Activision On The ‘Hunt’ For Pre-Orders

While most companies focus on web and social/viral marketing to complement potential TV advertising, outdoor marketing can be an effective tool too. Activision is using a nationwide mobile tour to promote its hunting-themed video game titles, Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011 and Cabela’s North American Adventures for Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The tour will hit 27 GameStop and Cabela’s locations across the country this September and October and will enable fans to try out the games. Activision is hoping it’ll drum up excitement and drive pre-orders for the titles. In fact, after playing the games on the tour, consumers will then be invited to pre-order a copy (if it’s at a GameStop location) or get on the reservations list for a copy at Cabela’s.

“Consumers really need to understand what this gaming experience is really about, with the unique controller peripheral, so we needed a hands-on, real-life experience,” said Jordan Mauer, senior director-global brand marketing for Cabela’s brand products at Activision. “With the trailer, we wanted to make people feel like they’re really on a hunting adventure, so it becomes a really powerful experience.”


Source: Event Marketer

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Already 1 Million Strong

Star Wars is one of those brands that truly resonates across multiple generations. Middle-aged folks and kids alike still enjoy various Star Wars entertainment, and Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts are capitalizing on this fact with the kids-oriented free-to-play MMO Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures (based on the popular Cartoon Network TV series), which in just one week has already amassed over 1 million players.

“We are thrilled to have hit the one million player mark in Clone Wars Adventures so quickly and look forward to seeing the player community continue to grow,” said John Smedley, president SOE. “Combining the technology, design infrastructure, and lessons learned from Free Realmswith the amazing Clone Wars brand, we knew we could make a great game, and we’re happy to see that fans of all ages are enjoying the content as much as we enjoyed creating it.”

Star Wars is a franchise that has the power to transcend generations and appeal to fans both young and old,” said Mary Bihr, LucasArts VP of Global Publishing. “The game provides kids with a great way to extend the Clone Wars experience in a fully realized virtual world. They can watch the weekly series, and then share a collective experience with their friends.”

Facebook Explains ‘Worst Outage In 4 Years’

Facebook, as most of you no doubt know, was not functional for several hours last week, and it drove a lot of people up a wall. It’s certainly not the best thing for the social network’s brand and reputation. Facebook Software Engineering Director Robert Johnson recently tried to explain what his company said was the “worst outage we’ve had in over four years.

“Today we made a change to the persistent copy of a configuration value that was interpreted as invalid. This meant that every single client saw the invalid value and attempted to fix it. Because the fix involves making a query to a cluster of databases, that cluster was quickly overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of queries a second,” Johnson explained. “To make matters worse, every time a client got an error attempting to query one of the databases it interpreted it as an invalid value, and deleted the corresponding cache key. This meant that even after the original problem had been fixed, the stream of queries continued.”

Dealing with over 500 million people on a network is extremely challenging, we’re sure, but keeping them happy is critical to preserving a positive brand association.

Source: Johnson’s FB blog

IPad’s New Target: Retail

Can the iPad get any hotter Apple sure knows how to promote a brand. It’s gotten to the point where every gadget consumer wants an iPad and every retailer wants to carry one. Best Buy already announced its intent (and how iPad is cannibalizing laptops) and now Target stores are next in line.

The new deal with Target means that the iPad will soon be available in more than 1,000 stores across the country. According to Kathee Tesija, exec VP-merchandising, the retailer plans to begin carrying the iPad on October 3 in its 1,743 stores in 49 states, but not on its website,

Target, likely ecstatic about having the iPad before rival Walmart, is going all out for the Apple tablet. Target stores will have an iPad-dedicated display that will include all accessories and a large image of the device. Additionally, the iPad will be merchandised within the aisle along with other Apple products.

Source: Ad Age

Superman Movie Reboot Director List Down to 5 Names – Report

Christopher Nolan did gangbusters with The Dark Knight, and more recently Inception, and his next major challenge will be bringing Superman back to life.  X-Men director Bryan Singer tried to do this somewhat unsuccessfully with Superman Returns back in 2006.

Nolan himself doesn’t plan to direct the new Superman film, which is tentatively titled The Man of Steel, but it would appear that there’s now a shortlist of five names as candidates to direct the movie. Supposedly “major announcements involving DC characters [are] coming in four weeks,” including the huge decision on who the director of the next live-action Superman will be.

Nolan has reportedly already started meeting with potential directors for the film, and the short list includes Tony Scott, Matt Reeves, Jonathan Liebesman, Duncan Jones and Zack Snyder.

Source: Deadline [Via MTV]

3D Gaming Is ‘Inevitable,’ Says Crytek CEO

In the console world, Sony is pushing 3D harder than anyone. After all, they have a corporate-wide stake in the business with their electronics too. But in terms of developers, no other studio seems to be as big a believer in 3D as Crytek, the talented folks behind the Crysis franchise.

Crytek boss Cevat Yerli wants Crysis 2 to be seen as almost an ambassador for stereoscopic 3D in games. “If you play Crysis 2 in 2D on a normal TV, you will have a lot of fun, but if you buy a 3D TV, you will have even more. I want our games to be one of the first games out there to show how 3D could be and what it means for first-person gaming,” he said.

“It’s you who plays, it’s you who is in charge, you are empowered, you are the super soldier, you are badass, you are kicking ass. That’s what I want players to feel,” he added, noting how 3D can add to those feelings.

Source: Gamasutra

Halo’s Future Questioned By Analysts

While managing a brand is part of any long-term plan for a popular game franchise, gameplay quality and presentation need to keep up as well. The last ever Halo from developer Bungie is out and doing fabulously well, but how will Microsoft handle the future of their heralded franchise

“I am concerned. Not only does there seem to be pressure for more but you don’t have the original development team and MS has made lots of changes in internal development. Add on that the franchise will be 10 years old next year . . . the original core may have arthritis by now. It is obviously a great franchise but my perception is it may have peaked,” said DFC Intelligence’s David Cole.

“Bungie is an exceedingly high caliber studio, with top industry talent; yet it was clear their passion for future Halo games had diminished.  We do not believe Microsoft would compromise the franchise with excessive iteration pacing.  Good or bad, with a new studio developing future Halo games the franchise will never be the same,” added Mike Hickey of Janco Partners.

Source: IndustryGamers

Guitar Hero Controller Inducted Into Hard Rock Hall Of Fame

Music sales may be down overall in the games business, but the Guitar Hero brand certainly remains strong. The latest evidence comes from the Hard Rock Cafe. With Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock about to launch, the first ever gaming guitar has been inducted in to the Hard Rock Hall of Fame by the UK’s biggest Kiss Fan Kevin Curtis, Activision has announced.

This, unbelievably, puts a gaming controller next to historic memorabilia from rock legends like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley.

Guitar Hero is a rock n roll icon and has made an incredible impact on the music industry,” said Marc Carey, Regional Sales & Marketing, Hard Rock Europe. “We are delighted to be part of the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock launch and to be inducting such an influential piece of music and gaming memorabilia into our collection. Hard Rock owns over 79,000 pieces of authentic music memorabilia that are proudly displayed in our cafes, hotels and casinos around the world. I have no doubt that one of the brand-new guitar controllers signed by Gene Simmons will be a welcome addition.”

NeverDead Quite Alive

More and more modern video games make death temporary and easy to avoid. NeverDead is taking an original approach, letting you die in spectacular ways but still fight on in various degrees after having been mutilated.