Netflix for movies, Spotify for music, but nothing like that for games… so Rovio, who many just know as creators of Angry Birds, have corrected it by coming up with Hatch: a free-to-play mobile game streaming service that will first come to the Android platform. Instead of downloading a game on your phone, you stream it through an app, whose backend cloud infrastructure makes it possible to play without lag. What is more, you can hand the controls to a friend, therefore turning a single-player game into a multiplayer experience. Hatch founder and CEO Juhani Honkala told Gamesauce more about Hatch-ing the new project.
Animoca Brands and Black Fire Minerals ( BFE) have announced an interesting development for both companies. BFE will be acquiring 100 percent of Animoca Brand’s issued capital, and will change its name to Animoca Brands Corporation, with significant change to the scale and scope of the BFE business activity. The terms of the agreement include the issuing of 1,000,000,000 ordinary BFE shares for a consideration of $5,000,000, as well as issuing 600,000,000 performance shares to Animoca Brands, which will be converted to ordinary shares at $0.005 per share if the company achieves certain revenues for the year ending June 2015 and June 2016. The terms of the proposed performance shares must be approved by the Australian Securities Exchange.
As well as the name change, BFE will undergo a capital consolidation and then raise additional capital of at least $3,000,000 but no more than $5,000,000, with Taylor Collison Limited as lead manager. The company expects to have net tangible assets in excess of $3 million.
Prior to issuing the shares to acquire Animoca Brands, BFE will divest its core assets and projects with a sale that may result in a distribution in specie to its shareholders. This divestment must be approved by the shareholders. The BFE Board believes the proposed acquisition of Animoca Brands and the change of business which follows will be positive and in the best interests of the shareholders.
The funds raised under the leadership of Taylor Collison will be used in four ways: for working capital, to advertise and market the company’s games, acquiring the intellectual rights needed to create more games, and acquiring the rights to publish promising titles from third party studios.
Because there will be significant changes to the nature and scale of the company’s main business through acquiring Animoca Brands, re-compliance with the admission requirements of ASX, including lodgement of a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, is required. This will facilitate, among other things, the planned capital raising.
Animoca Brands is a 2014 spin-off from Appionics, commonly known by the consumer name, Animoca. Their focus is on creating mobile games using licensed intellectual properties and publishing games developed by third parties. They distribute games globally on a variety of platforms, including the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon and the Samsung App Store. The majority of their games are free-to-play, generating revenue with in-game purchases of virtual items and with in-game advertising. Animoca Brands’ games have been downloaded over 80,000,000 times and are played by millions around the globe.
Animoca Brands will continue to launch new products, including new mobile games based on the characters from the licensed intellectual properties in its portfolio, new, original Animoca Brands games, and new titles developed by third parties. They will also continue to seek to secure additional licenses for popular characters on which to base new games.
This proposed transaction will include the resignation of two directors and the addition of five new directors. Mick Billing and Matthew Sheldrick will resign as directors and Martin Green will continue as a director. New directors are David Kim, Yat Siu, Robert Yung, David Brickler, and Richard Kuo.
David Kim and Yat Siu are co-founders of Animoca Brands and Appionics, known by its consumer name, Animoca. Kim is CEO of Appionics, and was previously CEO of mail.com Corporation, a personalized email and messenger service. He also manages several independent financing and advisory projects. He has served on the boards of a variety of Pacific Rim companies, including Bamboo Networks in Hong Kong, Viztel of Malaysia, and Daum Corporation of Korea. In 1999, after leading China.com to its Initial Public Offering, he became the youngest CFO of a company listed on the NASDAQ.
Yat Siu is founder and CEO of OutBlaze, a digital media company specializing in gaming, cloud technology and smartphone/tablet software development. In 2009, he successfully pivoted OutBlaze from B2B messaging services to B2C entertainment. He is a director for TurnOut, a partnership between Outblaze and Turner Entertainment. In 2012, he originated ThinkBlaze, the research entity of OutBlaze, focused on investigation socially meaningful issues related to technology.
Robert Yung is CEO of Animoca Brands and a director of Appionics. Prior to this, he was founder and CFO of Redgate Media, a venture-based Chinese television and outdoor media holding company. He was also co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of One Media Group, a Hong Kong-based magazine company, overseeing its IPO in 2005. He was also CEO of One Studio, a Hong Kong venture-backed web development company and OS Media, a Chinese television advertising sales company.
David Brickler is the senior director of applications for World Television International, one of the world’s largest non-profit organizations. Prior to that, he served as CIO for Mizuho Securities Asia Limited, executive director of Ernst & Young in Hong Kong, and global CIO for the Noble Group, one of the largest commodity traders in the world. He was also founder and CEO of Emergent Technology, a venture-backed supply chain company in Hong Kong and VP of Information Technology at Caspian Securities.
Richard Kuo is founder and CEO of Pier Capital, a boutique investment banking firm specializing in technology services. He is a non-executive director of Probiotic Limited, Favourit.com, and the Australian Art Event Foundation; he has also held directorships of Equity Capital Markets Limited and Glenorchy Arts & Sculpture Park. Prior to founding Pier Capital, he practiced as a lawyer, specializing in corporate law and then moved to investment banking as a corporate adviser. He has advised on a wide range of domestic and cross-border transactions involving technology and digital media companies.
