EA Veteran To Head Zynga Studios

VentureBeat is reporting that Zynga has brought on longtime EA veteran Steven Chiang to oversee its social game development studios.  Chiang is a former VP at EA Sports in charge of the Madden football franchise and co-founder of Tiburon, which EA acquired in 1998.  During his 15 years working with the company he also helped launch a revamped EASports.com and played a role in the company s upcoming MMO golf game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online. Zynga currently operates three satellite studios out of its San Francisco headquarters.  VentureBeat says Chiang’s addition, one of several former EA executives to join Zynga, sets up the company to compete with EA-owned social game maker Playfish.  Read more at VentureBeat.


Separately, Industry Gamers reports that EA Sports has already appointed two executives, Pauline Moller and Andrew Wilson, to take over Chiang s responsibilities.  Moller has been promoted to COO of EA Sports, while Wilson is said to be now running worldwide development for the division.  Read more at Industry Gamers.

Battlefield Sequel Sells More Than Two Million Units

EA and developer DICE have pegged the sell-through since launch for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at 2.3 million units in North America and Europe. Industry Gamers reports on data released by the game makers. EA claimed the game has now become the bestselling March release of all time in both territories. EA executive producer Karl Magnus Troedsson also told the outlet that more servers had to be brought online to handle a massive multiplayer load. Industry Gamers says the game has seen a peak of 230,000 players simultaneously online since launch.

Read more at Industry Games.

Rumor: Microsoft Designing Slimmed Down Xbox 360

Kotaku got its hands on leaked photos of a streamlined chip-board for Xbox 360, pointing to a possible slimmed down version of the console being planned by Microsoft. The outlet says the photos, which show a single chipset for the system s computing and graphics processors, amount to a total redesign similar to what Sony did with its PlayStation 3 Slim. Check it out at Kotaku.

MI6 Releases Conference Details

Organizers of the fifth annual MI6 Video Game Marketing Conference have released the list of speakers and panels scheduled for this year, along with the nominees for the 2010 MI6 Awards. The conference is scheduled to take place April 1 in San Francisco. Links to information follow:

For headliner presenters and panelists, check out the MI6 announcement posted at IGN.


EA Viral ‘F.R.A.G.S.’ A Rival

Activision and Infinity Ward had an off-the-wall, and perhaps not thoroughly thought out, viral video about overzealous grenade use in Modern Warfare 2. The game makers ultimately pulled the video after complaints about its not-so-subtle moniker. Now EA and DICE have opted to go there for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, perhaps swinging for a double by elevating their own war shooter while reminding players of the tasteless approach their rival took. Check it out at YouTube.

Universal AR Campaign Rewards Repo Men

Writing for Hollywood rag The Wrap, Dominic Patten covers the augmented reality campaign Universal launched to promote Repo Men.   The campaign drew on the film’s premise of professional repo men hired to reclaim artificial organs from non-paying customers, with Universal marketing orchestrating an AR manhunt game across the US that put thousands of dollars in prizes at stake. Read about it at The Wrap.

Rightsizing The Garden For Social Media Butterflies

Writing for FastCompany, Rich Brooks looks at whether some marketers are spread so thin across the social media landscape that it s affecting their core responsibilities. The first two dozen words in his piece paint a picture of how overwhelming that landscape has become.  Brooks offers tips on streamlining. Read his article at FastCompany.

Online Ad Effectiveness Study

Mediaweek’s Mike Shields looks at an online ad effectiveness study of 14,000 people commissioned by ad network VideoEgg and conducted by analytics firm comScore. Shields gives a brief write-up on the findings, focusing on which ads proved most effective, and what effect context such as the type of web site where the ad was viewed had on participants. Read it at Mediaweek.

IGN Expected To Be Hit By Layoffs

Joystiq is reporting that IGN is preparing to lay off staff today, citing an internal company memo from IGN president Roy Bahat that found its way to the news outlet. In it, Bahat warns that IGN is preparing to make cuts in every part of the company, though no specific figure is given. Bahat states that while IGN is doing well, including seeing 40 percent gain in audience since last year to become the number one men’s lifestyle site, it’s still feeling the effects of the economy. Read more at Joystiq.