Making A Bazaar Out Of Home Not A Priority At Sony

Sony’s director of PlayStation Home, Pete Edwards, says the service is growing and pulling in revenue, but developing it as a marketplace isn’t a priority for the company.  Edwards comments made at the London Games Conference are reported in Gamesindustry.biz.

In spite of the company’s stance, Edwards pointed out that Sony has proven the virtual marketplace model it envisioned with the service exists, with users spending money and significant amounts of time an average of 56 minutes per session on Home.  Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

U.S. Actors Guild Rejects Videogame Deal

The Screen Actors Guild has rejected a tentative deal for a new contract covering video game work, reports Variety.  The new contract was drawn up by the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, which Variety says covers the majority of union voice work in games.  The actors union balked at the atmospheric provision in the new contract increasing the number of voices and words demanded from an actor.  The new contract expands work at the basic daily rate to 20 voices and 300 words.  Variety quotes a video game employers representative as saying it is uncertain whether game companies are willing to return to negotiations.

Read more at Variety.

Sony Delays SOCOM PSP Title To Keep On Marketing

Sony’s PlayStation Blog has revealed that SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 is getting pushed to January.  Reported in Zergwatch, the blog says the PSP game originally scheduled for holiday release is now slated to come out on January 10, 2010.  Sony cites the reason as wanting to incorporate newly acquired assets from the game into a longer global marketing campaign.

Read more at Zergwatch {link no longer active}.

Social Media Winners And Losers

New data from Experian Hitwise measuring traffic and engagement on social media sites highlights the rise of Facebook, and reveals a surprising decline in user engagement at Twitter.  ReadWriteWeb covers their findings for the top five sites.

The data shows the continued mercurial rise of Facebook.  As of September 2009, the number one social site saw an increase in traffic of 194 percent in year-over-year comparison.  The report shows nearly 60 percent of all social media traffic goes to Facebook.  Meanwhile the popularity of former star MySpace continues to tumble, with a 55 percent decline in traffic in the same period.

The growth category crown goes to Twitter, which had traffic skyrocket by 1,170 percent in the past year.  Yet even with that growth the data revealed a couple of surprises about the microblog site.  While making number four in the top five list, Twitter draws less than two percent of overall social media traffic.  It also had a precipitous drop in user engagement over the past year, which Experian Hitwise measured as falling from 36 minutes to 16 minutes per user.  Twitter is topped on the list by Tagged, a new social media player that has been cited for spamming and misrepresenting itself in emails to draw users.  The top five list is rounded out by myYearbook, another social site that the study shows might be past its glory days.

Check out the full traffic and engagement results for the five sites at ReadWriteWeb {link no longer active}.

Controversy For Terrorist Mission In ‘Modern Warfare 2’

Game footage leaked from Activision’s  Modern Warfare 2  shows a sequence where players become terrorists shooting civilians in an airport, raising eyebrows and prompting the publisher to respond.  As AP reports, the footage is from a mission in the game that Activision had anticipated may be disturbing.  The publisher and developer Infinity Ward inserted a warning in the game displayed before the mission to give players an option not to play the sequence.

Activision released a statement in response to the leaked video and ensuing media inquiries.  The publisher says the footage is not representative of the whole game, and that the scene in question is there to show the atrocities of terrorism.   Read more at AP {link no longer active}.

Getting Branded Videos Right

Writing for Ad Age, Keith Richman spells out three simple but critical steps in getting branded web video content right.  Richman cites growing pains from early high-profile efforts that fell flat when they didn’t draw viewers.  He blames it mostly on eager marketers overcome by this hot new marketing vehicle on the heels of successes such as lonelygirl15.   That eagerness drove some to go too big in the process.  However he sees successes this year giving branded content momentum again, and he whittles down the formula for success into three rules covering targeting, budgeting and distribution.

Read more from Ad Age {link no longer active}.

GenXers Still Think Reality Bites

Writing for MarketingProfs, Dave Sohigian looks at how to market to Generation X, showing how the former slackers have become cynical parents who hold a lot of sway over their kids.  Ranging in age from 28-48 years old, many Generation Xers are now parents to Millenial kids born after 2000.  Sohigian sees a stronger bond and ability to relate between this set of parents and children than the previous generation.  He pinpoints part of it to the independent minded Gen Xers who still show little faith in institutions, and as a result tend to be more protective of their children.

That nurturing has established a bond that Sohigian thinks marketers need to take into consideration.  In-fact when it comes to products and purchase decisions, he sees a symbiotic bond between the two generations.  It s one where parents are as likely to look to their children for advice on products as vice versa.  He pinpoints one important consideration by marketers targeting GenXers or their children: brand and message products in a way that plays to their nurturing relationship and resonates with both.

Read more at MarketingProfs.

First Couple Years For PS3 Is A Primer, Says Insomniac

Speaking to CVG, Insomniac community manager James Stevenson says the first two years for PS3 have been about developers getting games up and running.  His studio just released Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, the third installment in Sony’s franchise on PS3.  Stevenson points to his studio and Uncharted developer Naughty Dog as evidence that Sony developers are just hitting their stride on PS3.  He thinks the system will show its full potential over the next two to three years.  Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time is currently getting good reviews, with an 87 percent average rating on Metacritic.

Read more at CVG {link no longer active}.

PC Games Hindered By Smaller Budgets, Says Developer

Splash Damage, developer of the upcoming PC action game Brink, says studios that want to make triple-A caliber games should look to console game development.  Speaking to Destructoid, the studio s Paul Wedgewood says publishers don t provide budgets for PC games that cover high-profile game essentials such as first-rate music and acting.  He says his studio realized some years ago that if it wanted to make triple-A games it needed to move into console game development.

Read more at Destructoid.

Jay Z Battles Eminem For ‘DJ Hero’

Activision enlisted a couple of heavyweight rappers in the TV spot for DJ Hero.   The ad puts Jay Z and Eminem on stage to duke it out, highlighting the exclusive mash-up track from the artists that’s featured in the game.

The ad has a couple nifty visual touches.  The rappers perform with a backup band and a DJ spinning sounds on a DJ Hero station.  As the DJ moves the cross fader bar on the controller, instruments and musicians get dragged across the stage to visually represent how the sound is getting manipulated.  The stage also has two starkly different backdrops for Jay Z and Eminem, each reflecting the artist’s persona.

Aside from the exclusive mash-up of  Eminem’s “My Name Is (Slim Shady)” and Jay Z’s “Izzo HOVA,” the spot plugs the more than 93 original tracks in the game.

Watch it at YouTube {link no longer active}.