Like pretty much every major publisher out there these days, Electronic Arts is more than bullish on mobile. But EA has taken its liking to smartphone and tablet games one step further with EA All Play, its new mobile-exclusive label. EA All Play SVP and GM Nick Earl tells us that the creation of EA All Play indicates an all-encompassing yet highly specific strategy for EA in 2013.
"Our strategy has been really one of fewer, bigger and better. So, it sounds like there's a lot of games there, but we've really boiled it down to the ones we think are really going to move the needle, dominate the top of the charts," Earl says. "[We're] just creating really strong, core gameplay experiences, and quality experiences are really what our focus is going to be this coming year and thereafter."
Those "lot of games" that EA thinks are going to move the needle include the previously teased mobile MMO adventure Ultima Forever (slated for mid-2013, we're told) and racing sim threequelReal Racing 3 (which was just pushed back to February 2013). Earl is also excited to reveal two major franchises that will get some Android love in 2013.
"Just out of All Play we've got 20 games coming out next year. Some that I'm personally excited about are taking a couple of very big, successful brands onto Android, and that's the Simpsons: Tapped Out and Bejeweled Blitz," Earl teases. "Those are both making their way to Android early in . We're very excited, because it's just such a huge install base who are interested in having those experiences on their devices. "
You could say that EA All Play is simply indicative of the publisher following a major trend. This is a sign of EA not just following a trend, but rather devoting itself to it and many of the sub trends therein. For instance, Earl tells us that EA has completed its transition to the free-to-play model "culturally, logistically and organizationally." But other trends that Earl has his eye on include Smart TV gaming through mobile, casual puzzle games, core-focused RPGs (even cross-platform) and, yes, casino games.
It seems that EA has just about all of its bases covered with All Play, a label we're told has its origins in the JamDat acquisition and the formation of EA Mobile. (Aside from those card battle games, though Earl claims he's looking closely at that sector as well.) But it's clear that the company doesn't just want to have its bases covered--it wants to make home runs on demand. That's all well and good, but why the name "All Play?" It was the notion of play anywhere anytime, any sort of genre, on any mobile device," Earl tells us. "We thought [All Play] really encapsulated and represented what we we're trying to do, which is be the leader in digital device space, with mobile leading the way."
Which mobile games from EA do you enjoy most or are most psyched for in 2013? Will EA succeed with All Play? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
Remember the Konami Code by heart? How about what Super Mario's name was before his Nintendo debut? If you think you know more about games than the average Viewtiful Joe, then developer Plain Vanilla has a game for you. This is Video Game QuizUp a real-time, free-to-play trivia game to test your intimate knowledge of interactive entertainment.
Presented in a retro art style and theme that conjures memories of the glory days of Game Boy, players go turn for turn answering questions about their favorite hobby that range from the obvious (Which Microsoft console came out in 2005?) to the seriously inside baseball (Who produced the first version of Mortal Kombat for home consoles?).
Friends and strangers alike compete in 10-question rounds of increasingly more difficult questions to settle who holds the most gaming knowledge. That's about it, but frankly, does it need to be anything else? Not really, and Video Game QuizUp doesn't try to be much more than that, which is why you should give it a try. Like, right now.
Between social or Facebook games hitting their stride, a new console on the horizon and the resurgence of PC gaming, it couldn't be a more exciting time for games. But perhaps the most interesting area in gaming is mobile, those little supercomputers we carry in our pockets daily. And if you ask, well, almost any game developer or publisher, they'll agree.
Take Chillingo, the publisher that helped put Angry Birds on the map, for instance. Now owned by EA, Chillingo is one of the leading publishers on iOS, Android and even Windows Phone. Naturally, the company has a lot to say about the state of mobile gaming and where it's headed. Cue Chillingo COO Ed Rumley, who sat down with us recently to answer a few of our burning questions about the mobile gaming scene.
It seems that one thing that mobile gaming is missing is a "Nintendo", that instantly recognizable name that immediately instills expectations in players. Do you agree, and why? What makes Chillingo distinct as a mobile games publisher in the eyes of players, or what is it trying to do to make that happen?
