Industry

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The past month in the world of games journalism was riddled with controversy which put gamers, the game journalists and the hobby itself in a bad light. Big and now often abused words such as “misogyny”, “sexist”, and even “rapists” have been thrown out and used to generalize the “gamer identity” in an attempt to sensationalize news posts in various online outlets. Personally, all those digs at gamers and the conspiracies which followed such as #TheFappening looking like an elaborate scheme to get more people to drink the Social Justice Warrior Kool-Aid by vilifying people who associate themselves with the sub-culture of being a video gamer. What do these SJWs really want in life? I would imagine it to be some semblance of credibility and clout which would translate to money or projects that would generate money for themselves. I mean, I would do it that way given the opportunity and a lapse of my own principles. I mean a cry out for “inclusion” in video games and popular culture such as comic books seems like a far cry from real social issues happening around the world.

Looking back at covering the Tokyo Game Show last month, I couldn’t help but notice a few things people didn’t really talk about. What outlets would have talked about are the JAV (Japanese Adult Video) Idols in the Ryu Ga Gotokou (Yakuza) booth and the giant Onee-chan Bara demo booth where patrons would play the demo of a game about scantily-clad girls slashing things inside the boobs of a girl printed on a wall. There was also no shortage of booth girls (who would have been scrutinized by someone) and even hired female name-cosplayers whose jobs were to give out promotional materials or just to strike poses for the deluge of photographers, press and non-press alike that would come to convention. Despite the general male-centric fantasy tone of the showcased products, I did notice a healthy population of women in the crowd participating as consumers lining up in the demo booths of any game you could find in the show floor.

Typical crowd you will find in TGS.
Typical crowd you will find in TGS.

It was not only in the demo booths but in the presentation panels such as the Yakuza presentation panel which featured 10 JAV Idols and the game is about three things: money, violence, and women. Do these women who attend the panel and not voice out any objections about glorifying the Yakuza life as it is misogynistic towards women do a disservice to their own gender? I believe not, I think these women who were watching the same presentation beside or behind me who just laughed off the raunchy content of the game simply just get it. Video games are not a reflection of reality, it’s fantasy. We do things in video games that we can’t do in real life. They don’t enable us to just “live our lives in the game” like people looking outside-in would assume. It’s just passing the time and having fun, then we get on with our real world things. How hard is that to figure out? Explain. The people who get caught up with those games and virtual worlds obviously need help not because of video games but because of their upbringing and how society (the real world) interacted with them.

Anybody going to cry for social justice?
Anybody going to cry for social justice?

Yakuza and similar games are targeted to a male audience and that’s not a bad thing. Having said that, it’s not like there aren’t ANY games targeted to female fantasies either. There is a game in the TGS published on the Playstation Vita and obviously hyper-sexualizes men in all their glorious um… I don’t know manly beauty? However, the point of all this isn’t about some gender commentary and how video games, should portray gender roles. The writers and game designers could honestly do anything they want, as long as it’s in good-will to deliver and entertaining product. If it’s too sexualized, violent, or emotional intense to your liking, don’t buy it. Say it makes you uncomfortable but don’t demand that your opinion be taken into consideration for the entirety of the game or ALL GAMES for that matter. There is a reason why markets are segmented and not all products are inclusive of every possible demographic there is out there.  It is the same way comics (another favorite target of SJWs) are marketed. There is a comic series for everyone, there would be even more titles you will find interesting if you can (and should) move past things like gauging how offensive a character’s pose would be and how sexualized or un-sexualized a character is with their old/new costume. If we go down that route, haven’t we already forgotten what video games are supposed to be for? You know, that thing called “game play” and why we all played games in the first place? Sure, maybe it was the box-art, or CG video (for playstation and above era gamers) that put a game on our radar but if they didn’t play well, we wouldn’t have given them the time of day or most of our childhood, which is the more likely case. It was a real shitty time to read about games in mainstream news outlets late August to September and I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again. As adults who still indulge in video games, we know where we stand and we most certainly have our own identity. We look forward to the new challenges and thrills video game

Now this doesn't look so bad after looking at half naked hyper-sexualized male rock stars, right? These two games come from the same publisher by the way.
Now this doesn’t look so bad after looking at half naked hyper-sexualized male rock stars, right?

companies will lay out in the installment of “Popular Franchise A-Z” not how we are apparently misogynists and suppressed rapists for partaking in the hobby. We are functioning members of society just like everyone else but we prefer to play video games over partying in clubs, watching sports in bars, or I don’t know spending time in gentleman’s clubs.

With all these people clamoring for “social justice” in video games and other popular media about apparent sexism, it makes me wonder if they ever truly partook in the hobby they are criticizing. There are so many things to talk about regarding games. If not the game itself, the artists and musicians behind it. Better yet, what about the various art and game development schools who have had graduates or even undergraduates already contribute to gaming? Did you know that there were art schools and game development schools participating in the Tokyo Game Show as exhibitors too?

Every time a SJW defends him/herself by calling their critics gatekeepers,it just makes me doubt their sincerity towards the hobby even more. So basically they are stirring up controversy just to be relevant, right? Then why would I give a hoot about any of those twisting words and taking context out of games and turning them into rallying cries to stand up against injustice against a gender, belief, or culture. Ulterior motives all over, nothing to see here.

There are so many real social issues which need to be taken on that have no relationship to video games which is a form of entertainment for the financially stable. Video games are where people would pass time in the hopes to be entertained in the manner of their choosing. The fervor of the SJWs against video games are certainly appreciated in real social issues that directly affect the lives of REAL people such as poverty in Africa and developing countries such as the Philippines. Or perhaps against victims of extreme religious or cultural beliefs which actually practice or condone misogyny towards women. But no, they are directed at trivial things on mainstream platforms (video games and comics) with ulterior motives. Therefore, you sirs and madams who exist to be offended for other people are not welcome in the world of video games. I know where I stand and I choose to boycott any game developer, publisher, and news site which partakes in putting SJW garbage on a pedestal. This is the best way to ensure they fall out of relevance.

On a lighter note, I leave you all with all the other sights of TGS. It was glorious and I look forward to coming back next year with video game coverage instead of commentary on shit-eaters trying to gain more clout and “making a name for themselves.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Kaihinmakuhari station
At the Kaihinmakuhari station

Major item in bucket list crossed, y’all. Finally got into Tokyo Game Show this year which is definitely one of the biggest events in all of gaming. All the giants in the video games industry were at the Makuhari Messe to showcase their latest games and titles under development that we should all look forward in the next few months. Notable attendees were Sony and Microsoft (Nintendo does not attend TGS for some reason but was still present through 3rd party devs), Konami, Sega, Capcom, Square Enix, Bandai Namco and more. We were super stoked to see the presentations by esteemed game directors, squealed loudly with more than 220,000 game fans, and shared some of the disappointments as well. Here are some of the pictures I took in the event (and some captioning for context). Enjoy!

