Angry Birds may be in free fall but two of the executives most responsible for its success are spreading their wings.
Just days after the company behind Angry Birds cut 16 per cent of its workforce amid disappointing growth, two former Rovio executives are launching their first game backed with $5m of venture capital money.
Andrew Stalbow, former head of strategic partnerships at Rovio and now chief executive at Seriously, said he hoped Thursday’s launch of Best Fiends would be the start of creating a mobile phone-centred entertainment brand. Read more
The virtual-reality creations on show at this weekend’s Oculus Connect event were as varied as they were bizarre.
Some 800 overwhelmingly male developers gathered at the upmarket Loews Hotel in Hollywood to attend presentations ranging from game design to “360-degree filmmaking”. A session dedicated to the Gear VR, Oculus’s collaboration with Samsung to launch a mobile VR headset later this year, was particularly busy.
Outside the talks, developers lined up to try Oculus’s new Crescent Bay prototype device and showed off their own VR software – just some of the 325 games uploaded to Oculus Share, its version of an app store. Read more
Oculus is closing in on the consumer release of its Rift virtual reality headset, accelerated by a huge hiring spree since its sale to Facebook in March.
It showed off its new ‘Crescent Bay’ prototype at the Oculus Connect developer conference in Los Angeles on Saturday. Read more
If you thought flying a Flappy Bird was fiendish, just wait until you try swooping Swing Copters. So say new addicts of the latest free app from cult Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, who this week overcame his famous revulsion at his previous creation to release what looks like another hit.
Droves of instant Swing Copters devotees took to Twitter Friday to bemoan how guiding the propeller-headed hero through a landscape of deadly swinging obstacles was even closer to impossible than navigating Flappy Bird’s famously exasperating arrays of killer pipes. Read more
This is the launch of the century in Chinese video gaming terms. Read more
Millions of addicted gamers are in a flap over the untimely death of Flappy Bird.
The Vietnamese creator of the most popular mobile game of 2014 has removed the app from sale after saying its internet fame “ruins my simple life”, despite making him tens of thousands of dollars a day. Read more
The verdict is in and it’s unanimous. The best gadget of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show 2014 is not a curved television, a health-tracking wristband, a Bluetooth speaker or a connected car; in fact, it’s not even a finished product. Yet the latest prototype of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has so excited attendees that tech blogs the Verge and Engadget – not to mention this FT reporter – have named it their “best in show”. Read more
Endemol, the television production company behind Big Brother and Deal or No Deal, has placed a bet on the growth of social casino gaming with the acquisition of a $13m stake in London-based startup Plumbee.
The deal, which values Plumbee at $40m, brings together the world’s largest independent TV production company with a two-year-old startup whose flagship title Mirrorball Slots is among the top ten highest grossing social casino games on Facebook. Read more
Here’s a small acquisition by Arm Holdings designed to light up its prospects in graphics chips. Read more
The PlayStation 4 is a key element of Sony’s attempt at a turnaround under Sir Howard Stringer’s successor Kaz Hirai, and the first reviews are now in on the new console, which goes on sale in the US on Friday. Read more
Activision Blizzard’s $1bn number for sales of its latest Call of Duty game sounds impressive – at double the $500m in first-day sales it announced last year – but these figures have a hard-to-grasp ghost-like quality to them. Read more
Ubisoft is ruining October for its investors and Christmas for video game fans with the news that its Watch Dogs game has been delayed till next spring. Read more
Nexon continued its march westwards this week as it partnered with one of the newest entrants to US video game development, writes Jennifer Thompson in Tokyo.
The Japanese online game maker is to take a minority stake in Shiver Entertainment, a Florida-based studio set up by industry veteran John Schappert, a former top executive at Electronics Arts and Zynga. Read more
The world of video gaming used to be dominated by the big publishers releasing games on consoles and the PC. But the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming and new digital distribution channels has led to a big increase in successful indie games. Reaching a large audience used to be about having the biggest budget or the most successful franchise. That isn’t the case today, writes Daniel Garrahan. Read more
Zynga appears to have wasted the $200m it was understood to have paid last year for OMGPop – with the Draw Something maker’s New York office being reportedly shut down as part of the restructuring announced this week.
It had already written down the March 2012 acquisition by around $90m last October as the drawing game’s popularity waned. Zynga is laying off 18 per cent of its global workforce – around 520 people – as it tries to shift the focus of its business away from Facebook to mobile games. One alleged victim of the cuts has been sounding off on Reddit over the past few hours about his experience at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters. Read more
Ouya, the open-source games console, has become the first Kickstarter tech project to graduate to a more traditional funding scheme – venture capital.
After getting $8m from 63,000 crowdfunders last August, Ouya on Thursday announced it has raised $15m from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Mayfield Fund and Nvidia, to accelerate its plan to attack the mass market. Read more
LucasArts has shut down Star Wars games in development and is laying off staff, as the San Francisco-based publisher switches to a licensing model for video games.
The decision means Star Wars 1313, greeted enthusiastically by gamers at last year’s E3 convention when a preview was shown, and Star Wars:First Assault, a planned first-person shooter, will not now appear. A small team working on casual games is also being disbanded. Read more
John Riccitiello made a final public appearance as chief executive of Electronic Arts at the unveiling of Battlefield 4 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.
He steps down on Saturday, resigning, according to the official account, over the company missing its numbers for the current fiscal year ending March 31.
The poor performance of another first-person shooter, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, last autumn contributed to this, but Mr Riccitiello’s green-lighting of Battlefield 4 could give his successor an easier ride this coming year. Read more