Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Social Games developer Playfish lands $17 Million in Financing

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

If the recent Gordon Gecko inspired article regarding why harsh economic times are good for the gaming industry wasn’t enough for you, playfish has recently received a huge vote of confidence from Accel Partners and Index Ventures to the tune of $17 Million.  Their mission?  Simple.  Become the leading company in social games.

Playfish is an industry leader in social gaming, with over 10 million monthly users of their services.  These games allow people to play games with real-world friends across various social networking media platforms.  Playfish is directly responsible for some of the most popular facebook application games including Bowling Buddies, Pet Society, Who Has The Biggest Brain? and Word Challenge.  Not a fan of the facebook, and prefer staying with the good ol’ standby MySpace?  No problem, playfish has got you covered with a select number of apps now available on the MySpace platform as well.  Playfish plans on releasing a number of additional titles for MySpace in the near future.  And if being at the top of the facebook/MySpace social gaming ladder wasn’t enough for you, Playfish has recently made waves via their commitment to in-game advertising as well.  They’ve recently committed to participation in Google’s in-game advertising platform, AdSense for Games.

“This has proven to be an outstanding year for the Playfish team,” said Kristian Segerstrale, CEO of Playfish. “Four of our five games are now on Facebook’s top-10 games list, which is unmatched by competitors. We’ve launched our in-game transactions platform and worked jointly with Google to help define in-game advertising. We’ve opened offices in San Francisco, Beijing and Norway and have now closed a round of funding with two great investors, Accel Partners and Index Ventures. We look forward to expanding our studios, growing our user base and continuing to develop new ways for people to play games together.”

“Social gaming is a significant evolution in gaming and is in some ways a return to the roots of games,” says Segerstrale. “Our games are designed around social emotions — people play our games with the same people that they would play cards, play board games or go bowling with in the real world. Sharing the game experience with friends makes it more compelling and fun and results in more play time, viral distribution and better monetization potential over time.”

Accel partners was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class internet and technology businesses.  Some of their successes include BitTorrent, Brightcove, ComScore, Facebook, Gameforge, Macromedia, and Real Networks.

Index Ventures was founded and 1996, and is a leading European VC firm.  They’re dedicated to helping top entrepreneurial teams in the Information Technology and Life Science sectors build their companies into market defining global leaders.  With offices in London, Geneva, and Jersey, some of their successful ventures have included Skype, MySQL, and Last.fm.

“We are immensely impressed by the creativity of the Playfish team and also by the methodical and disciplined approach to development and commercialization they have adopted,” said Ben Holmes of Index Ventures. “They are clearly focused on building a great company as well as great games and we look forward to work with them on achieving this.”

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Outspark brings free to play Project Powder to open beta

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Project Powder is the newest offering from Outspark’s already impressive lineup of free to play games. Project Powder is a rich snowboarding adventure for all types of gamers.

The shredder features multiplayer action, a number of tricks, and hundreds of ways to customize your play experience. Based on the method of play, gamers can play for 5 minutes or several hours.

“Project Powder utilizes all of the benefits of online gaming to make an extreme sport a community experience,” said Susan Choe, Outspark CEO and founder. “Our overarching goal is to expand our free-to-play Virtual Playground into a diverse entertainment destination, and Project Powder is a great addition to our game portfolio.”

While Project Powder is still in an open beta with the official release at the end of the summer, it still packs in a number of exciting features:

  • 33 monster courses(10 available exclusively for open beta)
  • 3 challenging game modes
  • Intense multiplayer action with up to 7 opponents
  • Premium gear including new snowboards, clothing and accessories for your character
  • Dozens of unlockable tricks

Outspark plans on a number of community events during the open beta, including a user generated video contest.

Check out the open beta at: www.project-powder.com

About Outspark
Outspark is an entertainment services company that publishes and operates engaging online multiplayer games. Featuring a portfolio of immersive free-to-play games and related content, the company is building an online destination where members come for the games and stay for the community. Backed by Tencent, Altos Ventures and DCM, Outspark is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, with a subsidiary office in Seoul, Korea. For more information, visit www.outspark.com.

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Apple announces Gaming selections for iPhone

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Steve Jobs and company are having themselves one heck of a party in San Francisco right now. Amongst Jobs’ exciting announcements in his keynote speech yesterday was the unveiling of what we’ve all been waiting for: Hot games on a hot phone!

Developers are free to set their own prices for games, and keep 70% of all revenues generated. You’ll be able to purchase games from the iPhone itself, provided that the file size is less than 10MB (please keep this in mind publishers). If the game file is over the 10MB limit, you’ll have to grab it via wi-fi or iTunes on a PC. This policy falls in line with all other iPhone downloads/installs.

A number of publishers were on stage with Jobs in a horse and pony show, obviously trying to 1-up the other. Without further adieu, fatfoogoo proudly presents:

The holy worldwide developers conference Steve Jobs keynote speech guide to the gaming grail. (Pics courtesy of Engadget’s outstanding coverage of the event).