More pictures and coverage on Alex’s post soon! I will also be posting about select games that we got to test on the floor as well.

Alas, it’s that time of year again where every otherwise-rational gaming enthusiast turns into drooling manchildren, evacuating their trousers for games that will never live up to their expectations. It must be E3 season!

Due to… scheduling conflicts (yeah let’s go with that), 30lives won’t be able to actively cover E3 this year like we were able to last year. However, we promise that we’ll be sending out smarmy tweets and Facebook posts whenever appropos, so make sure to watch our social media pages for ’em. Predictions? We haven’t been paying much attention. Personally I’m pining for a Fallout 4 trailer (with gameplay this time) and for Nintendo to pull something cool out their behinds. Otherwise, it’s looking like a “safe,” sterile and uneventful E3 this year, as none of the expected announcements really excite me.

If you’re new to E3, you’ll soon figure out that the actual press conferences (i.e., where the actual hype/hilarity happens) actually take place a few days from the conference. That’s right, starting tomorrow, all bets are on as to which company’s PR/marketing department deserves to be fired. Microsoft will kick off the pressers at 9:30am (PST, which is… 12:30am Tuesday Philippine time), followed by EA, Ubisoft, and Sony. Nintendo won’t have a live press conference; instead they’ll be broadcasting a live Nintendo Direct to take the company’s yearly dump on their fans. I really liked this chart from NeoGAF, so I’ll be stealing it. For those that didn’t make it past grade school, the Perth/AWST schedule is what you’re supposed to be looking at.

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Twitch.tv will be the official streaming partner for this year’s E3, and will be broadcasting a smorgasbord of content throughout the next week. For your convenience, here’s what’s on their schedule; please note that all times specified are in Pacific Standard Time.

Monday 6/9 PT

  • 9:30am – Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing
  • 11:00am – Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing Post show
  • 11:30pm – Hotline Miami 2 (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)
  • 12:00pm – EA World Premiere: E3 2014 Preview
  • 1:00pm – Battlefield Hardline Live Stream
  • 2:00pm – EA World Premiere: E3 2014 Post show
  • 2:30pm – Battlecry (Bethesda)
  • 3:00pm – Ubisoft 2014 E3 Media Briefing
  • 4:00pm – Ubisoft 2014 E3 Media Briefing Post show
  • 4:30pm – Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED)
  • 5:00pm – Dying Light (Techland)
  • 5:30pm – Final thoughts
  • 6:00pm – PlayStation E3 2014 Press Conference

Tuesday 6/10 PT

  • 9:00am – Nintendo Digital Event
  • 10:00am – Deep Silver (Unannounced title)
  • 10:15am – Deep Silver (Unannounced title)
  • 10:30am – Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
  • 11:00am – Ubisoft (Unannounced title)
  • 11:20am – The Division (Ubisoft)
  • 11:40am – Farcry 4 (Ubisoft)
  • 12:00pm – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Activision)
  • 12:20pm – Microsoft Studios (Unannounced title)
  • 12:40pm – Microsoft Studios (Unannounced title)
  • 1:00pm – DRIVECLUB (SCEA)
  • 1:20pm – Evil Within (Bethesda)
  • 1:40pm – Lords of the Fallen (NAMCO)
  • 2:00pm – Destiny (Activision/BUNGIE)
  • 2:20pm – The Order: 1886 (SCEA)
  • 2:40pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 3:00pm – Evolve Special Tournament (2K)
  • 4:00pm – Super Smash Bros. Invitational (Nintendo)

Wednesday 6/11 PT

  • 10:00am – Alienware
  • 10:30am – Twitch Time
  • 11:00am – Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games/Microsoft Studios)
  • 11:20am – ID@Xbox (Unannounced title)
  • 11:40am – Killer Instinct: Season Two (Iron Galaxy/Microsoft Studios)
  • 12:00pm – Square Enix (Unannounced title)
  • 12:20pm – Square Enix (Unannounced title)
  • 12:40pm – H1Z1 (Sony Online Entertainment)
  • 1:00pm – EA (Unannounced title)
  • 1:20pm – Batman: Arkham Knight (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • 1:40pm – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • 2:10pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 2:30pm – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Unannounced title)
  • 2:50pm – Crytek (Unannounced title)
  • 3:00pm – SCEA (Unannounced title)
  • 3:15pm – SCEA (Unannounced title)
  • 3:30pm – Hohokum (Honeyslug, SCE Santa Monica Studio)
  • 3:45pm – Helldivers (Arrowhead Game Studios/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • 4:00pm – Alien Isolation (The Creative Assembly/SEGA)
  • 4:20pm – Civilization: Beyond Earth (2K)
  • 4:40pm – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition on PS4 (Blizzard)
  • 5:00pm – Evolve Special Tournament (2K)

Thursday 6/12 PT

  • 10:00am – Tetris w/creator Alexey Pajitnov
  • 10:15am – Zombies Monsters Robots (Ying Pei Games)
  • 10:30am – Guinness World Records – certificate presentation
  • 11:00am – Fable Legends (LionHead/Microsoft Studios)
  • 11:20am – #IDARB (ID@Xbox)
  • 11:40am – Project Spark (Team Dakota/Microsoft Studios)
  • 12:00pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 12:20am – Square Enix (Unannounced title)
  • 12:40pm – PlanetSide 2 PS4 Edition (Sony Online Entertainment)
  • 1:00pm – 505 Games (TBD) 1:20pm – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Unannounced title)
  • 1:40pm – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (Gearbox/2K)
  • 2:00pm – Ubisoft (Unannounced title)
  • 2:20pm – The Crew (Ubisoft)
  • 2:40pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 3:00pm – Tecmo Koei (Unannounced title)
  • 3:20pm – Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes (Disney Interactive)
  • 3:40pm – SEGA Sonic BOOM! (SEGA)
  • 4:00pm – Evolve Special Tournament (2K)

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Something to get excited about, folks. Local game developer Altitude Games is releasing a mobile game reminiscent of your favorite Tokusatsu shows from the 80s called Run Run Super V.

RRSV_ScreenMockup_VehicleModeThe game has three different modes:  Run mode which is a side-scrolling runner game mode set in the city, Vehicle mode where you can blast baddies in a shooter type of game and this is where it gets interesting, the Robot Mode where you can all “volt in” to fight a daikaiju (giant monster) and time your attacks to defeat it. The game uses one-touch controls like tapping or swiping so casual gamers can get in on the fun without breaking a sweat.

