Train2Game News: New Apple iPad’s

Apple LogoApple has unveiled their new iPad Air and the latest version of its smaller iPad Mini line, both of which sport Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor.

The new iPad Air’s biggest selling point is it a smaller form factor and is about 20 per cent thinner than the fouth generation iPad, but still boasts a 9.7 inch screen. It is one of the lightest tablets in the world at only one pound in weight.

The A7 chip made its debut with the iPhone 5S, and Apple claims it provides “twice the CPU and graphics performance” of the last iPad. The new processor also supports OpenGL ES version 3.0.

Both models also have the same M7 motion coprocessor as the iPhone 5S, which tracks accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass data, and a 2048×1536 resolution retina display. Both new devices also come with an iSight 5 megapixel camera, and run iOS 7.

The iPad Air is due on shelves November 1st at a $399-to-$699 price tag. The iPad mini should follow later in the month for $529. Apple have also dropped the price of the current iPad mini to $299.

Train2Game News: Apple Announcement Tonight

Apple LogoApple is expected to reveal the latest updates to its iPad range at an invitation-only event which kicks off tonight in America

Various technology websites and national news publications have claimed for months that the next-gen iPad will be thinner and lighter than previous models. It is has also been estimated it will run Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip and feature an improved camera. It’s also been said that the company’s new fingerprint sensor, Touch ID, could make it into the final product.

iPad mini is reportedly due to be upgraded soon with a retina display and either the A7 processor or the A6 one currently used in iPhone 5C.

The new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks could also feature at tonight’s event, which coincides with both Nokia’s Innovation Reinvented showcase and the US launch of Microsoft’s Surface 2.

It’s claimed that Apple will launch the new iPads on November 1, this may be confirmed during tonights announcements.

In July, Apple reported a second consecutive drop in quarterly profits despite a significant increase in iPhone sales.

During the three months ended June 29, iPad sales came in at 14.6 million units, down from 17 million in the same period a year earlier.

Train2Game News: TIGA and OFT looking in to Freemium business model

TIGATrain2Game partner, TIGA, the association representing developers and digital publishers, urged games businesses to provide evidence to the Office of Fair Trading about in-game marketing to children.

TIGA made the comments following an announcement by the Office of Fair Trading that it would be investigating whether apps that can be freely downloaded from Apple or Google owned online stores have “unfairly pressured” children, to pay for additional content.

The OFT is not intending to ban in-game purchases but it aims to ensure that the games industry adheres to relevant regulations that protect children.

The OFT investigation will explore whether these games are misleading, commercially aggressive or otherwise unfair. In particular, the OFT is looking into whether these games include ‘direct exhortations’ to children – a strong encouragement to make a purchase, or to do something that will necessitate making a purchase, or to persuade their parents or other adults to make a purchase for them.

This is unlawful under the Consumer Protection (from Unfair Trading) Regulations 2008.
The OFT will also consider whether the full cost of games is made clear when they are downloaded or accessed, potentially leading to children and parents to make decisions they may not have made if prices were more transparently advertised at the start of the purchasing process.

The OFT is asking for information from games developers and games hosting services, as well as consumer and parenting groups. The information will be used to understand business practices used in this sector, to establish whether consumer protection regulations are being breached and if so what the consumer harm is.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

“’Freemium games’ with in app purchases are an important commercial model for many games businesses in the UK. Freemium games give consumers the opportunity to try out games, initially at no financial cost, and then if they like the experience they can make in-app purchases that enhance their enjoyment.

“Game developers and digital publishers must provide evidence for the OFT to enable it to understand business practices in the sector. It is imperative that consumer protection regulations are adhered to at all times.”

Chris Kingsley, CTO at Rebellion Studios in Oxford, said:

“In the meantime, it is always prudent for parents and guardians of children to monitor their children’s playing of games and to use safeguards that are built into handsets to prevent a child from accidentally or intentionally buying in-app purchases.”

In addition TIGA, have announced that they would organise a fact-finding committee and seminar to gather information about in-game marketing and business models, to ensure that the views of the industry are effectively represented vis-à-vis the OFT.

Train2Game News: Apple paying compensation over in-app purchases

Apple LogoApple have proposed to pay compensation to several parents for not making some of it’s in-app purchases more secure after minors had charged costs to their parents accounts. A judge will consider the proposal on 1 March.

