EA’s Original ‘Star Wars’ Games

In the past, publishers who had a hold of the Star Wars franchise managed to produce games that were based on films or television properties, such as Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars. Electronic Arts, however, wants to take a different approach.

The company has announced that, as part of its ten-year deal for the franchise through LucasFilm, that it intends to produce original efforts, instead of games tying in to forthcoming films, like Episode VII, due in late 2015.

“We’ve done movie games over the years and we wanted to make sure that we weren’t doing a movie game, i.e., game based on the movie,” EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen told attendees at the UBS Global Technology Conference on Tuesday. “The beauty of the Star Wars franchise is that it’s so broad and so deep, you don’t have to do a movie game, you can do a game that’s very focused on the world that’s been created around Star Wars.”

“We struck what we believe is a fantastic deal which allows us to be able to build games in many different genres across multiple types of platforms over ten years and we’ll leverage the strength of the Disney marketing associated with the ‘Star Wars’ properties both in movies and other things that they may do over the timeframe,” he added.

The first of these new games, the DICE-produced multiplayer affair Battlefront, should make its debut on next-generation consoles in 2015.

Source: Variety

Fight for Rome!

Ryse: Son of Rome is finally releasing for all to consume, and the launch trailer looks like a movie trailer by all appearances. Check out snippets of the gameplay and story in this launch trailer.

PlayStation 4 Sizzle Reel

While the PS4 has launched to a generally positive reception, Sony is quick to remind those who think the launch library is thin that more games are just around around the corner. While Knack, Killzone: Shadow Fall and other launch titles feature prominently in this sizzle trailer, there’s also Infamous Second Son, Kingdom Hearts III, DriveClub and far more.

PlayStation 4 eBay Sales Soar

A lot of people bought PlayStation 4 consoles for themselves last week . . . but some couldn’t help but buy one out of temptation to get a few extra dollars on eBay.

The online auction site has reported that over 10,000 consoles have been sold on the site over the weekend, between November 15th and 17th. They believe that “more than two PS4’s (were) sold on eBay every minute.”

“Sales of older generation consoles on eBay have also spiked, with 14,000 used consoles from previous generations sold on eBay since the launch of the PS4,” an eBay spokesperson explained. “That’s a 25 percent increase when compared to the 10 days preceding the launch as shoppers look to get some cash to put toward the purchase the new PS4 and upcoming Xbox One.”

Currently, there are still 13,000 systems being listed, so if you want one, feel free to shop around. Be prepared to spend $600 or more, though.

Source: Ars Technica

Next-Gen Attach Rate Predicted

With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches, game publishers are hoping that users pick up a lot of their games alongside their newly bought hardware. However, according to one analyst, it’s a slightly smaller ratio than what the Xbox 360 saw at its launch.

Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz stated that both systems will have an approximate 3.25 software attach rate – meaning roughly three games will be purchased alongside a new system during its launch. By comparison, the Xbox 360 had an attach rate of 4.2 during its holiday launch, while the PlayStation 3 had an attach rate of only 1.9.

Creutz expects this to mean an average of about 20 percent of systems sold will have any given launch title sold with it. Out of all those titles, Creutz believes Battlefield 4 will have the strongest attach rate around 30 percent, while Madden NFL 25 and NBA 2K14, two of the more popular sports games for the systems, will follow closely behind.

Meanwhile, games like Zumba Fitness, Fighter Within, Zoo Tycoon and Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition are expected to have less than 20 percent of an attach rate.

Source: Gamespot

‘Clash of Clans’ In Google Play Top Ten

Analytics firm App Annie has released their latest numbers for the mobile market, with (as usual) some interesting data to look at. Their numbers are derived from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, and the company noted some interesting trends.

As industry observers have noted in recent months, messaging apps are an important driver for games in the Asian markets. Tencent showed this with their 2D sidescroller WeRun hitting the #1 spot for the top iOS game downloads based on the strength of Tencent’s WeChat messaging. This also propelled Tencent to the #2 slot for iOS publishers. As yet, though, Tencent hasn’t cracked the Top Ten for iOS publisher or game revenue, showing that downloads alone aren’t enough to make a great business.

App Annie also highlighted the success of Supercell’s Clash of Clans as it moved onto Android platforms worldwide, grabbing the #9 slot by revenue on Google Play to complement its #1 position on iOS by revenue. Cross-platform play is probably a feature that’s important to the title’s success, and it’s likely that Clash of Clans will move up on the Google Play revenue charts in the future.

An interesting development App Annie noted is King’s use of KakaoTalk in Korea to propel Candy Crush Saga in that country. “The release of a special version of Candy Crush Saga for Kakao in September allowed King to reach Kakao’s approximately 110 million users, and started paying dividends in October as the game and publisher climbed the revenue rankings,” noted App Annie on their blog.

Once again, the top publishers by downloads are weighted towards the West for both iOS and Google Play, but when you look at revenues Japanese publishers do much better. Monthly revenue for games is once again led by Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and Puzzle & Dragons on iOS (#1, #2 and #3, respectively), with Google Play’s top three slots were held by Puzzle & Dragons, Candy Crush Saga, and Monster Taming (a game on Korea’s KakaoTalk).

King’s Pet Rescue Saga is doing well at #6 in iOS revenue (perhaps because of relentless promotion and TV advertising), while EA’s The Simpsons Tapped Out came in at #5 in iOS revenue. Machine Zone’s Game of War: Fire Age continued to post good revenue at #7 on iOS, while new entry Megapolis from Russian publisher Social Quantum leaped into the #9 position for iOS revenue (jumping 18 ranks).

The biggest movement on Google Play was from EA’s The Simpsons Tapped Out, which moved up six spots to claim the #8 ranking in revenue. Other Google Play games showed little revenue changes.

‘League of Legends’ World Championship Viewing

The audience for eSports is expanding, and the viewership numbers provided by Riot Games provides stark evidence of this. The League of Legends Season 3 World Championship was was watched by over 32 million fans worldwide, as South Korea’s SK Telecom T1 earned the Summoner’s Cup in front of a sold-out Staples Center. At peak, more than 8.5 million fans were watching at the same time. The growth over the Season 2 numbers was immense: The Season 2 World Championship was watched by 8.2 million fans, with 1.1 million watching at the same time. This includes global numbers from multiple Internet broadcasts and TV stations in China, Korea and other countries.

Putting this in the context of other popular televised sports, the audience for League of Legends‘ Season 3 finals was roughly equal to the number of viewers that watched the NHL Stanley Cup finals, which had over 5 million viewers on average for the six games in the series, with a peak viewership of 8.16 million.

Still, eSports have some higher targets to aim for. Looking at the most recent figures, the World Series had over 90 million viewers, the Super Bowl had over 108 million viewers, the NBA finals had over 120 million viewers, and the World Cup had over 1 billion viewers. Riot’s got its work cut out for it with Season 4 coming up.

Source: Riot Games