Borderlands Box Art Blowing Minds

2K Games has some huge stakes riding on the upcoming shooter Borderlands.  Other 2K games like Bioshock 2, Mafia II and Red Dead Redemption have been delayed to 2010, and the holiday season already has some heavy hitters from other publishers, including Halo 3: ODST and Modern Warfare 2.

So it helps when you release a box cover like this one.

The striking image is meant to communicate that the game will “blow your mind,” but the intended consequence of such an image means the gaming blogosphere will pour over it, as has been the case.

2K Games has been proactive with a response as well, with developer Gearbox Software and its CEO responding through IGN:

“It’s certainly an extremely provocative image for a box cover and I think some will call it controversial,” [Randy] Pitchford said. “Certainly there were some people inside of Gearbox and likely also at 2k that weren’t sure about this approach and may have felt compelled to go with something a little less provocative.”

“In conversations I had with Christoph Hartmann, President of 2k Games, it was really clear to me that he really believed in the value of the risks we were taking with the game and how it pushed things forward and he really was eager to push things with the box cover as well,” he added.

“Judging from the response so far, it looks like it was the right call,” he said. “It makes me really glad that we’re in a world now where gamers want freshness and originality and people like us are being rewarded and applauded for taking risks and pushing things and that is certainly what I see happening with Borderlands.”

When was the last time you saw box art make an under-the-radar game (sorry, 2K) into an anticipated holiday shooter this quickly?  Everything (even a game’s cover) matters.


Sega Allowing Fans To Vote On Next XBLA Game

Sega is taking the unorthodox step of allowing fans to vote on their site for the very next Xbox Live Arcade game that comes out of the publisher’s Genesis library.

From The Genesis Poll: {link no longer active}

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Sega Genesis, we’re putting the power back in the fans’ hands and letting you determine the next title we’ll release on Xbox LIVE Arcade! Just pick from the Genesis classics below and cast your vote between August 14th and August 21st.

This is a great way to get users excited about an upcoming release, as well as a chance to remind everyone of the very significant back-catalog Sega has with the Genesis.  Our only beef: are these options the best they could come up with?

Earthworm Jim, The Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Shining Force, Toejam & Earl, Golden Axe II, Wonder Boy?

Why didn’t they do anything similar for the Dreamcast 10th anniversary last week? Oh, and we’re casting our vote for Earthworm Jim!

District 9 Tops Box Office

From Variety:

Fueled by older males, Sony/TriStar’s sci-fi thriller “District 9” opened to a boffo $37 million from 3,049 theaters to win the weekend crown at the domestic B.O.

Movie was a sizable victory for Sony’s Worldwide Acquisitions Group, Sony’s marketing team, frosh filmmaker Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson. “District’s” opening is one more example of a pic generating strong biz this summer without big stars.

The gamer demographic became enthralled with Neill Blomkamp after his name was attached to direct a Peter Jackson-produced Halo movie.  When that project fell through, the two men collaborated on this movie, said to be similar in scope to the original idea behind the movie adaptation of Microsoft’s hit shooter.

Now, District 9 is number one at the box office, having cost $30 million to make, but taking in over $37 million in one weekend.  As you continue to see word of mouth spread and the movie stay in theaters, remember that you re a witness to power of the gamer demographic.

Quick, Name Europe’s Largest Game Market!

Germany is poised to become the largest non-U.S. market in the world, bigger than both the United Kingdom and Japan, thanks to the country’s improved resistance to the worldwide recession and continued growth in game sales.

From Gamezine: {link no longer active}

The recession has not impacted Germany significantly with software sales remaining constant in the country, while a decline of 20 percent was felt in the UK, according to numbers produced by Gfk Chart-Track.

Germany recently passed a law that would ban the sale of violent video games across the country, so the race for Europe’s top spot is not over.

The country is notoriously squeamish about violence in media, with many game publishers having to make significant changes to products (human enemies become robots, etc.) before they get released.

It does show that violence isn’t a requirement to market games to a large market.  Their top seller so far?   Wii Fit.

Lincoln Joins Che For Lionhead

As if using revolutionary Che Guevara to kick of a video game-related viral marketing campaign wasn’t odd enough, Abraham Lincoln and a quote of his is now featured prominently at Lionhead Studios.

The campaign started last week, and this is the third change that has happened on the site.  The first quote featured Che Guevara, the second quote attributed to French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre, and now the third quote is tied to Honest Abe:

Be not deceived.  Revolutions do not go backward.

How many people want to bet revolution will be in the game’s title when it s announced at Gamescom later this week?

The campaign has been successful in attuning the video game blogosphere to Lionhead’s imminent announcement, and we only expect more coverage ahead of people finally getting a look at the new game.

Sony PSPgo Games As Cheap As iPhone?

From Pocket Gamer: {link no longer active}

Pocket Gamer has learned that these will be priced at 1, 2 and 5 Euros, making them the equivalent of the games available via Apple’s App Store.

In fact, the highest priced games on the App Store are $9.99 – currently The Sims 3 and Real Racing – making PSN cheaper at the top end.

It’s a significant move as Sony has been hit by criticism concerning the price of the PSPgo hardware ($250, £230).

This is a testament to how impactful Apple has been to the portable gaming market, with its plethora of 99-cent games and most of them never reaching the $10 mark.  Sony has little choice but to follow suit, and hopefully do so with its massive backlog of PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games.

Inexpensive PS, PS2 and new PSPgo games would be the center of our marketing campaign for the new system.  What would you go with?

Halo 3 Still Hugely Popular

Microsoft has been very transparent with the data coming out of Xbox Live, and one of the weekly reports it gives gamers is the most popular games list on their system.  And which game regularly takes the top spot?

The two-year old Halo 3!

IGN reports:

At a recent Bungie press event, Bungie’s Brian Jarrard offered a little clarity. Nearly two years after its release, there are still roughly 1 million unique Halo 3 players every day. That’s greater than the population of San Francisco.

Microsoft has released a couple of DLC packs for Halo 3 with new maps, as well as a real-time strategy game Halo Wars, and has set the groundwork for games, movies and more, which we detailed in last week’s Halo Future exclusive feature.

How To Quit In Style

From IndieGames:

William David, a developer for Ubisoft, decided the best way for him to quit would be through the same medium, but in a rather different style. The combination of style, music and message make this an entertaining experience and by the time I had walked my way through it, I myself was willing William on to do great things. His plans are to continue work as an independent developer.

Talk about an effective way to market yourself, literally, from day one.

[check out his resignation flash game at Newgrounds]

AFK: Honor Thy Grandmother

Gather the grandparents around and take a look at this sweet-weird-sweet tribute to somebody’s grandmother.  Our AFK moment of the day:

From F Yeah Tattoos: {link no longer active}

My Super Nintendo controller tattoo. It says “Mom Mom” because I got it in memory of my grandmother who died 06/08/04. I grew up playing Super Nintendo with her.