Shack News Videogame Release List Jan. 24-30

Shack News lists this week s videogame releases.


EA and Bioware’s role-playing action game Mass Effect 2 is the week s headliner. Plenty of marketing including hefty TV buys during the NFL playoffs have helped push the sequel. It’s an Xbox 360 console exclusive that s also coming to PC. Wii gets some love from Ubisoft and Grasshopper Manufacture in the quality mature content category with their sequel No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. PlayStation 3 players get Sony and Zipper Interactive s attempt to establish a franchise and a game genre in one fell swoop with MAG a.k.a. Massive Action Game. Also worthy of mention is Capcom’s cameo-fest for the 2D fighting genre in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars for Wii.


Check out the full list at Shack News.

Inside Rock Band Network

Writing for Business Insider, Nick Saint breaks down the business behind MTV Games and Harmonix’s Rock Band Network. Saint delves into the pricing model and development time to create tracks. He talks to those involved about the network’s potential to bring music games out of their slump, and touches on whether the genre’s other big player Activision needs to be worried.


Read the article at Business Insider.

Facebook Gears Its New Dash For Games And Apps

Facebook has launched a new version of its dashboard geared to facilitate accessing games and apps, reports VentureBeat. The social media net has redesigned its dashboard to give developers a platform where they can promote their apps and games, and a place where users can manage what they re playing and find new content. Facebook’s game platform manager Gareth Davis said the move is indicative of how the company recognizes the popularity of apps on the network is and is hoping to give them the same kind of visibility it does for photos and events. VentureBeat has a screenshot and a brief description of the new dashboard s features.

Sega Partners With UK Theme Park

Sega has struck a three-year deal with popular UK amusement park Alton Towers, reports MCV via an official press release. As part of the deal, the park is planning on rolling out attractions based on Sonic The Hedgehog that includes a rollercoaster called Sonic Spinball and a themed hotel room. The press release says the hotel room will allow guests to “live, sleep and even play the latest games from the Sonic franchise. The park will launch both Sega-themed attractions on Feb. 13, 2010.


Read more in the press release.

BBC Making A Play For Games

The BBC is making a play to turn its popular TV properties into videogames, reports MCV UK. The outlet broke the story that the UK broadcaster’s BBC Worldwide division is courting both publishers and developers in an all-out effort to turn its IP into online games including Facebook fare, apps for Apple iPhone, and titles for Nintendo Wii and DS. MCV says the company expressed a desire to build gaming brands and not just one-off titles out its IP, mentioning properties fit for games such as Doctor Who and Top Gear. It also said it would push to bring its children s brands to Nintendo consoles while looking to take broader brands to all platforms. BBC’s managing director Neil Ross Russell said the company is second only to Disney in having children’s properties that are recognizable around the world.  MCV says BBC Worldwide hired former EA executive Robert Nashak as part of the move to oversee its digital entertainment division. Read more at MCV UK.

Analyst: Third-Party Console Exclusives Will Wane

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has said third-party console exclusives no longer make sense given the shared market between Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and that Gears of War maker Epic Games likely regrets their Xbox exclusivity.  CVG reports on Pachter’s comments made in a video interview with GameTrailers.  Pachter said that Epic is probably itching to bring Gears of War to PS3.   He added that an estimated 11 million PS3 systems in the US represents the potential for the IP to sell as many four million units on the console.  Pachter said that the only games likely to be console-exclusive going forward are first-party fare from Sony and Microsoft given the 20 million addressable market for the two consoles combined.  Read more at CVG.

Marketers Boosting Social Media Spends

Marketing firm Alterian has conducted a survey showing that a great majority of marketers will invest in social media in 2010, with nearly half shifting over a significant portion of their direct marketing budget. As reported in Washington Post, the firm surveyed 1,068 marketing professionals who were primarily based in North America and Europe. It found that 66 percent will invest marketing dollars in social media campaigns this year. Within that set, 40 percent said they would be shifting more than one-fifth of their direct marketing budget to social net outreach. In other results reported by the outlet, Alterian’s survey showed 36 percent are investing in social media monitoring tools, and that 51 percent are moving away from campaign-centric direct marketing to embrace customer engagement through multiple channels.


Read more at Washington Post.

Op-Ed: Online Games And Licensed IP

Writing for Industry Gamers, Alex St. John pens a piece on whether licensed IP helps online games. St. John is co-founder and former head of online game developer WildTangent, and currently leads online social gaming net hi5. He argues that online games don t necessarily need the power of a known brand to gain an audience.


Read the article at Industry Gamers.

Game Skills Related To Brain Size

MIT researchers have conducted a study showing abilities that translate to better videogame skills are related to brain size, reports Fast Company. The study showed people exhibiting better ability to refine their motor skills, learn new skills, and create strategies in a changing environment had a bigger striatum in their brain. Fast Company says the study adds weight to the role the striatum is believed to play in those functions. The striatum is a part of the cerebral cortex, the heady player in the even headier grey matter that runs high brain functions such as memory, attention, thought and language.


Fast Company briefly describes how MIT researchers conducted the test using the game Space Fortress. Read more at Fast Company.

Crispy Gamer Shutters Editorial

Barely two-year old game news outlet Crispy Gamer has effectively shut down its editorial department. Joystiq reports that the site s entire editorial staff has been laid off. CEO Chris Heldman has also resigned in protest. The staff affected reads like a roster of game journalism stalwarts, including former Joystiq staffer Kyle Orland and consumer press connected writers Scott Jones and Evan Narcisse. Others include managing editor Elise Vogel, chief marketing officer Anne Mischler, and staffers John Teti, Ryan Kuo, James Fudge. Crispy Gamer co-founder John Keefer had left the site last September to join game blog GamePolitics. Crispy Gamer had acquired internet game community site GamerDNA in December.  GamerDNA head Jon Radoff had commented at the time that the union was part of very ambitious plans to build a media company around the gaming market. Joystiq says the layoffs likely show that an editorial component is not part of the media mix. The site adds that Radoff was not aware of the staff cuts when he was contacted for comment. Read more at Joystiq.