Business Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Business RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Nintendo Investors Unimpressed with Switch Presentation Sun, 15 Jan 2017 10:51:07 -0500 Emily Parker

It seems our excitement about the new NIntendo Switch console didn't translate to its Wall Street investors. Nintendo's stock dropped 10 points immediately following the presentation earlier this week. 

This isn't totally unexpected, though it is still troubling. Nintendo stocks struggled after their Switch announcement in October, as well. It seems investors consider their efforts with the console too gimmicky, and are worried the console will never be able to compete with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

Statistics gathered from the Game Developers Conference's fifth annual State of the Industry Survey may point to a grim fate for the Switch. Only about 50% of developers thought that the Switch would outsell the Wii U. The Wii U has only sold around 13 million units, compared to the Wii at 101 million. If only around half of industry experts think it will be able to meet that low bar, what might Nintendo's future hold?

It's worth considering that the suits on Wall Street can be out of touch with gaming culture. In fact, Nintendo's huge stock surge after Pokemon Go -- a phenomena that had many of us scratching our heads -- only lasted until investors realized Niantic actually owns the AR sensation. 

Another console flop with the Nintendo switch will surely increase investor pressure, possibly taking the company away from hardware altogether. Only time and launch success will tell.  

What do you think? Are Nintendo's investors overreacting to the Switch, or is it doomed to be another overhyped console? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Wallet Fatigue: Are Microtransactions Draining the Mana from MMOs? Thu, 17 Nov 2016 02:00:02 -0500 StraightEdge434

Microtransactions are a popular thing among modern video games. They allow players to acquire certain attributes in exchange for "real life" currency. From clothing, to accessories, the possibilities are endless. Some gamers absolutely hate the idea of microtransactions because they believe that video game companies are nothing but greedy corporations that milk the gaming industry for every single penny that they can get. Others however, don't really care about microtransactions because they aren't forced and don't change the base game in any dramatic way.

These miniature DLCs are available across all genres of games, particularly MMOs like Runescape, WoW, Marvel Heroes, and many more. But are they actually a big deal?

Solomon's General Store, a site portal where Runescape players can purchase in-game items with either RuneCoins or real money.

World of Warcraft

The idea of microtransactions can tick off people who play MMOs, mainly if they are subscribing to the game, like WoW. They are already paying a monthly fee just to play the game, so why should they pay extra for something else? The truth is is that they don't really have to. No one is forcing them, and it's not like the items being sold are giving a huge advantage to those who do purchase them. It's their right as gamers and as consumers to make the necessary decision to pay or not to pay.

One of many microtransactions available in WoW.

Marvel Heroes

There are however games like Marvel Heroes that are free to play, but also have microtransactions in them. Pertaining to this specific title, players can outright purchase Marvel superheroes in order to play as them (along with many other various items that enhance their experience). That however, might be seen as a small problem because these specific microtransactions are allowing players to shortcut the game and unlock characters without having to grind for them. Obviously, they have an advantage because they have stronger or better characters unlike people who did not spend any money on the game.

On a side note, a post by a Reddit user shows how much money he has spent on Marvel Heroes 16, and what he bought. You can get the basic idea of what kind of microtransactions this game has in it.

A store where players can purchase characters in Marvel Heroes 5.


The idea of microtransactions obviously has its ups and downs. The money that players spend is used to fund the game, and further expand content in the forms of updates, patches, etc. That is a good thing since gameplay experience is enhanced, and allows players to continue engaging the game. It's also a business, and that's how a business works.

Also, microtransactions are completely unnecessary. Most, if not all games have ingame currencies that players can grind for and use that instead of real money to purchase the exact same content. Obviously that's better, but slower due to the grinding aspect.

Unfortunately, there are also downsides. Players feel cheated. They paid either full price for the game, or are paying a monthly subscription fee, so why should they pay extra? It doesn't seem fair.

Depending on the game, it may also seem unfair, or pay to win, because players are getting something better or faster (in a term of a shortcut) by spending a lot of money on the game. Those who don't pay feel cheated, and you can't blame them, because why should they pay to get on the same level as those who did pay? That ain't right.

In the end, it's the players' choice. To purchase, or not to purchase -- that is the question. But remember, if you are paying for microtransactions, you are paying for something little that enhances your gaming experience, unless it's something like whole new content like characters in Marvel Heroes.

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4 Ways Pokémon Go Can Be Used For Business Wed, 07 Sep 2016 10:00:01 -0400 LeagueGamer

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, then by now you’ve undoubtedly heard about the global phenomenon and augmented-reality mobile game called Pokémon Go.

In this game, players use their mobile phones to move throughout the real world as they hunt and capture digital Pokémon. It’s easy for businesses to think this is trivial at first glance -- but since the game is geographical, there are a number of ways that businesses can use it to attract and convert gamers into new business and paying customers

So how can your business use Pokémon Go?

1. Request a PokéStop for your Business.

PokéStops are places in Pokémon Go that allow you to collect items such as eggs and Poke Balls, which in turn allow players to capture more Pokémon.

PokéStops are be located at pre-selected places, which might include historical markers, monuments, and other popular locations. When a player opens the game they’re presented with a third person view of their character, and they’ll see PokéStops as blue icons.

Originally businesses were able to request a PokéStop for their business; however, the developer has recently stopped taking requests -- most likely due to the overwhelming demand that there has been for this game and its features.

If you are able to gain a PokéStop for your business, users will see your location in game -- and when tapped, your PokéStop will show the details of your business as players consider visiting your location.

2. Buy Lures for Your Business Location

If you’re not able to gain a PokeStop for your business location, then your next best bet is to buy a Lure for your location. A Lure is similar to the way you’d use a Lure when you go fishing -- you can’t catch fish if you haven’t got something to lure them with.

In Pokémon Go, Lures are used to increase Pokémon spawn rates. And when you have greater spawn rates you’ll inevitably attract more players to your location. While Lures only last 30 minutes, you can buy one (1) for as little as $1 or buy a pack of eight (8) for $9.50.

