Tag Archives: transformers

Someone Spent Over $150,000 In Microtransactions On A Transformers Game

You thought $62,000 in microtransactions was bad? Then you should see what one person spent on a mobile Transformers game.

This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.

A large part of the Game Connect Asia-Pacific conference, held days before PAX Australia as part of Melbourne International Games Week, is developers sharing their wisdom with other developers. Some of that wisdom comes in the form of monetisation strategies, because most Aussie developers are small studios working on mobile platforms or free-to-play titles, and at the end of the day, everyone needs to pay rent.

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So there’s often quite a few talks about making money, what strategies work for what games, and at what parts that should factor in the design process. Henry Fong, the CEO from mobile publisher and developer Yodo1, and Featherweight Games co-founder Dylan Bevis, spoke about how free-to-play games needed to consider the monetisation process from the design stage, instead of factoring it in afterwards.

But a key part of the process is understanding the audience of a game — and what they are likely to pay. In the case of Rodeo Stampede, an endless runner which has gotten over 100 million downloads, Fong told the crowd that the highest spending users (or ‘whales’, as they were referred to in the talk) might spend a few hundred. But in the case of Transformers: Earth Wars, another game published by Yodo1, one whale spent around USD$150,000.

I asked Fong to clarify that figure after the GCAP talk, or whether that was just a projection for the mobile game’s highest spenders, and he confirmed that one player “has spent over USD$150,000″.

Given the concern and outrage over microtransactions already, like the player who spent $62,000 on Runescape purchases, it’s hard not to imagine this capturing the attention of regulators. The authors of the recent Entertaiment and Media Outlook told the Australian games industry only last week that regulator attention on loot boxes and microtransactions was likely to intensify.

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That’s especially the case once more AI tools become incorporated into the mobile market. Another element of the panel concentrated on the possibilities of automated tools and finding ways to locate the most likely spenders in a game. One tool allowed developers to automate the moderation of communities within mobile games, while the Yodo1 developers created a machine learning neural network that analysed player behaviour and session times to predict what players would become high spenders.

The bot could spot “potential whales” with about 87 percent accuracy, but “we think we can get it up to about 95 percent,” Fong said. The model was trained with around two and a half years of player monetisation data, and Fong explained that it was even technically possible to build in logic that would target different players with different monetisation packages.

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But such a model would ultimately backfire. When asked to clarify the capabilities of the tech that, Fong explained it would be a net loss for the studio, since the backlash from players would be disastrous. “We don’t want to create a situation whereby different people pay different prices for the same thing,” he said.

The fact that studios can incorporate that kind of behaviour, however, is usually a good argument for more industry regulation. Fong expected more regulation as video games continues to grow in status, but it was important for developers to work with government along the way. “As gaming becomes a mainstream industry that impacts billions of people, regulation is inevitable and its part of our industry growing up and hitting ‘prime time’,” he said.

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“We need to work with the regulators to make sure that they have the full context of the industry and that any regulations work as intended and don’t break a bunch of other things by accident.”

Source: Kotaku.com

It’s Not Looking Good For Hasbro’s $4.6 Million Transformer Crowdfunding Campaign

In mid-July, Hasbro launched a crowdfunding campaign seeking $575 from 8,000 backers each to produce a two-foot-tall action figure of Transformers: The Movie villain Unicron. With the August 31 deadline rapidly approaching and less than a third of the campaign goal reached, things are looking grim for the planet eater.

HasLab is a crowdfunding platform created by Hasbro to make fans’ dream toys a reality. Its first project, Jabba’s Sail Barge from Star Wars, successfully raised $3.85 million from more than 7,000 backers to create nearly four-foot-long replicas of the iconic vehicle from Return of the Jedi. HasLab’s second project, a massive Transformers figure fans have been dreaming about since the release of the 1986 animated movie, is not going nearly as well. Nearly 30 days in, only $1.4 million of Hasbro’s $4.6 million goal has been reached.

Hasbro’s done its best to promote the massive figure. The company had a prototype on display at San Diego Comic-Con last month. Unicron was all over YouTube, generating a ton of buzz on social media.

via Realistikk on YouTube

More recently, the company released a fancy video of the figure being transformed by Takara Tomy product designer Kunihiro. Watching the panels fold and pieces flip, slowly turning the evil planet into an evil robot is breathtaking and not a little intimidating.

The problem is pretty obvious. Nearly $600 is too big an ask on such short notice, even when Unicron’s involved. I consider myself a pretty big fan of the Transformers franchise, and I’ve spent a whole lot of money on collecting the figures, but never this much, all at once. If I had several months to set money aside, maybe. A month and a half? Not happening. Hopefully this and HasLab’s other current seemingly doomed project, a $300 three-foot-tall Cookie Monster figure, will help guide Hasbro toward more reasonable crowdfunding ventures in the future.

