Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Total Sales More Than Half PC Version

Reports are that Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition has sold roughly 4.5 million copies. By contrast, the PC/Mac version of Minecraft has been purchased over 8.2 million times.

The $20 Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition sells roughly 50,000 copies a week, while the $27 PC/Mac version sells at about that rate as well. Minecraft: Pocket Edition for Android and iOS devices is also available for $6.99.

Source: Gamastura

iPhone’s Siri-Tan Fan Service

In Japan, it’s not uncommon to see technologies and devices receive “-tan” incarnations, which are cute anime girl personifications. One of the most popular is Siri, the personal search assistant on the iPhone.

One unique element of the Siri-tan incarnations is an emphasis on her, er, rear. As it turns out “Shiri” (which is the name for Siri in Japan) simply means “butt” in Japanese — making her a good excuse for fan service (like artists in Japan need an excuse).

Here’s Siri-tan as a bookish looking girl.

Source: Kotaku.com

Gree Makes 25 Redundant As OpenFeint Shuts Down

Gree has announced that 25 staff will be let go as a result of OpenFeint’s closure. Purchased by Gree for $104 million, the company recently announced that they were shutting down the service ahead of their announced deadline.

“Gree, which recently announced the closure of mobile social gaming platform, OpenFeint, is focusing its U.S. business primarily on its own titles and developer partner titles,” said Gree in a statement. “As part of the company’s internal U.S. reorganization, a majority of the Gree games platform team will be transitioned to new departments with redundancies in some areas. The overall Gree Platform business will begin transitioning to its operations in Tokyo as a part of this change.”

Amazon Offers Kids Content With FreeTime Unlimited

Amazon has included parental controls called FreeTime, which is a mode where parents can “whitelist” any content on the device designed for kids for it’s Kindle Fire tablets. There will now be paid version of this service as well, with a large amount of pre-curated content called FreeTime Unlimited.

With major children’s media providers chipping in, like Disney, HIT Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Marvel and DC Comics, there will be full books, videos, games and apps available in FreeTime Unlimited. The service is easy to use and everything can be downloaded with a simple tap.

All of the content for the pre-selected titles is designed for kids between the ages of three and eight. The idea of the program is to offer content that parents don’t have to continually vet for their kids.

“We’re trying to solve the problem for parents that, there’s so much content out there — half of which I don’t know if my kid is going to like or not like — and quite frankly is very expensive,” said Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle products. “So for a very low price per month, you can get access to thousands of books, thousands of apps, thousands of games — all the really big brands.”

FreeTime Unlimited content is not included with Amazon Prime, but subscribers to Prime can purchase FreeTime for $2.99 a month (without, it’s $4.99). Multiple accounts can be had with a family plan for $6.99 ($9.99 for non-Prime), where kids will be able to custom their stream to their own preferences.

“We made the decision — and it was kind of a tough one — to not take away content,” says Larsen. “We thought if you’re paying the subscription, you should get it all. And who knows Your four-year-old kid might be reading at a seven-year level. But we filter it based on age and gender. If your kid is three, he shouldn’t be seeing content that’s appropriate an eight-year-old, which will be way down. Unless they use it.”

Source: Mashable.com

Warhammer Picked Up By The Creative Assembly

Sega has announced that it has signed a license with Games Workshop to produce Warhammer games. Developers at The Creative Assembly will create multiple titles based on the enduring fantasy brand.

The developer is known for its popular Total War strategy titles, and it is likely that the Warhammer games will be made in that mold. The Warhammer game, expected out in 2014, is one of five projects currently in development at Creative Assembly including Total War: Rome II and an Aliens game.

Ubisoft Teams With New Regency For Splinter Cell Film

Ubisoft Motion Pictures and New Regency are working together on a Splinter Cell film, starring Tom Hardy as Sam Fisher. New Regency is also producing Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed film starring Michael Fassbender and it is expected that Fox will distribute both films,

“With actor Tom Hardy attached and screenwriter Eric Warren Singer to write the script, Ubisoft Motion Pictures will lead the development with the support of New Regency to bring the franchise to the big screen in a dynamic way,” said Ubisoft Motion Pictures chief executive officer Jean-Julien Baronnet said. “For Ubisoft Motion Pictures, creative control is key and New Regency shares our commitment to respecting the creative freedom of our team. Their ability to produce both blockbusters and intriguing indie hits is an ideal fit for the Splinter Cell franchise.”

Source: Variety

Guitar Hero 7: Why It Got Canned

According to an anonymous source, time and budget concerns sunk Guitar Hero 7. Hopes for a new art style and tailored music videos fell by the wayside and a new controller posed huge problems.

“When the songs started coming in, a great sense of dread came about everyone with an active brain,” said the source. “The game had all of the worst hits from the 1990’s. They realized that, with our lack of budget and time, they couldn’t get quality music so they bought bargain basement music like ‘Closing Time’ and ‘Sex and Candy.’ There were some songs in there that had been used at least three times in the Guitar Hero franchises before.

“This amazing thing was a six stringed guitar. Not a real guitar, or even full six-stringed. It had the classic Guitar Hero buttons on the neck with one extra new button, and six strings where the strum bar used to be. YAY! Now they have an extra button and five more strum bars! The strings [on the prototypes] were unresponsive and loose, and the guitars cost a fortune to make. No one could figure out a way to make it so your average Joe could buy one.”

Source: Kotaku

App Store Leaders Comprise Half Of Total Revenue: Canalys

Canalys estimates that 25 developers pocketed 50 percent of U.S. app revenue during the first 20 days of November 2012. Those top developers saw $60 million in paid downloads and in-app purchases; only Pandora Radio was not a game developer on that list.

“Part of the story here is that successful game developers almost invariably have multiple titles generating revenue,” said Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones. “Zynga, for example, had 15 titles in the list of top 300 grossing iPhone apps on average in Apple’s App Store every day, and nine titles in the equivalent list in the Google Play store. Even with its singular focus on its Angry Birds franchise, Rovio has multiple game variants in the list. With the holiday season now underway, we expect to see many of these top game developers employing discounts and special offers, taking advantage of their ability to cross-promote within their app portfolios.”

Nearly half of the top paid apps on Google Play and the App Store were games, while roughly a third of the top free apps on Google Play and the App Store were game apps. “Discoverability is a particular issue in the Apple App Store and in Google Play given the huge inventories they boast,” said Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd. “With top game developers’ content so prevalent in the stores, it can be hard for other good quality apps to get the attention they deserve. Developers of other kinds of apps need to consider how to promote them. Depending on the type of app, they should consider how best they can exploit social media and social recommendations, tactical sales promotions and discounts, branding tie-ups and targeted in-app advertising.”

Source: Canalys