Power Up Your Game At Arby’s

Arby’s and EA have teamed up in a promotional partnership {link no longer active} where every code is a winner. Go to Arby’s and buy a Medium combo and get a cup with a unique code to unlock exclusive in-game content for up to 15 EA games. Games include Need for Speed: The Run, Mass Effect 2, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, EA Sports MMA, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Pet Society, Dead Space 2, Skate 3 and Medal of Honor. Click here, to find an Arby’s near you.

Xbox Live Arcade Called ‘Impossible’ To Self-Publish

Rudolf Kremers, the designer of the independent game Eufloria, has come out in favor of Sony’s “Pub Fund” – a $20 million reserve of cash for indie developers. Despite being approached by Microsoft and Nintendo over bring the game to the system, Kremers said PSN was the only way affordable way to self-publish without relinquishing IP ownership and creative control

“We would never give up our IP. [Sony] did actually want it, they were making us an offer to publish it for us. But it meant that we would have to sell the IP to them in exchange,” said Kremers. “We had to stand fast. We had to look at other ways, and that turned in to the self publishing route. We made that possible because Sony were happy to include us in the pub fund. One of the qualities of the pub fund is that it’s a viable avenue for micro teams like ourselves – Microsoft don’t have that any more.”

“For Microsoft the cost would be prohibitive, as they had all sorts of mandatory features – multiplayer and the like,” he added. “And of course you have to use their QA… The cost picture would be so prohibitive that self publishing would be impossible.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Hispanics Important Part Of 2011 Ad Spend

The economic downturn has had a negative impact on numerous parts of the economy, but Hispanic consumers (now 20 percent of the population or 50 million people) are still seeing good focus. Ad budgets are shifting often into Spanish-language media at the expense of general market consumer spend even in areas like financial services and pharmaceuticals.

According to a list by IBISWorld, of the top 10 U.S. industries in which the Hispanic market share is growing the fastest, ad agencies was number five. “You’re seeing a lot of general-market agencies building their business at the expense of multicultural agencies,” said one industry insider.

Roberto Orci, chair-elect of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, notes that in certain areas in the U.S., and for certain brands, the Hispanic market is being considered the general market. Given Hispanic consumers, as a group, now have more discretionary spending power than any other multicultural segment, some are wondering why marketers are being so slow to delivered by the recent Census findings.

“One of the issues we face is, ‘How do we get marketers beyond the 4-5 percent levels of spending ’ Their budgets should be two-to-three times bigger,” says Ingrid Otero-Smart, CEO of Interpublic’s Casanova Pendrill. “Competition from general-market agencies would be a moot point if that was the case—there would be enough business for everyone.”

Source: AdWeek

Harmonix Designer Sees Music Games Rising Again

As a senior designer at Harmonix, Brian Chan has seen the music genre of games rise and fall. However, he still thinks there’s a place for music games and their unique instrument controllers.

“Gimmicks, so-called, are really just risky moves taken in the larger narrative of innovation,” said Chan. “They are bold and sometimes stupid, but we should applaud such risk-taking. And sometimes they are thin at the start, but many good ideas mature over time and with iteration.”

“Music is a ubiquitous and inextricable part of people’s lives. In addition to being a powerful medium in isolation, it tends to go with everything else. With social media and the democratization of music software, more people are making music than ever before,” he added. “So, if, indeed, the future is casual, trans-media, and highly monetized, then popular music, as an expressive medium and a media format, seems about as flexible and future-forward as any genre or fantasy I can think of.”

Source: GameSetWatch

Wii U: Peter Moore Says ‘We’ve Made That Commitment’

Peter Moore, Chief operating officer for Electronic Arts, says that the company is committed to the Wii U when it releases. “There are no indications that there’s anything that feels like it’s off target,” said Moore.

For his part, he’s still waiting for the final details of Wii U’s GPU and CPU, its price and when it might be shipped. “From our perspective right now, specs are a big deal,” he added.

“No one thinks it’s going to replace an iPad 2 but it is playing into what a consumer feels comfortable with,” Moore noted. “Our teams are working on it around the world. Our key franchises will be there. We’ve made that commitment to Nintendo.”

Source: Reuters

Social Media Companies ‘Buying Their Way Up The Charts’

The App Store environment is becoming increasingly competitive and hard to break into. According to Hungry Shark developer MD Ian Harper, some media companies are buying their way to the top using Cost Per Install programs.

“Any developer who hasn’t already had a hit on the app store faces that challenge, ‘can I get anybody to play it in the first place ‘,” said Harper. “I think if you can get people to see you’re in with a fighting chance, but the issue nowadays is lots of big social media games companies are coming into iPhone and buying huge numbers of CPI [cost-per-install] installs and advertising, essentially buying their way up the charts, which really kind of crowds out the space for other people quite a lot. That’s been getting progressively worse in the last year, to the point where now it’s very, very difficult to get an app seen at all.”

Harper says that his company is happy to share its own in-app promotional technology, the Future Games Network, to help out smaller companies. “We’d done this anyway just to promote our own software, and then we were ‘oh, y’know, actually other people might be interested in using it.’ We’re independent developers, we like the idea of general moral helpfulness – we’ve done quite well on the App Store and we’d like to see other independent developers doing quite well too, so we’d like to help them. It’s really an alternative to going cap in hand to Chillingo or one of the other big publishers and doing some terrible deal with them where you end up with quite a restrictive contract, potentially having to give up your IP or something like that. So this is just to give people an alternative.”

Future Games of London does vet its partners to ensure quality, which has helped net 25 million downloads. “We don’t guarantee to publish anything that anybody sends us – we’re very much cherry-picking what we want to promote and that’s really because we don’t want to promote apps from within our own games that we don’t think are that good,” he added. “There’s not much too point in doing that.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Qwikster No More, As Netflix Kills Separate Site For DVDs

Netflix has announced that they will not be separating their DVD rental and streaming services into Qwikster and Netflix.com. Major outcry from their customers about maintaining separate accounts on separate websites has resulted in a major reversal.

“While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. “We value our members, and we are committed to making Netflix the best place to get movies & TV shows.”

Meanwhile, the decision to add video games to the service has been put on hold.

Source: blog.netflix.com

Sony May Look To Purchase Whole Of Sony Ericsson

Sony will reportedly look to buy out the Ericsson half of Sony Ericsson. The price is reported to be in the range of $1.3 to $1.7 billion.

Sony Ericsson was formulated as a joint venture a decade ago to increase both companies earnings in the mobile space. Notably, they produced the Xperia Play, a PlayStation-certified phone designed with gamers in mind.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Puss In Boots Cuts Up Fruit

Halfbrick has announced that they are working with Dreamworks to produce Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots. The iOS game will offer a variation on the Fruit Ninja gameplay and will support the release of Puss in Boots in theaters October 28.

“The fun and adventure of the Puss in Boots world lends itself perfectly to the core gameplay of Fruit Ninja,” said Phil Larsen, chief marketing officer at Halfbrick. “We wanted to create something new and different for our fans while keeping the magic of Fruit Ninja intact, and we think Bandito Mode will keep even the most practiced players on their toes. It’s totally rad!”

“This is a unique opportunity to combine one of the most popular animated cats of all time with one of the most popular games of all time,” said Chris Hewish, head of global interactive for DreamWorks Animation, “and it highlights our commitment to working with the best talent in the world. I’m extremely pleased with how Halfbrick and THQ combined the authenticity of swordplay and the fun of fruit slashing.”