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. 

Eric

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Exceeds $1 Billion

Activision Blizzard has set records in entertainment for two consecutive years with the Call of Duty franchise. Black Ops hit sales of $650 million in just five days, and now the publisher has announced that the game has already surpassed $1 billion in worldwide sales. With DLC content to further fuel the brand, that $1 billion is no doubt just the beginning.

“In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and “Avatar” have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly,”  said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.  “This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer that work tirelessly on the franchise.  Our ability to provide the most compelling, immersive  entertainment experience, and enhance it with regular, recurring content that delivers hundreds of hours of audience value, has allowed Call of Duty to continue to set sales and usage records.”

Kotick continued, “This extraordinary milestone was achieved  because of  the tens of millions of passionate Call of Duty players around the world.  Global audiences have logged billions of hours online with Call of Duty games on Xbox LIVE, the Playstation Network and on personal computers.  This unique level of community engagement has enabled Call of Duty to become one of the world’s most engaged online communities.”

Call of Duty continues to rewrite not just the record books, but also the rules of interactive entertainment,” says Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “Even more remarkable than the number of units sold is the number of hours people are playing the game together online which are unprecedented. Call of Dutyis more than a game, it’s a true community.

Kung Fu Live’s ‘Show Us Your Moves’ Campaign

Helsinki, Finland-based Virtual Air Guitar Company is leveraging the power of YouTube and user interaction to help promote its Kung-Fu Live, a downloadable action title available for PlayStation Network.

The YouTube campaign shows off the latest trailers and off-the-wall tutorial videos and will feature players from around the world “showing off their best, worst, most bizarre, insane, ridiculous, and COMPLETELY crazy fighting styles which could net them kung-fu star status and some rare butt-kicking gear from the independent team at Virtual Air Guitar Company.”

Players can email their YouTube videos to kungfuvideo@virtualairguitar.com to be considered for placement. The first 20 entries will receive exclusive Kung-Fu Live gear, and each week players and viewers will be able to vote for their favorite videos on the site.

“Since our launch this month, we’ve seen a seriously positive response from the fans who each have their own unique way of taking down enemies using every move they can imagine,” said Teemu Maki-Patola, CEO of Virtual Air Guitar Company Ltd. “Seeing people playing, fighting, laughing, and performing some crazy moves is a big part of why we made this game, and now we re offering all of our biggest fans the chance to share the fun they have with their kung-fu prowess with the rest of the world!”

Check out the website here.

Free Xbox 360 Game With Purchase Of Windows Phone 7

Microsoft is hoping that Xbox Live integration will draw more of the Xbox 360 fan base to its new Windows Phone 7, which has now sold 1.5 million units. In an effort to further spark interest in the device among gamers, Microsoft is actually giving away a free game to new purchasers of Windows Phone 7.

Gamers can choose from Halo: Reach, Fable III, Kinect Joy Ride or Kinectimals. Of course, the last two will require that you own a Kinect camera for your 360. The Windows Phone 7 has to be purchased by December 31 in order to participate in the free game offer.

Check out the free game promotional website. {link no longer active}

NeoEdge Raises Another $3 Million For Ad Platform

NeoEdge has announced that it’s secured ad additional $3 million in funding, courtesy of MMV Financial. The funding will help the company expand its product offerings for monetizing social games.

iiiNeoEdge serves more than $100 milion video ad impressions per month, and currently has partnerships with Yahoo Games and iWin. The company also recently announced a partnership with Red Atom’s Bar Society on Facebook.

This new funding should enable NeoEdge to “expand its national sales team and come up with new products, including those that will ‘gamify’ ads, or make ads more fun by adding a game-like element,” notes Dean Takahashi.

Source: VentureBeat

Avatar Is Most Pirated Movie Of 2010

Artistic talent, computer animation, and storytelling aren’t the only things Hollywood and the game industry have in common; both sectors also are hurt every year by piracy. This year’s “winner” in Hollywood is not surprisingly the blockbuster Avatar from James Cameron.

Avatar was downloaded from torrent websites a whopping 16.58 million times. That number represents a 33 percent increase in download activity from last year’s top-pirated film, Star Trek, which was downloaded just under 11 million times.

Of course, as we already know, the piracy didn’t stop Avatar from becoming the highest grossing film in history, with a recorded $2.8 billion at the box office.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Xbox Brand ‘Doesn’t Carry As Much Sway’ As Sony, Says EA CEO

The Xbox brand has come a long way since the first console was introduced in 2001, but PlayStation has obviously been around for a lot longer. The PS3 started off slow, but despite the Xbox 360’s one-year head start, the PS3 is closing the installed base gap. Part of that is the Sony brand recognition internationally, says EA boss John Riccitiello.

“Honestly, I think that Microsoft has done great work the last couple of years, and they’ve made a lot of smart moves: hitting pricing when they needed to, the right combination of hitting price points and disk drive sizes that allow them to hit price points that matter, and they ve done a great job with Xbox Live. At the same time, the Xbox brand, the Microsoft brand, doesn’t carry anywhere near as much sway as the Sony and PlayStation brand do outside the United States, and so I think the reality is the international marketplace is just so important and it s a natural advantage that no matter how good Microsoft is at growing their business, Sony has an almost-impossible-to-supersede head start,” he said.

Riccitiello continued, “In the last couple of years, Sony’s sharpened their marketing message, you know, ‘the platform with everything.’ They’ve actually gotten past simply Home as an online connected system for them. While I m not sure that one would compare them in depth and breadth and features and support to what you have at Xbox Live, it s good now.”

EA wants all platforms it makes games for to do well, naturally. And the company is pretty happy with both Xbox 360 and PS3.

“We have a similar share on both platforms,” continued Riccitiello. “It s not that I wouldn t want to criticize one of the other; I’m not shy. I just think they’ve actually both done a pretty good job. The big disadvantage Sony carries is they have an expensive platform because of Blu-ray, so they have a harder time hitting price points. Microsoft has taken advantage of that and their online service, which really is the gold standard. Sony has [leveraged] their limited amount of unique content really well. They’ve done a nice job promoting the Blu-ray, their advertising and marketing campaigns have been stronger, and they ve done a nice job of supporting some EA content to their own advantage. I don t know that you d point to either of them and say they can t shoot straight or that they ve given it up.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

DC Comics Get inFamous

Video game brand marketers love properties that have “transmedia” potential, whether for film, TV, books, comics or anything else. Comic geeks and gamers have a lot in common, and so it makes perfect sense to take popular game franchises to the realm of comics. Sony has teamed with DC Comics to produce an inFamous comic series, divided into six volumes.

The volumes are intended to introduce new enemies, settings and plots that will be present within the sequel game inFamous 2. The comic, penned by William Harms and illustrated by Eric Nguyen, will focus on the exploits of Cole in between the two video game titles as he moves from Empire City to New Marais.