MANILA, Philippines - Who said merely playing games won’t amount to anything?
Not game investment advisor Digi-Capital, which tracked $2 billion worth of private investments and another $3.4 billion from mergers and acquisitions within the gaming industry in 2011.
It was a record-breaking year for the game industry primarily due to the strength of social, mobile and the massively multiplayer online sectors. Social and casual games accounted for 57 percent of the private placement value and 45 percent of the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) value, said Digi-Capital.
Mobile and tablet games, on the other hand, accounted for 16 percent of private placements and four percent of M&A. The MMO market owned up 31 percent of the M&A value and eight percent of private placements.
Digi-Capital predicts mobile and online games worldwide will become a $41-billion business in 2015 (from $22 billion in 2010), which would be half of the entire global game revenue. In this category, the study points to Asian and European game makers collectively taking 87 percent revenue share.
Such auspicious projections seem to be getting credence from the successful launch of the Sony PlayStation Vita handheld game device. The Japanese electronics maker reported having sold 1.2 million units of its new game console already, thanks to pre-orders and early buyers as soon as they launched it over a week ago in the United States and Europe.
Vita is the successor of the eight-year-old PlayStation Portable (PSP) which company officials said continues to sell well today. Vita has more to offer, of course, starting with a four-core processor, a five-inch OLED screen, front and rear touch control, and its own operating system. Sony said they now have at least 70 game titles in the pipeline for Vita.
But rival Nintendo, though saddled by the uninspiring sales performance of its 3DS handheld game console, is not out of the game, so to speak. To attract much-needed sales, Nintendo has slashed the 3DS price from $250 to $170 less than six months after launch and has released more new game titles. The result? Nintendo officials reported last week that 3DS finally reached the five-million mark in Japan and in less time compared to how long it took its DS and Game Boy Advance consoles to reach the same sales figures.
This year, Nintendo is also expected to introduce the next-generation Wii U home game console that will replace the smash-hit Wii. The new interactive game machine will feature controllers with touch screens, motion detection and cameras.
Barbie got game
With all games going digital, will little girls still play with dolls?
Leave it to Barbie, the world-renowned doll by Mattel, to make dolls as current and significant in today’s digital world. Mattel now sells Barbie dolls that double as a video camera that can record and play back clips from the doll’s eye-view!
This particular Barbie doll has a camera lens hidden in her necklace and an LCD screen on Barbie’s back allows for instant viewing of images and videos, or use the provided USB plug-in cord to upload the files on a computer.
Mattel ships the Barbie Video Camera edition with its own editing software to let children add music, graphics and special effects to their recordings or pictures. This high-tech Barbie has been nominated for the 2011 Toy of the Year Award. It costs $31.99 and requires two AAA alkaline batteries.
But what about playing with real pets, you say? Mattel also offered its own spin to this activity by marrying technology and a real dog in a product called Puppy Tweets. This special electronic dog tag has a sound and motion sensor that translates a dog’s bark and activity levels into funny tweets posted on the Twitter website.
Dog owners can then follow their dog’s Twitter feed as soon as they’ve attached the blue Puppy Tweets tag to the dog, connect the included USB receiver, download the simple software, and create a Twitter account for their canine friend. The software supports both PC and Mac and comes with 500 pre-loaded tweets, including one that says “BTW... just tore up the newspaper.” - By Alma Buelva