Microsoft has revealed the list of games coming this month to the Games on Demand service for Xbox Live, reports Industry Gamers.  Grand Theft Auto IV tops the list of updates for next week.  Tuesday updates for the remainder of the month will continue to add top-selling games such as Army of Two and DiRT.

Check out the full list at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Googling And Binging For Tweets

Twitter has approached Google and Microsoft to discuss licensing partnerships that would incorporate Tweets into the companies search engines, reports Reuters.  Word of the deal making first appeared in Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsDigital blog.  The blog has said one structure for a deal could include upfront payments in the millions of dollars to Twitter along with ongoing ad revenue sharing.

Twitter wants to include its data feed in Google and Bing so that queries would also search and retrieve relevant Tweets.  Reuters cites growing sentiment among internet users that Tweets are among the most up-to-date information on the web.  Read more from Reuters.

They Can Work It Out, Says Analyst Of Rock Band And Guitar Hero

EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich says that better than expected performance by both MTV’s Beatles Rock Band and Activision’s Guitar Hero 5 will give a needed boost to declining music and rhythm game sales.  Speaking to Industry Gamers, Divnich predicts MTV’s game sold 1 million units in September, edging out the 800,000 units he expects for sales of Activision’s title.  He thinks the extreme rivalry between the two is an unfair scenario, with each a success in its own right.

Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Google Fail

Consider this a TGIF story courtesy of [a]list daily.  Type in a few letters into Google and you see the suggestion field finish your thought or provide a useful way to enter your query usually.  As Tech Radar has uncovered, it turns out the Google Suggest feature is laden with strangeness.  That prompted Fast Company to do a little more digging into Google oddities and find their own hilarious results.  A meme is born.

The original Google Suggest oddities are at Tech Radar.

Check out more Google misfires at Fast Company.

Exclusive: ‘Broadcast, Trailers, Video Content’

Moderator Geoff Keighley of Spike TV gathers a panel of experts to discuss the evolution of game trailers and successful strategies in using videos to market games in this session filmed at the 2009 [a]list summit.  Participants include Karl Stewart, marketing director at Eidos, Ryan Wener, marketing director at Activision, and Phil Marineau, product marketing, EA.

Watch it at the [a]list summit channel.

Making Of ‘Halo3: ODST’ TV Spot

Building on the live action TV spots that launched Halo3 in 2007, Microsoft took a similar approach with ads for this year s pseudo-sequel Halo3: ODST.   This time there s a good reason Master Chief is missing: the TV campaign premise follows the new protagonist, a general infantry Joe, through boot camp and into his first taste of battle.  Much like the Niell Blomkamp video treatments trying to sell Hollywood on Halo, these live action spots do as much to whet the appetite for a Halo film as the games.  Maybe that’s somewhere in the back of minds at Bungie and Microsoft.

With amount of effort and budget that went into creating the ads, it s only natural for Microsoft to want to get more mileage out of them by creating a slick behind-the-scenes video.  It s a perfect companion to the other video we circulated today in [a]list daily, a filmed panel session discussing game video strategies.

Watch the roughly five minute behind-the-scenes video at Game Videos.

As An Acquisition Target, EA Is A Cumbersome Buy

Last month the stock market rumor mill seemed to be working overtime when it came to the game industry.  Publishing giants EA, THQ and Take-Two began showing up in financial media as possible acquisition targets, sparking share prices to respond as rumors spread and were then quelled.   Reporting for Gamastura, Leigh Alexander takes a look at why the game industry has suddenly become the focus of murmurs about mergers and acquisitions by big media or big tech.  She cites it as a possible coming of age in Wall Street’s eyes for the game industry as a viable long-term sector.  It s also a sector that suddenly saw a dip after years of sustained growth.  That hit, blamed on the economic recession, could be at the core of it.  As traders are suddenly seeing more attractive share prices for game publishers, that might be causing them to wonder if a big company might not swoop in or expand their current hold on the sector.

Alexander turns her focus to the biggest player in the recent round of rumors, EA.  She sees EA s attractiveness as a buyout target stemming from the company’s recent troubles, where worse than expected sales of even its strongest franchise Madden have put pressure on its share price.  Yet acquisitions aren’t just about stock market value.  Can an organization like EA be successfully merged into a giant media or tech conglomerate   Alexander talks to Cowen Group analyst Doug Creutz, who isn’t positive on EA’s long-term outlook nor sees it as a good bet as an acquisition target.

