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January 30 2014

Nintendo Mulling Mobile Apps as Part of Recovery Plan

Nintendo is considering mobile apps as part of a way to spur recovery after a slump in Wii U sales — but that doesn't mean you'll be able to play Mario games on your smartphone anytime soon.

In a presentation to Nintendo investors on Wednesday, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said the company is looking to build relationships with its customers through "smart devices" instead of letting the customer relationship remain walled off on each console.

In the past, Nintendo's online IDs for customers have been limited to their consoles, such as the Wii, Wii U, 3DS or DS handhelds. Now, Iwata said, the company is trying to connect all the devices, as well as continue that relationship with consumers on their mobile devices. This cloud connection behind a unified identity is something that companies such as Microsoft, Sony and Apple have already figured out — so Nintendo is playing catch-up. Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Nintendo, Mobile Gaming, and Mobile Apps

November 20 2013

Logitech's iPhone Game Controller Packs Extra Battery Power

Logitech unveiled a gaming case for the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S and fifth-generation iPod Touch running iOS 7 that will add external controls for compatible games, the company announced Wednesday.

The Logitech PowerShell Controller and Battery offers players a case with a directional pad, four face buttons and two shoulder buttons. The case slips over the iPhone or iPod, but still offers access to the camera, power button and headphone jack.

The case can also charge the iOS device since it contains a 1,500 milliamp-hour battery, which Logitech representatives said was good for about one full charge Read more...

More about Gaming, Ipod Touch, Logitech, Mobile Gaming, and Iphone 5

November 10 2013

How 'Angry Birds' Was Almost 'Angry Cows'

It's well-known that Angry Birds was — and remains — one of the best mobile games of all timeTemple Run, Dots, and Candy Crush all had their time in the spotlight, but really, who can resist the fun of slingshotting mean little birds?

However, the game's success only came as a result of the creator's decision to use, well, birds

In this comic, Manu Cornet of Bonkers World shows how Angry Birds creators likely settled on the animal, and why others — including cows — were passed up


Comic illustration courtesy of Bonkers World. Published with permission; all rights reserved. Read more...

More about Comic, Gaming, Comics, Humor, and Mobile Gaming

September 28 2013

10 Nearly Impossible Mobile Games

Mobile gaming has come a long way since the endless days of Tetris on your Nokia brick phone.

Now, some gaming apps rival the inventiveness and difficulty of top-tier console games, and we're not complaining. If you're looking for more of a challenge in your mobile gaming experience, look no further than this gallery of the 10 most challenging examples out there.

Be warned: some of these games walk a very fine line between challenging and flat-out impossible. If you're a gamer with anger management issues, you might want to wrap your phone in bubble wrap before you get started. Read more...

More about Games, Features, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Apps, and Puzzles

September 27 2013

Ask a Dev: How Do I Make Games for iOS and Android?

Ready to build the next addicting mobile game? We've got some tips for you.

The latest installment in our Ask a Dev series discusses ways developers can start designing games for iOS and Android platforms.

iOS architect Conrad Stoll explains that the framework you pick is dependent on your desired platform. Some frameworks support both iOS and Android, while others are only used for one or the other.

Stoll also talks about dynamic type on iOS 7, a feature that allows users to change the size of the text shown in apps

"All the new changes to typography in iOS 7 really mean that there's a lot more flexibility for developers and designers," Stoll said. "But with the increased flexibility, there's still more work that you have to do to make the best use of these features." Read more...

More about Android, Mobile Games, Mobile Gaming, Typography, and Ios

September 17 2013

September 05 2012

Rapper B.o.B Unleashes ‘Strange Clouds’ Mobile Game

Grammy-nominated rapper B.o.B is an alien -- at least in his new casual iOS game, Strange Clouds.

Players fly a rocket ship around space with alien B.o.B as they slice clouds -- similar to cutting items in Fruit Ninja -- to form specified shapes. Speed and accuracy are pivotal in earning energy and coins.

"Have you ever looked up in the sky and seen shapes in the clouds?" asks Mike Mignano, director of digital product development at Atlantic Records, which teamed up with B.o.B and Glow Interactive to build the game.

"Every cloud has a soul and that soul contains energy you need to power your rocket ship.""Well, the shapes are not your mind p…
Continue reading...

