Sony WWS Pres. Warns Against F2P Games That ‘Play Psychological Tricks On People’

Sony’s messaging at Gamescom has been about the breadth of PlayStation content, not just the PS3. Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida said this was a conscious move, after the reception to their E3 presentation.

“Our focus was to feature PS Vita. One big criticism we got from E3 was where’s the PS Vita, where are the PS Vita games We spent too little time talking about it, so that was a big focus going into Gamescom,” said Yoshida. “We were very happy to announce five new titles from Worldwide Studios, as well as the new Ratchet & Clank game – so that’s six new titles. PS Vita, PS3, Move, PSN, they all got new titles, so we were able to cover all of the initiatives that we have.”

Speaking on the sensitive issue of Vita sales, “In terms of the reactions of the people who have already bought the Vita, we’re very happy,” noted Yoshida. “They are happy with the hardware. In terms of the sales, we’d definitely like to see more. There are millions of people we’re sure will enjoy playing PS Vita games. Our job now is to decipher what’s preventing these people from making the jump. Our priority right now is definitely to bring more content.”

When asked the reason why sales weren’t as good as Sony would like, Yoshida thought of ways the device could be improved. “The good thing is that the one thing we can’t change is the hardware features, but they are very well regarded by people,” said Yoshida. “But in terms of new content and new system and service features, we can add that, and we can work with third-parties to get more. We’re getting a very good feeling when we talk with third-parties companies, and of course we’re developing our own titles. And for the people who are hoping that the PS Vita becomes more affordable, we are creating new bundles and adding new value to the package. We’re hoping that this Christmas more people will jump over to the Vita.”

In terms of reservations about free-to-play games on a closed system like the PS3, Yoshida said, “There are free-to-play games already available on console, and the reaction has been pretty good. But when people think of free-to-play they think of social games… and there are certain mechanics in social games that are a bit concerning, personally – they kind of play psychological tricks on people. That’s something that we will be watching carefully, because it’s not like there are an infinite number of consumers that we can take from. We always consider the long-term trust relationship with our consumers. But in general, I still think free-to-play can offer a new kind of content and services to consumers that the traditional model can’t duplicate. I think it’s additive to our offering.”

Source: GamesIndustry International

Amazon Game Connect Gets Bigpoint Titles

Bigpoint will launch two of its more prominent free-to-play titles, Battlestar Galactica Online and Drakensang Online, on Amazon’s Game Connect platform. By linking to a user’s Amazon account, it both ensures security and decreases friction

“We are helping Amazon build its content on Game Connect,” said Bigpoint’s head of business development Ed Kim. “They are a very large distribution channel and can target users quite well thanks to their e-commerce site.”

“I believe they are very serious about gaming, they are showing a lot of commitment,” said Kim about Amazon before noting that Bigpoint is also planning to host its titles on Steam. “Our goal is to have our games anywhere there is a browser.”

Source: GamesBeat

PS Gets YouTube App

The PS Store has now issued an update to offer a YouTube app on the PS3 under “My Channels”. While YouTube has previously been viewable on PS3 via the browser, Sony says the app will provide extra functionality such as seeing channels that they’ve subscribed to online or on other devices.

“With a quick pairing process, you can control YouTube on PS3 with a smartphone,”says Sony. “Find a video on your phone and with a button it’ll play on the big screen. While the video is playing you can control it from the phone, or keep browsing YouTube for the next one.”

Tablet Usage Increasing For Kids, Says NPD

The NPD Group says in their latest report that portable and console video game systems continue to have the highest usage levels among kids ages 4-14. However, the Kids and Consumer Electronics: 2012 Edition report noted that media tablets experienced the highest increase in usage at 13 percent in 2012 compared to only 3 percent in 2011.

The study noted that while usage of the more sophisticated devices such as computers and game devices tend to increase as kids get older, tablet usage is highest among younger children, emphasizing the importance of manufacturers to making their devices easy to use. Households with kids ages 4 – 14 own an average of 10 different devices, with kids using an average of five of those devices.

“Kids are using tablets to game, watch movies and TV shows, read books and listen to music-even occasionally for taking pictures- so they have embraced the utility of these devices quite rapidly,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president, industry analysis for The NPD Group. “Older kids also use the tablets for social media and communication, which squarely places these devices at the center for discovery and evangelism of new services and applications, as well as for brands and entertainment of all sorts.”

Televisions, computers and cell/smartphones have the highest household ownership, while PDMPs saw the largest drop in household ownership with just 35 percent owning these devices in 2012 compared to 48 percent in 2011. Household ownership of console and portable console systems, media tablets, and digital video cameras saw the most significant increases.

