The UKIE, the trade group that represents the video games industry in the United Kingdom, issued a statement today concerning the Office of Fair Trading’s principles for online and app-based games (you can read about that here). UKIE CEO Jo Twist said that her organization has worked closely with its members and the OFT to help form guidelines that protect children and continue to grow business in the UK.
The United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) watchdog agency has given mobile phone app developers two months to adapt to new in-app purchasing rules that better protect children (and subsequently their credit-card holding parents) from in-game micro-transactions and messaging that generally encourages them to buy things to advance gameplay. The OFT has given developers a deadline of April 1 to make their apps for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android devices comply with new rules.
Following its report yesterday that the NSA and other spy agencies were exploiting "leaky apps" such as Rovio's Angry Birds to gather information on users around the world, ProPublica has released this handy FAQ to better explain exactly how the whole process works and what consumers can do to moderately protect their privacy.
Puzzle & Dragons developer GungHo Online expects to rake in around $1.2 billion in revenue this year, and because it keeps its overhead low, it expects to keep about $700 million of that figure after expenses. These numbers are from CEO Kazuki Morishita, who recently spoke with CNN Fortune about the company's runaway hit game and business in general.
He attributes at least some of his company's success to his experience as a Manzai artist and stand-up comedian - believe it or not.
App store scammers are selling a modified version of Mojang's popular mobile world builder Minecraft: Pocket Edition for Android devices that contains a Trojan, according to anti-virus outfit F-Secure. The fake version of the game, which seems to be aimed at European customers, costs 2.50 Euros - a price too hard for some customers to resist because the real version costs 5.49 Euros.
According to a recent interview with Oculus VR chief executive Brendan Iribe on GamesBeat, John Carmack is spearheading Oculus VR's mobile efforts. Carmack left id Software earlier in the year to work for the company out of its Dallas offices, and apparently he is spending a fair amount of his time focusing on mobile platforms.
German mobile development studio Fishlabs has been acquired by Koch Media, According to a report in PocketGamer - citing reports from German news outlets Gamesmarket and Newsslash - the company was purchased by an unnamed buyer. Later Koch managing director Dr. Klemens Kundratitz confirmed the purchase in a statement sent to Polygon. The studio behind space sim series Galaxy on Fire, filed for bankruptcy protection in October.
Sony is giving away 10 free games (two each week for five weeks) to all PS Mobile gamers. Detailed on the PlayStation Blog, the games will work on your PlayStation Certified smartphone, tablet, or PS Vita. Between November 27th and December 18th of 2013, and then from January 8th through January 22nd of 2014, you can download two PS Mobile games. The first two games, available later today, will be Passing Time and Rymdkapsel.
The latest Bundle in a Box offers a bunch of nifty indie strategy and war games for PC and mobile platforms for a low, low price - and DRM-free. The bundle includes Us & Them - Cold War, Storm Over The Pacific, AI War: Fleet Command, Creeper World, Strategic War in Europe, The Trouble With Robots, Age of Conquest III, and Droidscape: Basilica.
You can pay as little as $0.99 for all these titles, but if you pay more than the current average price of $4.94 you'll get Mayhem Intergalactic, Project Aftermath, Fall Weiss, Creeper World 2, and AI War: The Zenith Remnant.
While more people are downloading apps via Google Play for Android devices of various shapes and sizes, Apps on the Apple App Store are making more money, according to the new App Annie's third quarter 2013 report.
Several new reports from research firm Niko Partners reveals that China's gaming population is mostly made up of PC gamers and mobile players. According to data from two reports, the "Chinese Gamers Report 2013," and the "Quarterly Home Gamer Survey and Monthly I-café Games Usage Data," China has 208 million PC gamers and 288 million mobile game players this year.
Softbank and GungHo Online are making a substantial investment in Finnish free-to-play and mobile gaming juggernaut Supercell. The company is selling a 51 percent stake for $1.53 billion to Japan’s SoftBank and game developer GungHo Online Entertainment. The strategic investment will make Supercell a subsidiary of Softbank, with the funds being used to fuel Supercell’s global expansion.
A new report by retail research firm NPD Group finds that the way children are playing games has taken a dramatic shift since 2011. The report, "Kids and Gaming 2013," finds that children ages 2-17 are playing games on mobile devices nearly as much as they are on home console systems.
More than half (53 percent) of mobile device users reported that they spent more time playing on these devices this year compared to last year, but the real increase is with children who spent an average of seven hours per week on mobile devices compared to five hours per week in 2011.
