Free Realms Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that Free Realms celebrated its two year anniversary on Windows PC. Also, the game surpassed 17 million registered users on the PC, MAC and PS3 platforms.

SOE has instituted numerous updates over the past year to keep the game fresh. This includes new houses, rides, holiday celebrations, Treasure Wars card game and a farming option.

EA Looks To Push Cross-Platform Ads

When it comes to the coveted 18 to 34 year-old male demographic, video games have never held more sway than they do right now. For EA s new Global Media Sales team Senior VP Dave Madden, he sees real opportunities among EA’s 233 million game users, such as the ability to target a female-focused casual demographic like with 10 million unique visitors per month.

With EA being leader in terms of audience and reach and its line-up of product and IP, there s an opportunity to make EA a leader in getting brands involved with video games, said Madden. EA has started to take some of its top IPs cross-platform across social, mobile, online, and console games.”

EA Sports FIFA 11 is one of the company’s most diverse IP. While there’s been 12.5 million console units console units sold, there are also 5 million mobile downloads of the game, 5 million registered PC users and a Facebook game.

Brands and advertisers doing stuff in sports on TV want to go to where gamers are playing and IPs like FIFA, Need for Speed, or Madden are perfect for them because they re engaging games that are available everywhere consumers are gaming, said Madden. We re making it easier for advertisers to plan and buy across our catalog.

With EA s audience, there are more gamers playing the same game across multiple games during prime time than a network is going to get with a hit show. This will unlock bigger and bigger budgets. Advertisers want to place buys and know what the results are going to be. And we ll be able to show them results, he said, adding, It s already happening today, it s just a matter of scale and standardizing the media to make the metrics more like traditional media so advertisers can understand the numbers. That s when you re going to see buckets of money.

A recent example of brand integration noted was an alliance with Toyota Prius and the Facebook Monopoly Millionaires game. They added the Toyota Eco House to the game allows users to share it amongst their friends and promotes the green message of the Prius.

Virtual goods are a great way for brands to connect with a user and earn positive association, said Madden. With more social and mobile games turning to free-to-play, micro-transaction business models, brands can step in and offer Facebook credits or virtual goods directly to the gamer for free. We had great success using this at WildTangent over the last five years.

Source: Forbes


Xbox Live Reportedly Getting Hulu

According to the Official Xbox Magazine, Hulu Plus will roll out for Xbox Live on April 29. Available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, the first month of service will be available for free; it’s subscription options on PC are $7.99 a month.

There will also be a sweepstakes running during the first month of availability for Hulu. Those that download and use Hulu will be entered into a weekly drawing; first prize winners can receive a vacation at a Beaches resort while second prize winners will get a Xbox 360 4GB Kinect Bundle and a year’s subscription to Xbox Live.

RockYou Gets Second Loot Drop

RockYou has announced that they are publishing the second game from developer Loot Drop. They will publish the first game from Loot Drop (founded by John Romero and Brenda Brathwaite) called Cloudforest Expedition during Summer 2011.

“We’ve been collaborating closely with Loot Drop, and their progress on Cloudforest Expedition is blowing us away,” said Jonathan Knight, SVP of Games at RockYou. “Loot Drop is a natural fit with our design-driven studio culture and with our commitment to developing and publishing the best social games in the world. With Romero, Brenda Brathwaite, and a full roster of veteran developers, their team continues to exceed expectations. We’re honored to be working with them and look forward to adding two Loot Drop titles to the RockYou portfolio!”

“Since we signed our initial deal in January, RockYou has been an awesome partner. They support our creative freedom as we bring innovation to the story-driven adventure genre with Cloudforest Expedition,” said John Romero. Extending the relationship with a second game makes sense, and we re excited to reveal more details of our projects.”

Zynga Enters Wonderland

Zynga has announced the acquisition of of U.K.-based mobile developer Wonderland. The GodFinger developer, with veterans Lionhead, Bullfrog and Codemasters, will become Zynga Mobile UK.

“Wonderland Software has always been dedicated to pursuing big and creative ideas and turning them into games that players love,” says Matthew Wiggins, Wonderland s chief executive officer who will remain on to serve as general manager for Zynga Mobile UK. “We are thrilled to continue our vision as part of the Zynga family and to reach millions of mobile players across a spectrum of devices.”

Call Of Duty: Black Ops DLC Gets Star Talent

Call of Duty: Black Ops upcoming Escalation DLC will have a zombie level called Call of the Dead. Inspired by director George A. Romero (who will also star in the content) it will also feature the appearance and voices of Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) and Danny Trejo (Machete).

“Our latest zombie creation, Call of the Dead, is unreal”, says Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia. “We set out to create an exciting new zombie experience for fans of the genre that takes Zombies to an insane new level.”

“This is Treyarch’s tribute to the legendary George Romero, who truly defined the zombie genre and whose incredible work has been such an inspiration to our team,” added Black Ops director Dave Anthony. “It was an absolute honor to work with such an amazing and talented cast whose passion and energy brought their characters instantly to life. Fans are going to love this.”

Escalation will release on May 3 for Xbox Live.