Netflix On PS3 Losing The Disc

Currently, PS3 owners have to insert a disc in order to use the Netflix application on their system. The company has indicated, however, that the long promised disc-less streaming application will be coming soon.

“Before our next call in October, we expect to be launching a major new version of our Sony PS3 user interface which doesn’t require a disc and is dynamically updated continuously with the latest Netflix UI improvements, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

As for Hulu Plus, which is available for PS3 in preview form, Hastings said, “Once Hulu Plus has a few hundred thousand subscribers we’ll be able to learn from consumers what they like about Hulu Plus. Then we’ll work to incorporate what we find back into Netflix. The Hulu team is sharp, and we’re not going to underestimate them.”

Source: IGN

Kevin Butler Issues Response To New Zealand Ad

After the Kevin Butler imitation ad came up, it didn’t take long for an official response to come from Sony. From the desk of Kevin Butler, this time called the VP of International Diplomacy, comes an official and detailed response:

As the star of PlayStation s current advertising campaign, I get compliments on my performances just about every other day. But recently it has come to my attention that a certain television network named TV3 has created an amazing homage to my marketing prowess. A commercial that is nearly identical to one we created here in the states aired on TV in New Zealand, found its way to the internet, and ultimately to my desk. Few film greats have been treated to a shot-for-shot shrine (actually I think it’s just me and Alfred Hitchcock).

It’s been said that imitation’s the sincerest form of flattery. If so, color me flattered. However, I do have some constructive criticism for the work that I would like to share.

1. No title for your guy VP of Big Bigness PS3 Commercial Tribute Manager Details, folks.

2. The TV3 version was completely lacking in PS3 video game footage. Clips from Uncharted 2, MAG, God of War 3, or even clips of our upcoming releases Killzone 3 and Twisted Metal would have really added some epicness to the spot.

3. The beard. I think it should have been longer.

4. I did like the slow motion effect at the end on the guitar solo. Way to plus it out.

5. Two-color mylar confetti > rainbow paper confetti. Just sayin.

It s clear to me that TV3 appreciates great advertising and I’d like to thank them for their efforts. In fact we’d like to help them out and make our ENTIRE LIBRARY OF COMMERCIALS available for them to copy in order to promote their programming. I only ask that TV3 doesn’t use our actual footage, but all future homages of this sort are now Kevin Butler sanctioned

You might be asking, What’s in it for you, KB Well, I asked that too, and here’s what I’ve come up with: I d like TV3’s support in making the PS3 the OFFICIAL GAME CONSOLE OF NEW ZEALAND. I see this as the only way to make it right with the world. Our super hero team-up could bring the benefits of Incredible HD games, Blu-ray movies and the wealth of content available on the PlayStation Network to billions of New Zealanders. Only a total victory in that fine country will satisfy this situation. That, and a box set of Flight of The Conchords sent to the fine creative team in our marketing organization.

Source: PlayStation Blog

Rush Brings 2112 Into Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock

In Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, the final segment of the game will see players play Rush’s seminal 2112. The story will mirror the seven-minute progressive rock song, with narration from Rush lead singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson.

“In our story, the caves of 2112 are where our hero finds the lost guitar,” says Lee. “This rediscovery of music is much like the Guitar Hero warriors’ journey to find the Demi-God of Rock’s Legendary guitar, which has been trapped in a cavern.”

“I think it’s a great way to introduce people of all ages to music of various styles by all kinds of different bands,” says Lifeson, “while providing a launching pad for kids who want to get into playing music.”

Scott Pilgrim Rocks It Old School

The Scott Pilgrim series already has a million game references in it, so a game was long in coming. In a wise move, instead of basing the characters on the style of the new live action movie, it instead goes back to the original comic series for a 2D brawler that looks like a lot of fun.

Hi5’s Alex St. John Does Sumo

Alex St. John, president and chief technology officer of Hi5, is an outspoken critic of Facebook and is clearly willing to do anything to promote Hi5. While Facebook has over ten times the number of users, St. John has the hutzpah to put on a sumo mawashi for a PR stunt.

Mark Hamill Has Last Laugh, Voices Joker In DCUO

Sony Online Entertainment announced today that Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy will voice the Joker and Batman in DC Universe Online. Both prolific voice actors, they are probably best recognized for playing Joker and Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, along with last year’s Batman: Arkham Asylum.

We re excited that not only will Mark and Kevin bring their talent back to the DC Universe as part of DC Universe Online, but we’ve hit the jackpot with a full cast that are veterans of movies, TV shows and games that our fans are crazy about, said Sony Online Entertainment Vice President of Development, John Blakely.  Several of these actors are recognized as the definitive voices for these characters, and will help us in creating an authentic and exciting experience for fans when they get in the game.”

Other notable cast members include Firefly actors Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres as Superman and Wonder Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville actor James Marsters, and Battlestar Gallactica and True Blood veteran Michelle Forbes as Circe.

Driver Peels Off Comic

Ubisoft has announced that it is collaborating on DC Comics WildStorm Productions to make a Driver comic. It will feature a cover by Jock (The Losers, Judge Dredd, Batman), illustrations by Greg Scott (Gotham Central, Case Files: Sam and Twitch) and writing by David Lapham (Stray Bullets, Sparta USA, Young Liars), where the story between Driv3r and Driver San Francisco will be filled.

The Driver universe has always drawn heavy inspiration from Hollywood action movies, said Martin Edmondson, creative director at Ubisoft Reflections. When looking at how to present Tanner’ s story leading into Driver San Francisco, doing a comic book was a perfect fit; we could tell the story in a gritty, hard-edged fashion using cinematic visuals and emotional set pieces, yet in a palatable and mainstream medium.

