IDC: Paying Mobile Gamers Surpassing Portable Console Players In 2013

The International Data Corporation believes that the number of paying customers on smartphone and tablet platforms will surpass those of portable gaming consoles in 2013; dedicated handheld gaming devices will still lead in average revenue per user. The company also expects 3DS and PS Vita bundles to continue to fall at an average rate of 7 percent year-over-year through 2017.

“Android remains quite fragmented but the platform is on its way to becoming a massively popular gaming platform in Asia/Pacific in particular,” said IDC research manager Lewis Ward. “In order for Nintendo’s and Sony’s gaming-optimized handhelds to remain ahead of smartphones and tablets on key metrics such as ARPU, these companies and their game card developer and publisher partners will have to redouble their efforts in a number of respects.”

“Digital distribution has reached an inflection point in mobile and portable gaming, and future success will largely boil down to finding a unique balance of freemium business model excellence and that ability to deliver compelling social experiences,” Ward added.

Twitter Introduces Keyword Tracking For Ads

Twitter is introduced a feature that will let advertisers reach users based on keywords in their postings. This expands the tools available to marketers on the microblogging site.

The site claims this will make targeting easier for companies to tailor promotions based on content. Twitter is looking to boost ads in lieu of various promotions that appear alongside the website’s 140-character status updates.

Eventually, the site wants to reach $1 billion in revenue by 2014, pushed by measures like this to help advertisers reach users based on interests. Debra Aho Williamson, analyst at EMarketer, says that doing this will make ads more relevant and more likely to lead to purchases.

“Twitter is where people go to get information in real time,” said Williamson. “By allowing advertisers to target keywords that people write in their tweets, it puts advertisers closer to that moment of intent.”

GoPro camera maker Woodman Labs ran a test ad triggered by tweets containing certain keywords which 11 percent of users clicked on, favorited or retweeted. This is much better than the 1 to 3 percent response to typical ads.

“[The results] underscore the intent that is inherent in users as they tweet publicly about what they are interested in,” Kevin Weil, senior director of product at Twitter.

While there’s heavy potential for advertisers, there’s also risk that ads might trigger a keyword with multiple meanings or post an ad based on a tragic event. “It would be unfortunate for people to see ads for travel to Boston when they were tweeting about what they saw happen at the marathon,” Williamson said.

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Unity Sunsetting Flash Support

Unity has announced that it will no longer support Flash with its titular engine, declaring that Adobe is no longer committed to the platform. As such, the middlware company will no longer sell Flash development licenses though it will continue to support existing Flash customers.

“We don’t see Adobe being firmly committed to the future development of Flash. This is evidenced by the cancellation of Flash Player Next, the instability of recent Flash Player versions and by Adobe’s workforce moving on to work on other projects,” said Unity in a blog post, “By introducing, and then abandoning, a revenue sharing model, Adobe eroded developers’ (and our) trust in Flash as a dependable, continuously improving platform. Developers are moving away from Flash, and while Flash publishing has gotten little traction, our own Unity Web Player has seen unprecedented growth in recent months.”

“Just like you guys, we sometimes have to make difficult decisions about which platforms to target, For us, doing so often involves speculating about what the fast-changing gaming environment will look like in what is effectively the dim yet not so distant future. Sometimes, things don’t work out as we expected,” the company continued. “When we started working on a Flash deployment add-on some 18 months ago we had high hopes for the future of Flash as a gaming platform. The performance of early builds was promising, and Adobe seemed to be dedicated to making it a success. Since then much has changed.”


Apple Sells Over 37 Million iPhones, 19 Million iPads In Early 2013

Apple has announced that they saw quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion and net profit of $9.5 billion, compared to last year’s numbers of $39.2 billion in revenue and $11.6 billion in profit. This is notably the first time since 2003 that Apple’s quarterly profit has declined year-over-year, affected by new products hurting the company’s gross margins.

The sales of iPhones continued to increased to 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter compared to 35.1 million last year. iPad sales rose significantly to 19.5 million versus 11.8 million last year, helped by the new iPad Mini.

Apps saw a quarterly revenue record and app developers have received over $9 billion so far from Apple. Apple highlighted Backflip Studios with over 275 million downloads and close to $100 million in annual revenues with 95 percent of the revenue coming from iOS and Supercell generating over $8.5 million in revenue per employee in 2012 from just two games.

Facebook Home Downloaded Over 500,000 Times On Google Play

Facebook Home has been downloaded over 500,000 times. The mobile interface for Facebook launched on the Google Play store April 12.

