Games

Wii Console

Nintendo Wii U
Rating: 4/5

Nintendo has launched the next generation of home video consoles with the debut of the Wii U in the US, and European and Japanese launches to follow on November 30 and December 8. The unique GamePad controller is earning plaudits, but network problems and content delays are a concern.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

In a week of big numbers for a previously slumping video game industry, Activision has come up with the biggest one of all – $500m in sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops II in its first 24 hours.

On Monday, Microsoft announced $220m in first-day sales for Halo 4 and then revealed, on the 10th anniversary of Xbox Live on Thursday, that a record 442m hours were played on it last week. Meanwhile, Sony announced sales of the PlayStation 3 had passed 70m and Nintendo expects the Wii U to sell out when it goes on sale in the US this weekend. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced a management reshuffle following another significant departure from its executive ranks.

The leading social gaming company said Dave Wehner, its chief financial officer, had resigned and was joining Facebook. The company lost John Schappert, its chief operating officer, and Jeff Karp, chief marketing officer, in recent months, among a string of executive departures as Zynga reported disappointing earnings and its share price plummeted. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has acquired the Silicon Valley game developer A Bit Lucky as it tries to attract players more eager to spend money on its social games.

Rivals such as Kixeye have been monetising at much better rates than Zynga by making games that appeal to hard-core gamers. Zynga has focused on casual players to date, but it described its acquisition as a “mid-core” (whatever that means!), “multi-platform games developer”. No financial details were released, but Zynga described the deal as “small”. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Two more executives have left Zynga, the leading social gaming company whose stock has lost 70 per cent of its value since going public in December.

There has been a string of departures this month after the San Francisco-based company issued disappointing quarterly results and its stock price continued to slide. The latest to leave are vice presidents Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Steve Perlman (pictured left), founder and chief executive of OnLive, has left the groundbreaking cloud gaming company following its restructuring this month.

While Mr Perlman was “departing to work on his myriad of other projects”, according to a company statement, OnLive had been the entrepreneur’s main focus for at least the last three years. Read more

Maija Palmer

It has not been a great week for Sony employees, as the Japanese consumer electronics group carries out some late-summer pruning on its businesses. Around 1,000 people at Sony Mobile’s operations are to be let go, with two-thirds of the redundancies falling in Lund, Sweden,  as the headquarters of the mobile phone unit moves to Japan.

This was widely expected after Sony bought out Ericsson from their Sony Ericsson joint venture last year. In April this year, Sony had announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs globally. About half of these would come from the sale and spin-off of two subsidiaries, but detail about the rest is just starting to trickle through. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Zynga has announced the resignation of John Schappert, its Chief Operating Officer (pictured left as his Zynga character), in a sign that the social gaming company is wrestling to recover from its poor financial performance.

Mr Schappert quit on Wednesday, with the company stating in an SEC filing that his resignation was not because of any disagreement over Zynga’s operations, policies or practices. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Electronic Arts says subscriptions for its Star Wars: The Old Republic game have slipped below 1m, forcing it to “pivot” to a free-to-play option for the much vaunted franchise.

Launched in December, Star Wars was supposed to try to supplant Activision’s World of Warcraft (WoW) online role-playing game, but its subscribers now amount to less than 10 per cent of the 10.2m users paying for that world-leading title. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A major investor in Gaikai, the cloud gaming service bought by Sony for $380m last week, has said the console maker could do something revolutionary with its acquisition that would transcend its hardware business.

“I think [Gaikai] will really show its true promise in the hands of Sony,” Mitch Lasky, general partner at the Benchmark Capital VC firm (pictured left), told the GamesBeat 2012 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “My hope is that we are going to see ‘PlayStation as a Service’,” he said. Read more