Portable console systems are the most popular devices owned by kids ages 4-14, with six years-old being the average age of adoption, slightly younger than 2011 where the average age was 6.4. Gaming systems and portable entertainment devices remain on top the list of devices for which kids will have the most influence on future device selection, where the type of technology and features offered by a new device is nearly as important as low price and good value; parents tend to be influenced more often by brand reputation, low price, safety aspect and educational value, whereas children are more focused on aesthetics, popularity and entertainment value.

Penny Arcade Kickstarter Ends At Over $500,000

The Penny Arcade Kickstarter has concluded and the final total is $528,144 or enough to remove front page advertising from the site. The project was launched as an alternative for the site as a means to support themselves other than merchandise sales and advertising .

While the front page leaderboard and banner advertising will be removed, ads on other parts of the site will remain as the goal of $1 million was not reached. Other goals unlocked by the amount raised was a six page strip of something they’re calling Automata: Silverside, Jerry Holkins will cosplay as a character of the community’s choice (by vote) for one day at both PAX East 2013 and PAX Prime 2013, and Penny Arcade: The Series Season 4 will be called “Strip Search” and be a reality show looking for the next big web-comic.

Source: Kickstarter.com

EA Changing Tact With Medal Of Honor Charity

Electronic Arts has removed all blog posts relating to the the Voodoo Tomahawk and Project Honor charity from its Medal of Honor website after articles by Eurogamer and The Gameological Society raised concerns about the promotion, causing an outcry. EA indicates that the other promotions for Project Honor are still going ahead with items that include gun modifications, flashlights and nylon patches.

“The Voodoo Tomahawk has since been removed from our website because of the article,” said Danger Close executive producer Greg Goodrich. “That was an effort to raise a lot of money for charity, and we were well on our way to raising a lot of money with that tomahawk, but I don’t know what will happen with that now. That whole effort, we’ve been working with those partners because we wanted to be authentic, and we wanted to give back to the communities. Every one of those partners, none of them paid a dime for product placement – all the money generated went to Project Honor.”

“It’s an experience, and it’s a video game, and they’re going on that journey and learning about these group of people. It doesn’t mean that they have any less respect for these. Maybe it’s a cultural thing,” added Goodrich. “If I played Need for Speed, and I’m handed the key to a Porsche, does that make me want to get in it and drive like a maniac and run people over No, I played a game, and now I’m driving a car in real life but I’m not going to go crazy with it because I played a video game. In a first-person shooter we’re not teaching someone how to shoot better or be a better operator just by playing a game. It doesn’t compute, just like when I play Madden NFL football I can’t expect win the Super Bowl just because I played a video game.”

Source: Eurogamer.net

The Secret World Three-Day Trial Announced

Funcom has announced that it is launching a new free three day trial for The Secret World. The trial is available to all interested players who are not currently subscribed to the game.

“In order to sign up for this free trial you will need to register in the small registration form on the right side of the home page of The Secret World Official Website,” said Funcom before adding, “Try it free for 3 days and get an extra 2 days of game time and 1200 bonus points when you complete 30 missions.”

Source: TheSecretWorld.com

Yammer Rolls Out Major Update Post Microsoft Purchase

Yammer has released the largest update to its service since Microsoft acquired it for $1.2 billion. Users can now see updates and comments from colleagues on the home page, which can be adorned with company logos and designs.

There are now file-sharing features, Trending Files and Company Resources, allowing users to see the most viewed and newest files and story important or frequently requested files. The site is also adding @ mentions a la Twitter, conversation replies, group announcements and (taking cues from Google) Yammer’s inbox includes a priority inbox and a search box to find old messages.

Yammer is also adding new app integrations such as social media dashboard HootSuite, first among its business social networking competitors. It’s also added Bevalley, FuzeBox, Get Satisfaction, IFTTT, Kanjoya, Mindflash, Mindjet, and Zapier to its app library.

Source: Blog.Yammer.com {link no longer active}

Stardock Sues Former Marketing Manager

Stardock is suing its ex-marketing manager Alexandra Miseta for over in $1 million relating to damages from Elemental: War of Magic‘s launch in 2010. They claim that before she left her position suddenly prior to Elementals launch she deleted, destroyed, and/or stole promotional materials, analytics data, and trade show information designed to support the game’s launch.

The actions by Miseta, Stardock says, not only made it impossible for the developer to complete crucial marketing efforts, but also forced it to commit resources to re-creating the missing materials that could have been put towards programming, debugging, and polishing Elemental. The game was panned on its release and CEO Brad Wardell said it was due to the QA process and took personal blame at the time, making no mention of Miseta.

Source: Gamasutra.com