Homefront Gets Special OnLive Pre-Order Bonus

THQ has announced that they’re giving a special pre-order bonus to OnLive customers. Those who pre-order THQ’s Homefront before March 14 will receive an OnLive Game System for free and get immediate access to Metro 2033.

“This is a watershed event: It s the first time a game system has ever been given away with the purchase of a game,” said OnLive Founder and CEO Steve Perlman. “Homefront is one of the biggest games coming out this quarter, and we wanted gamers to see just how incredible is to have the hottest title playable with the instant-play, massive spectating experience on their HDTV that is only possible through OnLive. So, for the same money you d spend pre-ordering Homefront on any platform, gamers get the platform with the game (and Metro 2033 to keep you busy till launch date). Quantities are limited. Get em while their hot!”

Find out more at: onlive.com/go/homefront {link no longer active}.

Uno Takes On Beaverball

As part of the 40th Anniversary celebration of Uno, Mattel is launching a series of videos that will celebrate that Uno is the one game for everyone. Produced in conjunction with Ayzenberg, the videos will show games that only the tiniest of demographics would love.

The first of these games is the distinct Beaverball that has a very specific appeal. Check out the funny video on Facebook here.

Dead Island Trailer Creator Defends Content

The recent trailer for Dead Island has received praise but also criticism from some circles. Stuart Aitken, who helped create the trailer addressed the shock value.

“I think we have been fairly restrained and grown up about it personally. The zombie genre is about gore and death and a primal fear of irrational violence so there s no point trying to dodge those things at all,” said Aitken. “If you watch carefully almost all the really graphic bits of violence actually happen to the zombies, not the family. The violence that happens to the family is implied or is treated less graphically for the most part and that was quite deliberate. We feel the fear of the family, their sense of hopelessness under the onslaught, their lack of ability to save one another despite trying, and that is more dramatically interesting than seeing them actually being ripped to shreds or something. Conversely enjoying a bit of gore is part of the whole zombie appeal and we have that too. I think a zombie movie that doesn t try and shock just a little bit is kind of toothless.”

“On the subject of the Daughter character specifically, we were aware that there was an impact about that choice for sure, but I think that choice fitted the narrative we wanted to tell and was appropriate in that sense,” he continued. “As the audience you feel that fear much more strongly through the eyes of a child. Some people will see that as being manipulative which is fair enough. It draws you in, makes you care. That s quite a hard thing to do in two minutes and as some commentators have pointed out all effective fiction is ultimately manipulative in that sense.”

“I don t think we glorified anything – quite the opposite. We portray the events as a tragedy, with perhaps an edge of black humour that is very much present in most of the genre,” he added. “Her actual death isn’t especially graphic or gory. The real shock is more about the relationship between parent and child and how that is perverted when she turns on her dad even after being saved by him. If someone found it a little unsettling then I think that was what was intended. We didn t set out to offend anyone – just rattle them a bit.”

Source: Develop

Google Refining Search Algorithm

Google announced that they will be changing their search algorithm in order to filter out lower quality content. It is expected that this will affect nearly 12 percent of all U.S. searches (roughly 1.4 billion searches a month) and will negatively impact content farms like Demand Media, Examiner.com and Yahoo’s Associated Content.

“Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible,” wrote Google Fellow Amit Singhal and principal engineer Matt Cutts. “So, we’re very excited about this new ranking improvement because we believe it s a big step in the right direction of helping people find ever higher quality in our results. We’ve been tackling these issues for more than a year and working on this specific change for the past few months. And we’re working on many more updates that we believe will substantially improve the quality of the pages in our results.”

Source: AdWeek {link no longer active}

[a]list Games Reaches Out To Digital Developers

[a]list games has launched in order to offer digital developers funding to find their audience online. They will look to identify up and coming digital games and create marketing campaigns tailored specifically for them.

“Game makers that partner with [a]list games can expect everything and more than what they would get in a marketing plan from a big game company,” said Steve Fowler, GM of [a]list games. “We invest in their game and make an upfront commitment on the marketing spend, and we stretch the budget with access to many essential services at-cost. We don t require the prerequisites that bog down big company deals. We end up as a fully invested partner whose success is simply tied to the game s success, and ultimately that of the developer.”

“Strategy Analytics recently forecasted that the online and digitally distributed game market worldwide will nearly double to $24.8 billion by 2013. Despite this, there are still many titles that might not generate the awareness they deserve without the right marketing push.”

“The void we’re filling is one left by traditional game publishers,” said Fowler. “Even as some of the largest companies in the game industry scramble resources and capital to readjust to the changing market, they’re attempting to steer massive operations built over decades to move in one direction marketing and selling packaged goods. There is a clear disconnect in the marketplace today. Why else would you have an audience for digital and mobile games that has literally exploded in the past two years, but where success stories for the category still read like lightening-in-a-bottle scenarios?”

Find out more about this Ayzenberg Group initiative at http://www.alistgames.net/. [a]list games will also be at the GDC Game Connection event at West Hall in the Moscone Center.

PSP Price Down To $129.99

Sony has announced that the PSP-3000 system will now retail for $129.99, just a few weeks ahead of the release of the Nintendo 3DS. Also, PSP Entertainment Packs will be available for $159.99; both prices reflect a roughly $40 price cut.

“We at PlayStation have always been committed to delivering value and offering you the unparalleled gaming experiences,” said Scott Steinberg, VP of Product Marketing. “That said, we re also adding a slew of new blockbuster titles to PSP s ‘Greatest Hits’ and ‘Favorites’ collections. New additions to the $19.99 PSP Greatest Hits library include Assassin s Creed: Bloodlines, Dissidia Final Fantasy, LittleBigPlanet PSP, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Toy Story 3: The Video Game, while Daxter, Tomb Raider Anniversary and more are now priced at $9.99 as part of the PSP Favorites library.”

Source: PlayStation.Blog

MotorStorm: Apocalypse Not Coming To New Zealand

Natural (or unnatural) disasters can have an effect on the release of any media, and that’s no different for video games. Metal Gear Solid 2 was set in New York City, and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks some parts of the ending were changed because of the events.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse is a racing game that takes place in an urban setting during a natural disaster. Because of the deadly earthquakes that have hit the Christchurch region of New Zealand, Sony is reportedly not releasing the game there when it launches March 2011, though they may eventually bring it to the island nation.

Source: Kotaku