Encourage players to activate their own lure modules in return for in store specials and discounts. The more active lures in your location, the more players it will attract due to the significant increase in Pokémon spawn rates.

3. Ask Players to Check In While Playing.

Once you have players in store, you want to encourage them to check in while playing. Check-ins on Facebook will be broadcast to the friends of in-store players, and this will likely to attract other players to your location.  Offering deals and specials such as 10% off for all Facebook check-ins while in store can help encourage players to take action and convert other players into business.

Using social media, your business could also notify the public that you’ll be using Lures for a Pokémon themed day each week and offering specials for Pokémon Go customers that come into your stores.  

Using theme days, businesses might also encourage photos, videos and Snapchats while in store to show pictures of Pokémon and players with your products. Although this seems may seem childish at first to experienced business owners, the free promotion of products is something that shouldn’t be ignored.

4. Host a Poké-hunt

Poke-hunts are basically a group of players that specify a date and a time to hunt together for the rarest Pokémon and level up quickly. Business can host or sponsor a community wide event that starts and ends at your business's doorstep and isn’t dependant on having gyms of PokéStops on your doorstep.

Simply advertise the date and time of your family-friendly Poké-hunt, wait for players to gather, and then depart together for a stroll around your neighborhood. Your staff might even join the hunters in branded shirts to make sure your business is visible through the entire event.

This might be something you also consider sending out to your mailing list which undoubtedly will include parents who have kids that are playing this game. While the kids hunt for Pokémon, your business team is able to speak casually with your client base potentially creating new leads and business opportunities.


Games will come and go, just as crazes and trends have done in the past -- and this will continue occur until the end of time. It’s less about how long something will last and more about how much we can maximize its potential at the present time.

As businesses owners, we need to be open to change and finding new ways to maximize our marketing efforts and promote our businesses. Inevitably the businesses who adopt new technologies quickly will benefit significantly in attention to their brand before other marketeers “catch up” and saturate the marketing medium.

Image source Neirfy /

Interview: Localization Consultant Jessica Chavez Talks Game Localization 101 Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:41:08 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

What is video game localization? If you were to ask me, I'd say it's the process by which games are made to retain their message while becoming more suitable for the region they'll be released in. Localization has been around for as long video games themselves. 

From Super Mario Bros. to Final Fantasy, countless games have made their way worldwide thanks to localization. It also goes without saying but it has helped video games to become an enjoyable past time anywhere on the globe.

Recently however, localization has received some less than favorable publicity. Fans have been quick to call it censorship, and this has arisen for many reasons -- whether it be changing a character's age or removing the mention of questionable drugs during dialogue. Many have been quick to cry foul, especially in the recent cases of title such Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Fire Emblem Fates.

Naturally, this has lead to quite a few questions on the subject and its inner workings.

So, with burning questions on the matter of game localization, we took the opportunity to get in touch with a veteran in the industry. We picked the brain of video game localization consultant, dark comedy author, and coffee connoisseur Jessica Chavez. You may learn a thing or two about game localization, because we certainly did.

On the off chance someone is uninformed, how would you best describe what localization is?

Jessica Chavez (JC): I'd say...localization is a process where we try to recreate the experience of the original work for a new audience. On a basic level (for games) that means script, graphics, controls, etc., but it's really about feel, I'd say. We want the new audience to feel the humor, the adventure, the drama of the original, and that's what localization tries to accomplish.

Being very familiar with playing localized games myself, that definition is quite different from my own. I would imagine the same would be said for many who think about the subject. So certainly it's a process to retain the original intent and message of the source material.

When a game is chosen for localization, is that based upon popularity? Are there other factors we may not be aware of? 

JC: Depends on the company and the goals they have for a title, really. Often, games chosen for localization aren't what many would consider 'popular' (especially with the numbers that AAA games put up), but they are at least considered 'viable'.

Questions you have to ask yourself before pursuing a title are things like: Does it have potential with our audience? How much work would it entail? Will it be able to pass that magic threshold that makes it profitable, i.e. will it sell more than the resources allocated to bring it over and also be worth the time invested?

Games are also brought up for consideration because, well, they're fun, but they need to meet the needs of the company. A company that can't turn a profit doesn't stay in business long, after all.

Often times on message boards and etc., you'll see fans being vocal about why a game hasn't been localized. As Jessica elaborates, there a many business aspects that need to be addressed before it gets into our hands. A recent example of this would be the announcement of Dragon Quest VII for the Nintendo 3DS. The game was released in Japan in February 2013, while western territories will be seeing a release this September. In this game's case, the reason more than likely was due to the its massive script.

During the process, a localization team gets rather intimate with a game and its nuances right? That sounds pretty daunting. 

JC: Well, we try. Deadlines willing, anyway. That's the daunting part, especially for text heavy titles. As much as we wish we could polish every nook and cranny of the games we work on, you have to balance time spent on each line of text with the deadline. That's why it's essential that you have a lot of back and forth between translators and editors to make sure that things are correct and all the subtleties of the text come through.

You play the game, research a bit, check your lines in context if you can, and hope like hell you don't misinterpret or miss something important. The things you miss haunt you, seriously.

In your professional opinion, is there an easy part to localizing a game? How about least difficult if possible?

JC: An easy part? Hmmm... I'd say quest text, I guess. Usually, because quests are designed to be direct so that the player knows what to do, those lines are pretty straightforward. With items you want to research to make sure you're not missing any lore or story callbacks, with system text you have to make sure it's compliant with first-party rules (is it “b button” or “B Button”), and with story text or NPC lines there are always layers. Especially for games like Trails in the Sky...

Localization has been getting a lot of "attention" in the news recently. What would you say is one the misconceptions with the profession?

JC: That it's easy or simple. Every time I read online that localization is just slapping a translation into a game, I die a little inside.

How could I ever forget this infamous forum post?

“'s literally just taking a sentence and rewriting it. How hard is that? I could translate a book in like a day.”

