Facebook Coming To PS3, Says Eurogamer

Sony is bringing Facebook to PS3, says Eurogamer. The site says game news outlet Scrawl picked up screen shots of a PlayStation Network Facebook page on the PlayStation web site. The images have been taken down, although Eurogamer links to them still posted on Scrawl. A Sony source has since confirmed that the Facebook feature is in the works. Sony’s response has been that there will be more information very shortly.

Eurogamer wonders whether Sony might not be out to beat Microsoft to the punch, bringing Facebook to PSN before the planned November launch of social media features on Xbox Live. Read more at Eurogamer.

EA Points To Wii’s Receding Tide

EA CEO John Riccitiello has said Nintendo Wii is proving to be a weaker platform than expected for third-parties, reports CNET. Speaking earlier this week on the company’s quarterly earnings call, Riccitiello said that EA is making high-quality titles for Wii. Yet company has seen disappointing results including poor performance for the recent title Dead Space: Extraction, an exclusive for Wii based on one of its franchises. He said the situation will likely not change as figures show that Wii sales are falling, and that Nintendo needs to do more. He added that EA has reached out to Nintendo to explore how to better promote third-party software. Read more at CNET.

Students Expose Facebook Security Flaw

A student group called Control Your Info has exposed a design flaw in Facebook that lets outsiders claim vacant administrative spots and take over functions in user groups. As reported in FastCompany, the group declined to give their individual names but said they are students from Hyper Island, an advanced education school based in Sweden. To highlight their discovery, they posted messages on hundreds of Facebook group pages announcing that Control Your Info had hijacked their group. Not surprisingly, the move raised the ire of many.  The students claim their goal is simply to show that this major flaw exists in Facebook and that user groups should not leave their administrator spot vacant. Read more at FastCompany.

What Droid Does

Verizon is replacing hype with substance for Droid, moving out of its buzz-building phase with a series of TV spots that show exactly why their app phone is better than iPhone. Ad Age is featuring three ads that Verizon will be running through the end of the year as part of their $100 million campaign.

For all the mystery and craft that went into the campaign s plant ads, the payoff spots come across as a new skin on Apple’s hands-on demo ads. Simply substitute robotic arms for human hands, and replace Apple’s clean white background with what looks like the inside of a Jawa transport from Star Wars. Ad Age talks to analysts and marketing consultants, a couple of whom point to the sci-fi, male-skewed positioning as risky if Verizon is indeed trying to make an iPhone killer out of Droid.


Watch the ads and read more about the campaign at Ad Age.

Verizon Makes A Misfit Of IPhone

A new TV spot in Verizon s zinger campaign comparing 3G mobile coverage with AT&T sends iPhone to the Island of Misfit Toys. Prior ads from the campaign, the There’s a Map for That spots, had a premise rooted in reality. They showed Verizon customers accessing various smart phone apps while iPhone users couldn’t. Superimposed maps of Verizon’s broad 3G coverage compared to AT&T’s spotty one showed why. Verizon’s cute holiday spin uses the memorable sequence from Rudolph, relegating iPhone to the misfit toys isle for the same reason.

Will there be an iPhone answer to the campaign? The ads are aimed at AT&T, and it’s possible the mobile carrier decides to step into the fray. It’s doubtful that Apple would want anything to do with it.


Watch it at Creativity-Online.

Why Are Big Games Slipping Into 2010?

Writing for Gamasutra, Paul Hyman looks at the recent spate of game delays into 2010 for anticipated titles. Take-Two’s BioShock 2, Ubisfot’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, Activision’s Singularity, and Sega’s Bayonetta are among games slipping into next year. Publishers have given various reasons for the slips, and none are willing to lend further comment to Hyman on their strategies.

Hyman turns to NPD analyst Matt Matthews, who points to a shift that took place last year. Game sales in the first three quarters of 2008 rose 33 percent compared to the previous year. The fourth quarter year-over-year comparison showed only a 16 percent increase. Matthews revisits the notion that publishers might be considering the benefits of spreading releases throughout the year, helping game consumers pace their time and money.


Read more at Gamasutra.

Marketers Helping AR Adoption

Augmented reality has all the makings of a fad, but marketers who are experimenting with ways to put the technology in front of people are helping its adoption. That’s what Farhad Manjoo argues in his piece for FastCompany.

Manjoo says while scientists are envisioning AR as the first step towards Terminator eyes, the average person is seeing its practical use in marketing campaigns and consumer products. Capably equipped mobile devices such as iPhone and Android phones are helping un-tether the tech from computers to introduce useful applications that work on the go. One example is Yelp’s iPhone app that enhances its business search function by layering useful information, such as restaurant reviews, over the phone’s live camera view of the environment. AR companies such as Layar and Total Immersion are creating games and other consumer applications.  Total Immersion is introducing what Manjoo calls the first AR toy, partnering with Mattel to create action figures from the upcoming film Avatar with a feature that lets kids see 3D version of the toys playing in their room.

Manjoo talks to techies and advertisers on the potential and pitfalls for AR. One pitfall is that consumers might see it as nothing more than a gimmick if marketers resort to me-too applications of the tech. Read more at FastCompany.

‘Father Of The PlayStation’ Has A New Venture

Ken Kutaragi has launched an entertainment cloud computing company called Cyber AI Entertainment, reports Industry Gamers. The news was first reported by Nikkei. Kutaragi is the former chief of Sony’s game division, where he earned the distinction as the father of the PlayStation. He stepped down from his role and became an honorary chairman on the company s board in 2007.

Kutaragi says Cyber AI is focusing on networking and information processing in cloud computing for entertainment applications. Industry Gamers writes that the new venture is capitalized at 20 million yen, or $222,500. Read more at Industry Gamers.

EA’s ‘Spore’ Gets Facebook Game

EA has brought Will Wright’s creature creator game to Facebook, launching a microcosmic version of the game called Spore Islands. As reported in The Escapist, the game lets Facebook users and their friends create creatures to populate a single island, then fight to thrive.  Besides the confined arena compared to the cosmos in Spore, the Facebook game has a rudimentary version of the original’s creature creation options. It’s also designed as a quick experience, with The Escapist pegging the creature interaction portion of the game play at about a minute. Micro-transactions revolve around DNA that can be purchased to upgrade creatures. The game is currently in beta. Read more at The Escapist.

Infinity Ward At ‘Modern Warfare 2’ Midnight Launch

A tank, a humvee, and Infinity Ward developers along with CEO Vince Zampella helped bring a festive atmosphere to the game’s midnight launch at a Los Angeles Best Buy. Writing for AP, Derrik J. Lang talked to first adopters and Zampella on the culmination of one of the year’s biggest game campaigns. Zampella expressed relief that a stressful unveiling period for the game has ended.

Modern Warfare 2 has had its share of negative publicity, namely from the leaked terrorist mission video and the decision to forego dedicated servers for multiplayer. One midnight reveler who lined up speculated that the servers would crash on launch night. Zampella told Lang that headaches to come over the next week will include things that will screw up that we have to fix. AP says more than 10,000 retail outlets across the US had midnight launches for the game. Read more from AP.