Google Chairman Praises Jobs, Burns Ballmer

Google has had a sometimes rocky relationship with Apple, given the rivalries the company’s share in the mobile space. However, Google’s executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt (himself a former member of Apple’s board of directors) had high praise for the Steve Jobs after his announced step down from the Apple CEO position.

“What Steve has done at Apple, it’s certainly the best performance of a CEO in 50 years, and maybe in 100 years,” Schmidt said.

When asked why Apple has succeeded with devices like iPhone and iPad while Microsoft hasn’t been able to expand their business, Schmidt took a swipe at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Well, there’s differences in ability,” he said, adding, “Microsoft was built around a model of control and licensing. And they did a brilliant job of making sure the hardware guys did not innovate around them. They did not organize around the consumer, they organized around the industry structure.”

Apple, he said, organized around the consumer with user-friendly user experiences, saying, “if you organize around the consumer, then everything will follow.” He noted that Google is following this example.

As for what Schmidt is doing, he’s help advising the government on making sure that American job creation is healthy. He’s also writing about the interaction between the technology industry and the government, noting that when countries adopt American technology, “American democracy and communication values are the ones that become set.”

Source: AdWeek

Sony CEO Says PSN ‘Secure And Better Than Ever’

The hacks that Sony endured during the past year were a major black eye to CEO Howard Stringer. However, he indicates that the worst is behind the company and they’ve secured their digital interests.

“I’m pleased to tell you that the PSN is more secure and better than ever,” said Stringer during the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin. “We are aggressively expanding its content. We have more than three million new customers since the network came back online, and sales are exceeding what we had before the cyber attacks.”

“This year, we at Sony have been flooded, we’ve been flattened, we’ve been hacked, we’ve been singed,” he added. “But the summer of our discontent is behind us.”

Source: CNET

Bungie Aerospace First IPad Title A Hit

Bungie Aerospace has revealed that their Crimson: Steam Pirates launch shot to the top spot of the iPad App Store in less than a day. The free iPad download is the publisher’s first game, but is currently maintaining a 4.5 rating on the App Store.

“It’s awesome to see so many people picking up Harebrained Schemes’ first iPad game Crimson,” said Pete Parsons from Bungie Aerospace. “It’s even better to read reviews and to see so many gamers having fun. We knew Jordan and his team would knock it out of the park, and it’s been great to partner with such a  talented, independent team.”


Xbox 360 Getting 3D Update – Report

According to reports, the Xbox 360 will be getting a 3D update in the near future. This would come ahead of the release of the 3D Xbox 360 titles Gears of War 3, Batman: Arkham City and Halo CE: Anniversary.

“The new update allows users to enabled 3D for use with 3D TV sets,” writes Lee Nomas. “The text reads ‘Enable 3D to use stereoscopic 3D in games and experiences that support it.’ The option also has a setting which will detect TV size and also allow users to input the size manually.”


Violence May Impair In-Game Advertisement Messaging

The University of Texas at Austin have released the results of a study on the presence of in-game ads in violent games. The finding suggested that violence in games leads to lower brand recall and negative brand attitudes, especially among women.

“Although violent video games are very popular and can reach a young, highly engaged audience, their effectiveness as an advertising medium is questionable,” said Jorge Peña, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies. “Our study demonstrates that featured violence diminishes brand memory and primes more negative attitudes toward the brand.”

After playing two similar games, save that one had NPCs with guns and blood-soaked rooms, brand recall and recognition were lower for everyone in the violent one. Women in particular displayed a 11.29 percent decrease in brand liking for the violent shooter game, which the study things might be a result of lack of familiarity with these games and men perhaps being more desensitized to violence.

“Advertising campaign planners would do better to spend their budget on ads embedded in nonviolent video games than in ads placed within violent video games; particularly if they are trying to reach women,” said Seung-Chul Yoo, doctoral candidate in the Department of Advertising.

Yoo and Peña believe violent content in video games divert attention from other sources of information in the game, thus distracting from in-game ads. There’s also the suggestion that violent materials leave a negative impact for the player, similar to the way violent TV programs hamper ad recall relative to nonviolent TV programs, according to other studies.


Black Ops Sells 18 Million Map Packs For First 9 Months

Activision has announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops has sold over 18 million map packs, meaning consumers have spent an average of $76 on the game or an 18 per cent increase on the retail price. By comparison, Call of Duty: World at War sold 9 million map packs in its first nine months for $10 per pack, that equated to an average user spend of $68 while Modern Warfare 2 sold 11 million downloads over the same time period at $15 each.

“There are over 30 million unique players of Black Ops who collectively have amassed, incredibly, more than 2.3 billion hours of play,” said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg. “To put that number in perspective, that’s more than a quarter of a million years of play and that means our millions of fans spend more time per day on Black Ops multiplayer than they do on Facebook.”


DC Comics Risks With Comic Reboot

The newest issue of Justice League, Detective Comics and Action Comics will all carry the number one, resetting their long and tangled continuities. While the Flash is the one giving the story reason for the new timeline, it was DC managers looking to counteract negative sales trends over many, many years.

It’s a risk to bring in new readers at the expense of the old and also ties into parent company Warner Bros. attempts to tie in the properties to TV shows and movies. “[This could determine] whether or not DC Comics, as a comic-book publishing company, will continue in the future,” said Rich Johnston, a blogger for Bleeding Cool. “There’s an awful lot at stake here, and that’s why they’ve thrown everything and the kitchen sink at this.”

Late last year, writers started devising a plan that would disentangle certain story elements (like Superman being married to Lois Lane) and renumber the entire line, hopefully bringing in new fans while not alienating the old. “I certainly wouldn’t buy a DVD series of a hit show and start at Season 7,” said Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics. “I would want to go back and start from the beginning.”

The move also follows increased plans for reboots in the comic-based movie industry. Sony Pictures is releasing The Amazing Spider-Man, starting fresh from the previous Spider-Man trilogy started in 2002. Meanwhile, Man of Steel is a reset of the Superman franchise given a soft reboot in Superman Returns and follows The Dark Knight Rises, itself the third movie in the reboot of Batman.

“That whole attitude of, “˜Oh, go ahead, start over, reboot,’ people get tired of that and it worries me,” said Jim Shooter, a former editor in chief of Marvel Comics who now holds that title at the comics publisher Illustrated Media. “As storytellers, I don’t know where we wandered off to.”

The business model of shipping 22-page comic books to shops every week is on the verge of collapse in and of itself; DC is already planning for the future with digital versions being sold of all their new comics.

“It’s hard to see it persisting into the future in exactly the way it’s existed before. It’s going to stop as soon as it stops becoming profitable,” said Laura Hudson, the editor in chief of the Web site Comics Alliance, who added. “I love print, I love going to the comics shop, I’ve done it for more years than we can count.”

Source: New York Times

HP Doing Another Run Of TouchPads

HP recently slashed the price of its TouchPad to $99 from $399 and $499 after only six weeks on the market, when the company decided to do a drastic shift of their own business. While the webOS tablet is likely finished in the long run, HP announced that high demand for the device in its cheaper form has pushed them to do another production run.

“Despite announcing an end to manufacturing webOS hardware, we have decided to produce one last run of TouchPads to meet unfulfilled demand,” said Mark Budgell, Social Media Strategist for HP PR. “We don’t know exactly when these units will be available or how many we’ll get, and we can’t promise we’ll have enough for everyone. We do know that it will be at least a few weeks before you can purchase.”

Source: HP blog