Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Share via Shortlink Sales prices in the Financial District prove to be an outlier in Lower Manhattan and the borough as whole (iStock)The Financial District’s sales market drove activity in Lower Manhattan last quarter.Platinum Properties’ quarterly market report found that sales and rental markets stuttered back to life as prices slid and deal volume remained low, with the exception of FiDi’s sales market.The median sales price in FiDi increased last quarter to $1.89 million from $848,000 at the same time last year — a 123 percent jump. The average price per square foot is now $1,805, up from $1,096.Platinum’s sales manager Michael Rider said the brokerage, which transacts in Lower Manhattan primarily, saw a mix of first-time buyers and homeowners trading up to bigger apartments in the neighborhood.The number of deals in the neighborhood have nearly crept up to last year’s level as well — there were 44 sales last quarter compared to 47 a year earlier.In Battery Park City, the median sales price fell 14 percent year-over-year last quarter to $749,000, down from $857,000 a year earlier. That pencils out to median price per square foot of $1,054 compared to $1,142 last year.The number of deals has not recovered with a mere 7 deals last quarter, compared to 20 the year before.Across Manhattan, the number of home sales were down 46 percent. TagsBattery Park CityFinancial DistrictResidential Market ReportResidential Real Estate
Mobile gaming in Asia: One size does not fit allAppsFlyer VP Ronen Mense offers perspective on what western mobile publishers need to know about AsiaRonen MenseFriday 6th November 2015Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareYou’ve done really well in the US with your latest title, cracking the top 25 on the Google Play and Apple Store in the RPG category. You have over 300,000 DAUs and your game is monetizing very well. A few tweaks and your release in the European continent continues the wave of success. Your boss is happy, your boss’s boss is happy, and they collectively say, “Let’s take Asia now!” So you start a pan-Asia release, kick back, and wait for the dollars to roll in.But a few days into the Asia launch the numbers aren’t good. The success of your game in the US and Europe isn’t being replicated. All the studies out there forecast that the global gaming market is on its way to becoming a $100 billion industry, and half of that will come from Asia. So why isn’t your game performing?The reality is that Asia is complex, and navigating your way across the region is far from easy. Each country has its own set of challenges and overcoming them will require great attention to detail. Let’s take a look at a few of the hurdles you will have to overcome.ChinaThe glorious middle Kingdom, where there are more active smartphone users than anywhere else on the planet. Why didn’t you get any traction in Google Play when there are so many Android users? For one, Google Play does not officially exist in China yet. But don’t worry, there are almost 200 app stores in China available (talk about fragmentation). To get a decent cut of distribution, you’ll need to align with the top 10 Android markets, which represent about a 60 percent share. Baidu, Qihoo, Tencent, 91 and Wandoujia are some of the leaders right now. To tap into another 20 percent of the market, go with device branded stores like Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei. Now that you have great distribution partners it’s clear sailing from here on out, right? Unfortunately, no. There is a lot more to tackle here. You still have to worry about billing, collection, localization, acculturation, and protecting your IP. But don’t despair. It can be done, and it can be done successfully. The road that many take is to find a strong and reliable partner that can do all this for you and save you the embarrassment of failing on your own. Stat: China overtook US as the number one rank for App downloads on iOS in Q1 2015.JapanIf there is any market you want to be big in, it’s Japan right? Let’s set the stage for you early – 70 percent of the revenue generated in Japan comes from two titles; Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike. This duopoly has flip-flopped the number one and two top grossing positions for almost two years now! The harsh reality is that Japan is dominated by Japanese players, so the usual suspects like Kabam, Supercell, Machine Zone, etc. are competing just to stay in the top 10 on the app store charts.Reality check stat: In Japan, from 2001 to 2013, the number of foreign-made video games titles in the top 100 was 0.Since this article is about navigating your way to Asia, one piece of advice is to be ready for the long haul. Understand that it takes more than giving your characters an anime-style face lift and putting a token dragon into your game. While distribution is straightforward with the App Store and Google Play as the dominant channels, you will have to “Gachify” (play off gacha) your game and probably use a local partner to work on your Japanese build to achieve success. Elsewhere in AsiaKorean gamers expect updates as often as every two weeks for a minor update, four weeks for a major update and two months for a new build – in other words, they like to keep things fresh. This can take up a lot of your resources to keep up so prepare yourself. Taiwan is all about Traditional Chinese, not to be mistaken for Simplified Chinese that you used for China. Don’t be fooled by this small island either; it consistently is a top 20 gaming market when it comes to revenue generation. You will be going up against heavyweight competitors from China, Korea, and Japan in this highly lucrative market. Make sure you bring your “A” game and quality game play, and utilize a mix of local traffic sources to reach quality users.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Indonesians spend a whopping 29 percent of their time playing games vs. the global average of 15 percent – so expect heavy usage but low monetization. With a population of 250 million people and counting, there are enough eyeballs to get, and it’s one of the markets where international titles can get traction with little localization.Thailand, the king of Southeast Asia, reigns supreme when it comes to actually making money, driving close to $500 million in annual revenue. It also ranks in the top 10 for number of Facebook, Instagram and LINE users globally. Local developers have found little success competing with the global players who take the time to localize their casual titles for the Siam Kingdom.As you can see, the landscape is not picture perfect but with three of the top five global gaming markets in Asia, success will bear fruit in many shapes and sizes. You need to understand the complexity of the region as a whole, and the nuances of each market, and you must localize to monetize.Ronen Mense is VP Asia at AppsFlyer, a mobile attribution and marketing analytics company.