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GREE International Closed its Vancouver Studio and Canceled All of Their Games

Earlier this week GREE announced that it was scuttling its office in Vancouver, British Columbia and discontinuing development, effective immediately. GREE International is the western arm of GREE Inc., one of the giants of the Japanese mobile gaming industry.

As Gamasutra reports, this week’s closure comes amidst declining revenue for GREE. Andrew Sheppard, the COO who joined GREE International just nine months ago, explained in a blog post that the overwhelming success of games like Clash of Clans has raised marketing and development budgets across the industry.

In response, his plan calls for GREE employees to “[shift] their mindset from managing breadth to delivering depth.” In other words, expect GREE to double down on a slimmer roster of games: “We have decided to focus our talent on building new gameplay within our biggest franchises and on elevating our commitment to service excellence,” Sheppard writes.

While GREE has partnered with well-known publishers in the past—notably for Assassin’s Creed Memories, a free-to-play card battler that doesn’t seem to be on the App Store any more—the company doesn’t seem particularly popular outside of Japan. It would help if all of their in-house games didn’t mostly riff on …read more

Health IT Startup Silversheet Raises $2.9 Million To Manage Medical Credentials

Silversheet, a medical credentials verification startup, has pulled in $2.9 million in a seed round to launch a platform that aims to save administrators time by digitizing documents and automate the verification of medical records.
There are numerous problems in the health IT space, particularly in medical records and the paperwork involved. What Silversheet attempts to do with medical… Read More …read more

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Minecraft is the Most Popular Game to Watch on YouTube

In honor of YouTube’s Let’s Play day, the video hosting service has revealed its top ten most popular gaming videos.

Selected based on watch time, the list contains a wide spectrum of genres ranging from MOBAs to horror games. They are:

  • Minecraft
  • Grand Theft Auto (series)
  • League of Legends
  • Call of Duty (series)
  • FIFA (series)
  • Garry’s Mod
  • The Sims (series)
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s (series)
  • Puzzle & Dragons
  • Dota 2

Gaming and Let’s Play videos make up a large portion of YouTube’s video content, and a number of YouTube hosts have gained a great deal of popularity through their work of playing through games for an audience. In response to gaming’s popularity, YouTube is preparing to launch an eSports and game streaming service.

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‘Galactic Nemesis’ Review – The Galaxy Is In Pieces

One of the oldest names in Japanese video gaming, Namco is a publisher of many talents. Perhaps chief among them throughout its history is its ability to look at what its competitors are doing and make its own, often better version. It reached near-comical levels with SEGA in the 1990s, where SEGA would release a new arcade game, and Namco would chase it with their spin on the concept. This wasn’t new behavior for them, either. Like most Japanese developers in the early era of gaming, Namco started popping out Space Invaders clones before the paint had dried on the cabinets of Taito’s seminal hit. Namco’s Galaxian added colorful graphics and aggressive enemies to the concept, launching a franchise that still pops up here and there, more than 35 years later.

In the last few weeks, two tributes to Galaxian and its sequel Galaga released on the App Store. One is a clever modernized take on the formula with lots of replay value, and the other came from Namco themselves. I don’t want to give Galaga Tekken [Free] too much of a hard time. After all, it’s just a promotional thing clearly tossed together on a lark to celebrate Tekken‘s …read more

‘Lost Within’ Developer Human Head Studios Is Partnering with Shinra Technologies, Square Enix’ Cloud Streaming Company

Shinra Technologies has announced that Human Head Studios (of Prey fame) will be joining its joining its Prototype Accelerator program. While the partnership hasn’t yielded any formal game announcement, the Wisconsin-based studio seems to be working on, or at least researching, a multiplayer game that takes advantage of Shinra’s streaming platform.

Human Head co-founder and Creative Director Ted Halsted: “Our team is passionate about multiplayer and Shinra’s unique platform gives our engineers and designers the ability to develop new and ground-breaking gameplay.”

On the face of things, this new partnership doesn’t seem particularly mobile-relevant. However, Square Enix—which owns Shinra and its technology—are clearly interested in the possibility of streaming console games to iOS: just last month, they launched a cloud-based version of Final Fantasy XIII on the Japanese App Store. Human Head, meanwhile, is the team behind Lost Within [$6.99], a new iOS horror game that earned a cool four stars from out very own Carter Dotson.

(The studio also released a free-to-play shooting gallery game called Fort Courage [Free] back in 2012 that I wasn’t aware of, a relic of the App Store’s heady halcyon days.)

Earlier this year, Shinra announced similar partnerships …read more

‘Tallowmere’ Review – Axes, Clubs, and Rocket Launchers

Booting up Tallowmere [$3.99] by Chris McFarland for the first time results in two things: eye strain and frustration. At least at first. The charm of this game takes some time to creep up on you, but when it clicks, it really clicks. There are some issues to be worked out, for sure, but there’s a reason our forums were getting really excited in discovering this game together.

Tallowmere is a rougelike, and also a princess hanging out within said roguelike. As can be expected from the genre, it’s pretty difficult, and definitely takes some getting used to. The interface and controls are easily the weakest aspects of this bloody ride, so I might as well get them out of the way first. This game was designed for PC, and can currently be found on Steam. It is supremely obvious when you open up the options menu, only to find tiny text and closely packed buttons. The text remains eye-straining small throughout. Thankfully the developer, Chris, has stated that he’s working on a fix for this. The controls include small buttons, a touch anywhere D-pad on the left half of the screen, and everything else sectioned off on the …read more

Neumob Promises To Speed Up Your Mobile Apps, Raises $2.3M Seed Round

Neumob is a mobile app for Android (Android 4.0+, with iOS coming later), that promises to speed up all of your other mobile apps and browsers through a combination of its mobile app, VPN service and application delivery network. The company today announced that it has raised a $2.3 million seed round from a number of top investors, including Accel Partners, Shasta Ventures, Menlo Ventures… Read More …read more

App Store Update: May 13

Every day hundreds of new apps make their debut on the App Store, and hundreds more are updated or reduced in price. We have sifted through the noise and highlighted those select few that might be worth your attention.

Note: The prices and deals compiled below are accurate at the time we published this story, but all are subject to change.

Alien Tribe 2 – (Free, Down from $4.99)

Free for the first time since its debut a year and a half ago, Alien Tribe 2 is a “4X space game that combines several genres. Imagine a universe sandbox meets real-time strategy and a pinch of tower defense.”

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