THQ Partners With Syfy Channel

THQ and Syfy channel have struck a deal to cross-develop original and existing videogame properties, reports Broadcasting & Cable.  The first product from the licensing partnership is a Syfy Kids program based on THQ s 2008 Nintendo Wii puzzle game de Blob.   Syfy president Dave Howe called the deal an important foundation in building the Syfy Kids brand.   Read more at Broadcasting & Cable.

Disney: Expect Fewer Games But More Marvel On Console

Disney CEO Bob Iger has said his company is pursuing fewer titles for high end game consoles but sees potential on the systems for Marvel properties.  IDG reports on Iger s comments made earlier this week on a Disney investor call.  Iger said his company will be very judicious in deciding what games to develop for consoles he defined as high end, which IDG speculates to mean Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Iger added that Disney properties performed better on Nintendo systems Wii and DS.  However he pointed to recently acquired Marvel IP as well-suited for console games, suggesting that Marvel titles could make up for any reduction in Disney games.  Read more at IDG {link no longer active}.

FileFront Joins Break Media

Break Media has acquired digital game download site FileFront, reports Edge-Online.  The deal rolls FileFront into Break Media’s network of men s lifestyle sites, CagePotato, MadeMan, Chickipedia, HolyTaco, ScreenJunkies, and AllLeftTurns.  Edge-Online says Break s editorial team will work with FileFront staff in eventually redesigning the site.  The news outlet also cites Break’s claim that FileFront has more than nine million unique visitors per month and about 200,000 active forum users across a network of 75 videogame-related sites.  Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Twitter Had Record Usage In January, Says Research Firm

Royal Pingdom reports on findings that Twitter saw its most robust month in January based on number of Tweets.  The internet monitoring firm tracked 1.2 billion Tweets for the month, accounting for feeds sent on Twitter and third-party applications.  Royal Pingdom says that represents nearly 40 million Tweets per day, and a 16-fold growth in usage of the service over the same month last year.  The firm says its findings gel with a statement from Twitter CEO Evan Williams, who has announced that Jan. 12 was the highest usage day in the service’s history.  Royal Pingdom also found an average 17 percent month-by-month growth in Twitter usage between November 2009 and January 2010.  The firm’s site provides a brief explanation of methodology in how it tracks Twitter.  Read more at Royal Pingdom.

GameFly Files For IPO

Online game rental service GameFly has filed for a $50 million public offering, reports Business Insider.  The company said money raised through an IPO would be used for general purposes.   Business Insider says GameFly has potential for growth given that its 334,000 subscribers represent less than one percent penetration into the videogame market.  GameFly reported revenues of about $84 million in its last fiscal year ended March 2009.  The company recorded sales of $46 million in the first six months of its current fiscal year, up by more than 20 percent in period-to-period comparison.  Business Insider lists GameFly IPO underwriters as Piper Jaffray, Bank of America-Merrill, Cowen and Company, and William Blair & Company.

Read more at Business Insider.

Survey Outlines Positives For Ads In Sports Videogames

EA and research firm TNS have announced the results of a joint survey to identify the marketing opportunity for ads placed in sports videogames.  The pair surveyed an unspecified number of people identified as sports fans.  They found that 69 percent of those who called themselves avid sports fans own at least one sports videogame.  They also found 38 percent of sports fans who play videogames spend as much or more time playing a game based on a sport as they do watching it on TV.  The survey showed sports gamers represent a lucrative demographic for marketers, with the segment identified as three-quarters male, more than half aged between 18-34 years old, and likely single with disposable income.  They also tend to lead more active lives, with 60 percent of sports gamers surveyed saying they had exercised in the last week compared to 44 percent for all sports fans.  The survey s holy grail could be finding that ads placed in sports games are viewed favorably by most, with three out of four respondents saying they viewed in-game ads as reinforcing a brand’s sponsorship of a sport in real life.  Read more in the press release.

Game Analyst Firms Partner On Emerging Markets

DFC Intelligence and Niko Partners have announced the launch of a market research service focused on emerging markets for videogames.  The joint venture DFC-Niko Emerging Markets gathers intelligence for burgeoning game marketplaces in Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.  DFC s David Cole identified the ten countries as among the fastest growing video game markets in the world.   DFC-Niko will provide market data, modeling and forecasts for each region.  The firms said their areas of research will vary by region but generally addresses console, handheld, PC and online games, as well as provides data on retail and distribution channels, internet cafés, local developers, government regulations, and piracy issues.  Read more in the press release {link no longer active}.

Final Fantasy Gets Center Court At NBA All-Star Event

Square Enix has announced that it has a promotional partnership with the 2010 NBA All-Star Game for Final Fantasy XIII.   The partnership pits the game as a major sponsor of pregame festivities during the NBA All-Star Jam Session.  As part of the promotion, Final Fantasy XIII is the presenting partner of the event’s annual All-Star Celebrity Game featuring entertainment stars and former athletes.  The videogame will have center court presence during the game as well as exposure through ESPN’s TV coverage.  The sponsorship also includes an area at the NBA All-Star event where visitors will have a chance to play preview versions of the game.  The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game takes place Friday, Feb. 12.  Read more in the press release posted at PlanetXbox360.

MySpace Turning On Audio Ads

MySpace is rolling out audio ads embedded into its internet radio service MySpace Music in a bid to boost its advertising revenue, reports Adweek.  MySpace has enlisted internet radio advertiser TargetSpot to run the effort.  Adweek says the social site s need to increase ad revenue became apparent during last week s earnings conference call by parent company News Corp.  During the call, News Corp. head Rubert Murdoch singled out low ad revenues from MySpace for the overall poor performance of the company s digital media group.  Adweek says despite MySpace’s estimated 33 million unique visitors per month, the company’s ad strategy of relying on search placement hasn’t delivered.  Read more at Adweek {link no longer active}.

GDC Austin Becomes GDC Online

Game Developers Conference (GDC) Austin has changed its event moniker to GDC Online, reports Edge-Online.  The organizers said the move is to better reflect the conference’s focus on online games and emerging trends such as digital distribution, micro-transactions and the growth of casual MMO games.  GDC Online is slated to take place Oct. 5-8, 2010.  It’s still in Austin, Texas.  Read more and access the event site at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.