World of iPad

Bridge, tower, something building simulator, World of Goo has had a decent first month of sales shifting 125,000 units on the iPad which pleases developers 2D Boy to no end. So much so, they believe that maybe the traditional methods of indie game distribution has come to an end with the iPad being the way to go. Over at their site (via Eurogamer) Ron Carmel flooded an article with all sorts of stats and figures regarding World of Goo‘s sales revealing a startling truth that these kinds of games sell the best on an iDevice: “In 2008, with the successful releases of Castle Crashers, Braid, and World of Goo, it became fairly clear that consoles were “where it’s at” for independent developers, and a lot of attention was given to which console provided the best distribution opportunities. Nintendo had the largest install base, XBLA had the largest number of registered users, and PSN had the strongest growth momentum. This discussion is still going on today and the landscape is constantly shifting. World of Goo’s launch on iPad gave us a new perspective on that discussion.”

The Wii with it’s largest install base sold half the amount of the iPad’s sales, 68,000 units, whereas on Steam, the figure was around 97,000. Both Wii and Steam had successful marketing promotions too so it’s not as if either didn’t have a fair old crack. Carmel said: “So far, the iPad version is by far the fastest selling version of the game, both in terms of number of units sold and in revenue generated. What makes this even more amazing is that this is a two year old game released on a platform that is less than a year old. The iPad doesn’t have the benefit of an install base built up over several years.”

But Carmel still thinks that it’s safer to release a game for consoles rather than “playing the App Store lottery,” with the seemingly endless amount of Apps to fight for the consumers’ attention though wondered if the winner of the downloadable space on consoles will be inconsequential to the strength of the iDevices. Again, I’d use the words ‘for these kinds of games’ because something like the wonderful Limbo or charming Braid are simply not suited for touchscreens. Games on iPhones, iPads and other Smartphones are best when they use the limitations of the systems to their advantage. World of Goo is perfect for a large touchscreen and no doubt why it was so popular. Add that too the youthful existence of iPad gaming where titles of that ilk are highly desirable and the 125,000 units begins to look unsurprising. Though still impressive.

High Voltage talk sequels and online play

High Voltage Software, developers for the immensely hyped but under-performing Wii FPS, Conduit, has promised a continued support of the follow up, especially with its online multiplayer and why they chose to develop a game in a genre that isn’t what the core audience plays. In an interview with Eurogamer, Kevin Sheller and Keith Hladik were asked why they bothered to make such an ambitious game on the Wii instead of the Xbox 360 or PS3 where a lot of FPSs call home. Funnily enough, the well-stocked competitive market that Eurogamer speaks of was one of their reasons for making a Wii game: “There’s a bunch of different reasons. One of those is we have this foundation we put together on the Wii, so to just go, “Well, this is secondary, so let’s just go and work on these other platforms,” I think is an insult to Wii gamers. We have generated that fan base and they are excited about it. They’re clamouring for something like this, so it’s awesome to be able to provide that,” said Sheller. A commendable if not financially daring move on High Voltage’s part. Delivering an experience that you know is a tough sell on any system could have spelled disaster. Hladik added: “When we started making the first one, the competition on the Wii for these sorts of games was nil. Whereas on Xbox 360 you’ve got the Call of Duties, Halo – the competition is fierce. So we were striking while the iron was hot,” and Sheller finished with “obviously we’re not the only guys who believe the Wii is worth doing something like this for. There are the GoldenEye guys too, for example.”

I still believe that GoldenEye as a franchise has the nostalgic appeal to fall back on and is a very different beast when discussing hardcore titles on the Wii. Nevertheless, there is indeed a loyal fan base for the Conduit who Hladik would have liked to further excite with DLC map packs but was unable to do so. But he did state that any hacks and exploits that players used in the first game have been fixed but fighting hackers is a “losing battle” and they’re doing their best to “thwart them”. Sheller then revealed the plan to offer downloadable patches, another previously undeliverable initiative: “Now we can see what people are doing, make modifications and if you want to play online you’ll have to download the patch.”

