Operation Gridiron Has Begun

Watch Spike TV on Monday, October 24 at midnight Eastern / 11 p.m.  Central for the premiere of Battlefield 3: Operation Gridiron. Electronic Arts has teamed up with some of football’s biggest superstars for an exclusive Spike TV reality show that takes professional athletes into real-life combat scenarios inspired by Battlefield 3. Filmed in a top-secret location, these elite athletes team up and face off to compete in realistic challenges pulled straight from the gritty war scenarios players will face in the game. Each team is paired with a Special Operator Instructor to ensure the best combat tactics are employed in order to win. “Taking to the battlefield in these real-life war settings was really exciting and eye-opening,” said Drew Brees, Superbowl champion and captain. “Every day men and women face challenges similar to what we tackled in this show but with potential dire consequences. Filming this show once again reinforced my respect for the soldiers who fight every day for our freedom.” Check out each exclusive webisode by clicking “Like” on the official Battlefield 3 Facebook page {link no longer active}.

Facebook Introduces ‘People Talking About’ Metric

Facebook has turned over its Pages Insights analytics tool wit ha new metric called “People Talking About.” This is a rating of how compelling the content is, which should push players to make their Pages more comment-worthy.

“People Talking About (that might not be the final name for the metric; at press time, Facebook wasn’t sure) will measure user-initiated activity related to a Page, including posting to a Page’s Wall, ‘liking’, commenting, sharing a Page post or content on the Page, answering a Question posed to fans, mentioning a Page, ‘liking’ or sharing a deal or checking in at your Place,” wrote Todd Wasserman. “The other metrics, which are designed for administrators of brand and media Pages, include ‘Likes,’ ‘Friends of Fans’ and ‘Weekly Total Reach.’ While ‘Likes’ is self-explanatory, Friends of Fans is the actual number of friends your fans have, and weekly total reach is designed to be an accurate assessment of how many total people have posted something about your Page, how many news organizations (within Facebook) have referenced it and how much viral distribution elements of your Page has gotten.”

There will be a series of activities that Facebook will be introducing soon under the Facebook Gestures banner. These four metrics will remain and the ‘Like’ will maintain its ranking as a top measurement, however.

“In addition to tracking the four metrics, Pages Insights will also offer a deeper dive into data around specific updates. Facebook will list your last 500 posts (the company began tracking them in July) and count the total number of engaged users, People Talking About it and virality. The latter measures the percentage of users who commented on the post,” added Wasserman. “Sentiment, however, will not be part of the calculation. Whether a user is lauding a comment or trashing it, it will count the same.”

Source: mashable.com {link no longer active}

THQ Veteran Launches Surprise Attack

Chris Wright has announced that he has launched a new marketing agency to support independent game developers called Surprise Attack. THQ Australia’s former marketing director is running with campaigns for developers The Voxel Agents, Bane Games, Pixel Elephant and Small Green Hill, for free until January 2012.

“As someone about to enter their fourth decade of gaming, I’m incredibly inspired by the current surge of independent development,” commented Wright. “With this new breed of developers, comes the need for a new breed of support services. Our job is to make their games a success and let the developers focus on making fantastic and fun experiences, secure in the knowledge their output will receive the marketing support it so deserves.”

“We continue to grow and learn as creative game developers, but we still don’t know marketing,” added Simon Joslin, creative director at The Voxel Agents. “Chris will fill the void with research, strategy and product launch experience. It looks like a perfect match.”

BioWare Open To More Mobile Projects

BioWare has tried some successful extensions in the social space in Dragon Age: Legends and some not so successful in the mobile space, like Mass Effect: Galaxy. However, just because they labeled their mobile title a “big mistake” doesn’t mean they won’t try again.

“We’re doing more stuff. EA as a whole is doing more mobile games, and at BioWare we’re looking at mobile extensions for our franchises as well,” revealed BioWare’s Ray Muzyka.

“One thing we’ve learned is that you need to lead with gameplay – making sure the core gameplay is really tight,” said BioWare founder Greg Zeschuk. “And another thing is just understanding the platform well enough that you really are state of the art in terms of what you’re delivering relative to what’s there. And sometimes it’s just experimental too, and on mobile with something of that scale it’s actually a lot safer to explore ideas.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

Darkness II Pre-Order Bonuses Laid Out

2K Games has announced pre-order initiatives for The Darkness II. Those that pre-order the game will be upgraded to the Limited Edition while supplies last.

The Limited Edition for The Darkness II features will include the in-game bonuses of the “Crazy Abdul” darkling outfit, and the character abilities that provide bonuses for eaten hearts and an ability to locate collectible items in the world. The box will also feature a custom illustration by Marc Silvestri and will come with a free digital download of The Darkness Origins Volume 1 and Volume 2 comics.

The Darkness II will release on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in February 7, 2012.

iPhone 4S Faster, Better, ‘World Ready’

Apple has announced its latest phone; while reports were contradicting over what the next phone name would exactly be announced, it has been confirmed as the iPhone 4S. This new phone features a superior CPU, new antenna, improved camera, run on both CDMA and GSM wireless networks though it looks approximately the same as the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4S, will start at $199, and come with a “personal assistant service” called Siri. The Siri service, which responds to voice requests, is called “the best feature yet” by Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing

The Siri service provides the time, reminders, dictionary searches, calculations via Wolfram Alpha, stock updates and more. “What we really want to do is just talk to our device and we want to talk to it any way we’d like,” said Schiller.

Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that iCloud will be launching October 12. Apple also announced updated versions of the iPod Nano and iPod Touch, and a new app called Cards, letting users design greeting cards from their iPhone or iPod Touch that cane put an order in for a paper copy of the card costing $2.99 in the U.S. or $4.99 anywhere else.

Source: AdWeek

Zookeeper Comes To Zoo World

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and RockYou have announced that they will integrate Zookeeper into Zoo World 2. Purchasing Zookeeper on Blu-ray, DVD or Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack, users will earn 12,500 Zoo Bucks to create and maintain their own zoo in Zoo World 2 (a $10 value).

Zoo World 2 will include five custom goals, incentives to care for the Zookeeper animals, and shareable Zookeeper level-up notifications. Additionally, the original Zoo World features four Zookeeper themed animals with custom fact pop-up and a custom Griffin avatar navigating the zoo.

Nintendo Signs Dreamworks, Blue Man Group For 3DS Video Content

Nintendo has announced that they have signed 3D video content agreements with DreamWorks, The Blue Man Group, as well as 3net. This will bring two new Halloween-themed animated shorts to the 3DS, along with Monsters vs. Aliens and a Blue Man Group short titled The Remote.

“Nintendo 3DS is a great canvas for creativity,” said Tony Elison, Nintendo of America’s senior director and general manager of Network Business. “These videos are premium-quality 3D entertainment and provide a unique platform for our partners to showcase their extraordinary work.”

“Nintendo 3DS is a powerful platform that allows content creators to reach users on-the-go, and we are thrilled to be working with Nintendo to make some of our DreamWorks Animation 3D content available this Halloween season,” said Jim Mainard, head of Production Development for DreamWorks Animation.

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Gets Special Limited Edition

Konami has confirmed that there will be a Limited Edition version of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. The collector’s version of the game will launch alongside the regular version in Winter 2011.

In addition to the fully featured, HD releases of Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the Limited Edition will come in specialized packaging created by series lead artist Yoji Shinkawa. The most exciting edition, however, is a 248 page exclusive “The Art of Metal Gear Solid” artbook.