Digital Media News (week 14)
26 March 2012
Weekly bulletin collating public sector, industry and company news for creative industries by David Hartley.
"Swallowtail wins Ones to Watch on prestigious awards night… Swallowtail’s journey to the prize began early last year when the Dare to Be Digital game design contest started looking for possible contestants… “Dare to be Digital has been such an amazing experience, from coming to Abertay University, working through the whole Dare experience with amazing mentors, and now to the BAFTAs."
"University of Abertay has announced a new investment round for its Prototype Fund, which is dedicated to financing new game and software prototypes from UK start-ups. Game makers interested in launching a new company can apply to receive up to £25,000 ($39,000) from the Prototype Fund. They can use that initial backing to build a working prototype for their game idea, potentially attracting further investments for a full release… Interested developers have until 12 PM on April 13 to submit their application for this fourth round"
From Talent Scotland
"Now available, a new addition to the Talent Scotland games page is a flash enabled timeline telling the story of Scotland's computer games industry by highlighting some of Scotland's success stories, from Lemmings, through GTA, Denki Blocks, Championship Manager. Bloons, iBomber right up to Fun Park Friends."
Local Industry News
From the BBC
"Friends Reunited, the social networking site, is to be relaunched. The site's users have been promised access to a new photographic archive and "simple" privacy settings which put members "firmly in control"… Its new owner, the online publishing group Brightsolid, has said the new site will provide a single place for users to share their memories."
From Scotland Food and Drink
"The Larder, the leading guide to Scotland's food and drink, is embarking on an ambitious project which will result in an independent and comprehensive web-based guide to local food.. Simon Dessain, Digital Director of The List, added: "This is a truly innovative service for Scotland. Mobile users are poorly served by most websites today. The Larder's Food Finder is the UK's first responsive design food site, optimised for a variety of devices and uses your location to put good food and drink at your fingertips."
From the Scotsman
"Online flight search company Skyscanner has seen a 400 per cent boost to its Asia Pacific business since it opened an office in Singapore just six months ago, the firm yesterday claimed. Chief executive Gareth Williams said the speed of growth in the region was “something we have only seen in Russia”, which is the Edinburgh-based firm’s second-biggest market with more than two million visits to its Russian site per month."
From the Scotsman
"Private equity firm Panoramic Growth Equity yesterday threw a funding bone to Glasgow-based online design agency Dog Digital with a £1 million investment to fuel global growth. Dog Digital – which counts software giant Adobe, utilities company ScottishPower and football group Uefa among its clients – will use the cash to open offices in London and Singapore, creating 15 jobs in Glasgow and more overseas. The agency, which was set up in 1996, already has about 50 staff and grew its turnover by 20 per cent last year to £3.6 million."
From Market Watch
"Now with well over 2 million downloads, BeNaughty.com's free lifestyle App has hit the first spot in the US, Canada, UK and Australia and is the only dating App in the top 100, ahead of popular horoscope, games and shopping Apps… 'Passing the 2,000,000 downloads mark and dominating prime markets in such a short space of time is a testament to its quality and the hard work of the Cupid Plc team,' says Bill Dobbie, Director of Cupid.com."
From the Daily Record
"Three schoolboys have designed a game app which is about to go global. Stuart Elliot, Ross Angus and Andrew McQuarrie created Free Wheelin’ as part of the Arnold Clark Scottish Schools Challenge. The game, where a player rolls a tyre down a track by tilting their smartphone, beat more than 700 entries from around 150 schools… The boys developed the app with Glasgow’s Chunk Games."
From the Guardian
"After years of lobbying, the UK games industry has secured a promise of tax breaks from the government. We investigate what this means and how it could change British games development forever."
From Tech Crunch
"Pearson has been taking some decisive steps into using mobile to grow its traditional publishing business. And today sees a new chapter in that strategy: Puffin, the children’s division of Pearson imprint Penguin, has signed a worldwide deal with UK-based mobile games developer Ustwo to develop e-books based on Ustwo’s psychedelic Whale Trail mobile game, which features a whale called Willow… The deal underscores two different trends: that of mobile games publishers franchising out their brands for more revenues (a la Angry Birds swag); and that of traditional publishers looking for more routes on to new platforms like tablets and smartphones."
From International Business Week
"Mobile payments are coming… On March 6, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent for a new technology called 'iWallet,' which is a digital platform that gives the user complete control over their subsidiary financial accounts directly on their iPhone, and also leverages Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to complete credit card transactions on the phone as well. On Tuesday, more patents were granted to Apple in relation to the iWallet technology, including security measures that aim to keep financial information safe, and the app in iTunes that will house these features. In all likelihood, this is Apple's mobile payments solution intended for its next-generation iPhone, presumably called 'iPhone 5.'"
From The Next Web
"The British companion TV app Zeebox has signed a deal with the consumer electronics manufacturer Vestel, AppMarket reports… Vestel sells 9 million TVs in Europe every year…Our partnership with Vestel will take this to the next level, providing two-way synchronization between your TV and Zeebox. As you change channels on your TV, Zeebox will be able to automatically bring you a social and interactive experience linked to what you’re watching."
From the Guardian
"Draw Something, a sort of online Pictionary that has been downloaded 35 million times in the six weeks since it was created by New York game firm OMGPOP. In the last week more than 1 billion drawings were created on the game as people tried to illustrate words and names for their opponent to guess. It's now the top downloaded free app in 85 countries across the world… six weeks later the five-year-old OMGPOP has been sold for $180 million in cash to Zynga… Draw Something was the 35th game created by OMGPOP. They had tried other drawing games but this one was an instant smash."
From the Guardian
"App stores and tablets helped drive 157% year-on-year growth in 2011, according to IAB/PricewaterhouseCoopers report… the most dramatic increase in spend on display advertising which rose 186% year-on-year to £68.9 million, up from just £28 million in 2010, to account for about a third of total mobile ad spend… The report found that 54% of all mobile display advertising is now on apps, some £38 million, with the rest spent on ads that appear when users access mobile internet browsers."
From the Guardian
"Analyst firm Juniper Research has published its predictions for the global tablet games market, claiming that revenues will rise from $491 million in 2011 to $3.1 billion in 2014. Its latest report claims that the larger screen sizes and improved graphics capabilities of tablets will spur more purchases of games and virtual items and currency, singling out more hardcore games as key beneficiaries."
"Researcher Flurry is reporting that some time in February, activations for iOS and Android devices in China overtook the U.S. The switch shows some amazing momentum for China if you consider that in January 2011, the U.S. accounted for 28% of the world’s total iOS and Android activations. China claimed just 8% at the time. In March, Flurry projects that China will account for 24% of such activations vs. 21% for the U.S."
From the BBC
"Sales of computer games in the UK have surpassed those of videos for the first time, new figures suggest. The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said sales of £1.93 billion in 2011 made the gaming industry the country's biggest entertainment sector. By contrast, sales of DVDs and other video formats totalled £1.80 billion, while music pulled in £1.07 billion."
Compiled by David Hartley