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Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and even Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) are are big names in gaming culture, even without having the extravagant promotion of console titles, making big announcements at entertainment expos, or platinum recording artists lending their voice for commercials. While free-to-play games are in a league of their own, their following is expanding outside of the freemium model. But is this market of gaming fair to players?

Freemium games, or free games with microtransaction options included to access more content, are shifting the direction of titles that players are going after. According to Super Data Research, a market intelligence group that collects information directly from publishers and developers, free-to-play in-game sales increased from 2012 to 2013 by 45 percent, totaling $2.89 billion.

This type of digital entertainment is dominating virtual stores. App analytics group Distimo determined free-to-play games with in-app purchases make up 92 percent of Apple’s App store.

Even more notable in relation to the growth of freemium sales is the decline of pay-to-play sales, which decreased 19 percent.

With the establishment of freemium entertainment in the market, there is

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In the short span of just a couple of decades, the video game industry has expanded to become a titanic force that could rival even the movie industry. As a result of this, there are now countless game developers, publishers, and personalities that can trace their origins back to something that was once thought to incite extreme violence in children.

However, this means that everyone has to fight to make their brand or product recognized in such a crowded marketplace, leading to some very clever and innovative tactics to get people talking about them. Here are some of the best ways by which certain entities in the gaming industry have attracted everyone's attention, and possibly even respect.
Stealing trademarking anything and everything that isn't nailed down!

Have you ever been bored out of your mind, when all of a sudden you have a burning desire to trademark common words? If so, then you may have more in common with Sony and King (the developers of Candy Crush Saga) than you thought. And everyone loves a game developer that they can relate to.

After all, who can forget

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According to many old school gamers, we are living in a dark age of gaming thanks to all the filthy casual gamers and lazy developers. It’s no longer about making good games but to quickly release a new title then milk it dry before moving on to the next cash cow.

Most of us old school gamers need to realize that we are not living in a dark age because many of these problems in gaming have been around for a long time. From sleazy freemium games to constant re-releases, gamers have seen them back in the days when the N64 and PlayStation were king.

These are five common problems in gaming today that have been around for a long time.

5. Series Never Changes

Gamers hear this a lot about franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, every game in series is the same with little changes. Despite a few tweaks, it’s going to be the same game with the same gameplay, same story, same events and same predictable plot twist that any gamer could see coming. By the fourth title, you know exactly which character

Research has proven that playtime for children can be far more beneficial than originally understood. Toys encourage children to develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Toys also inspire the creativity and imagination of children. Studies have found that career choices can be determined by toy selection. If a spark is ignited in play, it could well develop into a passion and a career later in life.  Kids love to play with toys. Just look at the face of any child as they walk into a store. Children ‘play’ without even realising that they are learning at the same time. With this in mind, companies are strategically developing educational toys with a purpose.

Enhance Development

To parents, educators and psychologists, educational toys are developed to enhance intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development at different milestones in a child’s life. Educational toys are especially helpful for special needs children to reinforce skills and aid in learning. According to the Association for Psychological Science, ‘Toys are opportunities for play, for exploration, and for social interaction; an educational toy that promotes these will have a positive effect.’

Parental Concerns

Children are expected to know

A new annual report by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) on the video game industry includes a vast amount of figures and numbers, but one set of data is shaking up the gaming culture. The trade association found women are now becoming a more significant group of gamers, being closer than ever to overtaking males.

After taking a slight dip in 2013, the report states 48 percent of all U.S gamers are women, an eight percent increase from four years ago. There are several reasons that explain this increase in female gamers.

One reason for women playing more games is the advancement in mobile technology. The use of devices and smartphones are increasing, with females leading the use of games on these formats. According to a report by Flurry, an analytics company, the biggest group that spends time and money on mobile games such as Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga are women. These types of social and puzzle games combine for 77 percent of all types of mobile games played according to the ESA. With digital format sales surpassing physical format purchases in 2013, women are becoming bigger spenders in the gaming industry.

Then there is the shift away from consoles

Designing spaceships for games is a fun experience. If you're interested in 3D art, science, exploration and the cold, haunting darkness of space then you should definitely give it a try.

I've designed a variety of spaceships, most recently for Frontier Development's new Elite: Dangerous game. I hope that my advice will inspire you to give it a try. If you already know how to draw spaceships then perhaps there's something here that you haven't considered before.

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Designing for games is a different challenge compared to illustrating a scene. You have to consider all distances and directions of view, as well as ensuring that your design fits into the game's world.

