Disney’s Magic Playdom

Confirming earlier rumors, Disney has announced that they are acquiring Playdom. Disney will pay Playdom shareholders $563.2 million and might shell out an extra $200 million, depending on certain performance-linked conditions.

We see strong growth potential in bringing together Playdom’s talented team and capabilities with our great creative properties, people and world-renowned brands like Disney, ABC, ESPN and Marvel, said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. This acquisition furthers our strategy of allocating capital to high-growth businesses that can benefit from our many characters, stories and brands, delivering them in a creatively compelling way to a new generation of fans on the platforms they prefer.”

We are at the start of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way people of all ages play games with their friends across devices, platforms and geographical boundaries, said Playdom Chief Executive Officer John Pleasants. Disney is an incredibly forward-thinking company that shares our vision and is the ideal partner to further our mission to bring great entertainment to people around the world.

Geeking Out On Ads

The geeks are inheriting the Earth, if you believe a study from Geeknet. Their study in the U.S., Britain and Germany with Forrester Consulting says 66 percent of online respondents have “geek tendencies.”

This means that many people online work in IT jobs and might also have “Technology Enthusiasm” and Geek Passion in that they keep up with new tech trends and like to understand how things work. Some, however, are “Non-Tech Geeks,” where they like geeky things but aren’t as technically oriented.

On nearly a two-to-one basis, self-identified geeks were more likely to read a lot about things that interested them, liked solving problems and thought that technology made their life better. The term geek itself has turned around from a negative into a positive.

“We’ve certainly seen a turning of the corner — more than a turning of the corner — about that,” says Scott Kauffman, CEO of Geeknet. “because there’s a deep intelligence behind it. I used to call myself a music fan. Now I call myself a music geek.”

While this group might appear ad adverse, they are actually twice as likely to say that an ad helped them make a purchase decision, and are similarly likely to check out a website of a product or make a purchase online.

Interestingly, geeks are also more brand-loyal and spend more on a product associated with their image. “They take pride in using information to get the best products, which probably doesn’t mean the most expensive,” says Kauffman. “They’re confident in the decisions they’ve made. They have higher educations and higher incomes, so they’ve got the purchasing power.”

Geeks are receptive to ads, if it is on their terms and integrated into their lifestyle. “If the information is relevant to them — no longer a 30-second spot, but more integrated into their lifestyle — then their response is not so much ‘I’m getting hit with a commercial message’ as it is ‘I’m getting information that’s relevant to me,'” says Kauffman. “These are smart people, and their antennae are way up.”

Importantly, geeks are often touchpoint consumers that others turn to for advice on purchases, whether technological or not. “Geeks are getting the last laugh here,” says Kauffman. “Technology is no longer exclusionary. Geeks were there first, so now it’s easy for them to be setting the agenda.”

Source: AdWeek

Blizzard Talks Feedback In Real ID

Blizzard is currently riding high on the release of StarCraft II globally, but it wasn’t long ago that most of their fanbase was focusing on the controversial Real ID initiative. Michael Ryder, Blizzard’s vice president and executive managing director for international operations, gave something of a measured response to the question when asked if he was surprised by the reaction.

Well, we weren’t surprised to get feedback. That’s something that’s part of our culture. We know we’re really fortunate to have a lot of passionate players that care about what we do. So we always go out to the players and give them a heads up on what we’re thinking about doing, and we look for their feedback. In this case we got feedback, said Ryder. We were able to then take that feedback, reconsider, consider all the factors, of which that feedback was one. Ultimately we decided we would not go in that direction for the time being, and see if there were other ways we could address the objective we had, which was to improve the forums generally.”

So, all in all, the process worked. We put the word out. We got the feedback. We reconsidered. We made a change. We appreciate the fact that we have such passionate fans, he added.

When asked what Blizzard is considering doing to the forums instead, Ryder responded, There are a couple of things we’re doing and there are other things that we’re thinking about. But one of the things we’re doing is allowing people who are posting on the forums the ability to rate the post, so that the moderators can see where the quality conversations are happening. That will help. There are other things: an improved search function, for looking for different things in forums. We’re going to continue to try to find other ways to upgrade the quality of the experience in the forums.

While some might say this proves that Blizzard listens to their fans, Ryder was more humble about the implications. Certainly, getting feedback from our players is a big part of what we consider when we’re making changes or innovating. It reinforces the notion that we’re privileged to have those players that care and give us feedback, he concluded.

Source: Eurogamer

Apple Responds To Jailbreaking Decision

Recently, the Library of Congress’s Copyright Office ruled that phones, like the iPhone, can be legally jailbroken. Today, Apple issued a formal response to the decision.

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” Apple said in a statement. “As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.”

The company noted that jailbreaking an iPhone may leave it vulnerable to security issues. They also noted that modification of the iOS is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement, meaning that Apple can and will deny service on such devices.

Source: PC Magazine

Capcom Speeding Up Releases

Capcom has recently been taking as long as four years between sequels for its main franchises. The Japanese publisher indicates to Nikkei.com, however, that it may be looking to reduce that time between one to two years.

Functionally, this should mean an increase in the number of main franchise releases (like Resident Evil) from two a year to three or four. This will be done by continuing to outsource to outside developers, Capcom says it’s making the change to better meet the needs of players, and naturally to boost its own business.

Source: Kotaku

PlayStation Store Getting Recommendations

The 3.41 firmware update for the PS3 is coming soon, and one of its additions will be the You May Like section for games and videos on the PlayStation Store. This will be a list of items that other PSN members have bought that purchased the item you’re currently viewing.

This feature is a great way to discover new games that you may not know about, and it s another step toward making the shopping experience easier and better for you all similar to the five-star ratings feature we added in the last firmware update, writes Eric Lempel, VP of Network Operations Americas. Please note that while the 3.41 update will be released shortly, the recommendations feature on PlayStation Store is slated to go live by the end of July.

Source: PlayStation Blog

Limbo Will Creep You Out

Limbo has been getting a lot of attention of late from those who like the indie gaming scene. Check out a recent trailer for the (finally) released game below.

Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell Keynoting [A]list Summit

Next week, August 4-6, at the beautiful Westin Verasa Napa in California, Ayzenberg Group will be hosting its third annual [a]list summit. This year, the theme will be CCCP – Content, Conversation, Conversion, Participation. These are all keys to effective video game marketing, especially in this new world of social networking. The summit will focus on how best to market games in this brave new world.

Presentations will include David Perry’s (Gaikai) talk on cloud gaming, the ESRB’s pointers on content approval, a discussion on 3D gaming, best practices for leveraging Facebook, how to sell digitally, and more. And to highlight the event, the summit will be capped with a special keynote from Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, who recently rejoined the publisher’s Board.

“From the early days of Atari and the beginnings of the videogame industry to revolutionary Chuck E. Cheese and back again to Atari, Nolan Bushnell has had a unique and amazing career. Hear the insights of a pioneer who remains a leading force in our industry,” reads the event page.

Stay tuned to [a]listdaily next week for coverage if you can’t make it out to Napa.

Check out the event page for more information.

Mark Ruffalo Will Smash As Hulk

After a presentation for Captain America and Thor, Marvel rolled out the main cast for the anticipated Avengers movie. Among them was Mark Ruffalo, who was confirmed to be the new Hulk.

Samuel Jackson introduced the initial Avengers cast, including Robert Downey Jr. The man who would be Iron Man then asked if anyone had seen Inception.

That was the most ambitious movie I ve ever seen, he said. Then I thought: Wait a Goddamned minute. Marvel is going to take all of their top superheroes and put them together in one movie. THAT is the most ambitious movie ever.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter