‘The Last of Us’ Coming to PS4

Last year’s release of The Last of Us turned out to be one of the PlayStation 3’s most remarkable games – and an award winner for the developers at Naughty Dog. Now, it looks like the adventure will live on again as a PlayStation 4 release.

PlayStation’s Eurasian software market manager Sercan Sulun has let it slip that a new port of the action/survival game is on its way to Sony’s latest console. Speaking with Turkish website Multiplayer, Sulun stated through a translator, “There is no information about a new The Last of Us game but I can share this knowledge: as of this summer, The Last of Us will be on the PS4. Both on PSN (PlayStation Network) and physically.”

In addition, the game is set to include previously released downloadable content as well. Sulun continued, “The PS4 version will also include the DLC so you will be able to play Left Behind as well.”

The game has sold six million copies thus far on PlayStation 3, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Sony wants to continue its success.

Source: IGN

Mobile Apps Secretly Mining Currency

Digital currency is in the news these days, and speculators are buying expensive computer hardware to run the incredibly computation-intensive algorithms that create new digital coins. Some clever folks may have found another path to digital riches, though, and they may be using your mobile phone to help them.

Trend Micro has recently reported that two legitimate Google Play applications with one million downloads between them have managed to turn Android smartphones and tables into digital currency miners, all without the users knowing what’s going on. Mobile devices are woefully underpowered for the rigors of digital currency mining, though, so it’s unlikely these attempts have actually produced much.

Though mining for digital currency takes time and mastery to program, it can be done, and, as a result, users can clean up on Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin currency. Furthermore, such practices can actually cause strain to the devices, through increased energy consumption and building up of heat. As a result, the battery life could be shortened, and the overall performance affected.

The two apps in question are called Songs and Prized, and seem to most effectively mine funds when the device they’re installed on is charging. If you notice excessive heat build-up, slower charge times and decreased performance, you may want to give them a closer look. Now that word has spread, Prized is no longer available in the Google Play store.

Source: BGR

GameStop Sales Up, But Doubts Remain

GameStop reported its fiscal year 2013 financial results, with a ix of good news and bad news. Sales for the company’s fourth quarter (which ended Feb 1, 2014) were $3.68 billion, which was up 3.4 percent compared to last year’s quarter (which was one week longer). This rise was driven by the sales of new consoles, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. While sales were up, earnings were down, dropping to $220.5 million from last year’s $261.1 million. Investors responded by driving GameStop’s share price down by over 7 percent so far today in trading.

For the full year GameStop had sales of $9.04 billion, up 1.7 percent from the previous year. Full-year comparable sales grew 3.8 percent. At the same time, GameStop reported a drop in current-gen software, which they expected as customers transition to new consoles. CFO Rob Lloyd confirmed that “current-gen software sales declined at a faster rate than expected,” but he doesn’t see an increase in the rate of current-gen decline.

GameStop is expecting to have a good fiscal 2014, with total sales up between 12 and 22 percent, with income projected to be around double the amount reported for FY 2013. Earnings per share are expected to be about $3.56 per share for FY 2014. The company expects store count to drop about 2 percent, but they will continue to remodel old stores. GameStop projects next gen consoles at 125 percent of last generation for the next three years, in dollar volume, where prior to launch they had expected next-gen to trail previous gen launch numbers. That’s less impressive when you factor in inflation since the last time consoles were launched.

There are signs of weakness buried in the numbers, though. GameStop’s results were buoyed by hardware, but software sales (both new and used) were down from last year. New software was $1.2 billion compared to $1.6 billion in FY 2012, and pre-owned software was $742 million compared to $752.8 million the previous year. Customers are buying hardware at retail, but not as much software as they used to. This was also true for the full fiscal year.

Part of the change must be due to customers buying digital content directly instead of heading to the retail store. That’s probably more DLC than full titles, but of course it’s hard to track all that. Another factor must be increased diversion of consumer attention and spending to online and mobile games. All of that spending on League of Legends and mobile games has to come from somewhere, and it’s likely that some of that is coming at the expense of retail sales.

GameStop is certainly going to do well to the extent that new consoles sell well. They have already sold more new consoles than they had in the first 15 months of the last console launch. Their attach rate is more than 3.3 for these new consoles, as GameStop does well at adding on software sales to the hardware. GameStop’s market share for next-gen hardware is 47 percent so far this year, according to their comments in the earnings call. GameStop sales associates also work hard at adding DLC on to new software sales, and the company will doubtless continue to push that. Lloyd noted that GameStop expects by late in the year next-gen and current-gen software sales will equalize, with next-gen software then continuing to pull ahead.

Titanfall had 4 times the amount of reservations on Xbox One than on the Xbox 360. “Gamers are showing strong demand for games on new consoles,” said GameStop president Tony Bartel. There’s also strong demand for big upcoming titles like Watch Dogs and Destiny, more reasons why GameStop is looking forward to the rest of the year. Launches of next-gen consoles are still continuing internationally as well, with Microsoft launching the Xbox One in 26 more countries. GameStop’s international sales grew 14 percent in the fourth quarter, and 5.6 percent for the full year, so more next-gen interest in other countries will likely help GameStop.