An interesting social feature is also integrated in the game where you can invite your friends for team missions. Each friend can play one of the sentai guys (or girl!) and play the different game modes together. Special rewards are acquired if your team performs well in each mission, and these are stuff that you cannot get in the single player mode too.

Each ranger is customizable with power ups, vehicles and other stuff and you can do that by getting rewards or buying them in the game’s store.

“Robots, aliens, rangers doing hero poses, and a burning team spirit. That’s what Sentai is all about. It’s flashy, epic, and never gets old,” said Jan Rey Solomon, Product Manager at Altitude Games. “We’re super-psyched to let everyone experience THAT, on the go.” RRSV_ScreenMockup_RobotMode

“We love playing mobile games that combine familiar gameplay with cool and unexpected themes, and that’s what we want to do with Super V,” Luna Cruz, Altitude’s Creative Director added. “We want it to be a game people get excited about, and they can’t wait to form squads with their friends and do missions together. That’s the dream.”

Run Run Super V is set to launch at Q4 of this year for Android and iOS devices and will be free to play.  Hopefully we can review it when it comes out!

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wtf
I’m a chink, therefore Jackie Chan.

Yesterday, I left you folks on a cliffhanger. I’ll simply fess up and say that my ravings went on for too long, so I had to make this a two-parter. While I can make a part three because I ended up rambling on even more, let’s just end it today. Now, to answer the question: why won’t local e-sports tournaments ever work out?

That’s because of our player base. The so-called “next generation” of cyber athletes  are a bunch of weak-willed cowards. Throughout my employment in promoting Crossfire, issues about small scale cafe tournaments refusing entry of prominent competitive teams was a thing. Nobody wanted to play against the top dogs because they wouldn’t stand a chance.I’m going off the chain here again to say what kind of bullshit reason is that?

FG.Wolves drank so many tears in Point Blank.
FG.Wolves drank so many tears.

I won’t lie to you. I haven’t been keeping up with the local competitive game circuits so feel free to correct me if everyone is out for the top team’s blood but I doubt anything has changed much since I dabbled in that world. The person being criticized is not even the “current generation” of cyber athletes. As far as I am concerned, if you are over 25 years old, you’re considered a veteran, yesterday’s news, an old guy in competitive gaming because of this thing called hand-eye coordination which deteriorates over time. I also am not familiar with the MOBA scene here but I’m positive that there are only a few top teams and boat load of people who provides them with endless tears to drink.

In a competitive environment such as e-Sports, everybody is aiming for the top. If you get a chance to fight the champs, you will jump on that opportunity, that’s how you get better. The top teams in my time were more vilified than they were beloved. It could have been because of the way the top teams carried themselves rubbing people the wrong way or how other people couldn’t stand how they couldn’t beat said top teams but I saw more bashing than I saw competition. It wasn’t “put up or shut up”, it was cry till’ you had no more tears, pause and drink water, then cry some more.

In the history of bad ideas in the world of online games one stood out the most and it wasn’t the P1 million rope-a-dope Operation 7 tournament that never happened by E-Games. The honor goes to a game publisher (also E-Games) sponsoring their own e-sport team and parading them around for all the country to see, be envious of, and start bashing them out of butt hurt. Despite being the team to beat, people despised them because they claimed that the team was given preferential treatment in tournaments. As far as participation in tournaments and in-game items, sure but everything else was fair game and yet they complained. This is why we can’t have nice things. Everyone but a select few want it easy… in a competitive environment.

Yes! This image again because it's hilarious!
Yes! This image again because it’s hilarious!

The local game publishing industry also shares the blame in killing its chances at making e-Sports work. Most of it is actually self-inflicted due to several bad eggs in the industry. As if petty shit like ripping competitor posters and uninstalling their games wasn’t enough you had greenhorns in the online games industry in charge marketing with big salaries and big budgets during the online games bubble. They were squandered on ineffective yet costly marketing attempts which more than anything, insults the intelligence of their intended audience, celebrity marketing. Just as you would market consumer products. It took them a while to actually learn from their mistakes and when it came down to crunch time, they had to blame someone for their poor performance.

It’s not surprising nobody wanted to owe up for being a colossal moron so let’s blame the competition. The “illegal aliens” who were “illegally” taking away their player base… by setting up a game publishing company in the Philippines and offering games the same way they do, minus the idiotic marketing. What’s wrong with this picture is our government being protective of idiots while companies who actually can do much better and actually generate jobs for Filipinos are harassed to no-end or are prevented from doing business in our country. Several foreign owned companies were issued cease and desist orders but only Gameclub was “raided” by questionable means because they posed the biggest threat. It didn’t even pan out for the raid’s instigators. Does the E-Games brand still exist? Not anymore, case and point.

The punch line is the fact that Level-Up has gone through several owners: a South-African IT comapny, China’s Tencent, and finally Asiasoft. It’s public knowledge that Asiasoft is not a local company and yet there are no cease and desist orders or raids on game severs. There are obviously loop holes which can be used to skirt the law and this is not sour grapes, okay. I’m not secretly wishing for the downfall of Asiasoft-owned Level-Up, I think it might be a good thing considering the huge list of games under Asiasoft’s belt. They can actually provide Filipino gamers more games than anyone could ever have offered. But you can see as clear as day how our laws and law enforcement agencies could be used as a satellite targeted ICBM to ruin things for everyone.

The Hounds of Justice!
The Hounds of Justice!

Compound all that dirt above and more undisclosed in this already long post and you get a loss of consumer trust. Sales are down across the board for all gaming companies? Maybe they were traumatized with all that crap and just moved on to globally published games or games on Steam, like DotA 2. RIP local gaming industry. I don’t really mean it and as dire as things look now, I have friends in the online gaming industry and I wholeheartedly hope that they will achieve success and do print a substantial amount of money. I salute them for still  trying to fight the good fight.

As if the original DotA wasn't already a problem for online game publishers...
As if the original DotA wasn’t already a problem for online game publishers…

Things would have been different if shitheads like Don “the bald fucking shit eater” Jocson got a brain aneurism before he put his plan in motion. Words aren’t enough to describe what a horrible person he is so let’s just go the potty mouth child route.

Players wanting bigger prize pools or complaining about the prize pools I had for my own tournaments annoyed me to no ends. Even the so-called money grubby behavior some of the top teams displayed popped my nerves from time to time but is it really about them or more on my frustration at not being able to afford a bigger prize pool? It’s a shitty feeling when you look at our neighboring countries coming up with huge prize pools that make your grand prize look like a consolation prize. But do you think these so-called “money-grubbing cyber athletes” got to where they are just by counting prize money? Then again, what prize money? I doubt anybody in this country could even subsist on the collective prize pools of all tournaments made versus their expenses for playing and training for each respective game.