Creutz sees EA management pricing an acquisition as too expensive, given the higher share prices at which many of them came into the company.  He says when the current team joined the company, EA shares were priced at more than double of where they re trading at today.  The company would also be expensive on paper to the buyer based on how EA reports earnings outside of Generally Accepted Accounting Principals, which a large company acquiring EA would likely adhere to in the way they report.  Other challenges are rooted in the current economic climate, where capital is at a premium and subsequently so is the appetite for big buys.  Perhaps the biggest challenge to any buyer looking at EA is integration, as Cruetz sees it.  The company’s many operations, from development and publishing to how it serves so many various and varied areas of the game business, make it a risk for anyone outside of the game industry.  That variety and specialty of EA’s businesses also affects consolidation synergies (read: cost-cutting) that influence most big companies in their acquisition decisions.

Alexander also talks to Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan.  While Pachter agrees with Cruetz’s analysis that EA is not a buyout target, he thinks it’s a matter of now rather than never.  He also counters the assertion that EA will continue to disappoint, saying the company is poised to turn around four years of losses.

Read the full article at Gamasutra {link no longer active}.

A New Model For Selling Entertainment Lures Public Enemy

There is something reassuring about Public Enemy turning the entertainment publishing model on its head.  As reported by The Guardian UK, the legendary rappers have become one of the first major acts to sidestep major music labels and instead ask fans to fund the creation of new material.  This week, Public Enemy began selling shares at $25 a piece to raise $250,000 to cover recording and publishing costs for their next album.  In return, fans who invest, called Believers , get a special edition copy once the album is released.

The rhetoric being tossed around to describe the new approach is, not surprisingly, centered on it being revolutionary .  It seems we hear that every time an artist or company tweaks with the music publishing model.  Last month Pearl Jam took the same tone, trying to convince the world that their exclusive distribution deal with retail giant Target is how they re doing the revolution, not about pocketing more money.  Outspoken fans have said otherwise.  The same profit motive is at the core of this new model for artists, letting them forego advances and ultimately keep more of the revenues from their work, but a couple things make it a flip of the first order.  It eliminates label meddling in the creative process, and it empowers fans to influence when artists create new material.

There are two companies currently claming that they re helping the new model succeed.  Among the first to make headlines was UK based Bandstocks, which helped British songwriter Patrick Wolf raise a little over $160,000 to record and publish his album.  Public Enemy has turned to another, Amsterdam-based SellaBand.  Operating out of what it calls the creative capital of Europe , SellaBand describes its efforts as leveling the playing field for artists by giving them the opportunity to forego the creative and financial burdens that come with music label involvement.  The company claims to have raised more than $3 million for 34 musicians and bands who published their work using the fan-funded model.

For their part, Public Enemy is not saying what prompted them to pursue a fan-funded album.  The band s reputation is one of rap music s heavyweights, but as in the case of any artist with longevity their discography has seen its ups and downs.  Their last album, How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul released in 2007, might be considered a downer for their label Def Jam.  It managed to just break Billboard s top 50, placing at 49 for one week.  If their label Def Jam wasn’t quite ready for another new album but fans can show that they are, that might be where this new model shows its might.  Public Enemy is the first widely known band to go this route.  If their effort pays off for all involved, suddenly fans of forgotten artists or musicians driven off the grid by the labels could be turning a keen eye to this model.  Will the movement spread to other forms of entertainment   That’s unlikely given the discrepancy in budgets and production time between music and TV, films or games.  It’s still worth watching the outcome, if only to see if Public Enemy becomes who history pegs as the entertainment publishing model’s enemy number one.

Sony Partners With Amazon To Sell PSN Games On The Web

Sony has partnered with Amazon to offer PSN fare through the internet retail giant’s web site.  Reported by Industry Gamers, more than 200 titles for PS3 and PSP will be available on a PSN branded page at Amazon.com.  Buyers will receive a digital code to download games through PS3 or PSP.

Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Gearbox Steamed About Valve

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has made statements to Maximum PC magazine calling out Valve s Steam as a “money grab”, reports Gamesindustry.biz.  Pitchford believes that while the service is facilitating digital distribution for many developers, Valve is taking a larger share than it should be for what it provides.  He thinks the industry needs competition in the digital distribution space.

Read more at Gamesindustry.biz {link no longer active}.