Games

Richard Milne

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. 

Tim Bradshaw

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. 

Tim Bradshaw

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. 

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

This is the launch of the century in Chinese video gaming terms. 

goog3

Smart watches, TVs and cars featured prominently on Wednesday as Google laid out its plans for pushing its Android smartphone software into new fields. At its annual I/O developer event in San Francisco, “wearables” had pride of place, with news that the first smartwatches based on Android Wear are now on sale – before Apple unveils its much-anticipated iWatch. With Android TV and Android Auto, on the other hand, Google was playing catch up with Apple. The event pointed to how the battle for the next big tech markets beyond the smartphone will be fought. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw were at the Moscone Center for this round. 

Tim Bradshaw

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. 

Tim Bradshaw

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”. 

Robert Cookson

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. 

Here’s a small acquisition by Arm Holdings designed to light up its prospects in graphics chips.