Eve Online Hits A Half-Million Subscribers

CCP has announced that Eve Online has hit 500,000 subscribers. The game reaches the milestone just as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

“This is a really big deal for us,” said CCP’s chief marketing officer David Reid. “This is a ten year old game that has continued to grow every single year of its existence. It’s very different from other games in the industry that we’ve all seen have had their peaks and have continued to decline, particularly in the subscription model.”

The success is in part attributed to the game’s eighteenth free expansion, Retribution, and the emergent gameplay moment that resulted in the Battle of Asakai. Reid also said that the game’s recent launch in China has gotten off to a very strong start.

Reid also commented on the recent PS4 announcement. “We saw what they announced, and of course we were part of the briefing for that,” said Reid. “We saw in particular what David Perry talked about with Gaikai and how Sony is exploring this and at this point we have nothing to add to what Sony announced. We’re excited about what they’re doing, we’re excited about our prospects on PlayStation 3 with over 70 million consoles out there now.”

CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson is confident in the future prospects of Eve Online‘s complimentary free-to-play shooter title for PS3, Dust 514. “If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past decade at CCP it’s about focus and execution,” explained Petursson. “Just seeing the early numbers and the reaction of the audience we now have in the open beta of Dust the opportunity is even bigger and more exciting than we ever thought. Now we’re closing in on 80 million PS3s all around the world and the product that we have, which is one of the first free-to-play experiences on the PlayStation 3, it seems like the best idea in the world to have a free product on a platform that’s about to transition.”

GDC Developers Increasingly Indie Focused

The organizers of the Game Developers Conference said that 46 percent of all attendees reported working in companies of 10 people or less, with 53 percent of respondents self-identifying as indie developers. 58 percent of GDC attendees are planning to release their next games on tablets and smartphones, 51 percent have been independent for less than two years, while a third said they were relying on their own savings or assets apiece.

In console development, Xbox 360 was the most popular at 13.9 percent saying they were targeting the system, followed by the PS3 at 12.4 percent, Microsoft’s next-gen system at 11.3 percent, the PS4 at 10.8 percent, and the Wii U at 6.5 percent. Dedicated handhelds saw an even lower percentage of developers, with just 5 percent of developers making their next title for the PS Vita, and fewer than 3 percent working on the 3DS.

When asked what new markets interested them most 58.2 percent reported tablets, with 56.4 percent saying smartphones, while steamboxes were at 45.4 percent and Android-based consoles mentioned by 37.1 percent of respondents. By contrast, Microsoft’s next console was interesting to 29.5 percent, followed by the PS4 at 27.3 percent.  The Wii U lagged significantly, with interest from 12.6 percent of surveyed developers.

The 2013 Games Developers Conference takes place in San Francisco from March 25-29.

EA, SteelSeries Roll Out Real Racing 3 Gaming Headset

SteelSeries and Electronic Arts have announced that they will launch the Real Racing 3 Gaming Headset. The slim on-ear headset was designed to be light enough for owners to take it on the road.

“For Real Racing 3 we focused on harnessing the full power of mobile technology to produce  incredible, detailed environments and really deliver an amazing gaming experience for racing fans,” said Tony Lay, General Manager of the EA Firemonkeys studio. “We partnered with SteelSeries because of their reputation for developing premium-quality products and with their new Flux headset designed for mobile gamers; it was a natural choice to launch a Real Racing 3 version to support that new level of immersion.”

“EA is the leading publisher of the world’s biggest iOS and Android games and we’re proud to partner with one of their most recognized mobile game franchises,” said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO. “As the newest and first SteelSeries headset that was designed specifically for mobile game-play, we’re excited to see players get their hands on the Real Racing 3 Gaming Headset and actually have a chance to experience great in-game audio on their handheld device.”

Available now online in the SteelSeries Web Shop, the Real Racing 3 Gaming Headset is $99.99. More information on the headset can be had at SteelSeries.com/RealRacing3.

Nexon Makes Strategic Investment In Robotoki

Nexon has announced that it has made a strategic investment in Robotoki. The studio headed by former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling will take the investment and put it towards the development of multi-screen, cross-platform gameplay, starting with Human Element which is slated to come to consoles, PC, iOS and Android in 2015.

“We are thrilled to partner with Robotoki to develop cutting-edge multi-platform, cross-genre games,” said Seungwoo Choi, President and CEO of Nexon. “Robert Bowling’s creativity and talent is evidenced by his track record of success, and we look forward to collaborating with the entire Robotoki team to deliver inventive, multi-dimensional gaming experiences to consumers in North America and around the world.”

“Partnering with a games giant such as Nexon will allow us invaluable access to their expertise and world-class resources,” said Robert Bowling, president and founder of Robotoki. “Nexon shares our focus on team and talent, as well as our commitment to revitalizing and enhancing the game-play experience, and we are thrilled to work together.”

