Double Fusion has gained exclusive rights to deliver dynamic in-game ads to 2K Sports titles NBA 2K10 and NHL 2K10 on Sony PlayStation 3. As reported in MediaWeek, Double Fusion’s Sony-exclusive deal marks a win for a service that has to compete with console maker Microsoft when it comes to in-game ad delivery on console games. Microsoft’s Massive subsidiary is the primary in-game ad service for games on Xbox 360. MediaWeek says Double Fusion has worked with 2K since 2006.
Read more at MediaWeek.
Blizzard’s pedigree is on full display in the teaser trailer for Diablo III. The video is marked by one beautifully crafted scene after another.
Watch it here.
Stop motion animator Patrick Boivin outdoes YouTube Street Fighter with Bboy Joker. The fun, funky and extremely well-produced interactive YouTube video pits Batman and Joker action figures against each other in a dance off. The video has been up for nearly a year, but it continues to get hits and is climbing towards 2 million views.
Watch it at YouTube.
Gamasutra’s resident industry analysis writer Matt Matthews is featuring another one of his NPD Behind the Numbers articles. Matthews again puts together an in-depth, chart-supported rundown of NPD Group’s latest sales report, with this one breaking down both December and year-end 2009 results.
Read the article at Gamasutra.
Writing for Kotaku, Brian Crescente pens a feature editorial centered around NPD Group s year end report for game sales in 2009. He looks at how a slumping year still managed to be the industry s second best on record, and what the year s developments portend for gamers and game makers in 2010 and beyond.
Read the article at Kotaku.
Microsoft is talking to ESPN parent Disney about streaming live sports events to Xbox 360 consoles, reports NY Times. The news outlet cites people close to the negotiations and positions the talks as in-depth, although it says a deal is not yet guaranteed. The content deal would have fee-based subscriptions for Xbox Live users to access streaming content including sports events from ESPN, similar to what the network offers through some internet providers with its ESPN 360 service. NY Times flavors the news with reasons why such a content deal makes sense for Microsoft. The company has recently trumpeted Xbox Live user numbers that regularly top one million, and have climbed as high as two million concurrent users. NY Times says even though the majority are assumed to be online playing videogames, the audience size is comparable to cable channels such as TBS and The Cartoon Network. The outlet also cites Microsoft’s recent foray into passive programming on Xbox 360 including the interactive game show 1 vs. 100 and the Xbox Live exclusive series The Guild. The first season of 1 vs. 100 drew more than 100,000 viewers at times according to Microsoft. Analyst firm Nielsen recently began tracking viewership for the show’s second season. Read more at NY Times.
The film-based Avatar: The Game has opened up a Pandora’s box of ills about licensed fare for Ubisoft management. As reported in Gamasutra, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has said on a company earnings call that disappointing performance for the game means less investment in licenses going forward. Guillemot cited adverse effects on both product quality and marketing from the difficulty in tying game development to rigid film production timelines. He said that while Ubisoft won’t completely forego licensed fare, it will spend less on licenses in the future. Guillemot added that Avatar: The Game represented an exceptional challenge given the tied-in film s late December premiere. He said the game was materially harmed by the small window it had for holiday sales. Ubisoft had expected sales for the game to continue into the first quarter of this year but has seen it follow the traditional post-holiday drop-off. Gamasutra points out that Avatar: The Game has also not fared well with game critics. In a separate report, the outlet pulled Guillemot’s comments from the same conference call saying that Ubisoft is also planning on creating less new IP and focusing more on major franchises going forward. Read more at Gamasutra.
MTV Games and Harmonix are launching public beta for Rock Band Network today, reports Destructoid. The online music service is now open for registration by artists interested in turning their music into playable game tracks. Citing company sources and the Wall Street Journal, Destructoid says popular artists already signed up to offer content include Billy Idol, Postal Service, Mudhoney, The Shins, Flight of the Conchords, Jonathan Coulton, Evanescence, Sleater-Kinney, some Finnish death metal, and Creed. Harmonix said the service will open once it has enough content, and will charge $1 to $3 based on prices set by track authors. Read more at Destructoid.
Two students at the University of Art and Industrial Design have created a massage vest that can be used to control PlayStation 3 games. Creators Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson embedded the vest with sensors that translate pressure into inputs on a PS3 controller. Fast Company has photos of it in action, along with a couple zingers on why gamers might need such a device. Their reasons notwithstanding, if this can turn a heated Street Fighter or Soulcalibur session into deep tissue massage, it s got potential. Check it out at Fast Company.
The latest trailer from Ubisoft and Grasshopper Manufacture for No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is about as weird as it gets. As readers may remember the[a]listdaily questioned one batch of these videos, if only because of their content condensed to the point of pointlessness. But then we learned there is method in the madness. It’s marketing communications strategy rooted in the tone of the game and recognizing its target market. Given that, one can t help but admire them no matter how uncommunicative they may seem to the uninitiated. And if these funny shorts for the game are nailing one thing, it’s effectively using the stutter-cut for comedic purposes.
Watch it at GameSpot.