Xbox 360 Bundles For Holiday 2011

Microsoft is making two bundles available for the holidays. The first one is more family oriented, having a 250 GB HDD, Kinect, Kinect Adventures and Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do, plus three months of Xbox Live Gold for $399.

There is another bundle more oriented towards core gamers. It also has a 250 GB Xbox 360, Fable III and Halo: Reach, plus three months of Xbox Live Gold membership for $299.

Toyota Plans Facebook Racing Game For Concept Car

Toyota has announced that they are launching a new Facebook game to promote their new concept sports car. Their game Social Network Racer utilizes Adobe Flash Player 11 to deliver 3D-accelarated graphics to give enthusiasts a chance to sample the car.

“Racing begins October 19 and continues through December 31. This is not your typical Facebook game; racers will have the ability to create and host their own races with personalized information from their Facebook page, gain points to improve their vehicle capabilities, and compete against friends and the Facebook community in major racing events hosted by Toyota,” read the release by Toyota. “The Toyota Championship will be held against racers from all around the globe. By participating and winning races in the tournament, racers will have the opportunity to win the ultimate prize– a free trip to Japan where they will wave the checkered flag at the ‘Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival’ and meet the car’s designer.”

ABC, Entertainment Weekly Look To Tap Into Social TV Trend

The ‘Must List’ app from Entertainment Weekly will feature an ad for ABC’s Once Upon a Time letting users read the show’s pilot script from within the app. It allows users to read the show’s pilot script from within the app before it debuts this Sunday.

The ad is capitalizing on a rising social TV trend seeking to combine viewing and social interaction as viewers want to deepen their engagement with shows. ABC did something similar last month, when it offered the pilot of Revenge for free as a script download on Kindle.

EW and i.TV have also also introduced Viewer, an interactive platform that lets people discuss TV shows while they’re watching them. EW also launched a program with GetGlue, encouraging viewers to check in to shows on the entertainment social network, also granting viewers who check in discounts at the Gap, which sponsored the program.

“We have the TV fanatic who comes to Entertainment Weekly to get information on all their shows,” said Karin Tracy, publisher of EW. “Any way we can enhance that experience, they really embrace in a big way.”

Source: AdWeek

Kinect 2.0 Is Now, Says Microsoft CEO

The Kinect has certainly won a lot of fans with its novelty value, but that can quickly wear off for technical devices. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer asserts that the best is yet to come for the motion sensing device, however.

“Like any other thing that is new, we came out with a set of applications to show off the platform, to bring others in,” Ballmer said at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. “Our second generation is now happening.”

“We announced a partnership today with Sesame Street and National Geographic to bring kids’ learning and entertainment to the Kinect. You’ll see a raft of new games from us and third-party publishers this holiday,” Ballmer detailed. “We’ve announced and demonstrated work that we’re doing with people who provide video content — live TV as well as other

, etc. content — to really let you access and find [content] and control it, completely via the Kinect, gesture and voice being a part of that. Bing-powered by the way, that will be out this holiday season. So you’re going to see a range of important innovations coming to Kinect on Xbox this holiday.”

Ballmer also proudly pointed to the homebrew environment for Kinect, and that the Kinect toolkit for Windows has helped foster this innovation. “That kind of opens up a whole new sphere of innovation with Kinect and the PC. This holiday I think you’ll see an explosion of things around the Xbox and Kinect,” said Ballmer.

Source: Gamasutra

Google Ducks SuperPoke Pets Suit

Law firm Freed & Weiss that was collecting complaints from players of the recently shut down Slide’s SuperPoke Pets, a game that let players spend money on virtual items. Google acquired the developer of the game and then dissolved it, resulting in the class action lawsuit that they say now believe that the terms and conditions contract renders unlikely to succeed.

“We have appreciated hearing from many of you and, while this is unfair and unjust, there are just some situations where there is not a likelihood of recovery in the U.S. court system and we have found that to be the case here,” read a statement from the law firm.

Google had also offered to run and maintain a new app called SPP Lite, which would enable players to ensure the continued existence of their digital pets.

Source: All Things D

Angry Birds – Over 30 Million Users Daily

Rovio’s North American general manager Andrew Stalbow has indicated at the Web 2.0 conference that Angry Birds now has over 30 million daily average users (DAU). This would make the game the most popular on Facebook… if it was on Facebook.

Currently, the most popular game on Facebook is CityVille, which is registered as having a DAU of 12.1 million with Sims Social next with 8.8 million. Those numbers dropped quite a bit when the way DAU was recalculated to exclude users who navigate away from apps’ landing pages without logging in.

Also, Stalbow estimates that Angry Birds sees an estimated 300 million minutes of play every day, having been downloaded 400 million times. The fastest growing market, and second largest overall, is China.