In many science fiction games the spaceship is a character in itself, and this is a good way to approach the topic. Is your ship brand spanking new, or a beaten-up bucket of bolts? Are the owners rich or poor? How about adding unique elements that suggest it's a semi-sentient craft, or a plant-based bioship?

Perhaps the ship's been created from a hollowed-out asteroid to look inconspicuous? Thinking of your spaceship design in the same way as your characters will help you to create an

While playing through Far Cry Primal, you will be able to improve your character by earning experience from completing missions, defeating enemies, and by completing vartious other activities. As you do so, Takkar will unlock skill points that can be used to purchase new upgrades and abilities.

There are 77 skill to unlock in total - to make many of them available, you must first recruit a specific member of your tribe and then build them lodging within your village. Some skills can only be unlocked after completing story missions.

What to Unlock First

Oros is a dangerous land, and what you choose to unlock with your first several skill points could make your playtime either much easier or far more difficult. Here are the skills we recommend unlocking as quickly as possible, in order to become a more effective warrior:

  • Extra Health I + II
    Takkar isn't a very formidable warrior at the onset of the game, and there are plenty of horrible ways to die in the wilderness early on. Purchasing these two skills will allow Takkar to take far more damage before he dies, greatly increasing his odds of survival.
  • Primitive Heal I
    This ability not only adds extra options

When it comes to shooter sequels, the delightfully animated and colorful Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 shows just the kind of growth I like to see. Like a big juicy brain, there’s lots to chew on with a variety of single-player and multiplayer modes, maps, and customization options.

While the simplicity and ease of use of the original quartet of characters on each side will be attractive to series newcomers and can certainly hold their own in battle, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2's biggest attraction are the six interesting new classes and their fun abilities. On the Plants side, Kernel Corn brings much-needed heavy firepower to the floral troops with a rocket launcher, gun-assisted rocket jump, and airstrike abilities, balanced out by his extremely slow movement. The orange-based Citron is almost the exact opposite; he’s very defense-based, with a temporary shield ability and a ball form that can get him out of action fast. The magic-using Rose is the real wild card, as she can slow down enemies, turn them into goats, or even very briefly turn into an apparition with a powerful attack. While Rose has a bit higher of a learning curve, she can be pretty useful

Devil Daggers is a challenging high score chaser where every second counts.

If you find yourself frequently failing around the 30 second to a minute mark, this Devil Daggers tips and tricks guide is for

Here, we'll go over the basics of Devil Daggers, including information on controls, gameplay, and enemy types. We'll also provide some handy tips for surviving longer in Devil Daggers' hellish abyss.

Devil Daggers - The Basics

The goal of Devil Daggers is to survive for as long as possible.

As an arena shooter, Devil Daggers traps you in a single, contained area and continually spawns more enemies for you to fight. Enemies are much quicker than you, so the key is to keep moving.

Controls

To move in Devil Daggers, use the WASD keys on the keyboard. To shoot your daggers, use the left click button on your mouse. Tapping left click fires a shotgun-like blast. Holding down left click fires a never-ending stream of daggers, like a machine gun.

You can jump using space. Jumping while shooting a shotgun blast at the ground below you lets you "dagger jump." You'll fly

I love Candy Crush Saga. I do. I can't help it. I tried to avoid it. And yet here I am, smashing chocolate blocks and replaying levels just to make sure I have a flawless roadmap of 3-starred levels in my wake, just like you.

Let's be clear. I hate the concept of freemium games. If I had my choice, I would rather pay for a game without being nickel-and-dimed to death... particularly just to keep playing.

If you've gotten past the first hurdle of Lemonade Lake in Candy Crush, you'll understand what I mean. Perhaps you were like me and had gotten there without giving in to the frustrated impulse to pay real money to keep playing when you run out of lives, or when you have one more jelly square that you need to break and you're fresh out of lollipops.

But at least with Candy Crush, I have options.

Whether you've paid to keep playing (no judgment), or you've ground through countless lives and idled through the 20 minute wait times, if you've got past level 35, you will realize that you are no longer able to progress.

If you've been paying your way through, this shouldn't be a great concern for you. But if

Candy Crush Saga developer, King.com has not been making people happy lately. In the fight to protect their intellectual property (a candy-colored ripoff of Bejeweled), they have given the Banner Saga trademark an infringement notice.

And then there's their attempt to trademark the word "Candy" as well as "Saga" across a broad variety of products, from shower caps to computer games. This began in February of last year... and on January 15, 2014, King came even closer to owning that trademark since the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved it for publication.

Now, if you're a developer with the word "candy" in the name of your mobile app, you may need to change it.
Or get ready for an impending lawyer battle.