I've detailed the overall process on my blog, but there's also a ton of labor that goes into just the text alone. Getting lines right when you often have little to no context, lining up terminology across the board, ensuring a consistent tone over the whole script, formatting and reworking text so that it doesn't spill out of windows and break the game... Don't even get me started on the jokes. It's tough, grueling work, especially when you have deadlines.

It would be quite an understatement to say there's a lot misunderstanding with the profession. The forum post Jessica describes is a sentiment you'll often see with localization news. Some had no problem expressing the same when it came to the localization of Fire Emblem Fates. Jessica's feelings on opinions like these are understandable.

Localization involves the navigation of language, nuances, scene progression and etc. To put it into layman's terms you're essentially creating a movie, a game, and a novel. All while staying true to the source material and making it regionally relevant. Doesn't exactly fall into the realm of easy if you were to ask me.

This is often seen online; but why don't all games feature dual audio? We understand that there's licensing and monetary reasons why. Could you elaborate a bit on the matter?

JC: The monetary reasons could be anything from the game budget not being able to accommodate having both VOs, the licensing could be prohibitively expensive (or completely unavailable as mentioned below), having dual audio could bump up the game size to a more expensive cart, the publisher might have to choose between which audio they prioritize to maximize their potential audience...

 As for licensing, the rights may be authorized by the voice actor and/or their agent/studio only for specific regions. Contracts can be very particular about where the VO can be legally used. It sucks, but sometimes that's the case.

These are just some of the reasons behind no dual audio. Each company has their own particular circumstances, though, so it's best not to try and compare them 1:1.

Thus, we're given some more insight on the matter of voice overs. You don't have to look far, but among gamers there's those that only want original audio. There's those who don't mind and others that aren't affected either way. Audio options, as we've learned, are all part of that business plan for a game. Many fans may not be are of the proverbial red tape involved. We of course don't know all the reasons as to why those choices (if available) are made. 

It's not entirely foreign, we've seen companies release titles dubbed and others not dubbed. For example, Aksys Games released Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- last year fully dubbed. This year's Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator was released with subtitles only.

Earlier Jessica mentioned viability, and that also applies to the audio options as well. Companies may or may not be aware there's an audience that would prefer, say, Japanese voice work over English voice work. When they see the opportunity it maybe a possibility in the future.

Case in point: ATLUS/SEGA's Persona 5. Josh Hardin, PR manager, took to social media to address the title's audio choices. Via Twitter he stated they will attempt to provide Japanese audio as a post launch DLC option. Again, he stressed there are no guarantees but they will try because fans asked.

How closely do localizers work with voice actors, if at all?

JC: Pretty closely on the English dubbing side. Or at least I did. When I worked at XSEED it was almost a given that the editor or translator who worked on a game that needed voice recording would be on the team that went to the studio to tape the lines.

Over the course of my time there I would help select the voice actors for each part, work up the script, explain the roles/direction to the voice actors, sit in and listen at the studio, approve lines, tweak the takes, and I even took over directing for a couple of sessions when necessary.

Many of us have also been known to grab a few beers with those lovely guys and gals from time to time.

At this point, I would like to add that localization also requires you to wear the hat of an acting director. (Again, debunking any notion of it being remotely easy.)

If someone is interested in having a career in localization -- what's one important piece of advice you would offer?

JC: I would implore them to really hone in on what they want to do and then work the hell out of it. Resumes with general 'Japanese Major' or 'English' degrees made almost no impression on me when I was part of the vetting process at XSEED. You have to demonstrate your passion.

Create something tangible like a book, or a portfolio of translation projects, make a game, design game covers, etc. If you show yourself to be proactive in some part of the field, it stands out.

This tidbit is certainly interesting. Considering the levels of work she's described that goes into localization, it makes sense. You would need an array of skills at your command. Writing, production, and a professional aptitude to adapt. After all, mistakes and or a title that leaves something to be desired is remembered forever.

Localization I think is something of an under-rated profession at times. Any suggestions as to how fans can continue to support their favorite localization teams? A genuine thank you for their hard work on social media perhaps?

JC: It is always wonderful to hear from fans on social media. Following the people who work on the games you like and then letting them know that you liked what they did -- really makes it all worthwhile sometimes. Spreading the good word online to others is also a great way to show your appreciation. Word of mouth is the lifeblood of a lot of niche projects. 

Last question, this maybe hard to answer but we have to know. Is there one game you are most proud to have worked on? You can answer two or three if one is too hard.

JC: Tough call... I've worked on a ton of games, and each one had its, ah, memorable moments.

My favorites, though? Half-Minute Hero, Rune Factory: Frontier, Fishing Resort (surprised?), and the one I'm most proud to have been a part of (because in a sane world it had no chance given the circumstances, the size, and the unbelievable hurdles we had to overcome during its localization): Trails in the Sky.

I'll never forget Trails in the Sky FC(first chapter) and SC(second chapter). I've tried, believe me. But, yeah, pretty proud to have been a part of it...and survived.

When you take a look at what games she's most proud of you'll notice they're quite diverse amongst each other. One's a unique spin on the JRPG genre, the other Harvest Moon-like where you wield a sword, and one is a collection of family fishing activities.

Now, the Trails in the Sky titles she makes note of are known to be massive. Fans tout the titles for being rich in story, quests, and dialogue. They also consider them to some of the best localized titles they've played.

What can fans of your work look forward to in the future?

JC: I might be on a bit of a 'break' at the moment while I navigate motherhood and moving countries (again), but I'm neck deep in the sequel to my first published book, Dead Endings, and my latest project with XSEED is up to bat any day now. Look forward to Xanadu Next. Seriously. It's soooo good. I felt like a kid again playing it. More on that to come, I promise. 

 We certainly are looking forward to her next projects and future titles. We would highly suggest that perhaps you should as well.

