Today, the Florida Legislature passed Economic Development Bill SB 1752 (companion bill to HB 697 – the Entertainment Industry Economic Development Act). The bill, which now goes to the governor to be signed into law, provides a 20% tax credit for qualified expenses (incurred in Florida) that has been expanded to include interactive digital media (including video games). There is a cap to the total tax benefit, but this bill is designed to encourage video game companies to expand in or set up shop in Florida.
Yet more games have been released as downloads for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store:
Viacom, parent of MTV Games and Harmonix, announced its financial results for its fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2010. While game enthusiasts may not be interested in the overall results of the entertainment conglomerate, Viacom specifically mentioned disappointing performance of Rock Band, noting that "Worldwide ancillary revenues declined 7% reflecting lower sales of Rock Band music video games."
Quest Online's massively multiplayer online game Alganon moved out of beta testing and officially launched today. The game costs $20 to play, but does not require a subscription fee. Truthfully, the story is a little more complicated – The game officially launched the first time in December of 2009, after which the development of the game changed leadership (from David Allen to Derek Smart) and the game returned to beta status before launching version 2 of the game. This high-fantasy themed MMOG asks players to unlock the extensive backstory of the game through the usual framework of questing and combat.
The Boy Scouts of America have added two video game awards, a belt loop and a pin, related to video games:
Developer Digital and Croteam have released Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter as a download for the PC through Steam. This is a remake of the original first-person shooter using the Serious 3 engine with the addition of new enemies, modes and secrets.
Mobile publisher Gameloft announced selected financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2010:
Aksys Games has shipped Record of Argarest War for the Xbox 360 to stores in North America. Developed by Compiled Heart, Red Entertainment and Idea Factory, this strategic-oriented role-playing game puts players in the middle of a war between the gods.
Sony Online Entertainment has launched the 13th expansion for its online collectible strategy game PoxNora, called Maljaran Frontier. This latest expansion adds 78 new runes, including new champions, spells, equipment and relics to the game, as well as protections to players suffering from disconnect problems.
Casual game publisher Playdom (known for social games on Facebook) has acquired casual publisher Merscom, a company best known for its branded casual titles, based on properties from companies like Lifetime Networks and National Geographic. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sony has released more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store, including:
Microsoft has released more downloadable games through Xbox Live Arcade. This week's games are Puzzle Chronicles and After Burner Climax:
Sony Online Entertainment has introduced a new payment plan for its massively multiplayer online game EverQuest II. Starting today, players with inactive or closed accounts can reactivate their accounts for three consecutive days for $5. Sony Online Entertainment specifically recommends it as a slightly cheaper alternative to a monthly subscription for players interested in promotional and seasonal events, weekends with friends or multiboxers. While obviously not economical for regular players, this strikes FI as an interesting alternative for gamers particularly busy in real-life and a great way to suck previous gamers back into the title.
Telltale Games has released Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - The Penal Zone is the first episode in the third season of Telltale Games' Sam & Max adventures. The game features galactic gorilla invader Skunk'ape invading Earth, resisted by the Freelance Police and Max's newfound psychic powers. The game can be downloaded for the PlayStation 3, PC and Mac, with the entire season running around $35.
Sony has released more downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store:
PlayFirst has launched its game Love & Death: Bitten, a downloadable vampire-themed hidden object game for the PC and Mac.
Game Developer Research (part of UBM TechWeb and related to Game Developer magazine) released its annual Game Developer Salary Survey, determining that the average member of the videogame industry earned $75,573 in 2009, down from $79,000 in 2008. By job function:
Sony has released a new slate of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store, including:
Alawar Entertainment, together with developer mif2000, has released Hamlet as a downloadable adventure game for the PC. Based on the Shakespeare play, this adventure game features a traveler from the future travelling through time and stumbling into Hamlet's conflict with King Claudius.
2XL Games, the team behind franchises like ATV Off-Road Fury, has released 2XL Supercross as a download through Steam for $10. This motocross racing game features tracks designed by Motocross champion Stephane Roncada.
Valcon Games has shipped Easy Piano for the DS to stores in North America. This title has players learning to play the piano using a keyboard peripheral that contains a full 13-note external keyboard and software that teaches 36 songs with associated mini-games.
Reliance Big Entertainment, part of India's Reliance ADA group, has acquired 50% of publisher Codemasters. Reliance Big Entertainment encompasses an Indian gaming company called Zapak, which will work closely with Codemasters to broaden Codemasters distribution and coding resources.
Matrix Games has released Across the Dnepr: Second Edition, a new and improved version of the previously released expansion for Kharkov: Disaster on the Donets. The game is available as a download for the PC and has players battling the Nazi advance on Soviet frontier defenses.
Beatnik Games has released its game Plain Sight as a download through several online portals including Steam. Available for $10, the game has players acting as suicidal ninja robots, killing fellow robots for their "tasty, tasty energy."
Sony has released more downloadable game for the PlayStation 3 and PSP through the PlayStation Store: