Disney Interactive President To Keynote D.I.C.E.

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has announced the opening speaker for the D.I.C.E. 2010 Summit as Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney Interactive.  Wadsworth joins this year’s line-up of speakers including David Gallo, director of special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and member of the team that mapped the Titanic; Richard Lemarchand, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves designer at Naughty Dog; Brian Reynolds, chief creative officer at Zynga; and Mike Yuen, VP content and services at Zeebo.

The AIAS D.I.C.E. Summit 2010 takes place Feb. 17-19 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.  Get more information at the D.I.C.E. Summit site {link no longer active}.

Rentrak Merging Retail Ad Data With EEDAR

Retail data collector Rentrak Game has entered a data sharing agreement with game analyst firm EEDAR, reports Industry Gamers.  As part of the agreement, Rentrak is providing data collected from major retailer ad circulars as part of its Video Game Ad Monitor for EEDAR to merge into its GamePulse service.  EEDAR s service tracks information on more than 10,000 games.  EEDAR chairman Greg Short says providing its clients with Rentrak s data will allow for better analysis of marketing methods that can be applied in promoting future titles.  Merged datasets will be available in Feb. 2010.

Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Survey: Word Of Mouth Trumps Ads In Game Purchases

Public Relations firm Waggener Edstrom has conducted a survey that once again lends great credence to the influence of word of mouth in videogame purchases.  As reported in Gamasutra, the survey found that friends are three times more likely to influence game purchase decisions than advertising and marketing.   Friends advice trumped family members, with word of mouth among friends twice as likely to influence decisions.

Waggener Edstrom surveyed 507 gamers for the survey.  Coming out of its outreach, the firm also identified a category of influence multipliers defined as people who are able to greatly impact their friends game purchase decisions.  It found that about 21 percent of gamers fit the heavy influencer category.  Read more at Gamasutra.

Down Years Ahead For Consoles, Says Analyst

DFC Intelligence has released an abstract for their forecast for the game industry, one which paints a less than rosy picture for game console products sold at retail.  DFC says the retail console software market peaked in 2008 at approximately $30 billion worldwide.  The firm forecasts a continuing decline in the market for both console and handheld software settling at about $23 billion worldwide in 2015.  DFC also predicts the global market for all game sales will end up down 12 percent in 2009 compared to last year, and will continue to remain flat through 2012.  The firm s analysis points to one bright spot, predicting that global revenues from digital distribution of game content will grow by more than $10 billion by 2015.

Read more at DFC Intelligence’s abstract {link no longer active}.

Fiery Concoction

Disney’s upcoming racer Split/Second has to be the product of one spirited brainstorming session.  Take the speed and street styling of Need for Speed, the linear destruction derby of Burnout, the combat racing of WipEout, and the environmental mayhem of Twisted Metal, and add many, many more explosions.  That’s the[a]listdaily’s take anyway, and it s too multilayered a cake not to take a slice from when it hits shelves.  In the meantime, we can salivate over trailers that Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich might fight over to direct.

Watch it at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

EA Gets Serious About iPhone Gaming

Writing for FastCompany, Kit Eaton says EA is getting serious about Apple iPhone and iPod Touch as true gaming platforms.  EA was recently distinguished as the game publisher dominating game app sales based on Apple’s year-end bestsellers list.  The publisher is now preparing three more iPhone apps based on franchises Need for Speed, Spore and The Simpsons.  Eaton says it’s not just that EA is bringing more of its powerhouse licenses to iPhone that points to the publisher s seriousness about the platform.  EA is investing more money to develop games with enough content to make them rival traditional handheld console games.  For instance, EA’s Need for Speed: Shift has far more car licenses up to 20 according to FastCompany and is showing significant graphical improvements over its iPhone predecessor Undercover.   With the other titles, Spore Creatures and The Simpsons Arcade, EA is similarly promising richer features than gamers might expect in an iPhone game app.  Eaton points to the notion introduced by VentureBeat that these are second generation iPhone games.

One observation outside of Fast Company and VentureBeat s coverage: EA is throwing some PR muscle behind the three titles, which speaks volumes about a more serious approach to its iPhone games business.

Read more at FastCompany {link no longer active}.

Tech Deals That Didn’t Define The Decade

Writing for Business Insider, Jay Yarow compiles fifteen tech deals in the last decade that were passed up or didn’t pan out.  Or as Yarow puts it, they were flat out blown.  There are plenty of grimace-inducing reminiscing, along with moments of smiles and handshakes that you know the subjects wish they could have back.  We won t spoil the list.

Check it out at Business Insider .

Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Dec. 7

Ad Age lists the top 10 viral videos for the week of Dec. 7.

A gaggle of Google videos have hit the chart as new entries.  If you missed it, the most compelling is the painstakingly produced video for Google Chrome.  It uses a clever offline approach to showcasing the web browser’s online features.  The others are for Google Goggles (juicy product, bone-dry video) and Google real-time and local search (needed this query: smell smoke in my house ).  A fourth new entry has a worthy cause raising awareness for the UN climate talks in Copenhagen but as a Danish state ministerial production has all the trappings of an overfunded, under-produced government video.

A nifty video that Ad Age has as a returnee to the chart is Samsung’s Extreme Sheep Art promoting its LED HDTVs.  For videogames, Microsoft Natal is still drawing enough eyes to stay frozen in the middle of the pack, while Activision’s Tony Hawk: Ride with hotdog Tillman just barely hangs on at the bottom.

Ad Age’s chart includes number of views for the week and percentage change in views for videos that stayed on the chart.  The list is compiled by Visible Measures.

Check out the full list and watch the videos at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Slicing Up iPhone Habits

Financial services firm Morgan Stanley has conducted a study of usage habits for iPhone versus other mobile phones.  As reported in Business Insider, the study shows significantly more overall device usage as well as greater use of data services and other non-voice activities among iPhone users.  Morgan Stanley found that iPhone users spend an average 60 minutes per day using their device compared to 40 minutes for traditional mobile phone users.  The study showed the reverse trend for voice usage, where average mobile owners used their device for voice calls 70 percent of the time compared to only 45 percent for iPhone owners.

The study also broke down usage for specific activities such as internet, email, texting and gaming.  It showed for average mobile phone users all but voice calls and texting were minimal activities, each used for less than five percent of the time spent on the device.  For iPhone, time not spent making calls was broken down as fourteen percent texting, twelve percent email, ten percent music, nine percent internet, eight percent games, and three percent other.

Read more and check out usage comparison pie charts at Business Insider.

Browsing Comics On PSN

Sony has launched an online digital comic store for PSP on PlayStation Network, reports Edge-Online.  The store offers hundreds of digital comics, both paid and free, from comic book publishers Marvel, IDW, Disney and more.  Sony says the move follows the recent v6.20 firmware update that enabled the PSP with the Digital Comics Reader application.  Comics downloaded from PSN are also readable on PC via Sony’s MediaGo application.

Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.