Even another record-breaking Call of Duty could not rescue the US video game industry from a twelfth consecutive month of declining software sales in November, according to the latest official figures from the NPD research firm.
But the “packaged goods” disc sales are only a part of the picture, now that we have digital and social and mobile games to take into account. Judging by announcements from Facebook and DeNA this week, hard-core gamers seem just as likely nowadays to be competing in these new gaming territories. Read more
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
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
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
Video game publishers have had their best November on record in the US, according to the NPD research firm, with hard-core gamers loading up on two first-person shooters and a classic role-playing game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from Activision was the top-selling title, with Electronic Arts rival, Battlefield 3, at number three, and the highly-rated Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (pictured) from Bethesda Softworks splitting the two shooters. Read more
Nintendo has received a Black Friday boost after a black year for sales – shifting more than 500,000 Wii consoles on the biggest shopping day of the year in the US.
Sales of the 3DS handheld console have also been booming, due to a new Mario game, bundling offers and a precipitous price cut. Read more
While commencement speeches typically focus on the opportunities and successes that lie ahead in life, John Riccitiello, chief executive of Electronic Arts, challenged the norm today and delivered one to graduates on how to fail well. Visiting his alma mater, the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, Mr Riccitiello talked about difficulties in his four years as CEO at EA, while citing similar dark times for others who went on to be tech industry titans. Read more
It was “Klingons on the starboard bow” time in video games in January, with the space genre dominating. Eve Online introduced a major update to its online universe, Electronic Arts released Mass Effect 2 on the PlayStation 3 and launched Dead Space 2, which sold 440,000 units in the US, according to monthly figures released by the NPD research firm on Thursday. Read more
Electronic Arts is launching a rival games portal to Apple’s Game Center on the iPhone and iPad touch on Thursday.
Apple has approved the video game publisher’s Pogo app, which brings its PC browser-based casual games service to the App Store. Read more
How do you say “Farmville” in Japanese?
Zynga, maker of the popular social game, wants to find out.
To do so, the San Francisco company is entering into a joint venture with Softbank to develop and distribute games in Japan. As part of the deal, Softbank is investing $150m in Zynga, and will help launch the new business unit, Zynga Japan, in Tokyo.
Details of the partnership are scarce, but it will be interesting to see how Zynga’s games go over in Japan, a difficult market for foreign companies to crack. The deal also brings social gaming, which originated in Asian markets, full circle. Read more
Electronic Arts reported that losses widened and revenues fell over the past three months. But the world’s second-largest videogame maker had a better than expected quarter thanks to some well-timed releases.
Even as overall spending on videogames is down, EA results were bolstered by strong sales of “The Sims 3″, the latest release in one of the industry’s best-selling franchises, and “EA Sports Active”, a new title for the Nintendo Wii. EA lost $234m in the three months through July, compared with $95m during the same time last year. Read more