Sony Enthusiastic About Latest Uncharted Script, Looking To Snag A Director

The Uncharted game franchise has never been hotter, coming off an acclaimed awards run for Uncharted 2 where it swept nearly every category it was featured in, and Sony is now pushing the Uncharted movie forward. The studio is sitting down with a number of potential directors including David O. Russell of I Love Huckabees and Three Kings fame.

The producers are said to be very pleased with the writing treatment the script got from Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer and would like to move forward with it. There are thoughts that the film might even be pushed to release as early as 2011.

Considering how cinematic the Uncharted series is anyway, a movie version makes more sense than other franchises that have been optioned of late . . . like, say, Asteroids.

Source: L.A Times

Nielsen Buys Video Data Collection Company GlanceGuide

Nielsen Company today announced that it has acquired GlanceGuide. Previously technology partners for video data collection, Nielsen wanted to integrate GlanceGuide’s analytic capabilities into their online video measurement tools in order to deliver more actionable daily insights to media publishers, agencies and advertisers.

Nielsen is fully committed to providing our clients with actionable, comprehensive and immediate insights about online video consumption, explains Dave Osborn, senior vice president of online product leadership for The Nielsen Company. GlanceGuide is a leader and innovator in video technology and analytics, so this was a natural and exciting extension of Nielsen’s current offerings to the advertising community.

Nielsen says that their clients will now have a better understanding of who is watching online video each day, and how their consumers interact with online video content and advertising. It also introduces a new Nielsen metric for the online video advertising industry called the attentiveness score, which aggregates key variables like viewing duration, video visibility, and audio volume to provide a composite score for a piece of video content or advertising.

This is truly a match where the sum is much greater than the parts, added GlanceGuide co-founders Indra Mohan and Desikan Jagannathan. Our integration with Nielsen will enable media clients to better sell their audience, while providing marketers with the tools to improve the effectiveness of their advertising.

Kick-Ass Director Doing Next X-Men

Matthew Vaughn will be the director of X-Men: First Class, despite having turned down the role recently. A large part of this reversal apparently comes from support of the director of the original X-Men, Brian Singer.

While Vaughn did initially pass because of deal making issues, Singer continued to talk to him and appreciated Vaughn’s vision for X-Men, while Vaughn eventually realized what a great opportunity it was for his career, which led to a resumption of talks with Fox.

Although Fox wants to get an X-Men movie made by as soon as next summer, they also want a good film and they were impressed by Vaughn’s recent Kick-Ass. The film will open June 3, 2011 and will focus on the adventures of Professor X and Magneto when they were younger.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Google Getting Booked

Google confirmed that they will be launching an e-book store called Google Editions at an industry event called “The Book on Google: Is the Future of Publishing in the Cloud Reports are that the service could launch as early as June to compete with similar offerings from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple.

Google Editions will be a browser-based service, meaning it will not be tied to a particular format like an iPad, Kindle or so on. Cached versions will be avaiable offline, and all purchased books will be available via a cloud computing digital bookshelf.

One thing that could drastically increase the number of books Google has access to is a settlement where they might have access to out-of-print books; right now, Google only has access to books with properly granted distribution rights and public-domain works.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

George Clooney Is ‘The American’

In a total break with character, George Clooney’s first major picture after Up in the Air has him playing an aloof older man. In all seriousness, he plays the lead character in a suspense thriller The American, with a scenario mildly reminiscent of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. The gamer demographic will definitely be drawn to the assassin vibe in this film. Check it out.


Halo: Reach Competitive Play

Thanks to the Call of Duty series, knives have become a nearly universal component in first-person shooters. As demonstrated in this assassinations video, knives have come to Halo: Reach, and they’ll be a prominent part of multiplayer. With the Halo: Reach Beta having kicked off this week, buzz for the game is really climbing. Word of mouth marketing will definitely play its part.

Godslayer Rises In Age Of Conan

Funcom’s Age of Conan will see its first full expansion, titled Rise of the Godslayer, release soon. This expansion has a new area for adventurers of all levels, an additional playable race and new items that come from the Eastern kingdom of Khitai, a Hyborian Age analog for ancient China.

MLB 2K10 Perfect Game Winner Revealed

2K Sports today announced that the first person to pitch a verified perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K10 will be revealed during CBS The Early Show between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. The grand prize awarded will be $1,000,000.

The interest and buzz leading up to this moment has been more than we could have ever imagined and we re excited to introduce our winner on a national stage, said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports.

The contest was announced in January 2010, when 2K Sports said they would give $1,000,000 to the first person who threw a verified perfect game in MLB 2K10. Along with trying to increase interest in the game, they were hoping to emphasize the improved pitching mechanics to baseball gamers.

UPDATE: The winner was 24-year-old Wade McGilberry of Semmes, Alabama who threw a perfect game on the first day of the competition.

“It was actually my wife who convinced me to go for it. I never thought I’d actually win a million dollars playing a video game, it’s all still sinking in for me,” said McGilberry. “The game itself was fantastic — I’m glad I bought it either way — but I have to say, this is a nice return on my investment.”

“This competition was an amazing ride for us,” said Argent. “We honestly had no idea what to expect. But the incredible response from the fans and the buzz surrounding the competition was nothing that we could have ever predicted. Throwing a perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K10 is anything but easy. We congratulate Wade on his successful pursuit of perfection.”

