18+ Rating For Australia Meets Opposition

The attorney general of South Australia announced his opposition to introducing an 18+ rating for videogames in his country, reports Gamesindustry.biz. The regional attorney-general, Michael Atkinson, has voiced his concern about the greater effect games have on violent behavior than films. The decision comes as EA and Valve appeal a decision banning the release of Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia. Read more at Gamesindustry.biz.

‘Blur’ Viral Video Races To 1.5 Million Views

Activision’s upcoming street racer Blur has a video mash-up that s managed to blaze its way through the viral-sphere. The video is yet another expertly executed montage of wince-inducing bloopers and Darwin Award candidates that make it impossible not to sit through. According to data provided to [a]list daily, more than 1.5 million people have done just that. Beyond the impressive views, the video is noteworthy for its thoughtful effort to incorporate not just branding but actual product messaging.

The Hollywood pitch on Blur is street racing meets WipEout, where race cars are equipped with futuristic weapons to take out competitors.  That s the game s unique hook, and the mash-up video is cleverly designed to communicate it. Weapons from the game are mentioned throughout the video, accompanying footage that loosely corresponds to what they do. For example, when the video shows a person getting Tasered it references the electrical shock weapon found in the game. The treatment to execute this is subtle at first, starting with voice over that names weapons. Eventually weapon icons are overlaid directly on the screen. Near the end, viewers get flashes of what look like screen grabs from Blur depicting both cars and weapons. For its finale, in a veritable knock to the forehead for the least observant, the video scrolls through weapon icons continuously as it wraps up with a hilarious sequence.


Watch it here.

Lucasarts Channels Mother Goose

Maybe it’s the Holidays creeping up, but [a]list daily found a lot of charm in this simple trailer for Lucasarts upcoming platformer Lucidity.   The game has obvious fairy tale inspirations and a corresponding quirky, watercolor art style. The video trailer wastes no time in getting that across, introducing a young heroine flipping through a storybook that whisks her off into game levels. Whether the subplot in Lucidity is overactive imagination or storybook world infringing on ours remains to be seen.


Watch it at GameTrailers.

‘Uncharted 2’ Gets Big Screen Sneak Peek

Sony has arranged a sneak peek of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves at movie theatres, reports Reuters. The game will be playable to theatre goers at four cinemas in San Francisco, Thousand Oaks, California, Bellevue, Washington, and Rosemont, Illinois, on October 5 and 6. The dates are about one week before the title hits shelves. For each location, the first night is an invitation-only event while the second night is being advertised to the public through radio and social media.

The theatres for the event are all equipped with Sony digital camera technology.  Reuters coverage of the story indicates the move is as much about promoting Sony digital projection cameras, currently in 500 theatres nationwide, as it is to build buzz for Uncharted 2.  No word on how the order of play is going to be managed. Read more from Reuters.

Most Americans Dislike Being Tracked Online

A survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkley found that most Americans prefer not to have their online movements tracked for targeted advertising. Reported in NY Times, the survey of about 1,000 adult internet users found that 66 percent object to targeted ads. During interviews, the percentage of objectors climbed as different online monitoring tactics were explained.  When respondents were asked about being targeted by having their movement tracked from site to site, 84 percent objected.

There was less disapproval for non-ad content tailored through online monitoring, with objections falling to only 58 percent for targeted news and 51 percent for tailored discounts. The survey also found that 55 percent of 18-24 year olds dislike targeted ads, and that 92 percent of all respondents want all personal data deleted by companies upon request. Read more at NY Times.

Web Overtakes TV In UK Ad Spends

UK Internet Advertising Bureau says TV was eclipsed by the internet in the country s total ad spend for the first time. Reported by Reuters, the study covering the first half of 2009 says web ads accounted for 23.5 percent of all advertising compared to 21.9 percent for television.  The UK ad market saw a slump overall, with the broader media sector including television, print and outdoor display falling 17 percent in the period.

The rate of growth in online advertising declined, measured at 4.6 percent compared to 21 percent a year ago. Bureau chief Guy Phillipson believes there will be further online growth in 2010 with a jump to double digit growth in 2011. Search accounted for 60 percent of all online advertising in the UK. Online growth is in-part being driven by cheap broadband. Read more at Reuters.

A Fraction Of Mobile Users Watch Video On The Go

A Nielsen survey found that there are only 15.3 million active mobile video users in the US, reports Media Post. The number represents only 7 percent of the total US mobile market but is a significant increase from last year s 10 million people. The growth is in-part being driven by cheaper mobile data packages, where prices have fallen by about a third since 2008.

In one stat that might have Europe and Asia smirking, and smart phone makers drooling, 52 percent of US mobile users admit still having phones that can’t run video. Read more at Media Post.

Cablevision Launches Interactive TV In New York

Cablevision is delivering interactive ads to about 3 millions subscribers of its digital cable service in New York. The service, called Optimum Select, lets viewers access information and promotional discounts by clicking their remote during interactive enabled ads.

This writer has been getting prompted to interact with local furniture store ads through digital cable for years. In reporting the story, NPR calls it the first time a cable company has launched interactive TV in an entire market. Beyond that newsworthy hook, it s not clear if the interaction goes deeper than existing prompt-enabled ads on other cable providers. Read more at NPR.

Rough Year For Microsoft Hits Ballmer’s Wallet

Reuters is reporting that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer earned about $74,000 less in 2009 after his company suffered its first ever loss in revenue.  His salary rose slightly but his bonus was slashed by about 14 percent, making his total compensation for the year $1,276,627.  Microsoft saw a 9 percent drop in profit and its first ever loss in annual revenue when the company s fiscal year ended in June 2009. Read more from Reuters.

Google Wave Beta Begins

Google’s colossal ambition is tough to question, as is the company s ability to execute. Remember Gmail? With AOL, Yahoo! and Hotmail, who needs another web email account? About 146 million people, apparently. Yet Wave is massive. It’s email, IM, social networking, file sharing, entertainment. To hear it described, it is the internet. In one application. To rule them all.

Dan Shust prepares us for Google Wave in this article posted on Ad Age yesterday. Today is the day Google sends out 100,000 invites to the beta. Assuming the internet as we know it is still here tomorrow, we could soon see Wave’s potential rise to the surface. Shust considers whether the other wonders of the net YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook need to be scared. It could be that Wave simply facilitates sharing through them, helping them rather than replacing them. Whatever the final outcome, he thinks marketers should start taking note of what the platform promises to do.

Shust’s article includes a video of Google’s Wave presentation in its entirety. If you have an hour and a half to spare, and you haven’t been invited to the beta, there may be no better way to see it in action. Read and watch at Ad Age.