Portal 2 Now Available…Thank You Potato Sack Players!

Starting on April 1, Valve released The Potato Sack {link no longer active} a one-of-a-kind limited-time crossover sleuthing event that brought 13 hit indie games together in one pack. Cryptic clues were dropped into games like Team Fortress 2, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Super Meat Boy, Amnesia: The Dark Descent and AudioSurf. Each clue had a common thread: Potatoes. A complex ARG (alternate reality game) glyphs or codes and hidden messages were slipped into each game, some were messages buried in simple text files while other games had all-new levels based on potato themes (Super Potato Boy became playable in Super Meat Boy). An all-new potato hat  {link no longer active} was unlocked for players of Team Fortress 2. Decoded phrases like “You found many. Find the rest.” and “Here’s Da Beens, Dougtato were also discovered in promotional videos {link no longer active}. A wiki called PotatosFoolsDay kept track of the game in progress. Players that unlocked all 13 clues get the game unlocked early on Steam and also get a special skin for Portal 2 co-op play.



Who Will Be The Next Madden NFL 12 Cover Athlete?

It s that time of year again to vote which NFL player will grace the cover of the next version of Madden. The final round is between Peyton Hills of the Cleveland Browns or Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles. Vote now to decide who will be the winner and tune in to SportsNation to see the winner announced live on April 27 at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN 2.

Mortal Kombat Legacy Passes 5 Million View Mark

Mortal Kombat: Legacy recently debuted on Machinima and quickly became the most viewed YouTube video in Australia, U.K., Australia, Russia and Sweden. It has managed over 5.5 million views in under a week and will be the first of 10 such shorts to release in the coming two months.

“You try to put content in the most ideal environment where the audience is,” said Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. “[Machinima has] a history of reaching gamers. They have an expertise in driving awareness around this kind of content.”

“We’re incredibly excited about the creative product,” said Gewecke. “It’s an incredibly powerful, strong and well done piece of filmmaking. It’s a reinterpretation of the franchise in live-action form that we’d like to explore as different concepts and see what approach works best.”

Source: Variety


Ubisoft Marketing Department Switches Around

Ubisoft has reshuffled their marketing team as part of a larger effort to focus on larger, more wide reaching campaigns. James O’Reilly, former group brand manager for Core games, will now be the international brand manager at Ubisoft Montreal and Phil Brannelly will be international brand manager for Driver at Ubisoft’s Reflections Studio, leaving his position as senior brand manager.

At Ubisoft UK, Mark Slaughter has been made head of brand marketing responsible for the company’s entire team of brand marketers. Alan Dykes has become head of digital marketing, and his team will be increasingly important as the publisher focuses more on web-based, MMO and digitally distributed games.

“Over the last few years, Ubisoft has built a team of experienced marketing professionals in the UK,” said Ubisoft UK marketing director Murray Pannell. “I believe the key to generating effective campaigns is having a strong, integrated approach where the brand, PR and digital teams collaborate very closely together to define and execute the local marketing strategies that drive our success in the UK.”

“With James and Phil moving onto new opportunities within the Ubisoft family and we wish them well in their exciting new ventures I ve had the opportunity to review the marketing group structure in order to streamline our internal planning and communication process,” said Pannell.

Source: MCV

Walmart Picks Kosmix

Walmart has announced that they are purchasing the search technology firm Kosmix. The retailer is looking to use the company to expand more into social and mobile commerce, complimenting their recent purchase of online movie service Vudu.

The members of Kosmix will work with the @WalmartLabs group. The team will serve to build technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce that will support Walmart s global multi-channel strategy.

Source: PaidContent {link no longer active}

Wii Price Cut To $169.99 At Major Retailers

Rumors have recently pegged a price cut down to $150 for the Wii right before the upcoming E3. This has come at least partly true, as several retailers have cut the price of the Wii down to $169.99.

Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon and Target are all listing the Wii at the price of $169.99. It could be that they’re preemptively heading off a larger price cut… or they could be paving the way and clearing out inventory space for a new Wii SKU.

EA Outlines Strategy For The Year

Speaking during the EA Showcase event U.K. marketing director Stuart Lang outlined the company s four key principles for the coming fiscal year. These ideas included more emphasis on digital, concentrating on bigger brands, expansion into free-to-play and looking into new IP and genres.

“Our fewer and bigger brands strategy is already paying off, ensuring we deliver high quality products and services on a consistent basis,” said Lang, also noted Battlefield 3, coming later this year as the strongest release in the sector this year.

“One question thrown up by the fewer/bigger strategy is are we neglecting new IP and new genres and that is resolutely not the case, far from it,” he added, citing published titles Portal 2, American McGee s Alice: Madness Returns, Kings of Amalur: Reckoning and Shadows of the Damned.

Source: MCV

Facebook Getting Social Music Game Bopler

With the prominence of various bands and games on Facebook, someone made the logical connection between the two. MXP4 has launched Bopler Games, which will serve as a music hub on Facebook with multiple apps.

Users will be able to combine songs with certain arcade games on Facebook. The free-to-play game hopes to spread in a viral fashion and give artists a new way to engage with their fans.

Bopler Games is launching with music from artists that includes KT Tunstall, Lilly Allen, Digital Underground, Norah Jones, Afrika Bambaataa, Culture Club, Big Country, Jonas Brothers and Fall Out Boy. Other artists are expected to follow, with royalties distributed for when people put money into their song.

Albin Serviant, CEO of MXP4, says the technology behind Bopler extracts data from songs based around rhythm, melody and structure, allowing games to be made around those elements. Fans can play three, 60-second clips of songs within Bopler every day for free; the full track is available for purchase with a music pass; enhancements can be had by buying music cash and by playing and sharing those games fans can earn music coins which can be redeemed for passes.

“We’re uniting two of the most popular categories on Facebook games and music,” said Serviant, who has helped raise over $13 million for Popler.

Source: VentureBeat

Batman Imposters Popping Up?

Batman: Arkham City is still inbound, but it appears as though Warner Bros. may be preparing other Batman games. The registering of multiple domain names including BatmanHush.com, BatmanImposters.com, BatmanRedhoods.com, BatmanKnightfell.com, and BatmanHushgame.com points to this.

These domains back up a rumor for a new Batman game listed on various retailers as Gotham City Imposters. The various domains reference two Batman villains in Red Hood and Hush along with the famous story-arch that led to Batman’s back being broken by Bane, so there’s reason to believe this may either be a new project some something attached to Batman: Arkham City.

Source: SuperAnnuation

Rage Ups Ante With ‘Anarchy Edition’

Bethsoft and id Software have announced a special release of Rage called the ‘Anarchy Edition.’ This version will be available to anyone who pre-orders the game, making it similar to Dragon Age II‘s Signature Edition.

The ‘Anarchy Edition’ includes a double-barreled shotgun, melee gauntlets in the Fists of Rage, a buggy called the Rat Rod, the Crimson Elite armor, and some missions in the Wasteland Sewer. Details for other special edition offers are still being worked out.