Preview Of Facebook’s GDC Keynote

Forbes Oliver J. Chiang has an interview with Gareth Davis, Facebook s platform manager overseeing games, on the social gaming landscape. Chiang calls it a preview of Davis scheduled keynote at the Game Developers Conference later this month. Davis touches on how Facebook is putting more and more of its skin into the social game category, and shares his anticipation that there will be a killer app for social games in the same way that Mario was for Nintendo. Read it at Forbes.

Biting The Hands That Auto-Feed

Writing for FastCompany, Gina Trapani has an article on how using third-party apps to automatically broadcast the same feeds across different social nets loses sight of social media’s strengths. She says it s easy to spot auto-feeds as a zero effort approach to social marketing, and as such can offer little returns from an audience who s there to be engaged. Read it at FastCompany.

Study Zeroes In On Game Marketing Shortfalls

MediaPost reports on a study of game consumers commissioned by ad agency Blitz and conducted by researcher Mintel that zeroes in on game marketing shortfalls. The study reached out to 1,000 gamers between 13-35 years old and comprising 60-to-40 percent male-to-female ratio. Its key finding was that core gamers say they shun information they deem as commercialized, including messaging from game publishers, content and reviews from ad-supported editorial sites such as IGN and GameSpot, and even official video trailers, which they perceive to be doctored. Instead they tend to seek what Blitz CEO Ivan Todorov classified as the purest sources they could find, with YouTube and Wikipedia cited as examples. The study also showed TV still makes an impact as the biggest driver of interest. But Blitz said what respondents saw as the most effective TV advertising, showing actual game play, was often overlooked. Overall the study found the top sources game consumers seek for purchase decisions all constituted word-of-mouth, first talking to friends then looking to online user reviews. It also found that only a small percentage go to social networks for information, leading researchers to conclude that game marketers are underutilizing the platforms. Todorov told MediaPost that represents an opportunity for game marketers, where they need to better utilize popular social platforms to establish influencers for their campaigns. MediaPost links to Blitz’s research report, which requires registration to download. Read more at MediaPost.

NPD Finds Gradual Growth In Online Gaming

Industry Gamers reports on findings released from NPD Group’s Online Gaming 2010 report, which mostly points to a gradual growth in online gaming habits. NPD found people play an average of 8 hours of games online per week, an increase of about 10 percent from 2009.  Xbox 360 led the platforms, with people spending 7.3 hours a week playing online on the system, followed by 6.6 hours for PC and 5.8 hours for PlayStation 3. For digital downloads, it found people purchased an average of 20 percent of games digitally in 2010, an uptick of one percent from last year. Industry Gamers points to one surprising finding, where NPD discovered that the total for those who say they play online dipped from 56 percent in 2009 to 54 percent in the report. NPD analyst Anita Frazier told the news outlet that despite that dip, the report shows metrics which point to both stability and growth in both online and offline gaming. The report also shows online gaming broken down by platform as 85 percent for PC, 48 percent for Xbox 360, and about 30 percent each for PlayStation 3 and Wii.

‘Repo Men’ Gets An AR campaign

Universal Studios has launched an augmented reality campaign for its upcoming film Repo Men” geared to iPhone owners. MediaPost reports that the studio worked with mobile tech company Occipital to roll out the campaign. The effort involves barcodes embedded into the film s marketing materials such as outdoor movie posters and online banner ads. Once scanned by Occipital’s Red Laser app for iPhone, the barcodes give users access to content such as teaser trailers. MediaPost says the campaign draws from plot elements in the film, which has actors Jude Law and Forest Whitaker playing professional organ thieves who use barcodes to track their bounty. Universal digital marketing manager Ben Blatt called the effort a complementary mobile extension to the film’s overall promo push. Read more at MediaPost.

Honestly, Abe?

Seth Grahame-Smith s novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which hit bookstores this week, is already on its way to becoming a film.  Reuters reports that legendary filmmaker Tim Burton has paired up with Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov to produce a movie based on the book. Neither is slated to helm, and no studio has yet picked up the project. The book is the anticipated follow-up to Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the author’s first hit mash-up novel. That work is also headed to the silver screen, housed at Lionsgate with Natalie Portman producing. Read more from Reuters.

Those ‘Manky’ Foxhunters

Capcom has another trailer in their humorous campaign comparing real world hunters to those in its Wii game Monster Hunter Tri. The first video took a tongue-in-cheek swipe at open sea fisherman. This one takes aim at fox hunting, and it benefits from the poetic rhythm of a Scotsman mocking British high society. Watch it at YouTube.

Analysis: Fiscal Calendars Factor Into Game Releases

EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich has written a veritable must-read analyst brief for Industry Gamers. Backed up by plenty of data, Divnich outlines how publicly traded publishers are building release schedules that stack high profile games into fiscal quarter end months March, June and September. He argues it’s designed to serve shareholders and maintain stock prices rather than position products for salability, and therefore a potentially shortsighted strategy. Read it at Industry Gamers.

Is Social Media A Silver Bullet?

Writing for iMedia Connection, Denise Zimmerman outlines seven limitations to social media marketing. She covers both areas where it’s a poor substitute for traditional marketing strategy as well as missteps that can hinder its potential. Read it at iMedia Connection.