Iron Man 2 Debut Game Trailer

Iron Man 2 is hitting theaters this week, and Sega’s hoping fans will want to check out their video game tie-in too, shipping on May 4. Check out this debut trailer that gives some story and gameplay details.

Microsoft Sides With Apple

Apple recently started a war of words with Adobe over the use of Flash on the Internet. Microsoft has chimed in with their opinion, and while they did not explictly state so, they seem to agree with Apple about HTML5 and H.264.

The future of the web is HTML5. Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only, writes Dean Hachamovitch. H.264 is an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. Because of this standardization, you can easily take what you record on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support (e.g. a PC with Windows 7). Recently, we publicly showed IE9 playing H.264-encoded video from YouTube.

Flash currently has deep penetration in the web, and Microsoft acknowledged its continued support of Flash, but it almost feels like that support for Adobe’s system comes with a ‘for now’ clause so long as so many issues persist.

Today, video on the web is predominantly Flash-based. While video may be available in other formats, the ease of accessing video using just a browser on a particular website without using Flash is a challenge for typical consumers. Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance. We work closely with engineers at Adobe, sharing information about the issues we know of in ongoing technical discussions. Despite these issues, Flash remains an important part of delivering a good consumer experience on today s web.”

Source: IEBlog

Roger Ebert Hates 3D

3D is quickly becoming vital for tent-pole film releases and marketing for big films has reflected that. 3D is increasing its penetration into homes everyday with 3D enabled televisions too. However, this trend has earned the ire of longtime movie critic Roger Ebert.

3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension, writes Ebert. Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for.

Ebert acknowledges that the business half of the movie industry loves 3D, given its help in making 2010’s top three movies (Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon, and Clash of the Titans) even more successful. However, he argues that it adds little to most movies, is distracting, causes headache and eyestrain, costs more per ticket and isn’t appropriate for all movies. He also noted that true improvement might come from clearer projection systems like MaxiVision48 and Showscan.

I’m not opposed to 3-D as an option. I’m opposed to it as a way of life for Hollywood, where it seems to be skewing major studio output away from the kinds of films we think of as Oscar-worthy, writes Ebert. Scorsese and Herzog make films for grown-ups. Hollywood is racing headlong toward the kiddie market. Disney recently announced it will make no more traditional films at all, focusing entirely on animation, franchises, and superheroes. I have the sense that younger Hollywood is losing the instinctive feeling for story and quality that generations of executives possessed. It’s all about the marketing. Hollywood needs a projection system that is suitable for all kinds of films every film and is hands-down better than anything audiences have ever seen. The marketing executives are right that audiences will come to see a premium viewing experience they can’t get at home. But they’re betting on the wrong experience.

Source: Newsweek

HP Dropping Windows 7 Tablet Computer

Hewlett-Packard has stopped working on their Windows 7 enabled tablet computer, according to an inside source. While Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled it himself at CES for release later this year, HP was apparently not satisfied with the operating system.

It could be that Windows 7 was found to be too power hungry or that the company will look to go after open Android and Chrome operating systems from Google. The most likely circumstance, however, is that the company wants to make a go of it with the Palm WebOS that they recently purchased.

Source: Tech Crunch

IPad Magazine Apps Led By Time, Popular Science

Time Magazine was fast out of the gate to support the iPad and early indications are that it is paying off. The magazine’s weekly issues had three of the top 10 highest grossing programs in the News section.

Other popular magazine apps include Popular Science+, which is the third-bestselling paid app in the Entertainment category and the third-top-grossing app, and GQ magazine for iPad is the third most popular paid app in the Lifestyle section and the fourth top grosser. The ESPN app is the second highest grossing app in Sports while ScoreCenter XL is the second most popular paid app.

Taken all together among the other paid apps, Popular Science+ is the most popular title among the magazine apps at number 34.

Source: Min Online

3D Gaming Interest Increasing, Says Survey

The Consumer Electronics Association indicates that 25 percent of self identifying gamers indicated they are interested in 3D gaming at home. Additionally, half of those that had seen a 3D movie said they’d be interested in 3D games.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen new televisions coupled with games as a promotion,” said CEA’s chief economist Shawn DuBravac, “and that’s really exciting.”

DuBravac thinks that there’s a voice with iPad-like devices and that sales of such devices could lead to more gamers. He also noted that while eight percent of consumers have doubts about 3D technology, the number halves after they see it in action.

Games can be a great driver for consumer technology, such as what the PS2 did for DVDs, what the PS3 is doing for Blu-ray and what the Xbox 360 and PS3 are doing for HD TVs.

