Facebook And Twitter On Xbox 360 For Holidays

Sorry, Myspace.

Microsoft announced Twitter and Facebook were coming to the Xbox 360 at this year s E3, and Eurogamer is now reporting that heavy work is being done to get the two social platforms enabled by the end of the year.

[Microsoft marketing’s James] Halton did go on to say, “It will be before Christmas.” He added, “A lot of the background work’s been done for a lot of applications that are coming.”

Netflix is already enabled on Xbox 360, and Last.fm should hit by the end of the year, all of which will be important additions to the ever-improving Xbox suite of features.

Meanwhile, Sony has a web browser but no integration on any of these fronts (yet), and the market-leading Nintendo Wii can hardly get an online game to play well.  Connecting with the connected demographic is getting away from these two companies as Microsoft looks to steal away even more of their free time.

Depeche Mode In Left 4 Dead 2

From Kotaku:

Surely, I thought, when first seeing the band’s likeness and logo emblazoned on her tee, that wouldn’t last very long. But that Depeche Mode cameo is intentional and it’s authorized.

…The band was very free with letting Valve use its likeness, its audio recordings, and, obviously, its t-shirts in the game.

Music and gaming have had a very valuable relationship that has grown in recent years thanks to Rock Band and Guitar Hero, so it s not surprising a big name band like Depeche Mode feels being in a zombie game is advantageous.

They recently released their twelfth studio album, Sounds of the Universe, so common sense dictates it would be a very smart marketing move for the band to try and gain new audience through any media possible.

Twitter Who?

From The Los Angeles Times:

Of the 2,025 U.S. adults surveyed, 69% said they didn’t know enough about Twitter to comment on the service.

Compare that to just 17% of advertisers who admitted to not knowing much about the website — a group whose colleagues would, if they found out about said confession, probably take them out back “Old Yeller” style.

We get it, you and everyone you know are on Twitter, but this circle of friends is pretty tight, and it takes stories like this to remind you that yes, there are people outside the Twittersphere.  Way outside.

If anything, these numbers should serve to tone down the unabashed love Twitter receives from marketing and business folks who have yet to uncover its true (if there is any) potential.

But if you re a Twitter believer and think the micro-blogging platform is the wave of the future, just remember, the majority of your consumers don t even know what it is, even if Oprah is on it.

Just make sure, when you talk Twitter with consumers, you tell them exactly what that means to them.

Blip.tv Now Syndicating To YouTube, NBC

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

The company, purveyor of little web shows such as “Nostalgia Critic,” “Epic Fu,” “Average Betty” and 48,000 others (seriously), is inventing its version of a TV network for a fractured media world where viewers gravitate to shows that appeal directly to who they are; the opposite of what may be TV’s last true megahit, “American Idol.”

Whereas companies like Revision3 try to create slick, heavily-produced shows that number in the single digits, Blip.tv is carving out a niche as a syndicator of user-created shows.

Their recent deal with YouTube, Roku and NBC shows a different way of looking at user-created content.  Instead of companies staying put with their own portals, Blip.tv is all about increasing the distribution of these shows as much as possible.

Costs are kept low as users are the ones footing the production bill, and revenue from syndication and other opportunities are split down the line, 50/50.

Is this a model we can see being applied to video games   We see a slam dunk when it comes to a model like Xbox Live Indie Games, a story we reported on a few days ago.

Instead of companies tackling the actual content creation, the next big thing is always being developed in some garage or basement.  If companies like Blip.tv can focus on syndication, it could be a mutually beneficial relationship that can be applied to multiple mediums, including video games.

Soccer Game Advertised During Soccer Game on Soccer Players

EA Sports, following some glowing preview coverage of the latest edition of their long-running FIFA soccer franchise, has decided to be the primary sponsor for the Swindon Town Football Club.

Some may remember Dreamcast from past years on Arsenal and Xbox 360 logos on Seattle’s MLS team (you know, The Seattle… Soccer Players), but Swindon Town is the first to have a game s brand emblazoned on its uniforms.

And, if you happened to forget, Swindon Town plays in the English Football League One (the equivalent of the minor leagues to the Premier League’s majors).