The player in scrutiny is someone I know and have personally acted as their team’s handler for the 2011 World Cyber Games. Jupiter Mars “Elgee” Gaboy has been playing games competitively since the Philippines received its first invitation to the World Cyber Games. I believe it started around 2002 or 2003 so that would mean he probably has over a decade of experience in e-sports.

How many people would have dedicated that much time to playing games. Granted that he has not made a career out of it until recently, you would have to imagine what sacrifices he made to be the gamer he is. You can also question his sanity and priorities for sacrificing so much just in an attempt to make a career with playing games. He along with the other players during his era are still at fore front of the local FPS scene usually losing against each other in tournaments but almost always placing at the top. Why? I can only think of one reason. Because they are the ones willing to put in the most time and effort even if deep down, they know they’ll never make a career out of it and I can guess most of them are pretty burned out already. Call it whatever you will but that’s doing something “for the love of gaming” right there.

The guys from Cristal (now MSI Evo.GT or something I guess), Fairview GamingWolves, Loko, WaraPWND, among other teams  people were loud, very emotional, and blunt when it came to their opinions but they sure did their work when it came to preparing for tournaments. You cannot ever take that away from them no matter what people say or think about them. They have continued to raise the bar in competitive gaming for this country time and again by giving each other a run for their money and wowing everybody in international competitions by becoming fan favorites and placing in the top three at times.

There were more notable teams but I forgot their names because I am getting older already, for that I apologize.

It is stupid to call out one of them out for one outburst which isn’t even remotely damaging or derogatory to the tournament’s organizer. While I think this is a case of too much butt hurt from the community manager of Assault Fire and a couple of ignorant/flunkie bloggers, Elgee’s biggest mistake was to allow himself to come under scrutiny by opportunistic albeit idiotic people. Remember kids, when you’re a public figure, there will be a lot of people after your head, just because they can. How is it that some people can be so deluded as to be offended at a statement which reads to me as “the prize money is not attractive at all”? I believe the tournaments 101 already explained the role prize of money.

Here is my advice to future game operators: When someone complains about cash prizes and you know the deal behind why it is as such, just apologize that it didn’t meet their expectations and then assure them you will make one that is more attractive in the future as part of your planned events. It doesn’t matter if your game will actually not be around to see that time but we all have to keep our appearances. How hard is that?

As far as making a career out of e-sports in this country, I think it’s a bad idea but nothing I say or do will prevent people from trying anyway.

In hindsight, maybe Point Blank players didn't really hate the whole team. They just hated this hipster for rocking an undercut before it even became mainstream. Peace z3r02! ,\/,,
In hindsight, maybe Point Blank players didn’t really hate the whole team. They just hated this hipster for rocking an undercut before it even became mainstream. Peace, z3r02! ,\/,,

In the off chance (more like certainty) that people will be offended with the feature image, allow me to explain #Pinoize. It is basically the summation of what we believe is undesirable behavior in Filipino nationals which includes taking a studio/group pic with gang signs.

P102027730lives.net was at the Glorietta Activity Center yesterday to cover the launch of the PlayStation 4 in the Philippines. The event called ‘Play the Future First’ unveiled the much awaited next-generation console to Filipino gamers at the SRP of PHP 24,999. The event is hosted by seasoned radio jocks Gino Quillamor and Riki Flores who also demo’d some of the games on the PS4. The launch was held in partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong Limited (SCEH) Singapore Branch.

Opening the event is the President and Managing Director of Sony Philippines, Mr. Yasushi Asaoka. “Sony has always been in touch with what the gaming community needs and wants. We have always strived to give consumers the best experience in home entertainment, which includes  the thrilling roster of PlayStation. It is with great pride that we bring the newest PlayStation 4 in the market today,” Asaoka mentioned during his speech.

Mr. Tomoyuki Haba, who is the Singapore Branch Manager of SCEH also spearheaded the launch in other SEA countries. He mentioned during his speech that the PlayStation 4 has sold more than 4.2 million copies already, according to their Tokyo office. The PS Vita has also jumped in sales in anticipation for the PS4‘s release. SCEH also has a new plan on the warranty service for 6 South East Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Customers who buy the PS4 are entitled to have an extra ONE YEAR WARRANTY COVERAGE in countries where the product has been officially launched (including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia), and the warranty will be valid throughout these countries. Wherever the customers are, they can also have the repair service for their products.

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New PS Vita color with light blue back

On stage, Sony Philippines head of marketing Ms. Zhorida Lipayon presented the new game consoles that are launching locally. First up was the new PS Vita system which features a more streamlined form factor and an 1GB internal memory card, is 20-percent slimmer and 15-percent lighter than the original version, making the portable entertainment system even easier to carry. It also comes in different colors such as lime green, light blue, pink black, khaki, black and white. The PlayStation Vita 2000 Wifi is sold at PHP 11,999 locally. Accessories are also available and are sold separately.

Meanwhile, since its unveiling in September 2013, PS Vita TV has become one of the most anticipated Sony products. PS Vita TV is a new entertainment system within the PlayStation family that will allow users to easily access various content on their TV at home. The new system adopts chip sets and system software of the PlayStation Vita portable entertainment system and its size is 6.5cm × 10.5cm, smallest of all PlayStation platforms that connect to a TV. On stage, two girls demo’d the Japanese version of God Eater 2 with one playing on the PS Vita and the other on the PS Vita TV which played flawlessly. I’ve also tried the demo unit on the floor and played Dragon’s Crown which is installed in the system’s memory card and it played without a hitch. I am just not sure if the memory card is the same as the PS Vita‘s and if it can be plugged straightaway from Vita to Vita TV.

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Oh myyyy.

According to the press release, “To continue servicing the gaming community, a separate retail launch will be held for the Sony PS Vita TV“. This hopefully means we’ll be able to finally see The Philippines as an available option in the PS Store soon.

The PS4 is a next generation computer entertainment system that redefines rich and immersive game play with powerful graphics, speed, deeply integrated social capabilities and innovative second-screen features utilizing devices such as PS Vita. By utilizing PS Camera, users can expand gaming ways of PS4 and enjoy different gaming experience. The hosts demo’d some of the games on stage which utilized the PS Camera like Play with Asobi and Air Hockey which seemed fun.

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Seriously, it’s called Magma Red.

There is also a wide range of peripherals for PS4 that are introduced such as the color variation for PS4 Wireless Controller (DUALSHOCK 4) in “Magma Red” and “Wave Blue”, PlayStation Camera, DUALSHOCK4 Charging Station and PS4 Vertical Stand. Once you touch these babies, there’s definitely no going back to the DS3, at least this is what I felt while I was playing Crank on the demo floor. There was also a demo of the Personal 3D Viewer where attendees can sample the experience of playing Assassin’s Creed Black Flag up close.