More About: Atlantic Records, Entertainment, Gaming, Music, apps, celebrities, mashable video, mobile gaming

September 03 2012

‘Angry Birds’ Turns Queen’s Freddie Mercury Into an Honorary Character

Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment turned the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury into an honorary character on Monday, just in time for the rocker's Sept. 5 birthday.

The Angry Birds flock is taking a break from flying and toppling enemies to ride Mercury's bicycle -- the animated video below is set to Queen's "Bicycle Race." Absent from the clip is Pink Bird, the bubbly character Rovio introduced in August.

Rovio's gesture supports the annual Freddie for a Day campaign, which celebrates the singer and raises funds for HIV/AIDS charity Mercury Phoenix Trust.

Mercury, who died in 1991 from complications stemming from AIDS, would have been 66 on Wednesday.

Continue reading...

More About: Entertainment, Gaming, Music, Social Good, angry birds, celebrities, mobile gaming, queen

August 03 2012

6 Hot Mobile Games You Need to Play

The mobile gaming space is a crowded one, and it's hard to know what to download and play next.

We used the mRank mobile gaming leaderboard to find the most-talked about games right now, then tested them to see if they were worth the hype. We rounded up six of the best for you to play.

All of the above games are available on iOS, but many are available on Android as well. They represent quite a range in genres; there are puzzles games, action games, and strategy games all on the list.

Check out our list above, and let us know if you've played any of them in the comments below. What is your favorite mobile game right now?

More About: android games, iOS games, mobile gaming, mrank

February 09 2012

January 22 2012

Top 10 Action Games for Android

1. Grand Theft Auto 3

One of the most influential games of all time is now on high-end Android phones and tablets. While the touchscreen controls are often convoluted, the game holds up remarkably well. The open-world experience hasn't been compromised, with the exception of some edited music. Otherwise, the gratuitous violence, fast driving and risque storyline are here as they were back when the game originally released on consoles.

Click here to view this gallery.

While iOS is often home to many new releases, that doesn’t mean Android owners are without a fantastic selection of action-packed games to call their own. From bold, 3D, console-style games to 2D pixel art games, here are the best action titles for Android.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, duncan1890

More About: android, apps, features, Gaming, mashable, minecraft, mobile gaming

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January 19 2012

Free Demos Coming to Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo eShop

nintendo 3ds demo image

The Nintendo 3DS, a portable, 3D-enabled gaming device, is getting its own crop of free demos and downloads, Nintendo announced on Thursday.

Starting Jan. 20, players can head to the Nintendo eShop to download a demo for Resident Evil Revelations with more demos to follow, such as Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Rayman Origins and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.

It’s a good sign that the demos aren’t just in-house titles from Nintendo, but include titles from Capcom, Konami or other third-party developers. Nintendo has a strong roster of characters, such as Super Mario and Link (from the Zelda games). It’s come under fire, especially with its Wii console, for relying too heavily on milking these products instead of encouraging outside development. The 3DS and its eShop offerings look to at least partially assuage those critics.

Nintendo has stayed tight-lipped about other games that might hit the eShop. Nintendo’s main portable competitor, the PlayStation Portable, has had demos for some time. Games on iPhone and Android don’t have “demos,” per se, but many of the top games are either free-to-play or based on a freemium model.

Nintendo has hosted demos on its Wii but the announcement marks the first time that free demos will be made available for its wildly popular portable device.

Parents concerned that their kids will download inappropriate or violent games can exhale. The Nintendo 3DS’ parental controls can also manage what kinds of demos and downloads children can access.

More About: Gaming, Mobile, mobile gaming, Nintendo, video games

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January 17 2012

Finished Angry Birds? 8 More Games to Keep You Busy

1. Stupid Zombies

Most similar to Angry Birds, this game features the aim-and-shoot method in order to pass each level. With more than 600 levels, you control the shotgun that guns down a series of bloody zombies. While the bullets have the capability to bounce off the walls countless times, the effect makes it trickier to find dynamic ways to eliminate the enemy.

Click here to view this gallery.

You finally beat Angry Birds — for now, at least. At 300 levels and counting, with more features added on each update, you’re probably ready to look at something other than those high-flying, bulldozing, squawking birds.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of games equally as challenging and fulfilling. To boost your game cred, try out a few of these options that will have you gripping and yelling at your screen more than you thought possible.

