Shin Megami Tensei IV: The Ritual

Atlus is slowly leaking out more details of Shin Megami Tensei IV, which is releasing next week in Japan. The localization seems to be pretty solid, even if the main character has a distractingly bad pronunciation of the word “samurai”.

Nintendo Announces Exclusive Sonic Games For 3DS/Wii U

Nintendo and Sega announced a worldwide partnership for three exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog games. The two confirmed titles are Sonic Lost World coming Wii U and 3DS and a Mario and Sonic at the Sochi Olympic Games game for the Wii U.

“The onetime rivalry between Mario and Sonic has grown into a friendship that has never been closer,” said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. “These announcements in conjunction with Sega demonstrate the commitment we have to bringing great games to the Wii U platform, and set the stage for our upcoming announcements at E3.”


Obsidian Working On Skyforge MMO has announced that both Obsidian Entertainment and Allods Team will be working on Skyforge. The PC MMORPG is expected to launch in 2014.

“Skyforge is very interesting and promising project. I am glad that Obsidian Entertainment is involved in working on this game,” said Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart. “I am confident that the cooperation with the Allods Team will be a great experience for all of us.”

Nintendo Partners With Best Buy For E3 2013

Nintendo announced that they will be showing off several unreleased Wii U games during E3 at Best Buy locations. The event will take place at roughly 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. and Canada.

“In the past, we’ve focused the E3 hands-on experience on those attending the event. But this year, we’re making E3 for the people,” said president of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime. “And we want to make sure you get the chance to try our games as well.”

“This year, it’s all about the games,” Fils-Aime added.

Source: PC Magazine

Samsung Galaxy S4 To Surpass 10 Million Sold

Samsung has announced that the Galaxy S4 has sold over 10 million units. This mark has been hit in less than a month, faster than the 50 days it took the Galaxy S3, thanks in part to the increased marketing spend on the device.

“We are confident that we will pass more than 10 million sales of the S4 next week. It is selling much faster than the previous model S3,” Samsung Electronics co-CEO Shin Jong-kyun. “Samsung spent 50 days to pass the 10 million sales mark for the S3. The S4 will be Samsung’s first ’10 million seller’ device less than a month after its official debut.”

Strategy Analytics (SA) believes that Samsung was responsible for 95 percent of Android profit during the first three months of 2013. “We believe Samsung generates more revenue and profit from the Android platform than Google does,” said SA’s executive director Neil Mawston.

Source: Korea Times

Google Revamps Map Service

Google recently introduced their new Google Maps program. The new design of Google Maps is the most radical change since the service was first offered eight years ago.

“The future of search starts with maps. That’s where all the commerce is going to be done and that’s what everyone’s fighting out,” said John Malloy, a partner at BlueRun Ventures. “To monetize mobile traffic, maps are a critical ingredient.”

The new Google Maps pulls information from multiple Google offerings to make the service more useful. When users go to a new city, Google will recommend places to go based on their preferences and those of people with similar tastes.

“We can build a unique map for every place and every click,” said Bernhard Seefeld, the product management director for Google Maps.

The service will start off as an opt-in for consumers and will come to mobile later. There will be opportunities for ad placements on the service for notification ads and coupons for local businesses.

“It’s getting technology out of the way,” said Google CEO Larry Page. “All the context that’s in your life, all these different sensors are going to pick that up and make your life better.”

“It’s a multiscreen world,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president for Android, Chrome and Google Apps, talking about laptops and phones and the future of Internet-connected watches, thermostats, cars and Google Glass. “These are all displays with a lot of computing power and sensors, and that’s why we view this as one of the most important moments in computing.”


MiniClip CEO Explains Growth Over 12 Years

MiniClip was built by offering free games to users since 2001. Despite the competition in the rising free-to-play games market, MiniClip CEO Rob Small is optimistic because of the way they built their company.

“We’re not a bunch of analysts who see the game space as an interesting window of opportunity – want to come in, build a business very quickly using someone else’s money and sell it quickly before people can actually realize there’s no substance behind it,” says Small. “In terms of scale we have about 100 million monthly active users across those platforms, and those 100 million users were all acquired through the same methods we used way back when we were setting the business up in the bedroom of the flat.”

“We don’t have a paid advertising model and we don’t have any marketing executives in the company so all of that traffic is through word of mouth. We still believe wholeheartedly that investing money in building better games reaps far better rewards for us than buying users at some of these horrific prices that you hear in the industry now, I think up to $8 a user. Which is just not part of the DNA of our business.”

While MiniClip employs 165 people, many of which are making games, they’re keen to emphasize they’re up for working with anyone. “We have in our catalog of games about 900 in total, and Alex has over the years sourced almost all of those games, and those games have been some built internally, about 10-15 per cent built internally, the rest still sourced from developers all over the globe,” says Small.

“From over 75 different countries now, but we probably, on an ongoing basis, are looking at about 30 different countries at any one time. We have about 80 or so games in the pipeline, in production, at any one time as well,” adds Alexander Williams, MinClip’s head of games. “We’ve always been strong believers that we don’t want to work with people who are any one particular size and shape, we’ll go wherever the talent is. And so for instance if it’s a 10 year old kid that’s making an amazing game, then we’re going to go with that game.”

Interestingly, MiniClip nearly ended up powering Facebook’s game platform, and Small notes (but not bitterly) that it might not have been the best decision. “Ironically very early on when Facebook was a very very small business we actually were talking to them about whether or not we would work with them to power the games part of that platform, and like all small businesses that are growing fast, we found it a very painful process to understand technically how we would go about doing that and we decided not to do that opportunity,” reveals Small. “But we felt that as an owner and an operator of our own platform, and our own users who are ultimately are very loyal to us as a brand it was a mistake for us to pick up all our content and just plonk it on to Facebook. We were just encouraging our users to leave our own platform and cannibalizing our own growth.”

While MiniClip has started to shift to mobile, they’re keen to emphasize that they will continue to focus on unique and innovative games. “There’s a lot of very good mobile developers out there who can create some incredible games, but most of those mobile developers don’t own their own customers. They’re reliant on Apple or Google to feature them, or they’re buying traffic,” says Small. “We’re slightly unique because what we try to create is this strategy where we co-release our mobile and web games simultaneously, so we will actively drive users from our website into Android or iOS app stores. Give the user a nice, entirely free-to-play game on the web, and use that for marketing the entry point, if you like, to sell them into downloading the mobile version.”

“When you think about the move in social and obviously mobile now, everyone’s a gamer. We’ve always believed it, but now everyone is a gamer and everyone is playing on different devices and that’s super exciting,” small concludes.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Ubisoft Committed To Making Wii U Games

There was much talk over the weekend over the fate of the Wii U after Electronic Arts confirmed that they are not currently making any games on the system. Ubisoft issued a statement that, for their part, they will continue developing on Nintendo’s console.

“As with any new console, it takes some time to grow an established base,” said Ubisoft in a statement. “Ubisoft has a varied and high-quality line-up for Wii U, with more big titles on the way including Rayman Legends, Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag and Splinter Cell Blacklist. We’re confident that this will help in continuing to attract gamers to the Wii U system and that Nintendo will take steps to ensure that the Wii U is successful in the market.”

Source: GamesIndustry International