Kinect Sports Facebook Q&A

Rare has arranged a Q&A for Kinect Sports for the Facebook community. Web Producer Mike Wilson takes on the form of an Xbox 360 avatar in this video that lends visual context to some of the questions asked.

Tekken Tag Tournament Two Trailer

Sometimes, it pays to get right down to brass tacks with your game trailer, and Namco Bandai does just that by starting out with two guys punching each other in the face. The action is furious and frenetic in what’s easily the most anticipated Tekken title in years.

Alan Wake Goes 8-bit

Alan Wake is a psychological survival horror game where an author must survive a book he doesn’t remember creating. This trailer . . . has none of that, focusing instead on camp value and a pared down version of the game’s light mechanics.

Feature: SIEGE-Style Marketing

For the E3 and GDC events of the world, getting the word out is easy — the events are known worldwide. For smaller events, however, it can be much more challenging especially when you’re starting out. Having grown every year, the Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (SIEGE) is now becoming one of the best established events in the region and we talked with director Andrew Greenberg about the event and how its marketed.

Tell me a little about the SIEGE event.

This is the fourth year, and the focus has been on creating a strong collegial game industry conference. I was a regular attendee to the Computer Game Conference in San Jose and the atmosphere was great for learning – we’re trying to recreate that for SIEGE. Between the speakers and sessions, we want people to delve into this conference and really get something out of it.

My experience is that we professionals get so heads down in our work, its easy to lose track of the excitement that made us take this [line of work], and bringing in students and people new to the industry helps us get excited again.

What are some of the main challenges in getting the word out for SIEGE?

Andrew Greenberg

Our main issue is that SIEGE is an all volunteer effort. I’m not paid, no one is paid on this, so it’s hard to bring in a PR and Marketing to give it the sort of focus that it needs. As a result, most of our marketing is word of mouth from people who have attended in the past.

Segueing nicely, tell me about how having sponsors to the event helps promote SIEGE.

The sponsors help in several ways; one of the big ones is helping us keep the cost of admission below the price of other industry events, with something at less than $100. We release press releases to industry media and adding [the sponsors] names there helps get more responses. There are also eight to 10 CCP people talking at the event that gives it appeal to people who like the game. We also have members of Tripwire Interactive, who made Killing Floor and Rising Storm, there speaking and it shows the quality of presenter that we have at the event.

Tell me about CCP in general as a sponsor and why they’re a great partner.

They’ve done some innovative, cutting edge work in the MMO field. It’s a single shard MMO with hundreds of thousands of gamers and puts MMO games in such a different light. People will come in and listen to CCP members speak and it will really stimulate their project as they and others chew over the ideas. They also throw a real mean party, so it gets stuff off with a bang! On Saturday night, we have people roaming room to room to see what we have to offer.

What about the other Platinum Sponsors of the event?

Tripwire Interactive is similar to CCP; they’re not on the same size but they have a similar high reputation in the industry. Alan Wilson and John Gibson are not just good designers; they have a investment in the region, they want to build up the game industry in the south, so they have an investment in making this a good conference.

Westwood college has been putting a strong emphasis on games, along with development in Flash and Windows Mobile. They’re working on not only teaching their students to design games but also get a balanced education.

Tap Code is our most interesting sponsor, since it’s Nolan Bushnell’s company, which is taking a whole new look at entertainment. Our theme is Fun++, and we’re taking that and we’re looking at a core of play and enhancing that, and Tap Code is a perfect example of that.

Why do you think that regional events like this are important for the gaming industry?

We’d all like to see the gaming industry grow beyond a few urban sectors. We all agree that the wider degree of places game developers come from, the better games will get. We have a session on diversifying communities and women breaking into the industry. We’re looking to go beyond the traditional set of people in the gaming industry .

How do you reach out to local game companies and universities to get them involved?

It’s an interesting process of both showing them the value for their organization and also the value for their employees and students: those are the two main things. We certainly draw a base [amount of people] from this area, but we draw in speakers from Maryland, San Francisco, England, as well.

What are some of the special considerations in advertising for an event that has all the features of a fan convention and a professional conference?

We have a very small advertising budget, so a lot of our outreach to the fan community is dedicated people who search it out. We want people who add to the conference bringing in their knowledge base, but this isn’t a person off the street conference looking to play games; we’re sitting around talking about how to make games.

