Foxconns’ first mobile game to be out in six months

Foxconn Technology Group founder and Chairman Terry Gou

Foxconn, the Taiwan-based manufacturing company behind a number of consumer electronics including iPads and iPhones, has decided to get into the game development business, according to a report by Bloomberg. At Foxconn’s software and cloud computing R&D center, Foxconn Technology Group founder and Chairman Terry Gou told the outlet that the company’s first mobile game would be out in six months.

Foxconn has a partnership with Transformer Online and Disney Fantasy Online developer NetDragon to create the games. The company is also working hard on building its own internal software team, focused on HTML 5 development.

Work on the R&D center began in August of this year. The 676,100 square foot building is located at the Kaohsiung Software Park in Southern Taiwan.

Angry Birds Star Wars fans shocked by $50 price tag for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

New version of Angry Birds Star Wars for next-generation Sony and Microsoft consoles will cost more than ten times as much as iPad version.

It’s not just the birds that are angry: Gamers are shocked by the $50 price tag

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One fans are up in arms after it emerged Angry Birds Star Wars will sell for more than ten times what it costs on mobile phones and tablets .

The game is due for release on Sony’s next generation console and Microsoft’s Xbox One next month, but fans looking for their fix of space based feathered friend flinging will need deep pockets. Publisher Rovio Enterntainent has announced that the game will cost an eye-watering $49.99 – about £31 – when it’s released in the United States.

The release will be an updated version of Angry Birds Star Wars, which has been a huge hit on iPhones, iPads and Android devices – where it costs just £2.99.

The new version will include twenty new and exclusive levels, high definition visuals and cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. The Xbox One version will allow gamers to control their catapults with just a wave of their hand, by including Kinect controls, while PS4 gamers will have to make do with the touch-strip on the new DualShock 4 controller.

But despite the new features and flashy control systems, many gamers found the new version’s price hard to believe. Chris Kohler, who edits the GameLife blog at gave a withering assessment of the costly game on Twitter.


Have an extra $50 and are not good with money? You can buy Angry Birds Star Wars for Xbox One and PS4

— Chris Kohler (@kobunheat) November 1, 2013

Fans with last generation consoles won’t be left out, with versions also being released for Xbox 360 , PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii U – all of which will have recommended prices between $40 and $50.

A compilation of the first three Angry Birds titles was released on Xbox 360 last year, priced at £29.99.

Developers Weigh In On End of App Store “Gold Rush” Era

App Store wall of icons

Mobile users are downloading more apps than ever before, but an increasing number of them are free — are developers out of luck trying to sell their apps for even 99 cents in the age of freemium?

Tapity developer Jeremy Olson delivered a crushing blog post Wednesday
for those of us who prefer to purchase our apps without having to contend with advertising or in-app purchases. Could it be curtains for paid apps?

“I have been talking to a lot of the most successful app makers out there — who many would assume are millionaires off their top apps — and I’m hearing the same thing again and again: people just aren’t buying as many apps anymore,” Olson writes.

“By piecing together a few anecdotes I have heard, the top ten best-selling apps are selling roughly 25 percent as many copies as they did a year ago,” the developer continues. “If a number five app sold 16,000 copies a day a year ago, number five might only sell 4,000 copies a day today.”

While those are still respectable numbers, the data does paint a disturbing trend in how mobile users “purchase” their apps. Without the ability to try before you buy, users are left with little choice but to stick to free apps, then purchase upgrades in-app for those they actually like.

The folks at productivity app maker Readdle have also chimed in on the subject, and they view the problem from a different angle: Developers should focus on building products, not apps.

“The value of a product goes beyond your device,” writes Readdle’s Denys Zhadanov. “It allows you to experience things in real world. Would you want to keep your passwords? Would you want to keep your notes or documents? Would you want to get your cash back by scanning and faxing the restaurant bill? The answer is yes.”

Both blog posts are well worth a read in their entirety, but the bottom line appears to be that the “gold rush” days of the App Store have wound down, and now developers must find new ways to thrive in a market filled with casual users looking for the next Candy Crush. Here’s hoping they do…


Chair’s Donald Mustard on the Apple console threat

Infinity Blade III developer excited for iDevices’ living room potential, addresses increasing time and cost of mobile development

Donald Mustard

Three years ago, Donald Mustard and his team at Chair Entertainment first started working with the iPhone. And, as a lot of people did around that time, they began to speculate about its potential impact on the gaming world.

The consensus from the team was that within five years, Apple could have a device that was a viable threat to console systems. It was a throwaway guess – the sort of thing you make and tend to forget about. When he got his hands on the iPhone 5S three or four weeks ago, though, Mustard thought back to that discussion – and realized it could have been right on target.

“We know there’s going to be a future chip and it’s just leapfrogging so fast,” he told GamesIndustry International this week. “When streaming or wireless HDMI or whatever cuts down lag just a little bit between the device and the television… that’s going to be an interesting situation for our industry.”