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEpic vs Apple – Week One Review: Epic still faces an “uphill battle”Legal experts share their thoughts on the proceedings so far, and what to expect from the coming weekBy James Batchelor 15 hours agoEpic Games claims Fortnite is at “full penetration” on consoleAsserts that mobile with the biggest growth potential as it fights for restoration to iOS App StoreBy James Batchelor 19 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Twitch pledges to stamp out viewbot servicesFirst lawsuit filed against sellers of bots that artificially inflate viewers, followers and chat activityMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefMonday 20th June 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareTwitch has started legal action against seven sellers of “view-bot” services, which are employed to artificially increase important metrics like view counts, follower counts and general chat activity.In a post on the Twitch blog, SVP of marketing Matthew DiPietro called view-bots, follow-bots and chat-impersonation bots a “persistent frustration” to those working at the company. These rogue services are only used by a minority of the Twitch community, he said, but they, “have created a very real problem that has damaging effects across our entire community.”DiPietro continued: “Sometimes these bots are used by a broadcaster who believes the perception of higher viewership and social activity will put them on the fast-track to success or Twitch partnership. Other times, bots are used to harass other broadcasters in order to attempt to deny them partnership, or get their channel suspended. “Using viewbots hurts anyone using them on their own channel or found to be using them against other channels, as well as the Twitch community at large” “All of this is enabled by bot services offered by a handful of sellers who make misleading claims for their own commercial benefit.”Twitch is already engaged with stamping out the practice, principally through an ever improving “a range of technological solutions” that can detect and disable “false viewers.” There is also a human aspect to that push, DiPietro said, with the company’s moderation and support teams also investigating reports of suspicious rises in viewer counts, follower counts and chat activity.”Today we are adding a third layer,” he said. “We are taking the next step toward protecting Twitch viewers and broadcasters from the damaging effects of this kind of malicious activity by taking public legal action against seven of the most active sellers of viewbot services.”In a document filed with the San Jose District Court, Twitch highlighted one service that charged between $9.99 a month for 75 extra viewers and $38.99 a month for 475 viewers. Another of the seven defendants offered 100 viewers for $26.99 a week, going right up to $759.99 a week for 20,000 viewers. “Defendants’ offerings, described in more detail below, are accompanied by fake follower and fake chat activity designed to make the fake viewership mimic real user behavior,” the document said.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “These deceptive actions inflate viewer statistics for some channels while harming legitimate broadcaster channels by decreasing their discoverability. That, in turn, hurts the quality of the experience community members have come to expect from Twitch.”Twitch is seeking an immediate end to the seven defendants’ activities, including its dealings with related third-parties like payment companies, as well as damages and legal costs. You can download the full document here.As a parting shot, DiPietro asked the Twitch community to consider its own role in the rise of bot service. “The best way to stop viewbot sellers from profiting off of empty promises is to not buy their services,” he said. “Using viewbots hurts anyone using them on their own channel or found to be using them against other channels, as well as the Twitch community at large.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEpic vs Apple – Week One Review: Epic still faces an “uphill battle”Legal experts share their thoughts on the proceedings so far, and what to expect from the coming weekBy James Batchelor 15 hours agoEpic Games claims Fortnite is at “full penetration” on consoleAsserts that mobile with the biggest growth potential as it fights for restoration to iOS App StoreBy James Batchelor 18 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJames Prendergast Process Specialist 3 years ago Misplaced emphasis to appease political motivated media pressure.No worries there are still a few hours left to win 17 million. Are you willing to bet 2 euros?https://www.loterie-nationale.be/fr0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyBrian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext3 years ago Ok. I have read through the gaming commission article. By the definitions that they put forward, loot boxes are clearly gambling. They are quite clear in their definitions, which resolves all confusion about this matter. However, I would expect some of their definitions to be challenged in court. Here are a few points (not all are of equal value).1. They state that purchasing loot boxes with a virtual currency that can be obtained for money qualifies as a bet (even if this same currency can be obtained for free).2. They state that as long as there is any randomization of items received that this meets the requirement for chance.3. They state that value does not have to be monetary (objective), and as long as it is possible to assign different subjective values to the items received that this qualifies as a chance to win or lose.With these definitions, it can not be argued that loot boxes as currently implemented are not gambling. I would expect to see a legal challenge for each of these, with #3 being the key aspect.Now, if you accept these definitions, then it ls clear that many other things that were not previously believed to be gambling, are in fact gambling now. Belgian Gaming Commission recommends criminal prosecution over illegal loot boxesCommission lays groundwork for prosecution as Belgian justice minister meets with stakeholders to find an alternativeHaydn TaylorSenior Staff WriterThursday 10th May 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareThe Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) has suggested that criminal prosecution should be undertaken against Electronic Arts, Valve, and Activision Blizzard over loot boxes in their respective games. With the release of its research report on loot boxes, the BGC has clearly defined the parameters of what does and does not constitute gambling, and the ways in which FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Overwatch each contravene the legislation. The report lays out recommendations of what steps should be taken next to handle the issue. Although the BGC has suggested criminal prosecution first and foremost, it will not proceed until Belgian minister of justice Koen Geens has met with industry stakeholders to begin a dialogue on the issue. