Three Musketeers: Combat Ops

Now’s your chance to become a legendary Musketeer and uphold the name of justice and honor! Take on the role of D’Artagnan and train with the Three Musketeers – Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Learn secret fight tactics you can use in combat against the treacherous Cardinal Richelieu, the alluring and deceptive Milady, and the dastardly Duke of Buckingham. Available now for iPad, iPod Touch & iPhone and Android {links no longer active}, for optimal game play the game has been engineered for iPad 2.

Rift Publisher Trion Eyes IPO

Trion Worlds has managed to make a hit out of their first title Rift, built on investments from Time Warner, Comcast, Fidelity Investments and ACT II Capital. However, now that they have a steady cash flow, they’re considering an IPO at some unspecified date in the future.

“As we build scale and become more profitable, (an IPO) is clearly on our horizon at some point,” said CEO Lars Buttler. “We’ve had a lot of bankers coming to us recently. We keep all of our options open at this point. We definitely have enough substance and enough skill to be a public company at the right time.”

Rift has sold well over a million copies and also generates money from monthly subscription fees, though the current number of subscribers is a secret right now. “Rift is vastly profitable. It is profitable every single week and every single month,” said Buttler.

Not only do they have the hit game, but they recently announced their Red Door publishing platform for online games. “It’s a software platform and it evolves and gets better all the time. It’s a huge revenue opportunity,” said Buttler.

Of course, long term prospects for the company will be tied to the platform along with Defiance, a game ties to release with the TV show of the same name on the Syfy Channel. “If you have a game in that level and it doesn’t do well, you stand to lose a lot of money. The stakes are much higher with failure,” said Billy Pidgeon, an analyst for M2 Research.

Source: Reuters

Grand Theft Auto V: It’s Real

Leave it to Rockstar to put up a very understated image up on their website with no other information at all and get the whole industry buzzing. That’s just what they did by putting up an image on the front of publicly announcing Grand Theft Auto V for the first time.

Rumors have been swirling wildly that the next Grand Theft Auto game will be set in real-life Los Angeles, California, not the GTA-verse’s fictional Los Santos, San Andreas and will deal with the global recession, hinted at with the resemblance of the five logo to American currency. We’ll all know when the first trailer debuts November 2, 2011.

Angry Birds Marketing Genius: Peter Vesterbacka

Peter Vesterbacka is one of the most important marketers in video games, but he only works on one game property. Still, when that game property is Angry Birds, it’s certainly more than enough.

“As the game was gathering momentum, we started to see a whole phenomenon unfolding,” says Vesterbacka. “People were literally demanding merchandise, and everything started to evolve naturally.”

Indeed it helps to have a game property that 400 million people have downloaded, 30 million who play daily, with another 130 million every month to add to the 1.8 billion hours total that have been spent on the game. Of course, he has ambitiously put the franchise everywhere, merchandising it like a franchise from Disney with t-shirts, plush toys, Silly Bandz, puzzles, party kits, Halloween costumes, card games, key chains, flip-flops, lunch boxes, neckties, a board game, and a cake decorating kit.

“We see a whole world of opportunity in bridging the gap between our digital services and the physical products,” he says. “Things will get very interesting in this area in the near future.”

Sometimes the best marketing lays outside of what is obvious. Adding to the brand is a stadium-crowd game, a Finnair promotion and a likely TV show and movie to follow.

Source: AdWeek

Zynga’s Russian Counterpart, Pixonic, Opens San Fran Office

Pixonic has opened a new office in the San Francisco area. The social gaming company from Russia that calls itself “little Zynga” has launched 40 games and also offers PixAPI, an analytics platform.

“We look forward to working with the best U.S. social gaming developers to help them more successfully bring their games to market,” said CEO Elena Masolova. “We offer selected developers the opportunity to port their social games to iOS and Android totally at our expense. The porting is performed by our in-house mobile team to help developers enter the booming mobile market without distracting their social team.”

“PixAPI allows us to track thousands of in-game events in real-time, analyze game performance and improve it within a few hours,” added CTO Michael Chernetsov. “Competing solutions from Kontagent and Mixpanel carry a substantial cost for developers while PixAPI is free to use. Today, PixAPI statistics are in closed alpha with plans to launch the beta version by early November 2011.”

SCEA Hires Guy Longworth As Marketing VP

Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced that they have hired Guy W. Longworth to be Senior Vice President of Marketing and PlayStation Network. He will replace Peter Dille, who left SCEA for Tapjoy, and will report to SCEA President and CEO Jack Tretton.

“Guy’s extensive background and experience with consumer marketing in multiple categories make him uniquely qualified to help deliver our messages to consumers and effectively impact our brand,” said Tretton. “He brings with him an experienced understanding of the marketing industry and has a strong record of consumer-driven success.   Guy will be an integral part of our marketing efforts across the PlayStation brand moving forward.”

Longworth has spent over 20 years of experience at consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Marlow Foods and Kellogg’s, and most recently co-founded marketing consulting firm Annapurna One. Longworth will be responsible for marketing, promotions and brand development at SCEA starting October 3.