Finally, A Game Sim For Making Games

Creating a video game can be hard work – unless you’re doing it in a video game.

Game Dev Tycoon, a simulation game where you can run a development studio any way you see fit, will arrive on Steam/PC this week for the low price of $9.99.  Consumers can get it even cheaper for $7.99 if you pre-order before the game’s release on August 29.

This lengthened edition of the game will come with new platforms and artwork, as well as the ability to edit a game name before its release. You’ll also be able to rebalance the review system, check out post-game reports and company expertise, and so much more.

Greenheart Games, Game Dev Tycoon‘s creator, also stated that it’s already working on its sequel, which has already come out for PC and graduated Steam Greenlight back in May. Unfortunately, a release date hasn’t been given for it just yet, but it shouldn’t be too far off.

Quick “pro tip” – make sure you invest heavily in your marketing budget…

Source: Polygon

Xbox One Launches UGC Contest

Microsoft is continuing to put a major push on its upcoming Xbox One hardware – and now it wants its fans to sound off on it.  The company has launched a new contest, which will allow Xbox One fans to create and submit a one-minute video talking about their favorite titles for the upcoming system, and why they’re excited for them. From there, Microsoft will choose select winners, who will receive an Xbox One console, a one-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold, a number of Xbox One launch titles and the opportunity to work alongside Microsoft’s Upload team in the future.

It’s easy to take part. Simply film your video for the Xbox One Upload Outreach Program through Vimeo or YouTube, then submit your link to You have until September 15 at midnight to submit.

Who knows You just might have a free Xbox One in your future.

Source: GamePolitics

Accessorizing More Than Games

Astro Gaming is an unusual accessories company. It’s placed product quality and design high, which is why so many professional gamers use Astro Gaming headsets — even many who aren’t under contract with Astro Gaming. But Astro Gaming is also focusing on the brand experience, seeking to be a recognized consumer brand. As part of that goal, Astro Gaming is opening up a retail store in San Francisco in the booming South of Market area, close to AT&T Park.

The [a]list daily spoke with Astro Gaming’s director of marketing, Aron Drayer, who has a long history in the game business as a producer at companies like Activision, Vivendi, Atari. Drayer provided some insight into Astro Gaming’s thinking about the gamer culture.

“It’s about creating a brand that supports that,” said Drayer. “Look at the action sports space — you’ve got Quicksilver, Hurley, DC. A lot of these kids who wear this stuff don’t actually ski or snowboard. They just identify with that culture. Gaming is twenty times bigger than action sports is, but there is no brand that’s saying ‘I’m a gamer’ in a cool way. That to me, is so much about what I want to do.”

The retail store and the product line is about much more than just headsets, according to Drayer. Astro Gaming is creating a line of apparel and gear for gamers that will both look good and represent the idea of gamers. “It’s the same thing as a kid wearing a Quicksilver shirt,” Drayer explained. “I want them wearing an Astro shirt so somebody looks at them and says ‘Oh, you’re a gamer.’ It’s the bags, it’s the apparel — that’s a key part of rounding out the brand story.”

The retail store is an interesting concept, and not a normal strategy for a company that’s used to selling through retailers. It’s made easier for Astro Gaming since the company’s headquarters have enough space for the retail store, and it’s located in a high-traffic location with good demographics. The store is small, but well-stocked with headsets from Astro Gaming and Skullcandy (which purchased Astro Gaming in 2011) along with screens showing streaming games, headset test stations, apparel and gaming gear.