The use of patches to better an online experience is great news and something not common among Wii games. But with its merits comes the harsh reality of space. With Nintendo’s system only having 512MB of harddrive available, most of which is probably taken up by numerous game saves and WiiWare or Virtual Console games, disk space is a precious commodity. Even with the USB key ‘solution’. However, patches are rarely obese unless they add significant changes though it will be something to bear in mind if it means trawling through save files to make room for a patch enabling online play. Just one of those ‘good news, bad news’ stories I guess.

Demos return to WiiWare, for now

Nintendo’s short-lived initiative to have demo on their WiiWare store returns this Friday but again, will only be for a limited time. Rather than building a stock of trial games, the big N plan to continuously change the demos on offer, replicating the methods of 2009 which ceased in January this year. Last year’s sudden need for WiiWare demos was the result of a drop in sales for Nintendo and with recent figures for the Wii and DS being below average, it’s no surprise demos are back on the Wii Shop Channel. What is surprising is why Nintendo believe that giving people the chance to sample games before purchasing isn’t a mandatory feature. The lack of promotion for WiiWare games is damaging enough considering there are some fantastic titles available for download.

Four games that have a chance at winning over budding consumers as of 5th November are Furry Legens, Jett Rocket, ThruSpace and Zombie Panic in Wonderland. Catch them while they’re hot.

{Thanks Eurogamer}

Machinarium is coming to WiiWare

The endearing point-and-click adventure featuring a robot type thing in an industrial world full of other mechanical whatnots, Machinarium, is to be making a sideways step from personal computer to Nintendo’s Wii. To help cross the Ts and cross the Is developer Amanita Design has called upon the help of XGen Studios for the port whose last WiiWare offering was Defend Your Castle, NintendoLife reports.

The move comes a few months after Machinarium was rejected by Microsoft for inclusion to XBLA due to it being available on Mac and Linux (via 1up). Crazy I know but clearly Microsoft believe that the crime of multiplatform development should be punished. Sony was also given the chance to have such a beautiful game on their downloadable service but are yet to respond to the development team’s submission.

Who would have thought an award winning game would come up against so much resistance? At least the Wii is getting Machinarium for a price and date which is yet to be announced – though probably around 1000 Wii Points and before Christmas.

The fate of Bit. Trip is a dubstep shooter

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Gaijin Games’ next Bit. Trip title, Fate, seems less rhythmic than previous versions, focusing on blasting away enemies to a chip-tune dubstep soundtrack. Players navigate CommanderVideo through a retro inspired 2D plain while pointing their Wii remotes towards the screen to shoot. Bit. Trip‘s notoriety comes from being quite a challenge with Fate looking just as tricky – just look at all those incoming bullets in the trailer above!  The game will also feature cross-over appearances from Super Meat Boy and Mr. Robotube whose reason for inclusion is still a mystery.

There’s no confirmed release date as of yet but Bit. Trip Fate should be out later this year on Nintendo’s WiiWare service.

RedLynx trials MotoHeroz for WiiWare

Developers RedLynx has taken its brilliant Trials HD model and made a competitive platforming racer for Nintendo’s WiiWare called MotoHeroz. Instead of motor bikes, players will tilt cartoon cars back and forth across a multilayered environment in a series of races. These races include enemy AI or up to four gamers on one screen in local multiplayer matches, complete with leaderboards and ghost cars. The single player mode consists of roughly 100 levels and a story that’s said to be more than just about level progression and the whole thing is to run at a silky smooth 60 frames a second. If you’re a greedy kind of person and want even more for your buck/quid/euro, RedLynx will be funneling through daily challenges via the internet including new tracks and their leaderboards.

MotoHeroz is set for an early 2011 release for a price that is yet to be announced.

Lost In Shadow E3 2010 trailer

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Hudson Entertainment’s Lost In Shadow was shown at E3 to a pleasantly receptive crowd. The trailer above is what they had the fortune of watching and is a welcome peak to the majority of troughs on Nintendo’s WiiWare service. We first heard about Lost in Shadow back in September of last year and its story of a young boy’s shadow who is trying to reunite itself with the boy. The Ico inspired art-style is enough to win me over so far but we’ll get a better idea of how it handles when Lost in Shadows is released later this year.