Source: Kotaku.com

Transformers Meets Ghostbusters in This Totally Tubular ’80s Toy Mashup 

I might have had dreams like this.
Photo: Hasbro
Toys and CollectiblesAction figures, statues, exclusives, and other merchandise. Beware: if you look here, you’re probably going to spend some money afterwards.  

Think of the ultimate tool for separating grownup ‘80s kids from their hard-earned cash and it’s hard to imagine it will look any different than what Hasbro’s revealing at the New York Toy Fair this weekend: a Transformers meets Ghostbusters mashup that sees Ecto-1 transforming into a ghost-trapping robot toy. And io9 is giddy to exclusively show it to you today.

Put this character in the next Ghostbusters sequel, please.

Do transforming robots from Cybertron turn into ghosts when they’re dead or deactivated? Neither the ‘80s animated series, nor the recent run of Hollywood Transformers movies have answered that question, so Ectotron, who comes with his own proton pack and paranormal activity-detecting goggles, might only be designed to battle human specters.

A non-transforming Slimer figure is included.
Photo: Hasbro

Ectotron transforms from a seven-inch long replica of the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 vehicle to a robot (and back again) in about 22 steps, which isn’t terribly complicated as modern Transformers toys go. It doesn’t come with the Ghostbusters themselves—you’ll have to leave that part to your imagination—but it does include a transparent Slimer figure so Ectotron will have an actual ghost to bust right out of the box.

You’ll have to wait until early June to add this $40 piece to your collection when it will be exclusively available in-store at GameStop. But you can get it online too, with pre-orders starting today at GameStop’s site, HasbroPulse.com, and EB Games Canada.


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Source: Kotaku.com

It Takes Six Transformers Trading Cards To Build Devastator

Predaking? Weak. Superion? Bah. Before the Autobots and Decepticons started transforming teams of five into one giant robot, there were the Constructicons, six construction vehicle robots who combined into the mighty Devastator. The original gestalt is a “towering warrior” in the Transformers Trading Card Game’s upcoming Rise of the Combiners expansion.

The Rise of the Combiners expansion, hitting stores in March, introduces combiner teams to the Transformers Trading Card Game. Players must collect each member of a team and then use an “Enigma” card to combine them into one gigantic robot. Rather than having two sides featuring their robot and alt modes, combiner team members have both of those on one side of their card, with the other side featuring a portion of their combined form.

Most Transformers combiner team toys feature five robots—four limbs and a main torso, with all limbs being interchangeable. Devastator is a different sort of construct. His six components fit together in a specific way, and there’s no swapping them around.

With six component robots—Bonecrusher, Hook, Longhaul, Mixmaster, Scavenger and Scrapper—Devastator is slightly harder to bring into play than combiners with only five parts.

The Transformers Card Game’s Next Delightfully Silly Combiner Set Is Superion

You’re wrong, Menasor! For you, I have nothing else!
Image: Hasbro
Toys and CollectiblesAction figures, statues, exclusives, and other merchandise. Beware: if you look here, you’re probably going to spend some money afterwards.  

Last month, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast revealed that the first expansion for their Transformers card game would be bringing in the Combiners—which actually get laid out with each other to reveal a gigantic combined form. The Decepticons got Predaking. Now the Autobots are getting Superion.

io9 is excited to reveal the first look at the Superion cards coming in Rise of the Combiners on March 1. As with Predaking, in order to form Superion, players will have to put five different cards onto the field—specifically, of course, the Aerialbots: Air Raid, Alpha Bravo, Fireflight, Silverbolt, and Skydive.

Like all other Transformers in the game, the Aerialbots can still transform into their own vehicle forms—it’s just that, unlike most Transformers cards, you don’t actually physically flip them over to reveal their alternate stats and transformed mode. That’s because, after activating the right “Enigma” card, flipping them over and lining the right ‘bots in the right places together reveals that—when all are one—they’ve got the ginormous art of Superion on the back!

Flying in friendly skies.
Image: Hasbro

It’s a wonderful way to utilize the combining aspect of the Combiner Transformers within the mechanics of a card game—which, from the flip-to-transform double-sided cards to absurdly-giant-sized ones representing the bulkier bots already, Transformers Trading Card Game has a lot of so far. What’s next after the Combiners? We’ll have to wait and see, but I hope we’re not too far out from having to construct elaborate card structures for some really major transformations or something! Rise of the Combiners—which will also bring in triple-change Transformers to the game as well as several other new mechanics and rules tweaks—booster cards will be available starting March 1.


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Source: Kotaku.com