Video Of The Day: Mario And Princess Peach Sex Tape

The geniuses at CollegeHumor have been video game fans for as long as we’ve known them, creating funny original videos that usually deal with the 8-bit antics of Mario and crew.

This time, they’ve gone too far, and we love the result. Turn the volume down a bit and enjoy today’s (NSFW) video of the day.

{video link no longer active}

EA CEO: Console Price Cuts, Please

From IndustryGamers: {link no longer active}

Today, on the EA conference call following the company’s Q1 results, EA CEO John Riccitiello commented, “We try not to comment too much on plans that others get to decide and implement, but it’s our view that we’re at a particularly interesting point in the [console] cycle. We’ve got approximately 75 million consolidated installed base against the major platforms in Western markets, where the total installed base on last gen was about 125 [million]. So we’ve sold a lot more at high prices than we did in the last cycle, and we think pricing will move hardware. We anticipate price cuts at some point and we’d like to see them later in the year. We can’t really speculate except to say it would be welcomed in the marketplace. In terms of our own guidance, we take knowledge that we glean under NDA but we can’t disclose that in our call.”

What started as a request seems to be all but confirmed with his taking that knowledge we glean under NDA and giving guidance based on that.

Price cuts all but confirmed by the end of the year   And what do you think, are prices that important to hardware and software adoption, or is it nothing some good marketing can handle   (When was the last time you saw a good PlayStation 3 ad )

Massive Growth At Zynga

From All Facebook:

Two weeks ago I wrote about Zynga surpassing 60 million monthly active users on Facebook. As of today the company now has over 72 million monthly active users and has the top application on the platform based on daily active users. FarmVille, an application which duplicates many of the features of the second most popular application, Farm Town, has now surpassed 5.3 million daily active users. Growth doesn’t appear to be slowing which isn t surprising since the company has invested over $1 million in promotion alone.

The company is poised to make $100 million a year, and if this growth continues those estimates will look very lowball.  A quick look at Zynga s IP shows they tend to take a few game ideas (Mafia Wars, for example) and replicate the experience except for the location and characters (Mafia Wars in space, Mafia Wars in the military, etc.).

So far they’re riding high, and hopefully they’re banking some of that money to get creative with new IP before the cash cow runs dry.

EXCLUSIVE FEATURE: The Twitter And Facebook Game

The past few years have seen a variety of social networks increasing in popularity, usually engaging the same extremely valuable 18-34 year old demographic video games are going after.

Now the convergence between video games and social networks is upon us.  Here we take a look at a few social networks and where they fit into each console’s roadmap, and hopefully this will help you in identifying opportunities in this emerging market.


Facebook is the mother of all social networks (sorry, MySpace), with a quarter-billion users worldwide, so it’s no surprise everyone’s scrambling for a piece of the action.

Current State: The only current options users have deal with console browsers that are available on PS3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, and as with most websites, the experience given on these consoles is by no means ideal.  Nintendo DSi just released their own Facebook integration complete with photo album options using the system’s cameras.

Future State: At this year’s E3, all three console manufacturers stated their intentions to make Facebook a priority development, but Microsoft was the only one to show the actual integration, live and working, through Xbox Live.

Marketing Potential: This opens up a great amount of possibilities with game makers and integrating their games with Facebook status updates and feed items.  Publishers and marketers should very quickly get the details on the integrations offered between console and Facebook, as the first games out of the gate will be given much kudos and a rare chance at looking like a cutting edge first-mover.


The popular microblogging platform has seen astounding growth in the past couple of years, with almost 20 million registered users.  The most important thing about Twitter is it’s arguably the hottest social platform right now (that all changes in several months, it always does), so it’s important to get ahead of this one.

Current State: Consoles don’t have any Twitter integrations except for the site being available through console browsers.  A number of video game social networks, including Raptr and GamerDNA, integrate Twitter as well, but most video game publishers use Twitter to market current video game releases.

Future State: E3 2009 was as big for Twitter as it was for Facebook, with all three console makers announcing Twitter integration as part of future software updates.  The only one to show it in action was again Microsoft, with an Xbox 360 integration that must have had those video game social networks quaking in their boots.

Marketing Potential: Twitter is as hot as they come right now, and we are just waiting for a smart publisher to take advantage of the microblogging platform from within their game.  Imagine a game character tweeting from inside the virtual world, and that tweet then spawning other tweets and retweets.  You’ll go mad by the incessant tweeting!

