Portal 2 ARG Conclusion Receives Mixed Reaction

Valve manged to generate a lot of interest in their ARG team for Portal 2. When the game ended, many players expected to receive early access to Portal 2… but that’s not what happened.

The message unlocked by the ARG showed a countdown indicated that the release of Portal 2 can be sped up… by purchasing indie games on Steam. The reaction has been quick and negative, though some have liked the fact that they’re enhancing the profile of some indie games.

Check out the site here {link no longer active}.

Social Traffic Still Subservient To Search

Outbrain reports that two-thirds of site traffic is still from either directly coming to the site, or jumping from another page on the site. Only 33 percent of traffic comes from outside sources, of which only 11 percent comes from social media… though that number is on rise.

Their analysis comes from 100 million site visits to over 100 premium publishers during the first quarter of this year. Search engine traffic, which are nearly four times the size of social media traffic, also have larger numbers of page-views per session and longer sessions overall.

The researchers theorize that people who visit on their own are more likely to stay for an extended period of time, rather than if they’re urged by someone they know. “Traffic coming from social media sources, on the other hand, has the highest tendency to bounce,” writes Kelly Reeves, Outbrain s senior marketing manager.

Results also varied by content genre; Outbrain discovered that 42 percent of traffic referrals for news sites arrives via social media while less than 5 percent of sports sites traffic. Facebook sessions were also found to be better for referrals.

We found about 72 percent of sessions originating from Facebook were from a unique visitor, versus only 52 percent in the case of Twitter, suggesting that Twitter’s audience is more likely to be made up of repeat visitors, writes Reeves.

Source: AdWeek {link no longer active}


Battlefield 3 Getting Big Soccer Ad

Part of EA’s plan to spend big for Battlefield 3 will include one of the biggest soccer matches of the year. They will debut a new trailer during the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Manchester City during half-time.

“We ve had an amazing response from community and industry and we re extremely excited to be able to show so much gameplay footage this early in the campaign,” said Colin Blackwood, UK Business Lead, EA.

Source: MCV

LittleBigPlanet Sees 4 Million Levels

Sony announced today that the two LittleBigPlanet games have seen over 4 million created users levels. They estimate that it would take over 78 years to play all of them if the game was played for 12 hours a day, each level played 5 minutes each.

“For us the most exciting thing has always been seeing what the community does with a LittleBigPlanet game when they get their hands on the new features and tools,” said Media Molecule. “We’re constantly delighted and amazed by their ingenuity and creativity, and it s so inspiring to see the level of affection that exists for LittleBigPlanet amongst fans around the world.”

Source: PlayStation Blog

Capcom’s David Reeves Talks Retail Viability

Cap com Europe’s COO David Reeves sees retail as a major part of gaming for at least the next 10 to 15 years. However, he notes that the profitability of the digital platform makes it increasingly appealing.

When you re working for a company like Capcom and you re talking to the biggest, smartest retailers around, there can be no doubt that they’ll be a big part of this business for at least ten to 15 years, said Reeves. You can get such reach and coverage by going with both retail and digital, that you cannot afford, in our position, to give up with physical distribution. I think you can double your revenue through an integrated digital/physical strategy, such as the prologue/epilogue model we employed for Dead Rising 2.

“I’ve got a feeling digital distribution will actually come up very, very quickly, as it s doing, and then start to plateau,” he continued. “One factor in the transition between physical and digital is profitability. If you’re not producing a disc, you’re not shipping the disc, you don t have a 35 per cent retail margin and you don t have to worry about returns, then profitability is way in excess of anything you can do at retail.”

“So in the cold light of day, from a publisher point of view, it is very profitable,” he added.

Source: MCV

Apple May Be Readying New Video Service

Jeffries analyst Peter Misek thinks that Apple might be planning a new assault on the living room. He theorizes that the company might be looking to launch a cloud-based video service as a game changer the way the company has changed phones, computers and music forever.

“We are huge fans of iTunes, but that cannot be it from Apple,” said Misek. “There is another level coming here, and we see this as one of the most fruitful potential uses of Apple s enormous cash hoard.”

