Train2Game News: GamesAnalytics report assess GTA Online

GTA VPredictive analytics specialists GamesAnalytics, has today published a special report which explores the Free-2-Play (F2P) potential of Grand Theft Auto Online.

The latest release of the game took Rockstar’s blockbuster franchise in an ambitious new direction, with a multiplayer world and in-game economy and the Benchmark report assesses whether GTA Online would also make a successful standalone F2P game.

The report has been produced using GamesAnalytics’ evidenced based research methodology, where 50 game design aspects across six main categories including Monetisation, Retention, Engagement and Virality are assessed against industry best practice F2P game design from over 80 F2P titles.

The report found that GTA Online surpassed the best in genre scores for categories including Retention, Game Mechanics and Engagement. However, if the game was released as a standalone F2P title then the report identifies mechanics that it would benefit from improving key mechanics to achieve high levels of Monetization and Virality.

Based on the reporting findings, GamesAnalytics highlights five recommendations in the report to help achieve best practice F2P design:

1. Improve the currency structure with first / second payment structure
2. Introduce a VIP structure to fast track progress and reward members
3. Develop a trading mechanism to help increase community aspects
4. Utilise no lose gambling mechanics
5. Build in reward mechanics for social sharing

Mark Robinson, Co-founder and COO GamesAnalytics, commented on the report: “GTA Online is clearly a quality bestselling premium game and this Benchmark report shows its F2P potential as a standalone game. The assessment does however highlight when designing F2P games all areas of Player Relationship Management need to be taken into consideration in particular mechanics that maximise virality, monetization and retention.

F2P game design is evolving across multiple platforms and genres. GamesAnalytics’ tools and services help publishers and developers understand best practice game design and integrate learnings upfront in the design and development process.”

These could be helpful suggestions to bear in mind for your own F2P game if you choose to take that route.

Train2Game News: A Cloud Gaming success story

Remnant KnightsKalydo, a leading International Cloud Gaming Platform is proud to publish the first numbers backed proof of Cloud gaming success.

Working in partnership with GameSamba, an exclusive publisher of online free to play games located in the US, Kalydo transformed their flagship title Remnant Knights from an old-model download, install and patch title into a seamless and engaging Kalydo Cloud powered MMORPG.

Remnant Knights was initially a 1.2 GB client, taking over 1 hour to download (requiring additional time to patch), and needing a total of 12 user clicks before a consumer could begin playing. Thanks to the tight integration of the Cloud Technology, GameSamba has re-launched Remnant Knights as a full Cloud Game, requiring only 5 minutes to download the Launcher and reducing total user clicks to just 6.

Most importantly: Conversion rates (User Registration to Play) shot from 40% to 88.5%!

“With Kalydo our gamers have more options to play and can get into the game much faster. We no longer service a large downloadable client. Gamers can choose to play from the desktop and the browser, all using Kalydo´s Cloud streaming technology.” Mike Suh – International Development VP GameSamba

The results have not only delighted GameSamba and Kalydo, but just as importantly their players as well. When asked about their general impressions about Cloud gaming, over 65% responded positively. 41% felt the performance of Remnant Knights compared to other Cloud based games was better, while over 50% of the respondents stated it takes less than 2 minutes now to start playing again after a new patch release.

Kalydo believes gamers deserve frictionless experiences, not barriers to play: They deserve more than what they’re getting right now- no matter what or where they play.

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 03.05.13

GameStickIt’s the end of the week and it is time for the Train2Game news round up!

Playjam, the team behind the much anticipated GameStick have released a new product ´explainer´ video. The product came under attack when people felt it didn’t live up to expectations. The console is not yet released however and only developers have had hands on. You can see their explainer video here: http://youtu.be/QlNjIzNZh4o

Gazillion Entertainment will be kicking off a Marvel Heroes “Iron Man 3” Open Beta Weekend beginning on Saturday, May 4 through to Monday May 6. This is to coincide with the release of the film. As part of the “Iron Man 3” Open Beta Weekend, new players who participate will be able to select an Avenger as their starting hero – including Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow. In order access the Marvel Heroes “Iron Man 3” Open Beta Weekend, players should register now at www.MarvelHeroes.com. As the weekend approaches, an email will be sent with download instructions.

