Sony Spearheads 3D TV Network

Sony, IMAX and Discovery Communications have partnered to launch a dedicated 3D TV network in the US, reports Gamesindustry.biz. The companies have not set a date for the launch. The network is promising to be always on and deliver 3D content including feature films from IMAX’s library. Read more at Gamesindustry.biz.

EA To Tee Off Tiger Woods Online This Month

EA Sports is moving forward with this month s launch of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, reports Reuters. In doing so, the publisher is showing it intends to stick with the troubled golfer s brand name for its golf videogames. Since Woods exposed problems in his personal life last November, brands such as Gatorade and AT&T have distanced themselves by cancelling large endorsement deals. EA is among major brands such as Nike and Upper Deck that for now are maintaining their relationships with the athlete. EA Sports head Peter Moore announced the game s coming launch on a company blog site, adding that EA’s connection to Tiger has always been rooted in golf. EA began using the Tiger Woods brand in 1997. The new game also marks the franchises move into free-to-play, micro-payment supported online gaming. Read more at Reuters.

Japan Game Market Shrank In 2009

Japan game sales figures for the year from data providers Enterbrain and ASCII Media Works show the market shrank by nearly seven percent compared to 2008.  The data is reported in Japan game news blog Andriasang. Total sales for the year were about 542 billion Yen, or nearly $6 billion. Hardware sales fell the hardest, down nearly fourteen percent to about 216 million Yen.  Software fell just under two percent to total about 326 million Yen.  The top selling game was Square Enix’s Dragon Quest IX for Nintendo DS, selling more than 4 million units. The Nintendo DS topped hardware with more than 29 million units sold. Read more and check out the top five in each category at Andriasang.

Rotten Tomatoes Leaves IGN Family

IGN Entertainment parent News Corp. has sold Rotten Tomatoes to competitor movie listings and reviews site Flixster, reports Business Insider. The sale, terms for which weren’t disclosed, moves Rotten Tomatoes out of IGN’s network of entertainment and videogame sites. Business Insider says Kara Swisher, writer for another News Corp. property Wall Street Journal, had reported a coming deal. Swisher had said the move would be in line with News Corp’s strategy of trading assets not core to its business for investment in startups like Flixster. The combined assets of Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster are estimated to be a reach of 30 million monthly visitors worldwide and content on more than 250,000 films. Read more at Business Insider.

Apple Tablet Coming In March

Apple’s long rumored tablet computer is becoming a reality, as reports have pegged an unveiling to later this month and a commercial launch in March. Newswire AFP is reporting on facts that appeared in a Wall Street Journal article. The Journal has cited people with information from Apple that the company is launching a multimedia device enabled for movies, television, games and web access.  The paper cited analysts in estimating the device would be priced at under $1,000, and also that it would resemble a large iPhone. The speculation around an unveiling this month is based on Apple renting out space for a large product launch event in San Francisco on January 26 or 27.

ESPN 3D Network Coming In June

ESPN is launching ESPN 3D on June 11 with the broadcast of a 2010 FIFA World Cup, reports USA Today. The Disney-owned US sports giant says it will be the first TV network dedicated to 3D programming. ESPN expects to show up to 85 live sporting events on the 3D network in its first year including games from the Summer X Games. It expects to eventually have other live 3D sports events from college football, college basketball and the NBA. The network didn’t specify which World Cup match from South Africa it would air to launch the network.  There was also no word on whether ESPN is using any of the 3D World Cup matches Sony had announced it would be producing during the tournament.

USA Today quotes Consumer Electronics Association head Gary Shapiro, who calls ESPN 3D a turning point for the technology. The paper points out that 3D TV will require a specialized HDTV set, 3D glasses, and possibly new set-top boxes for cable and satellite broadcasts. Satellite provider DirecTV is also planning on launching a 3D network and is expected to make the announcement this week at CES. Read more at USA Today.

Buzz Making Ad Campaigns Of 2009

Adweek has research from new media agency Zeta Interactive showing the year’s most talked about ad campaigns. Zeta measured the volume of internet buzz for ad campaigns launched in 2009 and whether the tone was positive or negative to come up with a buzz index. Mars candy’s Snickers brand topped their list with its Snacklish campaign. It’s the one playing on the Snickers name and trade dress to create TV and display ads with nonsensical taglines, sometimes tied in with celebrity names such as those with NBA star Patrick Ewing ( Patrick Chewing ) and NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri ( Adam Nougatieri ).  The remaining top five were Cars.com’s Super Bowl launched David Abernathy TV ad, Apple’s yearlong There s An App for That campaign, GM’s Reinvention” ads, and Intel’s techie rock star spots.

Apple Serves Third Billionth App

Apple has served its third billionth app for iPhone and iPod Touch, reports Mashable. Apple reached the milestone for downloads of free and paid apps for the devices in less than 18 months. The company had recently announced the offering at its App Store on iTunes as more than 100,000 applications.  Steve Jobs commemorated the most recent achievement, saying Apple sees no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.  Read more at Mashable.

Unlikely Players In Game Ads

Writing for iMedia Connection, Dario Raciti looks at four brands well removed from the entertainment industry that launched successful videogame placements and advergame campaigns. Raciti recounts State Farm’s sponsorship of sports games from EA Sports and 2K Games, including in-game branding that went beyond traditional placement such as display. He also looks at furniture retailer IKEA’s campaign tying into EA s Sims game franchise. Two other non-endemic brands highlighted as taking the leap into interactive experiences and seeing surprising success are VISA credit cards and Dyson vacuum cleaners.

 

Read the full article at iMedia Connection.

Mining Spice In A RPG

Aksis Games and developer Compile Heart have figured out how to set apart their otherwise standard looking role-playing game for a Western audience. The US debut trailer for Record of Agarest War highlights the hook for the hardcore console RPG as one luring gamers by showing the game’s steamy side.  To be fair, the trailer is promoting a dating feature in the game where some sort of virtual coupling with the opposite sex leads to new characters.  Yet if there’s mention of that game play mechanic in this trailer, it must have been covered up by pixelization. Does it work? Promoting the spicy aioli sells sandwiches.  Note the number of views the US debut has on GameTrailers compared to all other videos for the game.

 

Watch it at GameTrailers.