Candy Crush developer King.com has filed a lawsuit against mobile developer 6Waves, alleging that the company has "blatantly" infringed on two of its games, Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga. The lawsuit, which was in the U.S. district court in San Francisco today, claims that 6Waves copied the color scheme, puzzle design, and UI elements for its games Treasure Epic and Farm Epic.
Mobile gaming "big spenders" - often referred to as "whales" - are more likely to be young men, according to research firm EEDAR. The data comes from the "Deconstructing Mobile & Tablet Gaming report," which relies heavily on a July survey of more than 3,000 active mobile and tablet gamers. According to the survey, 66 percent of the top five percent of respondents who paid money for mobile games were male.
The ESRB has updated its video games rating search app in an effort to improve the information parents have access to when making decisions about the appropriateness of a purchase for their children. The ESRB recently expanded its rating system to offer more details on "interactive elements" associated with digital games and apps, such as the sharing of personal information, sharing location-based data with others, or the ability for users to interact, communicate, or share media like photos or videos.
The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) has changed the appearance of its icons for the first time in 14 years, according to a report at Polygon. The ESRB (owned and operated by the Entertainment Software Association) decided to make some small changes to the existing logos in an attempt to make them smaller in size for mobile devices. You can see a picture of the changes below (courtesy of Polygon).
Zynga is in a bad spot. New information revealed through an earnings statement filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shows that the social game maker has lost a lot of daily active players and had a substantial loss in Q3 2013. In its filing Zynga reported that the number of daily average users (DAU) dropped from 52 million to 39 million in the quarter. This is the lowest number of daily active users since the company started tracking those numbers. Roughly 25 percent of its daily user base has stopped playing Zynga games in a single quarter.
PC and tablet maker Lenevo is diversifying its business with a new gaming service for China called Lenovo Game World, Bloomberg reports. These new game services will include social networking features, software reviews, and gameplay tips.
Tithe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to loosen some regulations related to passengers using electronic devices during flight, take-offs and landings. The current regulations require that passengers turn off all electronics during take-off and landing, usually during the climb to 10,000 feet. The rule was implemented in the 1960's because airlines and the FAA believed that certain devices interfered with equipment in the cockpit.
Austin, Texas-based mobile online game developer Spacetime Studios announced that its four online mobile games have garnered over 250 million play sessions to-date. The four games - Pocket Legends, Star legends, Dark Legends, and Arcane Legends - have also been downloaded over 20 million times collectively. Spacetime also says that its game have a high level of engagement, with players logging an average of 33.5 hours per month on Spacetime’s titles, almost 3 times as much as the average iOS player’s total monthly gameplay and four times more than Android players.
Mobile games publisher Gree has laid off an estimated 30 employees from its San Francisco office according to reports on Develop and GII. While the exact number of employees let go was not confirmed, the layoffs have been. According to Gree COO Anil Dharni, the staff reduction is part of re-alignment of its U.S. operations.
An investigation examining 400 apps conducted by Develop shows that there is a lack of consistency in the way in-game purchases are presented on digital stores. The investigation follows the UK government agency the Office of Fair Trading’s recent announcement that it would investigate in-app purchases in children’s games.
If the laws being proposed by politicians in the UK this week were in place when SimCity and Diablo III launched, consumers would be able to get a refund. The BBC is reporting on plans to pass new laws that will make it easier for UK consumers to get a refund or a replacement product from companies when a digitally distributed video game, mobile app, or piece of entertainment content doesn't work they way it should at launch.
Mobile and social game developer PikPok announced that its newest original mobile game, Into the Dead has managed to sail past the 10 millionth download mark. The game was released in December of last year and is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android. The game joins another PikPok title past 10 million downloads: Flick Kick Football. That game is contributing to the Flick Kick series of games, which has seen over 20 million downloads as of April.
Electronic Arts has laid off a number of employees at its Montreal-based mobile game development studio, according to a Polygon report. The company says that these layoffs are part of an overall strategy to streamline operations, though the mobile studio seems to have been impacted the hardest in this latest round of job cuts. No word on whether EA is cutting jobs elsewhere.
Google has made a dramatic move in removing apps that are either non-compliant or engage in some way in the art of spam. According to Techcrunch the marketplace for Android apps has about 60,000 less titles to choose from. These titles were removed in the last couple of weeks of February, according to the tech web site.
Lodsys, a company that seems to specialize only in filing patent infringement lawsuits, has added a number of new video game industry targets in the mobile games space. According to Ars Technica, Gameloft, Gamevil, BackFlip Studios, Pocket Gems and The Walt Disney Company are now named defendants for violating a patent the company holds related to technology used for in-app purchasing.