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God of War: Ascension's single-player demo hits Feb 26 photo
God of War: Ascension's single-player demo hits Feb 26
by Conrad Zimmerman

Sony has revealed the release date for the single-player demo of God of War: Ascension, which we have been told will be proliferating through the tubes of the internet on February 26.

Not soon enough for you? There's also way for you to get it next week, on the 20th, and all you have to do is be on the winning team in the game's social experience, "Rise of the Warrior," which is currently in its second round of play. There are a few other solid reasons to participate, of course, such as the promise of DLC weapons and the opportunity to annoy all your friends with mythological references.

I never turn down God of War, but I have little interest in the multiplayer element of this new title, making this news right up my alley. Nice that it's going to have a demo of the single-player content so that I can wet my whistle in preparation for the full event and not be limited to the multiplayer betas.

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5:45 PM on 02.08.2013

Jesse Schell: Marketing BS and good games won't be enough

Dale has been at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit all week and left express instructions to pass along Schell Games CEO Jesse Schell's keynote speech to you kind folks. Having now watching it myself, I have to agree -- it's an enter...

Jordan Devore

10:15 AM on 02.06.2013

Rockman Xover brings PVP back to the Mega Man universe

Recently, we found out that there are "no plans" to bring Rockman Xover, Capcom's newest Mega Man mobile game, overseas. But that doesn't stop them from continuing to support it, and today, we have some interesting news that ...

Chris Carter



Thank Jeebus! Rockman Xover localization on hold photo
Thank Jeebus! Rockman Xover localization on hold
by Tony Ponce

[Header by samusmmx]

Oh, Rockman Xover. What a foul, foul beast you are. I know it's not kosher to slam a game without having played it yourself, but just from watching gameplay videos, I think we can all agree that Xover is a major exception.

While Capcom continues to serve content updates in Japan, it has been fairly mum on its plans to localize the free-to-play social RPG (blech!) out West. In response to a fan's question concerning an American release window, Capcom Senior VP Christian Svensson stated, "Based upon the largely negative feedback from MM fans, I've requested that we place any Americas release on hold for the time being. We will revisit at a later date."

To that I say, F*CKIN' BRAVO!!! You guys finally made a good decision! Xover has become the poster child for every misstep the company has made regarding the once venerable franchise. The fact that the game was released in any region at all while far more promising titles take a dirt nap is bad enough. At least now Capcom acknowledges that.

This doesn't preclude any chance of Xover coming out later down the line, but it does demonstrate genuine effort to appease fans. With Street Fighter X Mega Man, Capcom took a step towards giving power back to the community, and this latest news is yet another step. There's still a ways to go -- an actual company-developed game announcement would work wonders -- but mending bridges takes time. I just hope Capcom doesn't make us wait too long.

So Xover... [Capcom-Unity via Protodude's Rockman Corner]

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5:00 PM on 01.24.2013

Rockman Xover keeps on chugging with Star Force content

You know what they say about cash-ins, right? If people buy them, they'll keep cashing in? Ok nobody says that, I just made it up. But that seems to be the case for the infamous Rockman Xover, because Capcom keeps supporting ...

Chris Carter





8:00 AM on 01.16.2013

Did you start your morning with PS Vita's Wake-up Club?

Let's face it: waking up in the morning sucks, but Sony has a new game of sorts to make that harsh reality a little more tolerable. Wake-up Club is essentially an alarm clock with social game elements for your PlayS...

Kyle MacGregor

8:00 AM on 12.31.2012

Zynga cuts costs by shutting down 11 games

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has just announced that 11 games will be either axed entirely, or stop accepting newcomers to cut costs. It seems as if assets will be funneled into their more popular ventures, and new ones as well. Yep...

Chris Carter

3:00 PM on 11.26.2012

Jimquisition: Friends

Friendships are precious things that allow us to get through this horrific maelstrom we bitterly call life. Without friends, we would be but animals, hurtling cluelessly from one compulsive murder to the next. Nobody is an i...

Jim Sterling

6:00 PM on 11.19.2012

OpenFeint shuts down on December 14

While it probably won't change the day of any gamers out there, you should still know that GREE, OpenFeint's parent company, plans to shut down the OpenFeint mobile social connection service on December 14. Many of mobile gam...

Dale North



Zynga lays off five percent of its full-time employees photo
Zynga lays off five percent of its full-time employees
by Jordan Devore

There were a number of layoffs at Zynga today, as you might have heard from employees who were affected and quickly spread the word. An internal note from CEO Mark Pincus confirms much of what's been said about the significant changes that took place.

For starters, Zynga Boston is being closed. Closures have been proposed for the company's Japan and UK studios, and layoffs are also hitting the studio in Austin. All told, approximately five percent of Zynga's full-time workforce has been let go. 13 older games are being sunset and the social game company will be "significantly reducing [its] investment in The Ville."

Pincus notes that "This is the most painful part of an overall cost reduction plan that also includes significant cuts in spending on data hosting, advertising and outside services, primarily contractors. These reductions, along with our ongoing efforts to implement more stringent budget and resource allocation around new games and partner projects, will improve our profitability and allow us to reinvest in great games and our Zynga network on web and mobile."

It's a shame how frequently layoffs seem to happen in this industry -- even when it is a company whose work you don't particularly care for. Best of luck to those impacted by the layoffs in finding work swiftly.

Zynga lays off five percent of employees during Apple's event, shutters Boston studio [update: Mark Pincus's memo to staff] [The Verge]

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9:00 PM on 10.18.2012

Study finds that 85% quit social games after one day

I just learned the term churn from our recent article on social game makers and how they track players. The term came up again today in a Gamasutra article on a new report from social game analysis firm Playnomics. This firm ...

Dale North

5:00 PM on 10.14.2012

Rockman Xover fan-made demo, plus actual game details

Capcom insists on seeing this construct through to the end, so I might as well keep abreast of the latest news and developments. First up is this fan-made Rockman Xover Flash demo that recreates the TGS build Conrad played. I...

Tony Ponce



We have a file on you: The tools & tricks of social games photo
We have a file on you: The tools & tricks of social games
by Allistair Pinsof

Meet Melissa. She's a forty-year-old mom who has recently become hooked on DragonVale, a free-to-play iOS game. She is what social game analysts call a whale. No, this isn't a comment on her physical stature or deep, raspy cafeteria-lady voice. Whale refers to the type of player she is, financially speaking. Whales are a very good thing for developers, as they are the ones that make the most and largest purchases in free-to-play games.

Developers' analytical tools compile data and profile Melissa, determining if she is likely to be a whale. At this point, the tools analyze whether she will churn soon (read: depart the game) and what would be the best offer to prevent her from leaving the game for the rest of her life.

There is a world of data, audience manipulation, and visual tricks that occur within social games without players ever realizing it. While it's too early to judge where these tool may take the industry, learning how they work does give one some ideas. Let's turn back the veil and see social game design for what it really is, shall we?

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11:30 PM on 09.19.2012

TGS: Yep, the Rockman Xover trailer is really something

I don't have to repeat myself, do I? You already know how I feel about Rockman Xover, so let's skip that dance and move on to analyzing the trailer above. Hmmm... a minute-long trailer with all of four seconds of in-game foo...

Tony Ponce

3:30 PM on 09.06.2012

Rockman Xover will be at TGS, protagonist has stupid name

Since Capcom has decided that a Western release of Rockman Xover is crucial, I feel duty-bound to deliver the latest details so that you may prepare yourself against thine enemy. As mentioned previously, Xover is a social RPG...

Tony Ponce

1:15 PM on 08.30.2012

Zynga apes Pokemon with suspiciously similar Montopia

Oh Zynga, will you ever learn? Despite being embroiled in a lawsuit against fellow evildoer Electronic Arts, those wacky rouges at Zynga are hard at work with another "inspired" game -- Montopia.  Montopia casts you in ...

Jim Sterling