Games

Chris Nuttall

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 springRead 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

Chris Nuttall

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

Tim Bradshaw

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 marketRead more

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

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

Chris Nuttall

King.com’s rebranding of itself this week as just King is hardly innovative, but it does sum up the publisher’s current position in casual games.

Its Candy Crush Saga is the most popular game on Facebook by daily active users – with 14m players, according to Appdata – while also being the top-grossing app on iTunes and the top free app on Google Play. Read more