Zynga Chief Technology Officer Leaves For ServiceNow

Allan Leinwand has departed Zynga for ServiceNow. The developer of Zynga’s Z-cloud architecture is now vice president and chief technical officer of Platform Development at ServiceNow.

Zynga’s Z-cloud architecture enabled the social gaming company to shift roughly 80 percent of its operations from Amazon Web Services to its own architecture. This departure is one of many such moves from Zynga, including former COO John Schappert.

Source: LinkedIn.com

Put An End To Pretentiousness

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is not a pretentious brand. The Unpretentious Facebook App identifies your most pretentious Facebook friends’ posts, and visually destroys them.

The app analyzes the content from on all of your friends’ Facebook pages to determine your most pretentious friend – whether it’s someone who checks into expensive restaurants or just shows off about their kids – then creates a shareable video that shows the Outlander Sport crashing through visuals of the the pretentious posts. After the video is complete, fans can share the result to their friend or smash another friend and destroy more pretentiousness.


Fishing Joy Hits 100 Million Downloads

CocoaChina announced that Fishing Joy has been downloaded 100 million times worldwide. According to a study by Flurry, users play Fishing Joy 2.5 times longer per session than the average casual game and eight times as many users return to the game compared to typical mobile game titles.

“This is a fantastic achievement for us because we have reached great scale while also maintaining an engaging play experience as users play longer and keep coming back,” said Haozhi Chen, CEO of CocoaChina. “We are extremely proud to have reached such a significant milestone, and it inspires us to continue making the best games possible.”

CocoaChina recently published Fishing Joy 2 and is working with TapJoy to publish mobile games from the West in China.


Sony Online Entertainment Introduces Player Created Items

Sony Online Entertainment announced the launch of Player Studio. This new feature allows players to create in-game items that can be sold in the marketplace of certain online games, where the creator will receive 40 percent of the revenue.

“For the first time in SOE history, players will be able to build and sell their own items, truly creating a unique, customizable online marketplace within our games,” said John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment. “At SOE, we believe everyone is a gamer at heart, and our goal with Player Studio is to provide a platform on which our players can further explore their inner gamer while showcasing their passion for the games they love. We are looking forward to seeing our players’ creativity come to life in an entirely new way.”

The company also announced the latest EverQuest expansions: EverQuest: Rain of Fear and EverQuest II: Chains of Eternity. “Following two very successful transitions to free-to-play, we knew it was time to give our EverQuest community a rich offering of new content,” said Dave Georgeson, executive director of development of the EverQuest franchise. “The EverQuest team is committed to keeping the community enthusiasm high through continued content updates that dial up the player experience; the new features in these expansions are proof points of that continued commitment, and we have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.”


Kickstarter Declares ‘Year Of The Game’

Kickstarter revealed that Reaper Miniature Bones and Planetary Annihilation became projects number 10 and 11 on Kickstarter to cross $1 million in funding and that seven of the 11 projects that have crossed $1 million this year are games, with the eighth being Order of the Stick, a comic gaming. This has led the company conclude that this is the year of the game on Kickstarter.

Additionally, Kickstarter said that more dollars have been pledged to Games projects than to any other category, giving a list of money pledged through August 31:

1. Games — $50 million
2. Film — $42 million
3. Design — $40 million
4. Music — $25 million
5. Technology — $16 million

Games has gone from the eighth most-funded category in Kickstarter history to the second most-funded just in 2012:

2009 — $48,190
2010 — $519,885
2011 — $3,615,841
2012 — $50,330,275

Compared to last year when 3.6 percent of the pledges were to games, this year it is 23 percent. 20 of the 36 projects that have raised more than $500,000 this year have been games.

“The catalyst for the category’s growth happened in February, when a video game project called Double Fine Adventure raised $1 million in its first 24 hours,” posted Yancey Strickler and Fred Benenson. “The gaming world hasn’t looked at Kickstarter the same way since. Double Fine signaled to game developers that they could use Kickstarter to do something that previously seemed impossible: make the game they wanted without outside interference.”

Kickstarter also said that people who first back a games project have backed 2.43 projects on average, compared to 1.78 projects for all other backers. This makes them Kickstarter’s most frequent backers and they’ve inspired more game projects that have brought even more backers, and so on.

“Games give players the power to take control and decide what happens. Kickstarter gives backers the power to take control and decide what happens. The combination of the two has produced some memorable events. Incredibly, all of this has happened in the six months since the launch of Double Fine Adventure,” concluded Yancey Strickler and Fred Benenson. “While it’s still too early to understand the full impact, it’s clear that big changes are happening in the world of games.”

