GAMING UPDATE August 2010 GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 //
August UPDATE GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // It seems that our Gaming Update is reaching much further than we could ever imagine. Everyone is trying to dip their toes in the gaming pool. From director Guillermo Del Toro to Larry and Sergey over at Google. It’s obvious: they read our Gaming Update and don’t want to miss their chance to jump on this raging train. The future is a frontier where games are intertwined with our daily lives like milk with cereal. Who knows who will get inspired by this issue?
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // EPIC WIN //REALLY GETTING THINGS DONE When I get home tonight, I know there will be dishes in the sink. When I get home tomorrow, I know those dishes will still be there. Some things just never get done. To help you overcome this, the Epic Win iPhone application gets you going. How? By turning all your chores into an adventure. Your to-do list becomes a role-playing game in which you can level-up, get rich and develop your skills. The application rewards you when you do the things you would normally try to put off. It’s the same psychological trick your parents played on you when you had to clean your room. We are just a little bit older now and we own fancy iPhones, so run to the iPhone appstore to get Epic Win… or just put it on your to-do list. to-do list. TRAILER www.epicwinapp.com
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // GOOGLE INVESTS IN ZYNGA //WHEN GIANTS PLAY TOGETHER When the web giant from California puts its mind to gaming, you know it’s gonna be something big. As a prelude to Google Games, Google invested over $100 million in social gaming icon Zynga. The guys behind Farmville and Mafia Wars rule social gaming with a revenue expected to hit the one billion dollar mark in 2011. Zynga will become the cornerstone of Google Games, which is expected to launch later this year. In May, Google already started the search for senior staff who will “be responsible for developing Google’s games commerce product strategy and partnering to build and manage the business with a cross-functional team”. If Google is jumping on the bandwagon, it’s time to hold on tight! www.zynga.com SONY TEAMS UP WITH GOOGLE //PLAYSTATION PHONE COMING? Rumours are flooding gaming websites. Sony is developing a brand new gaming platform and device based on Google’s Android mobile platform. It will be the kind of phone every gaming fan will need. Imagine a landscape slider phone with game controls, a touch pad and shoulder buttons. Games will graphically come close to the PSP (PlayStation Portable) games we know today. Titles in the pipeline are God of War, Call of Duty and Little Big Planet together with plans for augmented reality in the future. A possible launch could be as early as October. Put some money aside for the PlayStation phone already, but beware, for now these are only rumours. We wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone.
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // ERIC HIRSHBERG //FROM ADVERTISING TO GAMING When Activision, the largest game developer in the world, found its new publishing division CEO, the general CEO commented “He is one of the most inspiring people I know, with a keen understanding of popular culture.” This must be an ad man, we thought. Activision Publishing’s new captain is nobody else but Eric Hirshberg, former Chief Creative Officer at Deutsch LA. With Playstation as a client under his belt, Eric is the right kind of ad guy to make the step to gaming. “We believed it was vital to have a leader who was a dedicated gamer, inspired creative thinker, and possessed the ability to manage and lead creative talent in a manner that produced both superior products and provided superior shareholder returns” said general CEO Bobby Kotick about the hire. The lines between both industries seem to blur more and more. Who’s next? And are we going to see a counter move from advertising to gaming too? Good luck Eric! www.activision.com
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // DISNEY BUYS PLAYDOM //GET SOCIAL WITH MICKEY What would you do with $763 million? If you were Disney, you would buy a gaming startup. It happened to Playdom, an online social game developer, a couple of weeks ago. Sure some champagne bottles have been popped, but right now the people at Playdom are probably very busy finding a way to let consumers interact with Mickey and his friends online. The developer is known for online games like Social City and Market Street with around 42 million active players each month. www.playdom.com FARMVILLE //BRANDED CROPS The time is ripe (you can take that literally) for branded crops on Farmville. Plant some Cascadian Farm branded blueberries on your fake farm and learn about organic produce first hand. It is not the first time that the online social game introduces special crops for charities or special occasions, but it is the first time you get to plant some tasty branded fruit. What you get in return as a player is quick harvesting and a lot of cash. We would all give a leg of our Farmville horse for that, but the sad truth is that the action ended on the 26th of July (when we were on holiday, drinking cocktails in the sun). www.farmville.com
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // LIMBO //A DIFFERENT KIND OF GAME Hail to our countrymen and neighbours at Playdead game studio. One of the coolest games of the year was developed around the corner from Advance in Copenhagen. This dark, solitary game is totally different from the big colourful, spectacular productions we are used to. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to fall in love with. The dark mood catches you straight away and takes you into a nightmarish world where everything and everyone seems to be against you. Your main goal is to make it out of Limbo alive by solving puzzles along the way. It’s a bit different from shooting monsters in the head, but is certainly no less rewarding. Just make sure you don’t play it before bedtime. It might keep you up all night, holding your worn-out teddybear for comfort. TRAILER www.limbogame.org