Facebook Home is available for Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One X and HTC One X+ and it comes pre-loaded onto the HTC First. User reviews currently give Facebook Home a 2.2 stars out of a possible 5.

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Luigi 3DS XL System Revealed

Nintendo has announced that they will be launching a special Luigi 3DS XL system. As part of the Year of Luigi, the portable console features a green-on-white Luigi silhouette pattern.

The Luigi 3DS XL will have Mario and Luigi: Dream Team pre-installed and will launch in Japan on June 18. While the specially patterned Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3DS XL is coming to the U.S., there is no word over whether this console will come to the West.

Brian Fargo: Our Backers Are Our Marketing

InXile Entertainment CEO Brian Fargo says that his team and Obsidian Entertainment have worked closely on their Kickstarter projects together. Fargo has also tweeted out about relevant RPG projects on Kickstarter, and he notes this collaboration among developers is rare among publishers.

“There’s this general feeling among most of the developers that are doing this now that 1 + 1 = 3, helping each other will tend to work out somehow,” Fargo said. “And you can’t imagine that happening on the publishing side.”

Fargo has reached out on the publisher side for supporting more mid-tier development, but he says that most just aren’t that interested. “It’s not like the publishers are worried too much by this; our numbers are not too interesting to them,” Fargo noted. “I read the other day that Tomb Raider sold [over three] million copies and they’re disappointed. If we sold 2 million copies, that means I build new roleplaying games for the next two decades, guaranteed. That’s what that would mean to us.”

The fact that InXile is essentially its own publisher these days has changed the way they do business. “You barely need marketing because word of mouth is everything these days,” Fargo pointed out. “And your sales force is your backers.”

“We used to have to make changes to our content because of what the buyer at Walmart said,” Fargo recalled. “Gatekeepers are out now. The gatekeeper and the audience are one and the same. Now that I have a symbiotic relationship through crowdfunding, my goals are exactly in sync with the customer giving me the money. We are on the same page; all we both want is a great game. When you get money from other people, you think that’s obvious but it’s not. They might have other agendas, which could be their shareholders, or making the quarter, maybe I’m competing with another product of theirs, they want to change it because of that. They often will have different perspectives on the audience.”

Fargo is completely comfortable with Kickstarter because he knows there’s an audience for the game. “Our game certainly has less risk because it’s being pre-ordered,” Fargo notes. “I specifically make the game for that audience, and then I let the chips fall where they may. I think people that like roleplaying games are going to love it. Some people say, ‘How do you make it for the younger generation,’ and I don’t think about that. I’m just going to make something that’s smart and intelligent, nuanced, and the audience will figure it out.”

In the end, Fargo hopes he will continue to be able to make concepts that are interesting to him and his team. “I don’t want to be in a situation where we finish Wasteland II and I have to hurry up and get Wasteland III out the door. I don’t ever want to be in that situation,” Fargo said. “You do a sequel when you have the right idea.”

Whether AAA or not, Fargo respects companies that create the games they want to and know their audience. “Demon’s Souls is a good example. They just know who their audience is and they go for it; it’s not for everybody. They do it without shame, and people love them for it,” said Fargo. “That’s why Valve is such a great company. They don’t rush to get out another version of what they did. That’s why they’re always fresh, and they’re so revered. There is a direct correlation with a developer that has time to do it right that consistently performs. Valve, Ken Levine, Rockstar… they spend the time to get it right every time without having to force it out the door.”

To read more about InXile’s Kickstarter projects, read this exclusive [a]list interview with Fargo.

Source: GamesIndustry International

The White House Debuts Its First Vine Video

By Elena Zanone

On Monday, the Obama administration showed off its social media savviness when it launched its first ever Vine video to promote the White House Science Fair gathering over 100 students as a celebration of tomorrow’s leaders and today’s makers.

The White House’s stars TV education personalities Bill Nye from the 1990s educational television series Bill Nye the Science Guy and actor LeVar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Reading Rainbow.


After the White House’s first Vine, it went on to post four more throughout the day, including the president’s own debut on the social network. The video showed Obama getting hands on during the event, pedaling a bike to power a water filtration system designed by two teenage girls from Oakland Park, Florida.

The President and First Lady are well known for their social media strategy, so it was only a matter of time until their administration took on Vine.

The Twitter owned app was recently launched beginning of this year and is designed to allow users upload six seconds of original GIF-like video and share it with friends.

Nye also hosted a Google+ Hangout from the event that can be viewed here {link no longer active}. The high dosage of science and innovation should be more than enough for users looking to get their science fix, even with its limited production quality.

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