Getting Social For The Grammys

Writing for Mashable, Christina Warren recaps the role social media marketing may have played in boosting viewership for this year’s Grammy Awards.  This year’s show had a 35 percent increase in viewership compared to 2009, and its best viewership since 2004.  She links to a story she posted prior to the show outlining social media efforts put in place by Grammy organizer the Recording Academy.  She then briefly breaks down results that may have helped boost this year’s audience.

Read the article at Mashable.  Note that Warren also discloses that Mashable had been part of a Grammy-related panel discussing social media s role in music marketing.

Stoking The Fire For ‘Dante’s Inferno’

Industry Gamers David Radd has an interview with Jonathan Knight, EA executive producer on Visceral Games’ Dante’s Inferno.   While the game has had an eventful nine-month marketing campaign, it s now best know for EA’s decision to buy it expensive airtime during the Super Bowl.  Knight claims in the interview the decision had him “Super stoked!”  He briefly touches on the game’s marketing campaign, its prospects for a potential franchise, and what might be next from his game portfolio at EA.

Read the interview at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

THQ Gets Game Rights To Sony TV Properties

THQ has struck a deal to bring Sony Pictures owned TV game show properties to videogames, reports Edge-Online.  THQ s multi-year licensing agreement is to develop and publish games based on Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune for Nintendo Wii and DS.  THQ’s Doug Clemmer said the properties will become part of the company s Kids, Family and Casual Games portfolio, a division that he oversees as executive vice president.  Edge says titles based on the IP will be announced this year.  Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Few Players Pay For Social Games

Industry Gamers is reporting on comments made by Peter Relan, chairman of social game maker CrowdStar, at a recent Lazard Capital Markets conference.  The site also spoke to Lazard analyst Colin Sebastian to give further insight on Relan’s comments.  Relan told the conference audience that as few as one to three percent of people who play social games are converted to paying customers.  He also noted a demographic for social game fare that skews older female, a drastic departure from traditional videogames young male audience.  Sebastian told Industry Gamers there is optimism in Relan’s analysis, saying the low conversion coupled with a large audience represents a runway for growth in the booming social game category.  In reference to demographics, he said few traditional game companies other than EA have tried their hand at social games but that he sees more investing in the space this year.  Sebastian forecasted healthy growh for the category, pointing to his firm’s estimate that worldwide social game revenues will double from last year to reach $1.3 billion in 2010.  Sebastian and Relan separately cited Facebook s recent launch of game payment platform Facebook Credits as a positive step.  The platform could take as much as 30 percent of transactions it facilitates, more than tripling the average game makers currently pay.  But it’s expected to significantly boost the number of people paying to play games on the site.  Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Sony To Premiere PSN Reality Show

Sony is launching a live-action show for PlayStation Network, reports DigitalTrends.  Called The Tester, the reality TV format series follows contestants vying to earn a spot in Sony’s videogame testing department.  DigitalTrends says the show is being produced by 51 Minds, creator of VH1 reality shows The Surreal Life and Rock of Love.   The Tester is hosted by Meredith Molinari and follows eleven people over eight episodes as they compete for the job and a $5,000 signing bonus.  The free-to-download show will debut a new episode on PSN every Thursday starting Feb. 18.  Read more at DigitalTrends {link no longer active}.

Univision Sets Up YouTube Channel

Univision Communications is launching a YouTube channel for U.S. users offering online access to shows from its Spanish-language TV networks, reports TVNewsCheck.  The media giant’s Univision Interactive Media division is spearheading the effort, which brings shows from Univision, TeleFutura and Galavisión to YouTube.  Univision Interactive president Kevin Conroy said this is the first time Univision programming has been offered online outside of the company’s own web site.  He added that the move reinforces our position as the leading Spanish-language video provider for U.S. Hispanics.   TVNewsCheck says Univision is also creating original content for the YouTube, enlisting talent from its networks to introduce weekly recaps for the shows being featured.  Read more at TVNewsCheck.

Analyst: Casual Games Don’t Compete For Console Dollars

Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz has put out a research note saying that casual fare offered through mobile and social media platforms are not affecting the console game market, reports Edge-Online.  Creutz called the segment distinct and non-competitive, saying the games cater to a different market than the core gamer.  He said that difficulties in the console game market have been rooted in stubbornly high hardware pricing rather than competition from casual fare.  He predicted that with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 now priced for a mass market, the console game market will reaccelerate to the benefit of publishers that are positioned to take advantage.   Edge-Online points to recent statements from Ubisoft and Capcom about shifting game development focus back to franchises for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Wal-Mart, Best Buy Used Game Kiosks Shut Down

Used film and videogame kiosk operator e-Play has shuttered its business, reports Dow Jones Newswire.  As a result, e-Play machines rolled out in a pilot program only six months ago at select Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores are being removed.  The removal affects 80 Wal-Mart stores, and an undisclosed number of Best Buy test locations in Dallas and Austin, Texas.  Analyst Arvind Bhatia of Stern Agee told Dow Jones the kiosks’ test period was underwhelming.   The newswire says the outcome is likely to benefit GameStop, the used games category’s leading retailer operating more than 6,000 stores.  Read more from Dow Jones Newswire {link no longer active}.

Does Sony Want A Second Go At PSP Go?

Sony is considering a second launch for PSP Go, based on Edge-Online s report on rumors originating on game site Gamervision.  Citing a source close to Sony, Gamervision says the company is considering a marketing blitz to ignite sales of its PSP hardware spin-off.  Sony launched PSP Go in fall 2009 as a version of its handheld system with the disc-drive removed and equipped only to play downloaded content.  Edge-Online says Gamervision further speculates that a price drop could be part of the re-launch strategy.  Sony had not commented on the rumor at the time of this post.  Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

‘Vanquish’ Trailer Analyzed

GameTrailers has given its Pop-Block Trailer treatment to Vanquish, the next game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami.  The site takes the debut trailer that appeared last week and freezes key frames to cull as much info as possible from the minute-and-a-half long video.

Watch it at GameTrailers {video link no longer active}.