Drayer acknowledged the challenges and expense of setting up a retail store, but feels it’s an important extension for the company to make. There’s nothing like a retail environment to get good feedback from customers, Drayer noted. And headsets in particular rely on first-person experience to sell them, how it fits and how it sounds. That’s not something you can do in a typical retail store environment, Drayer pointed out. Eventually, if the store proves itself as a useful tool for brand extension, consumer information gathering, and profits, Astro Gaming might open a retail spot in another city or two.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty going in in the current marketplace to keep Astro Gaming busy. It’s been a slow year for accessories due to the impending console transition, but there’s a strong upside potential for Astro Gaming. Will next-gen consoles with built-in streaming make eSports on consoles more popular “I’m really curious to see what happens with that,” Drayer said. “My understanding of it is it’s not going to be full high-def. I think it’s going to create more awareness around the concept of streaming. It’s going to be really interesting to see how people use it. That’s why we’re not racing to be first to market with Xbox One solutions.”

Drayer explained the company’s strategy. “We’re an eSports company, I want to see how eSports evolves and what these gamers actually need, and then we’ll design the product for them to solve those problems. We didn’t start shipping our first Mixamp and our first A40 until the Xbox 30 and the PS3 were almost five years old. We weren’t first movers on the last generation by a long shot, but I think we were the most well-thought out and well-designed solution and to us that’s more important.”

There’s plenty of other opportunities in the marketplace that Drayer sees. “The PC space is going crazy still, and the mobile space is just absolutely exploding,” Drayer said. “I like that because it’s going to introduce more people to using headsets. The truth is with most mobile games right now, do people even play with the sound on They don’t even uses headphones. Swords and Sorcery, they talk very explicitly when you load that game up: ‘Use headphones, it’s part of the experience.'” Drayer expects headset use with mobile games to expand as games come out that provide a richer audio experience, especially on tablets.

Astro Gaming is busy with preparation for the upcoming holidays as well as longer-term projects. “We announced at E3 we’re doing Battlefield 4 licensed products. There’s a special A50 that’s a full boxed product, and it comes with a special Battlefield audio profile setting that we tuned with the team,” Drayer. The future looks interesting, as well. “We’re in pretty deep negotiations with Microsoft and Sony at this point to make officially licensed Xbox One and PS 4 products, so we do expect to be doing that,” Drayer noted.

Facebook Launches Photo Archive

Facebook really wants businesses to advertise on its social network site. So much so, it recently launched a new initiative that’s going to help those businesses better prepare their Facebook presence.

The website has teamed up with Shutterstock in a deal that will allow free access to millions of images to be used in ads. These images will be available via the website’s ad creation tool.

“This is important especially for small businesses who may not have resources for sourcing quality images,” said the company through a blog post.

Businesses will be able to use multiple images in different ads to test which seem like the best fit, then place their buys afterwards when they’re sure of their choices. This update will also spread over to Android and iOS Pages Manager apps, where would-be advertisers can set up said images on their mobile devices, then manage their pages accordingly.

Source: Mashable

A Trailer To Die For

First introduced a few months back at E3, Square Enix’s Murdered: Soul Suspect is shaping up to be a sleeper hit based on the buzz we’re hearing. Adding to the excitement, the publisher has released a new trailer, titled “The Witness.”  It features plenty of ghostly puzzle solving and ambience galore, and gives consumers just enough to keep the buzz strong.

Murdered: Soul Suspect releases for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2014.

Japan Devs Sidestep GREE And Mobage

The $5.1 billion mobile game marketplace in Japan could be transformed soon, and not in a way that helps GREE or DeNA. The country’s biggest daily news source, the Nikkei, has reported that 15 Japanese mobile game makers are teaming up to jointly market their titles on smart phone and other devices. The companies plan to work together on a cross-promotion network when it comes to showing off each of its respective titles.

The goal of the companies is trying to avoid the ‘double taxation’ from paying the likes of GREE and Mobage operator DeNA for network fees, in addition to the percentage already paid to Apple or Google. According to Japanese daily The Nikkei, the companies seeking to avoid GREE and Mobage include Sega, Capcom and Taito, with the former supposedly leading this new charge. This cross-promotion effort would also avoid the increasingly popular Line and KakaoTalk networks and the double taxation inherent in working with them.