Sega brought out and old favorite for iPhone: Super Monkey Ball. While initially previewed at the SDK launch, the perennial favorite with those incredibly maddening tilt levels that you had to clear through to get to the mini games. Right. Now just imagine that on the iPhone. The iPhone version of Super Monkey Ball will have more than 100 Levels. Oye vey!

Loopt is a location aware social networking tool. For those that can’t get enough of their 15 minutes of fame, Loopt allows you to broadcast, and likewise see, pinpoint locations of where you and your Loopt friends are on a map. User profiles can show a daily track of where you’ve been. Along with the Big Brother technology, Loopt also makes it very easy to mobile blog, send a photo, text, or make a call to friends, all within the app.

Pangea Games came to town ready to rock. They brought the noise with 2 titles ready to go for iPhone. First up? Enigmo. Enigmo is a pure physics based game (no mom, I’m working on improving my grades) and takes advantage of the use of iPhones touch controls as well as iPhones smokin’ processor power. The concept is simple enough with water droplets bouncing around and successfully porting them to another location.

The second title is Cro-Mag Rally, a caveman racer. Cro-Mag also uses the tilt controls, has nine tracks and ten cars. Racers are certainly not new to handheld gamers, ‘phones’ even, but….have you ever seen graphics like this on your phone?

Digital Legends brought it’s best via a rather complex looking 3D fantasy battle game. Think of it as a mishmash between God of War and Tomb Raider. Word on the street is that it only took them 2 weeks to program it. If the Digital Legends name rings a bell….yes, it’s the same folks that are pushing ONE for N-Gage.

And finally…while technically not a true ‘game’, I personally think this might be the most entertaining t-bone steak on the table: Band. While technically not a full blown version of Apple’s GarageBand, an independent developer, MooCowMusic from the UK has developer an app fro iPhone that has a virtual Piano, Drums, a 12-bar blues (ummm) “Instrument”, and a bass. Band allows you to arrange and rearrange original tunes and record them. I’m waiting for the next Guitar Hero vs. Band live battle contest.

All titles are scheduled to be available for the Apple App Store’s launch in July for $9.99.

All in all a tasty roundup. I’m not sure how many of these titles will actually make it to my iPhone, but I’m certain there’ll be that annoying long wait for the next train where impulse shopping will get the best of me.

 

Smokin’ Hot ‘Number Six’ Tricia Helfer to speak at NVISION 08

Friday, June 6th, 2008

NVISION 08 is a three day mega-event taking place this August 25-27 in San Jose, California. Thousands of engineers, designers, developers, researchers, artists, enthusiasts, gamers, film makers, business professionals and consumers from around the world will be descending on the ‘next town over’ from San Francisco.

If the sheer collection of top tech toys wasn’t enough, NVIDIA dropped it like its hot today by announcing that super hottie Tricia Helfer will be speaking at the convention.

“We are very excited to have Tricia Helfer speak at NVISION 08,” said Rob Csongor, vice president of corporate marketing, NVIDIA. “As an actress in the 21st century, she is an iconic example of how visual computing is transforming the television, film, and entertainment industries. She interacts with both real and virtual characters, and real and virtual sets, in award-winning television dramas as well as video games. Our NVISION 08 attendees will have the special opportunity to hear and see through the eyes of Tricia how story making and entertainment have become stunningly realistic and engaging through the use of visual computing technology.”

Some of you die hards out there might remember that Tricia is not only the object of desire from the hit series ‘Battlestar Galactica’ but also played the role of General Kilian Qatar in EA’s Command and Conquer 3. And….to top it all off, no, you’re not the only one who thinks this hottie has got the goods. In addition to her acting both on screen and in the sound booth, she’s also been awarded with the “Ford Supermodel of the World Contest” and has worked for magazines such as “Elle,” “Vogue,” and “Cosmopolitan.”

So mark those calendars now folks. If you’ve got the opportunity to hang with some heavy hitting heroes, all the while kickin’ it and drooling over Helfer, I say….why the h#*$ not?

 

Metal Gear Solid 4 Limited edition for PS3… not just for Japan!

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Sony’s official playstation blog dropped some Solidly good Gear on North American customers Wednesday night in San Francisco at the Konami Gamers night and made the info official worldwide yesterday: Japan ain’ the only ones getting a first crack at the limited edition June 12th release of the gunmetal grey Metal Gear Solid 4 PS3.

For $599, you can nab yourself a bundle of blitz masked at a 40gb PS3 including a color matched dualshock controller and of course Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Limited Edition game. In addition, you’ll be the only one one the block with an exlusive Blu-ray disc with over 2 hours of content including: “Hideo Kojima’s Gene” – a “making of” documentary and a special look at Hideo’s team.

The MGS4 LE is available exclusively through Konami, and you can head on over right now and give a clicky click on the wish list, and hope to me one of the lucky few to nab this badboy. Konami will start taking pre-orders on Monday May 19th.