In further Marvel news prepare to Hero Up this autumn, when LEGO Marvel Super Heroes puts players in control of their favourite Super Heroes from the Marvel Universe. With more than one hundred memorable characters to choose from, each with their own unique powers and abilities, players are in for a brick-smashing adventure. In a new video released today, you’ll get a sneak peek at a few members of the Amazing, Mighty and Uncanny (hint) team who join forces to stop an array of Marvel villains. You can enjoy the trailer, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYAXHqCM-b4

Now for further LEGO news, The LEGO Group proudly announce that their latest, action-packed free mobile game LEGO Star Wars The Yoda Chronicles will be available to play on iOS devices as well as on the official LEGO website from May the Fourth 2013. This is of course, unofficially, Star Wars Day. Questing with Yoda or Count Dooku, players can choose to join the Light Side or the Dark Side in this new game. The LEGO Star Wars The Yoda Chronicles story and game intertwines with the 2013 LEGO Star Wars novelty products in a mix of real time laser battles, intricate dungeon crawling, lightsaber duels and tense space combat high above Coruscant.

Finally, Perfect World Entertainment Inc. and Cryptic Studios are proud to announce that one of the most anticipated free MMORPG’s of 2013, Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter, is officially in Open Beta. Free to download and play, Neverwinter is built for gamers who crave more action combat, adventure and glory out of MMOs. The major milestone of Open Beta marks the beginning of unrestricted access to Neverwinter and its content creation system, the Foundry, along with no further character wipes. For more information about Neverwinter and to begin playing the Open Beta now, please visit the official website: www.playneverwinter.com/

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 05.04.13

lucasartsIt is Friday so it is time for another Train2Game game industry news round up.

The saddest bit of news this week was that the new owners of LucasArts, Disney, has shut down the company. LucasArts were responsible for making many of the Star Wars licensed games as well as other games such as Monkey Island. A LucasFilm representative suggested that properties such as 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault could still find a home via a third party.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment announced that the Injustice: Gods Among Us game is now available on the App Store. Developed from the ground up by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, this free-to-play mobile game delivers stunning graphics and a completely unique fighting gameplay experience. The mobile game features a collectible card mechanic and engages players in 3-on-3 tag team combat that pits many of DC Comics most popular icons such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Aquaman and more against one another. Fans who also own the forthcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 versions will be able to unlock content in the console versions that will be available in the mobile game, and vice versa, by registering for a Warner Bros. ID (WBID) account and playing the game.

Perfect World Entertainment Inc. and Cryptic Studios are pleased to announce that on April 30, 2013, the free-to-play action MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter is heading into Open Beta, allowing millions of players unrestricted access to the game world. Neverwinter is Cryptic and Perfect World’s proof that Western free-to-play games, when built from the ground up, can compete with even the biggest boxed subscription titles. On April 30, the companies invite all gamers to put that claim to the test. There will be no character wipes or restricted access after the start of Open Beta. Players can still become Founders through Neverwinter’s Founder’s Pack Program. Benefits include exclusive access to Beta Weekend 4, permanent in-game items that are unique to Founders, early access to Open Beta, and VIP perks. To take advantage of these benefits and to gain exclusive access to Neverwinter’s Beta Weekend 4, players may visit: http://nw.perfectworld.com/founderspack/

The latest set of downloadable content for Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II has been confirmed for an April 16th launch on Xbox Live. The pack will include four new maps as well as a new zombie mode, available for 1200 Microsoft points or free to existing season pass holders. The four new maps are: Magma, a modern Japanese village featuring volcanic eruptions; Encore, taking place in the aftermath of a London music festival; Vertigo, a futuristic high rise building in India and Studio, a Hollywood movie back lot which describes itself as a “contemporary remake of Firing Range” which was found in the original Black Ops. By far the most intriguing addition to the newest DLC is the new Mob of the Dead mode, which sounds interesting enough to breathe life into the unspectacular collection of zombie content available currently. In it you play as a prohibition-era mobster locked up in Alcatraz whose attempts to escape are “foiled by the rise of the undead.”

Finally, creators of the hit game Castle Crashers, have released a new game. Blocks, Cats, Hats, Betrayal! This is how The Behemoth have described their new game, Battleblock Theatre. This newly released game, that is currently only for XBLA, is all about platforming, a “story of geometric proportions”, several modes of online gameplay and a massive amount of replayability. It has over 450 levels, hundreds of unlockables to find, over 300 prisoners to free and The Behemoth is calling it their largest game to date. The Behemoth said they are considering future ports, just like they did with Castle Crashers, but since they are a small studio it would take them quite some time to port if they do decide to bring the game to PC or PS3.

Train2Game News: PlayStation 4 UK release date and price announced

PS4 ControllerExciting news for all Train2Game students who are looking forward to Sony’s PlayStation 4. The UK release date and price has been announced.

The Sun news paper announced that the next gen console will be released later this year in October, this follows what Sony said when they announced the console last month.