The legal action dates back to April 2011 and allegations made by a California-based man that his youngest daughter had racked up a series of charges without his knowledge. Garen Meguerian said his nine-year-old’s actions had cost him approximately $200 after she bought game currencies within apps including Zombie Cafe, Treasury Story and City Story.

His lawyer noted that some titles in Apple’s store allowed children to buy more than $100 worth of items in a single click without entering a password. Apple took a cut of each in-app sale. The case was later combined with other parents making similar claims.

The issue has since been address with Apple now ensuring that a password is entered before each and every in-app purchase.

Apple acknowledged it would need to tell more than 23 million iTunes account holders they might qualify. Affected users would receive an email offering at least $5 (£3.20) in credit if they confirmed a minor had charged their account without permission, and that they had not already had the fee deleted after making a complaint.

Apple’s proposal suggests affected parties can:

  • Email in their details to qualify for a $5 iTunes credit
  •  Request the $5 in cash if they no longer have an iTunes account
  • Provide full details of each in-app purchase to be reimbursed in full in credit or cash, for totals of at least $30

Apple indicates it will give claimants 180 days to submit their requests and will also award Mr Meguerian and four other named plaintiffs an additional $1,500 service award.

The plaintiffs have accepted the proposal and it is now set to be signed off by a judge in San Jose’s courthouse on Friday.

Apple declined to comment when asked whether it might consider offering a similar deal to users outside the US.

Train2Game News: Jason Bradbury praises Surface

Jason Bradbury spoke to The Sun to compare the Microsoft Surface to Apples iPad.

Mr Bradbury said: “It’s a lot less expensive than the iPad, if you compare like for like, and you get a touchscreen version of Windows 8, as well as a traditional Windows operating system.

“It also comes with a very innovative cover-slash-keyboard, which is one of the thinnest I’ve ever used. It’s only 3mm thick, and it really is exceptionally good.

“So what you’re getting is something that’s about the same size as the iPad, which is less expensive, has Office software, a relatively normal desktop operating system, and a keyboard.”

“Whether you’re a road warrior or a student, you don’t want to be touch-typing your 2,500 word essay, or your pitch.”

Jason also claims Microsoft’s tablet has the edge when it comes to design which was the traditional strong point of Apple’s tablets.

He explained: “The iPad used to be elegant and beautiful, but now it’s a little bit dated as a design, it hasn’t really evolved a great deal.”

Jason Bradbury will be in London this week for The Gadget Show live in London which will give people a chance to try out a Nintendo Wii U before its launch on Friday. As well as an array of new technology, The Gadget Show Live is set to feature a theatrical spectacular.

Running from November 30 and December 2, gadget fans can watch the TV star operating flying robots, driving a remote control car around an enormous loop-the-loop, and being towed on a skateboard at 30mph..

More information and tickets can be found at www.gadgetshowlive.net.

Train2Game News: Disney’s outside the box idea

Roger A. Iger has said that Disney may be going in to developing their own console. Disney has had trouble utilising the internet to date and this could be the next step.

Their new product is an ambitious and unannounced gaming initiative that is code-named Toy Box which has been described as a game console with extensive mobile and other online applications in which various Pixar and Disney characters will interact with each other for the first time.

Recently detailed was The Walt Disney Company’s struggles as it pertains to mastering the internet. The company’s online components, as well as their gaming and mobile divisions, have posted 15 consecutive quarters of losses.

The company as a whole is doing very well with ventures such as earlier this summer with the big screen phenomena that was The Avengers, which earned over 1.5 billion dollars for Marvel Studios, which is now owned by Walt Disney Pictures.

Its inability to make much headway on the internet and with games however is becoming hard to ignore and given how the importance of such outlets will only increase as time goes on, now might be time for Disney to do something particularly drastic or bold.

There are several other initiatives now under-way, to help turn the online tide. One idea includes another massive redesign of Disney.com, their third in five years.

Given Disney’s long time ties with Pixar, which is also connected to Apple who certainly have aspirations of their own, we could see the rise of an under dog in the next generation.

Train2Game News: Shiller’s ‘beautiful’ pledge to iPhone gamers

Apple’s new iPhone 5 is available to pre order from tomorrow. Details were announced in San Francisco yesterday.

Apple’s Phil Schiller announced it as “the most beautiful product we have ever made.”