According to King, they don't want everyone's candy, they just want to protect themselves against IP infringers. On the Apple store, where King pulls in the majority of its money, similar-sounding apps abound, case in point: Candy Casino Slots - Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania.

Now this may not seem at first glance to look anything like Candy Crush Saga, but the App store icon simply reads Candy Slots, but for the uninformed eye, a quick search for "Candy" in hope

So one of the presumed makeover directives, when The Muppets returned from its midseason break all revamped, was clearly to break up Kermit and Denise. The fact that he was dating a new pig seemed to be a bone of contention for many persnickety Muppet purists. Even though the real problem, overall, was the show's focus on dating in general. Everyone dating, not just Kermit and his new swine squeeze. The Muppets' various sex lives dominated the fall episodes.

And now it's returned in full force. Not just with Pepe and Rizzo out on an aggressive prowl for ladies, but Kermit and Piggy finding their old spark again. Because apparently it wasn't just enough to break up Kermit's new relationship, he HAD to get back with Piggy. Really quickly. It was a race to return to the status quo. And so because of this, we got another "Kermit lies to spare someone's feelings" episode.

This time around, Kermit lied to protect visiting nephew Robin (instead of Fozzie, who'd assumed this delicate role twice already). Robin, whose PARENTS HAD JUST SPLIT UP. Yes, not only did all the dating aspects return to the show, but so did the grim, morose realism that worked

A recent Q&A between Nintendo's CEO Satoru Iwata and the Nintendo investors was released and translated, stating how the "Free-To-Play gaming market is killing their business and revenue." This is pretty understandable since Free-To-Play games are widely available, but the real question is why Nintendo is taking such a large hit from this model.
Why is Free-To-Play bad for Nintendo?

One of the many reasons Nintendo is a bit baffled by the Free-To-Play games is the fact they don't really have any. If you want to play a Mario game, you'll have to first purchase the system, then buy the game.

We've all experienced Free-To-Play games on our mobile devices and systems, probably because we already own the hardware. I bet you if we had to buy an entirely different hardware to play the Candy Crush Saga, not nearly as many people would put time into it.

Of course, Nintendo's CEO Satoru Iwata put it a bit more eloquently in his Q&A.

Although people may actually be spending more money (to play games on other devices not dedicated to video games), it is less visible, so the hurdle we have to clear in order to encourage them to purchase dedicated game systems has comparatively

King Digital Entertainment, publisher of over 190 popular and fun video games, invites Candy Crush Saga gamers to a Valentine's Day celebration. Starting tomorrow and continuing for 24 hours, players can take part in a free challenge to celebrate their enjoyment and commitment to this popular game.Beginning at 8 am (GMT) tomorrow, millions of Candy Crush Saga gamers can play this simple, yet challenging video game on their mobile device or Facebook. Players are challenged to match 1000 red candies to earn 10 golden bars and a lollipop hammer to enhance their game time. They also gain unlimited lives by purchasing more golden bars during this day long celebration.

Sebastian Knutsson, Chief Creative Officer at King said:

At King we’re always looking for new ways to entertain our players and continually add new content to our games. And this Valentine’s Day is no exception. For the first time we’ll be offering all the  Candy Crush Saga players around the world the chance to compete in a live in-game challenge. Players will have 24 hours to match 1000 red candies on any level and those that reach the target will receive some sweet in-game rewards.

Does your sweetheart love to play Candy Crush Saga? Give him or her a Valentine's

candy Crush Developer Going Public in US Looking for a good investment? Candy Crush developer King Digital Entertainment will list 22.2 million shares on US stock markets.

There's a lot of money being made off video game development in the interactive gaming industry. A smart video game developer could raise money for new video game development using this fact as leverage. They could also use the money expand operations and acquire new assets to improve the bottom line of the company.

Candy Crush developer, King Digital Entertainment, recently announced they would sell 22.2 million shares on the US stock market, worth about $553 million. This move will value the company at around $7.6 billion and make the company more valuable to potential investors and buyers. They'll also be able to spend money on developing new video games and improving current titles.