More About: angry birds, features, games, iphone, mashable, mobile gaming

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January 11 2012

Cut the Rope Hits the Web via Internet Explorer 9

Popular mobile video game Cut the Rope is coming to the Web by way of Internet Explorer 9.

Microsoft announced during its keynote at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show on Monday night that a desktop HTML5 version of the game is now available for free through Internet Explorer 9, thanks to a partnership with PixelLab and ZeptoLab, the makers of the game.


The physics-based puzzle video game was developed in 2010 by Russian developers and quickly became a global sensation. The object of each level is to maneuver a piece of candy into the mouth of a green cartoon monster called “Om Nom”. The candy hangs by one or several of the titular ropes, which the player can cut with a swipe of their finger, and can also be manipulated through other objects including bellows and floating bubbles. Each level pack introduces new objects.

“We developed a set of new levels for Internet Explorer users,” said Semyon Vionov, creative director at ZeptoLab, via a video featured on the game’s site. “There are unique levels that aren’t found in any other of our games.”

The latest version features 25 levels to play, including seven that can be unlocked by pinning the site to the browser’s taskbar. The move is part of an effort to help promote Internet Explorer 9 and attract more visitors to the browser. The game can also be played on any HTML5-compatible browser.

The game is now available at cuttherope.ie.

For more coverage from 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, click here.

CES 2012: Mashable’s Photo Coverage From the Ground

Check out more gadgets, booths and appearances from our team on the ground at CES 2012.

Solar-Powered Car

Covered in HIT photovoltaic modules, this super-sleek vehicle won the World Solar Challenge race

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: cut the rope, Internet Explorer 9, microsoft, Mobile, mobile gaming

December 30 2011

5 Video Game Moments that Defined 2011

game trophy image

It seems like every single year is “the year of gaming,” if only because the genre keeps getting bigger and bigger. Everyone thought 2006 was going to be the high water mark with the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii all battling for supremacy. Then 2009 upped the ante with a rush of top-tier, high-selling games.

In all the console-focused frenzy, few people expected mobile and social gaming to be so dominant. The Nintendo DS (and its iterations) is the best selling system of all time and smartphones became tiny-powerhouses thanks to intuitive games such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and more.

Well, 2011 was no slouch in terms of gaming. This year we caught a glimpse of the next generation of systems — portable and otherwise. Social networks entered mainstream games, motion gaming promised to further revolutionize how we play, mobile games proved they are here to stay and gamification showed that pretty much anything you do online can be turned into a video game.

Read on for the year in gaming.

1. The Next Generation of Consoles

This year introduced tons of new consoles and systems. Nintendo launched the 3DS, a handheld system that provided glasses-free 3D visuals, as well as the Nintendo Wii U, a console that features a tablet-like controller and asynchronous play. Nintendo has always pushed the boundaries of gaming and is almost always successful (cough, Virtua Boy). The Wii U will let users interact with a screen by using the tablet interface or pair the tablet with Wii controllers. One example had players throwing digital stars from their lap to the screen and another showed a golf game controlled by placing the tablet on the ground like a tee and swinging the Wii controller like a club.

The 3DS was a bit of a bust, sales-wise, for Nintendo. This might be due to the high sales of the DS and the pending launch of Sony’s PlayStation Vita, a powerful handheld with two touchscreens, an array of internal sensors and a graphics engine that can trounce any other mobile device.

2. Mobile Gaming is Here to Stay

Another reason for the 3DS’s poor sales could be that gamers finally got their gaming fixes on their smartphones. Angry Birds continued to dominate the games market, but that bird-flinging addiction also opened the door for a range of innovative mobile games to enter the market. The iPhone and iPad are still considered the premiere gaming mobile devices capable of simple games like Cut the Rope, as well as visual stunners such as Infinity Blade II. Android phones, however, went toe-to-toe with Apple’s mobile darling.

Microsoft is also a force to be reckoned with. While the Windows Phone 7 has received mixed reviews, it comes packaged with Xbox LIVE functionality and will pair up with the recent Xbox 360 interface update, transforming your phone into both a gaming device and multi-purpose controller.

3. Battlefield Takes On Modern Warfare

Let’s not forget about the console games either. This was the year EA’s real-world, first-person shooter Battlefield 3 swore it would finally topple Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, releasing just one month ahead of Modern Warfare 3.