Feature: BioShock 2 Marketing: Competing With History

BioShock is, as much as anything, a series about familial legacies. The weaving story of the first game touched on personal relationships and parenthood and BioShock 2 is, first and foremost, about a Big Daddy trying to find his Little Sister. Consequently, the first BioShock left an impression on gaming that made things somewhat difficult for its followup BioShock 2. We talked with Matt Gorman and Tom Bass, VP of Marketing and Director of Marketing for 2K Games respectively, about how the first BioShock affected their approach for BioShock 2, and what they learned from marketing the sequel.

Can you give a good one over of where you all were at when you started the BioShock 2 ad campaign?

One of the main things that was “a blessing and a curse” was BioShock 1. You had many scores that were 100 and you had a lot of people who felt it was a contained, finite experience. So you had hardcore fans that weren’t convinced that they needed a sequel and here we were two years later with BioShock 2. There were also people that never got on board and it was a challenge to detail to them they don’t have to play the first to enjoy the second.

It wasn’t a given our fanbase would buy this, just like there’s no guarantee that those who buy Modern Warfare would buy Modern Warfare 2. So we had campaigns for the hardcore and we had one for those who weren’t fans, with the understanding that the same message would not work for everyone. For those that didn’t play the first, we had a 3:30 trailer that debuted on GameTrailers TV. We started our TV spots two months before the game came out, which is unconventional. We also had the machinima stuff with GameStop, and the launch trailer. In-store was also very important for the casual gamer; we had huge displays on the outside of GameStop stores. If you were at retail during the month of release, you knew BioShock 2 was out.

What did you learn from marketing the first BioShock that you applied to BioShock 2?

One of the primary things is to not underestimate your fans. One of the great things about BioShock (and troublesome parts for us) is that you can’t describe it in the elevator ride! The brand sort of engenders risk; for instance, for the ad we were using the music from the period, which we were initially scared to do! Not everyone is like, ‘lets use a music from 1931’ for it, but fans like the uniqueness. So we were careful to not make it ‘Call of Duty meets X under the sea!’ We didn’t want to distill it and make it easier to play, and consumers wanted to see what makes this game different.

Were there specific elements you sought to replicate from the BioShock campaign for BioShock 2?

Yes, I’ll give you one example. Internally we had what we called cool s**t videos — you can do some cool things in the game using the game physics and the different plamids. We started making those combinations, and those are the videos we released and were asking people to submit, showing the over the top nature of the combat system.

How did you try and expand the promotional efforts compared to the first BioShock?

Matt Gorman: For the original, it was a new IP and product; it wasn’t a brand and it didn’t have the accolades, so for the second we had more cred with the finance groups and from the media. So everyone had more willingness to work with us, and they were easy to get on board. The first one we had to prove ourselves, but with the second one, retail was super stoked for it and just the level of presence we were given was amazing. Also with online, the amount of coverage we got, people just wanted to talk about BioShock. People were skeptical, so there was a lot of editorial stuff that would discuss the game outside of realm of what we’d usually do. One of the last things that BioShock 1 afforded us is that it became the people’s game and they evangelized it. With the “Cult of Rapture” stuff and “There’s Something From the Sea,” the community did so much more than we could of hoped for.

Image from “There’s Something in the Sea.”

From a marketing standpoint, that was a challenge. The hardcore gamer has a higher level of aesthetic experience. Then there’s the gamer who wants to go, ‘What is it Is it a shooter, RPG, basketball game ‘ What we do find is there’s a bit of confusion from the consumer, so part of our strategy was to say that it is a shooter with an incredible amount of depth.

What have you taken from promoting BioShock 2 that you think will be helpful in the future?

One of the things is the success of . . . we won’t call it viral . . . but, “Something From the Sea.” We were very happy with the enthusiasm with that. We don’t even really like to call it marketing, because it’s a BioShock experience. The team worked very closely with us for this; they adjusted the fiction with Mark Meltzer to find out how the story ends and that involves finding him. That’s one of the great things, is creating a parallel fiction and incorporating that into the experience. That’s when you blur the experience and traditional marketing. In some cases, a regular TV ad can be a negative for the core consumer if they see it too many times, so it’s great to engage with them on this.

There’s no formula though, no template. It’s about being involved with the product and it speaks differently. We’re doing Civ 5 and right now we’re not going into a process with that. We really enjoy what we do and we’re all gamers and we think it’s necessary for getting the fans engaged.

Are you, in general, happy with the way that BioShock 2 has been received by both consumers and the press?

MG: Yes, I think we are. It was based on our key characters, like Big Daddy. Seeing as how BioShock is our primary brand, we made sure he and the Little Sister are everywhere. We fortunately had the budget to be really comprehensive with that. Our marketing started two months before launch and ran even after launch. There were few times you could turn around and not see BioShock 2 during February. So from a campaign standpoint, we’re happy with how it was received as far as pure media exposure.

I’m sure it was beneficial that you guys were essentially able to “own” February, rather than release during a crowded fourth quarter.

So many games moved out of that time period, it actually helped titles like Borderlands. The unique part of this first quarter is that it looked like fourth quarter, and the window we had wasn’t as large as later in the month. Still, we’re tremendously happy with the way it was received, both critically and commercially.

All and all, it was a tremendous learning experience and we’re very thankful for the dev team for working with us on this. We realize this is a unique title to work on and we think that is a great challenge to have.

Thank you both for your time.

Zynga Filing To Issue Shares Worth $4 Billion

Zynga recently filed papers for 1.9 million shares of Series B-2 Preferred Stock. They’re seeking an issue price of $12.87 per share, implying a value of about $4 billion for the company based on the estimated 320 million outstanding shares.

This sort of issuance typically happens around a strategic partnership. Between games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, Zynga has millions of players via Facebook.

Source: Business Insider