Disney’s game development sector let go 700 of their employees, totaling 26 percent of Disney’s global staff. That’s a lot of sad faces.
These cuts comes from various internal changes. Disney’s mobile and social game sectors are coming together, combining the stronger and weaker sectors together. Disney also made the choice of outsourcing more videogame development to other companies.
Disney Interactive President James A. Pitaro explained in an interview that while they’re cutting down their videogame output by as much as 50 percent, these changes will bring in positive results for the company.
“These are large-scale changes as we focus not just on getting to profitability but sustained profitability and scalability. We’re not exiting any businesses, and we will pursue licensing partnerships in which we retain a lot of creative input.”
Disney Interactive only makes up a smaller fraction of Disney’s whole operation, bringing in $55 million of the conglomerate’s 1.84 billion profit during the last quarter. They have however constantly been hemorrhaging money, losing more than $1.3 billion for the company since 2008. Disney’s acquisition of the social game company Playdom in 2010 has especially shown to have been a $563 million dollar bust as they were unable to compete against the then rapidly growing popularity of FarmVille.
For generations, Disney has been a part of many childhoods. Keeping up with the times and the technology is crucial for them to keep their crown. Disney Infinity has especially shown to be profitable for the company with its blend of videogame and toys, selling more than three million copies since last August.
While it’s unfortunate we’ll never see another Split/Second, it looks like they could strive in the videogame and toy hybrid that Activision began with Skylanders.
Source: The New York Times
Free-to-play titles may be convenient and can offer some fun experiences when you don’t have cash to spend, but it seems like the complaints from thousands of players unknowingly purchasing in-game items have reached the European Commission.
Members of the Commission and the Consumer Protection Cooperation have taken actions to stop misleading advertising and are conducting meetings with tech companies and national enforcement authorities in the hopes of putting a stop to financial harm to consumers.
Consumer Policy Commissioner Neven Mimica explained in a statement why this move is necessary.
“Consumers and in particular children need better protection against unexpected costs from in-app purchases. National enforcement authorities and the European Commission are discussing with industry how to address this issue which not only causes financial harm to consumers but can also put at stake the credibility of this very promising market. Coming up with concrete solutions as soon as possible will be a win-win for all.”
“The use of the word ‘free’ (or similar unequivocal terms) as such, and without any appropriate qualifications, should only be allowed for games which are indeed free in their entirety, or in other words which contain no possibility of making in-app purchases, not even on an optional basis”
Advertising to children is a touchy subject and can lead companies into trouble if handled wrong. The CPC and EC are looking to developers to cut out key selling words such “Buy Now” in games and apps that appeal to children.
Overall, the EC’s goal is to get a level playing field between authorities and game companies on consumer rights. This move will hopefully bolster Europe’s game development sector with less frequent legal actions and better consumer understanding.
Here’s to hoping this move comes to North America as well.
The long running skateboarding series is back for more. That’s right, we’ll be seeing more of digital Tony Hawk and gang ollieing into digital half-pipes.
Tony announced it himself while talking on his Demolition Radio show on SiriusXM. Details weren’t specified outside of his confirmation that a new game was being developed. His co-host also mentioned that they had to wear a whole suit, likely in reference to the motion capture for the unannounced title’s in-game animations.
Activision later confirmed that they are involved with the development of a new Tony Hawk project. More information about the project will be announced soon.
Ken Levine, the head of Irrational Games studio behind the blockbuster BioShock franchise, has announced that the studio will be shutting down.
In a message posted today on the studio’s website, Levine said that the studio will be “winding down” so that Levine could work with a “smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers.” He is slimming down his team to about 15 people to focus on digitally delivered, narrative structured games.
While the announcement was abrupt, Levine does mention that Irrational Games will be helping out as best as possible to soften the blow and help find jobs for their approximately 100 developers. Industry folks are already circulating a Google document online with a list of studios that are hiring.
No comments have been made yet about the future of the BioShock franchise, but the studio will dissolve after the last DLC for BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea comes out next month.
We’ll be updating this story as more details come out.
Say what you will about Flappy Bird creator Dong Nyguen, but he is a man of his word. Nearly a day after he announced via Twitter that he was pulling his incredibly addicting game from Google Play and the App Store, the controversial title is no more.
Even though the game is (arguably) his creation and he can do with it what he wants, that didn’t stop the internet from showing just how ugly it really can be. Without fail, people took to Twitter to threaten the Vietnamese indie game developer with his life.
The threats came after Nguyen said that he “could not keep [the game] anymore,” saying that legal issues weren’t the reason behind his decision. Many called the game into question, as assets within it, like the green Super Mario-esque pipes, resembled other games wholesale.
The decision to remove the game came days after word spread that Flappy Bird was making Nyguen around $50,000 a day in ad revenue. Prior to its demise, the game was downloaded over 50 million times since its release last May.