Digital sales grew 4 percent in the fourth quarter. PC digital grew 27 percent, while console digital dropped 6 percent. Steam cards grew over 100 percent. Digital is still only about 2 percent of GameStop’s overall business, though, so even high rates of growth in that segment aren’t going to move the needle much for the company as a whole.

Kongregate grew very well for GameStop, more than doubling sales in the fourth quarter. GameStop did close its Spawn Labs acquisition, “based on lack of demand from customers.” GameStop will focus its effort on selling next-gen streaming services such as PlayStation Now, rather than doing it themselves. Digital receipts grew 15 percent for the full year.

GameStop does project an increase in the pre-owned game business, which is good considering that about half of the company’s profits come from that part of the business. “I would point out it’s a good sign that previous competitors have returned,” said CEO Paul Raines, referring to Walmart getting back into used games. The pre-owned business is a supply-constrained business, so GameStop is cutting deals with publishers to make value-priced software available to fill in that supply for hot titles.

“We believe GameStop has to maintain a higher rate of internal change than the environment around us,” said Raines. That’s a wise viewpoint as rapid change continues in the game industry, with digital games continuing to outpace traditional retail in terms of growth and market share. GameStop is doing well as next-gen consoles continue to revive interest in console games, but it’s not clear how long this will last or how it will change in the future.

This Is A Title For A Brand Video Story

The larger a corporate entity is, the more generic its video advertisements tend to be, using a certain set of clichés to imply diversity, progress and efficiency. This video, from royalty-free HD footage purveyor Dissolve, pretty efficiently captures all of those advertising stereotypes while also showcasing their central product.

Source: AdAge.com


Karate Chopping Gaming History

Ken Kutaragi received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Conference, and also presented this video documenting his early career with the PlayStation. Done by Mega64, this video has all the awesomeness of a straight-to-video ’80s action film like Miami Connection, with tongue firmly in cheek.


Mutants Of The Past And Future Unite

X-Men: Days of Future Past will have the largest ensemble of important Marvel mutants in one movie ever, with characters from the original X-Men film trilogy joining with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class. Professor X and Magneto must work together to change the past and alter a dark future.


‘Fez’ Now On PlayStation

Fez is one of the most popular indie games of the past few years and now it’s available for cross-buy and cross-save on PS4, PS3, and PS Vita. Check out its unique perspective switching gameplay and sample the cool electronic soundtrack in the trailer.


200 Million Users On Instagram

Instagram is growing fast. Just over a year ago, Instagram announced they had amassed 100 million active users and as of this week are showing that this number has doubled. Overall, Instagram users have created and shared 20 billion photos on the app to date.

Facebook’s decision to buy Instagram in April of 2012 may prove to have been a very smart decision. While users are skewing a bit older on Facebook these days, Instagram is an attractive to a younger crowd, the 18-24 set that Facebook has been losing. Moreover, Instagram is a highly engaging content platform as more than half of its users use it daily.

This is great news for brands who want to leverage this platform as research from L2 Think Tank back in December showed that Instagram’s engagement scored much, much higher than other comparable social sites like Google+, Twitter and of course, Facebook. By and large, brands have created a presence on Instagram as a result. As of December of last year, 89 percent of brands had both a Facebook and Instagram account.

While brands are on board, there is evidence that they aren’t necessarily making the most of it. For all the engagement to be garnered, only nine percent were soliciting user-generated content on the platform and 12 percent had promoted their Instagram account within the past 30 days.


Source: PC Mag

Comcast And Apple Planning New Service?

Streaming services are on the rise as of late, with Netflix easily leading the charge. However, an interesting collaboration could bring its biggest rival to date.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple is in talks with Comcast in regards to starting a new Internet-based streaming service, offering both live and on-demand programming through a new Apple set-top device that would interact with Comcast cable systems.

Once word of the report got out, Netflix’s shares dropped, first decreasing 4 percent last Friday before going down another 3 percent earlier this week.

Nothing has been confirmed as of yet by either company, but the debut of a new streaming service – and one that works with Comcast equipment – could be very interesting for the industry.

Source: The Daily Beast

Gaming Live Ready To Battle Twitch

Twitch is one of the ideal names to turn to when it comes to game broadcasting and special events – although, soon, it may not be the only game in town.

A new company called Gaming Live has ventured forth, attempting to offer video live streaming services for gamers, as well as e-Sports associations and developers.

The company has already raised $30,000 in seed funding through the Dubai-based Turn8 Accelerator program, although it’s looking to raise $1 million in an upcoming funding round.

It intends to launch its first services in June through demonstrations, and a full launch some time after that, where gamers can sign up and use it to broadcast. It plans to stand apart from Twitch by providing users to generate revenue on their content without having to meet certain criteria.

“(Gaming Live was) created using the highest-quality standards on the emerging technology,” said Gaming Live chief technology officer Marek Tuchalski. “This will allow Gaming Live to optimize costs and lower the potential risk associated with streaming traffic consumption.”

“Gaming Live will be something that our target group expects from a video streaming platform of the future,” added Gaming Live chief operating officer Krystian Berg. “Solutions introduced by our company will not only be interesting for the gaming fans but also the companies and content producers, who will have tools to interact with gamers and reach them effectively like never before.”

More details on Gaming Live can be found on its official page.

Source: VentureBeat