The group has a combined player base of 20 million and seeks to add another 15 companies, which would bring the total network to 40 million players – about the same count as the GREE and Mobage subscriber base. The first site in this program is expected to go live this fall, and the cross-promotion network will likely be in place around that time.

It’s unlikely that any of these companies will pull their apps from GREE or Mobage in the near term, or at least until such time as this new cross-promotion network proves its value. Even then, why lose the incremental revenue from apps on GREE and Mobage, even if it is lower margin GREE and DeNA may take steps in response as well. The long-term effect is unclear, but as the amount of money in the market increases competition is sure to intensify.

Source: Dr. Serkan Toto

Mobile Streaming Tech Gets Big Backers

Video streaming services are quite popular with gaming crowds these days, and mobile is no exception. A venture capital-backed start-up company called Kamcord has been working with mobile game developers to help mobile players share what they’re up to with ease – and it just got a bigger boost to help things out.

The team has managed to accrue $1.5 million in capital, with another $1 million in seed funding from the likes of Tencent and InnovationWorks, among other companies. With that, the team hopes to better suit its SKD with new social features, including profiles and commenting, in the hopes of opening up a community. Kamcord has already managed to get a number of game developers on board, and the company is hoping that streaming becomes as popular with mobile games as it is with PC games. The fact that both the Xbox One and the PS4 support streaming demonstrates the increasing popularity of the technology.

“We’ve seen what and Machinima have been able to do and we’ve gotten a lot of email from users who just want to see more video content,” Zitzmann pointed out. “So we’re building a solution that’s more of a one-stop shop and rolling it out later this week.”

Source: TechCrunch

GameStop’s ‘Largest Console Launch In History’

GameStop CEO Paul Raines had no problem expressing his confidence in this fall’s game sales, with the release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 expected to pick things up. Raines has stated that this holiday season will see “the largest console launch in history.”

Though he didn’t say which system would be dominating the market the most, he did expect both to make a huge impact. A significant increase in launch-day quantities of both machines is expected over the prior generation of machines, though no specific numbers were given.

GameStop has initiated a “first-to-know” program, where subscribers can learn more about launch availability for each system. It’s really paid off, as 1.5 million are signed up for Sony’s system, while 700,000 want to know what’s happening with Xbox One.

We’ll see how the launch goes when both systems arrive later this year.

Source: GamesIndustry International

PlayStation 4 Shortages Likely In Europe

With one million pre-orders already placed worldwide, the PlayStation 4 has already proven to be one hot piece of technology. However, its demand could soon outpace the supply, according to a PlayStation UK executive.

Speaking with Official PlayStation Magazine, Fergal Gara, boss for PlayStation UK, stated that the company knows that the possibility of a unit sell-out is very likely.

“The problem with pre-orders, which is a good problem to have, is that they’re very, very high,” stated Gara. “As an ex-retailer myself I understand this at least as well as anyone else: we need to help retailers manage the expectations of their customers and not let them down. And this is why we advise them that, from August the 5, they should not guarantee anyone they will get their unit on day one.”

We’ll see how this plays out in the months ahead. PlayStation 4 arrives on November 15 in the U.S., and November 29 in the United Kingdom.

Source: CVG

Developers Support GamePop Launch

OUYA isn’t the only game in town when it comes to Android gaming on a television. BlueStacks is easily providing a good amount of competition between its subscription-based GamePop and GamePop Mini systems.

Today, BlueStacks improved upon the service by signing on five new developers to help with the launch of the system. These include TinyCo, Animoca, Game Circus, Creative Mobile and Nevosoft – all of which provide over 340 million downloads through the Google Play store to this date.

“Support from the developer community is like air,” BlueStacks CEO Rosen Sharma explained in a email to TechCrunch. “Without it, you can’t get users, as people will have never heard of the apps. We feel very fortunate the community is lining up behind GamePop so strongly.

With these new additions, the game library for GamePop has picked up significantly, now worth about $200 – not bad for a $6.95 monthly subscription fee.

Source: TechCrunch