Tag - gaming industry

Annapurna Interactive Announced

(Los Angeles, CA) December 1, 2016 – Annapurna Pictures, the production company behind ZERO DARK THIRTY, HER, and SAUSAGE PARTY, has expanded its operations with the creation of Annapurna Interactive, a division entirely dedicated to producing and publishing video games. Annapurna Interactive will focus on developing personal, emotional, and original games that push the boundaries of interactive content and encourage artists to bring new visions to the medium.

Annapurna Interactive is set to publish two games targeting Spring 2017 release dates: Jason Roberts’ Gorogoa and Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch. Gorogoa, by Jason Roberts, is a beautifully hand-illustrated story suspended inside a puzzle with a unique mechanic where the player moves panels on a grid as though arranging framed drawings on a wall. What Remains of Edith Finch, developed by Giant Sparrow, is a playable collection of short stories, each with different art styles and gameplay mechanics centered around the cursed Finch family.

As part of its growing portfolio, Annapurna Interactive will also release games from highly regarded industry talents, including San Francisco-based developer Funomena and Creative Director Keita Takahashi, creator of the Katamari Damacy franchise, and Mountains, which is led by Ken Wong, best known for his work on Monument Valley.

The new publisher will be run by a team of game veterans whose credits include Journey, God of War, Mortal Kombat, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Flower, and Fat Princess.

“I’ve had a great passion for video games for as long as I can remember. Growing up, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of my all-time favorites. My brother and I ran up quite a bill calling the 1-900 numbers for tips on those games, before the internet provided game-guides. The artistry and diversity of interactive storytelling is exciting and we look forward to exploring the limitless possibilities in gaming. We want to empower artists across this medium to make Annapurna Interactive their home and I believe we’ve assembled the perfect team to make that happen,” said Annapurna’s founder and CEO, Megan Ellison.

The Annapurna Interactive team added, “We believe video games have a powerful ability to stir emotion. We are excited by the opportunity to collaborate with the artists who inspire us in order to bring memorable experiences to all players, whether experienced or first-time gamers.”

Annapurna Interactive is located on the company’s campus in West Hollywood.

To learn more about Annapurna Interactive and to stay up to date on its upcoming releases, please visit annapurnainteractive.com.

THQ Nordic Acquires All NovaLogic IPs

October 24, 2016: Today, THQ Nordic announced that an asset purchase agreement with NovaLogic Inc. containing all games and/or projects owned by NovaLogic Inc has been closed. In essence, that means that they’re back at it again with the acquisition of partly forgotten, but classic game IPs and this time is all about first-person military themed game franchises like groundbreaking and genre-defining Delta Force, Comanche or Joint Ops.

Novalogic’s games struck a strong chord with the market from the late 80s throughout the 00s, with its strong focus on military simulations like for example with the F-22 series, the Comanche series, and, last but not least, the Delta Force series.

“After 30 years of creating ground breaking Computer and Video Games we are proud to pass the baton to THQ Nordic. As individuals, they are enthusiastic gamers and as a company have shown the agility and acumen needed to propel our industry towards a much-needed reset”, comments John Garcia, owner, founder and CEO of NovaLogic Inc. “We are happy to see the franchises we created in such capable hands.”

“NovaLogic pioneered military simulations and military-themed multiplayer shooters with vehicular combat and also clearly targeted at an adult audience,” said Reinhard Pollice, Business and Product Development Director, THQ Nordic. “We are extremely satisfied with the new additions to our portfolio, and also very thrilled about how to continue some of said franchises, we are open for talks in this regard if any developer approaches us with a concept for a potential sequel to any IP.”

Here is an extract of the acquired franchises and brands:

  • Delta Force Series
  • Comanche Series
  • Joint Operations Series
  • Armored Fist Series
  • Tachyon: The Fringe
  • F-22 – Series
  • F-16 Series
  • NovaLogic Trademark
  • and more…

SAG-AFTRA on Strike Against Video Game Industry

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 21, 2016) — After nearly two years of unsuccessful negotiations, SAG-AFTRA has called a strike against certain video game producers, effective at 12:01 a.m. PT today.