Misek believes that a new data center in North Carolina will be used for video, since music takes up comparatively little space. He noted that conflicts between cable services and content providers points to a possible agreement coming with Apple in 2012 or 2013.

“We find it notable that the content companies, citing a lack of domain license, asked Cablevision to remove channels from its iPad app,” wrote Misek. “We believe these same companies are negotiating some sort of deal with Apple.”

If it goes through, this new service could be a notable final hurrah for Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple.

Source: AdWeek {link no longer active}

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Community Manager Sees Value In $15 Map Pack

Call of Duty: Black Ops Escalation DLC pack will release on May 3 for the Xbox 360. This expansion will carry the $15 price tag that the expansion First Strike also had despite widespread grumbling, Call of Duty: Black Ops community manager Josh Olin thinks fans have adjusted to the price.

“It’s a little of getting used to it, but I think people see there’s a lot of value in the map pack, said Olin. All four of our MP maps are brand new – they’re not rehashes from single-player, they’re not old maps that people have seen before. They also get new gameplay mechanics with ziplines and destructible bridges and auto turrets. In fact, every new Zombie map we’ve ever made for DLC, it’s more than just a few maps – new weapons, new enemies, new traps – and so it’s more than that.”

Source: OXM

Kinect Support Comes To Netflix

Microsoft has announced that Kinect support is now available for Netflix. This will allow users to browse and watch TV shows and movies using their hands and voice.

“By integrating Kinect into the Netflix experience on Xbox Live, we’re continuing to transform the way people enjoy their favorite entertainment in the living room,” said Xbox Live general manager Pete Thompson. “Since its launch, Netflix has always been one of the most popular services on Xbox Live, so we are excited to deliver a brand new way to control this experience in a way that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Uncharted 3: Avatar Of 3D Games?

Uncharted 3 is already one of the most anticipated games of 2011 and joins a plethora of other titles in having a 3D mode. Still, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich thinks that the Naughty Dog game could take 3D in games to a whole new level.

“Even though 3D televisions don’t fall in the budget of mainstream America and adoption rates will likely continue to be slow, something must be said about how beautiful Uncharted 3 looks in 3D,” Divnich commented after viewing the game at a Sony analyst event. “I’ve personally never been fond of games in stereoscopic 3D.  Sure, Killzone, Gran Turismo, and MLB: The Show look great in 3D, but I ve personally never felt that 3D added anything significant to my gaming experience.  Now that I have had to chance to experience Uncharted 3 in 3D, that opinion has changed.

“With a core focus on cinematic, story, and action, Uncharted 3 is the prime candidate to convince the naysayers that 3D belongs in video games it certainly has convinced me. Uncharted 3 could do for 3D gaming what Avatar did for 3D movies.  However, given the significant difference in cost to experience Uncharted 3 in 3D over Avatar in 3D, one certainly shouldn t expect a mad mob rush of consumers to drop $3,000 on a 3D television just for Uncharted 3.  Instead, Uncharted 3 will solidify 3D’s legitimacy in the interactive entertainment landscape, just as Avatar did for the 3D movie experience.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

BioWare Talks Mass Effect Trilogy, PS3 Platform

The Mass Effect trilogy has started this hardware generation and will conclude on it as well. BioWare is proud of this accomplishment, especially given the use of saved games to modify the story.

“It’s exciting to be able to deliver an epic trilogy and wrap up the story in a way that’s going to be really satisfying, and high impact, and intense. And answer a lot of questions for the fans and bring it to a really satisfying conclusion,” said BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka, who added, “We’ve added a platform to the trilogy, too, with PS3.”

When asked why the first Mass Effect never arrived on PS3, Muzyka cited “a range of factors”, but said that BioWare felt like Mass Effect 2 showed off the series better. “We made the determination that the game we thought represented the franchise the best was Mass Effect 2,” he said. “And we brought it over and are really happy with the result. And as a result of investing a lot of effort into ensuring that it ran well and looked great and played great on PS3, now we can bring the trilogy to a close on PS3, and 360, and PC.”