The first issue in a new line of comic books starring Lara Croft simply titled Tomb Raider #1 will be hitting store shelves next month, bringing a new story line featuring the latest iteration of the famous British archaeologist.
As you’ll see in the preview after the break, the series takes place after the events of the 2013 sleeper hit Tomb Raider and it seems the events that transpired on Yamatai haven’t quite let Ms. Croft just yet.
Though Square Enix’s reimagining of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider is just about to turn a year old, this isn’t the first time she’s graced the pages of Dark Horse’s comic books.
To commemorate the release of Tomb Raider last March, Crystal Dynamics and Dark Horse released the first issue of a six-part series titled Tomb Raider: The Beginning. The story of the series closely followed aspects of last year’s Tomb Raider, with Lara and the crew of the Endurance marooned on the island of Yamatai.
Tomb Raider #1 will be available at retailers on Feb. 26.
At one point, MMOs had zero emphasis in voice acting, but adding voices to characters has evolved over the years. Voice actors have now become as integral to videogames as story lines are to the biggest AAA games out there.
And of course, Bethesda has spared no expenses this time around, announcing a cast of big named actors for The Elder Scrolls Online.
John Cleese of Monty Python fame joins the crew as Sir Cadwell, a character that plays on the comedian’s funny bone. Bill Nighy and Kate Beckinsale are playing the roles of nobility, while Alfred Molina, Michael Gambon, Peter Stormare, Jim Ward, Jennifer Hale and Kevin Michael Richardson play other various big roles in the upcoming title.
On the side of the Daedra, we have Lynda Carter playing as the not-so-evil Azura and Malcolm McDowell doing what he does best, voicing the the antagonistic Molag Bal. For those who played Fallout 3, you may remember McDowell as the voice of President Eden.
It’s great to see so much talent giving their voice for a big title such as The Elder Scrolls Online, but there is such a thing as overkill.
Check out the voice cast reveal video. (more…)
The Wii U is not doing too well in terms of sales, leading to losses for Nintendo. Their future is looking darker it seems.
Reuters reported earlier this week that the Nintendo Wii U has failed to reach its sales target for 2013, leading to a third year of revenue loss for the storied company. The annual loss still occurred despite Nintendo’s attempt at enticing people with a $50 price cut last September.
As a result, the company behind Mario reduced its current sales forecast for the Wii U to 2.8 million. The reduction represents a 70 percent decrease from their original forecast.
The 3DS faced a similar reduction, with its forecast lowered to 13.5 million units from it’s original goal of 18 million. In total, Nintendo expects an operating loss of 35 billion yen ($335 million) this business year instead of their original projection of a 100 billion yen ($959 million) profit.
OUYA co-founder Muffi Ghadiali has moved on from the company, leaving it without one of its key members.
Ghadiali had a key role in getting the OUYA in the public eye in addition to getting it successfully funded through Kickstarter. Ghadiali also led various hardware teams during the console’s development.
Speaking to TechCrunch, the OUYA team had the following to say.
“OUYA is focusing more on the next phase of the business and product development. We’ve made some recent changes including the departure of Muffi Ghadiali who was invaluable during the launch of OUYA. As is to be expected, OUYA is an ever-changing business, and as we continue to grow our needs shift accordingly.”
Sources say that Ghadiali decided to part with the company and not the other way around. His previous experience spans multiple companies and projects, including the Amazon Kindle and the HP TouchSmart and Media Center PC devices. So wherever he may roam, it seems like we can expect new and interesting hardware in the future.
On a stage at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Valve officially showed off their effort at bringing Steam to the living room with over a dozen variations of their “Steam Machines.“
With prices ranging from $499 to upwards of $6,000, Valve CEO Gabe Newell said he believes the 12 different varieties of Steam’s PC/Console hybrid will make a splash in the way people play at home.
“The first generation Steam Machines offers something for every gamer, which is a critical part of extending Steam into the living room,” Valve Managing Director Gabe Newell said in a press release.
Rather than handle hardware production themselves, Valve teamed up with 14 different computer manufacturers to design and put out their own variations on the Steam Machine, including:
- Digital Storm
- Falcon NW
- Next Spa
- Origin PC
Over the years, Valve and their digital distribution service called Steam have stood at the forefront of a PC gaming renaissance of sorts, thanks in part to their ridiculous propensity for sales.
“With over 3,000 games and more than 65 million gamers on Steam, it’s important to offer gamers a variety of Steam Machines that allow them to select what makes the most sense for them,” Newell said.
In recent weeks, approved Steam Machine beta testers have gotten their hands on the new hardware and controller. Their experiences, however, will naturally differ when the final products come out, as it seems each of the manufacturers are offering different hardware specifications under the hood.
Valve say the machines are currently in production and should be hitting the marketplace this year, though no specific release date has been given at this time.