King Digital Entertainment indicates it will use the money to expand the company and acquire new assets. A surprising move considering the company is profitable, having made over $500 million during 2013. The company's largest shareholder is currently Apax Partners, a UK private equity group. Considering 12.2 million daily users play the firm's best game, Candy Crush,

The iTunes store and Google Play store have a lot of free games to choose from, but only a select few are popular enough to get into the top five spots. Check out which games made the cut for the Apple iPhone, the Apple iPad, and Android mobile devices.
Top iOS Games for the Apple iPad
1. Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores

This game is pretty self-explanatory: hunt dinosaurs for fun! It's not exactly Jurassic Park, but it'll do.
2. Jenga

Everybody remembers that nerve-wracking game where picking the wrong block means the tower goes "timber"!
3. Sonic Jump Fever

Sonic has been around since the early '90s. Now almost 25 years later, he's still running, jumping and turning himself into a powerful blue ball - this time to beat the clock and be the best.
4. Assassin's Creed Pirates

The Assassin's Creed series has taken gaming by storm. Play as a ruthless pirate, take on kingdoms and collect all the "booty." Captain Jack Sparrow has nothing on this game.
5. Holly Hobbie & Friends: Fashion Party

Perfect for anyone's little girl (ages four and up according to the iTunes store), this cute game allows young gamers to play dress up with Holly and her friends,

If you hated Candy Crush Saga before King filed shady trademarks on the extremely common words like 'candy' and 'saga', well, I'm about to give you reason to hate them even more.

This morning, the creator of the 2010 mobile game CandySwipe wrote an open letter to King, congratulating them on their diligence in ruining the hopes of anyone even thinking about creating a game with any sort of sweet candy semblance.

In this letter, Albert Ransom details his game and its purpose, which was to serve as a memorial for his late mother. It's a fairly successful game that earns him a decent amount of money--enough to feed his family. Developed and published in 2010 on the App Store, CandySwipe appears to be a much more dated version of Candy Crush Saga; to the point where many players confuse the two, or even say that CandySwipe ripped off King's rendition.

The opposition Ransom filed for King CANDY CRUSH SAGA trademark detailed how this damages his product:

“Furthermore, consumers are leaving 1 and 2 star ratings along with negative comments within Opposer’s game’s public, "ratings and comments" sections within the said trade channels. Consumers are claiming they were looking for, and expecting Applicant’s game,

The Chinese holding company Tencent has just revealed its financial results for the three months ending on September 2014. Overall, the results are pretty impressive. Compared with the same quarter last year, revenues rose by 28% to RMB 19.8 billion ($3.2 billion, £2.04 billion). This in turn led to a 46% increase in net profits to RMB 5.7 billion ($923 million, £584 million).

Tencent has said that these improved figures were driven by the success of their Value Added Services (VAS) sector. This is a term used in the telecommunications industry to describe activities in non-core services. For Tencent, this includes their huge portfolio of games.

The VAS sector is made up of both mobile games and online PC games. Revenues from smartphones titles continue to rise thanks to an expanded user base. Their free-to-play games on mobiles and social networks saw growth in both subscriptions and in-app purchases, leading to a 47% increase in revenue to RMB 4,723 million. In China, Tencent's social networking platform QZone is starting to overtake Facebook and MySpace with 645 million users. Tencent is also the Chinese publisher of King's Candy Crush Saga, which is the top-selling app in the country as of September 2014.

In terms

It's hard to believe that just a short 3 years ago, Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA) was the 800-pound gorilla in the room, when it came to social games. No one thought it could be knocked, until King came along, and brought out its Bejeweled clone, Candy Crush Saga. In a sense, this was probably karma chomping down hard on Zynga's ass for being for blatantly and shamelessly copying other games from smaller developers in the past.

After its IPO in late 2011, ZNGA reached its highest share price of $14.69 in February 2012, and has been slammed down to a current share price of about $2.81. During Q3 2014, Zynga reported losses of $57.1M, compared to $68,000 for the same time period one year ago.

Wow! That's about an 84,000% increase in its losses. Zynga CEO Don Mattrick has been doing a great job driving the company further into the ground since he took over a little over a year ago. Come to think of it, the Q4 losses nearly equal his $57M compensation package! While Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer was rewarded with a similar deal, she at least has been able to get Yahoo!'s stock moving up again. I bet the Zynga

Like millions of other gamers around the world, you probably play (or have played) Candy Crush Saga. And like said millions of other gamers, you've likely been in danger of sending your phone sailing through a window or into the ground because of its frustrating sets of levels that can sometimes seem absolutely insurmountable. Check out these tips and tricks to implement the next time you feel like you just can't make it through one more level. Chances are you can, and chances are you're going to rock it out with our help!

Get by with a little help from your friends. If you get stuck, try the power-ups allocated to you for each level. They can turn the tide in your favor in no time.

Play smart. You have a limited number of moves you can make before it’s game over. Try to make the best out of the candy you have. Get the most you can from each swap. Just because the game suggests you should move a specific tile, that doesn’t mean you should always take its advice — you need to think ahead in order to make sure you always have a move at your disposal.

Work from the