Yesterday KLab Inc. announced a licensing agreement with Microsoft to develop a mobile version of Microsoft Studio’s “Age of Empires” franchise, which will be initially developed in English for iOS and Android and launched globally, with plans to release the game in other languages and on Windows Phone in the future.
Some reports included incorrect information about additional Xbox based games on iOS and Android but there are no further announcements beyond “Age of Empires” at this time.
You may have already seen this from our friends in Europe , but I just wanted to make sure you know that Xbox will be back at Gamescom this year. I am very much looking forward to returning to Cologne in August as we have a lot to share with you this year.
On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox LIVE and Xbox.com. If you are in the US or Canada, you can also watch the broadcast on Spike TV.
On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.
We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.
The deadline to enter the National STEM Video Game Challenge is later this month. Xbox is a proud sponsor of this competition for the third year running. By giving the kids the tools to create their own video games, we hope that they will get excited about subjects like math, science, technology and engineering. And maybe it will even spark an interest in careers designing and building the Xbox games of the future. Check out this video of winners from the 2012 contest, and learn more about Microsoft’s involvement and investment in the Challenge over at the Microsoft in Education blog.
If you know any talented middle or high school students (grades 5-12), encourage them to submit their original game designs by April 24. Visit http://stemchallenge.org for more details on contest entry, rules, eligibility and prizes.
Today marks the start to the second annual Gamer Safety Week. This year, Xbox and our partners in the Gamer Safety Alliance hope you’ll take some time to focus on “account safety and security in the online world.” You spend years building your online reputation. If someone you don’t know or trust gains access to your account, they can wipe out that reputation in no time at all. Don’t wait. Take a few minutes now to help ensure your accounts are protected.
If you haven’t already, start by adding security proofs like phone numbers, alternate email addresses, and security questions and answers to your accounts. If one of your accounts is vulnerable, your entire online identity may be at risk, so it’s important to add proofs to all your online accounts where available. Be sure to check your security information from time to time to make sure you have access to your proofs should you ever need them.
Taking simple steps like these can help prevent your online experience from turning into a headache if someone tries to hijack your accounts.
So this Gamer Safety Week take a moment and proof up.
I fell less angry after listening to this soothing version done by Canadian violin virtuoso Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà. They’ve got a full album of Video game music called simply ‘Game Music’ with great versions of the AC theme as well as the classic ‘One Final Effort’ from Halo 3. The album is available on iTunes and Amazon. They also have a free iOS app that will test your knowledge of video games.
Today we’re announcing that Phil Harrison is joining Microsoft to help grow our efforts in Europe. Full text of the press release is below, but please join me in welcoming Phil to the Xbox family.
REDMOND, Wash. — March 13, 2012 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Phil Harrison, video games luminary and former Sony executive, has joined the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) leadership team as corporate vice president with an emphasis on growing the division’s European business.
As the senior IEB leader in Europe, Phil will not only lead the Microsoft Studios European organization directly, but will also influence the broader performance of IEB’s European business through strategic partnerships and by bringing culturally relevant entertainment experiences to Microsoft platforms, now and in the future.
In addition to the wealth of experience Harrison has in the console gaming space, he has immersed himself in new business models and technologies, particularly in the mobile and social space and will bring that market perspective to bear in the new role. He will also tap his deep experience in studio leadership to grow Xbox’s development efforts in Europe, including overseeing UK-based developers Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions and Rare Ltd.
"I am excited to be joining the senior team at Microsoft at a pivotal time for our industry,” said Harrison. “I am really impressed with the company’s long-term vision for growing the market for interactive entertainment globally and also with the incredible wealth of talent, technology and resources the company has available to succeed."
“We are honored to have Phil join a team that boasts a wealth of talent from across the industry,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president at Microsoft Studios. “Phil is one of video gaming’s true visionaries, and his experience overseeing global studios and deep industry relationships make him the ideal person to lead our European efforts. Under his leadership, we look forward to continuing cultivating the best talent and growing our business in the region.”
“Phil has played an instrumental role in shaping modern console history through his keen insights into both hardware and software strategy,” said Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business. “His addition to our leadership team will impact our global business in innumerable ways, as he aligns our studio development and growing portfolio of entertainment experiences in Europe to drive our continued growth worldwide.”
Harrison brings 25 years of games industry and development experience to his new role as the senior leader for IEB Europe. He was a long-time leader at Sony Computer Entertainment, where he held various senior executive positions within the company, most recently as president of Worldwide Studios. After leaving Sony, Harrison joined the board of Infogrames, as president of Atari, where he led the company’s transition into online gaming. Most recently, Harrison is co-founder and General Partner of London Venture Partners, LLP the venture capital firm focused on the web, mobile, social and cloud game sector, where he will continue as Special Advisor.
