Monday Movie Minute: Gears, Halo, More

Lots of video game movie news (thanks, Comic-Con), so let s take a quick look at a few of the choicest cinematic stories you really should know.

Gears of War movie coming out, and director Len Wiseman doesn’t want Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (star of Doom) attached to the movie, at all.  [IGN]

Dead Space movie coming out with the director behind Eagle Eye.  Shia LaBeouf not attached…yet.  [Variety]

A jaded Neill Blomkamp (director of the upcoming District 9) probably wouldn’t do Halo if offered, mainly because of all the work he did on a first pass that never took.  [Slashfilm]

The next Resident Evil will be in 3D, directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, and will kick off a new trilogy of movies.  Because you can’t get enough of Milla Jovovich kicking ass.  [STYD]

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.

Recession Proof Industry? No

NPD Group recently released some numbers showing the industry isn’t as recession proof as everyone has claimed for the past few decades.

The video game market is looking to stabilize this year with no more than 5 percent growth around last year’s revenue mark of $11 billion.

Console sales have been dropping for each of the three major players, including Nintendo, and price cuts are rumored for all three systems ahead of this year s holiday season.

Amazon.com also mentioned video games as one reason it had modest Q2 2009 earnings.  Does this portend the end of saying video games are recession proof?

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.

Dexter: The Video Game

Did you ever think Dexter would be one of the most anticipated iPhone games to come out this year   Probably not, and that’s because there’s no real precedent for television IPs making the movie to a game console.

Law & Order and CSI have recent titles, but Dexter is the first to get any sort of critical buzz.  Thanks to some impressive graphics and obviously mature subject matter, this is a game to keep an eye on.

Who would have thought Dexter, a show that centers around a forensic scientist/serial killer, would be a great subject for an iPhone game

Take a look at the game s trailer to see how Showtime is trying to expand what is arguably its largest IP into gaming.

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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.

Yahoo! Rebrands Itself… Again

Take a look at this new rebranding video for the new Yahoo! and see if it strikes you as inherently Yahoo!

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This is a long way from the weird yodeling and garish designs synonymous with dot-com bubble-era Yahoo! It seems the search engine and e-mail giant is trying (again) to connect with audiences by ditching their old mainstays and getting serious. Over the past decade, Yahoo! has seen serious chunks of its business and cachet go to Google, so this change in tone isn’t surprising.

However, does it go far enough?

A bit cringe-worthy are the project managers talking about editorial programming, and the silly hats and nerf guns are poor inclusions.Let’s see if and how they follow through on this rebrand from quirky Internet company (cliche) to serious company willing to put in the extra effort to create destinations worthy of your time.

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.

VOD: Do You Fondly Remember Contra?

Contra, the NES classic by Konami, is famous for its ability to generate nostalgic memories of yesteryear for anyone in their twenties to forties.  The weapon powerups, boss battles, and the classic up, up, down down cheat code have a special place in many hearts.

Our video of the day deals with one gamer who doesn’t come from the old school and probably won t have too many fond memories of Contra.  If you know the game and want to feel old, watch this video, courtesy of Nerdballoon [link no longer active}.

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