Ultimately, Modern Warfare 3 came out on top in terms of sales, but the real story was how much everyday people and media latched onto the competition. It was more than a moment of competition but an example that video games are moving further into the public consciousness. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that both games spent enormous amounts of money promoting and publicizing before launch.

Both games also introduced social layers to their massive multiplayer experiences. Battlefield 3 launched “Battlelog” and Modern Warfare 3 launched “Elite.” Both services helped players connect and converse with fellow gamers, keep track of their in-game stats, view resources on how to improve their play time and share through social networks. The services integrated social into the multiplayer experience and changed users’ expectations on what games should offer to their fan communities.

4. Motion Gaming

Motion gaming had a big year in 2011, precisely because it wasn’t such a big deal. When the Nintendo Wii came out, gamers were skeptical that gesture-based controls could actually be fun. The PlayStation Move, another handheld gesture controller, was called a technologically advanced copy cat. The Xbox Kinect, Microsoft’s controller-free gesture-based peripheral, was deemed too inaccurate to work in games.

This year saw all of those peripherals and concepts become commonplace. Motion gaming is no longer a novelty but one of the many ways that we now play video games. Nintendo is experimenting further with its tablet-like controller for the Wii U; PlayStation is adding touch and swipe controls to its latest handheld; and Xbox recently released an interface update for the 360 that’s all about gesture controls and voice commands.

5. Gamification

x factor image

Gamification, the buzzworthy yet cringe-inducing term, has a much-deserved spot because its so damn omnipresent. Gamification is the process of adding game-like elements to a service or system, such as rewards, leaderboards and points. Everyone from brands to TV shows to musicians to sports teams to media companies have added game elements to their sites and services as a way of further engaging their clients.

If you look close enough, nearly everything you do on the Internet has become some sort of game: Did you earn points for your comment on the Glee website? Did you have more Twitter followers than your best friends?

Friendly competition is our natural state of being, and there is undeniable pleasure in winning, even if that “victory” is becoming mayor of your favorite cafe or earning exclusive content for your television viewing habits.

Honorable Game Mentions

A 2011 year in review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some of the games that kept our thumbs busy. These games were news-makers, innovators and just plain fun to play. In no particular order:

Battlefield 3

This first-person shooter is all about fast action and vehicular combat.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of Flickr, brianjmatis

More About: features, gamification, Gaming, mobile gaming, motion gaming, video games, Year End 2011

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July 13 2011

5 Trends Shaping the Mobile Gaming Industry

The Consumer Trends Series is supported by GameSpot, giving brands the next level of engagement with gamers through exclusive news, clips, trailers and more. To connect your brands with true enthusiasm, visit CBSInteractive.com/ideal.

Mobile gaming has really taken off in the past few years, and the continued growth of the underlying forces — smartphone sales, tablet sales, mobile Internet subscribers and app downloads — all point to a bright future for the industry.

Market research firm Mintel recently published a report on the U.S. mobile gaming industry — we took a look to glean insight into the consumption of and current attitudes toward mobile gaming.

First off, the numbers are impressive. Mobile phone and tablet gaming sales in the U.S. reached $898 million in 2010, more than doubling since 2005, and Mintel forecasts that revenues will reach $1.6 billion by 2015. This prediction is in line with eMarketer’s report that mobile gaming revenues are expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2014. With increasing smartphone sales, a growing tablet market and increasing advances in mobile device and game development, this industry is sure to get more interesting in the coming years.

Here are five key takeaways from Mintel’s report. Let us know your thoughts on the future of the mobile gaming industry in the comments below.

1. The Freemium Model Has Potential

One of the biggest tasks in marketing a mobile game is to figure out which revenue model to use: free (ad-supported), freemium (free download with in-app purchase options) or paid (one-time fee for a full-featured app).

The report points out that, on average, potential revenue for freemium apps outweighs paid apps. Mintel Senior Analyst Billy Hulkower writes:

“Apple enabled in-app purchases from its app store in the fall of 2009, allowing many developers to utilize the “freemium” model, in which the app is free to the user and the game can be enjoyed as is, or enhanced with additional virtual goods. In-app purchases include additional characters, enhancements, powers, and game play levels. Where a paid game may generate revenue from the sale price of the game from $0.99 to about $2.99 or more, a freemium game can actually earn greater revenues in the long run due to its potential ongoing stream of revenue from in-app purchases. Games tracked across 21 iPhone game makers in June 2010 by market research firm Flurry earned on average $14.66 per user per year. GigaOm estimated in November 2010 that 34% of the top 100 grossing apps (all types) on the iPhone used the freemium model.”