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, BGC director Peter Naessens said: “We are going to take all preparatory measures for the drafting of police reports, but it’s not going to be tomorrow. There is a certain amount of time for the minister of justice, but it’s not unlimited.””We are going to take all preparatory measures for the drafting of police reports… There is a certain amount of time for the minister of justice, but it’s not unlimited.” Peter Naessens, Belgian Gaming Commission directorOther recommendations from the BGC include developing specific permits for video games that feature loot boxes, and marking them accordingly. This is coupled with the suggestion of age verification in stores when purchasing codes or gift cards, and a principal ban on minors being able to purchase games featuring the mechanic. Regarding distributors and operators, the BGC recommended that a clear indication of winning odds be provided and that its technical assessment team be granted complete control over the random number generators used for loot boxes. Additional provisions over player data and payments were recommended, along with the introduction of a user spending limit. License holders such as FIFA and Disney were also pulled up by the BGC, which suggested such companies pay closer attention to the sort of mechanics appearing in their games. Unlike the Netherlands’ recent decision regarding loot boxes, the Belgian ruling does not consider the option to sell or trade the contents of loot boxes as an important factor when determining whether or not the mechanic might constitute gambling. The BGC defines gambling as any game whereby a wager can lead to loss or win for at least one of the players, and where chance may even have a secondary role in the course of the game, the winner, or size of the winnings.While its definition may appear less applicable to loot boxes than the Netherlands Gaming Authority, the BGC clearly defined the many ways in which the offending games are in breach of the legislation. Taking Overwatch as an example: using real money, players can purchase loot boxes containing random collectable items, which constitutes a wager. The chance of a win or a loss concerns the wager itself versus the value of the items in the box. Despite being entirely aesthetic and not tradeable outside of the game, the items have player-ascribed value that is altered by artificial scarcity, limited edition items, and the four categories of rarity. As Blizzard does not allow players to purchase credits directly, they are encouraged to purchase loot boxes containing in-game currency in order to obtain items faster than they would by just playing the game. “The chance of losing your wager (the cost of the loot box) is, of course, ever-present now that testimonies and research have shown that players have a substantial chance of obtaining an object or item that they already own,” the report reads. “Both in the purchase of loot boxes and in the entire operation of the game, all of this can lead to pure manipulation of individuals or groups of players” Research Report on Loot Boxes, Belgian Gaming CommissionThe BGC calculated that, should a player wish to collect every item, they would have to open somewhere between 1,300 and 1,600 loot boxes. Considering the aspect of chance, things become a little murkier, though the BGC is operating on the understanding that players believe the content is determined by chance, even if there were no odds communicated directly. “Both in the purchase of loot boxes and in the entire operation of the game, all of this can lead to pure manipulation of individuals or groups of players,” the report reads. “The line between encouragement and manipulation is sometimes difficult to differentiate in an online environment where one party (game manufacturer/game platform) records almost everything and the consumer who plays the game rather passively from this perspective.” Blizzard did not respond to the commission’s requests for more information. Many within the games industry have criticised the assumption that loot boxes which do not contain items of monetary value outside of the game constitute gambling, drawing comparisons to collectible card games such as Pokémon or Magic the Gathering. “It might be considered as gambling, but in our legislation there is an exception for it,” Naessens told GamesIndustry.biz. “So Pokémon cards, if they are going to introduce a wheel of fortune, roulette, or a blackjack game in order to determine the contents, it will also be problematic and we will examine it as well. “But in our legislation, card or party games are exempt from gambling [legislation]. If Pokémon cards were to introduce the gambling element to their game, it would be very problematic as well.” Essentially, the BGC argues that players are “lured into betting money through loot boxes with a range of techniques”. When making the decision, the BGC considered aspects such as social behaviour monitoring, as demonstrated with the “exploratory” patent filed recently by Activision which is designed to encourage microtransaction spending through player monitoring. “If [Pokémon card] are going to introduce a wheel of fortune, roulette, or a blackjack game in order to determine the contents, it will also be problematic and we will examine it as well.” Peter Naessens, Belgian Gaming Commission directorOther considerations include the “fusion of fiction and reality”, highlighting the use of the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo to advertise the most expensive loot boxes in EA Sports’ FIFA and “whitewashing the behaviour of the super-rich in the football world or the possibility of match-fixing”. Tying into this point is the use of limited edition items to drive loot box sales, and the use of game-specific currencies that are “psychologically very sophisticated” and fully disconnect the value of real money from the value of in-game currency. Game operators failing to enforce a spending limit, combined with readily giving away free loot boxes in order to attract players was also considered a dangerous aspect of the mechanic.Despite a recent assertion from Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson that FIFA 18 loot boxes do not constitute gambling, the clock is ticking and the publishing giant, along with Valve and Activision Blizzard, will invariably have to make changes or forgo the Belgian market entirely. Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Although progress will be slow, momentum is gathering as gambling legislators from around the world turn their gaze towards the issue of loot boxes. According to Naessens, BGC has been in contact with officals in Spain, Germany, Finland, America, and Asia. “I cannot say there will be a European-wide common approach,” he said. “But there is at least a common concern among regulators about those loot boxes and the use of gambling mechanisms in video games, so it will be up for discussion.” GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to EA, Valve and Activision Blizzard and is awaiting a response.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEpic vs Apple – Week One Review: Epic still faces an “uphill battle”Legal experts share their thoughts on the proceedings so far, and what to expect from the coming weekBy James Batchelor 12 hours agoEpic Games claims Fortnite is at “full penetration” on consoleAsserts that mobile with the biggest growth potential as it fights for restoration to iOS App StoreBy James Batchelor 15 hours agoLatest comments (9)AbdulBasit Saliu Mechanic, Flowmotion Entertainment Inc3 years ago This is stupidity. Loot Box is not gambling. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyDr. Chee Ming Wong , Opus Artz Ltd3 years ago If one were a game dev, just avoid it as a mechanic for now… 3 years ago If you are wondering about the exception for trading cards in Belgium, go find out who Cartamundi is, whose cards they print and how they addressed an issue they potentially foresaw in cooperation with the law before it became a real problem for them. That is not unfair, that is the kid who did his homework.So the Belgians are really leaving the door wide open and only a fool would not pick up the phone. Especially with the GDPR around the corner, which effectively gives every European entity an insight into which data publishers have about their customers. If some gambling commission knocks you over the head with the law and knows what you knew, you are not just a naked emperor, you are like full on Hellraiser skin stripped off screaming skull in the middle of the news cycle. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (9)T. Elliot Cannon AAA Video Game Industry Director and Unreal Engine Defense Simulations Consultant 3 years ago @James Prendergast: trading cards publish the odds of getting things publicly. If you buy a case you will get one one or more complete sets as a rule.Trading cards offer complete sets at set pricesTrading cards can be “won”You can do a million loot boxes and not get everything, as the dice is rolled every time you click 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. 3 years ago Sorry, Abdul Basit Saliu. Not all loot boxes are created equally. Given that you can’t guarantee a certain return from some forms of ‘lootboxing’ then it certainly qualifies as ‘gambling’ in my book. IMO, even buying booster card packs from traditional retailers for certain card games constituted a gambling element. The law and society have just been slow to catch up, despite the many people who ruined themselves on MagicTG or whatever… Especially that Italia 90 Panini bloody book that I never managed to fill.. DESPITE spending many pocketmonies’ worth on those card packs…. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyNick Gibson Director, Games Investor Consulting3 years ago ” technical assessment team be granted complete control over the random number generators used for loot boxes ” Gamedevs will love this one… 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyKlaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyChristopher Dring Publisher, GamesIndustry.biz2 years ago The difference between trading cards and loot boxes is knowledge over who is buying. Developers can change the odds to maximise expenditure from the player doing the buying, as they will be logged into the system. That’s where the fear comes from. You can’t do that once its shrink-wrapped and stuck in a newsagent. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAlex Barnfield Lead Engineer, 17-BIT2 years ago You may not be alone on the 4k streaming issue, but I can’t back it up. Surprised to hear of issues in Tokyo of all places. I’ve always found the internet service to be excellent in Japan and never had a connection that didn’t easily meet the requirements for 4k streaming.I agree with the conclusion, but not the reasoning, I see latency being the killer.Movies don’t need to be compressed on the fly, and the delay is irrelevant.Gaming input lag however spoils the experience, and I can’t see it being overcome (even the steam link introduces more than the ideal just due to the overhead of encoding/decoding). Resident Evil 7 streaming edition was one of the worst gaming experiences I’ve ever had. The game so much less responsive (particularly noticeable if you enable motion controls), and what really scares me is most users won’t even know why they are having a frustrating experience.Rather than the brute force approach of streaming the image I could see consumer benefit to loading assets in the background. A better performance drive with less space would be more practical, and buying a download title would no longer mean going into the storage management page to delete a previous purchase. It also eliminates latency as a factor whilst giving publishers the same level of control over distribution.Unfortunately it would need games to be designed around it if the content was to be available when needed and therefore couldn’t be retroactively applied. 2 years ago Digital distribution enables a few publishers to cut out a retail middle-man and keep more of the sticker price to themselves.Streaming burdens publishers with the task of a console manufacturer, i.e. providing hardware. I can see why Sony and Microsoft are first on the hypetrain, since it is their console business-model which suffers most, if third parties just stream to some $20 Android device, instead of paying licensing fees to release games which have multiplayer modes which earn console manufacturers more money due to further online paywalls.Hence the strategy is to lock down all the relevant patents now, before third parties cut off hardware manufacturers as hard as they cut off retail. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (4)Alex Barnfield Lead Engineer, 17-BIT2 years ago Not sure where you got those numbers, a quick google puts them only .1% behind the US, and well above Australia and a number of other countries I would class as first world. By sheer numbers rather than percentage it’s #3 for fixed-broadband so there is no lack of a market.Those people doing things on their phones, not spending a lot of time home probably aren’t very relevant when discussing the practicality of streaming 4k games. They won’t be purchasing a home console, streaming or otherwise.I can’t say what was in Netflix’s mind, I really doubt if that was why they stayed out of the market however. Besides whenever you sign up for (or renew) a softbank contract one of the things they try and do is get you to switch to their broadband, they aren’t only a cell company.What I do know is that Hulu was well known long before netflix, free trials were in everything from DVDs to Nintendo 3DS systems.Even if that was why Netflix stayed out though they were mistaken, I’m with Softbank and the dreaded “you’re out of data” text is a common fixture, even at the 20GB a month plan you won’t be binge watching even if you drop down to SD quality, which is why it’s unsurprising that I very rarely see anyone watching TV on their phone.Most people, even people you wouldn’t expect, only seem to play games on their daily commute. Netflix and home broadband seem to go pretty hand in hand. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. 2 years ago @Alex Barnfield: Japan has the lowest installed base of home broadband in the first world. People don’t tend to spend a lot of time at home, especially in the city, and they do everything on their phones. While some are doing the infrastructure improvements, the vast majority of tenants just aren’t interested enough to make thr investment, and many looking for faster more stable service are pinning their hopes on either Olympic fueled upgrades or 5gNetflix wisely stayed out of the Japanese market until such time as they could partner with a major cell provider (which also gave them a local agent to help navigate the nightmare that is licensing local content).Game publishers want to skip the middle man and keep all the money, understandable.Physical discs aren’t archaic at all for movies. The quality is far better (your average “HD” stream from Netflix is only 1-2mbps, which is half what an SD DVD was. While their algorithms are very very good, the difference in 4k Blu-ray to highest quality “4k” streaming is huge.Then we come to the issue that people don’t pay for digital by and large. If you tell people you want $50 for a game you can’t play if your internet goes out, that isn’t some kind of MMO, they’re going to tell you to stuff it. Movie industry has discovered there’s a pretty hard wall of people willing to buy digital stuff at SRP (which isn’t helped by Disney grossly overpricing catalog titles), and while gamers are far less resistant, until such time as there’s an infrastructure to support it even majority digital is a pipe dream, with streaming really requiring a Comcast or other major ISP running very local nodes to even begin to realize it Our Uncertain Streaming FutureThe idea of streaming games from the cloud was a hot topic again at E3 – but no matter how close to that ideal the tech is coming, the business case remains a messRob FaheyContributing EditorFriday 29th June 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareOne of the more curious things to emerge from E3 this year – and something that remains a curiosity even now that the dust is well-settled – is the seeming consensus that game streaming is inevitably, inexorably making its way towards being the industry’s dominant way to distribute games.Executives aside, not too many people actually seem terribly happy about this notion; but there’s a pretty broad acceptance that it’s just how things are. Almost every discussion of next-generation consoles is now accompanied by chin-scratching over precisely what role streaming is going to play, and to what extent it’ll offset the need for ultra-powerful hardware – a pretty damn radical proposition that seems to be receiving surprisingly little questioning.Let me put my cards on the table here – I have some skin in this game. Since finally upgrading to a 4K TV, I have of necessity become a consumer of a rather archaic commodity – Blu-Ray discs. I honestly never imagined myself going back to physical media for movies or TV shows, but 4K has been the last straw for my internet connection. It was just about able to eke out a half-decent Netflix stream on a smaller, lower-resolution TV (as long as you didn’t mind things going all Lego-blocks now and then), but on the larger screen it smears artifacted pixels around in a manner that gives me flashbacks to RealPlayer’s stoic but utterly misguided attempts to stream video over dial-up connections in the 1990s.”A game you play for 20, 50 or even 100 hours would chew through vastly more bandwidth than just downloading the game to play locally would require” I live in central Tokyo, not some broadband wasteland. This is the highest-end broadband connection available to me – there is literally no upgrade option I can take short of actually moving to a new apartment with different infrastructure- and it won’t stream 4K (and honestly struggles a lot with HD) between the hours of six and midnight every day. My response to people making blasé throwaway comments about the inevitability of streaming, then, is a little more than a raised eyebrow – because I’m damned sure I’m not alone in this. For all the failings of Japan’s broadband infrastructure, it’s still far beyond that in many other countries – and at least doesn’t impose data caps and limits, as is common for many people in the USA and elsewhere.Now, at this juncture it’s worth noting that I’m talking about the broadband situation right now, and the people predicting an inevitable streaming future at talking about, well, the future. They imply that it’ll happen within a short space of time, but it’s important to define what we mean by a short space of time – because to be totally fair to their arguments, they’re not talking about a year or even two years’ time. Perhaps people get the wrong impression about how soon streaming will be a major factor from the experiments that platform holders are already running – PlayStation Now is a thing which already exists, and Microsoft is muttering about Xbox games you can play on any device – but I don’t think there’s any serious, credible suggestion that either of those companies, or any publishers, expects the next Xbox or the next PlayStation to be primarily a streaming device, or even to make streaming into a central part of its