Archive for July 11th, 2012

Metal Gear Solid 4 finally getting Trophies

Soon you’ll be able to play 2008’s Metal Gear Solid 4 in a way that counts toward your all-important cumulative PS3 game score. According to an early report out of Famitsu, a Japanese budget re-release in August will be accompanied by the long-awaited patch to add Trophies to the game. The budget “The Best” version will have Trophy support included, but a concurrent patch will add it to existing copies.

According to Andriasang’s source, Kojima Productions will hold a Metal Gear anniversary event in Tokyo on August 30, during which Hideo Kojima will announce something new, related in some way to the data-sharing “Transfarring” feature found in Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. Specifically, “Transfarring” was a test of part of the “vision” for this new game.

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Alien Breed hatches on iOS this August

Team 17 is bringing its classic top-down shooter, Alien Breed, to iOS as a universal app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Alien Breed on iOS can be played with its original graphics or in a new retina display-enhanced mode, and will feature “three different sets of maps” taken from the original Alien Breed, Alien Breed Special Edition and “an all new experience in the shape of Alien Breed Convergence.”

Alien Breed is aiming for an August launch on iOS. You can play with either the touch-screen controls or with the compatible iCade or Gametel peripherals. See the gallery below for some screens.

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Zynga not ready to plunge into mobile

SAN FRANCISCO: Zynga Inc CEO Mark Pincus said Tuesday he remains wary of investing as heavily in mobile games as he has in proven Web-based titles like FarmVille despite an industrywide push toward catering to mobile devices.

Game industry observers in recent months have stressed that developers must adapt as Internet users worldwide shift toward spending time on smartphones and tablets rather than desktop computers.

Concerns that Zynga continues to rely too heavily on its Web titles built on top of Facebook’s platform have weighed on the stock, which has fallen roughly 50 per cent from its $10 IPO price in December.

Speaking at an industry conference in San Francisco, Pincus said it was “obvious” that game companies should be investing heavily in mobile games – Zynga itself splashed $183 million to acquire New York-based game studio OMGPOP in March – but added the company’s emphasis remained on Web games, given uncertainties about how the mobile platform will mature.

“We invest north of $10 million in a potential franchise game like the Ville,” Pincus said. “We can’t make that investment yet confidently in mobile. And I’m confident in the next couple of years we’ll get to the point where we can. But it’s not there yet and I think it’s a little chicken or egg.”

Pincus said he was held back by some unresolved questions over the still-maturing mobile platform, such as whether the Adobe Air and HTML5 technologies will become accepted standards.

“We’ve made a huge investment in mobile, organically building up teams and products and with one large acquisition,” Pincus said. “We’re at the point where it’s obvious that we all should be investing heavily. But I don’t think we have that all-in confident moment. The flywheel isn’t there in an obvious way.”

Pincus’s hesitation in the mobile market stands in contrast to Zynga’s all-out approach to its Web hits, which feature sophisticated social mechanics that are constantly analyzed and refined by dozens of Zynga engineers even years after they are first released.

Titles like CityVille and FarmVille, built off Facebook’s platform, have helped Zynga squeeze $1.1 billion in revenue in 2011 out of an average 223 million monthly active players in 2011.

In a move to wean itself off of Facebook, Zynga announced in June that it would open its platform to encourage independent developers to build games on top of Zynga’s own network.

Zynga also unveiled a new slate of games. For its latest offerings, Zynga has poured 100 developers who have worked “well over a year and a half” to ship its new titles “The Ville,” a Sims-like social game, and “ChefVille,” a kitchen management game, Pincus said.

But any efforts to roll out these games across multiple platforms will prove difficult, if the past were any indication, Pincus acknowledged.

“We were too ambitious at first with FarmVille,” Pincus said. “We spent a huge amount of engineering to build a totally synchronous game experience.”

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Apple will start selling iPad in China July 20

NEW YORK: Apple will start selling the iPad in China on July 20 after settling a dispute over the ownership of the tablet computer’s name.

Apple Inc. says it will begin selling its latest iPad starting at $499 and the older iPad 2 starting at $399.

The tablet computers will be sold online, at Apple stores, and through approved resellers.

Apple paid a Chinese company $60 million to gain the rights to the iPad name, a Chinese court said on July 2.

China is Apple’s second-largest market after the United States, and it is the source of much of the Cupertino, Calif., company’s sales growth.

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RIM review focused on BlackBerry strengths: Heins

WATERLOO: Research In Motion Ltd’s strategic review is focused on turning around the BlackBerry maker with a streamlined product portfolio focused on the company’s strengths, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said on Tuesday. He acknowledged that RIM will likely suffer lower average selling prices and declining service revenue this year as it pushes to sell legacy BlackBerry 7 devices that have struggled to compete with flashier iPhones from Apple Inc and Android devices using Google Inc’s software.

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Facebook doesn’t cause depression: Study

WASHINGTON: Does using Facebook lead to depression? Not really, says a new study, debunking the theory that hooked on to the social networking sites could cause the mental illness among adolescents.

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health study suggested that it may be unnecessarily alarming to advise patients and parents on the risk of “Facebook Depression” based solely on the amount of Internet use.

Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report on the effects of social media on children and adolescents. The report suggested that exposure to Facebook could lead to depression.

In the new study, published online today in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers led by Lauren Jelenchick and Megan Moreno surveyed 190 students between the ages of 18 and 23, using a real-time assessment of Internet activity and a validated, clinical screening method for depression.

The students were surveyed with 43 text-message questionnaires at random intervals over a seven-day period between February and December of 2011. The students were asked if they were currently online, how many minutes they had been online and what they were doing on the Internet.

The study found that the participants were on Facebook for over half of the total time online. When Jelenchick and Moreno evaluated the data including the depression-screening results, they found no significant associations between social-media use and the probability of depression.

“Our study is the first to present scientific evidence on the suggested link between social-media use and risk of depression,” Jelenchick said.

“The findings have important implications for clinicians who may prematurely alarm parents about social-media use and depression risks.”

Moreno added that parents don’t have to be overly concerned if their child’s behavior and mood haven’t changed, they have friends and their school work is consistent.

“While the amount of time on Facebook is not associated with depression, we encourage parents to be active role models and teachers on safe and balanced media use for their children,” she said.

According to estimates, over 70 per cent of adolescents use social media sites, most commonly Facebook.

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Facebook launches ‘App Center’ in India

Facebook has launched its application centre — App Center — in India and six other countries, a move that will help users to find games, music services and media content easily.

The social networking giant had launched the App Center in the US last month.

“The App Center is now available to everyone in the US, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK,” Facebook Software Engineer Drew Hoskins said in the blog yesterday.

In addition, Facebook said that it will be launching App Center to users in Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey “in the coming weeks”.

The launch is part of a plan to expand its reach to a large number of Facebook users, with 80 per cent residing outside the US and Canada. Facebook has over 900 million monthly active users across the world.

The users can access new App Center icon located on the left side of the home page on recommending apps to users based on their interests. Additionally, the service is also available on Apple and Android mobile devices.

The company said the centre has driven millions of app installations. The centre does not host apps, but sends users to the appropriate app store for their device.

“App Center makes it easier for people around the world to discover the best apps and games for them, wherever they are,” Hoskins added.

Some of its most popular apps, including Spotify and Angry Birds Friends, come from developers outside the North American countries.

Facebook also added a localisation tool to the App Dashboard that would allow developers to translate the names and descriptions of their apps into other languages.

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