Zynga Wants To Make Impact On Mobile

Zynga is the king of Facebook games, but the company is very dependent on the social platform. Eventually, however, they want to dominate in the mobile space as well.

“[Mobile] is something that we actively care about, think about. It’s the major place where we think the future is,” said Zynga chief game designer Brian Reynolds.”The reason that Zynga isn’t ginormous on mobile yet is because the friction of social networking is still high on mobile. It’s ironic because when you think about your phone, it should be an inherently social device. It’s got your contacts. You can text. You e-mail people. You talk to them. It’s a hub; it’s a social hub. And people use it as a social hub but it’s missing some of the critical wiring that does the magic that Facebook does.

“What Facebook is doing very efficiently is letting you communicate with your more distant friends, said Reynolds. Sometimes it’s also a way to show pictures to mom, but I would’ve called mom anyway or e-mailed the pictures, right At a certain point – and maybe it even made it faster – I can post pictures that all my relatives can see instead of e-mailing them one at a time and forgetting who. And then there’s the people at the lower end of the social,  the more attenuated distant relationships – people from college or high school, people that I don’t keep in touch with as well, that I might not keep in touch with at all if not for Facebook. What I found when Facebook exploded a few years ago, suddenly people that I hadn’t kept in touch with at all for decades I was back in touch with.”

“So when mobile gets to the point where I can eliminate all that friction – so I can broadcast something to my friends, for example – [that’s when we’ll dive in], he added. Social games are about expressing myself in front of my friends and part of the value of investing in the play is the fact that I know my friends are going to see my farm and I’m going to help them and all my friends are going to be there. Right now there’s a lot of extra friction because it’s not just auto-wired in – which is the way the web used to be, before Facebook.

“We’re thinking very carefully about it and we are working with appropriate partners; there are people that are making platforms or have platforms and want to make it more social. We work with them . . . Or they have social platforms and they want to make them more mobile, whatever direction they want to go,” Reynolds concluded.

Source: IndustryGamers

The Duke Cave Is Open

Step into the ultimate man cave on the official website for Duke Nukem Forever. Enter the Duke Cave to conduct surveillance on two of Duke’s favorite things: aliens and babes. Check out Mark and Kate Holsom, two motorboating twins or get a look at the Octabrain, a floating head that uses it s airborne tentacles to fire a blast attack. Browse the Hall of Humility to see how Duke’s awesomeness even puts Chuck Norris to shame. Gamers that have the Borderlands Game of the Year Edition or have already preordered can register to be part of the First Access Club to get the demo first. Winning!

Social Games Getting Slightly Mad With Gamagio

Slightly Mad Studios founders Ian Bell and Andy Garton have announced that they have founded Gamagio to make mobile and social games. While they had previously worked on racing titles like GT Legends, GTR 2 and the Need for Speed: Shift series, now over 50 staff are working on titles for Facebook set to release this year.

Gamagio is creating new gaming experiences, new ways to play and interact, and we see social and mobile gaming as key to that, said Bell.

Our class-leading social gaming engine has been built from the ground up to support the leading edge HTML5 technology, said Garton. Which is central to the ever changing social and mobile gaming landscape, as well as plugin free 3D graphics standards such as WebGL.

Valve Will Want You To Meet The Medic

Team Fortress 2‘s Meet the Team trailers over the past few years have been some of the best game trailers ever made, and certainly some of the funniest. While a new video in the series hasn’t come out in over a year, the newest starring the Medic is reportedly nearly done and should be released soon.

Then to my great delight I was shown a nearly completed version of Meet the Medic, posted Political Gamers in the Steam Forums. All I will say is that its really epic and was worth the time it took.

Source: PC Gamer

AT&T/T-Mobile: A Powerful Force For Advertising?

The T-Mobile acquisition by AT&T would create the largest mobile carrier in the U.S. bar none. However, since neither company has invested heavily in mobile advertising, it’s not expected to have much effect on that industry . . . unless AT&T decides to leverage customer date for targeted mobile ad campaigns.

The advent of smartphones has led to the advent of a $1.2 billion mobile ad market that includes Google’s AdMob and Millennial Media. Mobile advertising wasn’t really taken seriously until the advent of smartphones, said Sarah Baehr as svp, director of digital publishing solutions at MediaVest. Some paid media dollars are going to buy mobile ad network display, but more money is starting to flow into mobile social, in-app, branded apps, deals and shopping. That’s where the center of gravity is moving to.

