Lorne Lanning has been coming out with some cracking quotes of late. This latest one sees the Oddworld creator praising Satoru Iwata and Nintendo for bucking the current trend of cyclically firing one's development staff, and he suggests that it is this creative-centric outlook that will mean Nintendo survive for years to come, rather than companies such as Zynga and Microsoft.Click here to read more...
This week on Game Buzz, we discuss Don Mattrick jumping ship from Microsoft to Zynga; we take a look at the suggestion that the Xbox One dashboard has been designed purposefully around advertisement opportunities; and we ask how on earth Microsoft managed to mess up a good thing in Games With Gold. Outside of the Redmond omnishambles, we talk a little bit about Broken Age and how unfettered ambition could spell danger for the crowdfunding model; we shake our heads at the recently leaked EA survey for SimCity; and we try and solve the specs vs. games debate.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has suggested that the social network's approach to gaming is less than satisfactory at the moment, with Zynga's fall in profitability proving something of a concern in particular .Click here to read more...
EA believes that their ongoing lawsuit against Zynga over alleged copyright infringment represents the industry taking a stand against copycats once and for all, suggesting that they're one of the few publishers with the clout and resources to succeed.Click here to read more...
Pitfall creator and Activision co-founder David Crane believes that companies like social games companies like Zynga are responsible for the tatty reputation of "casual games," which have been around since the earliest days of the medium.Click here to read more...
Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has brushed off the way his company is perceived by others in the games industry, asserting that it doesn't matter, as long as the consumer base is happy.Click here to read more...
Zynga has had a falling out with Facebook after share prices tanked last night. Once bosom pals, the social gaming giant blames the social network for making changes that benefit new games rather than established companies, and believe that their future lies with mobile platforms.Click here to read more...
Draw Something - the obscenely addictive Pctionary-esque app from OMGPOP - has smashed the mobile record for the fastest growing app of all time, having been download over 50 million times in under 50 days.Click here to read more...
NimbleBit were dismayed and disgusted to discover that their brave (and highly successful) Indie title Tiny Tower had been effectively cloned by casual monolith Zynga - as were many gamers. However, Zynga's CEO has defended their recently-released Dream Heights in an internal memo, stating that they prefer to be the "best" rather than the "first."
Of course, NimbleBit have a few choice words of their own. Full story below.Click here to read more...
Three-man dev outfit NimbleBit vented their frustration at social gaming giant Zynga after the latter released their clone of NimbleBit's award-winning 'build-em-up' smash Tiny Tower.
Taking to Twitter with a sarcastically-penned open letter to Zynga (full version after the jump), NimbleBit posted up side-by-side screenshots of the two games with text around them congratulating the FarmVille-built Leviathan for being "such big fans", with co-founder David Marsh going on to say that "I don't wish Zynga any ill will, I just think it's depressing for all the devs at Zynga that don't have creative freedom".
Ouch.Check out the full story after the jump...
While he's not quite in the best position to discuss superlative failures, Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack believes social gaming titles - such as FarmVille - are eventually going to hit the wall. While he admits the industry is currently gaga for the low-cost, high-profit sector, when this particular bubble bursts, it'll be the "biggest explosion" we've witnessed in a while.Sour grapes or prophetic fruit? Let's see!
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the millions of people affected by the tragic earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last week - and pleasingly, several games companies have pledged financial support to help raise money to help the victims. Japanese games development has also been rocked by the disaster; resulting in the delay of many games and the shutdown of several servers to aid in the energy conservation effort. We have the details below.
UPDATE: Several more gaming giants (including Nintendo and Sony) have promised millions of dollars to the cause, as well as over 300,000 emergency radios and supplies.Click here to read more...
As wild rumours have been flying around this week suggesting that Apple are looking to buy Disney or Facebook or Sony, a spot of old, but very interesting, news has surfaced about an almost-event that could have changed the face of gaming as we know it. Speaking to Develop, Tuncer Deniz, a project lead at Bungie back in the day, suggested that round the turn of the millennium, the studio's bosses contacted Apple to see if they were interested in buying them:
Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, 'asked Steve, who said no,' Deniz told Develop. '[But] after a week, Steve said yes. Schiller calls Bungie, but Bungie had already consummated the deal with Microsoft'.