At Casual Connect Asia, David Kim, CEO of Animoca, announced the latest exciting news from Animoca: a new spin-off company Animoca Brands, with Robby Yung, previously the executive director at Animoca, as the chief executive officer. The mission of this new company is to create and publish globally a broad portfolio of mobile games for smartphones and tablets. Animoca Brands will develop and distribute games based on licensed content as well as building a portfolio of original titles and publishing third party games.
Animoca has transferred to Animoca Brands the licenses and rights to such games as Garfield, Ben 10, Doraemon, Ragnarok Online, and Ultraman, as well as other well-known IPs. As a separate entity, Animoca Brands will be able to pursue more licensing opportunities and accelerate the production and launch of their games. They will leverage their user base to distribute new app releases, benefiting not only branded games, but also their original games and the third party titles they publish.
The branded games in Animoca Brands’ portfolio include Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Xenodrome, Garfield Tycoon, Garfield’s Escape, Doraemon Repair Shop, Ultraman Galaxy, Ragnarok: War of Gods and several others.
New CEO Robby Yung says, “I am thrilled by the opportunity to head this important initiative. I look forward to growing the new business and working with our current and new partners to create games that honor and expand their IP.”
According to David Kim, this is their next logical step. “With the original Animoca, we established a successful side business helping famous brands enter the exciting world of mobile gaming. Now Animoca Brands will take over that business, while Animoca continues to pursue a strategy of wide and varied mass market offerings.”
Animoca is a leading developer and publisher of mobile games and edutainment apps for global audiences. They have now released more than 300 apps across multiple platforms and have more than 200 million game downloads since the company was launched in 2011. Among their most successful offerings are the Pretty Pet Salon franchise and the Star Girl series, which have become wildly popular with audiences across the globe and have been acclaimed by both gamers and reviewers. Animoca also publishes edutainment apps under the Baby Cortex label.
The spin-off, Animoca Brands, with its emphasis on mobile games, has multiple titles that leverage internationally recognized intellectual properties, all of which are fully licensed by their IP owners. They will also serve as global or regional publishers for third party titles and will develop and publish a wide range of original games. Animoca Brands is based in Hong Kong.
More information about Animoca is available at their website.
Are you looking for a new way to wish a friend a “Happy Birthday”? Maybe you want a different way to say “You are my Valentine” to a special someone or perhaps even a new way to send your mother an “I love you” on Mother’s Day. Then you will be interested in a new service from Tingly Games. This new concept in online and mobile greeting cards incorporates today’s global passion for casual games. The service is called Greeting Games, and allows people to send a casual game to friends or family members with an integrated personal message tailored to any special occasion.
People everywhere, 700 million of them, including children, parents, and grand-parents, are playing casual games on tablets, phones, and desktops. The number of people playing games continues to increase, especially with today’s easy access to games that results from the growth in mobile device ownership.
E-greetings is a business that also continues to grow as people increasingly communicate with each other digitally rather than on paper. Greeting Games is tapping into that market by introducing game play into e-greetings.
Ard Bonewald, CEO of Tingly Games says, “By combining games with greeting cards, another, more established form of communication, we are enabling senders and receivers to have even more fun with their greetings and conversations with each other.”
Greeting Games customers can personalize their greeting by including their Facebook avatar, setting the level of difficulty of the game, providing in-game messages, creating a personal message within the game, and customizing the email message. There is a reasonable variety of games, including Mahjong, Sudoku, match-three games, slicers, bubble shooters and jigsaw puzzles. Game options will expand as Tingly Games works with developers to incorporate additional game types. Additional personalization options will become available in the coming months, including different visual styles reflecting the sender’s preferences.
Tingly Games CTO Mark Overmars built the Greeting Games service in HTML5, ensuring that it is seamless across all devices, from high end tablets to the most economical smartphones. Through the end of January, the service is offered without charge to allow Tingly Games to collect user feedback. After that time, it will be offered by subscription with consumers purchasing individual cards for a nominal fee.
Sarah Turk, greeting card industry analyst for IBIS World, believes Greeting Games is an ingenious new idea for online greeting cards. She notes that the greeting card industry is moving toward premium cards such as these as the disposable income of their customers has been increasing. She also reveals that as card stores close and internet connections rise, revenue for the online greeting card industry is also expected to rise over the next five years.
Tingly Games was founded in 2012 by games veterans Ard Bonewald and Mark Overmars. Over the coming year, their Greeting Games service will be rolled out worldwide with localized versions in all major languages. More details are available at www.tinglygames.com.
Black Friday has for some time been the jump start of holiday shopping, and we are now seeing increasing numbers of retail establishments open on Thanksgiving Day, with incredible sales enticing savvy shoppers. But many people also want to spend the holiday with their families. How to solve the dilemma? Mobile shopping seems to be the answer for more and more of us.
Early predictions by the Adobe Digital Index suggested that mobile users would increasingly consider the Thanksgiving holiday as an opportunity for online sales. Now Leadbolt, a global app discovery and monetization platform, has the statistics which validate these predictions.