offering.Sony’s experiment with PlayStation Now has contributed to the assumption that streaming will become the norm for video gamesWe’re talking, then, about the next-next-gen; about having another generation of the kind of powerful devices that play games locally and that we all know and love, and then after that moving to some kind of thin-client setup, or an approximation of that. All-streaming, all the time; which sounds radical when you say it like that, but take a step back and it’s hard not to notice that we’re really just dealing with the latest iteration of “this is the last console generation, because X is here and it’s going to kill consoles”, with streaming merely replacing smartphones as this generation’s new X.”PlayStation Now offers access to libraries of older titles, but I have yet to hear a compelling argument for streaming’s advantages with regard to newer titles” That timeframe also makes these predictions pretty tricky, because that’s a seven to ten year gap, and a hell of a lot can and will change in seven to ten years. I know it’s something of a tech cliché to throw out the fact that smartphones didn’t exist ten years ago, but it’s true and it’s very relevant; smartphones have changed a lot of things but from a purely technological point of view, thinking about where processing is located, they’ve driven a revolution in high-powered, energy-efficient chips that has put extraordinarily capable computers into most people’s pockets, a notion that would have been hugely far-fetched not so long ago. Making confident predictions about a decade-hence streaming future makes a lot of assumptions that could easily be upset by changes in the tech and economics surrounding processing, storage and networks over the coming decade.Once again giving the benefit of the doubt, however, let’s assume a linear development in all of those things. In that case, sure; in seven to ten years there will be a lot less people in my position. Fibre networks will be further upgraded and 5G will be rolled out; the technological ability to deliver high quality, low latency streaming to a significant proportion of the market (still not everyone, and the industry is going to have to think long and hard about how many consumers it’s willing to leave on the shelf) will be there. The business models of the carriers remains a wildcard, though. I could, hypothetically, stream 4K video over my LTE connection right now, and the quality would likely be much better than my highly contended fibre-optic connection. LTE connections, however, are capped at a pretty low rate – so even now, for some people the issue is a business one, not a technological one.That distinction is important, because I get a strong sense that many people are treating this shift towards streaming as being inevitable simply because they assume that it will follow the same pattern as digital distribution – a move which was looming, waiting to happen, and simply needed the technological aspects to fall into place before it became the dominant paradigm. Digital distribution taking over from physical was pretty damned inevitable as soon as the direction of travel of tech was clear; the advantages all across the value chain were simply too big to be ignored.Streaming is a different proposition; the business case for it remains unconvincing, which essentially means that the technology isn’t the real issue. We could quite easily reach a point where streaming is trivial given the tech available, but still isn’t a popular way to play most games; I have zero doubt that it will find important applications in some cases (PlayStation Now offering access to libraries of older titles is a great example), but have yet to hear a compelling argument for its advantages with regard to newer titles and existing gaming audiences.”Right now, everyone wants to be Netflix – but their technological model simply doesn’t make sense for a non-linear medium.” That’s the thing; you can make a case for streaming in a number of outlier situations, but once you start saying “we’re going to move the industry en masse to this model”, you need to start thinking in broader economic terms. Here, the toughest, thickest wall this idea runs into is the simple fact that in general over recent decades the costs of processing and storage have dropped far, far faster than network costs – a trend which seems highly likely to continue. This means that storing and running a game in the cloud may be insanely cheap, but beaming that game over the network to players may be very expensive to one party or the other. Anyone who’s worked with cloud services to any significant extent knows that that’s where the costs really start to add up – network ingress and egress – and consumers may well also face additional costs that make this whole thing unattractive even if it actually works.Raising this issue with streaming advocates always results in them pointing to the success of other cloud services – which, I think, betrays the extent to which this thinking is informed by a general sense that “music and movies do this now, games must be next”. The thing is, this issue of network transport isn’t a major hurdle for existing cloud services, because they generally fall into two camps – small files (documents, photos, music) which don’t impact bandwidth much, and can be cached locally easily anyway; and large files (TV shows, movies) which take up a bunch of bandwidth, but are generally only watched once, which means the bandwidth cost to stream is no more, and likely somewhat less, than it would be to download.At E3 2018, EA CEO Andrew Wilson predicted streaming will have a ‘profound impact’ on the games industry, but the business model isn’t fully formed yetGames are a radically different proposition from a network perspective. Never mind the question of latency – let’s assume that’s solved in ten years’ time. However, by the nature of how games work, a game you play for 20, 50 or even 100 hours would chew through vastly more bandwidth than just downloading the game to play locally would require. Sure, you can play it on a device that’s low powered because all it needs to do is display the stream; but here again the question is, why?Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Processing power is cheap, not just in the cloud but for consumers too; the same goes for storage. Both processing and storage continue to pack more power into smaller devices at a pace of progress that far outstrips the build-out of network infrastructure. Streaming seeks to turn the weakest link in the tech chain, the network, into the lynchpin of the whole experience; it puts the industry and its consumers at the mercy of broadband infrastructure companies, betting the future on the fervent hope that their costs will fall and performance rise at a dramatically greater rate than has been the case in previous decades. From an industry point of view, I do understand the temptation of streaming – no more piracy, total control, games as a service – but unless these things make sense for business and consumers alike, the idea isn’t going to take off. The benefits cited for consumers aren’t entirely inconsequential; games that start without needing a download, no need to buy an expensive console device, access to a huge library, and so on – but they don’t stack up to an offering compelling enough to outbalance the looming question of just whose pocket all of these bandwidth costs will come out of.Right now, everyone wants to be Netflix – but their technological model simply doesn’t make sense for a non-linear medium.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 4 hours agoUbisoft posts record sales yet again, delays Skull & Bones yet againPublisher moves away from target of 3-4 premium AAA titles a year, wants to build free-to-play “to be trending toward AAA ambitions over the long term”By Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoLatest comments (4)Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing
WildWorks’ Animal Jam hits $150 million lifetime revenueKids MMO launched eight years ago, mobile version has earned $20 million of the totalMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefTuesday 7th August 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleWildWorksWildWorks’ has earned $150 million in revenue from Animal Jam, its popular MMO for the kids’ market.Animal Jam launched in October 2010, and it has earned $150 million in revenue across all platforms since then. The MMO has 100 million registered users, 61 per cent of which live in the US and Canada, which also account for 79 per cent of Animal Jam revenue.The next biggest market is found in Brazil, which is the home of 11 per cent of Animal Jam’s monthly active users.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The majority of Animal Jam’s revenue comes from subscription sales: 85 per cent, with the remainder coming from the sale of in-game currency and licensing deals.Mobile is a rising force for the future of the Animal Jam brand. Daily active users now evenly split between web and the mobile version, Animal Jam: Play Wild, despite the latter only having launched three years ago, and annual revenue from mobile is up 36 per cent over the last 12 months.Overall, Animal Jam’s mobile version has earned $20 million in revenue, 72 per cent of which came from iOS users.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 3 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 5 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
EA forecasts 6m sales for Anthem in six weeksBioware’s game expected to reach sales target before the end of the fiscal yearMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefWednesday 6th February 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleElectronic ArtsElectronic Arts expects between five and six million sales for Bioware’s Anthem before the end of the fiscal year.The fiscal year ends on March 31, 2019, and EA CFO Blake Jorgensen told the company’s investors that it has modelled between five and six million sales for Anthem by that date.Bioware’s highly anticipated online game launches on February 22, leaving six weeks for it to reach that target. According to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, that forecast has not changed since last quarter, even though Anthem’s demo encountered some well publicised technical issues.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Wilson told EA’s investors that the demo resulted in “people… realizing it is a game that’s unlike any other game they’ve ever played.”Wilson added, “we think there is a great opportunity not just this year for [Anthem], but that should sell well for a long period of time as we add more content through the live service plan.”EA reported its third quarter financial results yesterday, a period in which it failed to meet its own forecasts despite the launch of Battlefield V.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 3 hours agoEA acquires Super Mega Baseball developer Metalhead SoftwareCanadian studio fills another gap in FIFA publisher’s expanding sports portfolioBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
Control: Critical ConsensusCritics rave as Remedy’s bizarre supernatural third-person shooter shows the studio “has reached its final form”Brendan SinclairManaging EditorMonday 26th August 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleRemedy Entertainment”Control continues the basic formula that Remedy Entertainment has been playing with for all these years — third-person action with a hint of unreality — but it feels like the studio has reached its final form.”That’s a snippet of Mike Williams’ summary paragraph from his USgamer review of Control, which he gave four out of five stars. While the “final form” phrasing was distinctly his own, the sentiment behind it was one we saw repeatedly while surveying the assortment of reviews published Monday for Control.Like the studio’s Alan Wake and Quantum Break, Control has an ambitious narrative bent that sets it apart from the AAA crowd, even if the gameplay tends to rest on some tried-and-true concepts.In Control, players take the role of Jesse Faden, the newest employee of the Federal Bureau of Control, a government agency focused on the supernatural. The FBC’s office is The Oldest House, an impossible building whose layout and obedience to basic laws of physics are frequently shifting. But no sooner has Faden entered the scene than everything at The Oldest House goes haywire — more so than usual — and she tries her best to survive the chaos and make sense of the situation, often through third-person shooter combat.As Edwin Evans-Thirlwell wrote in Video Games Chronicle’s 4 out of 5 stars review, “Stewed in a fondness for eerie Americana built up through games like Max Payne and Alan Wake, it can be triumphantly bizarre. But so much of the game’s design, and so much of Jesse’s purpose within its story, is about reining in the concept and reducing everything to the cleanness and clearness of a third-person shooter.”Christian Donlan supported that assessment in giving the game a “Recommended” nod from Eurogamer, calling it “an obligingly straight-ahead blaster mounted in the most ornate of frames.”For some reviewers, this was a mark against the game. In reviewing the game for The Verge, Andrew Webster said the game’s reliance on cover-based shooter tropes can make it drag.”The problem is that the game relies too