Square Enix has shut down the mobile studio Smileworks in Indonesia - a mere 18 months after it opened its doors. The company confirmed in a statement to GII that all 14 of the people the small studio employed are now out of work as well. Square Enix opened the Surabaya, Java-based Smileworks studio 18 months ago in hopes of developing mobile game content for Indonesia. Apparently the studio did not live up to Square Enix's expectations.
U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting China this week to promote U.S-China relations and to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement as a good idea to world leaders in Asia. As you know, there's a lot wrong with the TPP - you can learn more about it by visiting the Electronic Frontier Foundation's fact sheet on TPP to learn more.
Nintendo plans to launch new console platforms in emerging markets beginning next year, according to this Bloomberg report.
"We want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have," President Satoru Iwata told Bloomberg this week. "The product and price balance must be made from scratch."
A QQ Games report on a BesTV earnings call this week reveals that the firm expects to sell Xbox One units in China. During its earnings call BesTV, a Chinese media giant that Microsoft partnered with to jump into the country's emerging console market, said that it would sell 100,000 units in China, where it is scheduled to launch in July.
An affidavit by an FBI undercover agent details how California State Senator Leland Yee (and a group he regularly used) allegedly supplied arms to, among others, Muslim rebels in the Philippines. The Philippines government has been in a long running war with rebels, who want to turn Mindanao into an Islamic state.
According to sales numbers in a report from SuperData, Riots Games' popular MOBA game League of Legends generated $624 million in 2013, beating out such big brand name games as Dungeon Fighter Online, World of Tanks, Maplestory, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike Online and World of Warcraft - just to name a few.
A documentary about the ill effects of online game addiction in South Korea made its debut this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. According to the festival's official website (as reported on by GameSpot), the documentary explores South Korea's online gaming culture as it follows the story of a couple whose three-month-old daughter died of malnutrition while they were allegedly playing the massively multiplayer online game, Prius Online.
Apparently Sony Computer Entertainment was a bit surprised that Westerners (Europe, North America and regions outside Asia) were fascinated and interested in its micro-console, the PS Vita TV. Speaking with Eurogamer today at the Tokyo Game Show, Sony Japan exec Masayasu Ito said that the response had been "strong... more than we expected."
Sony's micro-console will not be available outside of Asia right away, according to a report on Techon (as unearthed by PS3Trophies). Speaking at a round-table press event on Sept. 10, Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House said that the PS Vita will be released only in Asia, starting with Japan - at launch.
Drawing conclusions based on a lack of evidence is not mutually exclusive to politicians in America and in Europe, as evidenced in this Peninsula report. According to the publication, one politician in the Philippines is indirectly blaming video and arcade games for the recent rash of shootings in the country.
League of Legends maker Riot Games announced that, beginning in early 2013, it will kick off the League of Legends Championship Series. The new professional gaming league will feature teams from North America, Europe and Asia, taking part in multiple regular season matches each week, all streamed in HD broadcasts available globally for free.
More importantly, players will actually be paid like the professional gamers that many of them are.
Last month IGN opened a new portal dedicated to Middle Eastern countries and this month it is tackling a whole new region on the map: Asia Pacific. The News Corp. owned mega-portal dedicated to gaming and entertainment will be launching a portal to serve China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Niko Partners has released its 2011 Southeast Asian Game Market Regional Report covering the fast growing geographical region that includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The report offers analysis on the online games segment, as social games and free to play online games are primary drivers for growth in these countries.
Two social game developers are warning that using inflated monthly active user (or MAU's) number is not a good idea - particularly when it comes to data coming out of games available in Asia. According to social game makers InnoGames and A Bit Lucky monthly and daily active numbers from Asia are not a good measure of a game's success because some regions don't offer any serious monetization.
A recent fire at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu City, China has slowed down production of the iPad, which may lead to shortages of the device in the not- too-distant future. You may recall that Foxconn is the same global manufacturing company that saw a raft of suicides last year because of poor working and living conditions and complaints that the company was paying its workers what equated to slave wages.
The latest tragedy to hit the company is a fire at its Chengdu City plant where 15 were injured and three employees died. Foxconn's Chengdu site shipped around 25 - 30 percent of the total iPad 2 devices shipped in April, while its Shenzhen site made up the rest, according to unnamed sources speaking to Digitimes.
The developers of a video game called Undercover UXO, (short for unexploded ordnance) aim to teach children in Cambodia and other war-torn regions about the dangers of land mines and other explosive devices - remnants of past wars in the region. In Cambodia, explosive devices have injured nearly 64,000 people in the last three decades, according to the Cambodian Mine/Explosives Remnants of War Victim Information System. Around 286 people were injured last year.
