Developer Greenheart Games has released a "cracked version" of its $8 PC and Mac title Game Dev Tycoon on torrents that's specifically for pirates. The cracked version of the game causes game development studios in the sim go bankrupt due to rampant in-game piracy. Greenheart claims that the pirated version of the game made up 93 percent of its player base at launch, and caused an outburst from pirates complaining about their in-game titles failing through (ironically) piracy.
It looks like several members of the team that worked on 38 Studios' under the Big Huge Games banner have made the trek to the Great White North (it's not white right now, of course) to work for BioWare Montreal and to work on the next Mass Effect title. This is according to the astute observations of the person known only as "Superannuation" in his or her latest feature over on Kotaku.
Monster Meltdown and Death Inc. developer Ambient Studios announced on its company website that it will be shutting down as a result of serious financial issues.
German game developer and publisher InnoGames announced that its online browser-based strategy game, Forge of Empires, has been named the "Best Browsergame" by the "Deutscher Computerspielepreis" (or German Computer Game Award) and has won a 50,000 Euros prize. While that is exciting news for the developer, the company also revealed that it will divide the prize money up amongst its employees. Forge of Empires beat out Skylancer: Battle for Horizon (Chimera Entertainment) and The Great Jitters - Haunted Hunt (kunst-stoff) to win.
German browser games operator Travian has laid off up to 60 employees due to "internal restructuring," according to a GamesIndustry International report - as reported by its German sister site. Multiple sources have confirmed the move with GII's German reporter during the Quo Vadis event, which is taking place this week in Berlin.
The days of worrying about what mass consumers at big retailers like Wal-Mart think are over for his company, says inXile CEO Brian Fargo. After successfully funding two major role-playing game projects - Wasteland II and Torment: Tides of Numenera - on Kickstarter and through other payment methods, the gatekeepers are gone. Or more appropriately, the gatekeepers are now the players who actually want the kind of role-playing game that inXile wants to make and are willing to pay in advance to make it happen.
Middleware game engine technology company Unity announced this week that it will no longer support Adobe's Flash, saying that the company has all but given up on its technology. In a blog post, the company said that Adobe has moved on to other projects and has basically abandoned Flash at this point:
A DePaul University report says that the Chicago game development space once dominated by titans such as Midway Games and Electronic Arts is now being mostly powered by independently owned and operated small to medium sized game studios. These studios are focusing on mobile platforms and social games, and many feature a mix of both industry veterans and newcomers trying to make a name for themselves in the industry while remaining faithful to the area.
Video game industry pioneers and USC alumni Kevin Bachus and Chanel Summers have made a donation to the USC School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) to help establish The Bachus-Summers Fund for Innovation in Interactive Entertainment. The donation was revealed today by School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Dean Elizabeth M. Daley and will be used to create a fund for student support to be awarded to those who show initiative in the fields of interactive and immersive media.
A spokesperson for Harmonix has confirmed with Polygon that the company has laid off an undisclosed number of employees.
"We can confirm that a small number of Harmonix employees were let go today," a Harmonix spokesperson told Polygon. "This decision was made due to shifting staffing priorities for Harmonix's multiple future projects."
Gustavo Zacarias of San Antonio, Texas was one of the winners of the2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge who joined a select group of students that participated today in the third White House Science Fair, an event that emphasizes and celebrates student achievements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions. The National STEM Video Game Challenge is an annual competition presented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media.
Last week TeamPixel announced that the effort to crowd source the purchase of the Homeworld series from THQ has failed after it learned that the license had been bought by someone else. The campaign began in January on Kickstarter, with TeamPixel promising to secure the license and make Homeworld 3 for PC, Mac and Linux, and Homeworld Touch for iOS and Android. The developer then refunded backers' contributions.
Game Developer Vlambeer can't seem to catch a break when it comes to other developers cloning their games. Their latest game to be cloned on the Apple App Store is Vlambeer's upcoming title Luftrausers. SkyFar is very similar to Vlambeer's game - in fact, except for a few minor aesthetics it looks identical to Vlambeer's game.
