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.
Finland-based free-to-play game studio Supercell is valued at around $800 million after its latest funding round. The developer behind the hit F2P mobile titles Clash of Clans and Hay Day sold off between 16 - 20 percent of its common shares for an estimated $100 - $150 million. The word on the street is that the company's latest investors include Institutional Venture Partners, Atomico and Index Ventures. The company allegedly got close to being valued at an even $1 billion, but fell just short of the mark.
While GREE made a lot of developers upset when it discontinued the OpenFeint platform in December of last year, the co-founder of the social mobile platform will soon have something to replace it. Late last year GREE shut down the OpenFeint platform, feeling that Apple's GameCenter was dominating the space. Much to the chagrin of developers using that platform, they were not given enough time to migrate their game data to another platform and lost a lot of the user data they were storing in the OpenFeint cloud.
Polygon has an interesting interview with Plague Inc. developer James Vaughan, who reveals to the publication that he has been asked to speak to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Plague Inc. is a unique strategy game for iOS that lets the play take control of a deadly pathogen and infect one person - patient zero - with the end goal being to spread the plague to every corner of the globe.
Sony has decided to unload its holdings in mobile game developer and publisher DeNa, according to this Reuters report. Sony has reportedly sold all of its shares in the company to Japanese-based investment firm Nomura Securities for $438 million.
Former Square Enix and Taito executive Keiji Fujita has joined Japanese mobile ad network and game publisher Adways, the company announced today. Fujita will take the reins of the company's San Francisco office, which will serve as the home of the U.S. subsidiary, Adways Interactive. Keiji Fujita will serve as the Vice President of Game Business. The company also announced that it is looking for non-Japanese free-to-play mobile games to launch in the Japanese market. It will be on the hunt for such properties at Game Connection America 2013, where it will be present as an exhibitor.
Free-to-play mobile game Puzzle & Dragons from Japanese developer and publisher GungHo Online Entertainment supposedly generated around $65 million during January - or about $2 million dollars a day. These startling sales figures come from data collected by Japanese industry consultant Serkan Toto, who reports that the puzzle and RPG hybrid title has generated around $65 million in sales on iOS and Android in Japan last month.
Chillingo founders Joe Wee and Chris Byatte announced jointly on EA's blog the launch of a new indie developer program that highlights quality independently developed mobile titles through the company's third party mobile publishing services. The program is called 100% Indie and its core is located at www.100percentindie.com.
Mobile game developer and publisher GREE announced details on a new $10 million fund to invest in and foster long-term relationships with "talented developers in the free-to-play mobile games industry." The fund is appropriately called the GREE Partners Fund, and will be administered by GREE International’s VP of Publishing and Partners, Jim Ying. The fund will allow GREE to invest an aggregate of $10 million through equity investments of $1 million or more.
The Federal Trade Commission released a report on Monday that came to the conclusion that the majority of mobile apps aimed at children collect and transmit data that they shouldn't such as the device being used - and they do not disclose this fact to the parents. According to the report, around 60 percent of 400 popular kids’ apps made for phones and tablets running Android and iOS transmitted information about the device to the app’s developer or to a third party such as an ad network.
UK developer Rebellion finds itself in a tough situation this morning. Multiplayer servers for its Sniper Elite game have been shut down at the request of Glu, but Rebellion claims it was not informed about the servers being closed. The company has apologized to owners of the game and is telling the community that the decision was made without its consent.
Paul Johnson from UK-based developer Rubicon has deleted a scathing rant posted earlier today aimed at Windows RT and Microsoft claiming that his game Great Big War Game made just £52 from the Windows RT marketplace in its first week on sale. Johnson claims that the Windows RT port cost his company an estimated £10,000.
Zynga Mobile's UK General Manager Matthew Wiggins has left the company after serving in the position for a little over a year and a half. Wiggins made the announcement that he was leaving the company via his personal blog.
"It's been quite a ride," Wiggins wrote. "I wish all the best for the good and talented people who I leave behind."
Veteran game designer Don Daglow wanted to make a smartphone-based baseball game called Tony La Russa's Baseball With Fans so he launched a Kickstarter appeal to raise $249,000. Unfortunately after only a week of activity, the project only managed to bring in about $2,440 of that goal from 23 backers.
Gree apologized today for how it handled the closure of OpenFeint - announced earlier this week. The company also said that it was sorry for putting developers that used the technology in a tough situation. Speaking to PocketGamer, SVP of marketing and developer relations Eros Resmini said that it had originally planned to give developers a full year to migrate to a new platform, but did not elaborate why it decided to pull the plug now. The planned shutdown was announced earlier in the year.
A new game for Android devices called Whack a Candidate: Election' 12 charges you with suppressing the vote of the political party you don't like by whacking them in the face with the "Hammer of Justice." The game is much like whack-a-mole but the field is a map of the United States. When a candidate or their vice-presidential running mate pops up on the map you whack them with a hammer to stop them from scoring votes in a given state.
Big Fish Games has launched the first real-money gambling game in the United Kingdom through a partnership with Betable. The Big Fish Casino U.K. app lets players gamble for fun or make best with real cash via a new slot machine title. The game uses technology from Betable, a company hoping to take advantage of even more social mobile games in the future by enabling online gambling options.
Last Thursday we broke the story that social and mobile game developers Spry Fox and 6Waves had quietly settled a lawsuit related to their respective mobile titles, Triple Town and Yeti Town. In its original lawsuit Spry Fox accused 6Waves' Lolapps of blatantly copying its match-three game Triple Town when it released its game Yeti Town.