Atari’s Trek Into Social Media

Writing for ClickZ, Christopher Heine looks at the social media push Atari has implemented to promote its massively multiplayer game Star Trek Online. The multi-faceted effort is harnessing online nets Twitter and Facebook, enlisting a non-endemic partner in Del Taco, and even executing a PR style campaign vying for earned media among MMO sites and Star Trek communities. Heine talks to Atari marketing head Jonathan Anastas about specific initiatives. In the interest of disclosure, Anastas also manages a plug for your the[a]listdaily provider Ayzenberg Group, which is among agencies executing on Atari’s campaign.


Read the article at ClickZ.

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.

‘Mass Effect 2’ Trailer Roundup

GameTrailers gives the Red Carpet Trailer treatment to EA and developer BioWare’s Mass Effect 2. It’s a nifty device for the video site, giving it a chance to get mileage out of existing content and drive some eleventh hour buzz for a game nearing release. One of the best parts of these montages is how each segment featuring a new trailer has a title page listing the number of views it pulled on GameTrailers. The site had put together a similar video for Ubisoft’s Assassin s Creed II.


Watch it at GameTrailers.

Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Jan. 11

Ad Age lists the top 10 viral videos for the week of Jan. 11.


Half of the chart is new this week. The five rookie entries are topped by a long form ad from LEGO’s Cl!ck campaign, in at number two with more than 876,000 views. Right below it is another debut, a stunt video for Ray Ban sunglasses that pulled in about 845,000 views. Coca-Cola enters the chart at number six with its own stunt viral, getting about 418,000 people to watch the latest entry in its feel good about sugar water short film genre. Nokia placed seventh with a video from its crowd sourced Offline as it Happens campaign, getting just under 410,000 views. Last, and as Ad Age makes it known least in their book, is Axe deodorant’s Clean Your Balls viral. We laughed, and likely so did the majority of the 375,000 people who watched it.


Evian’s eerie babies are still at number one, getting nearly 1.3 million views for the week.


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.



YouTube To Launch Film Rentals

YouTube is quietly rolling out an online movie rental service, reports NY Times. The move comes after the online video giant revealed last summer that it was in talks about such an effort with major film studios including Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. NY Times says Google-owned YouTube later ran a closed beta with Google employees using content provided by the studios. The launch of the service, while available to the public, is still being called a “beta” by YouTube. The company is going live with limited content and for a short period of time, offering only five independent films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The service’s run coincides with the festival, launching this Friday and offering rentals until the end of the festival on Jan. 31. The films, each renting for about $4, are The Cove, Bass Ackwards, One Too Many Mornings, Homewrecker, and Children of Invention. YouTube’s entertainment market manager Sara Pollack said the site is providing an outlet for small filmmakers unlikely to get commercial distribution to find an audience. NY Times says YouTube is talking to other content providers including educational and fitness video distributors. The company is also launching a Filmmakers Wanted program to attract independently produced content. YouTube has said that filmmakers will determine pricing for their content and keep the majority of revenue from rentals. Read more at NY Times.

Sega Unites With Fruit

Chiquita has managed to get sweet brand placement in Sega’s Super Monkey Ball: Step & Roll for Nintendo Wii, reports Cincinnati Enquirer.  The company’s iconic Chiquita sticker will appear on bananas used as energy by the game s monkey characters. Chiquita called the plug for its product in the Wii Balance Board driven game a promotion of healthy snacking in a fun exercise game. The paper says the deal didn’t involve dollars, and that the in-game ad effort for Cincinnati-based Chiquita comes after the company launched its first TV ad campaign in more than twenty years. Read more at Cincinnati Enquirer.

Sega Genesis Coming To IPhone

Sega is launching an app for iPhone and iPod Touch this February that is being called part storefront, part virtual console. As reported in Gizmodo, Sega’s Ultimate Genesis will create a single app for the devices from which users can purchase and launch emulations of Genesis console games. Existing Sega Genesis apps such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Golden Axe, currently on sale separately in the iPhone App Store, will get rolled into Ultimate Genesis once it launches. Gizmodo says the app will be free and includes Space Harrier II as a free game.  Additional titles listed are Ecco the Dolphin and Shining Force, with prices ranging from $3 to $6.  Read more at Gizmodo.

Apple Working With EA On Tablet Games

Apple is working with EA on games destined for its tablet computer, shedding light on why the company invited game press outlets to its rumored tablet unveiling later this month. Joystiq posted the news based on a report in the Wall Street Journal that the companies are partnered to show off the tablet’s game capabilities. Joystiq is among game outlets invited to an Apple event taking place Jan. 27 in San Francisco. The event is widely rumored to be the tablet’s official announcement.


Separately, Joystiq reports that EA Mobile is developing apps for Amazon s digital reader Kindle using the just-announced Kindle Development Kit. Read more at Joystiq.

Pachter’s Podium Touches On EA Buyout, Nintendo Hardware

Industry Gamers is featuring its monthly question-and-answer session with Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter. This go around, Pachter fields questions on the outlook for an EA acquisition, hardware surprises from Nintendo, the state of PC retail and digital distribution, and the potential for cloud-based game services such as OnLive.



You Only Live Thrice

Atlus has released a video from the opening cinematic to their upcoming Sony PSP game Persona 3 Portable. The series is known for its otherworldly premise, and that sets the tone for the video s seemingly random montage. But it stands out for real neat visuals drawing influence from James Bond film intros, along with some pseudo-philosophical text thrown in. Mostly it’s the real neat visuals.


Watch it at GameTrailers.