While the freemium model seems great in theory, paid games currently rule the industry, having brought in a whopping 92.5% of U.S. mobile gaming revenue in 2010, according to eMarketer. On the other hand, eMarketer predicts that revenue from free, ad-supported games will only amount to a measly 12.3% by 2014, not a significant growth. With ad-supported games lacking umph in coming years and freemium apps providing a higher potential revenue for publishers, it seems natural that publishers will continue to innovate into the freemium space in hopes of increasing profits. As a result, we may see a balancing out of revenue between paid and freemium apps in coming years.

2. Tablet Gamers Download & Play More

Mintel found that 38% of tablet gamers play five or more hours per week, while only 20% of mobile phone gamers play that much. Tablet gamers even download more paid and free games.

Only 7% of those surveyed reported owning a tablet, but the findings make sense. Tablet devices have larger screen sizes and more computing power, while still being portable, potentially making them a better fit for gaming than mobile devices.

Forrester expects tablet sales will grow from 10.3 million units in 2010 to 44 million units in 2015 — growth that should further drive the mobile gaming market.

For now, console gaming still rules, having captured 75% of gaming revenue in 2011, followed by online, PC and mobile gaming.

3. Users Crave Multiplayer & Social Features

“It is almost a cliché to discuss the importance of integrating social networking components into gaming, but consumers have not lost interest,” writes Hulkower. “They also enjoy multiplayer games for their competitive and social aspects. Despite their digital medium, ‘social’ and ‘multiplayer’ signify human interaction. Young adults, in particular, have grown up with computers, Internet, instant messaging/texting, and Facebook, and want to connect while gaming.”

There have been a few developments in the industry that foretell advances in social features. Apple’s social network gaming platform Game Center, launched in September 2010, enables gamers compete with each other and follow leader boards. Likewise, another platform, OpenFeint, enables iOS and Android gamers to play across platforms.

The success of multiplayer-only games, such as Words With Friends, also points towards consumer interest in mobile gaming with others.

4. Word of Mouth Is the Key Driver for Game Downloads

Mintel’s report highlights a number of stats that tell the story of how users hear about new mobile games. Whether in the physical or digital worlds, word of mouth is the glue that holds it all together. Here are the top ways that gamers hear about new mobile games:

  • From Friends: More than 50% of mobile game-playing adults learn about new mobile games from friends and family.
  • In App Stores: About 40% of adults learn about new games within app stores, where hot lists, rankings and user reviews are highlighted.
  • On Social Sites: 25% of adults hear about new mobile games via social media sites.

Besides these methods, there are also a number of well-trafficked mobile gaming sites that highlight and review games, chronicle new releases and publish cheat codes and tips.

Mobile game firms and publishers should take note and focus on obtaining visible app store distribution, having a social media presence and gaining coverage on mobile gaming sites.

5. Hit Games Can Come From Anywhere

While EA Mobile, GameLoft and Glu Mobile rank highest in mobile game publisher revenue, hundreds of independent game developers have released smash hits. For example, Rovio’s Angry Birds was the most downloaded game in Apple’s App Store in 2010 — in June, the game hit 1 million downloads per day.

While larger publishers, like EA Mobile and GameLoft, leverage high-profile licensing deals and partnerships, upstart developers — such as Popcap Games and Zynga — have built a name for themselves from the ground up, proving that innovative ideas can take smaller development firms far.

Series Supported by GameSpot

The Consumer Trends Series is supported by GameSpot, where brands can go to the next level of engagement with gamers at the #1 gaming info site. To see how GameSpot’s exclusive news, clips, trailers, mobile and more can connect your brands with true enthusiasm — and an audience of up to 230 million — visit CBSInteractive.com/ideal.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, sjlocke; Flickr, leondel

More About: Consumer Trends Series, gaming, Mobile 2.0, mobile gaming

For more Mobile coverage:

March 01 2011

6 Mobile Games That Beat Playing On A Console

The Social Gaming Development Series is supported by Level 3 Communications, an international provider of fiber-based communications services. Level 3 is committed to carrying digital media from anywhere to anywhere, in whatever format needed.