much on combat,” Webster said. “Often, enemies would respawn seemingly at random, and I’d be forced to replay simple but tedious combat scenarios multiple times. This discouraged exploration. You can get around the battles somewhat with Control’s fast-travel feature, though, of course, that isn’t really exploring at all. Worse still are some of the boss-like battles, which seem downright unfair, throwing wave after wave of bad guys at you. It’s a frustrating way to slow your progress, and there were times – particularly one egregiously long battle toward the end of the game – where I almost gave up on Control because I didn’t want to replay the same fight for the dozenth time.”Even so, Webster stressed “it’s worth pushing through to see the uniquely uncomfortable world Remedy has created.”Other reviewers had fewer misgivings about the combat. In an 8.8 out of 10 review for IGN, Jonathon Dornbush praised the psychic combat abilities that are a key part of the game’s fighting, in particular a telekinetic ability called “Launch” that lets players pummel enemies with anything in the environment not nailed down.”While it’s not quite the same level of tactile satisfaction as Kratos’ Leviathan axe in God of War, the oomph of hurling heavy objects around with my mind is as close as I’ve felt since,” Dornbush said.Reviewers loved the Launch abilityAnd even though Donlan had had plenty of praise for the Launch ability (and the joy of eliminating enemies by throwing armchairs, photocopiers, and various bits of old, heavy technology at them), he acknowledged how the straight-forward nature of the combat stands in contrast to the story.”There’s a little trickery in the narrative some of the time, but Control refuses to descend into all-out mechanical weirdness for the most part. It never forgets the pleasure of being a shooter above all other things, and with a few exceptions it’s more eager to hit you full-on with architectural beauty than warp your brain with the kind of spatial shenanigans you get in something like Portal.”A number of reviewers also noted the game’s somewhat open structure, where backtracking is required and new abilities will help open up previously inaccessible parts of The Oldest House.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “This isn’t the kind of experience that pushes you in any one particular direction,” Webster said. “There are no big glowing arrows showing you where to go and the mini-map is pretty hard to use. I found myself getting lost a lot, particularly early on, as I stumbled through the confusingly maze-like structure of the Oldest House. But it also felt appropriate. At the beginning, Jesse is a newcomer to this world… You learn alongside her, and it’s very rewarding.”GameSpot’s Peter Brown said that structure also helps give the game a bit of longevity in his 8 out of 10 review, as Remedy filled Control with side quests and things that could be easily missed on an initial playthrough. What’s more, the world Remedy created makes those extra bits more than just busywork.”It’s not often that a game invades my thoughts the way Control has,” Brown said. “I’m at the point where I want to consume every last thing it has to offer. And if I’m honest, it also makes me want to go back and replay Remedy’s past games, too. Sure, it’s a faulty Metroidvania in some respects, but there are so many exceptional qualities afoot that Control handily deflects any momentary ire. I can’t wait to take part in discussions about the game, to see what others have figured out, and to better understand where it all fits into Jesse’s story.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesBeyond Control: What’s next for Remedy?CEO Tero Virtala on Vanguard, the shared universe of the Epic-funded games and why two million sales still doesn’t class Control as a major hitBy James Batchelor 2 months agoRecord year for Remedy despite no new game releasesOngoing success of Control boosts Finnish developer as it ramps up work on next game and two Epic-funded projectsBy James Batchelor 2 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. A year ago Another great article RV. Mobile gaming projected to surpass $100b in spend in 2020App Annie: Mobile games now bring in more spending than all other game types combinedRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterWednesday 15th January 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleApp AnnieMobile gaming continued to grow in 2019, with App Annie predicting the industry is on track to surpass $100 billion in revenue across all mobile app stores in 2020.According to its State of Mobile 2020 report, mobile game spending neared $90 billion in 2019, and made up 56% of all gaming spending last year. Mobile game spend was 2.4 times that of spending on PC and Mac, and 2.9 times that on console.In total, App Annie found 1121 mobile games that brought in over $5 million, and 140 games that brought in over $100 million.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games By downloads, casual arcade games made up 47% of all mobile game downloads, with casual puzzle games making up 21%. Overall, all casual games made up 82% of all mobile game downloads.But despite only making up 18% of all downloads, “core” games made up 55% of time spent in them. Broken down, action games took up 38% of the total, RPGs made up 7%, and other genres were 10%. Core games also made up 76% of spend, led by RPGs with 38% of the total.App Annie also provided the following breakdown of top games by consumer spend, by country:Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesConsumers spend $32b on apps in Q1 2021 – App AnnieTotal consumer spend on gaming hit $22 billion up 32% year-over-yearBy Jeffrey Rousseau A month agoCore gamers generated 66% of mobile revenues in 2020But casual still dominates downloads, as App Annie reports mobile gaming will pass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021By James Batchelor 3 months agoLatest comments (1)Leela Hendrix EsportsWomen.com
Why Tony Robbins, tax shelters and financial advisers don’t mix House panel unanimously passes SECURE 2.0 The Gates divorce: Lessons for financial advisers You have read 909 of 3 free articles this week. Register now for increased access.Register for free access to this article.By registering, you can read up to 3 articles per week.RegisterAlready registered? Sign in to continue reading or subscribe for unlimited access.,MOST READ 4 Newsletters House committee poised to advance SECURE 2.0 retirement savings bill 5 Subscribe for original insights, commentary and analysis of the issues facing the financial advice community, from the InvestmentNews team. 2 1 3 InvestCloud to acquire Advicent and NaviPlan planning software