This, of course, comes mere hours after it was revealed that Steve Jobs 'went bananas', as Kotaku put it, at Microsoft's Steve Ballmer after losing the studio behind Marathon to Apple's main rival. Would the Xbox have survived without Halo? Would Apple have kicked serious arse? Would we have had to pray to Steve Jobs before every multiplayer bout of Slayer? In a parallel universe somewhere, you could be storming ONI's Sword base on an iPad!
There was a period during the last decade where, every time a group of teens who talked too much sat down to play some video games, it would almost certainly be in front of Dynasty Warriors. For what it's worth, I have a soft spot for Koei's mash 'em up. It's bland, banal and repetitive, but it's excellent for a good few hours of kicking back with a buddy, when you don't want to think to hard. And the good news? There's another one coming out!
At a press conference held yesterday in Japan, Tecmo Keoi announced that Dynasty Warriors 7 is indeed a reality. There's a new addition to the story, although these games were never really all about the narrative, with the Kingdom of Jin being introduced, the game will be 3D compatible and there'll be more characters than ever.
Most excitingly, perhaps, is the addition of Chronicles mode, which sees the return of character creation and allows you to kick butt across ancient China and make yourself a legend rather than filling someone else's boots. No joy for Xbox owners, mind. This one's solely for the PS3 and there's been no news of a US release date as yet. [1UP]
Analyst SharesPost recently valued Zynga at $5.51 billion, double what the social gaming company was worth a mere six months ago back in March this year.
Although these figures are only estimates, if accurate it puts Zynga ahead of the NASDAQ value of EA, which is $5,16 billion, according to Businessweek.
EA's share prices have been a little up and down over the last few months, climbing steadily in anticipation of Medal of Honor, before falling a little and rising again following the acquisition of Chillingo. With Playfish already within their arsenal, EA might not be too worried, though.
Activision Blizzard certainly won't be, what with being currently valued at $13.9 billion. [GamesIndustry.biz]
Engadget has apparently seen the PlayStation Phone. Allegedly, it's real, looks a little bit like the PSPGo (although reports suggest it's far more powerful), and will likely boast Android 3.0.
In terms of specs, the model Engadget displayed was said to be loaded with a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor (200MHz faster than the similar chip found in the G2), 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches. There'll supposedly be a custom Sony Marketplace for game downloads, a multitouch trackpad and support for microSD cards.
No news on PSN compatibility, but with Microsoft heavily selling LIVE along with the Windows Phone 7 experience, we certainly wouldn't rule it out. We're pretty psyched about this if it's true (I might not need to buy an iPhone after all! Yippeeeee!!! - Ed), but are you? Let us know below in the comments box.
I'm not going to lie or pretend to be objectively impartial on this, I cannot think about anything I'm more apathetic right now than stereoscopic 3D in gaming...and I'm pretty sure, as our poll results are starting to show, that I'm not the only one. But now, largely thanks to a study conducted by The Eyecare Trust, some research has come to light suggesting that as much as 12% of the British population have eyes too screwed up to fully appreciate the effect anyway. According to Edge magazine, the charity reports:
'3-D technology relies on our eyes’ ability to work together as a co-ordinated team to achieve an accurate perception of depth. [...] However, more than one in ten of us (12%) has a visual impairment that means our brains are unable to correctly process the individual images that are transmitted to it via our left and right eyes. This leads to an inconsistency in viewing the three spatial dimensions (height, width and depth) required to enjoy 3-D films in all their glory.'
By and large this won't make an ounce of difference to those already putting all of their weight behind 3D (yes Sony...and Ubisoft, I'm looking at you), but gradually frittering away percentile chunks of your target audience is never really a good thing. 3D is rapidly becoming gaming's equivalent of a leprous Big Brother winner...for some reason people keep talking about it but frankly most of us can't wait to see which bit's going to drop off next. Stop trying to excite me now and wait three or four years until this technology is at a price which means we won't have to all take out second mortgages or sell our relatives to medical science. [VG247]
The title to this one pretty much speaks for itself. Yes, Captain Obvious is back, this time in a Pach Attack that's actually reassuringly professional and highly informative. Of course, The Pach can't resist making a prediction and this time he's plumped for ex-Infinity Ward veterans' studio Respawn attempting a 'Halo-killer' with their first game and crating a space shooter for their debut. With EALA and DICE working on the latest Medal of Honor to try and square up to Activision's COD: Black Ops it's reasonable to assume that Respawn might have Bungie in their sights. [Gametrailers]
Astute Twitter fans may have witness something of a tirade last Friday on Hideo Kajima's account as the enigmatic development genius went on a bit of a rant and vented his worries that the Japanese games industry was under serious threat of being outpaced by the West, something the bespectacled developer put down to his country's education system and a lack of motivation:
'The West is very motivated. The younger generation of Japan is losing [...] The designers and to-be-designers in the West have the focus, ambition, and ability to make their dream become true. It is not the Japanese technology or culture that is losing; we are lacking the motivation.'
