Retailers Break ‘Modern Warfare 2’ Street Date

Game retailers including GameStop broke the November 10 street date for Modern Warfare 2 over the weekend, reports  Reports of retailers in the US and UK giving in to consumers clamoring after Activision’s title started to appear in online reports. It was eventually confirmed by press such as Ben Fritz of LA Times and Jon Hicks of Official Xbox 360 UK. GameStop was among retailers reportedly selling the title to those who preordered it. GameStop’s corporate office has admitted that it approved early sales in locations where it knew competing retailers were doing the same. Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward has released a statement denouncing the move but saying they will not punish anyone who got an early copy.

Activision and Infinity Ward had also put an embargo on reviews of the game for UK press until Tuesday. says that with video walkthroughs appearing online over the weekend, press are questioning the approach. Read more at

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Microsoft and its videogame ad service Massive are exploring different ways to deliver in-game ads, including during breaks in the game play.  Reported in MediaWeek, the Microsoft is hosting a game ad conference in New York later this week where it s expected to show new partnerships and new methods for in-game ads. One approach the company is touting is combining dynamic in-game banners with advertising through Xbox Live. Car manufacturer Kia recently conducted a campaign where it enlisted Massive to serve dynamic ads into online sessions of Guitar Hero and NBA Live in addition to a branded micro-site within Xbox Live. Microsoft says a study of that campaign revealed that those exposed to in-game and Xbox Live ads were twice as likely to visit a Kia dealership.

MediaWeek says Microsoft is also preparing to show an example of in-game ads that take advantage of existing breaks during game play.  Massive recently struck a deal with Tripwire Interactive to serve ads into the upcoming PC title Killing Floor that takes advantage of the game’s built-in downtime. Read more at MediaWeek.

Sony Gets Behind ‘Assassin’s Creed II’

Ubisoft and Sony have struck a marketing deal to push the hotly anticipated holiday title Assassin s Creed II through PS3-centric TV spots, reports The deal has TV ads running in US and Europe that only refer to the PS3 version of the game.

Ubisoft says preorders for the sequel are up by 80 percent over the original Assassin’s Creed. The publisher’s CEO Yves Guillemot says he expects 15-25 percent higher sell-through for the title compared to its predecessor. Read more at

Brand Messages Resonate On Social Networks

Research has shown brand communications are a bigger part of what people share through online social networks than originally thought, reports MediaPost. Publicis Group’s Performics and ROI Research conducted studies of 3,000 social media users in the US. They found 30 percent of respondents admitted to finding out about a product through social media sites. Twitter and Facebook top the lists. On Twitter, 44 percent of respondents said they recommend products and 39 percent discuss products through Tweets. The figures are slightly higher for Facebook. For search, 48 percent said they search out brands they see on Twitter. The figure is somewhat lower for other social networks, with about 34 percent seeking out brands they see elsewhere. Read more at MediaPost.

Sony Is The Latest To Tout Importance Of New IP

Sony joins a recent chorus by game publishers that new IP is critical to growth in the game industry. reports on comments made by Sony Europe’s Michael Denny at the Develop Liverpool conference that new IP is the lifeblood of the industry because gamers crave new experiences. He said Sony is committed to creating new IP, citing the upcoming Heavy Rain as an example. Sony is positioning the title as an original story-driven game set to push the boundaries in evoking emotion and telling a compelling story. points to a recent chorus among publishers on the importance of new IP, with similar comments coming last week from company heads at Square Enix and Codemasters. Read more at

TV Writer On ‘Modern Warfare 2’

A writer and executive producer on CBS hit TV show NCIS helped pen the story for Modern Warfare 2. Talking to Mike Snider at USA Today, Jesse Stern from NCIS says he was approached three years ago by Activision and Modern Warfare developer Infinity Ward. To give him a sense of the scale of story the developers wanted, they showed him the nuclear explosion sequence that was a major plot device in the first Modern Warfare title. Stern says his job on the writing team is to bring emotional punch to the action game s storyline. He points to Infinity Ward CEO Vince Zampella as having influence in the game’s story and characters.

Stern also addresses the controversial video that leaked from Modern Warfare 2 showing a mission where players become terrorists and shoot up an airport. He says the video was shown out of context, where the mission is designed to highlight the violence against regular citizens in modern wars. Read more at USA Today.

More CBS TV Shows Coming To Games

CBS has signed on several game publishers to turn its TV properties into casual games, reports Variety. The network has been working with Ubisoft on games based on hit crime show CSI. It has now signed smaller publishers Ludia and Legacy Interactive to make casual games based on shows including Survivor, Criminal Minds, The Ghost Whisperer, and Hollywood Squares. Variety says the games are slated for Nintendo’s Wii and DS, and Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch.

Variety calls the move by CBS as possibly a strategy drawing from other traditional entertainment companies such as Warner Brothers, who eased into games by initially focusing on niche licensed products. Read more at Variety.

Apple’s IPhone App Store Hits 100,000 Apps

Apple’s App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch has hit a new milestone with 100,000 apps available. As reported in NY Times, Apple apps now outpace those available for competing Android phones by ten-to-one. Only about 10,000 apps are available for mobile devices running Google’s browser. Palm, once a leader in the mobile computing category, has about 300 apps available for its smart phone Pre.

NY Times points to another recent staggering Apple benchmark, when the company announced this summer that more than 2 billion apps had been downloaded at the App Store. Read more at NY Times.

Split Personality In Disney’s ‘Split/Second’

There are a few ways to describe Disney’s Split/Second, an action racing game with a game play twist. It’s a mash-up of street racing meets movie car chases. It’s demolition derby where racers destroy the environment rather than competitors cars to win. The industry pitch might be EA’s Burnout meets the Stephen King-Arnold Schwarzenegger dystopian future film Running Man. If that last one sounds like a stretch, consider that the premise puts race car drivers in a win or die reality show.

Elevator pitches aside, the game brings a unique twist to action racing that the video trailer has to get across. It does a clever job of doing it with a literal mash-up of its own. It baits with an intro worthy of a polished racing simulation game. It then abruptly takes a comedic turn into showing the mayhem and over-the-top action that can be expected in the game.

Watch it at GameTrailers.

Guinness Brings A New Campaign To Life

A new TV spot for Guinness is helping launch a re-branding campaign for the popular brew. The campaign is girded with an updated slogan, “Bring It to Life.”

The long-form ad shows sequences where hardworking men labor to bring barren parts of the earth back to life. There’s a tinge of environmental messaging, though it mostly seems to play on the perception that those who drink the frothy stout are of the more thoughtful beer-drinking ilk. That’s been an ongoing message for Guinness, from their last slogan “Good Things Come” to “Those Who Wait” to the nearly hundred-year old tagline “Guinness is Good for You.” Creativity-Online notes that the new slogan is the first update for Guinness in a decade.


Watch it at Creativity-Online.