Tencent looking to buy Clash of Clans developer Supercell for around $9 billion Mon, 13 Jun 2016 14:39:09 -0400 Sagger Khraishi

Clash of Clans creators Supercell is another company that's facing a foreign takeover this week. Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has been courting the Japanese stakeholders of SoftBank, who decided that the gaming industry isn't the right fit for them and want to pull out of the market. Previously Softbank bought a majority share of 51% in the company for around 1.5 billion USD, but has upped the total shares by 22.7% for a total of 73.7% in 2015.

With games like Boom Beach and Clash of Clans, Supercell brought in around $2.4 billion in 2015. For the Finland-based company this is a $6.5 million in profit a day. Softbank seems to be selling their stake at a valuation of $9 billion USD.

For gamers out there, you shouldn't worry about any specific changes happening due to unneeded meddling. Tencent's current investments include a wide range of mobile and computer games, from celebrity smartphone games to League of Legends. Apart from that, it is important to keep in mind that this isn't a hostile take-over as we have seen with Ubisoft and Vivendi, but instead is just a $7.5 billion dollar profit for the people who own a stake in Supercell.

Nintendo's 3DS Family hits the 60 Million Sales Mark Mon, 13 Jun 2016 14:31:09 -0400 Sagger Khraishi

Hovering around 58.5 million sales, Nintendo's 3DS family was able to hit the 60 million total sale mark in just a few weeks. Nintendo is claiming this achievement as a result of lowering the retail price of the 2DS by $20 USD. Doing so led to an increase of sales for their handheld devices, which put the total amount of sales for the 3DS family (which includes the 3DS, XL, New 3DS, New 3DS XL and 2DS) to around 60 million.

With a current suggested price of around $80, the 2DS comes with Mario Kart along with the handheld, which is a $30 deal saver. Last month, 274 million games were sold for the 3DS family. If you are a game developer, you might be interested to know that in comparison with other devices, the Wii U has sold 12 million units, the Nintendo DS 151 million units, and the Wii 101 million units. So, it should be a good idea to stick with making Nintendo DS games for the time being.

This is a milestone for the Nintendo family, since it beats the previous consoles like the Nintendo GameCube at 21.7 million units, SNES at 49.1 million units, and the Nintendo 64 at 32.9 million units.

Vivendi is the new Gameloft; what does that mean for Ubisoft? Mon, 06 Jun 2016 23:27:31 -0400 Sagger Khraishi

Earlier this month, the French Conglomerate Vivendi bought out 61.7% of shares of Gameloft. In what is called a hostile takeover, Vivendi is taking this as a step into the path of taking over the French branch of Ubisoft. As the former owner of Activision-Blizzard, it sold its 85% stake in the company in 2013 for $8 billion.

Since then, Vivendi moved off to multiple industries. From music with Universal Music Group, to digital media with Dailymotion, it seems like they are trying to come back into video games. But with pushing off the CEO of Gameloft, it is expected that Vivendi will be able to worm its way into the Ubisoft board at the next shareholders meeting in September.

Ubisoft isn't taking this news lying down though. Since they have the Ubisoft Montreal branch, a foreign takeover could place thousands of jobs at risk. Looking for a white knight to protect them, Ubisoft has been talking to Canadian investors as well as the Canadian Government for protection.

As a response to the takeover, Vivendi issued an email to Gameloft's employees that urges them to stay. This was made evident in a return to the CEO of Gameloft's email, which was leaked by a current employee.

So what does this mean for you? The current games line-up has already been decided for Gameloft for the next year, which means that there isn't much to worry about on that front. And given Vivendi's previous history with Activision-Blizzard, chances are that Vivendi will not sabotage the company in an effort to make even more money. But for employees who are loyal to the Guillemot brothers, who founded both Ubisoft and Gameloft, they might leave the new company. This move could be a "f*** you" to the French conglomerate and show their independence.

Either way, it will be worth keeping an eye out on what will happen, with Ubisoft and Gameloft, over the next few weeks.

Amusement Park Management Simulation Parkitect Released Tue, 10 May 2016 03:30:58 -0400 StratGamer48

Recently, game developing studio Texel Raptor released their first game, Parkitect, on Steam. It is an amusement park management simulation game. 

In the game, players are the manager of an amusement park called "Funtown City". As the manager, players will need to invest in food vending stores, bathrooms, roller coasters, carousels, and other amusement rides to attract and maintain customers in the amusement park. Also, players can monitor check tourists' movement and happiness level so they can improve service and revenue.

Overhead View of Funtown City

Roller coaster in normal view

Roller coaster in engineering view and seeing excitement points of the ride

According to Texel Raptor, this game also features:

  • Tools to build the theme park of your dreams
  • A robust, piece-based roller coaster designer to let you build the greatest roller coaster you can think of
  • Detailed guest behaviors. Watch them take the train to that new section of the park, or read their map to find a ride
  • Build efficient transport infrastructures to keep your park stocked
  • Maintain the illusion by hiding utility structures and the inner workings of the park from guests
  • Extensive support for mods and custom content

Parkitect is now available to be downloaded via their official website and Steam. It is playable on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

GameStop Announced Launching GameTrust, an Indie Game Publisher Wed, 20 Apr 2016 13:27:02 -0400 StratGamer48

GameStop recently announced plans to launch an indie game publisher by the name of GameTrust. According to Mark Stanley, GameStop's vice president of internal development diversification, the retailer's 46 million customer base and users of the PowerUp Reward are starting to like independently developed games. This makes it a great potential market for GameStop.

This entry into game publishing is the latest expansion beyond the sale of games for GameStop. It’s part of the transformation of the company. If you go back and look at the top indie games from the last few years, there are some $10 million, $20 million, and $30 million titles out there. If you could put together five or 10 of those, it’s a pretty interesting business for us. And of course the gross profit characteristics of this are very different from our retail business because the digital businesses bring strong profit contribution.-- Paul Rhines, CEO of GameStop

GameTrust is going to publish indie game developer Insomniac Games’ Song of the Deep. The company has also signed contracts with a variety of other game studios such as Ready at Dawn Studios, FrozenByte, and Tequila Works. By the end of the year, GameTrust is aiming to have published about five to ten indie developers.

