

Source: Ars Technica