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August 30, 2012 | By Alex Pham
Zynga, once a magnet for game industry talent, has lost two more top executives this week amid slumping share prices. Bill Mooney, a studio vice president who handled the company's Zynga Game Network, and Brian Birtwistle, vice president of marketing, have turned in their resignations this week, according to a report from Bloomberg. The news come on the heels of other high-level departures, including Mike Verdu , who left his post as Zynga's chief creative officer this week to start his own company.
August 10, 2012 | By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
The summer doldrums hit July video game sales, which fell 20% from last year, according to a monthly survey by NPD Group. The game industry rang up just $548.4 million in U.S. retail sales last month, compared with $686.3 million a year earlier, the research group said Thursday. It was the eighth consecutive double-digit drop since November 2011, when game sales were flat compared with the prior year. The numbers indicate a continued trend of gamers flocking online instead of buying console and computer games that used to dominate the industry.
June 15, 2012 | Alex Pham
May was another crushing month for video game sales. Or was it? At first glance, the numbers look dismal. Game sales declined 16% in May to $335.2 million compared with a year earlier. Sales of game consoles and hardware peripherals dropped 23% to $261.2 million, according to the NPD Group Inc., a market research firm. Overall sales of both hardware and games fell 19.7% to $596.4 million last month, down from $743.1 million a year earlier. Only game accessories saw an increase, fueled by gift cards for online games and brisk sales of physical toys for Activision Blizzard Inc.'s "Skylanders" game.
June 6, 2012 | By Ben Fritz
It's no surprise that Warner Bros. has video games with "Batman" and "Middle Earth" in the titles coming out this year, since "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Hobbit" are the studio's two biggest remaining movie releases of 2012. What is surprising is that the games have virtually nothing to do with the films beyond their titles. Stung by poor sales across the industry for video games closely tied to movies -- including Warner's own "Green Lantern" and "Happy Feet Two" last year -- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is this year taking an entirely different approach.
June 5, 2012 | By Ben Fritz and Alex Pham
Nintendo tried to convince an audience of industry professionals Tuesday morning that it can stage a comeback in the video game console business with its successor to the Wii. The Japanese company made famous by Mario and Zelda has seen its fortunes fade recently as sales of its once red-hot Wii console have fallen behind Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. At a press conference just prior to the official opening of the annual E3...
June 1, 2012 | By Ben Fritz and Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
One day before trial was set to begin in a trio of lawsuits with claims totaling more than $2 billion, video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. reached a settlement with the co-creators of the "Call of Duty" series and 40 developers who worked on the games. The last-minute agreement Thursday ended two years of litigation during which nasty accusations flew back and forth and Santa Monica-based Activision endured the embarrassing disclosure of private contracts and a plot, code-named Project Icebreaker, to secretly monitor developers' email and voice mails.
May 18, 2012 | By Gary Goldstein
In the smart, involving documentary "Indie Game: the Movie," when video game designer Phil Fish chillingly asserts that he'd kill himself if he didn't finish his long-gestating game "Fez," you get the feeling he isn't bluffing. That's the level of depth and candor filmmakers Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky mine here as they profile several independent artists struggling to succeed in the highly corporatized - and often hugely lucrative - video game industry. In addition to the French-Canadian Fish, who spent more than four nerve-wracking years developing the much anticipated, aesthetically oriented "Fez," the movie also compellingly follows the long distance, rollercoaster collaboration between designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes as they create "Super Meat Boy," their first major game for Xbox (it went on to sell more than 1 million copies)
December 11, 2011 | By Matt Stevens, Los Angeles Times
Erin Reynolds is a graduate student, so she knows at least one thing for certain. "Everyone feels stress," she said. That's part of the reason Reynolds and 12 others on her team created a video game that uses heart-rate sensors to help players learn to stay calm as they wind their way through a decrepit house filled with their characters' horrific memories. The 28-year-old USC cinematic arts student said she believes her psychological thriller game, Nevermind, can help people develop ways to cope with stress.
November 1, 2011 | By Jim Peltz
A Michigan woman recently placed a $15 "parlay" bet at the Las Vegas Hilton's sports book on a bunch of college football games for the upcoming Saturday and, in each game, she picked the favorite to win. If any of her picks failed to cover the point spread or lost their games outright, she would have lost her bet. Thus, her odds of winning the entire parlay were a whopping 600 to 1. She won anyway. The payoff? A cool $9,000. "This sums up our season as bookmakers" in college football, sighed Jay Kornegay, the Hilton's sports book director, after relaying the woman's story.
July 15, 2011 | By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
Video game sales plunged again in June, dropping 10% from a year ago, as consumers greeted some new releases with a yawn and as sales continue to erode for Nintendo Co.'s once-popular Wii console. Sales of games and the consoles required to play them were $1.03 billion last month, compared with $1.15 billion in June 2010, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm. The decline followed a 14% slide in May to a four-year low for the video game industry. The lower numbers do not necessarily spell doom for the entire sector.
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