Oculus Rift For Android

The Oculus Rift, a 3D virtual headset that was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year, is still playing around with a release date, as one hasn’t been formally announced. However, the team has confirmed that the device will be compatible with new devices – in this case, Android-based ones.

During an announcement at the GamesBeat 2013 video game conference, chief executive officer Brendan Iribe confirmed the move, stating that the company wants to launch a separate mobile headset in conjunction with the PC one, “as close as possible to” each other. It will be a smaller version that specifically utilizes the mobile device’s processor.

No word yet if the Android version of Oculus will launch as the same time as the PC one.

Source: Polygon

Samsung Preps New SDKs For Devs

Google has a huge reason to be nervous, based on Samsung’s recent announcement regarding its latest SDKs.

The company announced at its Developers Conference earlier this week that it will launch five new SDKs across the board, for various devices that include televisions, phones and tablets, among other devices. These could open up new doors for developers worldwide, with the ability to support pen, gestures, mutii-window and motion features with 800 APIs on hand. Even those making apps that are built specifically for the use of pens should be excited by this news.

These SDKs include mobile, multi-screen and others, which will support devices across the board – meaning that Google’s services are no longer the only ones in town.

“The new SDK, once adopted by developers, will make it possible to press a button on your phone to launch an online video stream, or even a game, on your TV. Sound familiar? That’s not really a coincidence — but Samsung thinks that it can one-up its competition,” said GigaOm’s Janko Roettgers.

No word yet when the SDKs will launch, but expect them sooner rather than later.

Source: GigaOm

GameCenter Update Blocks Cheaters

A lot of people like taking their Apple GameCenter score earnings seriously, but that can be hard to do when cheaters tend to post fake scores on the service. Not to worry —  that will soon be a thing of the past.

Apple has posted a new update to developers, one that states they now have the ability to block out fake scores and keep cheaters from affecting the system altogether. This statement came from the update:

“You can now view and manage the top 100 scores and usernames for all of your Game Center leaderboards. Protect your legitimate players by signing in to iTunes Connect to delete fake scores or block players that post fake scores. You can also restore scores and players within the same time period.”

The announcement went into even more specifics as well:

“After you have apps available in the App Store or Mac App Store, iTunes Connect gives you access to 30 days of scores posted to your apps’ leaderboards. If you determine that players are able to generate fraudulent scores, you can remove these scores from a leaderboard or even block individual players from posting scores. You can manage active leaderboards as follows:

View the top 100 scores for a given leaderboard or grouped game leaderboard.

Delete a specific leaderboard score from a leaderboard.

Restore a specific score to a leaderboard.

Block a player from posting scores to a given leaderboard. This deletes all scores on the leaderboard for that player.

Restore a player and the player’s most recent score posted before being blocked.

iTunes Connect maintains 30 days of leaderboard entries for your review: scores older than 30 days cannot be removed from a leaderboard; scores removed or players blocked cannot be restored more than 30 days after they are removed.”

More information is available in the iTunes Connect Developer Guide. {link no longer active}

Source: 9 To 5 Mac

Majesco, Mobile As Ever

If Majesco has a knack for one thing, it’s reinventing itself to pursue potentially profitable niches in the game market.  Remember its line of Sega Genesis and Sega Game Gear hardware in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s?  At one point the company looked to be on track to become a publisher of big budget console games, putting stake in the ground with a pair of high-profile if not ultimately blockbuster franchises with BloodRayne and Advent Rising.  Today, it’s perhaps best known for a couple of hit game series under its belt with Cooking Mama and the Zumba line of fitness games.

It’s no surprise then that Majesco, with its opportunistic business philosophy, has turned focus to digital, mobile and social games.  Earlier this month, the company made a move towards entering social casino games by acquiring Pariplay, which has expertise in real money social games.  With mobile, Majesco has made fruitful first steps into the category. It seems to understand the mechanics of audience building for mobile games, where it’s all about player acquisition through the most efficient means possible then cross-pollination of that audience across other titles as a company grows its mobile game portfolio.