Netflix and Movies

Not quite a social network, but almost as important as one, the movie-delivery service has been making strides into digital distribution in some major ways.

Current State: Xbox 360 is the only platform to have Netflix streaming enabled for members.  The catch is you need both an Xbox Live account and a Netflix account, and the selection is relatively small, but it’s still lightyears ahead of the other competitors.

Future State:
Xbox 360 is continuing the push with an upcoming update that will allow users to queue up their favorite movies from the console (currently, you need to use the website) and watch movies at the same time with other members.  Microsoft’s machine will also look to stream 1080p resolution movies later this year at a premium price.

As for Sony, they have a robust selection of rental and downloadable movies through the PlayStation Store, and it’s only a matter of time before the oft-rumored Netflix integration comes to pass.  The PlayStation web browser also allows Hulu and other flash-enabled movie sites to load.  And Nintendo?  Well, it has YouTube.

Marketing Potential: With a number of video games turning into movies of their own (Halo, for example), video game marketers and publishers can look to creating short films and movies based on their IP, but also scheduling group showings through these consoles to further engage the fanbase.

Xbox Live

Xbox Live is home to almost 20 million paying customers (with membership averaging $50 per year), and can be considered the first-ever truly successful console-based social network.

Current State: Members can chat, play games and message each other, with much of the value from the Xbox Live membership coming in the form of competitive and cooperative gameplay.

Future State: Many rumors abound that the next Xbox 360 console won’t actually be a console, but instead a way to move gamers fully into the Xbox Live system.  In the near term, expect the integrations mentioned earlier (plus to make Xbox a significant player in the future of social.

Marketing Potential: Xbox Live offers marketers and publishers a captive audience, fully dedicated to the system they’re on (it’s the only true social network that has millions of paying subscribers).  Games like 1 vs. 100 are completely ad-supported and loop in the user and their avatar in ways we hadn’t seen before, giving corporate sponsors a lot of love in the process.  1 vs. 100 is just a hint of what’s to come (and the subject of next week’s exclusive [a]list feature).

PlayStation Home

PlayStation Home and PlayStation Network are free with every PS3 purchase, with no yearly fee attached to either.  PlayStation Home tries to create a Second Life-style virtual world for gamers to explore, and is considered the centerpiece of Sony’s future social strategy.

Current State: PlayStation Home has been met with a mixed response, but anything that’s free for gamers can’t be al bad, right?  Home has a variety of publisher-created spaces (including several from Sony and EA), each with mini games and items to win and use.  Game integrations have been few, but when they happen, they show Home’s true potential in spurring game purchases (i.e. play this game and get a new game level playable in Home).

Future State: PlayStation Home recently concluded an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) called Xi, in which players were taken behind the scenes to the Home underground.  Think of the Matrix, but without the cool action scenes.  Marketers and publishers should take a look at the opportunities afforded them in creating these Home spaces, as you have the early adopter in full force right now, but we’d love to see more engaging ARGs take the place of the fairly static spaces Home currently sees.

And Nintendo Wii?  Hopefully Nintendo will give us more to talk about this year.

As social networks continue to grow, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft understand they have an increased stake in having the core of that social interaction happen on their box.  As marketers and publishers, it is up to us to make sure these integrations aren’t just forfeited to the big three, but can instead be used to bolster the user experience for each of our games.

Xbox 360 Games On Demand Lineup

Later this year, Xbox 360 is going to have a dashboard upgrade, and in that upgrade will be a Games On Demand service that will have full Xbox 360 games available for download for a lower-than-retail price.

We’re huge proponents of digital distribution and we think Microsoft is taking an assertive, market-leading position.  And we don’t want to be in Gamestop’s position a couple of years from now.

