1）据pocketgamer报道，手机游戏粘性服务Immersyve公司代表Scott Rigby在日前的GDC 2014大会上指出，开发者进入手机游戏市场的难度已经超过了最悲观者的想象，其中一个主要原因就在于开发者没有去思考人们一开始为何以及如何玩手机游戏。
除此之外，他还告诫开发者不应该试图将主机游戏移植到移动平台，原因在于这类游戏体验并不适合人们操作移动设备的习惯。他举例称《Call of Duty:Strike Team》于去年9月问世并备受好评，但该游戏至今收益还不足200万美元。第一人称射击游戏在手机游戏收益中占比不足2%，令有4%的玩家曾经在移动设备上玩第一人称射击游戏。
Immersyve另一成员Troy Skinner补充表示，App Store每个月都会出现9000款新应用，但有96%的iOS游戏收益是来自已经在该市场立足6个月以上的赢家。
2）据venturebeat报道，《Flappy Bird》开发者Dong Nguyen不久前在《滚石》杂志的采访中透露，正考虑向iOS重新发布这款游戏的情况。
但有观察者指出，鉴于苹果开发者协议规定“如果你删除了自己的应用，就无法再次复原了……不能以同样的组织重用SKU或应用名称”这一事实，即使Dong Nguyen拥有该游戏的完整版权，也不可以重用Flappy Bird这一名称（不过Google Play开发者协议并没有这种条款）。
作为中国大型PC网络游戏发行商之一，巨人网络2013年收益达3.89亿美元，净收入为2.07亿美元。该公司在移动游戏领域暂时还没有大动作，但表示在2014年将视该领域为战略发展重心。其首款手机游戏《Kung Fu BBQ》将于4月份发布，它是热门PC游戏《征途Online》的手机版本。
4）据gamezebo报道，谷歌在日前的GDC 2014大会上表示，Google Play Games服务打算进行一系列优化，其中包括推出游戏赠礼，在应用中直接进行多人游戏邀请的选项，以及在用户的Cicrle中发送游戏道具等功能。
除此之外，Google Play Games还将支持跨平台的即时或回合制多人模式，允许玩家与iOS用户互动。
他此前已在Konami就职20多年，其个人经历与《洛克人》开发者Kenji Inafune颇为相似，后者在Capcom就职23年后，于2010年离职并创办自己的工作室Comcept，目前正开发《Mighty NO.9》这款横向卷轴游戏，向通过Kickstarter融资385万美元。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，拒绝任何不保留版权的转载，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
1）GDC 2014: 96% of iOS revenue is from 6 month old top earners
by Keith Andrew
“Developers often think that if they make the next Titanfall or Call of Duty style shooter on mobile or tablets, it’s going to ‘blow the market wide open’,” offered Scott Rigby of Immersyve during the firm’s talk at GDC 2014 in San Francisco.
“That’s what we call the wrong way of thinking. Games like that don’t fit in with the opportunities mobile presents.”
According to engagement specialist Immersyve, breaking into the mobile market is harder than even the most pessimistic of developers think. But one of the main reasons it’s so hard is because scores of developers aren’t thinking about why and how people play mobile games in the first place.
“I very much doubt any of you in this room are playing Titanfall right now – well, I’d be very impressive if anyone was. Aside from the fact that it’s not possible on a technical level, if any of you were playing that, I’d notice,” he continued.
“Hard as it is for me to admit, however, chances are there are people in this room right now who are playing a mobile game. You can play a mobile games in 10 seconds – bam. Chances are, I wouldn’t notice.”
The console question
Immersyve’s main message, therefore, is that developers need to stop trying to take on console with mobile – it’s not that console games aren’t technically possible on high end mobile handsets.
Rather, they simply don’t fit in with the way people want to use those devices.
“People will say to me, “well, that’s just because no-one has executed a good console game on mobile yet,” added Rigby.
“That’s just not true. Call of Duty: Strike Team came out last September – it got great reviews. That’s a win, right? Well, Strike Team has made less than $2 million in lifetime revenue.”
Indeed, first-person shooters as a whole generate less than 2 percent of mobile revenue, with only 4 percent of gamers having ever taken any of them on.
Call of Duty: Strike Team
The end result of all this is, for the developers that understand how and where mobile gamers are playing games, the opportunity is huge.
“There are 9,000 new apps on the App Store each month,” added Immersyve’s Troy Skinner.
“That’s not an especially shocking fact, right? But, slightly more surprising is the fact that 96 percent of iOS revenue comes from games that were top earners six months ago. It’s a myth that new games are busting to the top.”