“When streaming or wireless HDMI or whatever cuts down lag just a little bit between the device and the television… that’s going to be an interesting situation…”

Donald Mustard

The A7 processor in the latest incarnation of the smartphone features a 64-bit processor, something no other manufacturer has used before. According to Apple, that makes the 5S 40 times faster than the original iPhone and twice as powerful as the former flagship iPhone 5. It will also result in a significant boost to the graphics potential of the platform. Developers we spoke with after the event said they’d need to see benchmarks on the chip, but the A7 could potentially produce graphics that are on par with the Xbox 360 – something that’s notable given Apple’s already-announced support for third-party controllers.

Right now, says Mustard, there’s a slight lag with Air Play, but he expects Apple to eliminate that in the near future. And when combined with future advances in iDevice hardware, it could be a significant threat to not just handhelds, but traditional consoles.

“When that 700 million strong install base [of Apple products] becomes 1 billion or 1.2 billion – and combine that with the millions of Android devices out here – if only a small slice of that audience has a controller, that’s still going to be more controllers in hands than any console has ever had,” he says.

The advanced capabilities of the iPhone (and, presumably, the next iPad) are taking a toll on development time. While the first Infinity Blade was made in four months, says Mustard, and the second in six months, Infinity Blade III has been in development for roughly a year.

1Infinity Blade games take more time and money to make each time out.

“We wanted to increase the scope substantially and see how far we could push not only the devices, but find out how much game you could create in a mobile device,” he says.

Costs have increased also, though not as greatly as you might expect. The first Infinity Blade cost about $2 million to create. While Mustard declined to discuss the development costs of Infinity Blade III, he noted the expenses were “a little more … but not that much.”

“Making an Infinity Blade game isn’t as expensive as making a console game, but it isn’t cheap.”

Donald Mustard

“We enjoy very high margins,” he adds. “We’re doing just fine. Yeah, making an Infinity Blade game isn’t as expensive as making a console game, but it isn’t cheap.”

Because Apple so carefully guards its products, though, the majority of testing for Infinity Blade III was done on older models of Apple phones. This, says Mustard, allowed the team to create a game that will still push the graphical limits of those systems, while it shines on the iPhone 5S.

“I’m just in shock at how it looks on the 5S,” he says. “Usually we’ve been able to turn on maybe one or two of the high-end effects, and usually not at the same time. But with the A7, we turned on everything simultaneously and it was working.”

Infinity Blade III isn’t just using graphics – or the game’s legacy – to woo players, of course. On Thursday, Chair announced the game would ship with an exclusive, original single from Imagine Dragons.

Mustard says he and his team have been fans of the band since they were playing locally. When the two parties finally met, Imagine Dragons mentioned they were big fans of Infinity Blade – and the two began looking for a way to work together. Then the band saw its popularity explode.

“We thought that might complicate things,” chuckles Mustard.

When work started on Infinity Blade III, though, the developer reached out to the band.

“We had this crazy idea how we wanted this big climatic moment in the game and we thought it’d be perfect to have them write a new custom song to play through that moment,” he says. “They loved the idea.”

The band’s integration went one step further, in fact. Sharp-eyed fans might notice Imagine Dragons cover art in the game. Those who click on that will receive an exclusive dragon axe – which plays the song whenever the player uses it.

While Infinity Blade III offers a strong case that app games can be as graphically impressive as those on a console, the hard truth is that it’s typically titles that spend much less on art that catch on with mobile gamers. Mustard doesn’t let that phase him.

“There are certainly games in the app store that invest significantly less money than it costs to make an Infinity Blade-production value game that enjoy even greater monetary success than we do,” he acknowledges. “But to us, it’s not all about that. We’re trying to create what we think is the ultimate expression of what these amazing computers we carry in our pockets can do.”

‘Dungeon Keeper’ rebooted as mobile game for iOS, Android

Dungeon Keeper will return as a mobile game for iOS and Android platforms.

Electronic Arts announced the reboot of the classic PC strategy game at gamescom 2013.

'Dungeon Keeper' mobile reboot

Dungeon Keeper’ mobile reboot

Mythic is developing the game, which puts players in control of their own dungeon and horde of monsters.

“Filled with engaging graphics, explosive PvP and PvE gameplay, and wicked wit, Dungeon Keeper proves once again that it’s good to be bad,” said the developer.

Bullfrog’s original game was released in 1997, with its sequel Dungeon Keeper 2 following in 1999.

'Dungeon Keeper' mobile reboot

‘Dungeon Keeper’ mobile reboot

It featured memorable elements including a torture chamber where enemy monsters could be converted to your side, a hand-like cursor which could be used to slap disobedient minions, and the sultry, torture-obsessed mistress unit.

Dungeon Keeper will arrive on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices in winter 2013.