Screenshot of Song of the Deep

Rhines believes that expanding into indie games can be the turning point in GameStop's source of income as it relies more and more on digital sales since 2015. 


SNK Playmore halts pachinko production, becomes the anti-Konami Sun, 08 Nov 2015 04:40:22 -0500 Clint Pereira

It shouldn’t be strange to hear that SNK Playmore has stopped producing pachinko games to return to its video game roots. After all, the company's The King of Fighters and Metal Slug series are still well-known among adult gamers.

And yet, it is strange.

In the wake of Konami's recent business decisions, all we’ve been hearing lately is how pachislot is where the money is; but if SNK Playmore’s loss of pachislot players are any sign, making pachislot games doesn't equal instant success.

It was only last August, however, that president Koichi Toyama stated in October a goal similar to Konami's current pachislot-focused agenda:

Currently, youths in their 20s are losing interest in the market, which has become a big issue, and has led us to believe that it is very important to develop machines that will appeal to this audience . . . We'd like to work hard to make video game fans into Pachinko Slot fans.

So what changed in three months?

The answer lies in SNK Playmore’s newest investors: Oriental Securities and Shunrong Sanqui. After forming a joint venture, the Chinese investors bought majority shares through SNK Playmore's parent company, Ledo Millennium. The CEO of Oriental Securities, Zheng Jianhui, has stated that their goal is to create the Marvel Comics of video games.

Given that Marvel has achieved record sales in theaters and almost singlehandedly revived the comic book industry, Jianhui's statement suggests he wants to use SNK’s IPs to create more games, shows, movies—the whole shebang.

In their decision to focus on an international market, the investors have probably concluded that the pachislot market was not worth pursuing. Gambling in China is also illegal, which may have informed their decision. The production of pachinko games would solely benefit Japan's economy.

Perhaps SNK Playmore's experiences with the pachinko market is a prediction of Konami’s own future. SNK was most popular in the '90s, but their focus on the pachislot sector allowed their IPs to weaken with time. Without strong IPs, pachinko games just aren’t as attractive to consumers. Unless Konami has a plan for keeping their IPs strong with younger generations, they too may find themselves bought out by Chinese investors with lofty goals.

SNK Playmore's future lineup will include The King of Fighters XIV, to be released on the PS4 in 2016. Follow our SNK Playmore tag for more coverage, and let us know in the comments what you think of the company's new direction.

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Valve makes a strong business move giving users entire gaming catalogue Thu, 22 Oct 2015 03:10:40 -0400 Courtney Gamache

Gamers who pre-ordered the Steam Controller met some devastation when they tried to pair it with their Mac computers. From an array of technical issues, the Steam Controller has no functionality with the Macs, even though Valve promised it would from the get-go.

To make up for their blunder, Valve is giving affected users the "Valve Complete Pack", which is their entire gaming library and includes past, present, and even future releases. What a strong move for a small problem that could have been resolved with refunds.

Unexpected Issues

When it comes to using the Steam Controller on a Mac, it doesn't register a gamepad emulation. Valve recommends that their customers with the Mac issue to opt into the Steam beta client to enable keyboard and mouse emulation. As for gamepad emulation, Valve hopes it will start working in a few weeks as they release updates.

But the problems don't end there; they expand to the Steam Link, which is supposed to allow streaming through Valve. It's also proven incompatible with Macs.

Making a Strong Business Choice

Clearly, Valve needed to do something to remedy this disastrous situation. When it comes to making decisions, Valve made one of the strongest by far in their field. By owning up to the software mistake of the Steam Controller and Steam Link, they showed their dedication to their consumers to a degree that not many gaming companies have. Giving away the "Valve Complete Pack" to affected users is not a move we would see from EA or Sony.

Looking at their decision from a business major perspective, it speaks a lot to how well their company is doing as a financial institution. It's unknown how many Mac users were affected by the software issues, but Valve will surely end up losing revenue by giving away free games. But they'd probably lose a lot more customers if they didn't do something grand. 

Examining the decision from a PR perspective, Valve definitely won over the hearts and loyalties of their customers by being so bold.

Do you think Valve fully tested their prototype for compatibility on all platforms? Were they correct in giving away the "Valve Complete Pack"? Share your thoughts on this daring business move. 

Google now owned by a new company called Alphabet Tue, 11 Aug 2015 10:23:41 -0400 Larry Iaccio

As part of a complete overhaul to its business structure and function, Google has just announced that it will now be a subsidiary of a new parent company called Alphabet.

This news most concerns Android and Chrome users, but don't worry, all of your Google accounts, services, and devices should remain unaffected.

What exactly does this mean and what is Alphabet?

In it's simplest form, Alphabet will act as an umbrella company for all of the products and services it plans to offer to consumers. One of these products will be Google with all of its mainstays including Gmail, Chrome, YouTube etc., but Alphabet has extensive plans for many other things other than just internet services.

Google co-founder Larry Page will act as CEO of Alphabet while other co-founder Sergey Brin and Sundar Pichai will head the now smaller company, Google. Larry Page wrote,

“Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence"

Does this have any real impact for us as gamers? As far as I can tell no, but it could impact developers going forward which in turn could affect audiences.

Anyone currently with an android device or who uses a Chrome browser, Play Store, or YouTube will still receive the same reliable services from Google just as they have, the only difference being that Alphabet will now own all of it.  

Why I'm looking forward to Roller Coaster Tycoon: World Fri, 26 Jun 2015 06:30:01 -0400 Courtney Gamache

I've met my fair share of gamers who look at Tycoon games and cringe with distaste. Where's the excitement? Where's the action? Well I can tell you, managing a fictional park in Roller Coaster Tycoon, or a virtual family in the Sims isn't a piece of cake, but man is it awesome when things go well.

