Amid reports that BioWare Austin is laying off staff today, Gamasutra says that Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s executive producer Rich Vogel is no longer with the company. Vogel was instrumental in the development of SWTOR, overseeing all aspects of the MMO before and after its launch in December. The online game, though, has lost around 400,000 paid subscribers in recent months, and BioWare Austin recently said it’s considering free-to-play options for the title.
Game industry legend Tony Goodman, the co-creator of Age of Empires, is launching a new mobile game startup today called PeopleFun. The team has six veterans who will focus on creating games for iOS (Apple’s iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone devices) and Android mobile devices. That’s a far cry from Goodman’s other games such as the AAA-quality Age of Empires PC games, making him one of many game developers who are making a personal crossover journey from high-end PC games into mobile gaming.
PeopleFun will be based in Richardson, Texas and is one of about eight startups in the diaspora of Dallas-based Ensemble Studios, the maker of Age of Empires that Microsoft acquired in 2001 and shut down in 2009.
I founded GDC Online as the Austin Game Conference in 2003. And while I handed the reins over to UBM Game Group in 2006 I’m extremely pleased and delighted that the show continues to this day and is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year. This year the show takes place Oct. 9-11, 2012 once again in Austin, with 110+ industry sessions across five tracks and four summits. Details at http://www.gdconline.com/
Can a video game be more than just a game? Can it also get you thinking about larger trends affecting the world?
That’s what the team at White Whale Games is banking on.
The startup studio, which consists of four people working in a Central Austin duplex, is hard at work on a new iPhone/iPad game, “God of Blades,” that’s due out soon.
Personalized Media Communications, LLC (PMC) has filed a patent suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against Zynga, Inc. (Zynga) NASDAQ: ZNGA, the largest social game developer, for infringement of four of PMC’s patents.
The complaint alleges that Zynga’s social-networking games, such as Words with Friends, CityVille and FarmVille, use PMC’s patented technology. PMC is demanding a jury trial, as well as enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees because of deliberate willfulness on the part of Zynga. The four patents named in the suit, United States Patent Nos. 7,797,717, 7,908,638, 7,734,251 and 7,860,131, cover the use of control and information signals embedded in electronic media content to generate output for display that is personalized and relevant to a user.
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Austin-based Spacetime Studios‘ mobile MMOs Pocket Legends and Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles have been played more than 100 million times. Spacetime players spend about twice the number of hours playing Legends titles than the average gamer spends across all mobile games each month.
Users with iPhones play games for 14.7 hours per month while Android users play around 9.3 hours per month according to Nielsen research. The average Spacetime player spends 25.2 hours per month playing Legends titles alone.
“MMO games by their nature are more engaging and involved than most genres, but making that work in the mobile world is very delicate balancing act,” said Cinco Barnes, Chief Vision Officer and co-founder, Spacetime Studios. “With each launch of a Legends title we make it our mission to innovate and it has become the largest, most successful mobile MMO franchise in the world.”
Deus Ex game director and producer, and Disney Epic Mickey creator Warren Spector will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCAs) for his contributions to the art and science of games. The Game Developers Choice Awards, held at GDC yearly, are the leading peer-based video game industry awards celebrating the industry's top games and developers. Warren is based out of Austin. More here.
Just six weeks after launching Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) says the game has has sold over 2 million copies, with a thriving base of over 1.7 million active subscribers, as gamers around the world have immersed themselves in the story-driven, online Star Wars universe from BioWare and LucasArts. Helping drive The Old Republic’s early success has been the quality and reliability of the game’s service, with servers being available for more than 99.5% of the time outside of scheduled maintenance. BioWare has also delivered on the promise of continually adding new content by releasing Rise of the Rakghouls, which added new, higher level group content, less than 30 days after launch. The next game update, featuring even more content, new game systems and additional guild features, is scheduled to be released in Spring 2012.
Dallas-based Escalation Studios, a developer of mobile games, has been acquired by 6waves Lolapps, a social games firm based in San Francisco. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 6waves said that Escalation’s co-founders, Tom Mustaine and Marc Tardiff, have become Design Directors at the company. Co-founder Shawn Green becomes Director of Engineering.
- SWTOR’s Executive Producer Leaves BioWare Amid Layoff Reports
- Tony Goodman, the co-creator of Age of Empires, starts PeopleFun mobile game startup in Richardson
- GDC Online Turns 10 this Fall
- Portalarium Raises $7 Million
- Austin startup video game studio has high-minded concepts
- Personalized Media Communications Filed Patent Suit Against Zynga in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- Spacetime Studios’ Games Reach 100 Million Play Sessions
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