Soulja Boy And Company Are Goners

Converse has brought together an unlikely trio of indie pop duo Matt and Kim, rapper Soulja Boy, and party animal Andrew W.K. for their “Three Artists, One Song” campaign. The result is a song I’m a Goner with zombies in a hospital and… well, you should just watch for yourself.


Tell Your Resident Evil Story

In honor of the upcoming HD re-releases of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Capcom is asking for submissions from the series’ fans to send in their best stories of their favorite Resident Evil related gaming moments and memories that the franchise has provided throughout the years. It doesn’t matter what format the story is in either. Capcom is looking for text, photos, videos, and anything else fans can come up with to commemorate their Resident Evil memories. Once all the submissions are accumulated, Capcom will be making a short video series of the best fan created content that they will show on the Resident Evil 4 HD and Resident Evil Code Veronica X HD site. Submit your Resident Evil stories here {link no longer active} for a chance to have it featured on both Capcom-Unity and GameTrailers and look for Resident Evil 4 HD when it releases on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network on September 20; followed by the release of Resident Evil: Code Veronica on September 27.

Feature: MMO Games New iQU

Information is a key part of of any online business, and it’s no less so than in the gaming field. In order to help meet these demands, MMO Traffic and its parent MMO Life Group are rebranding as iQU. The data intelligence company will push its marketing technology platform (also named iQU) to help gather gamer behavior across the Internet, social media, mobile devices and more to match game advertisers and publishers with the right gamers at the right time. We talked with iQU CEO and founder Reinout te Brak about the announcement and other trends in the online and mobile gaming space.

[a]list: Give me an overview of the company and the announcement.

Reinout te Brak: My wife said I was going to be a father, so I had nine months to figure out what I was going to do. Talking to people in the industry, I discovered that MMOs were big and getting bigger. The name [for the site MMO Life] came from anticipating that people would have this life in the MMOs that would be an enhancement to their everyday lives. We looked to review games in multiple languages.

We wanted to expand out. We weren’t getting proper feedback on how big games are, so we decided that we would have a platform that integrates greater feedback during GDC 2010. Social and mobile were coming up really fast, so we started ramping up in December 2010 and we got more good data in January and February [of this year]. Sometimes we can see trends where players will be disappointed and they will move on.

We find that gamers are the most interesting thing to study when it comes to various titles. When you talk to developers they really want to know what players are thinking –  by and large they are unsure. We see that 5 to 10 percent of mobile users are doing 80 percent of the spending. As users age, their interests might switch to other games. We want to give gamers options of games they might want, and perhaps that are made by old developers they liked in the past.

The more mature our company becomes, the better targeted our offerings will be. We’re starting to see behavior patterns in the sort of gaming that people do. We have the history of various gamers with their social history and we can show the developer how they are engaged and we can tell the players, “There’s this game coming out that you might be interested in.”

We’re looking to get more conversions with developers to [help them] understand what we do. Getting gamers in the game and spending money, that’s the service for the developer. If we can see which games are popular to whom, we can publish those games that will do well in the appropriate sector and help them flourish.

Gamers are connected across multiple devices.

[a]list: Talk to me about the importance for tracking gamers via the social and mobile networks they use?

Reinout te Brak: Tracking is done with many variables. In the second quarter we did a huge migration if our publishers that had dynamic values in their games. We needed to figure out the player destinations and we needed to find out where the players come from. We want to make sure the players will see games he is interested in instead of what he’s seen before; like I said this takes many variables. Finding out what does well in what territories, it helps companies broaden their reach and provide our audience with a variety of games. We want to make sure we build as many partnerships as we can to offer as many games to as many gamers in as many countries as possible. So a competitor might be looking into Facebook and Google+ –  we’re hoping to engage users directly with the developers. We want to give [developers] data upon which they can develop a portfolio in a smarter way.

[a]list: How about in the mobile space?

Reinout te Brak: We have talks with management operators of mobile devices and publishers; many are interested in our OEM and where users are searching for games. This can help developers be more focused on building their game careers.

I think the world is becoming transparent. If I’m looking for an MMO on the App Store, it’s easy to see what people think. I think there’s a lot of great talent leaving big companies and we can say to them, “In a certain country your game can do well, don’t spend money in Germany yet.”

We know there’s a gamers audience out there. The developer doesn’t have to spend the money [searching for] it, and there’s also the dev scale. It’s very interesting work; I would love to publish games if I know how well they’ll do, and I think we’ll know based on our intelligence. You can have people doing SEO tricks; sites often need to advertise to get early on presence. The biggest money spent on Google was insurance and travel… now I know how to buy into Google, what words to buy and so on, but we’d rather build on our own enterprise.

[a]list: Are there really so many differences between different European nations, besides language?

Reinout te Brak: Jawohl, yes, si! We were looking at a site that had English text that was focused on Polish gamers. I think it’s a key for success to localize a game and have relevant local payments for the games. I think it’s a key for success to localize a game and have relevant localize payments for the games. The most successful publishers don’t just translate into every language. Localization, culture and payment methods, and community management are also important. There are so many differences cross countries and also the way you target gamers – Google is nearly universal, but in Holland there is a social network that everyone is on, so they are important too. Local destinations are very important.

How iQU works in a picture.

[a]list: It’s interesting that more localized versions of free-to-play online games are coming from the Western sphere, even though some Asian companies were pushing very hard with their own products a few years ago.

Reinout te Brak: A lot of Asian companies went to the U.S. At first, some of them are doing well in the U.S. so they went to the U.K. and then went to Europe. A lot of those same Asian companies closed their offices in U.S. a couple years later and they’re not doing that well in Europe; they’re trying to do too much over here. It’s all about knowing your particular markets, and I’m not sure many of them knew enough about the U.S. or Europe.

[a]list: Do you see mobile gaming as the most important growing sector in the gaming industry?

Reinout te Brak: Absolutely! I hope to announce some day that we’ll work with every game for mobile. For mobile, it’s important to listen to gamers; I’m so much more social on my mobile devices than I am on my computer. So social and gaming… that’s a lethal combination in getting gamers involved. Fifty cents, a Euro, whatever… it seems like a mobile title takes off better than a browser based game, which is important to know. We have 250- 300 games that we can offer for mobile.

For mobile games there are two keys: visibility is one, finding is two. It can be difficult to find some offerings because front pages where they might be promoted change frequently. Once we know you look for certain games, we know not to offer games you won’t be interested in. We can see where the gamers are to see where you’re playing a game, so we won’t annoy you with Perfect World on an iPad. I would also find out what destinations you were visiting on your iPhone or PC to make it more specific to you.

[a]list: Talk to me about the partnership with MMO games.

Reinout te Brak: If you have a great network, we’d love to work with you. What we did over a period of six weeks was offer a game to multiple parties, and in less than six weeks, try and get them paired up. They need to implement certain scripts and that comes down to the importance of the data. I point to our team that worked on Wizard 101, because in the U.S. you have multiple factors and where you have to optimize the sort of traffic you have and we’re getting more publishers because we need to facilitate more growth. Once you go too fast, the quality might go down too, so we wind-up growth month to month rather than in a burst. Within two weeks, you can see if people need help.

[a]list: Reinout, thanks.

_ _

Interested in the iQU service? Looking forward to the connected gaming future? Join the discussion on Facebook.

Facebook Revamps Privacy

Facebook has launched a series of content control changes. It is believed that this might be a response to enact controls similar to that of Google+ and it’s online “Circles” contacts, though Facebook claims they’ve been working on it for months.

“We’ve been working on these updates for over six months,” said Facebook product manager Kate O’Neill. “I just really wish we could work that fast. This is really about listening to people on Facebook and trying to respond to the things that they’ve asked for to make their experiences even better.”

“I don’t think Facebook is the kind of company that is resting on its laurels,” said Chris Conley, Technology and Civil Liberties Fellow for the ACLU of Northern California. “They’re aware that the technology industry changes very quickly and if they want to retain their users and continue to be the dominant social network, they need to continue to improve and engage with users and address the concerns that users bring up.”

Of course, Facebook may or may not of known whether Google+ was on the way, but they certainly knew that if they didn’t address privacy concerns, someone else would. “They certainly know what happened to MySpace,” Conley said.

Changes will also likely came as a result of pressure from regulators and privacy advocates. By working on such efforts now, it means they’ll avoid running afoul of such groups and having to make changes later.

“I think that Facebook has learned the hard way that privacy isn’t something you can blow off,” said Erica Newland, a policy analyst with the Center for Democracy and Technology. “We think that these changes look really good… and make controlling who can see what information much more intuitive. Facebook said the changes will start rolling out to a small group of users Thursday, and then will scale up the coming weeks across all platforms (including mobile).”