Once we saw the advanced peek at this game, we knew David Lapham would be perfect to craft this story building up to Driver San Francisco, and we were thrilled when Jock and Greg Scott were able to join the comic team, said Hank Kanalz, VP and General Manager, WildStorm.

Feature: Eclipse Falls On Mobile


Twilight has seen an almost unprecedented meteoric rise in popularity; in a few short years, it’s gone from a successful book series to a global phenomenon, with an IP right now as hot as anything for teenagers. The franchise has brand awareness that marketers would kill for. It’s also coincided with the rise of mobile gaming and greater penetration of mobile phones among teenagers, which has resulted in a remarkable opportunity with the mobile games. We chatted with David Zemke, director of global marketing and publishing for GameHouse, about the various Twilight games, past and present.

Tell me about how you signed up to do the Twilight games.

We started the partnership around the launch of the first movie but we didn’t have a game until New Moon came out. That did really well with carriers across the U.S. We did probably over 2 million downloads around when it came out. We expanded the audience even more when we offered the trivia game for free. Now that we offer that for free and we’ve launched a puzzle game as well to broaden the audience.

There’s certainly an element of good fortune in getting the license before it really took off. While the books are successful, you never know how that will translate to the big screen.

I think it caught Summit films by surprise as well. It was popular and there were a lot of fans of the book series, but in any franchise, there’s a inherent risk from translating from the books to the screen. Only a few franchises do it well . . . I mean, The Golden Compass and Eragon never matured into movie franchises. Still, Summit has been going at it with a a pretty aggressive philosophy and it’s paid off: total gross for Eclipse is over $550 million dollars so far.

How have you looked to get the word out on these Eclipse games?

It does help that there’s the global phenomenon and 80 million books sold. Principally though, there’s two forms; there’s what’s integrated with the movie promotions and then there’s what we get from working with our partners and making things work with our carrier partners. Kids are starting to have have more smartphones with access to the internet so this is natural for them.

We’re also able to cross promote the game inside each of the apps, and access other Gamehouse games. It’s a great way to get the word out on these and other games we’ve made. Right now with the Eclipse game, we ran a promotion with Burger King, who is a promoter of the film. They wanted a mobile component to their ad campaign so they came to us.

Looks like Edward playing peek-a-boo.

Tell me about the way you’re looking to release the Eclipse game for free and ad supported.

We’ve released some of our games as ad supported; this gives some users a chance to try out the games. We want to take advantage of the synchronicity of the film so the first step was to release both games simultaneously with the movie.

How do you think the two games complement each other and appeal to different markets?

The first game, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Movie Game, hits a wider mark that looks to see how hard a fan you are. There’s a term “twihard” that describes the sort of audience were trying to reach. The other game is maybe for a more casual fan, but there are maybe more for casual fans out there, so that’s why we made the Memory Quest puzzle game.

We find that consumers generally want to play mobile games for short periods of time, so they want games that fit experiences like that. That helped decide what sort of games we were going to make.

What special considerations need to be given to the Twilight games over other properties?

When we work with a partner like Summit, we treat it will a lot of care and respect, but we want to bring the brand to mobile in a new way. We’re not going to go out and create an RPG; we wanted to appeal to teenage girls and also younger women going all the way up to 35 years old.

As far as considering the license, we needed to maintain a high level of quality that matches up with the brand and to make it relevant to the new film. So providing the consumer a relevant brand experience is important.

Would you look to perhaps expand to other genres in the future?

Absolutely! We would love to. We continue to dream up ideas and bring some fun to the Twilight fan. We can’t say which genre we’d like to do — there’s a lot of potential out their for the license.

Do you have future plans for the Twilight properties?

We’re still in discussions, but ideally we would be.

Finally, Team Edward or Team Jacob?

I’m a part of Team Jacob! I think the werewolves are cool.

Ha. Thanks David.

Screen Digest Examines Social Network Future

Screen Digest has issued a global report on social network gaming, which they said was a $639 million industry in 2009 – up from $76 million in 2008. The report examines micro-transactions, advertising revenue and lead generation revenues to operators.

The market remains dominated by the distribution power and massive userbase of Facebook, but this market is by no means a one network opportunity, reads the report. Screen Digest is tracking millions of users on alternative social networks that are playing games, especially in markets where Facebook is not highly penetrated such as China, Russia and Japan. And with monthly active users of games reaching over 500 million at the end of 2009, from a much smaller base of 60 million in 2008, it is clear that much of the recent growth in the PC casual games market is now being driven by social games.

Highlights of the report say that Zynga dominates the ssector of social games, with revenues over $100 million. It is expected for the market to grow and be worth roughly $1.5 billion in 2014.

Additionally, while the U.S. and U.K. are the largest market for social games, China, Russia and Germany are expected to increase significantly over the next five years.  Other social networks, especially, in Asia Pacific, are expected to stock up on their own gaming catalogs as well.

Source: Screen Digest

Facebook: 500 Million Served

Facebook officially announced today that it has surpassed 500 million active users. The social network is launching a new platform called Facebook Stories to celebrate this milestone, giving users a chance to talk about the impact Facebook has on their lives.

Our mission at Facebook is to help make the world more open and connected. Stories like these are examples of that mission and are both humbling and inspiring. I could have never imagined all of the ways people would use Facebook when we were getting started 6 years ago, wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. I want to thank you for being part of making Facebook what it is today and for spreading it around the world.