To that end, the way Majesco has approached mobile is to leverage popular licenses it controls, such as Zumba and Disney’s Phineas and Ferb.  At the same time, it’s partnering with outside developers on original IP, working on a series of free-to-play titles like tower defense game Romans from Mars and action-RPG Sci-Fi Heroes that have a cartoonish art style, but with game play aimed at core mobile gamers.

Vince Vanasin, head of marketing at Majesco’s mobile game division, talked with us about the company’s mobile strategy.  According to him, it started with building the right team.

“Majesco has been around for a long time, more than 20 years. When they decided they wanted to get in the mobile space, they started by building a team based out of L.A. from the ground up.  They felt there was a lot of talent in L.A. that could help them be successful in the mobile space,” Vanasin told us.

The company’s first foray into mobile was with its strongest property, the Zumba license.  Vanasin calls Majesco Zumba’s “shepherd” in games, having released a string of successful titles for console and handheld systems.  Zumba Dance was the first mobile title, a premium priced $5 app available for iOS and Android.  Majesco released it into the app store wild in July of this year, then watched as it hit the coveted iOS storefront as a featured app.  It ultimately became a number one hit in the health-fitness iOS app category in 90 countries.

“It was the power of the Zumba brand – Zumba is so global and so widely loved,” Vanasin said. “When we do a licensed product it’s very different than original IP product. Licensed products have a built-in audience so what we try to do is leverage the work that the brand has already put in.”

“The other side as well is media and user acquisition,” he added.  “We found a lot of success there, both because of the brand recognition, but also because the game is good. Zumba Dance has a four star rating and was featured by Apple. We think the combination of a high quality game and a really strong brand is what has led to the product’s success.”

Majesco is following the same formula with its upcoming game based on Phineas and Ferb, a popular youth-skewed — and arguably adult-adored — animated comedy that’s become a hit franchise for Disney.  Majesco plans to tap into Disney’s marketing for the series wherever possible, including social media presence.  It’s also making sure the game lives up the quality standard that Disney and fans are going to expect in a game based on the series, including being mindful of how parents will perceive it.

“[With] Agent P DoofenDASH, we’ve definitely worked closely with Disney to make a fun product that is in line with Disney’s brand priorities and guidelines. Since it’s based on Disney Channel’s hit franchise Phineas and Ferb, we wanted parents to feel comfortable giving this game over to their kids. From a monetization perspective we’re going to take all of the best practices from games in its genre and align those with Disney’s consumer guidelines to ensure a fun and safe gaming environment,” said Vanasin.

He added how while a lot of youth-skewed apps tend to offer pricey packs that seem to bait children and their parents with big one-time purchases, Majesco won’t be following that formula.

Part of Majesco’s mobile game line-up

During our conversation, Vanasin seemed most excited about his division’s newest title, Romans from Mars.  The free-to-play game based on original IP had a limited beta release, and has so far been well-received by beta users posting reviews on Google Play Store.  Call outs for its unique visual style and production value are what jumped out after a quick glance of what user reviews seemed to like the most about the game.  Vanasin said those are attributes that Majesco has been highlighting in its marketing.

“We think the game lends itself really well to a really casual, fun, and humorous voice.  We have a great art style — it’s quirky and it’s funny. We’re definitely going to highlight that with a lot of compelling assets through social media, and hopefully consumers and players will gravitate towards it.”

As these games help Majesco get a foothold in mobile, we asked Vanasin what his strategy is in not only building but keeping an active player community around its mobile portfolio.

“For us these aren’t fire and forget games,” he said.  “We want to put them out and continue to support players with robust updates. We want to build the Majesco mobile community, our beta tester community, and our overall audience. The phrase ‘games as a service’ gets thrown around a lot, but for us, it’s all about supporting the player, supporting our communities, and supporting our games by focusing on the player experience first.”

Honda Starts Something Special

Mairead & Kevin asked Honda to be part of their wedding day, they surprised them with more than they ever asked for. It’s all part of the company’s #StartSomething campaign, where they give back to loyal consumers.

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Source: AdWeek.com