EA Comments On Tiger Woods’ Apology

Tiger Woods staged a very public mea culpa last week about personal problems that have dogged him since November.  Kotaku managed to get comments on his apology from EA Sports head Peter Moore as well as PR staffer Rob Semsey.  Moore said it was good that Woods addressed the public and that EA is supportive of his focus towards family and rebuilding his life.   He added that the company looks forward to him playing golf again when the time is right.  Semsey said that EA s relationship with Tiger remains the same, as do plans for the June release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for consoles and iPhone.  For its part, Kotaku muses whether EA’s games might be the only sign of Woods golfing this year.   Read more at Kotaku.

Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Feb. 8

Ad Age lists the top 10 viral videos for the week of Feb. 8.

Monday morning quarterbacking flushed out this week’s chart completely, slotting in all Super Bowl players.  Even stubborn videos such as Evian s babies and Microsoft Natal were eclipsed, as viewers scrambled online all week to watch ads aired during the big game.  Ad Age says that the ten Super Bowl spots on the chart drew a combined 44.7 million views.  Nearly 18 million of that went to the number one video, Doritos spot about a guy faking his death for a casket full of its chips.  The next closest are an E-Trade baby spot at number two, followed by Snickers Betty White playing football ad at number three.  Each drew a little more than 3.4 million views.  The remaining videos in descending order are spots from Motorola, Audi, Focus On The Family, Google, CareerBuilder, Bridgestone and Hyundai, each getting between 2.5 million to 3 million views.

The chart is compiled by Visible Measures.  The firm told Ad Age that 20 percent of all views for Super Bowl spots were driven by social media pass-alongs.

Check out the full list and watch the videos at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

Top Ten Innovative Game Companies

FastCompany is featuring the World s Most Innovative Companies 2010, where they list top ten companies in two dozen categories.  Chris Dannen compiles the list for videogame companies, with Kevin Ohannessian contributing.  There’s no reason to spoil it.  The link goes directly to their list, and from there you can jump to FastCompany’s roundups for other industries and categories.

Check it out at FastCompany {link no longer active}.

Report: Global Game Market To Surge On Virtual Goods Sales

Strategy Analytics has forecast that worldwide game software revenues will surge by nearly 40 percent to reach $65 billion by 2013 driven by online social games and virtual goods sales.  As reported in Industry Gamers, the firm s Global Video Game Market Forecast says revenues from online games, including subscriptions, virtual item sales, and in-game advertising, will grow at an annual rate of nearly 19 percent to reach about $25 billion in 2013.  It pinpoints that growth as driving overall game software sales, calling it the predominant growth category.   The report says the Asia Pacific market will dominate online game revenues, but notes North America and Western Europe will experience faster growth.  Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Facebook Expands Game Payment Platform

Facebook has expanded testing of a virtual goods payment platform, one that serves as a central place to pay for virtual goods and buy currency usable in different games on the social net.  Bloomberg reports that the platform, called Facebook Credits, is now being tested in about seventeen games including popular titles such as CrowdStar’s Happy Aquarium and Playfish’s Restaurant City.   People associated with the company told the news outlet that Facebook’s plan is to further expand the rollout at its upcoming developer conference in April.  Facebook Credits is being seen as a way to boost users comfort level with buying virtual items, and in turn boosting sales for games.  For that facility, Facebook is charging game makers a 30 percent cut on every dollar they transact on the platform.  ThinkEquity analyst Atul Bagga shared a clear-cut scenario with Bloomberg to show how much money Facebook stands to make.  He said that based on his firm’s forecast of $2.2 billion in social game sales in the U.S. by 2012, of which 80 percent is expected to be from Facebook, Facebook Credits could make the company as much as $530 million in revenues.  Read more at BusinessWeek {link no longer active}.

Survey Finds Social Gamers Skew Adult Female

Casual game maker PopCap Games has given Industry Gamers the results of a survey it conducted exploring the demogaphic makeup of social game players.  The survey reached out to about 5,000 people in the U.S. and UK.  As the study’s bullseye, Industry Gamers shares the finding that the average social game player in the survey turned out to be female and 43 years old.  Overall social gamers in the survey skewed female by just over half at 55 percent, and slightly more in the UK at 58 percent.  For age makeup, the survey found those in the U.S. skewed older, with an average age of 48 years old compared to 38 years old in the UK.  In perhaps the most definitive finding highlighted by Industry Gamers, PopCap found that 94 percent of social game players surveyed were aged 22 years or older.  Read more, and access the full survey, at Industry Games. {link no longer active}

Blockbuster Games Dominate AIAS Awards

Big budget game development paid off for Sony, Warner Bros. and Activision, and EA got a nod for risk-taking, at the 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards.  Edge-Online reports on this year’s winners in the awards handed out annually at the DICE Summit by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.  Sony and developer Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was the night s standout winner, picking up ten awards including game of the year.  Warner Bros. and Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum was the next most recognized console game, garnering three awards.  That included a performance award for Mark Hamill, who voiced Joker in the game.  The triple-A trend continued with the year s biggest commercial success, Activision’s Modern Warfare 2, getting recognized with IAAs in the action game and online game experience categories.  EA’s decision to pick up Tim Schaefer’s Brutal Legend when Activision dropped it may not have delivered a huge commercial success, but it earned the publisher a couple of IAA nods including strategy-simulation game of the year.  Also worthy of mention is Warner Bros. and 5th Cell Media’s Scribblenauts, which got three awards including handheld game of the year.  Edge-Online notes that AIAS handed out its first Pioneer Award to legendary designer David Crane, and this year’s lifetime achievement award to Doug Lowenstein, founder of the Entertainment Software Association.  Check out the full list of winners at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Microsoft, Yahoo To Tie Up Search In Europe

Europe and U.S. regulators have cleared the way for Microsoft and Yahoo to integrate their search engines in Europe territories by 2012, reports Brand Republic.  The companies had asked for approval on a ten year deal to share query results between Yahoo Search and Microsoft Bing.  Regulators gave their approval only with assurance that the companies would continue developing unique content for their search engines.  They also noted Google dominance in okaying the partnership, with the European Commission explicitly noting they didn’t see the potential for the deal to impede effective competition given that Google currently accounts for 90 percent of the search market in Europe.  The U.S. Department of Justice shared a similar sentiment in its approval of the move.  Brand Republic says regulators in Japan, Korea and Taiwan are considering the same proposal from the two companies.  Read more at Brand Republic.