Teaching Gamers Business Management

I kid you not, playing these Tycoon games as a child gave me a macro-insight into how a franchise and businesses actually function. I branched into Tycoon games such as Fast Food Tycoon, Mall Tycoon, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Game Dev Tycoon, and even Zoo Tycoon.

You know what these games taught me? Managing anything is difficult, and sometimes you have to plan things out on a time-schedule, and things must be done based on necessity. The games listed above come with scenarios to put yourself in, a budget to work with, and even social requirements to heighten the difficulty. That sounds like life to me.

Slight academic advantage

I look back on my years playing these Tycoon games, and the business practices and ideologies I'm learning in college are mentioned briefly within the games. I feel as though I have some sort of advantage in understanding this course work because of games I played a decade ago, back before the thought of majoring in Business Management hadn't even crossed my mind. The advantage I feel is only so slight, but it's nice going into a class with a comprehension of the basics and working up from there.

Give me Roller Coaster Tycoon: World

The main focus for my hype about this new installment (outside of the gameplay and additions) is the ability to experience the game using what I've learned in college. Rarely do you get to play a game with prior insight to how it should operate correctly. For example, in the Assassin's Creed series, I never had thorough prior knowledge about historical parts of Italy to use as a reference for the authenticity of the game.

That being said, some of my excitement is reserved for the new additions that have never been used in the earlier installments of Roller Coaster Tycoon. A major add-on is the multiplayer mode, where you can own a park with friends and even compete online. Also, the new graphics are more appealing than the bit ones in the previous Tycoon games I've played.

When can I get this sweet game?

Roller Coaster Tycoon: World has no set-in-stone release date on their website or Steam, but it will be available sometime in 2015. Once it's out I promise a great review from a long-time Tycoon fan. 

A Stylish Style Savvy: Trendsetters Review Wed, 05 Feb 2014 15:01:43 -0500 Courtney Gamache

One of my favorite games on the earlier Nintendo DS system was the original Style Savvy that let you assemble outfits for clients. I was thrilled to bits when the Style Savvy: Trendsetters came out for the 3DS bringing more fashion and accessories into view. I've always wanted to be part of the fashion business, so this game brings it to life for me. Plus, who doesn't love playing in 3D?

Why this game is fantastic

Style Savvy: Trendsetters simulates a real-life job that probably everyone has thought about before if they've seen Project Runway or any fashion related media. You can pick up a game that gives you everything you've seen or wanted, and enjoy playing it on your own time. If you think you're up for the fashion business, this game will put you to the test, at a cheaper rate than a college degree. From styling to stocking, you'll feel what it's like to be the manager of your own boutique, and understand the trials and suffering of the position.

More accessories, more clients!

A major thing that's new within Style Savvy: Trendsetters is the accessory options that have been welcomed into the game. You can add bags and many other headwear to the clients and your own character. With this addition, it has brought an entire new brand into the Buyer's Center that's devoted entirely to purses. I must say, accessorizing is probably the best part of this new game aside from running your own business like in the original edition.

Finally, Ken dolls

Another great expansion within this game is the opportunity to dress male characters that end up going into your shop. This added many new brands into the Buyer's Center, and a whole other part of the stockroom devoted to male clothing. You're also able to make a male mannequin for the window display. I found this part to be wonderful since the earlier Style Savvy game was a bit too towards female characters. Of course, you have to unlock this male character designing by playing it for a bit, but it's way worth it!

Getting through the Contests

Just like the previous game, there are contests located at the Contest Hall. It's not as easy to get through them like the other game, as new contests will arrive as you proceed through the game. Keep in mind - you can't keep winning clothing through each contest. After you beat each contest 10 times you'll start receiving prize money instead of clothing. This is different than just playing the contest and moving forward like the other game.

Downloadable Content

As is expected when playing a Nintendo 3DS game, you'll be able to connect to the internet and browse other people's outfits that they put up for sale or to show. This is also helpful when you have games that give you Style Savvy content, such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf. When I got the game I was alerted that I received a Gracie Grace outfit and one from Club LOL from Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Highly unexpected, but wonderful!

If you have a friend that also plays Style Savvy, you can play with your friend by designing an outfit for their character, and also competing in competitons against one another through local play. Don't ruin too many friendships!

Going around town and decorating

A big part available in this game that wasn't in the earlier one was the city-life. You can go to the park, downtown, furniture store, and the café. By going around you will meet different people, and have insightful conversations that bring the game to life. As well, you can decorate your apartment by purchasing furniture from the city. Another great part of the game bringing the customizations to life.

I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys making outfits and running a business. Perfect for any tycoon lover, or someone aspiring to be a fashion designer or business owner.

Have you played any of the Style Savvy games? Comment!

Is the games industry broken by design? Wed, 05 Feb 2014 10:58:20 -0500 Cosmic Engine

Over the last two or three years we've frequently heard reports surfacing that games developer A has laid off X number of employees or Publisher Y is cutting back and closing down studio Z. The common cause of this? Simple: money.

Now before you tell me 'it's an effect of hard economic times', I'm going to tell you straight off, it isn't. Yes times have been tough, gamers and consumers in a more general sense have been tightening the proverbial belt but there’s more to it that. Hell, its not like people are not buying games. GTA V generated over 800 million dollars in revenue in its first twenty four hours, so don't tell me the money isn't out there and that people aren't buying games.

The Internal Disease

This illness doesn't come from lack of consumer buying power, it doesn't come from any worldly financial crisis, it comes from the people in charge of that company.

I'm convinced, nay, certain that games companies suffer from a more internal disease. This illness doesn't come from lack of consumer buying power, it doesn't come from any worldly financial crisis, it comes from the people in charge of that company.

Some people say games are an art, or at least science mixed with art and to be honest, if you think that your not completely wrong but, your not right either. Video games are a trinity, (a tri-force if you'll excuse the pun). In one hand you have the art of video games, its beauty personified in art, sound and story telling. Next the science, the genius intellects that code and program everything you see. The last you ask? The last is something many forget, the last edge of the triangle to make it complete: business.

