‘Assassin’s Creed II’ Trailers Montage

GameTrailers is taking a creative approach with a story trailer for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II released on the eve of the game’s big debut.  The site is featuring a long-form trailer setting up the storyline in the sequel through a montage of previously released video trailers.

Titled the Red Carpet Trailer, the video uses an existing GameTrailers interview with one of the game’s developers as narration and ties together about a half dozen previous videos. The montage is set up so that with each segment the original trailer’s title, release date, and the number of times it was downloaded at GameTrailers is displayed on screen. It’s a nifty segue device, and overall a creative approach in making old seem new again and getting more mileage out of existing video content.


Watch it at GameTrailers.

‘Assassin’s Creed Lineage Part 2’

Ubisoft has released the second installment in its live action short film trilogy promoting Assassin s Creed II. The ten minute film continues the storyline building up to the events that players will ultimately experience in the sequel. The shorts will eventually total about 38 minutes in runtime. They feature the same actors whose voice and likeness appear in the sequel.

Ubisoft marked the debut of the first installment by calling the effort an experiment in filmmaking that may lead to full-length feature film projects based on its game properties.


Watch the second part at YouTube.

Marketing Trumps Quality When Selling Games

Gamesindustry.biz looks at results from a study by research firm EEDAR that point to marketing spend as the primary force in how well games sell. EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich has said that developers should wake up to the fact that a quality game can still be outperformed by a poorly developed title based on marketing support. He made the comments at the Montreal International Games Summit, where he also shared his view that low-level developers are better equipped to make a proper marketing plan for their games than most marketing managers.

EEDAR looked at games released in 2007 and 2008, finding that higher investment in marketing can increase a title s sales revenues three times more than better review scores.  In one example, Take-Two’s BioShock outsold EA’s Dead Space nearly two to one. Both horror shooters had favorable reviews, but Take-Two dedicated $5.5 million to market its title compared to EA’s $2 million commitment. Divnich also credits Sony’s recent well-received campaign for PS3 as the reason for the system s sales spike, saying it s a bigger influencer than the price cut.


Read more at Gamesindustry.biz.

‘Modern Warfare 2’ Shines The Spotlight Back On Game Violence

In the wake of controversy around the terrorist mission in Activision’s Modern Warfare 2 and its record-breaking launch, a pair of articles in FastCompany and Washington Times have put the spotlight back on the issue of game violence.

Writing for FastCompany, Cliff Kuang focuses on the controversial mission that puts games in the shoes of a terrorist gunning down civilians at an airport. He cites the scene as the particular source of trouble surrounding the game, and he questions the positioning by Activision and the game’s developer Infinity Ward that a moral dilemma is the context for the sequence. Kuang quotes Brad Rice from game site Destructoid, who has penned his own piece deriding the scene. Rice labeled the level of violence in the game as bordering on snuff.   Kuang sees some of the pushback rooted in the game s realism, where characters that look and act more humanlike than ever before are blurring the line between virtual and real. In the end he implies that the interactive and now ever more immersive experience in games might be making it harder to justify violent game content by comparing it to what people see in films. Read Cliff Kuang’s editorial at FastCompany.



Writing for a less game savvy audience in Washington Times, child advocate Mary Hicks sums up her stance in her article s headline, Reject violent video games.   Hicks draws a paradox from the proximity between the Fort Hood shooting and the launch of Modern Warfare 2.   She says the link between fictional violence and violent behavior is proven, citing a book by Northern Illinois University professor Mary Larson that found of 3,500 studies on the relationship only 18 failed to connect the two.  Hicks sees American children surrounded by a cocktail of entertainment violence, the worst of which she believes are video games.  Read a Mary Hick s editorial at Washington Times.

One Day Left To Register For ‘Beyond Ho-Hum Social Media Marketing’

Ben Straley, CEO of online metrics firm Meteor Solutions, and Steve Fowler, VP of Strategy and Client Services at Ayzenberg Group, are presenting a seminar on best practices in social media marketing. The online session takes place tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. PST.  Registration for the online session is open.


Here’s the full description:


Beyond Ho-Hum Social Media Marketing: How to Create a Fan-Fueled Frenzy Online


Today, the most successful marketing campaigns in the games and
entertainment industries are fueled by sharing and online word of mouth. Major sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as message boards and forums, all play a pivotal role in driving and extending the reach of campaigns via person-to-person sharing.

But how exactly do you design and execute the kinds of campaigns that get people talking? What content will attract and engage your target audience enough to drive the spread of your campaign organically? How can brands and agencies work together to create buzz-building, fan-fueled social media campaigns?

In this free educational “Brown Bag” webinar from Meteor Solutions, Ben Straley, CEO of Meteor Solutions and Steve Fowler, VP of Strategy and Client Services of leading interactive entertainment agency, Ayzenberg Group, will present concrete best practices and actionable strategies for creating social marketing campaigns that go beyond ordinary to extraordinary. The speakers will also describe a case study of one of the most successful video game launch campaigns of all time — and illustrate with real-world examples how the right strategy, content, and tactics can make your next social media campaign a huge success.

Marketers and agencies will learn:

·Why and how people share games and entertainment content — and
how marketers can tap into this behavior
·How to engage and activate hardcore fans, and how to motivate them to share
·How to create fan-fueled campaigns by delivering the right content
to attract and engage your audience
·How to convert visitors into customers, motivating visitors to
become “mega” fans who share your content with their friends and family

Register for the seminar.

Activision Looking To Monetize Multiplayer

Activision is looking into ways to monetize online play in games from its key franchises such as Call of Duty, reports IGN. Activision CFO Thomas Tippl told investors at the BMO Capital Markets Conference that knowledge exchange is taking place between its online staff and Blizzard. The result could be paid online models similar to World of Warcraft applied to other titles with a big online following. Tippl says knowledge from Blizzard is already built into Battle.Net, the platform driving multiplayer for existing Call of Duty titles such as Modern Warfare 2. IGN reports that a leaked survey from Activision marketing hints to a paid online monthly service for Call of Duty games. Read more at IGN.

EA Shuts Down Pandemic Studios, Says Kotaku

Kotaku reports on rumors that EA s recently announced cost-cutting move could mean its once high-riding developer Pandemic Studios will be no more. Citing sources, Kotaku says Pandemic is being notified today that the studio is being shut down and that nearly all 200 of its staffers will be laid off, with few being integrated into other EA studios. The studio was currently developing the title The Saboteur, which Kotaku says is getting handed off to Army of Two maker EA Montreal.

Pandemic was once one of EA’s most visible developers with titles such as Full Spectrum Warrior, Star Wars Battlefront and the Mercenaries franchise. Read more at Kotaku.

With Facebook On Xbox Live Today, Sony Says PS3 Version Is On The Way

Just as Microsoft rolls out social media networks Facebook and Twitter on Xbox Live, Sony has confirmed that PS3 will also be getting Facebook integration. As reported in Gamasutra, Sony says its next firmware update with version 3.10 will integrate Facebook into PlayStation Network. Sony also points out that Facebook integration lets users monitor Twitter updates, but says that Twitter is not getting its own service on PSN. Read more at Gamasutra.

Rumor: Hearst Media Bid To Buy Kotaku

Hearst Media considered buying Kotaku from Gawker Media but the deal fell through, reports Business Insider. Hearst is reportedly sitting on $1 billion in rainy day capital and shopping for media properties as key publications such as Oprah and Good Housekeeping lose readership. Quoting a source, Business Insider says the media giant s attempt to scoop up Kotaku fell through because Gawker wasn’t willing to part with one of its key revenue makers. Kotaku is second to Gizmodo as Gawker’s most popular blogs.