Source: Joystiq

Twitter’s Ad Model: Potential Boon To Businesses Large And Small

Twitter recently announced its new ad model of Promoted Tweets as a better way to tie in revenue to what the site does. Namely, businesses will have their tweets highlighted in search results, with the hope that support for Twitter stream and third-party applications will come somewhere down the line.  The service isn’t quite self serve yet, but it’s still being touted by certain big brands. And the end of the day, though, small businesses may stand to benefit the most.

Thousands of companies large and small are already on Twitter, writes Adam Ostrow. Promoted Tweets introduces a way for these businesses to gain extra exposure for their messages. For example, if you own a coffee shop, when a user searches for ‘coffee’ on Twitter, you ll conceivably be able to have a tweet from your business sit atop the results.

These Promoted Tweets are not like ad banners, and will indeed work based upon how the Twitter audience reacts to them. Using a system called resonance, ads will work based on how users engage with them, making engaging marketing messages key.

Mobile phones will be crucial for Tweeting on the go, and this sort of promotion will be key to businesses large and small alike. Currently, big global brands like Best Buy, Starbucks and JetBlue are testing Promoted Tweets. However, for the platform to be useful to small businesses especially those that are primarily brick-and-mortar you ll need the ability to target Promoted Tweets based on location. While Twitter hasn t yet announced this capability, there s reason to believe it will eventually be part of the platform, noted Ostrow. Twitter has already made its ‘trending topics’ feature location-based, so you can see what people in your city are talking about. The microblogging service now also lets users attach their location to every tweet, and its advanced search features let users filter to find tweets near them. As its location features continue to evolve and gain adoption, expect them to become a part of the Promoted Tweets platform.

We re still at the dawn of Twitter s monetization plans. Until Promoted Tweets are available to more advertisers and become a part of the Twitter stream, the impact of the platform will be fairly limited in the small business realm. Nonetheless, there s plenty of reason to believe that Twitter s ad model could evolve into a staple of the small business online marketing mix, creating an unprecedented opportunity to communicate with current and potential nearby customers in real-time, concludes Ostrow.

Source: Mashable

Dark Tower Rights Fall To New Threesome

The production staff at Bad Robot no longer owns the rights to the The Dark Tower series. While J.J. Abrams long sought to make the Stephen King novels into a TV series with the help of Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, they reverted the rights to the author when they decided they couldn’t do the adaptation justice.

The next team to get a crack at the fantasy Western will be Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman. The trio wants to begin the adaptation with a Universal movie written by Goldsman and directed by Howard, which would then lead to a TV series produced by Imagine’s TV department.

The Dark Tower is considered King’s magnum opus, spanning several books and mixing elements of both Westerns and fantasy with references to his other works sprinkled in. Given the large appeal of the writings of Stephen King, adapting the ongoing story is no doubt as appealing as it is difficult to envision. Although there have been other books and comics tied to The Dark Tower, we’ve yet to see a video game. The brand power of the series and Stephen King in general could make this an opportunity to launch a game alongside a movie, if King were to approve it.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Microsoft Kills Its IPad Rival

Reports are that Microsoft has canceled their technology project known as Courier. The folding tablet device was going to be a rival to Apple’s iPad. Microsoft executives broke the word to the internal team that the Courier project would no longer be supported. Microsoft has never publicly announced the product.

At any given time, we’re looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them, said Microsoft Corporate VP of Communications Frank Shaw. It’s in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity. The Courier project is an example of this type of effort. It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

Source: Gizmodo

Adobe Talks ‘Moving Forward’ From IPhone

Steve Jobs posted a letter recently which gave his take on why Apple isn’t supporting Adobe Flash on the iPhone and iPad. The Apple CEO declared Flash a proprietary format that was unreliable and unsuited to portable devices.

In response, Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch posted a response that, without going tit-for-tat, summed up his company’s position. This morning Apple posted some thoughts about Flash on their web site. The primary issue at hand is that Apple is choosing to block Adobe’s widely used runtimes as well as a variety of technologies from other providers, wrote Lynch. Clearly, a lot of people are passionate about both Apple and Adobe and our technologies. We feel confident that were Apple and Adobe to work together as we are with a number of other partners, we could provide a terrific experience with Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. However, as we posted last week, given the legal terms Apple has imposed on developers, we have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others.

We look forward to delivering Flash Player 10.1 for Android smartphones as a public preview at Google I/O in May, and then a general release in June. From that point on, an ever increasing number and variety of powerful, Flash-enabled devices will be arriving which we hope will provide a great landscape of choice, he concluded.