The PlayStation 4 was also made available during the press launch. The payment terms were cash or a straight credit card charge of PHP 24,999 or PHP 26,999 (with camera) on site.

For more details on PlayStation and other Sony products, visit the nearest Sony Centre.

You can also log on to www.sony.com.ph, like them on www.facebook.com/SonyPhilippines and follow them on www.twitter.com/SonyPHInc and www.instagram.com/SonyPHInc.

30lives recently received an invitation to attend the press conference for the Philippine release of Sony’s next-generation gaming console, the PlayStation 4. Dubbed as ‘Play the Future First’, the event will be held at Glorietta Activity Center on January 14th (Tuesday) at 11:00 AM.

We are definitely excited to cover what might be one of the biggest gaming industry events for the year, and we’re only still on the second week of January! I hope we get to demo the console as well as some of the biggest titles that will release this 2014. Keep checking the site for our full coverage coming soon!

For more information on the PlayStation 4, do visit Sony Philippines’ website at http://www.sony.com.ph/microsite/preorder/pspreorder.html.

The Kickstarter campaign of Keiji Inafune’s latest project Mighty No. 9 (aka his big “up yours” to Capcom for being douche bags in general) has hit its stretch goal of $2.2 million. This means we’re going to see Mighty No. 9 for consoles namely the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. If backers will plunk down another $1.1 million, then we will also see ports for next-gen consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) when it hits $3.3 million.

At this point, Mighty No. 9 is backed by roughly 39,000 people with over $2.2 million so that’s roughly $55 contributed on average. Makes me curious exactly how many people will be buying this game after it is released. You can head over to their Kickstarter page to find out what all the buzz is about and find out more about the game, especially the boss robots.

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Very good and nice.

Source: Destructoid and Kickstarter

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WE CALLED IT. Well, kinda. After much speculation and months of nail-biting from the weeaboo crowd, Sega Sammy Holdings announced yesterday that they are purchasing Index Corp (or, to be more real, the only part of the conglomerate that actually makes money: Atlus) for 14 billion yen (roughly $140 million). Looks like that pachinko money is serving ’em well…

Details are a little vague at the moment, but it appears that the transition will begin this November and will involve a complete restructuring of the company, natch. Index Corp has been in a little bit of hot water lately, facing allegations of fraud and having to file for bankruptcy earlier in the year. And because things go full-circle in this industry, it should be noted that Atlus GM Mitsuhiro Tanaka was a former executive of (what was then known as) Sammy Studios, Inc.; hence the educated guess. So scandalous incestuous.

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Keiji Inafune, co-creator of Mega Man, launched a Kickstarter campaign for Mighty No. 9. It’s basically Inafune’s “fuck you” to Capcom for not letting him make more Mega Man games (they cancelled Mega Man Universe and that forced him to leave Capcom).

For all intents and purposes, this is a new Mega Man with a different name because Inafune does not have the rights to his own work. They are trying to raise $900,000 to make the project a reality. It is being developed for the PC but includes stretch goals for release on other platforms which is a “high priority”. As of time of writing, the Kickstarter page has amassed $209,000.

From the Kickstarter Page:

 “Mighty No. 9 is an all-new Japanese side-scrolling action game that takes the best aspects of the 8- and 16-bit era classics you know and love, and transforms them with modern tech, fresh mechanics, and fan input into something fresh and amazing!

You play as Beck, the 9th in a line of powerful robots, and the only one not infected by a mysterious computer virus that has caused mechanized creatures the world over to go berserk. Run, jump, blast, and transform your way through six stages (or more, via stretch goals) you can tackle in any order you choose, using weapons and abilities stolen from your enemies to take down your fellow Mighty Number robots and confront the final evil that threatens the planet!”

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Want to be a backer (you should)? Head to the source link for Mighty No. 9‘s Kickstarter page.

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During relaxing vacations (those exist?) far and away from the country’s iron-handed communist grip, enterprising North Korean visitors to the isle of Rungnado can now experience what it feels to be an arcade rat. New photos released by the secretive state reveal that they’ve opened a new arcade for visitors of the vacation “paradise” to enjoy, which seems to be stocked with modern Japanese machines; a far cry from the Iron Curtain hand-me-downs we’ve seen a few years ago.

Scoff if you might, but at least they’re playing real games, and not the flavor-of-the-month chatroom MMORPGs their brothers in the South are wasting their lives with. Best Korea, confirmed.

Additional material worth reading is Hardcore Gaming 101’s short look at North Korean gaming.

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So, were any of you legitimately looking forward to Final Fantasy VII: The Web Series? Yes? Good, because Square Enix C&D’ed it and we don’t have to hear any more about this awful project anymore. For the uninitiated, the Kickstarter was aiming to raise a lofty $400,000 essentially to take a giant dump on Square Enix’ intellectual property, and the company rightfully and understandably asked Kickstarter to shut it down. Signing their final update as ‘President Shinra,’ the series creators noted “[they’re] in the process of opening up discussions with the team regarding the ongoing status of our project and hopefully the continuation of our Kickstarter campaign.”

I hold no sense of nostalgia for Final Fantasy VII, so I’m neither happy nor enraged at this piece of news. What does tickle my skittle however is Schadenfreude, which can be found on the campaign creators’ Facebook page. Because, um… yes, it makes total sense: Square Enix taking down your project from Kickstarter means that they will fund your vanity project.

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I knew there was something wrong with me. Researchers at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders published a study today where they concluded that boys with autism spectrum disorders spent up to twice as much time playing video games than other boys of similar age. The researcher’s noted that boys with ADHD played 1.7 hours on average, compared to an hour per two hours screentime as set by the study.

There have been earlier studies on the matter, but this is the first study directly comparing developmentally-challenged children in the context of videogame screen time. Yet in what I consider backpedaling, the University also says it’s impossible to say from that study that video games are directly causing developmental disabilities or if children with problems are more likely to play video games obsessively. If you want to be a jerk about it, you can call the study a waste of time.

And—jock strap on—this is something we already knew, but typically-developing boys migrated to FPS and sports games, while kids suffering with autism or ADHD gravitated towards RPGs and action games.  The study noted, “first-person shooter games are fast-paced, audiovisually intense, and violent, and game play often results in increased physiologic arousal.”

If you want to learn more about the effects of videogames on developmentally-challenged people, the blog of famous, gentle-voiced Youtuber Ulillillia is a good stop.