The playing game
More worrying, however, is the impact mobile – and particularly free-to-play – is having on the type of people that are playing games.
We’re all used to the notion that free-to-play has opened up gaming to new audiences, Skinner said, but perhaps we don’t truly appreciate how it is alienating people who have been playing games for all their lives.
“Free-to-play is converting players who were very used to paying into customers who don’t want to pay,” he added. “It’s like what happened to the music industry. As soon as people could get music for free online, there was no coming back from that.”
Skinner’s point was that the top grossing games are increasingly reliant on new, casual gamers to keep their revenue ticking over. Core gamers are intentionally shunning free games on mobile – they may download them, but they’re actively deciding not to spend.
“Core gamers also don’t educate themselves on new games on mobile, which is the complete opposite of how educated they were on console,” he continued, noting that the traditional model for game discovery – building in a unique feature into your game and then pushing it in the PR for press coverage – no longer works.
More people will download a game because they like the look of the icon than because they’ve read a positive review online.
A matter of time
The solution, therefore, is to understand that mobile gamers want games that “fit into the gaps where they’re waiting for things to happen” in their daily lives, rather than ones they have to dedicate themselves to and fully immerse themselves in.
“There are actually very few pockets of time that align with traditional gaming habits,” Rigby chipped in.
“Mobile is a fantastic opportunity to fit into these slots. What mobile allows for is creating more satisfaction density across the day, but games have to have certain values to fit in with this.
“There’s just no point in applying the traditional ruleset of console gaming to mobile. Gamers don’t want intensity on their devices – that’s going to impact how often they choose to engage with your game across the span of their day.”
The key lesson is, mobile gamers tend to have only one or two titles they take on regularly at one time and, crucially, they don’t have set games for set time slots. If your game can’t scale down to fit into a spare five minutes, they’re going to stop playing it.（source：pocketgamer）
2）Even a copyright wouldn’t help Flappy Bird creator get his hit’s name back thanks to Apple’s rules
Flappy Bird’s creator may want to bring the game back, but that might prove difficult.
Following a prolonged silence, developer Dong Nguyen spoke with Rolling Stone earlier this week about his arcadey megahit, Flappy Bird. For the first time, Nguyen revealed that he is “considering” bringing back the game that he deleted from the iOS and Android app markets. If he does, he says he’ll add a warning that says “please take a break” from the simple one-touch flapping action.
But it might never get to that point because of a clause in Apple’s developer agreement.
“If you delete your app, you can’t restore it,” reads Apple’s developer documentation. “The SKU or app name can’t be reused in the same organization.”
Essentially, Apple’s TOS agreement indicates that Nguyen forfeited the right to the Flappy Bird name on iOS along with all of the ad revenue (which some estimates put as high as $50,000 a day).
Even if he had full claim to the copyright, he couldn’t reuse Flappy Bird now that he has deleted it as per the agreement he made with Apple. Google Play does not have that same clause.
We’ve reached out to Apple to ask if it would uphold this rule in this case. We’ll update the story with any new information. Other developers we’ve spoken to confirm that Apple is pretty particular about unique names on the App Store, and the rules — unless changed — would likely keep Flappy Bird out of Nguyen’s hands.
On top of Apple’s policy, developer Mobile Media Partners, which is a developer that released Crashy Bird and the mobile marketing game Winsomething, locked up the “Flappy Bird” name on iOS for its own use two hours after Nguyen deleted the original. Mobile Media Partners says it has plans for the title, and it already has a trademark pending. If Nguyen had a trademark, he could sue the developer to stop it from releasing the game, but Apple would still block him from using it again himself.
“One of my engineers happened to be uploading one of our games on that Sunday [that Nguyen took it down],” Mobile Media Partners chief executive Chris Langbein told GamesBeat. “We put ‘Flappy Bird’ in — he just recently deleted it — and it was available. It wasn’t like we waited and jumped in as soon as he deleted it.”
With the name in hand, Mobile Media figured it should try to contact Nguyen to talk about its plans for Flappy Bird.
“We’ve tried to reach out to him,” said Langbein. “It’s hard to get a true story from him about what transpired. Everyone read different reasons as to why he pulled it.”
That’s true. Rumors suggested that Nguyen was pulling the game because he faced legal action from other publishers for reusing their art. Nguyen himself initially explained that he was deleting Flappy Bird because it brought him unwanted attention and stress. Once he pulled it, however, he started claiming that he didn’t want people to have access to it because it is too addictive.