SAG-AFTRA is striking the following video game employers: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. The strike covers all games made by these companies that went into production after Feb. 17, 2015.

SAG-AFTRA members will picket Electronic Arts in Playa Vista, CA at 10:30 a.m. PT, Monday, Oct. 24.

For additional strike details, click here.

Razer Acquires THX

IRVINE, Calif. – Razer™, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today confirmed it acquired the majority of the assets of THX Ltd. and have brought onboard the management and employees of the company. Financial details of the transaction, which closed earlier this month, were not disclosed.

“Razer has a vision for innovation at every level of entertainment, a vision which THX has championed since its inception more than 30 years ago,” says Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. “This acquisition will allow us to reinforce Razer’s leadership in gaming and extend the brand into broader areas of entertainment, while at the same time empowering THX to develop into a global powerhouse, independently.”

THX will operate as an independent startup under its own management and apart from the ongoing business of its parent company. Further to the point, the audio technology business will have discretion to seek agreements with other product makers, service providers and financial partners apart from Razer.

“For over 30 years, THX has maintained a proud legacy of being one of the leaders in audio technology and certification worldwide,” said Laurie Fincham, Sr. Vice President of Audio Research and Development at THX. “With their focus on quality, design and innovation, Razer supports our vision to optimize and deliver the best audiovisual experiences to audiences worldwide.”

Ty Ahmad-Taylor, CEO of THX, says: “Our focus has always been on ensuring that anyone can experience high quality entertainment, regardless of their medium of choice. With Razer, we can now continue to strengthen our core lines of business while delivering excellence for our customers’ ever-changing needs. As a standalone company, THX will work with Razer but will primarily continue to service our partners in the industry in order to deliver great products to consumers.”

According to Tan, “The value of THX rests in its bedrock competencies with certification, optimization of audio and intellectual property development. We expect Ty, Laurie, and the executive team and employees of THX, who we have also retained, to continue leading the world in innovations and technology in the audiovisual space.”

Nordic Games is Now THQ Nordic

VIENNA, Austria (Aug. 12, 2016) – This is not your standard press release. Instead, we would like to make this corporate statement regarding our company Nordic Games reincorporating to THQ Nordic.

Obligatory Flashback Part (in only 2 paragraphs):

It all started out in Sweden in 2008 as a mini-venture to self-publish such illustrious titles likeDance Party Club Hits, Kart Racer and Truck Racer (just to name a few) on PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii. The following year, we landed We Sing, a million-plus selling karaoke franchise for Nintendo Wii. In 2011, with our first of many acquisitions to come, Nordic Games began its transformation from small scale, two-platform games publisher to a multi-platform, multi-genre global player.

One could say the most defining moment for our company happened in 2013, grabbing headlines like; “Who the FUCK is Nordic Games?”, “Darksiders Gets Bought By…Nordic Games?”, and “Nordic Games explains who the f they are, plans for THQ assets”. Funny enough, back then, this was so true. Until that point, we had been a low profile publisher uttering expletives of our own along the way, and all of a sudden we found ourselves in the international gaming media spotlight. We knew then, with great certainty, that we’d just made the best deal in our company´s history.

Nordic Games By The Numbers:
Since our formation in 2008, we proudly look back on 8 years of continuous growth on all (!) aspects of our business, not just the bottom-line. During that time, 16 individual IPs and franchise acquisitions were concluded, resulting in a catalogue of more than 250 actively sold games, over 60 trademarks, hundreds of web domains and a few patents for hardware and software.

61 game development projects were initiated and have launched, and most importantly, we have created 82 jobs (if you include external development teams this number amounts to 325) and pride ourselves on our very, very, very low staff fluctuation, which basically amounts to zero.

Two development studios were setup – one located in Phoenix, Arizona (let’s hope Donald Trump reads this), the other one in Munich, Germany, and we have managed to grow our group wide team size from 2 in 2008 to 84 team members today.