“What we are seeing is a recognition from Facebook that privacy is a value-add to users,” added Newland. “It’s a point that social networks have to distinguish themselves and keep attracting users.”

Source: AdWeek


PS Vita ‘Easiest PlayStation To Work With’ Says WipEout Director

WipEout game director Stuart Tilley has seen PlayStation formats come and go. However, for his money is easier to develop for than the PS3 and PSP.

“I think of all the PlayStations I’ve worked on, which is actually all of them, it’s the easiest one to work with,” said Tilley. “The guys have given us a really good set of tools, allowing us to get up and running a lot quicker than we have previously, which is really good.”

“We had a smaller team at the back end of last year that got working straight away on the game stuff rather than too much of the underlying tech, which allows us to really start getting the game in your hands as soon as possible,” he added.

Source: Edge {link no longer active}

Modern Warfare 3 Gets Custom Gaming Eyewear

Gunnar Optiks announced that it will release a limited edition Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Gaming Eyewear. The eyewear has the company’s i-AMP lens technology, spring hinges, a magnesium alloy frame and wide coverage lenses.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3‘s release this November will no doubt be the event of the year and is certain to achieve a new level of action-packed, unflinching entertainment,” said Rob Aarnes, president of Gunnar Optiks. “Gunnar has supported gamers over the years helping them to enhance their vision and protect their eyes with our expanded line of MLG, SteelSeries and Call of Duty: Black Ops edition gaming eyewear, and we’re pleased to continue this with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Not only will the limited edition eyewear provide a visual advantage to gamers through those long nights of intense action, but they will be able to show their affinity for the new blockbuster and look badass while playing it.”

The eyewear will be sold at $99 exclusively in North America at Best Buy and will include a limited edition Modern Warfare 3 carrying case and cleaning cloth.

FIFA 12 Gets Fulham Partnership

EA Sports has announced a ‘Official Video Game Partner’ in the English Premiere Team Fulham. This will lead to a FIFA 12 branded vehicle present at Craven Cottage on selected match days, EA Sports branding on the LED perimeter board and a Pro Player Tournament at the club’s training ground to determine which Fulham player is best; EA will also be producing a Fulham specific FIFA 12 game sleeve which fans will be able to download for free from around the launch of FIFA 12 in late September.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Fulham Football Club and look forward to providing a series of FIFA 12 gaming experiences for both fans at Craven Cottage and players at the Motspur Park training ground,” said Nick Harford, Football Business Lead at EA Sports.

“Partnering with EA Sports is a fantastic opportunity to offer our fans a unique gaming experience on match days at the ground, and on-line,” added Alistair Mackintosh, CEO at Fulham Football Club. “We are very excited at the prospect of seeing our players in this state of the art game, and welcome EA Sports as Official Video Game Partner.”

Peggle Breaks 30 Million Downloads

PopCap has announced that Peggle has been downloaded over 30 million times. Originally debuting on PC in March 2007, it has released for several mobile platforms along with XBLA and PSN.

The Electronics Arts subsidiary announced that Peggle HD is coming to iPad along with an in-game expansion Peggle Nights. The App Store will release the game for the special introductory price of $2.99 before it eventually raised to $4.99.

EA Labels President Says, ‘Vita Has Better Chance’ Than 3DS

The 3DS has had a notoriously rocky start that has led to the system’s price being cut by a third less than six months after launch. For his part, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau thinks that the combination of innovation, technology and a strong software line-up gives the PS Vita a better shot in the space.

“I think that part of the videogame business is tough right now because they have had some significant competition come in that was totally disruptive, and that was the smartphone,” Gibeau said. “I think [Sony has] got a shot because they have some really unique innovation in the control scheme, the technology and the screen. It’s got a lot of social features now so that you can actually communicate with your friends and be social. You can’t ring them up by putting the device up to your ear but in general I think they’ve got most of the capabilities that you’d find in a smart phone, with some unique capabilities that make them stand out.”

“I don’t think they’re quite in the same boat as the 3DS… the 3DS was a really interesting piece of technology but I think there was some confusion over it and the title slate was a little different,” he added. “I think Vita has a better chance because it has a stronger title slate at launch. PSP’s had a great run in Europe as a device, it seems to have reached a much larger audience here than it did in North America. So I think they’ve got a good shot. We’re going to publish a few games on it and see how it develops.”

Source: CVG {link no longer active}