Ironhide, the Latin American video game developer responsible for “Clash of the Olympians,” “Kingdom Rush,” and “Iron Marines,” has sold over 30 million copies in a little more than a decade to become one of the largest in the region. Meanwhile, a new study indicated that children who play video games for at least three hours each day did better on cognitive skill assessments. An increasing body of evidence indicates that video games are not detrimental to children, although not everyone agrees that they improve cognitive function. Lastly, by making the announcement that it will be closing down Onoma today, Embracer Group is dealing a one-two punch to both its gamers and the developers that worked on the platform.
How ‘Kingdom Rush’ Developer Ironhide Sold 30 Million Copies to Become a LatAm Leader
In a little more than a decade, Ironhide, the Latin American video game firm behind “Clash of the Olympians,” “Kingdom Rush,” and “Iron Marines,” has sold more than 30 million copies.
As the studio tries to expand abroad, Benzinga Gaming chatted with the Ironhide crew at Level UY 2022 in Uruguay.
Consistency is key to success
Ironhide makes games since 2010. The studio has released nine video games in 12 years, a feat few can match.
Gabriel Artus, Ironhide’s PMO, didn’t see the three founding partners’ first steps, but he’s been in the office for nine years. So he’s seen the team and market evolve over time.
We were the first to succeed with our own project. Before this, Uruguay solely did for-hire work. Ironhide may have encouraged others to build “stated the person establishing Ironhide’s work practices.
Gabriel understands the road of the younger generations well, since he is the vice president of his country’s developers association (CAVI) and runs the National Video Game Contest, which has rewarded the greatest projects in development for 15 years.
“This year, 10 new teams worked on titles. This gives us a measure of the industry’s output volume and quality “PMO of Ironhide remarked.
This may sound little for many major gaming markets, but Uruguay has 3.4 million citizens.
Adapting to survive
Now, what’s in Ironhide today?
During these 12 years, the firm became known for only developing premium videogames, not free-to-play, unlike other mobile developers. But with one of its four projects under production, the scene altered.
“Until now, we’d build a game for two years, playtest it with a small group for a couple of months before release, and then examine metrics and balance what was essential and possible,” Gabriel Artus said.
The new RTS video game was a turning point in the studio’s history because, while it preserves the genre that typifies the studio’s work, it switches to the free-to-play model. The choice did not go over well with the studio’s longstanding followers.
“The reviews were awful. We’d never launched a game with fewer than 4.7 ratings, and we weren’t used to it, “Paula Bentancur, Ironhide’s marketing chief since 2018, said it.
“Today the market drives you down that path; we can’t go against it,” she added. But we’re improving Junkworld to make it as similar to Ironhide as feasible.”
The move looks hazardous, but according to the mobile market, it would have been riskier not to adjust its premium strategy and lose ground to similar free options.
“The safest bet for a new IP like Junkworld is to make it free because if it’s not free, it might not get downloaded at all,” said the studio’s marketing manager.
But Who Said It Was Easy?
Devoting oneself to producing video games is hard, especially in the mobile age, where analytics and algorithms are as important as TV ratings. However, Ironhide’s PMO believes that being from Latin America makes things easier.
“Within all our challenges, as a region, we have an advantage: expenses are significantly lower but we continue to sell our products in U.S. dollars,” said Artus, noting that being a video game producer in Latin America allows people to afford a better lifestyle than the typical population.
Ironhide employs 65 staff and is developing four games at once. Interestingly, its most dedicated fan market is the United States, where it succeeded with “Clash of the Olympians” on the now-unused Adobe Flash multimedia software platform.
Ironhide is popular in Europe, South Korea, and China, including Germany. Though its greatest economic success is in mobile, the studio has published various works on Steam since 2014 and on Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY) Switch.
All of these makes Ironhide a key studio in Latin America.
Benzinga Gaming has more on Ironhide and other developers.
Not Everyone Thinks Video Games Help Kids
Original Source: Gaming Might Not Be Bad for Kids, But Not Everyone Thinks They Help
Many experts agree it’s OK for youngsters to play video games, but moderation is key and more research is needed.
A recent study indicated that kids who played video games for three hours a day or more did better on cognitive tests. Growing data shows video games don’t hurt youngsters, but not everyone feels they increase brain performance.
“This study is interesting, but it has so many gaps that it won’t hold water,” a physician told Lifewire. The study entirely ignored gullibility, lack of self-control, impulsiveness, and poor executive functioning in children ages 9-10. It also did not identify the kind of video games tested.
