Share Victory To Facebook

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Obsidian Talks Branding And Kickstarter

Obsidian recently started a successful Kickstarter for their Project Eternity. Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart is very enthusiastic what this will mean for the relationship between publishers and developers.

“A lot of it is what crowdfunding is all about. It’s an opportunity to go to fans with something and ask for their opinions, their help, their money to make something you believe in. And we really believe in our role-playing games,” said Urquhart. “We love making the big ones, but we believe in this old school, harder core RPG, and some of those things that are a little bit harder to get funded in the traditional publisher model. That’s nothing against publishers. This is just a different model, and it’s great to go back to something that is our roots.”

While he clearly prefers crowdfunding, Urquhart said the project was in a weird position with publishers anyway. “We’ve talked with publishers a lot over the years and the last six months,” he said. “We never went in with a Powerpoint and a proposal and pitched the full thing or anything like that. It’s just different. It’s not retail, but maybe we’ll have a retail SKU after the game comes out. It’s digital, but not a little digital game. It’s weirdly in the middle. It falls into a no-mans-land a little bit about how products are being considered.”

“How do I put it It’s like we all need to really do the numbers. Any publisher can ship N games every year. If a publisher normally ships 50 games or something, it’s very hard to ship 100 games because they’re not going to increase the number of people they have for a year just to ship 100 games or something. So publishers have to make sure they’re shipping the right number of games at the right level. It takes a lot of effort to support a big console game; it takes much much less to support an XBLA game. And a game like this falls in some weird middle. Do we take it to retail It’s not just a download. But it’s not a $500,000 budget XBLA game. It’s niche . . . And it’s hard for them to evaluate the upside and where to put it. And I think that’s what’s hard. It’s not anything negative or bad; it’s a question of what to do with it.”

While Obsidian is a veteran developer, Urquhart acknowledges that all might not go as planned in development and they have a contingency. “We’re going to be careful with the money because all game development hits snags,” said Urquhart. “So a portion of the money will be set aside. Think of it as something like an escrow account. As development goes and goes, we’ll spend more of that money because there’s only so much development left where we could hit snags, so we don’t need to reserve as much. And at the end, we’ve spent all the money and made a great game.”

On the subject of publishers and crowdfunding, Urquhart was measured but enthusiastic. “I think publishers are curious about the model and curious about what that can do. I think ultimately publishers are looking for good developers to make great games for them,” he said. “They have their internal staff to make great games, and sometimes they need a particular type of developer to make a particular game for them. So I don’t know if that changes things a whole lot on the bigger console level. On the smaller level, I think some publishers may really like the model. It’s pretty scary when you’re a publisher and you have to fund games because that’s what you need to go ship. But now maybe some titles can come to you secondarily, or for distribution, or something like that where you don’t have to worry about a cash outlay so much.

“For the $20-40 million, multi-SKU console game, that’s not the Kickstarter world. I think what Kickstarter gives developers the capability to do-and this is how we’re looking at it-is we’re getting the opportunity to go build a brand, and it’s a brand that we own. And that’s what changes the power a little bit. Now I have a game that we’re going to go make, and I have a brand. And I own that brand. And it’s now something that if I go talk to a publisher to talk about doing something different with a brand-and this is years from now-they’re not going to get to own that brand. That definitely changes whatever you call it, power or leverage . . . it changes the discussion. Absolutely.”

Source: GamesIndustry International


Nintendo Talks Wii Future, Supply Chain Issues

Supply and demand is a tricky thing in the console hardware sphere, something Nintendo knows acutely from not being able to fulfill demand for the first three years of the Wii’s lifecycle to not selling enough 3DS units during the first six months after the portable’s launch. For his part, Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime says the company is ready for the launch of the Wii U.

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons from the launch of the DS, the launch of Wii and the launch of 3DS. And our supply chain is solid. My job is to work with retailers, work with other business partners to create demand for the product, and have the consumer get excited. And I think we’re well on the way to doing that,” said Fils-Aime. “My expectation is that we will do a phenomenal job helping the consumer understand the benefits of Wii U, and that our retailers will do a wonderful job of merchandising the product and getting it into consumers’ hands. We want to satisfy all of the demand that’s out there. That’s our goal.”

While software production has wound down on the Wii, Fils-Aime sees PS2-type long term sales potential for their best selling home console of all time. “The broad marketing for the Wii is not going to change. The Wii is focused against today the late adopter, the consumer who is spending $149 or less to have a gaming experience. And we believe -not only in the U.S. but through all of the Americas- there’s still millions of these types of consumers available,” Fils-Aime remarked. “So it’s a sizable opportunity. But that’s a different consumer than who is going to look at the Wii U and get excited by the latest graphical capabilities, all of the services that are included, and new types of games. We see these as two different market opportunities.”

“You know, PlayStation has done a phenomenal job driving sales on what is a [twelve] year-old machine. We believe that the Wii system, similarly, will keep selling for quite some time. They’re going to be different addressable markets, not only from a U.S. perspective but from a global perspective . . . [but we’ll] hopefully continue to drive sales at a historic rate.”