Is this marketing getting a bit too obscure, or is it properly designed for the target demographic   We’ll find out when FIFA 10 hits shelves later this year.

Slap Chop Spoofs Bigger Ads

While doing the daily rounds, we came across this YouTube video promoting the new Colgate Wisp, a mini brush and toothpick.

It should be pretty tough to market something as mundane as a portable toothbrush, but Colgate tapped Black20 Studios to create a spoof based on those popular Slap Chop informercials.

This is a smart way to tap into an Internet meme and get some viral promotion, but also to quickly create an advertisement since most of the creative brainstorming is done except for identifying what should be spoofed.

Take a look at the ad here, and place your bets on what s up next: Keyboard Cat or Santa Cruz lady {links no longer active}.

Marvel Sackboys To The Rescue!

The future of advertising, one virtual costume microtransaction at a time.

Comic-Con may be over, but we re still dissecting some of the news that made it out of San Diego, including this bit on a forming partnership between Marvel and Sony for LittleBigPlanet.

It seems like Marvel, the folks behind Spider-Man, Iron Man and Captain America, are going to allow Sony to create special costumes for use in their hybrid social network/PlayStation 3 game.  Kotaku reports:

Marvel showed off three concept renders of Sackboys that may be coming to the PlayStation 3 exclusive, but did not offer dates for the costumes, nor confirm that this would be the extent of the Marvel characters that would be licensed for LittleBigPlanet use.

In game advertising is one thing, but this model asks users to pay for licensed costumes for use in the game, something LittleBigPlanet has been doing with game series like Street Fighter and Metal Gear Solid.

The Price Of DLC Exclusivity

While exclusive downloadable content can translate into major bucks for some publishers (Xbox 360 exclusive DLC for Grand Theft Auto comes to mind), most developers don t get that sort of blank check.

Instead, it’s all about promotion for their game.

As more and more games fill the WiiWare, Xbox Live and PlayStation Store, it s harder for developers to separate their wares from others, so instead of cash, developers are willing to accept a lot more promotion on those storefronts in exchange for keeping those games exclusive.

From VideoGamer:

The reason is that we’ve got a long relationship with Microsoft’s first party unit. We get on great with them. In exchange for exclusivity we get a lot more promotion. We’ve got a closer deal with them. That’s just how it is. It’s unfortunate. That’s just how we work, [said Team17 studio head Martyn Brown].

While the increased exposure for your game is definitely appreciated, you risk alienating your customer base by looking like you re in cahoots with the storefront, as Team17 is finding with recent backlash directed at their Xbox 360 timed exclusive Alien Breed.

It isn’t the case of here’s some cash in a suitcase. It just doesn’t work like that. It would be nice if it did!

While the increased exposure for your game is definitely appreciated, you risk alienating your customer base by looking like you re in cahoots with the storefront, as Team17 is finding with recent backlash directed at their Xbox 360 timed exclusive Alien Breed.

Would you end up trading placement on multiple storefronts in exchange for some promotion on just one?   We will follow up as sales figures for Alien Breed and other timed exclusives come out.

Comic-Con Postmortem: Games Presence

From Kotaku:

Half a dozen comics and two new cartoons based on video games were announced at the show and plenty of comic books were unveiled as video games. The convention itself was host to more than 40 panels about video games.

Comic books and Hollywood have had a great relationship that has blossomed in recent years thanks to movies like Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and Superman.

Read up on the Kotaku analysis of how impactful video game are becoming in the comic book realm, and how the three markets converge in extremely profitable ways for all involved.

Apple: Getting Into Special Editions Business

From Financial Times:

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its online iTunes store.

With the newest generation of video game consoles introducing extremely high budgets (and risk) for many publishers, special editions have become an easy way to increase profit margins with your core audience.

For the cost of a few dollars, publishers routinely add $10, $20, even $100 for special editions of video games, and Apple’s latest move looks to take advantage of that mentality.

However, there is a growing consumer backlash as these methods are being looked at as exploitative, and publishers are getting more ridiculous with their special edition incentives ($100 extra for night vision goggles with the latest Call of Duty?).

Does Apple’s move solidify special editions as a market mainstay, or has the peak already arrived thanks to publishers going to the well one too many times