Tencent reportedly invested USD60 million in the acquisition of a 20% stake in Pocket Gems, a start-up mobile game company in America. Tencent will gain one position on the board of directors at Pocket Gems, according to reports in foreign media. Founded in 2009, Pocket Gems is headquartered in San Francisco and the company is supported by Sequoia Capital. Its latest product is War Dragons, which was launched in April 2015. This mobile game uses Pocket Gems’ own 3D graphics technology, aiming to attract hardcore players who are willing to spend more time and money on games.
Tokyo Indie Fest 2015 landed in the Japanese capital last week, joining 100 indie game studios from across the region with 2,000 attendees for a weekend of button mashing and screen tapping. The event fittingly took place in the heart of Tokyo’s geek graceland, Akihabara, and featured games for just about every platform imaginable: browser, mobile, PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, and virtual reality. While we didn’t have an opportunity to try everything, here are six standout titles from the first Tokyo Indie Fest.
Square Enix made its reputation on console games. Its new Shinra subsidiary is working on a platform that aims to change how online gamers interact with digital worlds. Imagine playing a video game that is so realistic that the world within it continued to change regardless of whether you were playing it. Imagine a game that responds to the way you play it, devising intelligent strategies based on your tactics. The strategies of the game—perhaps its very structures and geography—would be different from one visit to the next.
TOKYO/OSAKA: Japanese videogame maker Nintendo Co Ltd forecast its long-awaited entry into smartphone games would help it double annual operating profit in the year through March, offsetting weak sales growth in its traditional consoles. Nintendo repeatedly resisted investor calls to shift focus to smartphone games to boost profitability, until it unveiled a gaming app partnership in March with DeNA Co Ltd. It said would also branch out to theme parks through a tie-up with Universal Parks & Resorts.
Everybody knows that mobile gaming is big in China. How big? Big enough that, according to a white paper released today by GMGC, China will become the top global market for mobile games by 2016. Citing data from Newzoo Global Games Market Premium, the white paper estimates that mobile gaming revenues in 2015 will hit US$6.1 billion – just below the US’s projected revenues for this year at US$6.3 billion.
Nintendo’s Creator Program has forced another YouTube away from sharing content involving the Wii U. Joe Vargas, or “Angry Joe” to the two million people subscribed to his channel, has announced he will not cover Nintendo games following a copyright claim sent from the company on his Mario Party 10 Let’s Play. Vargas isn’t alone when it comes to copyright claims from Nintendo. In fact, almost every content creator not part of Nintendo’s revenue share program was flagged, even YouTubers with under 10,000 subscribers.
After a firmware update at 11pm last night, Xbox One owners in China are reporting their consoles are no longer region-locked, according to Haogamers. Owners of Xbox Ones sold in China can now play the international versions of their favorite games. It was widely assumed that all game consoles to enter China after the recently-lifted ban would be forced to limit players to region-locked content.
WASHINGTON: Sony Computer Entertainment is buying various assets of OnLive, including 140 US and international patents for cloud gaming services. Onlive will be shutting its operations on April 30. The company is not renewing any subscriptions, and users whose subscriptions renewed on or after March 28 will be refunded. OnLive says that the OnLive Game Service, OnLive Desktop and SL Go (Second Life) will all be available until April 30.
Sinoze is most well known for mobile music game Thapster, which features Thai and international artists and has, it claims, about a million monthly active users. Today the company announced it has raised a US$750,000 round from InVent, the venture capitalist arm of Thailand’s largest telco Intouch. The funding will go towards international expansion through its second title Electhap, a music game aimed at the international market.
Just a week after Gumi confirmed that its South Korean operation was being investigated for alleged embezzlement, the embattled Japanese gaming company is bracing for layoffs. According to TechCrunch Japan, Gumi announced today that it will solicit “voluntary retirement” from 100 staff at both Gumi (Tokyo) and development center Gumi West (Fukuoka). The firm’s justification for the move is that the skill set of some employees no longer matches the company’s needs.
Netmarble’s new mobile game “Raven with Naver” is leading major mobile application stores here, shedding new light on market success through a publishing platform other than Kakao Game. The nation’s leading mobile game provider said Raven, a mobile action role-playing game, has been ranked on the top perch in the top-grossing charts of both Google’s Play and Apple’s Appstore since March 17, five days after its release. The game ended the months-long lead of mobile strategy game “Clash of Clans,” developed and published by the Finnish game company Supercell.
Nintendo is finally getting smart. In Tokyo today, the company announced that it is entering into a partnership with DeNA, the Japanese tech giant which rose to prominence on the strength of its smartphone games. During the press conference Iwata and Moriyasu revealed that this deal had been in the works since last summer. With the partnership announced, they confirmed that consumers can expect games to appear by the end of this year.
Japanese electronics company Sony announced that their flagship video game console PlayStation 4 and handheld gaming device PlayStation Vita will be officially available in the Chinese mainland market on March 20, 2015. Prior to this, Sony announced plans to provide the two products in China from January 11, 2015. However, due to various reasons, the debut launch was postponed. Sony also revealed that by March 8, 2015, the company had sold 20 million PlayStation 4 consoles worldwide.
TOKYO: Japan video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd and online gaming firm DeNA are teaming up to develop smartphone games featuring the likes of Super Mario, in a bid to retain users increasingly shunning their console and browser-based games. The two companies said on March 17 that they would buy 22 billion yen (122 million pounds) worth of shares in each other as part of a capital and product tie-up. As a result, Nintendo will acquire a 10% stake in DeNA while DeNA will acquire a 1.2% stake in Nintendo.
Sony’s next-gen gaming console, Playstation 4, has a release date in China. Again. The console, which was originally slated for release in the Middle Kingdom in early January, saw its launch postponed indefinitely for reasons that were not disclosed. Now, the device has a new China launch date: March 20.
Gamevil said Monday it has been ranked the highest among Korean mobile game publishers in terms of mobile game sales at application stores such as Google’s Play market and Apple’s Appstore. According to the “Top 52 Publishers of 2014″ report released by a global mobile app analytics agency App Annie, Gamevil was listed in 11th place among the global mobile game publishers, up 15 steps from a year ago.
IPOs bring champagne showers – and increased financial oversight. Gumi, the gaming firm that had been left for dead but regrouped and surged to a nearly billion dollar IPO, is getting a first-hand lesson in the consequences of that oversight. The company announced today that is is revising its guidance for the fiscal year ending April 30. Instead of a JPY 1.27 billion (US$10.6 million) profit, the firm will face a JPY 600 million (US$5 million) loss.
The Games Solution Center (GSC) in Singapore, initiated by the Media Development Authority and managed by Nanyang Polytechnic, is going all out for the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this year. It’s not only hosting the largest number of Singapore game companies to date – 21, if you’re curious – it’s also sponsoring three different events and parties at the con.
American game developer Zynga announced that the company will close its office in Beijing. Zynga announced the decision while publishing its performance report for the fourth quarter of 2014. The company said that they will cut the 71 jobs in Beijing office and the related expense of USD7 million will be included in the first quarter of 2015. According to Zynga’s financial report, the company reached operating revenue of USD183 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, a year-on-year increase of 9% and an increase of 9% compared with the previous quarter.
Bandai Korea unveiled new online and mobile games using cartoon intellectual properties “Gundam” and “Digimon” in Korea, Thursday. Gundam is a sci-fi television anime series depicting giant robots and Digimon is a cartoon and video game content about creatures in an imaginary digital world. Both Japanese media contents have garnered significant popularity around the world.