Free-to-play is a divisive topic in the games industry right now. Some developers and publishers, especially in the mobile gaming world, love it - free games get downloaded more, and they have the potential to bring in more revenue. Gamers used to the "pay once, pay forever" model of games and software in general over the last 30 years think it's changing the industry and damaging both the economics and the mechanics of gaming itself.
Yesterday social gaming giant Zynga purchased NaturalMotion, developers of notable mobile games including the CSR Racing series, Backbreaker Football, and the official Jenga game for iOS and Android. TechCrunch reports that the $527 million purchase includes $391 million in cash and 39.8 million shares of Zynga stock. NaturalMotion operates offices in London, Oxford, Brighton, and San Francisco.
Just one week after bringing Play Music to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, Google has reached a major licensing deal with Armonia, a music licensing initiative that represents an alliance of publishers from across Europe. The deal will give Play customers access to Armonia's 5.5 million musical works licensed across over 30 countries.
The Nexus One died for the general public, sadly, but continued to live on with the help of Google's own ADP (Android Developer Phone) program.
For an unsubsidized but reasonable price of $529, registered Android Market publishers (anyone can be for $25) could purchase this masterpiece, even though it was canned by Google and sold out pretty much everywhere else... until it sold out even as the ADP 3 weeks ago.