The new video game was designed by professors at Michigan State University using a $78,000 grant from the State Department. The game has been selected by the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation for a pilot run in Cambodia. So far, the game has been tested on children in its Phnom Penh office before introducing it to communities that are more rural and where the dangers of mines is even more prevalent.
It was a different scene today at the Shenzhen, China-based Foxconn plant, which employs over 300,000 workers who assemble everything from iPhones to video game accessories. Today Foxconn held a rally designed to promote living and loving life and to generally boost the morale of workers - who only a few months ago were as unhappy as a worker can be in a plant that expects the average employee to work 80 hours of overtime a week.
Just a few months ago morale was so low that more than a dozen employees committed suicide, prompting the company to install safety nets on the top of its buildings. But more importantly, it made the company face the reality that productivity has to be balanced with the well being of its employees.
Is China declining as an affordable manufacturing solution for companies like Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and more? Not quite yet, but as the Chinese government, and corporations like Foxconn are forced to raise wages, the bottom line for foreign companies may get smaller and smaller. The bottom line rules the universe. Consumers could feel it at the checkout line or corporations will take serious steps to keep manufacturing costs down.
Foxconn is, at least publicly, taking a beating from its clients - whose ranks include Apple, Nokia, Sony, Nintendo and more. Today Nintendo, Nokia and Sony announced in separate statements that they are conducting investigations into reports concerning a number of suicides that have occurred at several Foxconn facilities in China. Companies like Nintendo and Sony use Foxconn to manufacture products and components cheaply. The company owned by Hon Hai Precision Industries employs approximately 430,000.
Some reports have suggested that many of these companies are aware of the low pay, pressure, and bad working conditions that employees of Foxconn face; after all auditors and other company officials frequently check on production quotas and other matters that affect their supply chains.. Earlier in the week Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard issued statements saying that they take working conditions "seriously" and plan to do their own investigations into these matters.
Vietnamese legislators openly criticized a government minister for failing to act to regulate online games, reports the Thanh Nien News.
Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop (left) addressed the National Assembly last week to discuss plans to manage online gaming. However, representative Nguyen Ngoc Dao claimed that online games caused "moral and mental erosion" and argued that Hop's strategy was insufficient.
Hop told legislators that online games could not be banned and began to speak of their advantages and disadvantages. Those comments were cut short by another representative, Nguyen Van Thuan, who wanted to hear more about enforcement of regulations directed at online games:
The representatives were not asking about the pros and cons of online games but they wanted to know if the ministry was responsible for the current situation.
Management is supposed to include the issuing of regulations and the enforcement of them but the minister hasn’t talked about enforcement.
Malaysia's New Straits Times ran a front page article yesterday which urged parents to monitor the video games that their children play.
Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah (left), who heads the National Consumer Complaints Centre, said that neither parents nor retailers are taking game ratings seriously enough:
These classifications are given by the producers of the games but when they are sold, traders rarely make it a practice to sell according to the recommended age group. They do not see how serious an impact it can have on children...
It is similar to what happened when junk food and fast food became available to children. We are now seeing many obese children. Similarly, in 20 years, we may have adults who practise the wrong values.
There is no law on video games. Therefore, these ratings must be actively promoted to parents.
The Times also quotes an unnamed consumer advocate:
The onus is on parents. Just as many failed to realise the dangers posed by junk food, today's parents are also failing to realise the dangers of violent video games and television shows... for video games, it is the parents' duty to ensure they don't contain violent content.
Parents must ensure they are not building a generation of fat, violent kids.
Apparently, games sold in the Malaysian market carry ESRB ratings. Complicating the issue of rating enforcement, however, is the wide availability of pirated games in Malaysia.
Via: Nine Over Ten
An editorial in Bangladesh newspaper The New Nation draws on every negative cliche you've ever heard - and some you probably haven't - to indict video games for a variety of social ills.
Linking games to violence, sex, addiction, poor grades and social isolation? Not new.
Swollen fingers? Muscle problems? Lying? Stealing money to play games? Give the author points for originality, at least. From the editorial:
Playing video games is an addiction...[a doctor said] "There arise some physical problems too. If children play video games for a long time, their fingers get swollen and they face problems in their muscles. These may lead to serious physical problems in the future."
Psychologically, Dr Tamanna says, the consequence is even worse. Due to these games, children get attracted to violence and sex... The children who play at shops have to lie or steal money... When children keep on playing games, they cannot control themselves... electric waves of brains get changed... For playing too much of games, children can't be attentive to their studies... [they] become disobedient... social interaction... gets lesser...
...Subconsciously, children are learning crimes. These games are destroying children's sympathy for others... Children are getting encouraged in fighting. They are not learning to see a wrong thing as wrong...
GP: There is one solid point in all of this, however. Apparently, piracy is big in Banladesh and the writer complains that kids are buying plain CDs with no parental advisories visible.