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My main problem with gamers—especially the self-titled “gaming journalist” types—is that these people are incapable (or at least putting forward the impression) of enjoying games for what they are. Gaming is in essence a hobby rooted in low-brow, bottom-of-the-barrel nerdy drivel. It’s why even the so-called “Citizen Kanes” of gaming like The Last of Us devolve into pandering, focus group-approved narratives geared towards the mass market. Simply put: aiming to be the “Citizen Kane” of gaming is a fool’s errand. The delta between the medium, its creators, and the audience at large has not yet intersected to a point where this is an acceptable goal.

ultimate_warrior_2With the prevelance of DIY blogs and online forums in the past ten years, I feel that there is a populist archetype that quite a few gamers are trying to shoehorn themselves into. The mythical “cool gamer” whose knowledge and experience is only bounded by how fast he or she can pull up Wikipedia on a mobile device. These are the types of gamers that will write pages of prose and fanfiction about which company executive should buy out what company, yet seemingly lack the fortitude or the funds to actually be a participant in the hobby. Read: simply play video games, and not try to make them more intellectual or hipster-cool than they actually are. Because at the end of the day, games are simply interactive experiences wrapped around B movie-level scripts.

Thanks to these nerds who somehow think they are above their societal echelon with their boisterous tough-guy personas on the Internet (of which the Warrior says “do you even lift, bro?”), the industry at large thinks that games such as Bioshock Infinite are acceptable, standard expectations of what a videogame should be. It’s most certainly not. Again, games are an active medium; the core strength that videogames have above other media is that the player is not simply a viewer, but a contributor. I feel that with the rise of the “learned” gamer who strives to make the hobby something it isn’t, that most games have lost their focus. The core strength of games is the ability to create engaging interactive experiences with sound mechanics that keep the player going. The role of cutscenes and gameplay have switched in the past year, the latter now becoming the end to the former’s means. And that’s sad.

This is not discounting games that are able to convey stories or evoke emotions through subtle means apart from simply forcing the participants to sit through a pre-rendered cutscene, of course. Dear Esther is a recent example of a game that can tell a story through gameplay and inherent subtleties with its characters and environment. But there are games out there that are as equally guilty of attempting to use pseudo-intellectual cues and the ever-pervasive “games are art” rallying cry. I’ll get a lot of flak and jeers from the peanut gallery about this, but Team ICOs games are excellent examples of these. In an attempt to squeeze out lachrymose “feels” from its audience, both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus sacrifice basic gameplay necessities to reach that goal of an artistic vision, masking inadequacies in their respective genre mechanics in order to reach a so-called “artistic vision” and force the player to feel something.

The Ultimate Warrior, of all people, woke me up with a fantastic truth bomb earlier this week about the enjoyment of video games. To put it into perspective, a man who made a living fake-fighting other scantily-clad men while wearing neon-toned makeup just gave me a life lesson: “if you love playing a game, play the game, man. Get caught up in it; don’t sit there and [pick it apart].” That statement would make complete sense to someone not fully invested in the hobby, but—after further reflection—for someone in our position it creates a false dichotomy: to stop criticizing games for what they are means that the hobby gets less tailor-made for our tastes, but to over-analyze and pick apart every single detail in a game ruins it.

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Miss Philippines Water 2012 Samantha Purvor was the host of the event. She plays Starcraft II, so I’m issuing an open challenge to her. Loser has to bid to win on the winner’s item of choice.

Taguig City, Philippines 15 July 2013 – Soldgers Pte. Ltd., the company behind the Singapore-based auction site Sold.sg revealed itself as the brainchild of the soon-to-be launched auction site tailored to Filipino gamers: Gamers.ph. They have partnered with X-Play who have established itself as an official games distributor that deals with high profile game publishers such as Blizzard and 2K Games directly and have dabbled in distributing games from other publishers such as Capcom (Resident Evil: Revelations) and The Last of Us (Sony) as one of their key suppliers. On top of console and PC games, Gamers.ph will also carry gaming hardware (racing wheels and/or seats, keyboards and mice), and gaming bundles (Collector’s Edition packs and the like).

The premise of the site is the same as other auction sites like Penny Auction or Piso-Bid: Register for an account, get tokens, and then start bidding away at the items you want. Tokens will be priced at PHP 10.00 but will be sold at an introductory price of PHP 5.00. Each bid requires a token and each bid raises the cost of the item by 0.15 centavos from  a low-low price of zero Pesos. Every bid adds twenty (20) seconds to an item’s timer and the person with the last bid when the timer hits zero gets to buy the item. Just to be clear, there are two cost fronts in the bidding site: Tokens cost money so the act of bidding in itself will cost money and then you will also have to pay the final bid price of the item. If you bid for an item 50 times, you would have spent P500(50 x P10) and if the item was bid on 10,000 times, you will have to pay P1,500 for the item (10,000 x P0.15) and you would have incurred a total cost of P2,000.

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Solgers co-founder Angeline Tham gave tips on bidding on top of explaining the basic functionality of Gamers.ph. Her favorite game franchise is Halo.

It looks like a lot of work to get an item and could potentially make you spend more than the item’s retail price so I’m not entirely sold on the premise of auction sites in general. Also, while the site is supposed to enable people to get items at massively discounted prices, it is obviously at the expense of all the people who didn’t win the bid for an item (aka the losers). Tokens spent on non-winning bids are consumed and will not be refunded. High risks, high rewards as they say so bidding sites in general aren’t for the faint of heart. If anything, to lessen the risk of being burned, you ought to keep track of your spending. That or you can just get your games and gaming gear at retail stores but at full price.

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Mock-up pre-order page for NBA 2K14.

On another note, Gamers.ph  gives you the ability to pre-order upcoming games under X-Play’s distributorship: Grand Theft Auto 5 and NBA 2K14 were the games disclosed so far. These are direct purchases, not bids, so Gamers.ph is shaping up to be more than just a bidding site. When asked about X-Plays direction in acquiring more game titles, Boni Ong, X-Play VP for sales and distribution mentioned that they “are still focusing on blockbuster titles” so we can’t expect X-Play or Gamers.Ph to cater to ALL our gaming needs at the moment. However, we could be treated to better stock availability for collector’s edition packages of high profile titles and possibly find a new channel for buying gaming related items you normally can’t find in retail stores.

For auctioned items, they will be shipped to the winning bidders from 3 to 5 days within Metro Manila and 5 to 7 days outside Metro Manila. Pre-ordered direct purchases will be delivered on the advertised launch dates. The delivery of purchased items will be made FREE OF CHARGE NATIONWIDE for a minimum purchase so that’s one thing going for their service. The following payment gateways will be available for Gamers.Ph: GCash, Smart Money, Debit (via Bancnet), Paypal, Cash on Delivery, and an over-the-counter service (no details given on this).

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The bidding site running from their test servers.