Ah, so the game sessions are designed to further the learning aspects.

Exactly, playing games is tertiary; it’s more about learning the industry and making connections. I love the fact that studios and students bring out games to get feedback.

Anything else you want to note?

One of the interesting sessions is the ESA setting up a panel with Rich Taylor and government legislators looking at the government impact on game development. We also have great speakers like Nolan Bushnell, Scott Steinberg and several top professors; these are professionals that people don’t know are part of SIEGE, but they’re all looking to further the industry.

Andrew, thanks.

Star Trek Free-To-Play Title Coming Summer 2011

Gameforge has announced that it will be launching a free-to-play, casual browser-based game called Star Trek Infinite Space in Summer 2011. The game will have a storyline set during the era of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and will be developed by Keen Games.

Bringing keen games on board to develop Star Trek Infinite Space was an easy decision to make as Keen has a strong history of producing outstanding titles, said Ralf Adam, VP of Publishing at Gameforge. Our production team will work closely with keen games to bring the vision we have for Star Trek Infinite Space to fruition.

We have been incredibly excited about working on this project with Gameforge since day one, said Antony Christoulakis, Creative Director at Keen Games. Star Trek is one of those franchises that every science-fiction fan would give anything to work on. We consider ourselves very lucky to have this opportunity and we are highly committed to delivering a Star Trek experience fans can be proud of.

PlayStation Plus Coming To Retail

Reports are that Sony will be offering gift cards for PlayStation Plus membership at retail. The cards will apparently cost $17.99 and offer months of PlayStation Plus access.

These gift cards are notably becoming available right before the holiday shopping season, though they don’t include the 12-month long subscription option priced at $49.99 online. PlayStation Plus currently gives early access to select beta programs and demos, and also offers discounts on certain downloads and occasional free games.

Source: Kotaku

Zynga Opening New HQ In San Francisco

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has confirmed that Zynga is building a new HQ. The seven-year lease on 270,000 square feet in the Townsend Center could contain as many as 2,000 employees.

Now is the time to invest in this city, said Newsom. The rents have never been better.

Zynga is now occupying the spot that was home to Sega of America, showing the shift of the gaming industry from consoles to other media. Zynga has expanded from 398 employees in September 2009 to to 1,200 employees in 2010.

Source: VentureBeat

Game Show Network Acquires CPMStar

The Game Show Network (or GSN) has announced that it has acquired CPMStar. The marketing network is a popular online game network, with 300 million unique users, delivering 5 billion ad impressions per month.

Our acquisition of CPMStar has made GSN the largest online ad network for games, said John Zaccario, SVP of Advertising Sales for GSN.  We’re able to offer our advertising partners access to a large but highly targeted audience.

CPMStar complements GSN’s demographics perfectly, thus providing advertisers access to a broad range of audiences., commented Joshua Goldstein, President and Co-Founder of CPMStar. CPMStar is a perfect fit within the GSN portfolio.

Star Wars Enters The Third-Dimension

LucasFilm announced today that it will be releasing the six Star Wars films in 3D starting in 2012. George Lucas himself will oversee the process, with The Phantom Menace expected to lead the way followed by the other movies in the years following.

While Lucas has been skeptical about the quality of 3D for years, an experience with Avatar convinced him that the technology was ready and that there were enough 3D theaters to support a major release. It is also believed that the ramp up of 3D television sales factored into the decision.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Sponsoring MCM Expo

Ubisoft announced that it is teaming up with the MCM Expo. They will be showing off Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood during the October event as an official sponsor, wherein they will promote the event and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood will have banners, special activities ad demo stations at the October event.

Partnering with MCM Expo is yet another way to bring Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood to life, create positive word of mouth in the run-up to release and ensure the game is front of mind, said Ubisoft brand manager Jan Sanghera. We have always supported MCM Expo in the UK and it s encouraging to see it growing in popularity year-on-year. The event brings together many forms of entertainment such as film, video games, comics and anime, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience everything under one roof.

From our perspective, it s about ensuring Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is seen as an essential part of this entertainment mix, added Sanghera. It s a fun environment, and will provide visitors the chance to engage and interact with the brand.

MCM Expo will take place from October 29 -31 at London s ExCeL Centre.

Source: MCV