Whatever the reason, Langbein believes that when Nguyen removed the game, he didn’t ever plan to resurrect it.
“By doing what he did, he showed that he had no intention of ever bringing the game back,” Langbein said. His reasoning is Nguyen could have simply changed the release date of Flappy Bird to some far off day in the future. This would remove it from the store without risking the loss of the name forever.
We’ve reached out to Nguyen to ascertain his motivations, and we’ll update this post if we can get a response.
Langbein said he was shocked to read Nguyen say he is considering bringing the game back. His company expects that he knows that’s impossible, but it still hasn’t spoken to him. We asked the Mobile Media CEO what he would do if Nguyen called him and asked for the name back,
“It’s Apple’s decision,” said Langbein. “He can’t have the name back even if it was available. But if he wanted to call me and wanted to discuss things, I would.”
For now, the Flappy Bird name is sitting attached to an unreleased game in the backend of the iOS App Store. Mobile Media will likely release a simple physics-based title under the name, but it won’t copy the original Flappy Bird’s art style or audio assets.
Meanwhile, if Nguyen does end up trying to bring his game back, he’ll need a new name on iOS, and he won’t have access to the 50 million people who already downloaded it on the platform.（source：venturebeat）
3）King in reverse: Giant Interactive goes private in $1.6 billion share buyback
by Jon Jordan
King might be going public, but in China the direction of cash flow for some games companies is in the opposite direction.
Shanda Games is considering a deal to take the company private, while Giant Interactive – which traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticket GA – has just accepted a similar deal.
The proposal was made by its chairman Shi Yuzhu and backed by Barings Private Equity Asia and Hony Capital of China.
They already owned 47 percent of the company.
Originally priced at $11.75 per share, the bid was accepted at $12 per share, valuing Giant Interactive at $3 billion.
The purchasers will take on debt financing of $850 million in order to meet their buyback cost of $1.6 billion.
One of China’s large PC online publishers, Giant Interactive had annual revenue in 2013 of $389 million and net income of $207 million.
The company has been slow into mobile games, although it says they will be a major strategic growth focus during 2014.
Giant’s first mobile game will be Kung Fu BBQ in April, followed by a mobile version of its popular PC game ZT Online.（source：pocketgamer）
4）Google Play Games is about to get a whole lot better
By Nick Tylwalk
Google has always had the tools to make mobile gaming on Android devices into a force to take on iOS toe-to-toe, it’s just been a question of having the will and awareness to put them together in a way that makes sense for developers. With the now-underway Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco as a backdrop, that time may have arrived.
On the same day it’s sponsoring a Developer Day at GDC, Google is introducing a range of improvements to the Google Play Games service intended to make it even more attractive to designers and players alike. Chief among them are game gifts, roping in Google+ to allow in-game items to be sent to anyone in a person’s Circles, and the option for direct multiplayer invites through the Play Games app.
The Google Play Store is getting 18 new categories to aid in discoverability, something Google Play Games lead product manager Greg Hartrell told Polygon was sorely needed.
“We’ve never had a role-playing game category,” Hartrell said to Polygon. “There isn’t a music game category. And if you’re into those types of games, you’re relegated to using search right now, or relying on it being recommended to you.”
And because so many mobile games are cross-platform, the Google Play Games service is even getting upgrades to make it play nicer with iOS, including support for real time or turn-based multiplayer across both operating systems. Developers can look forward to extra tools like a Play Games Unity Plug-in, a Play Games C++ SDK, and more statistics available through the Google Play Developer Console.
Last but not least, Google Analytics will have direct access through the AdMob interface with the aim of improving the efficiency of in-app purchase ads.（source：gamezebo）
5）Wooga forms new studio, explores new spaces, new territories
By Christian Nutt
Today at the Game Developers Conference, German social/mobile game developer and publisher Wooga has announced the formation of a new studio at its Berlin headquarters, which CEO Jens Begemann tells Gamasutra he hopes will take the company in new directions.
He describes it as “a new entity where we are now starting to look for a head of studio, who would have a lot of freedom to enter new genres that we haven’t been before.” The remit is making games that “were not possible before” touch devices — “designing for mobile from the ground up,” says Begemann.
The Recipe for Making Hits at Wooga
The company found major success in 2013 with Jelly Splash and Pearl’s Peril, and Begemann says that developer has adopted a new workflow that is designed to result in two hits a year.
