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

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.”

GoldenEye’s Many Multiplayer Modifiers

Activision certainly has a challenge on its hands this holiday season, and no we’re not talking about trying to top Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with Black Ops. We’ll find out this holiday if the decision to publish a Wii exclusive GoldenEye (a game that was hugely popular on N64 over a decade ago) was the right one. This new multiplayer trailer shows that they’re certainly enticing gamers with a ton of interesting modifiers for gameplay.

David Perry On Game Marketing

If you happened to miss out on the fantastic [a]list summit over the summer, fear not. We’ll be bringing you some interviews and presentations straight from the event. In this exclusive [a]list video interview, Gaikai founder David Perry discusses the state of game marketing and how marketers need to adapt with the ever growing presence of online.


BulletStorm’s Bouncer

We’ve been told numerous times by EA executives (they’re publishing Epic’s BulletStorm) that sometimes “it’s just really satisfying to shoot sh*t.”  Indeed, and there’s tons of that in BulletStorm. In this new gameplay vid, the game’s producer shows off a new weapon, The Bouncer, and the crazy level which has the player traversing a collapsing building.

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

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]

RIM Reportedly Readying Tablet

Research in Motion, known for Blackberry, is reportedly set to show off its new tablet computer, along with the OS (named QNX) that will power it. Called tentatively the BlackPad, internal reports suggest it will be available for purchase by the end of the year.

The abilities off the BlackPad should include a seven-inch touch screen, at least one built-in camera and Bluetooth and broadband connections. RIM is hoping to attract more developers to make Apps for their mobile and tablet devices at next week’s developers conference.

Source: Wall Street Journal