Source: Kickstarter


Amazon Unveils Next Kindle Fire, Paperwhite E-Readers

Amazon.com took the wraps off of their higher-resolution Kindle Fires on Thursday. This includes a 4G-ready version for $499, a Wi-Fi version is $299, while the original version of the Fire will retail for $159.

Additionally, the company showed off a “paperwhite” e-reader with a better screen and longer battery life, demonstrating their commitment to that category. There will be a 3G version for $179 starting in October, along with a Wi-Fi only version for $119, and the cheapest one at $69, undercutting the cheapest Barnes & Noble Nook.

Source: Reuters.com


World of Warcraft Subscription Drop-Off Graphed

World of Warcraft subscriptions have turned back the clock to 2007, according to reports from Activision Blizzard. The company claims that most of the diminished subscriptions is from the increasingly competitive Asian region, including China and South Korea.

This has resulted in half-year revenue from subscriptions falling by 29 percent to $448 million for Activision Blizzard owner Vivendi and profits from the publisher were down overall by 31 percent. The company is no doubt hoping that Mists of Pandaria will help boost the game back up to recent highs of over 11 million subscribed.

Source: PaidContent.org


Mobile, Digital Gamer Segments Growing, While Core Share Shrinks

The NPD Group reported in the “Gamer Segmentation 2012: The New Faces of Gamers” study that there are 211.5 million gamers in the U.S, a 5 percent decline (close to 12 million gamers) when compared to 2011. Of the six gamer segments in the report, only Mobile Gamers and Digital Gamers saw increases in the number of gamers when compared to 2011, with Mobile Gamers up 9 percentage points to 22 percent and Digital Gamers up 4 percentage points to 16 percent, compared to Core Gamers, Family+Kid Gamers, Light PC Gamers, and Avid PC Gamers that were all down over 2011.

“Given the long lifecycles of the current consoles and the increasing installed base of smartphones and tablets, it’s not surprising to see a slight decline in the Core Gamer segment,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group. “It’s the revenue contribution of the Core Gamer segment that continues to outpace all other segments, and remains vital to the future of the industry.”

Game purchasers reported spending an average of $48 on physical games and $16 on digital games-PC/console/portable in the past three months, while Core Gamers spent $65 on physical games over the same time period; this is more than any other gamer segment. Close to 14 percent of total gamers report that they purchased microtransactions/additional game content in the past three months compared to 11 percent during the same time period in 2011 – Core Gamers and Digital Gamers are the largest consumers of these types of purchases at 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Mobile Gamers are now the largest gamer segment, edging out Core Gamers, which was the largest segment in 2011. “While this study segments the gaming audience based on a number of key variables and attributes, looking across the total gaming audience we see a tremendous impact from mobile gaming, particularly on smartphones and tablets,” said Frazier. “Because of this, our next study, which will be released later this month, takes a deeper look into the area of mobile gaming.”


GameStop CEO Shows Interest In Ouya

The Ouya console is being positioned as a more indie friendly console, with its emphasis on open source software. While it’s all well and good to have support of homebrew developers, it must be encouraging that the largest dedicated game retailer in the U.S., GameStop, has announced interest in the device.

“We will be a part of any console launch in the future,” said GameStop CEO Paul Raines. “We think Ouya’s cool. We love the idea of open-source components. Everything we’ve read is great.”

“There will be games developed for that stuff. So you’re going to see more of these open source type products, and we will be right in the middle of all of it,” said Raines, noting support by Robotoki, Square Enix and Namco Bandai.

Source: Joystiq


God Of War Script Will See Kratos More Grounded

Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton has as a duo worked on films like Saw IV, the Feast trilogy and Piranha 3DD, and are now giving a workover to a God of War script from a screenwriter who also did Road to Perdition. Now they’re reworking the script for God of War, and were very direct as to the reason it needed changes.

“The only problem with that is it was written before Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, 300 and Immortals, and those movies borrowed quite a bit from the God of War stories. It was just a little bit outdated, so we wanted to differentiate it from those other movies,” said Dunstan. “In the same way that Batman was grounded with Christopher Nolan’s rendition, we were attempting to do that with Kratos so that when we meet him — like they’re doing in this newest game, which is sort of a prequel to the original — we’re seeing him before he became the Ghost of Sparta, when he was just a Spartan warrior and he had family and kids.”

“In the game . . . there’s that attack from the barbarians and Kratos has to call upon Ares to help him. Really, that’s going to be our first act break. Before then, he’s going to be mortal, and he’s going to have his family. We’re going to learn about him and understand how he operates,” he added. “So it’s potentially 30 minutes — give or take — of building up this character so that, when he does turn and becomes the Ghost of Sparta, we understand him as a human and we understand the journey that he’s going to take. We’re emotionally invested, so that it could go beyond just this one movie.”

Source: IGN