The kinds of games available on your mobile device have come a long way. A decade and a half ago, the state of the art was Snake, the game that came pre-loaded on Nokia phones. Serious gamers didn’t consider that to be in the same league as any cartridge they could pick up for their Nintendo or Sega consoles (or what was then the upstart new device, the Sony PlayStation).

Fast-forward to 2011, and mobile games are kicking console games to the curb all over the planet — for a fraction of the cost. The winners of the 7th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA), announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, are some of the most innovative and fun games on any device. Here’s why.

1. AR Invaders: The World Is Your Game Board

AR Invaders, a $0.99 iPhone app from Israel-based Soulbit, won IMGA’s “Best Real World Game” award. “AR,” in case you hadn’t guessed, stands for Augmented Reality — the Invaders are flying saucers. That means you can stand in your back yard, in the street, or wherever you are and zap aliens that “appear” all around you via the iPhone’s camera-enabled screen (see above). You can play in 360 degree-mode (if you’re standing up) or 180-degree mode (for when you’re sitting down). There’s so much arm-raising involved — the saucers often appear right above you — that it could be considered a workout.

Better yet, you can play with friends. AR Invaders is one of the first AR games to feature a multiplayer mode, allowing you to share the joyous conspiracy of blasting invisible green men and not be declared insane.

2. Papa Sangre: Think Sound, Not Vision

The first piece of advice you get in the horror game Papa Sangre: wear headphones. That’s because Papa Sangre, which won the IMGA’s “Most Innovative Game” award, is based entirely on soundscapes. You’re dropped into the wind-blasted land of the dead, where you tap on the bottom of the screen slowly with your thumbs to walk around the multi-directional soundscape. Tap faster to run — which is something you’ll want to do when you hear knives slashing or creatures growling or hideous laughter following you. Given the amount this terrifying game raises your heart rate, it could be considered exercise, too — and at $4.99, it’s cheaper than a gym membership.

3. Beyond Ynth: Is That An Arcade In Your Pocket?

Beyond Ynth is a platform game with an incredible 80 levels — giving you weeks if not months of playtime for just $1.99. You play the role of a bug who has to push a box around a landscape by navigating the maze inside the box. Puzzles within puzzles, in other words, and all of them quite addictive. No wonder it won both the IMGA’s “Excellence in Gameplay” and “Grand Prix” awards. It’s like an entire string of arcade classics condensed into a single game.

4. Snowboard Hero: No Complicated Controllers

If you’ve ever wrestled with a D-pad or tried to remember where the triangle and square buttons are, you know that most console controllers are complicated devices. It can take hours of gameplay to map the buttons in your muscle memory, and newbies are left feeling pretty dumb. In a phone-based title like Snowboard Hero, which won “Best Sports Game” at the IMGA, there’s no such barrier to entry. Tilt the phone left to tilt your snowboard left. Flick forward on the screen to go faster. Do tricks intuitively (if not exactly easily). What could be easier on the eyes and thumbs? Only the price tag: it’s free.

5. Infinity Blade: The Graphics Are Just As Good

Check out a title like Infinity Blade, winner of the IMGA’s “Excellence In Design” award, and you’ll understand why console games are losing their appeal. The graphics in this sword-fighting game are as gorgeous as anything you’ll see on an Xbox 360 or PlayStation3. The multi-generational story of revenge down the ages is appealing, but it’s the lifelike glints on the armor and the dark Gothic cathedral backgrounds that make Infinity Blade a winner. Sure, you could pay $60 and see this kind of thing on your giant HD screen at home. Or you could pay $5.99 to see it at the same relative size — remember, you don’t hold a TV in front of your face — and play it anywhere. Your choice.

6. Plants vs. Zombies: Pick Up And Play

Console games are a time commitment. Pop in the disk, wait for the load screen, watch a series of company logos, sit through an opening video — this isn’t something you can do in five minutes between meetings. Help a bunch of plants defeat a zombie invasion? That you can do, in small increments. So-called “tower defense games” — where you place or upgrade your defense devices then see if they were enough to defeat your enemies — have been around for decades, but Plants vs. Zombies ($2.99), winner of the IMGA’s “Best Casual Game” award, is one of the most colorful and original examples of the genre. One level of helping flowers spray their killer seeds on cartoonish gray creatures of the undead will have you hooked. Just try not to be giggling too much when the boss walks in for your next meeting.

