Unleash Your Inner Serj

Serj Tankian is best known as the vocalist and songwriter of the rock band System of a Down. Download I am Serj {link no longer active} and start remixing the tunes from his 3 solo albums, including his newest release Harakiri.

Create your own songs or explore the world renowned hooks of this master songwriter. Serj has opened the doors for you to a powerful new way to create music.

Created by savageApps, the company behind I Am Beatbox  {link no longer active}, you will be able to choose from 30 packs of loops and create billions of loop combinations. Songs can be exported as MP4’s and shared to Facebook or saved as custom ringtones.

Pitfall Creator Says ‘Zynga-Like Games Give Casual Market A Bad Name’

David Crane, the creator of the original Pitfall, has announced a Kickstarter to fund his new game JungleVenture {link no longer active}. While he’s looking for mainstream appeal on his new mobile title, he doesn’t think much of so-called social games designed to appeal to a wide audience.

“I think it’s hilarious because there must have been some kind of miracle, because ten years ago everyone was playing these kinds of games and now everyone forgot they existed just because they’re on phones now,” said Crane. “I kind of feel like I’ve always made casual games. I make games for people who like to have fun and enjoy games on any level. Games are about diversion; that’s very casual.”

“If you ask someone what they thought a casual game was a few years ago, they might have said something like Angry Birds,” he added. “Now they’ll probably say something like FarmVille. I don’t like to lump those social games in with casual games. I think it’s those Zynga-like games that give the casual market a bad name.”

Source: Game Informer

PlayStation U.S. President Optimistic For The Future

Many industry pundits have been disappointed about the way the PS Vita has been selling since launch. Still, Sony has maintained its 10 million hardware unit sale goal for the year Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton is taking a long view of the system’s life.

“In this industry, you can’t get too high or too low, because it moves very quickly,” says Tretton. “I think there’s an acceptable number – and [the number] we’ve sold: That’s acceptable. If it was triple that, I’d be happier. If it was one-third, I’d be disappointed.”

Tretton points to the fact that the PS3 had a rough start and managed to be a popular enough device. “Anything with great rewards is going to come with great challenges,” he says. “We felt if the tech was there, and the game support was there, then the audience would be there… I feel much better about it now than I did four months ago.”

The SCEA executive is especially excited about the fact that former Sony Computer Entertainment head Kaz Hirai is now in charge of the whole of Sony Corp. “I think it’s the best news I could ever hear,” he says. “When I joined Sony Computer Entertainment, I’d meet people from other Sony divisions. I’d be at an industry event and they’d read my name badge and say ‘Sony Computer Entertainment What the hell is that I work for Sony music.’ Sony Computer Entertainment was very much an offshoot and not an intimately familiar division of Sony… To go from there, where you’re a science experiment, for lack of a better word, to one of the three major pillars of the corporation is great.”

While there are increasing doubts about home and portable consoles in the face of tablets and smartphones, Tretton isn’t sweating the competition. “I think the opportunity to be in the console business is greater than ever before,” he says. “[Social and free-to-play] is a business I think a lot of companies are learning is difficult to sustain for the long term. It’s an adjunct or it’s an add-on, but it’s not where gaming is headed. It’s an additive diversion. There’s a place for social and freemium, but it’s not going to replace the business models that are out there.”

There are lingering complaints about the lack of creativity and the popularity of online shooters in the console sphere, though Tretton noted that the industry can be derivative and trends can change. “I think it tends to go in cycles,” he says. “If somebody comes out with a game people enjoy, it draws people to that genre. Shooters have been bigger the past few years. I think they’re not just the same game done with a different storyline, they’re taking that genre and expanding on it…  Sometimes racing is really relevant. Sometimes it’s not. The same thing happens with sports, or RPGs… I don’t think our industry is any different. [In any form of entertainment], you’re going to get a herd mentality moving to where the consumer is.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Ouya Pre-Orders Started

The Ouya Kickstarter is finished and the confetti has fallen after having raised a record $8.5 million on Kickstarter. Just because you didn’t put money down then doesn’t mean you can’t pre-order a console now.

Ouya is taking pre-orders for their consoles, with $109 (includes $10 shipping) for one console and one controller, $139 for a console and two controllers, and an Ouya and four controllers will go for $199. International orders cost an additional $10 above the stated U.S. pricing.

The Ouya console is expected to launch in April 2013.

Peter Moore Sees Digital Overtaking Retail Sales By 2015 For EA

While Electronic Arts is seen by some as being an “old media” game company, they have their own digital download service Origin with 41 free-to-play or social games planned for this financial year. EA COO Peter Moore sees the majority of its sales being digital by 2015.

“There will come a point, whether it is two or three years from now, when we say. ‘We are doing more in digital media now than we are in physical media,’ and it’s clearly … not far away,” said Moore, before adding, “We will never abandon physical media. As long as the consumer wants to buy something on a disc, we will be there to offer it.”