Game for Good
The study of 2,000 children indicated gamers had higher impulse control and working memory than non-gamers.
“This study adds to our understanding of the links between video games and brain development,” says Nora Volkow, M.D.
Barlett says the report lacks important details that could tell parents and researchers how video games effect kids. “This recommendation needs more study,” she said.
Children who played video games for a few hours a day had more brain activity in attention and memory regions than those who didn’t. These children had increased brain activity in frontal regions associated with cognitively demanding tasks and less in visual regions. The researchers suggested in their report that playing video games may help with impulse control and memory.
“The study shows some benefits of children playing video games,” said Hallie Zwibel, head of NYIT’s Center for Esports Medicine. This adds to the evidence that video games increase attention and hand-eye coordination.
Games Are No Fix
Even the most passionate supporters of the video game research doubted if games are always healthy for youngsters. Charles Palmer, director of Interactive Media Programs at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, told Lifewire that video games can enhance certain youngsters’ moods, encourage relaxation, and reduce anxiety. Many kids use computer games to socialize, he said.
“Today, and especially during the pandemic, youngsters are making friends globally,” he said.
University of Montana professor Michael Cassens says video games “promote teamwork, communication, and leadership.” Like any activity, children should play video games in moderation to avoid eye strain, bad posture, and overuse problems.
As the study is observational, we don’t know causation, said Mightier’s CSO Jason Kahn. “Kids with executive functioning skills may be drawn to video games, not that video games cause them,” he said. “While play has many benefits, we can’t rely on this study to tell youngsters to play Tetris every day.”
Video Game Studio Rebrands, Then Closes
Embracer Group hits gamers and developers with the shutdown of Onoma.
According to Bloomberg, Onoma’s personnel was told of the shutdown Tuesday. The shutdown affects 200 workers. Some staff were offered jobs at Eidos Montréal, which Embracer bought from Square Enix. Bloomberg stated that Eidos Montréal is producing a “very early” new Deus Ex game, a new Fable game with Microsoft-owned Playground Games, and a new IP.
Embracer Group reportedly closed Onoma, a studio it bought in May, to cut scope and expense. The video game publisher renamed Square Enix Montréal last month.
Canadian firm known for Deus Ex Go, Hitman Go, and Tomb Raider Go had Avatar: The Last Airbender iOS and Android apps in development. One of Onoma’s scrapped projects was a Stranger Things-inspired riding game, said Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier.
Swedish firm Embracer owns Gearbox Interactive and THQ Nordic, among others.
When Embracer bought Onoma from Square Enix, it said it will produce sequels, remakes, remasters, and spin-offs of previous titles like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain. It also revealed “transmedia ventures” like the Tomb Raider animation on Netflix.
Phil Rogers, director of Embracer-owned CDE Entertainment, told GameIndustry.biz, “Our premium franchises and AAA games offer expansion prospects.” “Closing publishing QA and Onoma was a difficult choice we made with caution. We congratulate all team members for their years of service and want to place as many as possible.
Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News
Overall, Ironhide, a Latin American video game developer best known for its work on “Clash of the Olympians,” “Kingdom Rush,” and “Iron Marines,” has sold more than 30 million copies of its games in a little over a decade, making it one of the largest in the area. While attending the Level UY 2022 event in Uruguay, the studio’s home country, Benzinga Gaming chatted with the Ironhide team to learn more about their plans to expand abroad.
On the other hand, recent research has shown that kids who say they play video games for three hours a day or more tend to do better on tests of cognitive ability. There is mounting evidence that video games pose no health risks to children, however some people still dispute the claim that they can improve cognitive abilities. Connie Bartlett, a physician at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County, California, told Lifewire in an email interview, “This study is interesting, but has so many gaps that it won’t hold water.” “That’s not just wrong, but also extremely myopic. The study did not take into account the gullibility, lack of self-control, impulsiveness, and poor executive functioning of youngsters aged 9 to 10. No information about the games’ genres was included in the study either.”
Finally, with today’s statement that it will be closing down Onoma, Embracer Group has delivered a double hit to the gaming community and its developers. Staff at the recently rebranded studio Onoma were reportedly notified of the closure during a meeting on Tuesday, as reported by Bloomberg. About 200 people are said to be affected by the shutdown. As a result of Embracer’s acquisition of Eidos Montréal from Square Enix, several of the staff were apparently offered positions at Eidos Montréal. Also, according to Bloomberg, Eidos Montréal is working on a new Deus Ex game that is “very, very early in development,” as well as a new IP, and is co-developing a new Fable game with Microsoft-owned development studio Playground Games.