It's all about the money

Now I'm not talking about the business of selling games, I'm talking about the business of making games. The fact is games cost money to make and there are an array of cost's to factor in before starting any development. Let's just run over a basic few, you have:

  • Wages of the developers
  • Running costs like lighting, power, equipment, food and water
  • Then you have your development costs which include things like software, licenses...

The list goes on.

Business skills are transferable and are essential to games development, it is something sadly lacking in today's industry. I'm not talking about the kind of 'let's come up with a good micro-transaction store' kind of skill, I'm talking about project management, budget management, leadership, preparation, these are real business skills. soon as you start looking to the customer to pick up your overspend, you're in trouble.

One of the biggest reasons games get pushed back and back again from their original release date is usually down to two things, poor project management and going over-budget. I have worked in business for many years and can safely say that as soon as you start looking to the customer to pick up your overspend, you're in trouble.

Speaking in terms of smaller studios and indie developers, there’s a frequent trend in why so many go under. Yes, these talented people know how to make games, but they don't know how to make good business. This is why companies in other industries spend small fortunes to hire talented project managers and leaders, because their role is just as important as the people who make the product.

Even bigger companies like the now defunct THQ suffered huge financial issues largely down to poor business practices which eventually (and sadly) led to their downfall. Games developers need to learn to stick to their budgets carefully, Ren Mulford Jr. once said that “It takes more than capital to swing business” and it's so true.

How many times have we seen big budget games costs go higher and higher, eventually to the point that when the game does come out, it is no longer a viable profitable venture?

Time's are changing

Only now that the games industries bubble has burst and money isn't floating around by the boat load any more are companies starting to realize how much money they pour down the drain every day. It's true what they say 'A good business man can make money in art but an artist can't make money in business.'

Smaller companies especially need to wake up to the business side of things, yes have a creative dream, but realize that dream will never become a reality for you unless you put hard work into your business side. If you don't, you'll either never finish it or when you do, you'll be so far in debt you'll wish you hadn't.

It's time for the industry as a whole to start fixing its internal business issues

Stop making short term decisions for a quick buck and start thinking long term. Project manage effectively, budget realistically, cut down on your costs and plan smart. As the saying goes, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

View the video version here -

Opinion: Why the Potential Failure of Xbox One is Not a Cause for Schadenfreude Wed, 13 Nov 2013 11:45:49 -0500 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

We're just over a week away from the Xbox One's launch, and the news just keeps going from bad to worse. We reported yesterday that two senior marketing executives have reportedly resigned from Xbox, showing no calm in the storm that's been going on for a while at Microsoft's headquarters.

With people still unconvinced by reassurances that Microsoft really have changed their tune regarding requiring regular connections to the internet, ways in which the Kinect will use marketing, and DRM policies, the Xbox One launch could be a real disaster.

But if everything does go bottoms up for the beleaguered console, it should not be a cause for celebration, and we should be poised to lament the potential decline of a brand that has become synonymous with console gaming, and has contributed a lot to the advancement of the industry.

Why We Love To Hate Xbox 

Before anyone accuses me of not disclosing the fact that I'm a Sony fanboy, I'd like to point out that I've had no qualms about admitting to such in anything I've written for the magazine. Indeed, my rundown of Microsoft's reveal of the Xbox One's interface and features was less than reverend and complimentary, and I'm fully aware of that.

But the way I see it, the reason there's such a chasmic divide between the Xbox and PlayStation (PS) communities has always been driven by the communities themselves, not through any flaws in the respective systems or business strategies.

The Xbox and Xbox 360 have been the go-to for first person shooters (FPS) and multiplayer combat for a long time; the scope for doing both those things significantly out-did its rival. Therefore it has always attracted a macho and uncouth crowed, stereotypically known for shouting juvenile abuse at each other down their headsets.

The PS, PS2, and PS3, however, has always had more variety and what many would consider more narrative and cerebral games. This attracts a stereotypically more educated, emotionally stable, and pretentious crowd who are actually concerned about gaming's exploration as a medium of entertainment.

That's absolutely not to say that cross-over does not exist - it absolutely does. At points I'd daresay that there has even been envy of the other from both camps. But these are the established generalisations that the gaming community have concluded upon, providing much humour and discussion on this difference of attitude between the two.

Love the Player, Hate the Corporation
"Microsoft's behaviour has been nothing short of various attempts at shameless's really hard to feel Schadenfreude over the fact that [the Xbox community is] getting shafted."

As the rivalry is based around what one thinks personally about the other, it's unreasonable to gloat at the raw deal Xbox players have gotten; it's not at all their doing. Microsoft suddenly turned into something incredibly nasty(er) in the run up to their contribution to eighth generation of gaming. All the policies and strategies they originally stated were going to benefit them, their investors, and big game studios, at the expense of the community that has flourished under their previous two consoles. Microsoft's behaviour has been nothing short of various attempts at shameless extortion, each time realising they pushed their luck much to far causing them to (supposedly) run back with their tails between their legs.

If the Xbox One is a joke, it's unrelated to the Xbox community, so it's really hard to feel Schadenfreude over the fact that they're getting shafted. The situation is absolutely unfair and a huge betrayal to those who have invested and supported Xbox and Microsoft for over 10 years. If Sony had done that to PS users, it would be just as huge a travesty.

Love the Console, Hate the Corporation

Personal rivalries aside, you also have to feel sorry for the hardware. It's a brilliant machine. Yes, the PS4 is technically the more advanced console, but it's by a margin. I'd wager that most people probably won't notice a difference unless they're technology buffs or particularly pernickety. I've played the Xbox One at Eurogamer Expo 2013 and, even if I think the PS4 is the better machine, I'll still admit to being bowled over by Microsoft's efforts. It's a shame that hideously bad business strategy is going to mar the machine, especially as so much of Microsoft's avarice has been poured into components like the Kinect, which is an otherwise powerful piece of kit.

What Have The Romans Has The Xbox Ever Done for Us?