For those of you interested in which games are hitting the virtual store shelves, here you go, courtesy of Joystiq:

–    Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft)
–    LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (LucasArts)
–    Rainbow Six Vegas (Ubisoft)
–    BioShock (2K Games)
–    Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios)
–    Ridge Racer 6 (Namco)
–    Burnout Paradise (EA)
–    Meet The Robinsons (Disney)
–    Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis (Rockstar Games)
–    Call of Duty® 2 (Activision)
–    MX vs. ATV Untamed (THQ)
–    Sonic the Hedgehog (SEGA)
–    Viva Piñata 2: Trouble in Paradise (Microsoft Game Studios)
–    Need for Speed Carbon (EA)
–    Test Drive: Unlimited (Atari)
–    Fight Night Round 3 (EA)
–    Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA)
–    The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
–    Prey (2K Games)
–    Viva Piñata (Microsoft Game Studios)
–    Karaoke Revolution American Idol Encore (Konami)
–    Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios)
–    Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios)
–    Dance Dance Revolution Universe (Konami)

EA Sports Fitness TOO Successful

From Kotaku: {link no longer active}

EA Sports head honcho Peter Moore says that the sports label is focused on getting the already announced expansion pack for EA Sports Active out before the holidays. That means the powers that be are pulling Grand Slam Tennis staff off the PS3 and 360 versions to make sure the fitness game add-on doesn’t slip.

It’s a rare case of a Wii release taking higher priority than the hi-def console versions, part of EA’s new Wii-skewed master plan. Considering EA Sports Active did 1.8 million in sales during the publisher’s last quarter, we’d wager it’s the right move.

When something works, do more of that something.  Those of you concerned that health gaming was but a fad, be thankful one of the world’s largest game publishers has your back.

Hey Yahoo, You Need Less Yahoo

The new rebranded Yahoo is gaining some speed and is about to relaunch its homepage, but we read some interesting criticism of how the current plan won’t work out as well as just taking a lot more from the outside Internet.

Especially gaming.  Why create it when it’s already there, waiting to be embedded?

From Business Insider:

Social gaming is turning into a real business. Last week, we spoke to Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga. He told us his startup is profitable and we’ve heard his company will reach over $100 million in revenues in 2009. It makes that money when users buy virtual goods that help them along in the games.

Zynga is already more popular than all of Yahoo Games. Its game FarmVille added 12 million users in the last two weeks.  Most of Zynga’s games are played by Facebook users on Facebook. Soon, Facebook plans to get in on all that virtual goods buying by offer its users a “Pay With Facebook” button. If users get used to that form of payments, Facebook could put “Pay With Facebook” buttons on e-commerce sites all over the Web, opening a huge new line of business.  There is no reason Yahoo can’t be doing all this too. It has hundreds of millions of users. MySpace is Facebook’s only real competitor, and it’s faltering.

Here’s what Yahoo needs to do:

–    There should be a more prominent social games module on the homepage, filled with games created by third-party developers.
–    At the very least, Yahoo should import the Facebook platform as module its homepage and domain and ask for a slice of any “Pay With Facebook” revenues earned there.
–    Start including daily active users (DAU) into its metrics. Aim to beat MySpace.

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

ESPN And Twitter: Controversy Brewing?

Yesterday, ESPN commentator Ric Bucher tweeted about how new ESPN guidelines were coming down, prohibiting tweeting unless it serves ESPN.

An uproar ensued, and several critical posts slammed ESPN for trying to rule the open social world with an authoritarian grip.  Rightfully so, as if this were true, it would be a major problem and counterintuitive to the spirit of social media.

So take a look at how ESPN responded.

First of all, they only let a few hours pass before responding quickly and publicly to the Bucher tweet.  Secondly, they chose a very smart medium to respond: Twitter.  Lastly, the response was to the point and clarified the original controversy, and opened up the memo and policy for all to see.

Rather than add fuel to the fire by publicly condemning Bucher or refuting what he was saying, and rather than looking like confused dinosaurs, their short-and-sweet tweet was just the medicine that was needed.

When controversy arises, don’t be afraid to state your case, simply and calmly, with transparency and on the playing field in question.

[more on Mashable]

Taco Bell Gets Into Social Media

Digital shop R/GA has picked up the Taco Bell account with a focus on relaunching the fast-food joint’s website and overall Internet presence.

The site has tried to be an entertainment portal for its users, but Taco Bell is looking for a site with a more informative spin focused on its restauarants and instead using social media as a way to further engage with its audience.

The new site and strategy is expected to roll out next year.

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

“We know more and more of our guests are consuming media online and it’s an important way to connect with people,” he said. Some of these digital-marketing efforts are likely to focus on platforms such as Taco Bell’s lower-calorie Fresco menu, and its Why Pay More value menu.

Video game marketers should see if there s a lesson in Taco Bell’s new philosophy.  Rather than try to build out content and community portals of their own, can video game companies instead use social media as the primary method of engaging with their audience?

Then product websites can get back to focusing on what matters: the actual product.