You can pre-register an account for Gamers.ph before it goes live on Thursday, July 18, 2013 to get free twenty (20) tokens and a chance to win what they are dubbing as the “Extreme Gamers Package” which includes a Sony 32″ LED TV with a home theater system, a Playstation 3 with two dual shock controllers, and two (2) collectors edition games namely: NBA 2K13 Dynasty Edition and Bioshock Infinite Premium Edition and then a Last of Us Survival Edition (basically contains pre-order bonuses).

If you missed the pre-registration period, you will still receive ten (10) free tokens upon account registration up to the end of August 2013.

If you’re interested in Gamers.Ph’s services and find no objection with X-Plays involvement in the venture, you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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The artwork of Broken Age

The simplified story is Double Fine’s first Kickstarter campaign for the game that is now known as Broken Age was crowd funded for eight (8) times the original budget of $400,000 to $3.3 million and in spite that, will require more money to finish the full game due to the scale and scope of the game according to Tim Schafer in a letter to the game’s backers which was published on Gamastura. The proposition to solve the problem of having to finish the game in 2015 was to split the game in two parts  where the first part will be release on January 2014 (ahead of the original schedule of July 2014) where non-backers can jump in on through Steam Early Access for a fee. The said fees paid up for early access to part 1 of the game will be used to polish and complete part 2 of Broken Age. This option was decided upon after ruling out going to publishers for money or running another fund Kickstarter campaign. Backers of Broken Age will not necessarily be affected as they will still receive the full game (Part 1 and Part 2) without having to fork over extra money.

In my opinion, this sets a bad precedent and possibly puts Kickstarter campaigns in a bad light. While I wouldn’t doubt that Tim Schafer and the people at Double Fine are hard at work I can’t help but question how could they have stretched development on the game with a budget eight (8) times the original requirement into something that would require much more. I can understandably be excited with the fact that the game’s development stretched out into something that could potentially be an epic game but is a letter explaining general road blocks and issues enough to justify telling people all their contributions are great but still not enough to develop the game envisioned in spite of hitting eight (8) times to original target funding proper? As a non-backer, I think this is as far as I would go on the issue but I certainly would love my backed game Massive Chalice to go from development into completion without going through something like this.

While crowd funding is a great way for indies to get a product produced, it may lack the traditional structure of businesses where the business model and time frame between a product’s development and launch needs to be strategically sound for investors to bet their money on a company. Crowd funding isn’t exactly an investments kind of setup, you’re basically funding a product out of your own pocket with no desire of earning from the venture unless otherwise stated in the funding tier you placed. Then again, even public corporations don’t fair that well under more rigid business practices. The biggest questions right now with Broken Age are: “What happens when the revenues from part 1 are still not enough?” and “exactly how successful is this game going to be with this new development?

You can read the whole letter by Tim Schafer addressed to Broken Age backers at Gamastura or jump into backing Broken Age here if the game and the issue piqued your interest.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

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Only two days left until Level Up! Live 2013; a grand on-ground event hosted by Level Up annually for online gamers everywhere. The event culminates the tournaments of different online games published by Level Up such as Ragnarok Online, Grand Chase, Eligium, Perfect World, Rohan, Assault Fire, Point Blank, Cabal, and RAN.

According to the event website:

Level Up! Live is the biggest and most prestigious online gaming event in the Philippines. Every year, more than 20,000 gamers attend Level Up! Live to bond with their friends and online guild mates over exciting side events, activities, and the culminating tournaments of Level Up!’s biggest games.

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Razorback will also be playing!

Since its creation in 2004, Level Up! Live has given away millions of pesos worth of prizes to its tournament champions, along with the chance to live out their dreams of making it to the big stage. Level Up! Live champions have gone on to compete in premier international tournaments like the Grand Chase World Championships and the Ragnarok World Championships, proving to the world that the Filipino online gamer has what it takes to go global.

Level Up! Live is held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

There are also plenty of side events this year such as fan art competition, guild rally, headgear contest, LU City and cosplay. I am managing this year’s cosplay side event so it would be great if you can come over to watch.

Level Up! Live 2013 is on July 6 (Saturday) so if you have no plans, please drop by! Find out more about Level Up! Live by clicking this link.

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Mr. Estrada is the fancy gentleman on the left.

While the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has been around in Manila under different monikers for years now, the first time to hear of them and actually attend one of their meet-ups. The meet-up in May was basically a planning session for the subsequent monthly meetings where they plan to hold talks on different topics to give local members of the game developer community in the Philippines professionals and aspirants some perspective on the industry and also conduct events to motivate them to make new game concepts with events like Game Jams (48 hour game programming contests) and the recently launched “One Year Game Challenge ++” spearheaded by Marnielle Estrada, currently a lead programmer at Anino Games. Last June, their meet-up featured the introduction of the One Year Game Challenge++ and a talk on monetizing your game.

One Year Game Challenge++

The one-year game challenge was actually implemented for the year 2012 to 2013. While they had 19 team entries, it was unfortunate that none of them were completed. Mr. Estrada (not related to the political dynasty) mentioned it was primarily due to the lack of urgency and motivation that nobody completed their projects. So the mechanics of the One Year Game Challenge ++ have been modified:

  1. Each team must have at least one (1) programmer in the mix.
  2. Game entries must be in a playable form before they are qualified to enter the challenge. They will also be assessed if they can actually be completed in a year.
  3. The game entries should be made available for either one or all platforms: PC, Android, and iOS which are subsequently targeted for release on Steam, Google Play, and the iTunes App Store.
  4. Each participant must pledge at least P1,000 to the IGDA. 

    • The rules on the pledge are simple. If you finish your game, the IGDA will return the money you pledged. If you for some reason do not complete your game, the IGDA will keep your money to fund their future activities such as their monthly meet-ups (they cost money too you know).
  5. All rights to the game developed by each team will be retained. The IGDA is merely providing a forum where aspiring game developers can showcase their game and garner support from the local game developer community and gamers in general.
  6. Pledges cannot be withdrawn.
  7. Teams will be required to submit a monthly build for the IGDA to track the progress of the game.
  8. Entries will be accepted starting the July monthly meet-up this week.

This activity is a challenge to aspiring game developers who want to publish their own game and is not exactly a contest where a panel of judges will decide which team has the superior game. There was also no mention of a prize for a “winner” because there is none. What you will get out of this challenge is the support of the local game developer community in terms of actually publishing your game and perhaps even help you make a game that will potentially allow you to earn money (lots of it even). Mr. Estrada will also be joining this one year challenge and pledge his own money to guarantee that he and his team will finish the game. I was told that it was a tower defense game codenamed “Project Tarsier”. Being a fan of the genre, I’m certainly looking forward to it.

You can sign up for the One Year Game Challenge ++ HERE

Monetizing Your Game

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Howard Go, one half of the game developer Mochibits.