Even better news is the price. The Sony PS4 will cost you £300. This is much cheaper than when the PS3 was released in 2007, costing £425. This new cheaper price makes it a much more viable option for most gamers and, in my opinion, there should be close competition with the next gen Xbox.

The cheaper price for the new Sony console is probably due to Android consoles like the Ouya and Game Stick being released for £99. The next gen consoles will also have the mobile and free-to-play markets to compete with so I can see a lot of surprises being pulled out from Sony and Microsoft.

The PlayStation 4 console it’s self still hasn’t been seen by public eyes. A good guess would be that both the next generation Xbox and the PlayStation 4 will be revealed at E3 in June in an attempt to compete with one another further.

Train2Game News: Dungeon Defenders 2 announced

Dungeon DefendersDungeon Defenders 2 has been announced by Trendy Entertainment. The game will be free-to-play and features a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.

The free-to-play tower defence role-playing game features a cooperative and competitive mode. The co-op mode is described as the true sequel to Dungeon Defenders, and features an expanded story and a 24-player overworld.

The competitive mode is a League of Legends-style Multiplayer Online Battle Arena experience set in the Dungeon Defenders universe. In this mode, five players defend their towers against the opposing team in classic MOBA style, potentially adding hours to the replayability.

The original Dungeon Defenders sold millions of copies with its popularity due to the combination of Tower Defense and RPG style game play.

Developer, Trendy Entertainment, said “Dungeon Defenders 2 is more fast-paced and the MOBA aims for a shorter learning curve and a more rpg-esque take on the genre.

“During the development of Dungeon Defenders we constantly tried different multiplayer modes. Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, you name it. None of them really fit. When planning the sequel, we couldn’t drop the idea that a MOBA in the Dungeon Defenders universe would rock. Maybe it was all the after hour games of League we played in the office. We don’t know. But it fit well into the storyline and achieved a core goal of helping Dungeon Defenders players meet new players, so we went all in.

“Our take on the MOBA genre is more rpg-esque, with more hero customization, persistent hero leveling, loot and a town square where players can socialize, manage their heroes, shop, trade, and queue for matches. We’ve drastically simplified the item system, to reduce the learning curve for new players and are aiming for shorter total match times. We’re also experimenting with some other unique twists that you might find out about later (if they work!).”

Dungeon Defenders 2 is in development for the PC, Mac, iOS, Android and the web. It’s releasing in two parts. Trendy said its focus is to release Dungeon Defenders 2 on platforms that allow consistent updates and cross-platform play and so won’t consider current generation consoles.

The co-op mode goes into beta late 2013 or early 2014. The competitive mode is in closed beta now. You can put your name down for an invite on the official website.

You can enjoy the trailer for the upcoming game below:

Train2Game News: Jonathan Ross’s game coming to Android

Catcha Catcha AliensThe wait for the Android version of Jonathan Ross’s critically acclaimed “Catcha Catcha Aliens!” is over as it will be released on Google Play for Android on March 7. The game will be free to play and the iOS version will follow suit the same day.

Alien catchers who have already purchased the iOS App will be credited with 20,000 Zhillings, the virtual currency of the game, if they have the initial version installed on the device when they update their game.

“Catcha Catcha Aliens!” was originally released on December 3 for iOS and is the first title from Hotsauce interactive, a new development studio set up by TV personality, Jonathan Ross.

The game, which is a mission based catching game, has received plaudits for its high quality distinctive graphics, quirky humour, level based mini-challenges, original sound-track as well as its take on a popular genre. It has also been voiced by Stephen Fry and Jonathan himself.

Commenting on the Android launch and iOS update Jonathan Ross said “We’re quietly pleased with how our first game turned out. An Android version was always in the works but having made the decision to go free to play on iOS devices we decided to wait until we could launch both together.

To ensure that everyone who has already purchased the App won’t lose out, we are giving free in-game money to everyone who has already bought Catcha Catcha. Two new levels are nearly finished, and we are working on more characters as well as more games. Being involved in this process is even more exciting than I imagined it to be, and I hope that at least some of this excitement comes across in the finished game”.

For further information on “Catcha Catcha Aliens!” you can log on to http://hotsauceinteractive.co.uk/ follow on twitter @HotsauceTV or visit http://www.facebook.com/HotsauceInteractive

Train2Game News: Make Something Unreal Live winners game comes to app store

Warlock of Firetop MountainTrain2Game Student studio and Make Something Unreal Live 2012 winners, Commando Kiwi, have released their first game on to the app store.