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // Wii SELLS LIKE CUPCAKES //30 MILLION CONSOLES IN THE U.S. 45 months to sell 30 million game consoles in the United States. That sounds like something only Nintendo could do. And they did! From the launch of the Wii in November 2006 until now, Nintendo has put a virtual golf club or tennis racket in the hands of millions of American moms, dads, brothers and sisters. Exactly how many vases and lamps have been destroyed by wide swings has not been communicated by Nintendo, but our guess is it runs in the lower millions too. According to Cammie Dunaway, EVP of sales and marketing at Nintendo of America “More than any other video game system in history, Wii has expanded the world of video games to new audiences. This milestone is another reminder that people want fun games they can play with others, all at a value-minded price”. That value-minded price is set at $199.99 and give you a choice between a black or white version. www.nintendo.com
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // CHINA’S NEW GAMING LAW //PROTECT THE CHILDREN Ni hao! ( 你好 ) When China writes out laws they do it thoroughly. With an online population of 420 million, China has passed a law against the radically growing online game industry. The idea is to protect children from internet addiction and inappropriate content. Last year numerous children died at rehabilitation centers for internet addiction around the country. The Ministry of Culture decided this was one step too far and took steps to prevent this from happening in the future. China’s new gaming law states that online games targeting minors must be free of all content leading to the imitation of behavior that violates social morals and the law. From this month on, gamers will only be able to register and log on to online games using their real names. The online game developers from their side will have to put limitations on the amount of time minors can spend playing their games. A big hit for the Chinese gaming industry, but a victory for all Chinese mothers who would like to see their kids make more time for their homework.
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // TROPICO 3 ABSOLUTE POWER //RULE THE CARIBBEAN Summer is almost over here in Copenhagen, but head over to the Caribbean and you will get sun all year long. With a lot of money, you may even be able to buy yourself into power in one of those small paradises. For the less fortunate among us, there is always Tropico 3’s expansion pack Absolute Power, the game that takes you to a Cold War-era Caribbean island and puts you in the chair of “El Presidente”. You can choose if you want to take the tyrant way or good statesman approach. Turn your little empire into a vacation paradise, a police state or a modern industrial nation, add some intimidation of political opponents, hold long populist speeches and shake it all up for a tasty Caribbean cocktail. Just don’t get too comfortable with your position; before you can say “Cuba Libre” you might be overrun by communists, revolutionaries or capitalists. Tropical 3 Absolute Power will be keeping us warm when winter comes. TRAILER www.tropico3.com
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // DARKSPORE //SPORE’S EVIL NEW BROTHER Creating funky creatures was all the rage back in 2008 when Spore came out. Two years later the game developers decided it was time to replace the funkiness with some darkness. Darkspore will be an online, science-fiction action role-playing game that recreates the most horrifying creatures you dreamt about last night. Of course you will set out to save the galaxy from the mutated forces of Darkspore as a single player, in a four-player co-operative or in a fully-fledged multiplayer battle. The aim is to collect “living weapons”, genetic creatures with different skills, and upgrade them with body parts and all kinds of fashionable armour. Launch is scheduled for February 2011. TRAILER www.darkspore.com
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // MEDAL OF HONOR //TALIBAN TROUBLE Shooting terrorists in games is fun, let’s be honest about it. But it becomes a whole lot less fun if those terrorists don’t shoot back. That is what EA must have thought while developing the online multiplayer option for its new Medal of Honor title. While the war in Afghanistan has new casualties every day, at home you can now choose the side of Taliban fighters in a video game. Shooting U.S. Army Rangers or throwing a grenate to an Allied Forces truck, you can be the terrorist. Needless to say this is generating some controversy, especially among the families of American soldiers. Who is right or wrong is a difficult question to answer, but the fact is that games have become such an integral part of our culture and so close to reality, a mere option within a game ( in single player, you are the American Ranger) can create a lot of buzz. www.medalofhonor.com
GAMING UPDATE // AUGUST 2010 // EA CREATE //FAMILY GAMING FUN When Electronic Arts unveiled Create earlier this month, Harvey Elliott, VP and General Manager at EA Bright Light said: “We wanted to design a game where the entire family can explore, decorate, and solve challenges where no solution is wrong and the only limit is the imagination. Create uses families’ imaginations to develop new ways to play together that are both fun and challenging.” There you go, a challenging fun family game. Loads of level creation and puzzle solving. A bit like Little Big Planet, right? Create will come to your Mac, Playstation, PC, Wii or Xbox in November. From then on you can try to unlock brushes, tools, props and other rewards to solve the different levels of puzzle challenges. If you are really proud of your creations and solutions, you can share them with the community. Your friends can then download them and finetune your artwork to their liking. The PlayStation version will support Move motion control. TRAILER www.create.ea.com