Yesterday Zynga announced the shocking news that it was closing its Zynga Dallas and Zynga With Friends studios. Prior to Zynga’s acquisition of these teams they were known as Bonfire Studios and NewToy respectively. It was not long ago back in February 2013 that Zynga’s Chief Operating Officer, David Ko announced that it was merging all of its Texas operations under a single office as part of cost cutting moves for the struggling company. Now it seems those cost cutting measures have gone even deeper resulting in the layoff of all staff from the studios formed by Ex Ensemble Studios members. Read more
Ex Ensembler’s Paul and David Bettner who set about forming the hugely successful mobile studio NewToy have confirmed that they have now left the mobile gaming giant, Zynga. Paul and David Bettner joined Zynga after NewToy was acquired in December 2010. Back then the brothers commented that joining Zynga made perfect sense as both parties “share the same dream of building a social treasure”. Since the acquisition the NewToy studio which was re-named “Zynga With Friends” have greatly expanded the “With Friends” series of games from the massively successful Words with Friends to including Hanging, Matching, and Gems with Friends. Read more
Ok, so its been a while since the last update! Apologies for that! So what’s been happening lately? First off, the beta testing for Age of Empires Online has come to end. Microsoft and Gas Powered are now wrapping up the game with final touches before launching this August 16th. It wont be long now until eager Age fans get to play the next great game in the Age series which has sold over 20 million copies under Ensemble Studios. Luckily the bulk of the work on Age of Empires Online has come from prestigious ex Ensemblers at Robot Entertainment. Read more
Zynga’s “With Friends” studio, who used to be known as NewToy have just announced their latest game to hit the iOS market – “Hanging with Friends”. Taking the hugely popular “With Friends” series further, this new game is based around the traditional Hang Man game. One player is tasked with choosing a word while the other player has to guess the word by guessing which letters match the word. The player guessing only has a limited amount of guesses before the game is over and normally that player is hanged when the game is over. That’s not necessarily very positive so Zynga have brightened up the concept and made it feel a bit more positive – say hello to pretty colourful graphics! Read more
Wow we have a pretty big update from Ex-Ensemble formed studios today Friday 3rd June 2011, infact its so big we have three studios involved – Robot, Windstorm and Zynga With Friends. Incase your’re wondering the Zynga With Friends studio used to be called NewToy before they were acquired by the Zynga machine. The “With Friends” is a link to their previous titles, Words with friends and Chess with friends. Now that we know who we’re talking about lets delve straight into todays news! Read more
Vijay Thakkar an ex-ES programmer who had a short spell as programmer and then lead programmer at Robot Entertainment is now at NewToy as their technical director. Vijay recently took to the stage at the GDC Online to give his insights about the need to have the ability to quickly and effectively patch games post release. Vijay compares NewToy’s ability to quickly patch games in comparison to Nintendo’s “Metroid the other M” where a game breaking glitch meant gamers had to send their SD card or console away for repair. Read more
If you have been enjoying NewToy’s kingdom building game “We Rule” on the iOS platform then you will be pleased to hear the budding developer is about to release a whole new feature for We Rule - Quests!
According to the press release these quests will bring:
-New Reasons to Explore
-New Quests Every Week Read more
Paul Bettner from iPhone developer NewToy is also going to be presenting at GDC Europe along with Bruce Shelley (these are separate presentations). Paul’s talk is titled “Keys to Successful iPhone Game Marketing”. The talk is likely to draw on things from the studio’s expierence in generating highly successful iPhone games including the highly popular Words / Chess with Friends series. Here is the session description from the GDC Europe website:
Publishers and developers are constantly looking for ways to solve the biggest issue with creating games for iPhone, discovery. If people don’t know about your app and can’t find it, it’s impossible to make money in the market. The participants of this session will discuss what you need to do to have success in today’s iPhone market. From the effectiveness of advertising, to code giveaways and promotions, if you’re creating a game for iPhone, this session will better prepare you for the task of marketing your game.