Kojima certainly didn't hold back, citing a lack of cross-cultural experience as a major issue when he said that
'The number of students that study abroad from Japan has decreased. There are very few Japanese students at the prestigious Harvard University, and in MIT...zero. The engineering population in Japan may be in jeopardy. We should first review our education system here in Japan.'
But he didn't stop there, signing off with a complaint that questioned the enthusiasm of those working in the industry at the moment, proclaiming himself to be 'tired of taking care of people who do not have the passion'. do you reckon he has a point? Hit us up with your thoughts in the box below. [GamesIndustry.biz]
I reported back in May that Google had been on the lookout for some high level development talent, specialising, it seemed, in internet gaming. Back then we hypothesised that Google was preparing to launch it's own online gaming platform and now it seems that the Big G has jumped into bed with Zynga, the company behind insidious resource management game FarmVille.
TechCrunch reports that the search engine behemoth has invested somewhere between $100-200 million in Zynga and, whilst the investment part of the deal is now done and dusted, a larger strategic partnership is still being drawn up.
With Zynga reportedly falling out with Facebook and Google potentially looking to make Google Games an actuality by 2011, this one looks to be one to watch. Not that Zynga really need the money mind you, they turned over a massive $350 million profit last year with predicted figures for 2011 looking to nudge the billion mark. World domination looks depressingly within their grasp. [Eurogamer]
Updating the game's official site yesterday evening, Nintendo revealed some more details about the upcoming Pokemon Black/White games including a peek at some new character details, revealing the game's setting and introducing us to the three new starting Pokemon.
Forget Johto and Kanto, the new games will take place on the region of Iishu, which is apparently situated 'far, far away' from the series' previous settings. We might also be in for a change to the village hopping of previous titles with the site describing the area as follows: 'Many never before seen Pokemon inhabit this area where greenery surrounds a modern megalopolis with nature and man coexisting'.
As for the three new starters, we have Pokabu (a pig like Pokemon that looks like it might be harnessing fire), Mirumaru (a water based cat Pokemon with a seashell on its chest) and Tsutjara (a grassy lizard with a leaf at the end of its tail). We've got to be honest, for a series build upon the notion of carrying around a small army of creatures for periodical cockfights, these three starters don't seem quite as badass as we might have liked. But then again who could have predicted that Squirtle would end up as an armour-plater Blastoise with water cannons sprouting from its back?! Check out some of the pics over at 1up here.
News reports have been rolling in that things between social media giant Facebook and FarmVille creators Zynga have become somewhat frosty. Apparently, according to The Times, Zynga are rather less than happy at the new Facebook Credits scheme which sees the site take 30% of all transactions that take place there and have threatened to leave. Facebook, not prepared to be bossed around, is allegedly preparing to give Zynga the boot anyway due to the company being a 'bad actor' and putting profits before its users...if that strikes you as being somewhat hypocritical then you're not the only one.
If Zynga does leave, and they'll be taking all of their games including Mafia Wars and Cafe World alongside the farming/resource management sim, they're apparently looking at launching a social networking service of their own. Should this happen we'd wish them well, of course, but we've got to say, considering FarmVille's success has largely been based on a marriage of convenience with the second most popular site in the world, we'd imagine that stepping into the ring with Facebook might be biting off more than Zynga can chew. [GamesIndustry.biz]
Nonetheless we want to hear what you guys and girls have to say on the matter. Hit us up with your views below.
It's been reported that Jason Bradbury, host of TV's The Gadget Show, (accidentally?) revealed on Twitter that the Playstation Move will be arriving this September. Shortly after getting to grips with Sony's new motion control hardware with a hands-on demo, Bradbury tweeted 'another thing I was meaning to say. Sept for Playstation Move!!! I’m sure of it. Can’t say why. Just.. September 2010,?'
Whilst we're under pains to reiterate that this is just a rumour, it would make perfect sense, landing a month before natal has been touted to be rearing its head. Scheduled to be showcased at E3, and now likely to arrive in time for this year's Tokyo Game Show, it would seem that all the pieces are moving into position before the final sprint in the motion control battle. [GossipGamers]