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Assassin’s Creed Movie Producer’s New Film Studio Will Focus On Video Game Adaptations

Jean-Julien Baronnet recently departed his position of CEO at Ubisoft Motion Pictures after working on the Assassin's Creed adaptation. His next venture is a studio that will work on more movies based on games.

Marla Studios, named after Baronnet's daughters, will specialize in adapting the stories of popular games for a wider Hollywood audience. In an exclusive interview with Variety, he explained why he thinks so many video game movies have failed because they try to copy the story beat for beat without understanding the change in audience. Baronnet will head Marla Studios and work directly with video game developers to manage their IPs and come up the best idea for a movie. No partner companies have been announced yet.

Assassin's Creed opens on December 21, starring Micheal Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Before shutting down, Ubisoft Motion Pictures also worked on an idea for a Splinter Cell movie, potentially starring Tom Hardy.

[Source: Variety]


Our Take
Baronnet's comments about imagining a new story rather than copying the original are encouraging. It seems that Assassin's Creed is already following this mindset, but the jury is still out until the film opens. I personally have faith in it and hope to see more successful video game movies. Warcraft wasn't a complete trainwreck, but there are better stories out there primed for adaptation. I think this is a great time to revisit an old feature on how to make the Assassin's Creed movie not suck. – The Feed

Valve revives Steam Dev Days this year with a new focus on VR

Steam Dev Days, the developer-focused conference Valve debuted in 2014 and then skipped last year, is happening again this fall — and SteamVR is a prime talking point. …

Gamasutra News

Why Naughty Dog removed ‘fun’ from its Uncharted 4 focus tests

In a conversation with nascent games hub Glixel, Uncharted 4 creative director Neil Druckmann talks “fun” and how the notion of making a game “fun” can get in the way of enjoyment. …

Gamasutra News

Sega Sales Down, But Profit Up Thanks To Focus On Fewer Games

Sega is in the process of shifting strategy in its video game business that is starting to yield some success. The company has decided to focus on fewer games and mainstay IP.

In Japan, Phantasy Star Online 2 continues rake in money. Europeans continue to faithfully purchase Football Manager, which has been a viable franchise for a decade.

Sales were down 5.1 percent to ¥347.98 billion ($ 3.2 billion). Profits climbed out of the red to ¥5.37 billion ($ 49.3 million).

The new fiscal year, which began on April 1, will see the release of the long anticipated Persona 5 from Sega subsidiary Atlus. The company will also be releasing Total War: Warhammer for PC this month. In Japan, Phantasy Star Online 2 will be arriving on PlayStation 4, though there is still no word from Sega on a Western release.

[Source: Sega]


Our Take
Western gamers have been clamoring for a Phantasy Star Online 2 release, and given the success in Japan there might be money in it for the publisher. For the coming year though, Persona 5 is the game with the biggest potential in Japan and the West. It’s looking great and the series now has the name recognition to compete in a season that also sees Final Fantasy XV. – The Feed

Microsoft bins Android-to-Windows porting tool to focus on iOS

Microsoft has canned Project Astoria-an upcoming “Windows Bridge” that would’ve let devs easily port Android games to the Windows Store-to focus its attention on its iOS porting tool. …

Gamasutra News

Fallout 4 GDC Talk To Focus On Tools For Building Big, Varied Worlds Quickly

Bethesda will be in attendance at GDC to talk a bit more about Fallout 4’s development. The focus will be on how the studio created a number of unique environments in a relatively short amount of time.

The session, titled “Fallout 4’s Modular Level Design,” will feature senior designer Joel Burgess and lead artist Nathan Purkeypile. The two will discuss how modular tools allow them to create complex, varied open worlds.

They’ll also discuss how the process can be applied to smaller teams. GDC will be held in San Francisco from March 14 through 18.

For more on the event, check out those games and developers nominated for Independent Game Festival and GDC Awards. You can also read our review of Fallout 4 to learn more about the game's world. – The Feed

Kabam sells off Kingdoms of Camelot and other old titles to focus on big bets

Chinese publisher Gaea Mobile has picked up several games, and will begin running them soon; the San Francisco-based Kabam will focus on Marvel Contest of Champions and other hits. …

Gamasutra News

King of Fighters XIV is the beginning: SNK Playmore to focus on video games again

The company had veered toward using its IP for pachinko and other gambling products, but plans to change its focus back to video games. …

Gamasutra News

Bungie Shifts Destiny’s Focus Away From ‘Monolithic DLC’ Toward Time-Limited Events

Back in October, Bungie introduced cosmetic microtransactions to its blockbuster hit, Destiny. That major change was dropped in, leaving some fans confused about what it meant for the game’s second year.

On that same day, Kotaku reported that Bungie and Activision were abandoning the DLC model in favor of the in-game purchases. That meant that mini-expansions like The Dark Below and House of Wolves wouldn’t be repeated in year two.

Two months later, Bungie has now confirmed this. Speaking with Eurogamer, senior designer Derek Carroll spoke plainly about what players can expect.

"With Taken King we are moving to a more event-based model – things like Festival of the Lost and Sparrow racing, which is our winter event, and then smaller events such as Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris every weekend,” Carroll says. "Rather than doing these giant, monolithic DLC packs, this way everybody who's an owner of Taken King can enjoy these things."

He goes on to suggest that instead of the longer lead time promotion, the events, like Sparrow Racing League, are designed as surprises. He also hints (without outright committing) that the same format will be in place for future events. In other words, players will be able to participate for free, but cosmetic items will be sold for real money currency (called silver).

You can read the entire interview at Eurogamer. For more on Destiny, including major balancing changes hitting today, check out our previous coverage.

[Source: Eurogamer]


Our Take
While it would have been better for Bungie and Activison to pair the microtransaction announcement with the up-side (players won’t be paying for DLC content), there might be some reason behind the timing. While unlikely, there was a chance that the microtransactions might not have been profitable. With those revenues taking the place of fixed-price DLC, the publisher probably wanted to have some evidence of success before committing to the plan. – The Feed

[Update] Microsoft Will Focus Primarily On Xbox Live Usership, Not Console Shipments

Update: Microsoft will not be using console shipments as its primary metric for success beginning with this quarter, we have been told. The company is more focused on engagement, leading it to choose Xbox Live usership as its leading statistic.

While that doesn't mean we won't hear about console shipment statistics, it won't be something we should expect to see every quarter. Microsoft also indicates that the 39 million Xbox Live users reported today are more narrowly defined now. We've been told that this metric now reflects users that have logged in within the past month. No differentiation has been made between gold (paying) and silver (free) members.

Original Story (October 22 at 4:29 p.m. Central):

Microsoft has announced the results of its first fiscal quarter for the current year. The company has not revealed how many consoles it shipped, which is a change from past reporting practices.

The company does indicate that total gaming hardware revenue is down year-over-year, attributing the decline to lower sales of Xbox 360. A further breakdown across console types is unavailable. Xbox Live has seen a boom over last year at the same time, though.  Usership is up 28 percent to 39 million. 

The Xbox group is now reported as part of Microsoft’s personal computing division. With the release of the New Xbox One Experience next month and deeper integration with PC since the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft appears to be unifying that category.

Click to enlarge.

Gaming revenue was up 6 percent when adjusted for constant currency. Corporate revenue dropped year-over-year by 12 percent to $ 20.4 billion, with net income up 2 percent to $ 4.6 billion. 

We’ve inquired with Microsoft about Xbox One shipments and will update should we receive a response.

[Source: Microsoft]


Our Take
This move away from console shipment reporting may be in line with Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s recent statements that the company isn’t as focused on the competitive nature of the sector. I suspect that after the holiday quarter, there might be good news enough to share more specifics, though. – The Feed