Over the three days starting November 27, the day before Thanksgiving, Leadbolt tracked user engagement and download activity and saw mobile app usage increase by over 30 percent compared to non-holiday periods. There was a 13 percent increase in app usage on Thanksgiving Day and a 17 percent increase on Black Friday. App discovery saw a 47 percent increase over this biggest shopping weekend of the year compared to regular time periods. The busiest day for app downloads was Sunday, December 1, with more than 16 percent above other Black Friday holidays.
Clearly those who spent the holiday at home also found ways to take advantage of the convenient shopping opportunities. The continued online spending through the weekend shows that Thanksgiving has now become a natural online sales day for those who want to get a head start on their holiday shopping.
Dale Carr, CEO of Leadbolt commented, “We are very pleased to see that mobile is still a leader in online sales and advertising. The increase in app downloads and app usage across Leadbolt’s network over the busiest shopping weekend of the year is a great testament to how far mobile has come over the past few years.”
Industry records now show retail sales at an all-time high with an increase of 118 percent year-over-year. iOS devices were used for $543 million in online sales, including $148 million in online consumer purchases by Android users alone. This is an 80 percent increase compared to Cyber Monday 2012.
Leadbolt is a privately held company with headquarters in Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles, California. It offers an app discovery and monetization platform for developers and advertisers, allowing mobile app developers to power app discovery, acquire quality users and increase profitability with a single unified SDK. More information about the company is available on their website.
Unity Technologies has branched out to touch many parts of the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, it also maintains offices in Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Singapore, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The Unity community includes over two million large publishers, indie studios, students, and hobbyists. The company continues to emphasize innovation, and its deployment capability allows developers to publish simultaneously to all the most popular platforms.
Unity Technologies’ new 4.3 version of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools may be just what developers need to enhance their 2D games. This version offers not only dedicated 2D development tools, but also additions to the Mecanim animation system and an upgrade to the Umbra 3 occlusion culling. But Unity didn’t stop there. It has also brought in analytics tools through their partnership with GameAnalytics.
Optimizing Work Flow
The 2D development tools and metaphors the 4.3 version offers were designed to streamline 2D work flow with a new Sprite Texture import mode, and automated atlasing, optimizing 2D rendering, and drag-and-drop functionality for scene creation. Better performance and stability, as well as smaller game builds, are possible with Box2D physics integrated into Unity. As well, polygon collider generation allows faster creation of accurate, fully editable physical collider meshes for refined physical response between objects in a scene.
Improvements to Mecanim, Unity’s character animation suite, support Blend Shapes, to provide accurately blended complex geometry between model states. Animators will now have the ability to create realistic emotional facial animation.
Mecanim is fully integrated with the Animation Window and its dopesheet functionality. It is now a powerful all-purpose animation solution through support for animating simple scene elements, 2D sprite animations, camera settings and more.
The upgrade to Umbra 3 incorporates a rewrite of Occlusion Culling. Developers can now expect much faster baking and more accurate and better performing results. The rapid iteration will allow more sophisticated environments with highly detailed graphical content.
Other important changes offered by Unity 4.3 include major improvements to dynamic Navmesh creations, the “Optimize Transform Hierarchy” which reduces characters to a singular object rather than 100 pieces, MonoDevelop 4.0.1, editor layouts saved by project, multiple shader enhancements, Plastic SCM integration, as well as many Windows Store Apps updates.
David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies, proudly announces, “4.3 is a huge update in the history of Unity. The addition of 2D tools is an important milestone that will help developers make incredible 2D games, and with major improvements to Mecanim and greatly increased performance, this is a weighty, productive update that we’re thrilled to release.”
Bringing Analytics to the Unity Asset Store
Unity Technologies has also partnered with GameAnalytics to bring analytics tools to the Unity Asset Store Online Services Strategic Partner program. GameAnalytics, created in 2012, with headquarters in Copenhagen and a data engineering team in Berlin, provides a highly successful free analytics service for game developers. Since launching its analytics service in January 2013, it has tracked more than 125 million players, adding 30 million new players each month, and now has over 4,000 games on its platform. According to CEO Morten Wulff, GameAnalytics’ purpose is to enable developers to monitor and optimize everything from user acquisition to game design with hard facts. He emphasizes, “Improvements based on performance metrics are essential to success in today’s free-to-play marketplace.”
Helgason agrees, saying, “Analytics is an important part of launching a successful game. With GameAnalytics working with us in the Unity Asset Store Online Services Program, it will be easier than ever for development studios of all sizes to access the information they need.”
James Hursthouse, CEO of Roadhouse Interactive, describes the effect of the two companies partnering this way, “For us, the deep integration between GameAnalytics and Unity meant that we were up and running, with 45+ important metrics, within a few hours of development time. We log on to GameAnalytics every day to check KPIs on everything from player acquisition and engagement to in-game monetization.”
For more information about GameAnalytics, visit http://gameanalytics.com. Information about Unity Technologies is available at http://unity3d.com. Unity 4.3 can be downloaded at http://unity3d.com/unity/download.