Series Supported by Level 3

The Social Gaming Development Series is supported by Level 3 Communications, an international provider of fiber-based communications services. Level 3 is committed to carrying digital media from anywhere to anywhere, in whatever format needed. Its services can connect content from creation to consumption, over one of the world’s most scalable end-to-end networks.

More Gaming Resources from Mashable:

- The Influence of Social Gaming on Consoles
- 5 Top Social Games and Why They’re So Successful
- How One Startup Aims to Revolutionize Online Gaming [INVITES]
- Why Video Games Are Scoring Big for Social Good
- The 5 Biggest Video Game Flops of All Time [COMIC]

More About: iPhone games, mobile games, mobile gaming, Mobile World Congress, MWC2011, Social Gaming Development Series

For more Mobile coverage:

One in Three Mobile Phone Owners Is a Regular Mobile Gamer [STUDY]

A new survey from casual gaming company PopCap shows that an incredibly high percentage of adults in the UK and U.S. is into mobile gaming.

This stat may be due in part to the uptick in smartphone adoption. According to a separate Nielsen survey, 31% of U.S. mobile users now own smartphones, and a Pew survey shows nearly half of cellphone users download and use mobile apps, too.

In PopCap‘s research, more than half (52%) of 2,425 respondents said they had played a game on a mobile device, whether their own device or someone else’s, at some time in the past. The percentage for UK respondents was significantly higher (73%) than the rate for U.S. respondents (44%).

Around one-third of all respondents had played a game on their own mobile phones within the past month, and one out of four respondents said they played games on a weekly basis. Still, some respondents admitted to only having played a mobile game once.

The biggest gaming group was smartphone users. A full 83% of smartphone-owning respondents said they had played at least one mobile game in the past week, putting them solidly in the “avid mobile gamer” category.

Interestingly, the male-to-female ratio in mobile gaming doesn’t show the pronounced gender gap seen in console and PC gaming. Men play slightly more than women by a slim margin of 2-10%. This fits pretty well with the current picture we have of the social gaming scene as a predominantly female market.

And mobile gamers aren’t just biding their time on mass transit; they’re also contributing to the bottom line of game manufacturers across the major mobile platforms. Around half of all mobile gamers in this survey said they had upgraded a free trial game to the full or paid version in the past year. And one out of four mobile gamers, or one out of three smartphone gamers, said they had bought “additional content” for a game within the past year.

Also, smartphone users are more likely to buy games than their feature phone-owning counterparts, for obvious reasons. The average smartphone-using mobile gamer bought 5.4 games in 2010, versus the 2.9 games bought by non-smartphone-owning gamers. Also, the smartphone crowd said they spent more money on games — $25.57 per user for the year, compared to $15.70 from feature phone owners.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sjlocke

More About: casual gaming, Mobile 2.0, mobile gaming, social gaming

For more Mobile coverage:

December 26 2010

7 Predictions for the Gaming Industry in 2011

The video gaming industry made great strides this year. What’s next? Here are my predictions for 2011.

It’s been a hell of a year. In 2010, motion hardware such as Microsoft Kinect and PlayStation Move made their debuts, the Nintendo Wii stayed put but still held its own, and the first 3D handheld gaming system was introduced. And let’s forget that smartphone gaming took the market by storm.

Against that promising backdrop, let’s polish up the old crystal ball and take a look at some predictions for 2011. My projections for the next year are based on news I’ve seen recently, gut feelings and even some wishful thinking. You’re invited to add your own predictions in the comments. Let’s take a look at what I think the new year will have in store for the gaming industry.

1. On the Road Again

Mobile gaming for smartphones and handheld devices will continue its explosive growth in 2011. Adding fuel to the Apple App Store fire will be Windows Phone 7, hitched up to Xbox Live and packing plenty of graphics punch. While Microsoft’s nascent platform won’t be able to hold a candle to the App Store yet, its inauspicious beginning is not going to predict what will happen in the long run.

2. Backfield in Motion

Motion gaming hardware will continue to fly off store shelves, but I’m not sure if the titles will be able to keep up. Meanwhile, the porn industry will continue parrying with Microsoft, trying to slip in racy games to the consternation of the Redmond giant (it has already started). It’s hard to hold back the pornmeisters, though, bellwethers of technology since VHS tapes.