Introducing THQ Nordic (the KISS part):
Whilst we take great pride in our Swedish roots and accomplished a great deal under the Nordic Games masthead, we decided it was time to incorporate the THQ name. Those key brands will continue to shape our business in a meaningful way going forward, and THQ Nordicrepresents a core approach of doing much more than “owning” a highly competitive portfolio of IPs. We cherish them, and align them with the very best development resources to expand upon them with the level of experience that communities and established fan bases expect and deserve. Side note – another upside to this whole rebrand thing is we don’t get asked about the Nordic Game parties at Gamescom anymore – it was the other guys who threw them.

With this rebrand we are entering the next phase in our company’s evolution.

As of now we have 23 game projects in development, 13 thereof have not yet been publicly announced, but are sure to be in the next months. Needless to say, the majority of these projects are based on former THQ owned IPs and franchises.

As far as the logo design is concerned, Lars Wingefors, founder and owner of THQ Nordic (formerly known as Nordic Games) would like to say this:

“As for the new logo design, we literally stumbled across it when browsing some art files, after we bought the THQ trademark and figured: why not? We hope the reception from our partners is less ambivalent but we’re OK either way. We invite you to our Gamescom booth to play our games and see the logo in large-scale format.”

Please visit us in Cologne and stop by our booth to take a look at our current projects and also some of our upcoming games. If you’re not interested at all, you can still pop by to charge your mobile phones, hunt Pokémons, or just hang out and chat with us.

THQ Nordic at Gamescom 2016:
Entertainment area: Hall 8, C20
Business area: Hall 4.1, D21

TL;DR:
Nordic Games + THQ = THQ Nordic from now on, due to numerous reasons explained in a bit more detail in the text.

Paramount Television Options Rights for Battlefield

LOS ANGELES, CA (July 11, 2016) – Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have optioned the rights to one of the most successful and dynamic videogames, Battlefield™, from DICE, an Electronic Arts Inc. studio. Michael Sugar, 2016 Academy Award winner, and Ashley Zalta from Anonymous Content will serve as executive producers.

The Battlefield series has consistently been praised by critics for its world-class multiplayer gameplay, and is recognized for delivering the premier all-out war experience across land, sea and air. The award-winning Battlefield franchise has amassed more than 60 million players worldwide since debuting in 2002, and the franchise continues to boast highly-engaged audiences across its catalogue titles.

“Paramount TV actively seeks smart content from all sectors that will resonate with audiences and translate to compelling programming,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount TV. “EA’s Battlefield has an incredibly dynamic narrative, coupled with a loyal fan base, which will allow us to bring this exciting and unique property to the small screen. We look forward to working with EA and Anonymous Content and thank Michael Sugar for his tenacity in bringing us this exciting project.”

“Battlefield has a tremendous built-in, engaged fan base, making it a highly coveted piece of IP primed for long-form adaptation,” said Michael Sugar, partner, Anonymous Content. “Together with EA and Paramount TV, we’ll develop the Battlefield TV series with the same commitment to robust storytelling that has made the game such a runaway success for nearly fifteen years.”

“Battlefield is one of the most loved properties among our players,” said Patrick Söderlund, Executive Vice President, EA. “We are thrilled that Anonymous Content and Paramount TV will look to introduce fans to Battlefield through a new medium.”

Battlefield continues the partnership between Anonymous Content and Paramount TV, which have a first-look production deal for scripted television programming across broadcast, premium cable, cable and online audiences. This marks the organizations’ entrée into content based on a videogame franchise.

“Michael’s track record speaks for itself,” added Patrick O’Brien, Vice President of EA Entertainment. “Combined with his passion for Battlefield, we cannot imagine a better team than Anonymous Content and Paramount for this project.”

Watch the Battlefield 1 Official Reveal Trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7nRTF2SowQ

E3 2016 Photo Gallery

Another Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone. E3 2016 was a fun event where I got the chance to see a lot of upcoming titles from a variety of publishers and developers. Still, there was a strange sense of emptiness while on the show floor – and no matter how large booths became, that emptiness hung in the air like a bad smell. Was it the big companies that pulled out of the show that caused this or simply a lack of some “killer apps” on the horizon? I do not know. What I do know is that E3 is still the premiere industry gaming show in the United States and there is so much of the media spotlight to be had, I don’t see where it is going anywhere anytime soon. The big game houses seem to do this mass exodus every so many years – but history has shown that they always come back soon after.

