Special Holiday Note From Eric Ayzenberg

[a]listdaily is about to go on break, returning with regular newsletter updates on January 4. Before we go, here’s a special message from Eric Ayzenberg:

A few nights ago, I attended the Art Center College of Design graduation exhibit and was struck by the strength of the student work and the creativity that seems to thrive in tough economic times. I feel the same dynamic is happening in the Videogame industry.  In spite of the ongoing challenges, our industry continues to innovate and improve.

As we wrap up the year and look forward to 2011, we remain cautiously optimistic about the economy and the Videogame industry.  Most importantly though, we truly appreciate your support  – and the readership of the [a]list daily.  We ll be back on January 4 and look forward to another year of bringing you relevant and topical information focused on the best in advertising.

Keep motivated, stay creative, and enjoy your Holiday. 


Dead Space 2: Get Caught Up

For a brand-new IP, EA’s Dead Space was moderately successful, and the publisher is looking to really up the ante in the sequel, which ships on January 25. This new trailer does a fantastic job of getting gamers who never played the first caught up on the events so that they can dive right into Dead Space 2.

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PlayStation Move Ad Banned For Violence

It’s always hard to say just how much violence or gore is really acceptable in game advertisements, and while this PlayStation Move ad actually seems rather tame, it was deemed violent enough by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority that it ended up being banned.

The ASA said the ad’s imagery may “condone or encourage violent behavior.” In response, Sony commented that it had “taken steps to ensure that the images were not graphic.”


Source: Kotaku

Thor: God of Thunder Hammers Out New Trailer

Marvel is hoping it has yet another comic-based movie hit on its hands next year with Thor, and Sega wants to share in the success with the video game, Thor: God of Thunder. As you can see from this new trailer, the game features action not unlike Sony’s God of War, and the visuals are looking sharp. Hopefully it all comes together nicely on May 3.

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StarCraft II Demo Finally Available

It’s well known that demos can be great marketing tools for games, offering gamers a chance to try out a title before its release. For Blizzard, however, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to release a demo well after a game ships. That’s what’s just happened with StarCraft II, which launched five months ago.

Now a demo is available, and it might be a good way to boost the game’s long-tail sales and interest new players. After all, Blizzard’s fans are highly passionate, devoted gamers, and most of the people who were going to buy the game didn’t need any convincing with a demo at launch.

The demo contains the first three missions of the Wings of Liberty campaign and Terran-on-Terran solo skirmish. Although the demo has no multiplayer, there’s unlimited time with the demo and no Battle.net account needed. The demo is kicking off in English for now, but Blizzard says other language versions will be coming soon.

Nexon’s MapleStory Now Has One Million Paying Customers

Nexon is one of the pioneers in the online free-to-play market and they’ve been having great success with their virtual items business too. The company has announced that MapleStory has crossed over one million paying players in North America via the game s virtual item shop. Overall, the title has seven million registered players.

“We would like to congratulate all of our players for paving the way for an entirely new way of playing games,” said Min Kim, Nexon America’s vice president of marketing. “When Nexon began servicing MapleStory in North America, we were told that only a few hardcore gamers would ever do microtransactions. This milestone proves that the potential of virtual goods was grossly underestimated. People have been doing microtransactions for years, whether it was popping quarters into arcade machines, trading baseball or Pokemon cards or buying music on online.MapleStory s million shopper milestone reinforces that playing online games and buying virtual items has become part of everyday life for players and is a proven, successful way of doing business.

Sony Concerned About Confusion Between PSP2 And PlayStation Phone

Over the last several months, the leaks and rumors about PSP2 and a PlayStation Phone have been flying. Kaz Hirai, chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment, would not directly confirm either device just yet, but he did admit that he’s slightly concerned about consumer confusion if Sony releases both. Marketing will be key to send potential customers the right message for the respective offerings.

“We don’t want gamers to be asking, what s the difference between that and a PSP,” Hirai said. “We have to come up with a message that users will understand. It would have to be a product that keeps the PlayStation’s strengths intact.”

There can be no doubt that both Sony and Nintendo are feeling pressure from the growing games market on smartphones like iPhone and Android phones. While Nintendo is about to release its highly touted 3DS next year, Sony has not yet officially announced the PSP2. Nevertheless, Hirai remains confident that it will succeed despite pressure from the smartphone sector.

“The games being played on Android and Apple platforms are fundamentally different from the world of immersive games that Sony Computer Entertainment, and PlayStation aims for,” Hirai said, adding, “We re seeing people who never had an interest in games join the gaming population. That means that the gaming industry pie is getting bigger.”

As for the rumored touch-pad on the back of the PSP2, Hirai still noted that buttons would be more important than just touch controls. “Depending on the game, there are ones where you can play perfectly well with a touch panel,” he said. “But you can definitely play immersive games better with physical buttons and pads. I think there could be games where you re able to use both in combination.”

Source: New York Times

Microsoft Prepares For More Halo Without Bungie

The games industry has a select few brands the rise above the medium, to the point where even non-gamers have heard of the name. Mario, Madden, Gran Turismo, and Halo would certainly be among those. Halo is crucially important as a brand and franchise to Microsoft and even though Bungie has moved on, you can bet that Microsoft and 343 Industries will do everything they can to keep Halo front and center.

New job postings {link no longer active} at 343 Industries have revealed that Microsoft is already looking to beef up the team in several key areas as it starts working on the “next big Halo project,” which would be the first without series creator Bungie. 343 is hiring for positions within multiplayer design, effects artistry, mission design and others.

Kindle Sales Way Up Despite iPad

Despite Apple’s soaring iPad sales, Amazon’s Kindle, partially driven by games (even though it’s an e-reader) could exceed 8 million units sold this year. Kindle is no doubt benefiting from its new, low price tag of $139.

If Kindle does hit 8 million sold this year, that number would easily surpass most analysts’ estimates, as many analysts had forecast Kindle sales to be in the 4-5 million range.

Source: Ad Week {link no longer active}