3. Flash Crash

Developers of HTML5 will make great inroads in 2010, continuing its rise into eventual domination of browser-based gaming. Of course, Flash and Silverlight will still have a place in the online gaming universe, but HTML5 will continue its onslaught, especially into the mobile arena (new game engines like Impact are already leading the way). Hate HTML5 but love Flash? Thanks to Apple and its unstoppable power in the mobile marketplace, you might be standing on the wrong side of history.

4. Wii Want HD

Even though Nintendo emphasizes the quality of its gaming experience over the technical quality of its graphics, an HD gaming platform from the company is long overdue. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that a Wii successor wasn’t in the offing yet, declaring last June that the company would announce a new console when it runs “out of ideas with the current hardware and cannot give users any more meaningful surprises with the technology we have.” In my opinion, one of the last surprises remaining is that Nintendo’s flagship gaming console is still running standard-definition video.

5. Bringing the Pain

Gears of War 3 will finally be released, but too bad it’s been pushed back from its originally announced spring 2011 release date (although there will be a beta version available in April). Now we’ll have to wait until at least September to play the real thing on the Xbox 360. Fenix, Dominic, Cole and Baird will bring the pain once again, maybe even eclipsing the grand debut of Portal 2, winner of a 2010 Spike Video Gaming Award for the most anticipated game to be released next year. Nevertheless, the Gears of War franchise is so valuable right now, its hoards of fans have enormous pent-up demand for the new first-person shooter. Its sales are practically guaranteed to break all records.

6. Apple Console

Apple will make an entry into the console market. The Cupertino company has nearly cornered the handheld market with its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad iOS-powered platforms. Why not parlay that dominance into a gaming platform that might be a simple evolution of its Apple TV “hobby?” How hard could it be to take a Mac Mini, install a serious graphics chip, get Apple’s ace iPhone/iPad designer Jonathan Ive to create the most beautiful handheld controllers in history, package the whole thing up with iOS and profit? For Apple, this should be easy.

7. Avian Anger

Those Angry Birds aren’t finished yet, even after continuing their steamrolling dominance over the App Store and Android Market with seasonal updates for Halloween and Christmas. Expect even more of those holiday refreshes with extra levels, taking on a love-dovey theme for Valentine’s Day and, of course, jumping all over that egg-strewn Easter holiday for all it’s worth.

More Gaming Resources from Mashable:

- 5 Predictions for Game Mechanics in 2011
- 5 Fantastic Web Games We Can’t Stop Playing
- Why You Need an Xbox 360 With Kinect This Holiday Season
- Cracking the Mainstream: Why Social Gaming Is More Than Just a Fad
- 4 Frighteningly Fun Zombie iPhone Games

Reviews: Android Market, Angry Birds, App Store, iPhone

More About: angry birds, apple, Console Games, games, gaming, List, Lists, microsoft, mobile gaming, nindento wii, Nintendo, op-ed, Opinion, playstation, playstation move, predictions-2011, video games, Xbox 360, Xbox Kinect

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December 08 2010

“Angry Birds” Hits 42 Million Free and Paid Downloads

Just how popular is Angry Birds? Its founder has revealed that the top mobile game has been downloaded more than 42 million times, and more than 25% of those downloads were paid.

Rovio CEO Mikael Hed broke down the numbers in a Q&A with AOL/TechCrunch’s MG Siegler. Angry Birds has now reached 12 million paid downloads and 30 million free downloads. The vast majority of paid downloads come from the iPhone, while many of the game’s free downloads come from its recently released Android application.

Hed explained that Rovio chose to make its Android app free because Android Marketplace’s inconsistencies — paid apps aren’t available in all countries and the rules are different from nation to nation. Still, the company has found a way to monetize its free apps: It makes $1 million per month in advertising alone.

The Finnish company, which is seven years old and has developed 53 games, also has other revenue streams, including its popular Angry Birds toys. As for what’s next, the company is porting its popular game to Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 and is working on Angry Birds 2. It’s also considering a lightweight version of its game and even the potential for a feature film, but is focusing on dominating the smaller screen first.

More About: Android apps, angry birds, iphone apps, mobile gaming, rovio

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