Source: Forbes


Telecoms Gearing Up Cloud Gaming Offerings

Reports are that telecoms are looking to deploy cloud gaming services next year, delivering AAA games directly through TVs to to customers. Start ups like Playcast Media Systems, CiiNOW and Agawi will power these cloud gaming offerings.

Time Warner Cable and Comcast declined to comment, though AT&T spokeswoman Jan Rasmussen says the company is “exploring unique ways to offer cloud gaming services to our TV and broadband customers.”

Sony and Microsoft are not taking cloud gaming lightly, with Sony having acquired Gaikai and Microsoft saying that it is a key concern for them. Square Enix even announced CoreOnline, a new cloud gaming service enabling players to play console quality games straight from the web.

Source: Bloomberg


Apple And Samsung Gear Up For Round 2

While Apple won a $1 billion jury verdict over Samsung recently, neither is fully satisfied with the results. Samsung wants a new trial and Apple, for its part, is seeking an additional $707 million in damages and interest.

“Samsung made a calculated business decision to copy the industrial designs, graphical user interfaces, and touchscreen navigation technology of the iPhone and iPad,” Apple lawyers wrote in court papers, arguing for the additional damages. “Samsung has reaped extraordinary rewards from its wrongful sale of iPhone and iPad clones by taking market share, revenues, and profits from Apple.”

Apple contends that the “massive damage to the iPhone’s distinctive product identity caused by Samsung’s sale of millions of iPhone clones is irreversible.”

Samsung’s council argued that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable and unsupported by the testimony and evidence. The company’s lawyers also said that the judge’s strict constraints on the number of witnesses and testimony time deprived it of a fair trial.

“The Court’s constraints on trial time, witnesses and exhibits were unprecedented for a patent case of this complexity and magnitude, and prevented Samsung from presenting a full and fair case in response to Apple’s many claims,” the company’s lawyer wrote in court documents.

Source: AP


Tokyo Game Show 2012 Sets Attendance Records

The Consumer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA) announced that Tokyo Game Show set attendance records for the event. There were over 223,753 attendees to Japan’s biggest event for console, smartphone, and social games.

CESA previously estimated that attendance would be 195,000, but the total managed to exceed the 222,668 visitors to last year’s TGS. The first day open to the public of the show on Saturday saw 94,989 visitors, a new single-day record.

The next Tokyo Game Show will take place September 19 – 23, 2013.


Platinum Games Defends Bayonetta 2’s Wii U Exclusivity

Platinum Games has been criticized by some after the announcement that Bayonetta 2 will be published exclusively on the Wii U by Nintendo. Platinum Games executive director Atsushi Inaba addressed the issue head-on in an interview, putting in stark terms the context in which the sequel would actually be made.

“Would Bayonetta 2 not exist without Nintendo The answer is yes,” said Inaba. “We are not viewing this as a change of platform. We were looking for a partner to create Bayonetta 2 and Nintendo was a strong, cooperative partner that was willing to create and grow Bayonetta 2 together [with us]. As a result the platform became the Wii U.”

“We create the basic framework of our games on the PC, so even though the hardware changes it doesn’t influence the creation of our games. We’ve already developed our own engine to work with multiple platforms,” added Inaba. “Because of the Wii U GamePad, we are putting extra thought into how to use these differentiating features. There’s a difference in the game design side, but we are enjoying the challenges of creating games for new hardware.”

Source: Polygon


FIFA Soccer 13 At Over A Million Pre-Orders

EA Sports revealed that FIFA Soccer 13 has seen over a million pre-orders. The game’s Facebook page surpassed 10 million Likes, and FIFA Soccer 13 was mentioned every 1.3 seconds on Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms in the three days after the demo launched.

Speaking of FIFA Soccer 13‘s demo, it has seen over 4.6 million downloads on PS3, Xbox 360 or PC. EA says that demo usage represents a 42 percent jump over last year, fueling their belief that FIFA Soccer 13 will be the “biggest sports video game launch ever.”


Sprint Sells 1 Million LTE Devices

Sprint announced that it has now has sold 1 million LTE devices. This was announced at Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, shared a notable LTE milestone today while speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference in New York.

Sprint offers the new 4G LTE service in 19 metropolitan areas and the 4G LTE network will be expanded to more than 100 additional cities. Some of the major metropolitan areas in which Sprint 4G LTE is expected to be available in the coming months are Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.


Real-Time Sharing Of Presidential Ads Up To Election Day

Unruly Media has put together a nifty dynamic infographic that tracks videos from the official Obama and Romney campaigns, as well as the 12 Super-PACs that are most active in this year’s contest. It also has the 10 most-shared clips for each candidate over the past seven days; so far, the President is leading more than two to one in YouTube views, and more than three to two in total shares, though Romney leads is in YouTube comments, implying that his videos are the subject of more debate.