The game, Warlock of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters, was created by the students in their spare time for last years Make Something Unreal Live contest, held by Epic. The game was created using the UDK software and is based on the very first Fighting Fantasy novel, Warlock of Firetop Mountain which was written by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

The studio, which consists of Cat Forsyth, Martyn Whittel, Tom Chipchase, Jonny Robinson, Ashley Taylor, Adam Sherratt, Aaron Reeve, Andrew Smallwood, Tom Constable and Ezekiel Morris, have been working on the game since the beginning of 2012.

The students won the competition after demonstrating their game to a number of industry professionals, including Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski and Jon Hare. The final descision was that of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson who decided Commando Kiwi’s game best captured the essence of Fighting Fantasy.

The game is a third person action game which puts you in the shoes of the adventurer who is travelling through the deadly Firetop Mountain in search of the fabled treasure of the all-powerful Warlock. The game features enemies and locations from the classic book with a battle system based on the system from the book its self. The unique combat system based uses skill and luck combinations made famous by the series of novels in an intuitive Active Time Battle System.

The game is available for free to download now from the app store.

You can re-live the Commando Kiwi story in the video below:

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 16.01.13

Valve logoIt is that time of week for the Train2Game mid-week round up!

Valve has announced plans to to discuss a port of Team Fortress 2 to virtual reality goggles. The first talk will be programmer Joe Ludwig’s ‘What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality’ and it will explore the efforts of several employees over the last year to get the game to run in virtual reality goggles. In addition, Valve’s Michael Abrash will discuss the hardware challenges that lie ahead and possible solutions for virtual and augmented reality in ‘Why Virtual Reality is Hard (And Where it Might be Going).’

Square Enix have launched a new website to tease all fans of an upcoming iOS game. More information is to be released on January 17. The site has an image of what looks like a front end menu for the game which is called, Final Fantasy: All The Bravest. You can check out the website for yourself here: http://www.jp.square-enix.com/ff_atb/

Since Activision brought out Skylanders it has done very well and now Disney has seen it’s potential. They are now doing their own version with the announcement of Disney Infinity. Infinity will work in the same way as Skylanders, needing action figures and a “toy box” base to give players access to different worlds. Disney fans will recognize plenty of familiar faces, like Captain Jack Sparrow, the cast of the Incredibles, and Sully from Monsters Inc.

Surreal game creator Suda51 has revealed details of his next game, Killer is Dead. The game stars Mondo Zappa, a 35 year old American executioner that abides by a strict suit-and-tie policy and his left hand is a gun that can also transform into a drill and is used primarily to absorb an enemy’s blood for an “Adrenalin Burst” attack. The game’s antagonist is Victor, who can manipulate emotions through song. He’s appropriately styled to look like classic composer, except has a green face and glowing eyes.

Online and mobile are spearheading the game industry’s growth to a potential total valuation of $83 billion by 2016, according to new research. Conducted by Digi-Capital, the global games investment review states that online and mobile could have a revenue share of $48 billion in 2016, 55 per cent of the entire game industry. The biggest driver in mobile and tablet app revenue meanwhile will be free-to-play, which could deliver 55 per cent of revenue in the sector and account for 93 per cent of app downloads by 2016.

Train2Game News: Nintendo open to the idea of Free-to-play

Satoru IwataCompany President, Satoru Iwata has revealed Nintendo is open to the idea of using a free-to-play business model for new franchises.

Nintendo’s leader pledged that he won’t add free-to-play or micro-transaction elements to existing series such as Mario or Pokémon, during an interview with Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

“We, as an industry, can now do distribution by digital means as well as micro-transactions, and the ways to obtain money through supporting entertainment have increased.

“I have no intention of denying charged games or the free-to-play model. If we were to talk about if Nintendo were to do that, however, I do not have much inclination to do that with Nintendo’s established well-known products.

“We will not have a proverbial door to full enjoyment that can only be unlocked via payment. However, this is separate from, say, having something where because there are people who want more stages to play in Mario games, we will create new courses for those people and charge for them.”

This all changes for new game franchises, though. Iwata said that for fresh ideas he is open to the idea of other methods of payment.

“For new titles with no established base, if, in the process of development, we found it to suit the free-to-play model, we might follow that route, or we might do something like ‘cheap-to-play'” he explained.

“Our sales methods have been freed up and I have no desire to extinguish that freedom. If we were to release something like that, it is not a betrayal but the birth of an interesting idea through our new found freedom, that’s all. I am not talking about changing how we sell Mario or Pokémon.”

It seems that Nintendo have seen how powerful Free-to-play can be but most certainly doesn’t want to risk their well established franchises on the new business plan.