Even if you have played on a PS for your entire life, you can't deny the impact that the Xbox and its games have had on gaming. The Microsoft vs. Sony rivalry has been one of few examples of where competition and free market have actually benefited its consumers. In trying to better each other, we have had a gaggle of excellent games, four stunning machines, and are now on the third head to head.

Furthermore, Halo, a series that has been the flagship for the Xbox, has also helped advance the standard of video games as a whole. It was one of the first FPS to inject an extensive narrative drive across the series, to the point of doing the unthinkable with Halo: Reach - having players knowingly work towards failure and a doomed ending. In a genre that has always saturated its audience with bravado and victory, this was ground-breaking. Now, it's difficult to find an FPS that has not given weight and importance to creating an involving story as much as inventive combat.

It has also emphasised the importance music plays in video games, with composer Martin O'Donnell being propelled to celebrity status through his astonishing contribution to the franchise. Now there is an academic community and professional interest in music across video games as a whole, culminating in Game Music Connect this year in London.

"It's not pity that I feel for Xbox users and the console, it's greif and anger that its creators have forsaken them and it in such a cynical fashion."
 In Memoriam
Therefore, it's not pity that I feel for Xbox users and the console, it's greif, and anger that its creators have forsaken them, and it, in such a cynical fashion. Despite what you may think, the failure of the Xbox One will impact us all in that it will be a sad loss to something that has driven the industry to excel.

Reports that it might get sold off as a division is probably the best thing that might happen to it, as it might put the console in the hands of a business who understand its customers as much as it understands profit.

Gamer Santa Is My Homeboy Tue, 05 Nov 2013 19:59:40 -0500 Steve Lawton

Santa's been tough to get a hold of lately and I wrote him a letter.

Once Santa get's back to me we will be best friends! Like we used to be!

Electronic Arts Wants a Better Reputation Mon, 04 Nov 2013 23:33:40 -0500 Wokendreamer

For the past two years in a row, Electronic Arts has won the Golden Poo award.  For those unaware, this award is given every year to the company people vote for on the Consumerist.  The award is prestigious in all the worst ways, as the votes are for the worst company rather than the best.  EA blamed its most recent win on homophobes, but seemed to take no actual responsibility for the business decisions that led to so many people hating them as a company.

The company has gotten a new CEO in the time since then, one Andrew Wilson, and he has stated to Kotaku that he wants to rebuild Electronic Arts's reputation.  A few of the things he says are hopeful, such as pointing out how annual sequels are a problem.  It never takes long to find multiple people ready to condemn the very idea of such blatant franchise milking, but such should be an obvious issue by now.

Wilson also emphasizes how he wants to improve the company's relationship with gamers over the long term.

Any time we create something, if you’re asking for an investment from the consumer in dollars and time, make sure they feel like they’re stealing from you and that they are getting the best end of that deal and the rest will follow. And that will be our philosophy...

On the one hand, the cynical gamer in me is leery of the obvious business language used in this statement.  There is no discussion about actually making quality games, or appealing to any particular audience, or even listening to most feedback.  Wilson simply says his aim is to make people feel as if they are getting much more than their money's worth out of Electronic Arts products.  This statement could apply to literally any product in any industry, and that vagueness sets off a few warning bells in my head.

Nevertheless, it is still the most positive thing I can recall having heard a representative from EA say in ages, so I will watch the company closely in the near future.  I am still not rushing to install Origin, but I may actually give serious consideration to buying a game that will require it if the ideas Wilson has put forth bear fruit.

Acitivision-Blizzard Buys Out Vivendi Universal Fri, 26 Jul 2013 11:31:03 -0400 Chad "Chuina" Albritton

In a corporate buy-out of $8.2 billion by CEO Bobby Kotick's investment group, Activision Blizzard is on its way to becoming an independent company. The publisher is set to buy 439 million shares from Vivendi, knocking their ownership down to 12 percent of the company, which Vivendi has been trying to sell for nearly a year. 

Kotick is optimistic as the possibilities for independent status give more freedom to the publisher of games like Call of Duty, StarCraft, and World of WarCraft. Does this mean that we should expect more creativity out of the publishers? What does this hold for Blizzards presently in hiatus, Project Titan?

Kotick commented, "Our successful combination with Blizzard Entertainment five years ago brought together some of the best creative and business talent in the industry and some of the most beloved entertainment franchises in the world, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Since that time, we have generated over $5.4 billion in operating cash flow and returned more than $4 billion of that to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. We are grateful for Vivendi's partnership through this period, and we look forward to their continued support."

All eyes are on Activision Blizzard, with World of WarCraft subs still in steady decline, what will be there next big project? With the possibility of retaining $3 billion cash on hand while investing in new opportunities, Activision Blizzard may be poised to grab an even greater market share in the future.

Xbox One is a Business Expense? Thu, 11 Jul 2013 15:02:30 -0400 Courtney Gamache

Since when can video game consoles be used in business, and approved for a business expense? That would be since Microsoft introduced the Xbox One. The tech specs behind the Xbox one reveal that it is Wi-Fi Direct, Skype capable, Internet Explorer using, and includes SkyDrive. These might sound familiar, because they're also found in basic laptops and PCs.

The Xbox One features abilities that can be utilized within a business enviornment, without the clunky and space consuming features of a PC. For example, business meetings over Skype would be acceptable on the Xbox One, with the addition of a Kinect. This would work marvelously for presentations. Another great feature of the Xbox One and Kinect package would be the lack of clickers. It's a hand motion and vocal system that will allow a hands-free meeting so you can focus more on the task at hand. Not to mention, with Internet Explorer, many Microsoft Office Web Apps can be opened including Excel Spreadsheet and Power Point. Why buy a projector for your pc when you can show your information on a television? 

Although this brings much controversy of how a gaming console could work in a business environment, Microsoft Xbox MVP, Marques Lyons backs the idea of the Xbox One being justified in business. "What is being positioned as an excellent entertainment device can be just as enticing for you and your small business..."