Game Investor Conference Coming To NY

Game industry event organizer Game Path has announced Game Investment Conference East, a summit pairing investors with those seeking funding for game studios and development projects.  As reported in Edge-Online, the agenda for the one-day event comprises presentations divided into two tracks geared to investors or game executives.  Topics covered will include digital distribution and new platforms such as social media games.  It’s scheduled to take place April 28 in New York.  Get more information at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Jan. 25

Ad Age lists the top 10 viral videos for the week of Jan. 25.

New entries this week are topped by a Wal-Mart TV spot, a slapstick take on the frequented clown terrorizes children premise.  It debuts at number one with nearly 1.7 million views.  Ad Age says Wal-Mart could be setting a new trend, one where major brands have videos go viral simply through offline reach. Wal-Mart’s spot has been in heavy TV rotation.  Bridgestone falls into that trend, making the chart with a cliffhanger teaser also seeing heavy TV to set up its Super Bowl ad.  The spot entered the chart at number three getting just shy of 960,000 views.  The third and last new video is a viral for Nolan’s Cheddar cheese, in at eighth place with about 423,000 views.  Ad Age says chart tracker Visible Measures has been watching this video slowly grow an audience over a few weeks.  It’s got the right stuff for engaging viral: a furry animal, a central conflict, a feel-good third act, and licensed music.

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Check out the full list and watch the videos at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Postcards From An Open World

Eidos and Avalanche Studios put out this trailer for Just Cause 2 to highlight just how much freedom players have in the open-world action game.  Apparently there’s no shortage of impressive in-game footage to set up its non-linear game play, which seems primarily based on mechanics, vehicles and physics-based objects setting up a vertical world.  But the video’s notable for employing a neat device to communicate another aspect of its open world, that it takes place on a vast island playground that seems to be pretty much at players disposal.

Watch it at GameTrailers {link no longer active}.

Zynga Game Coming To MSN

Social game maker Zynga has partnered with Microsoft to bring a popular Facebook game to MSN Games, reports Industry Gamers.  Zynga is adding FarmVille, a social game with more than 76 million users on Facebook, to MSN s game site using the API Facebook Connect.  Zynga senior vice president Mike Verdu called it the logical next step in expanding ways his company can deliver games to users.  Industry Gamers says the deal is expected to bring more Zynga games to Microsoft game portals MSN Games and Windows Live, platforms that it says reach more than a half billion users monthly.  Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Sony Game Profits Rise On Surging PS3 Sales

Sony had a profitable quarter for the Oct.-Dec. 2009 period after four consecutive quarterly losses, reports Industry Gamers.  Sony reported earnings for the quarter as 79.2 billion yen in profit on sales of 2.24 trillion yen.  The company said profits were helped along by the game division, and specifically a spike in PlayStation 3 hardware and software sales.  Sony said it sold 6.5 million PS3 systems in the quarter to reach a worldwide install base of about 33.5 million units.  Industry Gamers calls that a 44 percent quarterly rise.  PS3 software sales jumped by more than 16 percent compared to a year ago, notching 47.6 million units in the quarter.  Sony also credited the division’s performance to lower manufacturing costs for the PS3 Slim, which it introduced as part of a price drop for the system in September 2009.  Other Sony game products saw declines.  Sales for the handheld PSP system fell by nearly a million units from a year ago to 4.2 million units.  Hardware sales for Sony’s still resilient legacy console PlayStation 2 slipped by about 20 percent in quarterly comparison, moving 2.1 million units in the quarter, while the system’s software sales in the same period dropped sharply from 29.7 million a year ago to 11.2 million units.  Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

EA Dips Into Doritos’ Super Bowl Reach

EA Sports has partnered with snack maker Doritos on a co-branded packaging and online campaign timed for the Super Bowl, reports MediaPost.  The co-op marketing campaign is centered on choosing the cover athlete for EA’s Madden NFL 11 football game.  For the first time, EA is getting people involved in the choice, asking them to vote who should make the cover from a pool of candidates chosen by the publisher.  Those familiar with the EA cover curse might label it as seeking accessories to a crime.  MediaPost says the campaign begins this week, and extends from promotions on Doritos bags to coordinated online efforts through social nets including Facebook.  EA Sports senior marketing director Chris Erb referred to the campaign s Super Bowl timing by saying, They re going to sell a lot of chips, and we re going to be a part of that.   Erb said the deal kicks off a year-long partnership with Doritos.  Read more at MediaPost {link no longer active}.

Pew Study Shows High U.S. Console Ownership

Yesterday, the[a]listdaily led readers to a brief FastCompany recap of Pew Research’s report {link no longer active} on internet and mobile usage, titled the Internet & American Life Project.   Today, Kotaku picked up on videogame related results from the study released by Pew.  According to Kotaku, Pew surveyed 800 children and found that 80 percent of those in the U.S. aged 12-17 years-old own game consoles.  Among them, 89 percent of boys said they owned or had access to a console compared to 70 percent of girls.  Pew found that more than half in the same age group own handheld consoles, with the youngest making up the highest percentage ownership.  Among 12-13 year-olds, 66 percent said they own a handheld.  The average fell to 44 percent for those aged 14-17 years.  Among handheld owners, 56 percent were boys and 47 percent were girls. Read more at Kotaku.

Sony Raises Haiti Relief Money Through Virtual Items

Sony Online raised more than $25,000 of Haiti earthquake relief money in just three days through the sale of in-game virtual items, reports Charity Technology Trust.  Sony rolled out a program in its MMO games Everquest, Everquest II, and Free Realms where sales of certain items resulted in $10 donations pledged for Haiti through the American Red Cross.  Charity Technology Trust says Sony Online ran a similar program for Habitat for Humanity in the game Star Wars Galaxies, raising $10,000 through players who pledged donations by destroying in-game structures.  Read more at Charity Technology Trust {link no longer active}.

Rock Band To Get The Who’s Super Bowl Set

MTV Games and Harmonix will release a version of The Who’s performance at the Super Bowl as playable tracks for Rock Band games, reports Industry Gamers.  The Who is playing the halftime show at the Super Bowl taking place this Sunday in Miami.  MTV and Harmonix worked with the legendary rockers to record a version of their set from the show to turn into playable tracks for the game.  Industry Gamers says the set, called The Who Super Bowl S-mashup, will be available immediately following the Super Bowl on Xbox Live and Wii Online, with the PlayStation 3 version coming soon.   Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Family Matters

Writing for Edge-Online, Chris Dahlen pens a fun read on what s engaged him most in EA and BioWare s epic MMO Mass Effect 2.   Dahlen argues that for him, it hasn t been the intricate plot, nor is it the vastness of its space setting.  Rather he’s found himself drawn into the very down-to-earth, familial relationships between the game’s characters.

Read the piece at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.