Games

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

Tim Bradshaw

Angry Birds developer Rovio has already become the first app maker to successfully transfer its brand from digital to physical, with all sorts of merchandising and toys.

Now the Finnish company is making its most ambitious play yet to become – in its words – a “fully fledged entertainment powerhouse” with the launch of a weekly cartoon series this weekend. Read more

A web games company is about to test the appetite for Chinese floats in the US in one of the first such deals since the accounting scandals that rocked many Chinese companies in 2011.

7Road.com is the games subsidiary of Changyou.com, a Chinese online game developer that in turn is majority-owned by Nasdaq-listed Sohu.com.

 Read more

Sony teased gamers with details of its next-generation PlayStation 4, expected to launch around Christmas, at an event in New York this week. But with no console to be seen, promises of improved graphics and social gaming features did not appease the concerns of those who worry that the group could be close to losing its last chance at a comeback. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Wooga, the social games developer behind Diamond Dash and Monster World, said it was profitable last year, but indicated that it had no immediate plans to follow rival Zynga onto the public markets.

“We were profitable for the year 2012,” said Jens Begemann, Wooga’s founder and chief executive at a press briefing in San Francisco where he also unveiled four new gamesRead more