GungHo Buyout Of Grasshopper Will Let Suda51 Be More Creative

Grasshopper Manufacture was recently acquired by publisher GungHo, and some worried this move would change the focus of off-beat developer Goichi Suda. However, GungHo president Kazuki Morishita and Suda indicate that this move will give Suda more creative freedom and allow him to potentially explore the online sphere that he’s been looking into.

“I’d like Suda-san to remain focused on Grasshopper rather than GungHo as a whole,” said Moroshita. “Of course now I’ll be involved in Grasshopper’s creative output, but since Suda-san is there, in a lot of ways it actually equates to a taking load off my own work. Basically, I’d like Grasshopper Manufacture to continue to make games in the manner they are accustomed to.”

“Around 2011, I was thinking about what I should do with the company, groping about in the dark to try and figure out the real purpose, the real value of Grasshopper Manufacture,” said Suda. “So, while we were deciding our next project, I was too absorbed in the management side of business to really focus on the creative. Morishita-san said ‘isn’t that my job ‘, and it put me back on the right path.”

Source: Edge

Crytek Will Shift Entirely To Free-to-Play

Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli says that he is looking to orient his company towards free-to-play over the next two to five years. While the company’s free-to-play efforts are limited to Warface on PC at this point, Yerli indicates that he’s hoping to bring the same focus to consoles.

“We decided five or six years ago that we want to marry the quality of triple-A games with the business model of free-to-play,” said Yerli. “And at that time, we decided some other games, in some of our other studios, would head in this direction. But we kept pushing the quality bar higher on our console business, which is the main dominating business for the Western world, but we are observing, plainly – and we see this already with Warface – that the free-to-play market is on the rise. I think over the next two to three years, free-to-play is going to rival retail with quality games like Warface.”

“We’re looking at free-to-play as a force that drives our growth and world-domination plans,” said Yerli. “So we have quite a few console titles in our pipeline that are [traditional retail games] while we investigate free-to-play on consoles. But our primary goal is to make triple-A free-to-play games for the world market and transition entirely to that.”

Crytek believes that Gface, the gaming platform launching with Warface, will help them expand into the free-to-play field. “As a company, [we will] transition from a developer to a service company, and we’re going to offer a platform, with G-Face, to any other [developer that needs it],” he said. “If we could launch our games on a platform that already exists today, and we could get the same results, then we wouldn’t build our own platform. But we’re convinced that our platform does some particularly new things that makes our games behave better. That’s why we plan to offer this service to third parties.”

“This doesn’t mean our main business will be driven by our platform business,” added Yerli. “We are just going to open it up and see how it works. We are always going to be a games-first company. We will always have our own development because we are all about making games. We provide technology, but technology is not our main driver. We make technology to make great games.”

Source: VentureBeat

Dell: The Way Forward From Here

Dell was recently purchased for $24 billion by a consortium led by the company’s Michael Dell. This is as good an example of any of the transition the PC industry is going through.

“I think everybody in the PC business has had Apple envy, and I would imagine Michael Dell would be no different,” says Forrester analyst David Johnson.

Making Dell a private entity again will make it easier to cut under-performing businesses, performing layoffs where necessary while allowing them to focus on more profitable software, services, mobile, and cloud services. Eventually, the company will want to make Dell more compatible with the modern age of electronic devices and then do another IPO.

“Michael Dell and the Dell brand are very closely aligned. He’s got a lot of personal equity in that,” says IDC analyst Crawford Del Prete.

PC sales slipped 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago, according to Gartner. Meanwhile, tablet sales worldwide grew 75 percent in the same period, according to researcher IDC.

“They can start experimenting in mobile products,” says Del Prete. “If they get a winner, they can drive that through Dell’s market.”


APB: Reloaded Has 3 Million Registered Users

GamersFirst has confirmed that APB: Reloaded has over 3 million user accounts. The game sees between 25,000 and 30,000 active players every day.

A year out from its relaunch, APB: Reloaded has steadily been in the top five of Steam’s free-to-play chart. To celebrate this news, GamersFirst is launching the “Settle the Score” game update for APB: Reloaded.


Skylanders Reaches $1 Billion In Sales

Activision Publishing has announced that Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants have generated more than $1 billion in retail sales worldwide between the sale of software, toys and accessories. This milestone was reached in just 15 months and is better than other toy brands like Beyblades, Star Wars and Transformers over that time period.

“The Skylanders franchise became the first kids’ videogame IP to cross the $1 billion mark in just 15 months, and I think we are still just starting to realize its potential,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “We knew that the simple, but magical idea, of bringing your toys to life in a video game could change both the video game and the toy industries, and more importantly, change the way kids play. And this fall, we’re looking forward to delivering to fans our latest break-through innovation, Skylanders SWAP Force, which lets kids customize their own characters, bringing toys to life to a whole new level.”

Activision also announced the new Skylanders SWAP Force, which lets players reconfigure 16 special SWAP Force characters into over 250 different combinations. Skylanders SWAP Force will be shown off at Toy Fair 2013, February 10-13.

Read more about the Skylanders brand in this exclusive [a]list interview.

Final Fantasy VII Posters Revisit Iconic Locations

GamerPrint announced a new set of limited edition posters inspired by Final Fantasy VII. Based around famous in-game locations like Midgar, Gold Saucer, Cosmo Canyon, Nibelheim and Rocket Town, they have appearances like promotional posters for tourists.

“GamerPrint’s distinctive posters are always about the most iconic games’ says Dean Walton, designer and Creative Director at GamerPrint. “Everyone on the team has huge fondness for the adventures of Cloud Strife and the memorable places he visited. Our fans have been crying out for more Final Fantasy VII designs and we have delivered!”


Game Of Thrones: King’s Landing Comes To Life In Minecraft

There have been many impressive reactions in Minecraft, but few have managed the impressive scale of this. King’s Landing from Game of Thrones has been recreated in impressive detail, from the ships on the water to the Red Keep standing high on a cliff, the blasted Dragonpit, and the cathedral The Great Sept of Baelor.


Assassin’s Creed Title Launching During Ubisoft’s 2014 Fiscal Year

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has confirmed that there will be a new Assassin’s Creed title launching during Ubisoft’s fiscal 2014, spanning from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. His comments suggest there will be a hero and setting different than Connor during the American Revolutionary War.

Could the game be set in ancient China?

“We are delighted and proud to announce today that in financial year ’14, we will introduce an all-new Assassin’s Creed hero, within an all new team and time period, and we expect it to be another major leap forward for the franchise,” said Guillemot. “It is the benefit of multiple teams, working on multiple chapters of the product, each getting several years to make their versions of an Assassin’s Creed game.”

Source: Ubisoft  {link no longer available}

Boa Compra Bringing Webzen Titles To Brazil

Boa Compra has announced that it has signed a partnership with Webzen. The Brazilian online monetization company will bring the Korean MMO company’s titles to South America and handle online, mobile and cash payments for Webzen, in addition to local marketing of various game titles.

“Korea is the world’s largest and longest established free-to-play market, and Webzen is one of the major players in this arena,” said Julian Migura, Boa Compra’s international business director. “The growth in the free-to-play market in Brazil has been explosive, and games like MU Online and C9, which have been so popular in Korea, are expected to repeat their success in Brazil.”