The real golden ring for mobile is customer data. In the past, carriers were dead set against it, said Phuc Truong, managing director U.S., of the mobile marketing firm Mobext. Lately they’ve listened more.

With over 130 million users, the combined entity of AT&T and T-Mobile could reach out to a vast audience with targeted ads based on geography, household size and spending habits. The data could also be sold to an outside party to manage the ads. They’d have to do it in a way that avoids using [consumers actual names]. But that’s the really interesting part of this deal. The carriers definitely don’t want to become just dumb pipes like the ISPs, said Truong.

Source: Ad Week

Dead Island Not An Emotional Game Like Heavy Rain

Dead Island made waves with its emotionally gripping (some said ‘exploitative’) trailer showing a family dealing with the tragic carnage of a zombie attack. It was evocative to some of the parental undertones in Heavy Rain, but developer Deep Silver has been quick to disclaim that similarity.

“That was awful for us,” said Dead Island producer Sebastian Reichert. “I mean, let’s be honest, we will be an action game – you will have a serious approach to the zombie setting but we will be an action game. We won’t be a dialogue-based game that revolves around emotion. We will have strong elements from examples like Borderlands that will keep you playing. So, when we heard the Heavy Rain comparison we were like, ‘Whoa!'”

“We’ve had problems declaring Heavy Rain as a ‘game’ – it plays like a movie. I’ve had more complex DVD menus [laughs], he added. We are more like a core game with a serious approach. Yes, of course we like it that people compare us with such great games like Heavy Rain, but we also have to face the fact that we are not Heavy Rain. That’s just a fact.”

Source: CVG

Batman: Arkham City Gets Pre-Order Bonuses

Details have been showcased for the pre-order bonuses for Batman: Arkham City. Those that pre-order at GameStop will be given a “Joker’s Carnival” challenge map, confirming the return of the skill based mini-missions that weren’t tied into the greater storyline.

Those that pre-order from Best Buy will receive a combo pack although what that exactly means was not detailed. No details were given for what pre-order bonuses will be available at Amazon or Walmart.

Source: batmanarkhamcity.com

Facebook Targets Real-Time Conversations For Ads

Facebook has announced that they will be testing real-time conversation mining to target ads with roughly 1 percent of their user base about six million people. While user preferences and likes in the past have helped deliver ads, mentioning pizza, a baby, buying a power drill or running can all now elicit immediate ads.

“The long-held promise of local is to deliver timely, relevant and measurable ads which drive actions such as commerce, so if Facebook is moving in this direction, it’s brilliant,” said Reggie Bradford, CEO of Facebook software and marketing company Vitrue. “This is a massive market shift everyone is pivoting toward, led by services such as Groupon. Facebook has the power of the graph of me and my friends placing them in the position to dominate this medium.”

This could make a huge difference in how ads on Facebook perform; the site had a 0.051 percent click-through rate in 2010, which was very low by industry standards. Still, this does not alter Facebook’s notoriously finicky ad algorithm used to determine whether there is any commercial intent behind a statement.

“You might have the potential of seeing some unfortunate ads if not targeted correctly,” said eMarketer social-media analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “If I’m talking generally about Starbucks — ‘my latte was cold’ — would it be weird to then see an ad from Peet’s ”

Source: Ad Age

Hobbit Filming Begins

After years of delays filming of The Hobbit started recently in New Zealand. The anticipated prequel movies are being filmed for $500 million in the Wellington Stone Street Studios in the village of Matamata, along with various other secret, undisclosed locations around New Zealand.

The story revolves around Bilbo Baggins, the titular hobbit who is swept up into an adventure with wizard Gandalf the Grey and 13 dwarves. British actor Martin Freeman will play Bilbo Baggins, with Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis all reprising their roles from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Source: Times Colonist

Dead Island Sees Box Art Change

Deep Silver has confirmed that the box art cover for Dead Island will be changed in its release to the U.S. The change from a hung man to a staggering zombie will affect the logo only on the box and promotional materials, not in the game.

Original logo.

New logo.

“The video game industry has set guidelines about the types of content that are appropriate in advertising and marketing materials, which includes game box art. According to those guidelines the depiction in the logo was not compliant,” read a statement by the ESRB. “We never censor or dictate in any way what type of content can be included within a game. However, a game’s marketing materials are seen by an audience that is much broader than that which actually purchases the game itself, so we enforce industry-adopted guidelines as to what is suitable for inclusion in these materials.”

Source: IGN