BioShock Infinite Gets Season Pass

2K Games and Irrational Games have announced that there will be a Season Pass for BioShock Infinite. Buying the pass will secure $30.00 worth of add-on content for $19.99.

The season pass will incorporate three all-new add-on packs with hours of additional content, featuring “new stories, characters, abilities and weapons.” Those who purchase the BioShock Infinite Season Pass will also receive the Early Bird Special Pack featuring four pieces of exclusive gear, a Machine Gun Damage Upgrade, a Pistol Damage Upgrade, a gold skin for both weapons and five Infusion bottles to improve their health, shield durability or their ability to use Vigors.

Those who pre-order BioShock Infinite will receive the Industrial Revolution Pack for free. Along with three pieces of in-game gear $500 bonus to in-game currency, and five lock picks, players will also have access to the Industrial Revolution puzzle game, which unlocks stories of Columbia and allows players to pledge their allegiance to the Vox Populi or Founders through Facebook.

Barnes & Noble Could Ditch Nook

Barnes & Noble is reportedly looking to sell its retail business to its founder and shy away from Nook hardware. The stock price jumped at the news that Leonard Riggio, who also serves as its chairman, told the board of directors that he wants to buy the retail business that includes Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Barnesandnoble.com.

It was reported that Barnes & Noble’s executives may “move away” from designing and building e-readers and tablets and “focus more on licensing its content to other device makers.” The company may instead intensify partnerships with other tablet makers like Microsoft and Samsung.

“They are not completely getting out of the hardware business, but they are going to lean a lot more on the comprehensive digital catalog of content,” said a source.

Source: USA Today

Tomb Raider – #Reborn Trailer

This Tomb Raider launch trailer speaks to the commonality of the spirit of Lara Croft by having women (and men) talk about embodying her. It’s evocative in its tagline to something similar the Call of Duty series has had of late (though this ad is far more self serious) but it’s effective.

 

Apple CEO Says He’s Aware Of The Threat From Samsung, Android

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently noted during a shareholders meeting that during the past year the company grew by millions more than even its prominent competitors Google, Microsoft, and RIM. He did stress that his company isn’t ignoring offerings from Samsung and Android and that it is not choosing device escalation on purpose.

“We’re not constraining our investment in R&D by a desire to grow a cash pile. We stay very focused and work on a few things,” Cook said, according to a transcript. “The real market share numbers are hard to come by. … It is clear that Android is on a lot of phones … it is probably true that iOS is on a lot more tablets …. Success is not making the most. … Where market share is important (is in being big enough to attract an ecosystem) …. We’re really aware of the competition as well. We don’t have our heads stuck up … stuck in the sand. …. There’s a button or two we could press to make the most …. That would not be good for Apple.”

Cook dismissed criticism of cannibalizing iPad sales with the iPad Mini, saying, “If we don’t cannibalize, someone else will. We take a long view,” before adding about innovation, “Obviously we’re looking at new categories — we don’t talk about them, but we’re looking at them.”

Source: CNBC

HP CEO Changes Tune On Same-Sex Marriage

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman says that she is for same-sex marriage. This is notable, as Whitman ran as a Republican California governor candidate two years ago where she was an opponent of same-sex marriage.

“I have joined a prominent group of conservatives, moderate Republicans and social libertarians in signing an amicus brief on behalf of Paul Katami, Jeff Zarrillo, Kristin Perry and Sandra Steir in their case challenging Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage,” posted Whitman. “I feel the time has come to bestow marriage equality to same-sex couples.”

This change brings her in line with leaders from other tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Intel, EA, Microsoft and Zynga. During the 2010 campaign campaign for California Governor, she fully supported California Proposition 8, which sought to define marriage as a union between a man and woman.

“I have come to embrace same-sex marriage after a period of careful review and reflection. As a candidate for governor three years ago, I supported Proposition 8. At the time, I believed the people of California had weighed in on this question and that overturning the will of the people was the wrong approach,” Whitman added. “The facts and arguments presented during the legal process since then have had a profound impact on my thinking.”

“During my business career, I have lived by a philosophy I refer to as ‘the power of many.’ I truly believe that what we can do together, none of us can do alone. By leading from this principle, I have been able to manage thriving organizations that have delivered great results. I believe the same holds true for society at-large. We are simply better when we are bonded together,” she posted. “Marriage is the fundamental institution that unites a society. It is the single greatest contributor to the well-being of adults and children because it promotes eternal principles like commitment, fidelity and stability. It makes no difference whether the marriage is between a man and woman or a woman and woman. Marriage makes society better.”

“Like several others who have either sought or held public office, including President Obama, I have changed my mind on this issue. Same-sex couples and their children should have equal access to the benefits of marriage. My decision to support civil marriage is solely my own. I hope that the Supreme Court will heed the arguments in the amicus brief. Establishing a constitutional right of marriage equality in California will strengthen our nation as a whole,” Whitman concluded.

Source: LinkedIn.com