The mobile landscape is very different to the console space due to the number of developers working on new games. Even five years ago, there were perhaps three dozen or so companies making Java and BREW content versus the tens of thousands of players in the market today. Overtime, there will be publishers who find their formula and become known for that. For instance, EA Mobile is making high quality productions such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted and FIFA 13. Similarly, Chillingo is becoming synonymous with fun, great value gaming and we want consumers to see our brand and immediately associate that with a quality gaming experience.
As the #1 indie mobile games publisher, Chillingo has a proven track record that attracts the world's most talented indie developers. In fact, we're celebrating our 10-year anniversary and are proud to have played an instrumental role in the industry. Successfully publishing a mobile game is not really a science but more of an art form and that's what makes Chillingo distinct.
Our team shares the same unique indie culture that our developers do and we genuinely understand their needs whether it's polishing the gameplay to perfection, helping them identify the most balanced monetization models or aiding its discoverability with consumers. This combined with the global publishing and distribution reach of EA makes our services unparalleled.
Chillingo's third party publishing services also enable developers to bring their games to multiple platforms. We have strategic partnerships with key industry partners including Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Our games are consistently featured across numerous top charts. It's not uncommon for us to have up to nine games across the top 10 charts on the App Store within a given quarter. Where does Chillingo expect to see the next great mobile games come from? What kind of game will players universally go nuts for next?
Since Chillingo works closely with the indie developer community, we often have a birds-eye-view of industry trends. Quality is key and the consumer is king. Today's players have a much more discerning taste for what a good game is and they won't settle for something mediocre. This is true across all game genres.
Because of this, developers are pushing the boundaries further based on the platforms they're working on to create innovative titles that utilize the faster processor speeds, higher resolutions and advanced game engines. We're also now curating more high quality indie content for Android and Windows Phone 8 than ever before, giving people greater choice.
How does Chillingo decide which games to publish? Is it interested in including the players in that process more directly?
A big part of our ability to discover great games comes with experience. We have 10 years in the mobile gaming space which has given us a keen eye for what works and what doesn't. We're constantly discovering new developers around the world, including hotbeds of talent in Poland, Russia and Australia. Our goal is to publish the best in indie games that otherwise might never reach the marketplace.
Chillingo has become synonymous with high quality games and delivering popular titles that consumers gravitate towards. Award-winning examples include: Cut the Rope [pictured above], Contre Jour [pictured below], Feed Me Oil, Catapult King, He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe. Consumers will always play a critical role for Chillingo. We closely monitor consumer feedback and work diligently with our indie developers to ensure that players have the most optimal and enjoyable experiences possible. Fragmentation is an issue that seems to affect gamers as well, especially those with Android devices even just a generation behind. Why does Chillingo say that fragmentation is its friend?
While other publishers might see fragmentation as a problem, Chillingo sees it as an opportunity. Both Chillingo and EA Mobile have experienced and observed the evolution of the mobile gaming industry for over a decade. Our roots stem from the Java/BREW days where the ecosystem was heavily fragmented.
It's this same diversity of marketplaces and devices, which allows a company like Chillingo to help its developers turn a higher profit margin. We take an indie game that would have otherwise just hit one marketplace and work with developers to bring it across multiple marketplaces and onto different devices.
Some great examples are Contre Jour, Feed Me Oil and Extraction: Project Outbreak-all of these titles were very successful on iOS, however we've been able to further their success by bringing them onto Android and Windows Phone platforms where they've quickly climbed to the top of the charts.
Ensuring that our players have the most enjoyable experience possible is our mantra for Team Chillingo. Therefore, we work closely with our talented indie developers to bring updated content and fresh, new features to keep consumers engaged and dedicated to our fun games.
What do you think of Chillingo's take on the mobile game world? Are there any Chillingo games you particularly love? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
Whenever you ask folks these days who they think will win this year's U.S. presidential election, they usually respond with a little something like this: "I don't really like either of them." If that's truly the case, then maybe you can do the country one better. Cue French mobile game developer POLM Studio and their next release, Vote For Me on iOS and Android devices.