“For me the question is how you can repeatedly create hits,” says Begemann. He thinks his company has found the answer: Wooga prototypes 40 games a year to a playable state, and then takes 10 of them into prouction. About seven make it to soft launch in a single territory. Three then go into wide release with full marketing support, with the goal to have two hits a year.
“It has been a big, big change internally,” says Wooga. Like many studios, the company used to settle on an idea in the prototype phase and polish it — those days are over now. Now, Wooga isn’t afraid to abandon a game mid-development: “Instead of being a catastrophe, it’s about, ‘Okay, good, we’ve stopped this. What can we learn from that?” The entire company gathers together for lessons on everything from art to design and engineering — to find out where things went wrong and what the developers learned.
Begemann says that he gives his teams lots of autonomy to make their own decisions. “If I think in the wrong direction, we would fail, if everything would depend on a single person making decision.”
“Wooga is organized in such a way we have 20 game teams in parallel,” he says. “They exchange knowledge, and they talk to each other, but the decision-making is distributed… because you can’t predict the future.”
The game business “changes so fast,” says Begemann, that “if you rely too much on a proven formula that has worked in the past, that is not a good strategy for the next years… We constantly question ourselves and change, and that’s very important to me.”
Part of that change is an upcoming move into mid-core games with two in-development titles, which are “still accessible… still colorful, and have a great user interface, but they are quite core.”
Currently, Wooga’s audience is 70 percent female, and totally casual. He hopes to see these games flip that “the other way around.”
He also is planning to take the company into Asian markets, with top priority on Japan — no surprise, as the country has become the world’s biggest spender on mobile apps. Begemann is currently recruiting someone with biz dev/marketing expertise, with an eye to cracking that insular but lucrative market.
While the company plans to continue the publishing business it launched last year, Begemann doesn’t seem to see it as a big priority for the company in the future.
“We haven’t published anything in the last few months, but we’re constantly talking to companies,” says Begemann. “We apply the same standards to any game we publish to our own standards,” he explains. “The potential to be a hit is as high as it is to our internal games — that’s a pretty tough filter.”
The good news: If you’re interested in working with Wooga, you can still contact them. “We wouldn’t make any false promises,” says Begemann. If the game gets to soft launch but doesn’t make it past that point, “we’d give it back to the developer, and they can launch on their own,” he says. “Long-term, publishing would only be successful if we’re a fair partner with the developer.”（source：gamasutra）
6）Castlevania director Koji Igarashi exits Konami — the latest high-profile developer to step away from long-time gig
The man that turned Castlevania games into a genre on PlayStation and Game Boy Advance is done with the series … at least as an employee of Japanese publisher Konami.
Producer Koji Igarashi, also known as “Iga,” has left Konami. He is striking out to start his own development studio that will focus on the kinds of games that his fans enjoy, according to a statement he released to the press. His departure comes 20 years after he joined the publisher. Igarashi is responsible in some way for over a dozen Castlevania games. He is best known for revitalizing the series by adding an explorable world and role-playing-style leveling to Symphony of the Night for PlayStation in 1997. Igarashi’s exit may signify a wider trend in development in Japan and the U.S. as he is just the latest to leave his long-time job with an established publisher for something new.
“I’ve decided to break out on my own to have the freedom to make the kind of games I really want to make — the same kind I think fans of my past games want as well,” Igarashi said in a statement. “Leaving Konami was a big decision, and not one I took lightly — I’ve spent my entire career there, made many friends, and had a lot of great opportunities — but I hope all the gamers and fans who have supported me in the past will join me in being excited about what comes next.”
We’ve reached out to Konami for a statement regarding Igarashi’s departure. We’ll update this story with any new information.
Igarashi did not specify exactly what he is working on. He will give a talk about Castlevania- and Metroid-style games (a genre often referred to as Metroidvania) at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and it’s possible that he could reveal his new project during that discussion. Igarashi’s Castlevania titles are often cited for inspiring other Metroidvania releases like the recent Strider from Capcom and developer Double Helix, Rogue Legacy from Cellar Door Games, and Guacamelee from Drinkbox Studios.
In leaving Konami, Igarashi is just the latest high-profile developer looking to do something on his own outside of an established corporation. Igarashi’s trajectory most closely resembles Mega Man creator Kenji Inafune, who left Capcom in 2010 after 23 years. He started a new studio called Comcept that is currently developing Mighty No. 9, which is a side-scrolling platformer similar to Mega Man that the company crowdfunded through Kickstarter. It raised $3.85 million through that service.（source：venturebeat）