Moore added about EA’s recent share buy-back scheme and rise in share price that, “investors are starting to understand our strategy, are starting to see light at the end of tunnel, starting to see growth rates in the areas we have invested in and in the industry as a whole starting to attract attention again.”

Source: Reuters


Amazon Likely To Roll Out New Kindles Soon

Reports are that Amazon is ready to roll out new versions of both the Kindle and the Kindle Fire. This is hypothesized because of the sixteen different Kindle accessories being offered at a discount and the general unavailability of the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G, pointing to the company clearing out inventory.

New models of the Kindle could come as early as this week, possibly before Apple launches an iPhone 5 or iPad Mini. Amazon is rumored to be readying a new 7-inch Kindle Fire with a better processor than the current model, along with as a 10-inch Kindle Fire that will compete more directly with the iPad.

Source: Gizmodo.com

Double Fine Looks To End Dependence On Traditional Publishers

Double Fine Productions changed the way that indie developers look at funding themselves when they raised $3.3 million via Kickstarter. The company isn’t stopping there in creative ways to raise money while preserving itself as an independent entity.

“We’re making a switch from console work-for-hire and going to direct to consumer and free-to-play projects,” said Justin Bailey, the vice president of business development at Double Fine. “That process has taken place over the last 18 months.”

Kickstarter could be used as an initial round of funding for some titles before Double Fine switches to more formal means of funding. The hope is long term this results in more projects and more platforms for Double Fine products.

“We try to be as creative with our business development as we are with our games,” said Double Fine CEO Tim Schafer. “We are always on the lookout for ways to break the traditional mold for game funding. So when we see new opportunities come up — like Kickstarter, angel investment, or other alternative funding models — even though they might seem new and risky at the time, they are also very attractive to us. Because, let’s face it, anything beats the traditional game funding model. It’s like a loan with a really horrible interest rate. No revenue usually until you’ve not just paid back the development cost, but paid it back many times over. Plus, lots of entanglements with intellectual property usually.”

One example of angel funding that Double Fine received was from Xe.com founder Steve Dengler, who gave the company a million dollars. “I’m a fan with money,” said Dengler. “That pretty much sums it up. I’ve been a fan of Double Fine for years, and now I get to help them make new games on their own terms. Traditionally, a developer needed a publisher to get their work made and out to the fans. And traditionally, that relationship was pretty one-sided. But together, we are changing that.”

“What I do want to do is help them make great games for their fans because I am one of those fans,”said Dengler. “And so far it’s working wonderfully. It’s tremendously satisfying.”

“Steve is great because he is literally an angel investor — he came out of the clear blue sky, has mysterious powers, and he only uses them for good,” Schafer added. “Oh, and he can fly, too… in his Cessna. He loves games, he likes Double Fine, and he wants to remove the money obstacle from our path and help us achieve our creative ambitions. The best thing about a partner like Dracogen is the creative freedom. There’s no bureaucratic overhead like time-wasting green-light committees and milestone acceptance tests. We get to focus on making the game good because we have his trust, and in exchange for that, we offer him complete transparency into the product. Mutual trust and mutual respect is critical in this kind of relationship.”

Double Fine wants to eventually publish titles on its own site and stay independent. Creative financing means their 60 employees are working on five different projects right now.

“It is complicated to keep straight, but we have crowdfunding, self-publishing, the mobile studio, and some legacy business,” said Bailey. “We are now majority-funded by crowdfunding or outside investment. By next year, hopefully that transition will be complete [with almost no traditional publishers or work-for-hire deals funding the games.]”

Source: VentureBeat

Coca-Cola, will.i.am Want To Make Recycling Cool

Musician will.i.am and Coca-Cola are partnering to make a line of clothing and gear called Ekocycle. The idea is to make recycled products cooler and get younger consumers thinking about waste and recycled products in a new light.

“If you think about (recycled) products now, none of them are cool,” said will.i.am, who is best known for his work with The Black-Eyed Peas. “You have to bring some art and fashion sensibility into this technology that turns a bottle into something cool.”

The first Ekocycle product will be a pair of headphones by Beats for $349 with an Ekocycle hat by New Era coming that will cost $32. The plan is to partner with a variety of other big-name designers to sell items including bicycles, shoes, handbags, glasses or even high-end tables and chairs.

Source: AP

Minecraft Passes 7 Million Sold On PC

Mojang has announced that Minecraft on PC has reached a new sales milestone. “More than 7 million Minecraft (PC) copies sold!” tweeted David Kaplan.

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, which has sold over 3 million copies, reportedly sells 17,000 downloads per day, generating $340,000 worth of sales in that time. Mojang hopes to double its profits in 2012 over last year.

Source: Twitter.com