The $99 Android-based home console Ouya, has signed 10,000 developers worldwide that have signed on to produce content for the system, according to what head of developer relations Kellee Santiago told GamesIndustry.biz this week. Santiago, who co-founded Journey developer thatgamecompany and this year moved to OUYA, said that partnerships with larger companies will be announced in the coming months as well.
Earlier this week the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) issued a statement on CISPA (which we admittedly missed) coming out strongly against the cybersecurity bill passed in the House yesterday afternoon.
Capcom is blaming development projects overseas for a revised financial forecast that takes into account a special loss due to game cancellations. The company said today that it will take a $73 million hit from cancelling various projects. The company also said that it will be making more of its games in-house due to a "drop in quality" from outsourcing projects to Western studios...
Staff at L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi have been laid off after the company's in-development title Whore of the Orient was unable to find a publisher, according to a report on MCV Pacific. According to Superannuation Warner Bros. backed away from a potential publishing deal "right before last Christmas," the publisher never officially or publicly confirmed that it had anything to do with the project.
TimeGate Studios faces $7.35 million in damages and has lost control of the Section 8 license following a successful appeal by SouthPeak Interactive. TimeGate Studios tried to defend a lower court ruling in the fraud lawsuit from SouthPeak Interactive after that court threw out an arbitration decision that led to the judgment.
During the United Kingdom's March 2012 Budget it looked like plans for tax breaks for video games developers were a lock, but a European Commission (EC) investigation that was announced today has put their future in doubt. The European Commission announced today that it plans to investigate the proposals, and questions whether there is an obvious market failure in the UK games industry.
Specifically the EC is seeking answers to four key questions related to the UK games tax relief plan:
Book publisher Seven Stories Press announced today that it will publish the English language version of the book about independent game Minecraft and its creator Markus 'Notch' Persson at the end of this year. The book is called "Minecraft; The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything, and was written by Swedish journalists Linus Larsson and Daniel Goldberg, with the English translation being handled by Jennifer Hawkins.
In a recent interview with Destructoid, Bethesda Softworks marketing vice president Pete Hines told the publication that used game sales are "absolutely" a concern for his company but that they have handled it by lessening the financial impact through lots and lots of DLC for its various games including Fallout 3 and the last few games in the Elder scrolls series.
In a post today on the blog for DayZ - the zombie survival game he is working on (perhaps you have heard of it or have confused it with The War Z - it happens a lot) - which was originally built as a mod for the first-person shooter Arma 2, DayZ designer Dean "Rocket" Hall announces that he is taking a "two-month sabbatical" to go climb Mount Everest in Nepal.
Electronic Arts announced this morning that it is shutting down three games operated by its Playfish Facebook game development studio. The games going offline on June 14 include The Sims Social, SimCity Social and Pet Society. In a statement on its official blog, EA said it was shutting these games down because they no longer get the traffic they did at launch:
Don't like always-on games or consoles - you know, stuff that requires you to be connected constantly to the Internet in order to use it? Well former Epic Games creative director Cliff Bleszinski thinks that there's no avoiding a future filled with always online requirements and he thinks it is "coming soon and it's coming fast." Bleszinski made his comment in a recent personal blog post - a space where he often tackles subjects that drive gamers crazy. Clearly this is one of them.
UK agency the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has begun contacting game developers and publishers as part of an investigation to determine if any free-to-play games are acting within the law. While the OFT won't name names at this point, it says that it is contacting companies who have games with micro-transactions in them currently on the market.
The AbleGamers Foundation has won two award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS Society) for its work on creating guidelines that aid game developers in making their games easier to use for those with various physical disabilities. The MS society has awarded the AbleGamers Foundation two awards including the da Vinci award for best product in communication/educational aids for its Includification game accessibility guidelines, and the Leo for People’s Choice.