Available for free on both platforms, Vote For Me puts players into the shoes of a campaign adviser ... and just about everyone else that helps get a presidential hopeful or incumbent in front of the American people in time for Nov. 6. Players will choose a party to champion, with Republican/Democratic being the easiest, Independent a bit more difficult and the Green and Tea Parties being the most challenging.
From there, it's up to players to keep their candidates image as pristine as possible, which will of course be challenged by debates, events ripped from the headlines and more. But to keep the competition on its toes, you can always get them caught in a scandal that'll sully their reputation. Fittingly enough, players can purchase "Super PACs," the game's paid currency, to get ahead even faster. Adorable, isn't it?
There's no denying the strength of a Pokemon-style game, a monster collector, if you will. But one that features critters inspired by those adorable papercraft dolls all over Pinterest ... now that's just plain dangerous. Enter Monster Life, the latest city-builder game for iOS to come from Gameloft. Yes, it's free-to-play, and yes, it's the cutest iOS game we've seen since Tiny Wings.
In Monster Life, you are a monster keeper living on the islands of Numa. It's up to you to collect and train a cavalcade of cutesy paper doll buggers in order to explore your surrounding islands in hopes of putting an end to an ancient Chaos once and for all. (What mobile game have you come across with a compelling, engaging storyline? It's not the point.)
After a brief hands-on session with the game courtesy of Gameloft, it's safe to say that the cuteness quotient in Monster Life will exponentially increase once you play around with it this Thursday. Not only does the game look adorable, but it sounds the part, too. The city building component to Monster Life isn't much different from what you've seen before in the Facebook game scene save for its endearing 3D visuals.
But that's not the draw. What's designed to get you hooked are the over 20 monsters to collect, tend to, feed, trade and battle. Of course, every creature looks downright adorable with every touch and tap you give it whether it's to keep it happy or to crush an opponent in battle. That's the crux of Monster Life. That's why you're expected to build and check in on your town on the regular in the first place.
Battles in Monster Life are turn-based, though each monster is set on a timer. Once that timer is up, it's your cue to tap the little guy in order for it to attack an enemy in anything from one-on-one to three-on-three bouts. That said, your monster can, and will, be attacked while it waits for its chance to make another move. At random intervals, special notifications will appear that, if pressed in time, will let your creature unleash a more powerful attack--just to make sure you're paying attention.
However, your monsters won't be able to fight in tip-top shape unless you train them in the correct spots in your town. That's also important for the light social features (headed to Monster Life in a later update) that see players going toe-to-toe in asynchronous battles that size up your monsters against your friends' based on a few criteria. While we'd much rather battle with friends in real time, we just can't get over how damn cute (and free) Monster Life is to care too much. Monster Life is due out on iPhone and iPad Thursday.
Are you psyched to give Monster Life a try? What do you think of the game so far based on this first look? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
The name of CrowdStar's game is now only mobile, but that doesn't mean its Facebook games are dead in the water. (See what we did there?) The developer has released its next free-to-play game for iPhone and iPad, and--hold onto your pants--it's not a "Girl" game. It's called Fish with Attitude, and it's all but Happy Aquarium on iOS devices with a few twists.
In this fish tank simulator, players' little finned friends have personalities and those will affect not only how they interact with the player, but their fellow fish. Fish with Attitude also lets players dig for buried treasure with their virtual fish, treat them with toys and decorate their fish tanks with wallpapers and decorations--like any good fish simulator should.
Of course, the most intriguing feature to Fish with Attitude is just that: The numerous personalities that CrowdStar claims will change up the play. Well, that and the fact the breeding fish also unlocks new personalities. We'll see whether Fish with Attitude has bite to match its bark in our review, but until then, take a look for yourself.
The Xbox pusher announced the update to its Windows Phone platform during a developers event in San Francisco earlier today, as of this writing. Other developers that have signed on to push games out for Windows Phone 8 include Big Fish, Gameloft and more. Microsoft seemingly had trouble garnering game developer interest in Windows Phone 7, event with features like Xbox Live integration.