Howard Go, one half of a mobile game developer MochiBits who gave a talk on monetizing your mobile game and imparts with the crowd the proper mindset when developing a game as a business last June. Now I’m pretty sure you’ll have your reservations immediately with thoughts of “selling out” or “evil game development” but I assure you that things are put into a certain perspective which made sense to me and the those who attended the talk. Now who am I to say anything on monetization of games right? Well I used to market free to play online games and actually got people spending several ten millions or so in a month, so I’d like to believe I’m no slouch in making money for games.

  • Rankings don’t matter, make sure your game is well monetized. Your game may be popular in terms of downloads but  the question is what your players do after they download your game. If you’re into making money with games, how your money will make people spend is as important or slightly more important than getting people to notice your game and download it.
  • Identifying your target market is pretty obvious but the emphasis on this is more on the fact that mobile games caters to a very diverse group of “gamers”. You aren’t looking at the “Call of Duty” gamers, or the open world . You will find people from all walks of life and different age groups from kids, teens, young professionals, as old as your parents, or even senior citizens. Everyone is playing a mobile game one way or another, you’ve got to identify them in great detail if you’re actually trying to make money. 

    • Compare your concept to similar games. No matter how original you think your game is, chances are, someone already  made something similar. It pays to research on these games to know if your game’s design actually works when it translates into making money and if not, what needs to be improved. Howard’s talk went to length on comparing similar games and compared which made more money. Spoiler: In some examples, the less popular and crappier looking games did better.
    • Model your game to the perceived target market’s preference.  The best example, given in the talk the way Candy Crush Saga’s sounds and visuals were designed. Howard described the theme of games like Candy Crush Saga is basically a slot machine. It’s loud, colorful, and even if you’re about to lose or have already lost, the sounds you hear are as if you were actually winning. Don’t believe him? You can go to casinos and hit the slot machines and check out the animations and the type of people around you while playing.
  • Balancing making money and the end-user’s game experience. There is no doubt a game needs to be fun for people to download it. But making the game too easy and being overly generous with your players will get you nowhere in terms of making your game a commercial success. Let’s not kid ourselves here, regardless of what games are for you, the people who make them are it in for the money (for good reason). I’m not painting these game developers as evil individuals who are bent on tricking kids to spend all their parent’s money on games but you really need to have a business mindset if you really aim to make money with games. For freemium games, the rule of thumb is more or less 30 minutes of fun then you can bring in the pain or start compelling them to spend money to enjoy the game more. One of the examples was Punch Quest versus Jetpack Joyride.
  • Make your in-game store as visible and accessible as possible. If you want to make money on micro-transactions or payment models, you have to make sure your players know you have a store and as much as possible let them know what you can get from them. One example of bad implementation of this was Bombcats where the in-game item store was hidden from plain sight and was level locked. You do not want to restrict people from spending money in your game unless you’re just really bent on not making money.

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    This is how you plan to dominate the world.

These concepts are mainly focused on mobile games which targets a different market from core gamers such as myself but even I can appreciate the science of monetizing your game because let’s face it: People in general have become so self-entitled that getting them to pay for digital entertainment (TV Shows, Movies, Music, and Games) is a herculean task in itself. There is no shame in targeting the people who actually still appreciate (by that I mean shell out money) the value you bring to the table in the form of games while you give zero fucks about the people who whine about micro-transactions but have absolutely no intention of spending any form of money in the first place. You can quote me on that. 

Howard’s talk was a summary of many source material from mobile game developer blogs, personal observation and experience, and of course App Annie <– if you want to stalk your competition, you need this. Howard’s game development company MochiBits’ bread and butter are word games which you can check out here. To-date, Howard makes more than double of what he used to earn as VP of a local telco company. There were a lot more game comparisons made in the talk and you can read through the whole lecture in the IGDA Facebook group.

What’s Next?

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If you want to support the local game development community, lend a hand to the IGDA Manila chapter.

The IGDA is holding their July meet-up on July 6, 2013 from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Globe Corporate Showroom, Valero Telepark, 111 Valero St., Makati City. The topics of the meet-up are as follows:

  1. Beyond Finite State Machines: Alternative Systems for AI by Ferdinand Joseph Fernandez of Dreamlords Digital and
  2. more on the One Year Game Challenge ++. Meet the teams, their game prototypes, and more.

For more details or questions, you can reach the IGDA on their Facebook group. You can also find the slides and source material of the talks in the group.

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Some fairly significant news broke within the last twelve hours; the gist of it being that Index Corporation—already in danger from being kicked out of the Japanese stock market—are going bankrupt and will have to be restructured by creditors.

According to the official press release sent out by Index last night, the company will opt for “civil restructuring,” which will shift management partially to the debt-holders and a government-appointed mediator. Being that the game division is the most profitable facet of the business, they are apparently searching for a potential buyout/partnership with a larger investor in order to expand or completely jettison Atlus before things get worse. Below is a helpful chart to understand how Index is currently structured:

index corporation

Like ’em or hate ’em, Atlus has built an impressive and successful back-catalog of niche titles and have had great success eyeing titles to publish under a supply-and-demand scheme. Their US division in particular deserves mention as a company that has always delivered in bringing in titles that probably wouldn’t have made the voyage across the pond in the first place—Demon’s Souls being a very recent example. Oh God, now it feels like I’m writing their eulogy.

Our take? If another, larger entity doesn’t buy ’em out (Nintendo, Sega Sammy or even Namco-Bandai are likely candidates due to their history with both publishers), Atlus (or perhaps their North American division) will probably end up being folded into Marvelous somehow—through some hot-potato shenanigans XSEED (now part of Marvelous and headed by former Atlus USA CEO Shinichi Suzuki) acquired Atlus Online earlier in the year and was gobbled up by Marvelous Entertainment shortly thereafter. This is obviously speculation, if we haven’t made this clear yet. Regardless, the industry at large recognizes them as a valuable entity so I don’t think we should fear for the future of the Megami Tensei series just yet. Atlus is no THQ, after all.

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sqexinLooks like my April 1 post was not that far off, since a part of it went true already! Square Enix has opened a branch in Indonesia called Square Enix Smileworks. Indonesia was chosen as the company’s first expansion in Southeast Asia because of the country’s economic growth and people’s spending power.

Square Enix Smileworks will publish games from its mother company in Indonesia and will also be creating content for the Southeast Asian market. The company started small with 23 employees which were mostly from the Japanese office and is now focused on creating social games.

This is positive news and I sincerely hope Square Enix considers Manila next. We have a young working population, our spending power is improving and game development seems to be a thriving industry (in terms of mobile games and smartphone applications anyway). Here’s hoping.

Source: Square Enix Holdings (PR in Japanese)