Here is my photo gallery from around the expo, enjoy!

Photo Gallery

E3 2016 Attendance Facts and E3 2017 Dates Revealed

E3 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo

Los Angeles – June 16, 2016 The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today that more than 70,000 people participated in the week’s events, including 50,300 video game professionals, analysts, journalists, and enthusiasts attended this week’s trade show, and 20,000 fans attended E3 Live. The premier global video game event displayed more than 1,600 products from more than 250 exhibitors.

ESA also revealed that E3 will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“Gamers were the winners at E3 this year. The advancements in technology unveiled at E3 will redefine entertainment for the world,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents the U.S. video game industry and owner of E3. “The innovation and creativity on display will propel our industry to new heights and expand opportunities for remarkable growth.”

E3 broke records for social media numbers across all channels, with more than seven million posts on Twitter alone. Instagram had more than 500,000 likes on E3-related posts this month. In addition, more than 42 million gamers watched E3 content on Twitch, the official streaming partner of E3. The Twitch viewership was the highest of any video game convention broadcast on the network.

Also announced during E3, a blue-ribbon panel of industry professionals and experts selected Savannah College of Art and Design as winner of the 2016 E3 College Game Competition with its winning video game, Brobot Beatdown.

E3 is the world’s premier trade show for computer and video games and related products. The show is owned by the ESA, the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies, publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet.

For more information, please visit www.E3Expo.com or follow E3 on Twitter: @E3.

Ubisoft Closes Casablanca Studio

Paris June 9, 2016 Today, Ubisoft announced it will close its Casablanca studio. The studio will cease production on June 13. Employees were informed last week, and Ubisoft is providing transfer opportunities to other studios or assistance for those whose will no longer work for the company.

“Ubisoft Casablanca has been part of Ubisoft for 18 years, and contributed to a lot of memorable games over the years, especially on portable consoles,” said Jean-Michel Detoc, Executive Director, Ubisoft Mobile. “Unfortunately, as the video game market evolved in the past few years, we didn’t find a sustainable formula for the studio within our broader network. We thank the Casablanca team for their hard work throughout the years.”

The decision to close Ubisoft Casablanca was taken as part of Ubisoft’s constant efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its cross-collaboration studio model. Ubisoft has 29 studios in 17 countries, with 5 fully dedicated to mobile game development.

For more about Ubisoft, please visit www.ubisoft.com

Kalypso Games Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Ridgewood, NJ – June 7, 2016“There is no future in video games.” Those were the words spoken by a German bank when they sent Kalypso Media founder Simon Hellwig away, declining his application for a loan to start his own video games publishing company. Now, 10 years and 220 SKUs later, Kalypso Media is proud to announce a one year run of special events, giveaways and promotions in celebration of its first decade in business. The 10 Years Kalypso campaign begins with the launch of a specially dedicated microsite, which details the history of Kalypso complete with important milestones, behind-the-scenes insights and interesting facts about the company’s history and its games portfolio.

Visit the 10 Years Kalypso microsite here

As well as the new microsite, Kalypso Media is also excited to offer an unbelievable discount promotion, with select PC titles reduced to just 10% of their asking price – that’s right, a 90% discount! The first game to receive this special offer will be the classic adventure game Ceville, from Kalypso’s own Realmforge Studios, reduced to just $0.99 / €0.99 / £0.79. This special price will be available on Steam from June 6 to June 13, 2016.

If that wasn’t enough, Kalypso is also rewarding its most dedicated fans by giving away free games to all newsletter subscribers exclusively, starting with Imperium Romanum Gold! Further giveaways will follow periodically in the months to come, so be sure to sign up to the newsletter here to be kept up-to-date with all the goings on at Kalypso.

“As well as reminiscing about over the past, Kalypso Media is also keeping an eye towards the future, with many more exciting new product announcements to be made later this year,” said Simon Hellwig, Global Managing Director of Kalypso Media. “We’re looking forward to sharing more news with our fans in the near future, but in the meantime we hope you will join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary – here’s to the next 10 years and beyond!”

For more information, please visit www.kalypsomedia.com.