After downloading “Microsoft Flight” for free, players can jump into hours of exciting gameplay on the Big Island of Hawaii.
In addition, players who sign in to their Games for Windows – LIVE account automatically receive additional free content, including the legendary Boeing Stearman plane, supplementary missions, and access to Achievements and an Online Pilot Profile. Those looking to deepen their experience can purchase and download additional content that adds new aircraft, regions and customization options. The frequently released new content for “Microsoft Flight” includes daily aerocache challenges and updates that make every flight unique and fun.
Be the First to Fly the Definitive Light Sport Aircraft ICON A5
Microsoft Studios worked with the personal airplane manufacturing team at ICON Aircraft to give aviation fans the exclusive opportunity to fly the all-new ICON A5 before real-world production starts at the end of 2012. Designed by the world-class aeronautical engineers behind the Voyager spaceship, X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galatic’s SpaceShipTwo, the ICON A5 is the “jet ski for the skies,” a high-wing amphibious monoplane with a carbon fiber airframe and a comfortable, automobile-inspired cockpit with space for two. The ICON A5 will be the first aircraft available to players for free in “Microsoft Flight.”
“ICON Aircraft and ‘Microsoft Flight’ both share the goal of making the fun of flying accessible to everyone who’s ever dreamed about it. ICON does this by fusing world-class product design with the very best engineering, and Microsoft by combining the excitement of a great gaming experience with the authenticity of a top notch flight simulator,” said ICON Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins.
Basic details: Date: Saturday, December 10th Where: Los Angeles, California Call time: 1:30pm-3pm (estimated) Min Age: 18 yrs old Dress Code: Hip and Trendy (Stylish) Total Allowed: You and 1 guest (2 total) Parking: Free
Today we announce that Twisted Pixel is joining the Microsoft Studios Family. Read the full press release below while I go and check the policy on shipping BBQ through interoffice mail:
Microsoft Studios Acquires Indie Game Developer Twisted Pixel
Acclaimed studio behind Xbox LIVE Arcade’s “Splosion Man” and Kinect for Xbox 360’s “The Gunstringer” to incubate new game and entertainment experiences for Microsoft Studios.
As a step in continuing to deliver Microsoft Studios’ innovative game and entertainment offerings, Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Austin, Texas-based game developer Twisted Pixel, the creative minds behind Xbox LIVE Arcade titles such as “Splosion Man” and the recent Kinect for Xbox 360 title, “The Gunstringer.”
From its beginnings in 2006 as independent studio developing award-winning Xbox LIVE Arcade titles, Twisted Pixel will now bring its talented team of developers to Microsoft Studios to help incubate and develop the future of game and entertainment offerings on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform.
“Twisted Pixel has an incredible track record of innovative, critically acclaimed, and most importantly, fun, games,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Studios. “Microsoft Studios is home to cutting-edge entertainment experiences, and the incredible creativity of the Twisted Pixel team will help drive further innovation around Kinect and Xbox LIVE.”
“It is really exciting for us to solidify our long-standing relationship with Microsoft Studios, who we consider to be the leader in digital distribution and creating new innovations in gaming like Xbox LIVE and Kinect,” said Michael Wilford, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twisted Pixel. “As part of the family of Microsoft Studios we look forward to bringing even bigger and richer experiences to Xbox and Twisted Pixel fans around the world.”
With today’s announcement, Twisted Pixel becomes the latest member of Microsoft Studios, joining such prestigious and globally-recognized game creators as Lionhead Studios and Rare Ltd., on a team whose charter is to create exclusive experiences that differentiate Microsoft’s platforms.
Today we announced that by extending the capabilities of the Xbox platform with Kinect and Xbox LIVE, Microsoft has “changed the tail” of the typical console lifecycle, showing dramatic gains in the fifth and sixth years of this generation. (see chart above)
In addition, we’ve released the following data points:
Microsoft has now sold 55 million Xbox 360 consoles across 38 countries and sales are accelerating.
Xbox 360 maintains its lead in the U.S. as the top selling console in 2011, and ten of the past eleven months.
In the first four months of 2011, Xbox 360 has seen a 29 percent year over year increase in sales, which is more than triple the growth of PlayStation 3 and the largest growth of any console on the market.
There are now nearly 35 million active Xbox LIVE members worldwide spending an average of almost 60 hours a month on the service.
Cumulatively Xbox LIVE members are now logging 2.1 billion entertainment hours a month.
Later today, I’ll be interviewing Erik Wolpaw & Chet Faliszek (who have worked on many of Valve’s titles) for my show this Sunday, If you have any questions about the Portal series, or maybe their earlier project, feel free to post them in the comments.