Browse Through Outer Space History

On the official Facebook page for Apollo 18, a Facebook app called ‘MISSIONS’ allows fans to browse through the history of the Apollo timeline and the international Space Race. Starting with February 26, 1966 with AS-201 a photo and caption show the first unmanned test flight that proved safe satellite re-entry is possible. Ending in 1972 with the 10th and 11th manned Apollo missions, video accompanies image showcasing the exploration of the moon’s highlands and the last “official” NASA moon landing. In the space race tab, fans can start browsing on October 4, 1957 with Sputnik 1 and view the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth. For the true history buffs, check out 1963 to see Kennedy’s speed to the UN proposing a joint lunar program with the Soviet Union.

Zynga Snaps Up Disney, EA Veteran

Reports are that Zynga has hired Adam Sussman. He is leaving Disney Interactive Media Group’s SVP-publishing role, the company has confirmed.

Sussman joined Disney in January from his former role at EA Mobile. Paul LaFontaine, a VP for global distribution at Disney-owned Playdom, also left the company recently for the position as CEO of Sulake, which operates teen virtual world Habbo Hotel.


PlanetSide 2 Will Be Free

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that it will make PlanetSide 2 a free-to-play title. The game is expected to feature permanently purchased content within the game, though it appears there will not be an “auction house” venture like had been rumored.

“I said I liked [the auction house idea] and thought it would help with farmers and that we were doing it years ago with Station Exchange, [but] it has nothing to do with PlanetSide 2 whatsoever,” said SOE president John Smedley.

Source: Gamasutra

Video Games ‘Underutilized’ As Advertising Platform, Says DFC Intelligence

Video games have long attractive the coveted 18-34 male demographic. However, advertising in games isn’t as high a priority as television or even the Internet.

“It is clear that as an advertising medium, video games are underutilized,” says DFC Intelligence’s new Advertising and Video Games report. “The amount of advertising revenue flowing into video games pales in comparison to other media. Particularly, when compared to the amount of leisure time accounted for by games.”

DFC does, however, foresee advertising growth for games over the next several years eventually reaching $7.2 billion globally in 2016. North America had $1 billion in game ad spending in 2010, which is expected to be over $2 billion by 2014.

“Video games have reached beyond adolescent males into a mainstream entertainment medium that touches every segment of the population,” said DFC analyst and lead researcher Michael Goodman. “Despite this, advertisers continue to under utilize video games as an advertising vehicle. This is slowly changing as more games go online. Consumers are inundated with advertising, and marketers’ messages are lost in the clutter. Video games, with their high degree of immersion and interactivity, are a natural solution for building brand awareness and influencing purchase decisions.”

Around-game advertising is expected to drive growth along with advergames rather than in-game advertising. DFC estimates that by 2016, advergames and around-game advertising are expected to account for about 78 percent of total game advertising revenue.

Source: IndustryGamers

Social Game Board By Claritics

Social games are built on heavy analytical development. To give a visual explanation of what’s required for a social developer, Claritics has put together a “board game.”

“For social game developers, analyzing user behavioral data is a crucial process for optimizing the performance of their games. But what if the analytic process was itself a game? What if we took the twists and turns that analytics often leads developers down and created a game board out of it” wrote Claritics in its blog. “Analytics, after all, is a series of if-then scenarios that often determines how far down the road towards success a game will travel. If your cost of acquisition is too high, for instance, you’ll need to fix it before proceeding. Or if your K-Factor is too low, you’ll need to take a step back and figure out where you got off track.”

“We took this idea and ran with it, and the result is what you see below — a game we call ‘Analytics Adventure'” they added. “Aside from being a lighthearted take on the analytics process, we hoped it would serve as a framework to help social game developers understand how analytics can help them, as well as providing a few benchmarks along the way.”


Yahoo/AOL Merger Unlikely, Says Analysts

Rumors are swirling that AOL and Yahoo will merge. “People familiar with the matter” say that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is talking with Yahoo advisers about the potential for a merger.

“Armstrong is discussing options for a combination aimed at strengthening the two Internet companies,” Bloomberg said. “Armstrong had been interested in a merger with Yahoo last year and was rebuffed while Bartz was at the helm, one person said. Her departure prompted him to reconsider the option.”

However, CNBC reports later said Yahoo was not interested in a deal, while both parties declined official comment. Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Partners thinks the deal would make more sense for AOL than for Yahoo.

“Do they really need a dial-up business Do they need more page views ” he asked. “Do they need to pay $2 billion for a CEO . . . Do they need to hire more sales people The last thing they need is an acquisition like that. They need to focus on their own house.”

Others think the possibility is slim at best given that Yahoo has been seeking to simplify their business. “I do not see a one on one transaction—merger, acquisition or otherwise—with AOL and Yahoo,” said Scott Kessler, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s. “And if it were to happen, I think it would be a mistake.”


Bigpoint Adds 49Games To Roster

Bigpoint has announced that it has acquired 49Games. The browser-based game publisher will shift the German studio towards online and mobile development, though projects that are already underway will continue.

“The team at 49Games is one of the best development teams in the console sports-games industry. We’re very excited to add them to the Bigpoint team for our online games,” explains Heiko Hubertz, CEO and founder of Bigpoint. “Together with our development team, we’re going to continue our mission to deliver our users top-quality gaming fun.”

“I’m very pleased with Bigpoint’s acquisition of our development team and I’m confident that the team will deliver fantastic 3D MMOs for the quickly growing international online company,” added Jan-Hendrik Ohl, CEO of 49Games.

Syndicate Comes Out Of Hiding

Long rumored, Starbreeze Studios and Electronic Arts have officially announced that a new version of Syndicate is under development. Set in the year 2069, three mega-corporations Eurocorp, Cayman Global, and Aspari are fighting for control of America using precise digital control of the highly networked world.

“We are excited to finally reveal what we’ve been working on the past couple years,” said CEO of Starbreeze Studios Mikael Nermark. “It’s been a great experience working with EA, and an amazing opportunity for us to use our expertise in the first person shooter and action genres to bring back, and reignite, the signature action/espionage gameplay of Syndicate.”

“Our goal with Syndicate is to provide a challenging action shooter for today’s gamers as well as fans of the original. I’m sure they will enjoy and recognize the legacy that made it such a classic,” said EA Partners executive producer Jeff Gamon. “Fans of the franchise will recognize many weapons and environments in the game, but in a whole new way. The game also provides a separate and deep 4-player co-op mode featuring missions from the original cult classic, which adds another layer of depth to the overall experience.”

Conan The Barbarian Film Content Unleashed In Age Of Conan

Funcom has announced that the Savage Coast of Turan “adventure pack” can be downloaded by Age of Conan players. The content is related to the recent Conan the Barbarian film.

For a little over $10 players receive the Coast of Ardashir level 50 to 55 playfield that features fifty new quests. Also included is the Dead Man’s Hand dynamic level 50 to 80 solo instance, Fort Ardashir level 80 group instance, and the Temple of Erlik level 80 raid instance.


Adobe Surrenders To Apple, Makes Flash Converter For IOS

Adobe recently announced that they will include an option for Flash Media Server 4.5, which will repackage Flash content automatically for iOS mobile devices. This is being called a win for Apple, given their intransigence against the Flash format.

While this doesn’t mean that Flash is directly supported on iOS devices, it will export Flash content as HTML5 which will be supported on iOS when web publishers use the new Adobe software. Criticized for its lack of efficiency for mobile devices, this marks a key turning point for Adobe towards making Flash more friendly to battery-powered devices.