The new iPhone is thinner and lighter than its predecessors but has a bigger 4 inch screen which will be good for gamers. It uses a 16:9 screen ratio, letting you get the most out of your screen. The device also improves on touch sensitivity with a sharper response, further improving gaming inputs.

It will support the new 4g, meaning faster speeds. The WiFi connection gives 2.4ghz and 5ghz on 802.11n. Theoretically with these higher speeds it is possible to get 100mbps downloads.

Inside the new handset will be Apple’s new A6 processor which is smaller and quicker than the A5 that is used in the 4s and iPad2.

Apple has said that the battery life will be better which means you can game for longer without worrying. The charging connection has been updated to a slimmer plug but an adapter priced at £25 from Apple will be available so you can still use older docks and chargers.

The handset is said to have console quality graphics. This was proven by a demonstration of Real Racing 3 – released later this year – which had impressive real time reflections in the rear view mirrors of the in-game cars. Game Centre was shown to have improved as well, now incorporating time-shifted multiplayer.

This new device opens up a whole new possibility of gaming potential on mobile devices.

It will be sold with either 16 gigabytes, 32GB or 64GB of storage. The basic model will be sold for £529 and is available for pre order from Friday.

Train2Game News: Gaming potential. Apple iPhone 5 almost here

The Apple iPhone 5 is expected to be released next wednesday.

For gaming and games development this means a more powerful platform to work with.

The invitation to the launch event in San Francisco was a bit special – it had a twelve casting the shadow of a five and the words “its almost here”.

The new iPhone release is the first big advance by Apple since the death of Steve Jobs and it seems to be a big step forward from the 4S.

Leaked photos from some of Apples Chinese manufacturers show the device to have a bigger 4.2 inch screen and a slimmer body. It is expected to support the awaited 4G high speed wireless broadband. The mobile network Orange hopes to set up 4G for the UK the day before the launch of the iPhone 5, according to Ofcom.

4G gives the added bonus of downloading the games you want faster.

Phil Schiller, head of marketing for Apple, testified in court during the legal battle with Samsung, said: “Each new generation of iPhone sold approximately equal to all previous generations combined.”

If this keeps up it means that the market for games on iOS will rise to even greater heights.

Of course the most exciting thing coming next week is the Train2Game Game Jam which starts on the 14th. If you do get an iPhone 5 on release day there is just enough time to get it charged and ready before the weekends fun begins.

Train2Game News: Train2Game student developed My Sea Park reaches 250,000 downloads

 

My Sea Park, a mobile game developed with significant input from Train2Game students has been downloaded over 250,000 times.

The management title, created with help from Train2Game students on work placement at DR Studios, was released worldwide less than two weeks ago.

Seven students worked on the iOS game, with Train2Game game designer Craig Moore serving as design lead.

My Sea Park lets players explore their creativity by building the biggest and best marine-themed amusement park in the world.

Watch the trailer below, here on The Train2Game Blog.

Like it? Then support fellow Train2Game students by downloading My Sea Park from the App Store now!

There’s more on My Sea Park here on The Train2Game Blog, while keep reading for the latest industry experience diaries from Train2Game students on placement at DR Studios.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: “We’re in gaming in a fairly big way” and will only get bigger say Apple

Apple is a big player in the games industry and will only get bigger, but isn’t interested in producing a console. That’s according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“I view that we are in gaming now in a fairly big way.” Steve Jobs successor told AllThingsD.

“One of the reasons people buy an iPod touch is gaming. Some buy it for music. I realize that is not the big screen you are talking about. Gaming has kind of evolved a bit. More people play on portable devices. Where we might go in the future, we’ll see. Customers love games.” Cook continued.

“I’m not interested in being in the console business in what is thought of as traditional gaming, but Apple is a big player today, and things in the future will only make that bigger.” he added.

Mobile gaming has provided a huge platform for game developers to work on, with many independent studios focusing on iPhone or Android games.  Indeed, four Train2Game student teams will soon see their own games based on the Fighting Fantasy series published on the iTunes App Store.

Valve CEO Gabe Newell has previously stated that he believes Apple will launch a living room product that’ll make consoles “disappear”

Keep reading The Train2Game Blog for the latest iPhone and Apple gaming news.

What are your thoughts on Apple’s position in gaming? Do you believe they’ll stick to mobile? Or will they make move for consoles after all?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.