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

Sony 3D Display Coming November 13

Sony has confirmed that it’s launching its special 3D display TV on November 13 for $499. The HD set will have a pair of glasses, an HDMI cable, a copy of Motorstorm Apocalypse, and those who pre-ordered the display before October 1 will get Resistance 3 also.

The display is capable of not only 3D, but also a neat trick that allows two players to playing together on the same screen without using split-screen . The 3D glasses separate the two pictures letting one player use the glasses and another the TV display.

Any possible information you could want on the display is available over at the PS Blog.

NCsoft Appeal Denied In $32 Million Contract Ruling

A tribunal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a $32 million judgment against NCSoft from Richard Garriott. The suit detailed revolved around NCsoft stock options, which would basically be better if Garriott was dismissed (as he argued) or whether he left on his own (as NCsoft has unsuccessfully tried to argue).

“NCSoft schemed to avoid its obligations to [Garriott] at the trial court and on appeal, and neither the jury nor the 5th Circuit bought any of it,” said Stephen E. Fox, Garriott’s lead counsel in the suit. “Contracts have consequences, and as the Court of Appeals explained, the trial court is not a trial run.”

Source: Gamasutra

Mass Effect 3 Demo Landing January 2012

BioWare has announced that Mass Effect 3 will have a pre-release demo in January 2012. The Online Pass for Battlefield 3 will unlock this early access and there will be other ways to get involved announced sometime between late November and early December.

The demo will include both single-player and multiplayer sections. However, it seems the multi-player are the parts limited to those that unlock it through the Online Pass or other means – the single-player section of the demo will be available “on day one of the demo launch.”


Akira Movie Greenlit, Filming In 2012

According to sources, the Warner Bros. live-action remake of Akira has been greenlit and will start filming late February/early March. Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, House of Wax) has been tapped to direct the film, and it is believed to have to a budget of $90 million.

The two leads of Kaneda and Tetsuo are the choice roles, and Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund is being considered for one of them. Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran will produce Akira with Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar.

WB acquired the rights to Akira for seven figures from Japanese manga publisher Kodansha in 2008. The cyberpunk classic deals with biker gangs, destructive psychokinetic abilities and government conspiracies; Katsuhiro Otomo, writer and director of the 1988 Japanese anime, will executive produce the film.

Source: Variety

Minecraft Designer Talks Problems With Free-To-Play

Markus “Notch” Persson indicates that his new game will have free-to-play elements in it. However, he says they won’t call it that because it’s not free, and he indicated that he dislikes free-to-play games.

“The reason some people are moving to this area is that free to play showed up in the ‘social gaming’ segment (Facebook) and made a few people (Zynga) very rich,” wrote Persson. “It’s been tried in other genres in other markets with decent success. By ‘success’, I mean ‘it’s profitable’. The reason anyone switches to ‘free-to-play’ is to make more money. You get your players hooked on your game, and then you try to monetize them. The idea is to find a model where there basically is no cap on how much the player can spend, then try to encourage players to spend more and more money. Various psychological traps like abusing the sense of sunk costs get exploited, and eventually you end up with a game that’s designed more like a slot machine than Half-Life 2.”

“So instead of calling it ‘free to play’, we should call it ‘as expensive as you want it to be’ or something,” he added. “I do not mind paying for games after the purchase. I like customizing my character, or getting a few extra levels (Deus Ex Human Revolution: Missing Link, woo!), or even paying a subscription cost for something with running costs. But let’s get one thing clear: people who think ‘free to play’ is a great future are mostly game developers, not game players.”

Notch’s thoughts can be best summed up like this: “While I am skeptical of the free to play trend, what I hate is the wording ‘free to play’,” he said before saying about some free-to-play games, “I’ll go play some Team Fortress 2 now until Dota 2 is released. I can’t wait!!”