‘Kick-Ass’ Social Media Marketing

Writing for Ad Age, Andrew Hampp looks at Lionsgate s social media marketing campaign for the film Kick-Ass. Lionsgate is rolling out the campaign through the Distributed Engagement Channel. It’s a platform provided by YouTube and internet firm ThisMoment that ties together YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter into a seamless experience for the user. Read it at Ad Age.

Sony Trademarks ‘PlayStation Arc’

Siliconera reports that Sony has filed a trademark for PlayStation Arc, likely confirming the long-rumored name for its upcoming PlayStation 3 motion controller. The news outlet points to another source, Electronista, who reports Sony also registered the domain name PlayStationArc.com. Sony is planning on revealing some specs for the controller next week. Read more at Siliconera.

Activision Cuts Heads At Infinity Ward

Activision has laid off Infinity Ward CEO Vince Zampella and CTO Jason West. The news raged through the game industry last night, with G4 first reporting on accounts from an inside source that Activision security personnel had shown up at the developer following a meeting between the publisher and Zampella and West. That was followed by a Facebook entry by West, then a LinkedIn update by Zampella that each had left the company. News outlets then dug up a note about breaches of contract and insubordination and impending departure of key personnel and litigation in reference to two of the studio s senior managers in Activision’s annual filing with the SEC. Activision has since confirmed the terminations, and added that it is setting up a Call of Duty business unit to expand the brand and develop online content. G4 says upcoming Call of Duty games revealed by the publisher include a Treyarch developed title later this year followed by an action-adventure title from Activision-owned Sledgehammer Games in 2011. Read more at G4.

Random House Launches Game IP Division

Random House has set up a new division to focus on videogame content, reports Kotaku. The book publisher established the IP Creation and Development Group to focus on content for videogames. In addition to creating new game IP, the group is looking to collaborate with developers on expanding storylines for existing properties. Random House president and publisher Gina Centrello called it a service for entertainment companies competing in a market where success increasingly depends on the quality of your story. Read more at Kotaku.

MI6 Conference Keynotes Announced

Gamasutra reports that Peter Dille, Sony’s PlayStation Network vice president, and Alan Cohen, CEO of ad firm OMD USA, are this year’s keynote speakers at the MI6 Conference. The game marketing conference is scheduled to take place April 1 in San Francisco. Organizers said that Dille is giving a talk titled Redefining the Digital Living Room, while Cohen is gearing up a talk on media strategy aimed at game marketers. Read more and access the conference site at Gamasutra.

‘Illogical Moments Of Humanity’

Check out this visually stunning and somewhat heady announcement trailer for Sid Meier’s Civilization V. You might find yourself Googling for the string of historical quotes that narrate it.  The game is being developed by Firaxis and slated to be published by 2K Games. Watch it at GameSpot.

Edge Of Your Seat Programming

A&E is running a viral campaign aimed at advertisers and media buyers, one that the[a]listdaily came across by way of a banner ad on a marketing trade media site. The viral is a mock campaign for the Leansy Boy, a chair designed to lean TV viewers forward rather than recline when they’re really interested in what they’re watching. The messaging centers on how A&E’s slate of programming excels at engaging the audience, which obviously makes the network a valuable buy for advertisers. As one spoof testimonial claims, “When I’m on my Leansy, my intent to purchase goes through the roof.” The viral is being run through an A&E micro-site with videos for the Leansy Boy and a funny interactive game. Check it out here.

Social Media Trends

Writing for GigaOM, Aliza Sherman outlines major developments that will shape the social media landscape in the coming years.  Sherman provides brief outlooks for MySpace, Twitter, Google Buzz, mobile, virtual goods, social games, augmented reality, and gated niche social networks. Read it at GigaOM.

An Online Game To Save The World

CNN’s John D. Sutter looks at Evoke, a free-to-play online game from the World Bank Institute that describes itself as a ten-week crash course in changing the world. The game is aiming to expose gamers, a category Evoke’s designer Jane McGonigal describes as super-empowered, hopeful individuals, to world ills such as poverty, violence and the environment.

Read more at CNN.

Sony’s ‘Console Apocalypse’

As many PlayStation 3 owners discovered on Sunday, a PlayStation Network outage has more or less shut out those who don’t own PS3 Slim models from playing online or even network-reliant offline games on the system. Joystiq reports on the latest developments, including publishing a statement from Sony. Sony has said the error stems from a bug in the system’s automatic clock updating function, which is not only preventing games from booting up but could result in players losing stored trophies and other networked content. As such, the company has advised those experiencing the errors not to turn on their systems until there’s a fix. The statement says a fix is expected in the next 24 hours. As of this post the latest update on Sony’s Twitter feed was more than four hours old and without any further updates. You can read more, and also jump to Sony’s blog and Twitter feed, at Joystiq.