Engagement Site For Mario Kart Wii Rallies Fans Across Multiple Touchpoints

A new interactive website for Mario Kart Wii has been launched that captures the fun and playfulness of the campaign Still Having Fun . Use the arrow keys to navigate through the experience from left to right and experience a suite of unique engagements. Families can submit to win a chance to see Cars 2 in 3D at Gold Class Cinema by recording their scores and submitting to see who is champion of their house. A UGC video contest allows fans to submit videos of them playing Mario Kart for Wii and vote on their favorite video. Fans can Facebook attack their friends and hit them with a Red Shell, Spiny Shell, Bob-om, Bullet Bill, Lightning or a Pow Block, to name a few. Lastly, explore the history of the Mario Kart franchise by continuing the journey deeper and experiencing the greatest titles from the past.

Choose A Path And Experience The Tree Of Life

In anticipation of the release of the Terence Malick epic The Tree of Life, Fox Searchlight launched an experience website called Two Ways Through Life that unveiled new content from the film over time. Upon entering the site, the user must choose either the Father’s way or the Mother’s way which then unlocks scrolling stills from the film that can be explored and commented on by registered users. Elements from the film can be shared on Facebook or on Twitter.

X-Men Extra Changes History On The iPad

A new iPad app {link no longer active} has been released to support the release of X-Men: First Class. X-Men Extra , designed in a classic 60’s LOOK magazine style, documents how mutants are living among us everyday and working deep undercover for branches of the U.S. intelligence community. Fans can flip through the pages, touch photos and make them full screen, read text, find hidden video and audio and share content with friends. Linking various key characters to history-making events and unexplained activities, within the pages of X-Men EXTRA fans can attempt to decode and expose their activities. X-Men influence is everywhere ranging from classified meetings at the White House and negotiations with all sides of the Cuban missile crisis. Did you know the White Queen was on the plane after the JFK assassination when LBJ was sworn in as president X-Men EXTRA will offer periodic updates as new news becomes available.

EA, Ubisoft Vet Forms Sava

EA Montreal and Ubisoft Montreal founder Alain Tascan has announced that they have opened Sava Transmedia. This new Montreal studio will make Facebook and mobile titles and will look to have 50 employees this year.

“I can think of no better place to embark on this exciting new journey than in Montréal with its incredible opportunity and support for entrepreneurship and technology innovation. The combination of social media and new mobile devices has led to the creation of a new market segment for the video game industry. The province of Quebec, and Montreal in particular, rank among the world’s best in terms of video game production, and our goal at SAVA is to now make it the global hub for social gaming,” said Tascan.

“The opening of a new video game development studio in Montreal demonstrates once again that this city is a key global player in the entertainment software industry,” noted Raymond Bachand, Minister of Finance, Minister of Revenue and the Minister responsible for the Montreal region. “SAVA Transmedia will immediately create jobs and will also contribute to the development of local expertise in this continuously growing industry, namely in social media.”


L.A. Noire Rockstar Pass Arrives

The L.A. Noire Rockstar Pass has been revealed, and it is not like the EA Online pass that is required for access to multiplayer. Priced at $10, it includes the four DLC cases and suits and gives access to all future DLC as it becomes available.

“With its blend of real crime influences and noir atmosphere, L.A. Noire contains boundless potential for new stories and new cases,” stated Rockstar founder Sam Houser. “The four new cases are strong standalone stories that sit perfectly alongside the main game.”

Virtual Currency: More Real Than You Think

The nascence of great ideas often have intriguing origins and such is the case with Empire Avenue. Duleepa Wijayawardhana had a revelation while scrolling the Facebook pages of his friends.

“We were just sitting there going, you know, there s got to be some sort of value to all of this,” says Wijayawardhana. “Oddly enough, we started talking about a passage from Das Kapital, where [Marx] says everything that you do any good you produce has economic value. And if it has economic value, then it can be trade-able. To us, he may as well have been talking about virtual currency.”

“With Empire Avenue, players can buy stocks and earn dividends based upon how much friends post to Facebook and Twitter, purchased using real money. We have our own self-contained economy, but we want to fuel the real-life economy,” says Wijayawardhana.

“Then there’s Second Life, where Malevay Studios has made over $8,000 selling pets called Meeroos. Other than spending about $500 on [a bank of] servers . . . it s just pure profit,” says Malevay’s Roy Riggs.

“Facebook is another prominent example, helping to lead the virtual goods economy to $2.2 billion in the U.S. this year and around $12.5 billion worldwide. I really think [Facebook would] like to see Credits used as a virtual currency for everything for real world goods and everything else,” says Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Security. “Facebook would like to replace Amazon they re just not going to tell you that.”

“Facebook, Google and Apple are all likely to be bidding for the top slot as the one virtual currency to rule them all. I think there s a real case to be made that this is a war of standards,” says Edward Castronova, an economics professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, who has written extensively about virtual economies. “My vision of this is that this is largely dystopian because what I know about monetary economics is that single currencies are best. You don t want to have multiple economies because economic policy does best when you don t have a million wildcat banks moving in different directions.”

Source: AdWeek

EA Holds Tea Party For Alice

EA has revealed that they are holding a special event to celebrate the launch of Alice: Madness Returns. During the Download Festival, they will hold a tea party Wonderland-style.

Alice s Twisted Tea Party will offer opportunities to play the game win prizes and experience other Wonderland surprises. The Download Festival will run from June 10 – 12 at Donington Park featuring performances by The Darkness and Linkin Park.


Dragon Age II ‘Must Be Improved’ Says Lead Designer

Dragon Age II received a mixed critical reception much less positive than its predecessor Dragon Age: Origins. While BioWare has mostly defended their efforts up until how, lead Dragon Age II designer David Gaider has admitted that some criticisms of the game are valid.

“I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans,” said Gaider. “Further, I’m not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.”

“Hawke’s story was a departure from the usual tale, and in crafting it and the game around it we learned a lot, he added. Some from what worked, but even more from what didn’t. Such is always the way. I hope that in the future we’ll be able to discuss how we’re addressing your concerns and even solicit feedback from you on future plans in the process.”

Source: BioWare

Sony NGP = PS Vita?

Reports are that Sony will officially name the second PlayStation Portable (or NGP) as the PlayStation Vita. Vita translates from Latin to “Life” in English.

Additionally, a scan from a E3 proof sheet shows an image of the NGP with PS Vita branding. This isn’t a confirmation, but it seems like pretty solid evidence.

Source: Games Pundit {link no longer active}

Cryptic Gets On Slow Boat To China

Perfect World and Atari have entered into an agreement wherein the former will purchase Cryptic studios for 35 million Euros ($50 million), making good on Atari’s intentions to sell the developer. Purchased for $27 million in 2008, Cryptic has only recently shown signs of going into the black ink.

“We are very pleased to sign the agreement to acquire Cryptic Studios,” commented Michael Chi, Chairman and CEO of Perfect World. “This strategic acquisition will add attractive game titles to our portfolio, which will help us further penetrate into the U.S. and global online game markets. More importantly, Cryptic Studios’ highly reputable development team and its technology platform will further strengthen our well-established R&D capabilities. We deem this as another noteworthy achievement of our global expansion efforts.”

“With the acquisition by Perfect World, Cryptic has found a strong platform for continued expansion into free to play business model and growth in the global marketplace,” said Jim Wilson, CEO of Atari. “The divestiture of Cryptic is in line with Atari’s continued focus on key owned and third-party strategic franchises and expansion into emerging game platforms.”