Buy Virtual Goods Online, Pay For Them At 7-Eleven

Online game payment service Kwedit has partnered with 7-Eleven to roll out a credit system for virtual goods sales, reports Promo.  The companies are offering a service for players of online games, and especially those without credit cards such as minors, allowing them to purchase virtual goods online then pay for them at 7-Eleven convenience stores.  Promo describes the service as one where Kwedit resembles a lender, doling out credit scores and spending limits to registered users.  Users purchase virtual goods for their games online then print out invoices to pay for them later at 7-Eleven stores.  If a user fails to pay, Kwedit turns off their credit line.  Raja Doddala, category manager for new business development at 7-Eleven, said Kwedit’s service falls in line with the convenience store chain’s strategy of growing its prepaid game and wireless cards business.  He added that the company also expects benefit to its stores through increasing foot traffic and eventual cross-promotions.  Kwedit told Promo it’s seeking similar arrangements with other retailers.  Read more at Promo {link no longer active}.

Clutter Killing TV Ads

Forrester Research and the Association of National Advertisers have conducted a joint survey and found that nearly two-thirds of advertisers say TV is losing its effectiveness.  As reported in Mediaweek, the firms surveyed 100 national advertisers and found that 62 percent think TV is less of an influencer than it was two years ago.  The majority cited clutter, with 69 percent of respondents saying they would like to see fewer ads per commercial segment.  The survey found fewer dollars going towards TV spend, with advertisers saying they would allocate 41 percent of their marketing mix to TV compared to 58 percent in 2008.  It also found a high level of interest in branded programming, with 38 percent saying they would be spending more on branded content than traditional 30-second spots.  Mediaweek says the firms will release more results from the survey at the ANA’s TV & Everything Video Forum taking place tomorrow in New York.  Read more at Mediaweek.

E3 2010 Registration Opens

The Entertainment Software Association has opened registration to E3 2010 and says ninety percent of exhibitor space at the expo is already booked, reports Edge-Online.  The event is scheduled to take place June 15-17 in Los Angeles, maintaining its return to glory by keeping the venue at the LA Convention Center.  It remains to be seen if Kentia Hall stays a parking lot.  Edge-Online lists current exhibitors and links to the organizers site for show info.  Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Brand New World

In his well-crafted depiction of how augmented reality could turn everyday life into another screen, architect student Keiichi Matsuda paints a grave new world.  It’s one where technology might stunt human advancement to the point where little daily efforts like making tea, or pee for that matter, need instructions from a heads-up display.  The production value in Matsuda’s video is a standout, including his unique art style for AR visualization.

Watch it at Adweek {link no longer active}.

Oscars On Facebook

Writing for Ad Age, Andrew Hampp covers Academy Awards organizers efforts to incorporate social media into promoting this year s show.  Hampp talks to show producers and the Academy s marketing agencies for insight into what’s planned.  He also touches on what the Oscars might learn, for better or for worse, from this year’s Grammys embrace of social nets for show promotion and audience integration.

Read it at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

‘Ramble On’

GameDaily editor-in-chief Chris Buffa guest writes an introspective piece on his career as a game journalist for Industry Gamers.  It’s thoughtful insight for many an adult gamer, coming from a 30-plus year old game writer trying to overcome pangs of jadedness about the medium amidst all of the industry s hype.  A notable addendum to the piece is how both Industry Gamers editors James Brightman and David Radd come to Buffa s defense in response to an out-of-line reader comment.

Read the article at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Wii Support Down, iPhone Up In Game Developers Survey

Industry Gamers is featuring data from the 2009-2010 State of Game Development Survey conducted by Game Developer magazine s research arm.  Game Developer Research surveyed 800 developers for the report.  Among findings was a jump in portable and mobile games, with 25 percent growth for projects in the category compared to last year.  Among portable and mobile game developers, 75 percent said they were supporting Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, double that of dedicated game handhelds Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.  The survey found PC development growing with online and social games, with more than 70 percent of developers saying they were making at least one PC title.  That compared to 41 percent working on console games, among whom 69 percent were creating titles for Xbox 360 and 61 percent for PlayStation 3.  Industry Gamers says figures for the consoles are on par with what Game Developer found last year.  But Nintendo’s home console fell sharply, with developers working on Wii titles falling by twelve percent to total about 30 percent in the current survey.

Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Gamasutra Adds PR News Page

Gamasutra reports that it has partnered with game PR content aggregator GamesPress to launch a PR news section on its site.  UK-based GamesPress is an online resource that compiles game industry press releases and videogame media blasts such as videos and screenshots.  Content submitted to GamesPress for circulation will now automatically appear with real-time updating in Gamasutra’s Press Releases section.  The section is linked to from Gamasutra s home page menu.  Read more at Gamasutra.

EA To Turn Focus To Internal And Digital Projects

EA has said that it is turning focus inwards and towards digital for products in the coming year.  Gamasutra reports on comments from the publisher s senior management on an earnings conference call.  EA said that it plans to scale back its exposure to publishing and distribution of externally developed games including those that fall under the EA Partners label.  EA COO John Schappert said the move is to concentrate on higher-margin EA owned titles and digital initiatives.   EA pointed to successful external partnerships including Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2, which it said surpassed expectations with more than 2.9 million units sold.  But the publisher said distribution partnerships generate low margins while publishing internally developed games can return as much as 90 percent profit margin for PC titles and 60-70 percent margin on consoles.  Gamasutra says the omission of future Rock Band music games on EA s slate is evidence of the new strategy.  EA helped MTV Games launch the Rock Band franchise and has been listed as co-publisher on previous titles.  Read more at Gamasutra.


Reported elsewhere in Edge-Online {link no longer active}, Schappert made a statement on the same earnings call that all of EA releases in the coming year will have an online component, both downloadable content and online play.

Super Bowl Sets Viewership, Ad Load Records

As reported in Washington Post, Nielsen ratings show this year’s Super Bowl is the most watched television program in history.  Nielsen said 106.5 million people watched Sunday night’s game, beating the previous Super Bowl viewership record of 99 million notched during last year s contest.  The total viewers also just nudged out the all-time TV record, set 27 years ago when 106 million tuned in to the season finale of M*A*S*H*.”  Read more at Washington Post.


Elsewhere, Adweek reports on statistics released by Kantar Media showing that this Super Bowl also managed a record for ads aired.  The firm said CBS aired nearly 48 minutes of commercial messages during the game, nearly three minutes greater than last year.  That comprised 41 advertisers airing 66 messages, including sponsor plugs from NFL and CBS.  Kantar lists this year s top four advertisers as Anheuser-Busch, Hyundai, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, saying they accounted for a quarter of paid ad time.  The firm also cited another record set this year by the portion of participating Super Bowl advertisers, at 63 percent, that aren t among top 200 US advertisers.  Read more at Adweek {link no longer active}.