That said, it's interesting to see that suddenly big-time game makers are down with Windows Phone 8. Perhaps that's thanks to changes made by Microsoft that help smooth the process through which developers can bring existing games to Windows Phone 8 devices. VentureBeat points out that the recently-revealed Surface tablet also runs on Windows 8, implying that games will offer cross-platform play of some sort.
However, according to a Nokia release, both Draw Something and Words With Friends will be exclusive to Nokia-built Windows Phone devices for the first two months after their release this fall. Then, and only then, will the games be available on all Windows Phones. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
Are you psyched for Words With Friends and Draw Something to hit Windows Phone? How about that Nokia exclusivity? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
We know mobile gaming is on the rise, but a lot of people seem to be just getting the hint. According to a survey conducted by Information Solutions Group on behalf of Bejeweled maker PopCap Games, 44 percent of mobile gamers have only just started playing on smartphones or tablets in the last 12 months. Not only are mobile gamers playing said games more often, but the craze ropes in more new gamers annually.
The survey was conducted asking 1,004 people 34 questions through a questionnaire between this past April 25 and May 1. Of course, one of the qualifications for the survey was that respondents have played a mobile game within the past month. While gender breakdowns and other figures haven't changed much, what has is the fact that tablet gaming is on the rise.
Well, at least in those that own both a tablet and a smartphone--33 percent of mobile gamers own both a tablet and a smartphone. According to the survey, those fortunate enough to own both a tablet and a smartphone play on their tablet 58 percent more often than their smartphone. And speaking of mobile gamers playing more often, 45 percent of mobile gamers are playing daily. Now we want to see that completely unrelated work productivity survey.
Are you a big-time mobile gamer? How often do you play, and how recently did you start playing? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
Game Center, the mobile social game network made by Apple specifically for iOS devices, just made one more step toward trouncing the competition. During the company's 23rd annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote address, Apple's Craig Federighi revealed that Game Center is headed to the latest iteration of OS X for Mac: Mountain Lion.
More importantly, however, Federighi showed off just what makes this update so special: cross-platform play between OS X and iOS devices through Game Center--both turn-based and in real time. According to CNET's live blog of the event, players can go head-to-head between Macs or between Macs, iPhones and iPads.
Of course, gamers using AirPlay to mirror their MacBook or iOS device's display to a larger display will also get to play with their friends via Game Center. Federighi showed as much during a demonstration of an upcoming version of CSR Racing made by Natural Motion set to launch on Mac and iOS this summer.
The new Game Center will likely launch with Mountain Lion for Mac-based computers, which will roll out this July for $19.99. Cross-platform play has been a major push point for game companies, many of which either looking to services such as GREE and Mobage to provide or simply doing it themselves. Now Apple has done every game maker that service with this update. Did Apple just win the mobile game network wars? Not so fast, but we'll see whether it comes close this July.
Are you excited for Mac-to-iOS gaming this summer? What games do you hope take advantage of the feature first? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
As you may already know, Fruit Ninja is two years old this month. To celebrate, developer Halfbrick Studios released a robust update pumped up full of features. But the developer also released a slew of facts about the game to Pocket Gamer. No, not those kind of facts--more like interesting figures and statistics to remind us that, yes, Fruit Ninja is a kind of a big deal.
For one, the game has been downloaded over 300 million times in the past two years. Despite being a two-year-old game, Fruit Ninja boasts more active players than the combine populations of New York, London, Beijing, Paris, and Tokyo. Now here's a gem: These millions of players have sliced more than 1.5 trillion pieces of digital fruit with their frenetic fingers.
If you tally up the time spent playing Fruit Ninja daily, it amounts to around 100 years daily, Halfbrick told Pocket Gamer, and that might not be a shocker considering the game is packed into one in every three iPhones in the U.S. Sure, figures like these are all back-patting, but don't hate the player--hate the game. Well, not this game in particular--we mean the "game" in general ... you get the idea.
Are you still flaying fruit after two long years? What do you hope the next Fruit Ninja game does with the series? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.