Xbox 360 Getting 12 Days Of Deals

Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb has announced the kickoff to Microsoft’s 12 days of Christmas Xbox deals promotion. There are full games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Xbox Live Arcade games like Plants vs. Zombies and many things for your avatar.

“Celebrate the count down to 2012 with 12 days of deals on games, add-ons, avatars and more from Xbox Live,” said Hryb. “Drop by Xbox Live every day to see what new deals we have for you – but remember these special discounts won’t last more than a day.”


Your Mission, Should You Choose To Facebook Allow

With console games no longer part of the franchise, a new Facebook game {page no longer active} based on Mission: Impossible franchise has launched allowing fans to play as their own agent and win real-world prizes. Paramount Digital Entertainment and online game maker Funtactix have partnered to deliver a new social game that spans the entire film Paramount Pictures franchise, including the new Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol film. Rather than placing gamers in the role of Ethan Hunt as past game incarnations have done, the new game lets players assume the roles Impossible Mission Force (IMF) agents and assemble unique teams to embark on multiplayer action. The game launches with eight missions that span 200 levels and 50 locales around the globe. Players will have access to the latest IMF gadgets and equipment straight from the movies. In the coming weeks, a new level based on Ghost Protocol will be introduced.

Rewards have been integrated into the game allowing the Facebook community to interact and build on the excitement for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in an organic way. Players will be able to win tickets to the U.S. premiere of the film as well as a hometown screening of the movie for 30 friends. Other prizes that will be awarded through the game include movie passes to the film, signed movie posters, hats, t-shirts and Mission: Impossible Blu-ray and DVD sets from Paramount Home Entertainment.

PS Vita Designed ‘To Supersede the Mobile-Gaming Market’

The PS Vita is a marvelous piece of hardware, but many wonder what market the device is going to appeal to. According to SCEA’s director of hardware marketing John Koller, the PS Vita was designed to counter current trends in portable electronics.

“It was designed with one thing in mind, and that was to supersede the mobile-gaming market for the next five to six years,” said Koller. “We think we’ve accomplished that many times over. The idea behind the specific features was that we saw a lot of research on how consumers play both handheld gaming devices, console devices, but also the emerging markets of tablets–this was back in 2008 and 2009. Seeing how those gamers played and seeing the frustrations they have with control and with graphics and with longer-form content, really allowed us to build a system that took advantage of everything we do well at PlayStation: the biggest and best gaming experiences, great franchises, and integrating new ways to control them, new ways to play as we call them.”

“We think we have created unequivocally the best handheld gaming system ever designed,” added Koller. “I think that when people get their hands on it, it is a beautiful, near-HD experience. A lot of people have called it a PS3 in your pocket. And I think that it is exactly what we wanted to get when we first started to design it three and a half years ago.

When asked about the PSP, he responded, “We really did look, not only at PSP, but also at mobile phone and tablet. That was really where we started. If the experience and the trend for casual and some core consumers is in the direction of mobile and tablet, what does Vita need to be to top that I think the answer for us was a very engaging, rich, high-definition experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the game. What we did was take the idea of people spending 80% of their time outside of their home–so if you are going to have a handheld device you need to have something that is engaging in a way that consoles are engaging to a living room.

“The way to make handheld more engaging is to take the world that you are in and allow it to impact your gaming experience, whether that’s Augmented Reality, whether that’s location-based, whether that’s 3G–we wanted to take all of those elements of where you are in the world and impact your experience,” he added. “The result are things like Gifting with Near, or Treasure Hunt, or the ability to download content wherever you are, multiplayer gaming sessions, and Augmented Reality, those that change your environment to play the game the way you like. So those were all the new ways we looked at to change the mobile and tablet experience, to improve the PSP experience, to make Vita really unique like the consoles are unique.”

When it comes to promoting the system, Koller said, “Right now we are in malls and what we’re calling social clubs, in hipster locations, throughout the U.S. and some parts of Canada, to allow people to touch and play and try. We haven’t done this before at PlayStation. We have been fairly insular that we launch a platform and the first time you play it is day one. Now we are out four months before the launch of this. And it is having a very material effect on preorders, on the impact of people talking about it and what they experienced. We will continue that through the year.

“There is a strong sentiment that the experiential portion of our campaign is really the most critical. It’s the ‘wow’ factor when people try it and play it,” he detailed. “It’s that talk factor that will help us with the casual consumer. The casual consumer is more price sensitive, they are not really an early adopter, but they want the content experience to be justified when they purchase a handheld device. So I think we are in a really good position with them.”

In order to bring in the general public, Koller says it will be vital to make it a social experience. “I think it’s underneath the new ways to play. Our tag line is, ‘Never stop playing.’ It really fits well with who we are as PlayStation. Those new ways to play, the way you interact with your environment, is really so critical. That also includes a social aspect. One thing we heard at the launch of PSP was a derisive term, calling it PlayStation Personal–it was very much between you and the device, and there was no connection to others,” noted Koller. “Vita’s been built with exactly the opposite, to connect all of us, to have all of us in a region playing together, or in a location. Everybody can become part of the Vita movement through a game, or through the Gifting, or the Treasure Hunting, or the sharing of content. It’s a very important trend in our society, but it’s also very important in gaming. You want to be able to share your content, be able to play others. I think ultimately the social component, that’s really going to be a critical part of this launch. Communication is a big part of it–we will have cross-game chat, which we are calling Party Mode. Those are really important parts of how people game outside of their home.”

Source: Fast Company

Social Gaming Company Outplay Stocks Up With Executives

Outplay has announced that it has named Karen Thomson as non-executive chairperson, while Randy Breen will act as non-executive director. Thomson was CEO for AOL U.K., president of AOL Europe and director of Vodafone U.K. while Breen director spent 14 years with EA as executive producer and creative director, another five with LucasArts and until April of this year he was CEO of Social Gaming Network.

“Karen and Randy bring a wealth of complementary experience and expertise to Outplay Entertainment,” said CEO Douglas Hare. “Karen’s marketing background and track record with large-scale consumer-facing internet and mobile businesses combined with Randy’s remarkable creative, production and business expertise will be invaluable to Outplay’s ambitious growth plans for 2012 and beyond. We are thrilled to have them on board.”

“Social and mobile gaming have only begun to show their full potential, and I believe Outplay are well positioned to become a major player in the industry,” added Breen. “I’ve known Douglas and Richard for more than a decade and having seen what they and the rest of the Outplay team have accomplished since April and what they have planned for the future, I’m very excited to be part of the board.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic Already Has Over 1 Million Players, Says Analyst

Star Wars: The Old Republic hasn’t technically released yet, but there are already plenty of people who pre-ordered the game and received early access. The game is up to roughly 140 active servers and Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz notes that average player densities on those servers “had increased meaningfully” over the past week.

“Based on the number of servers now in operation, and the relatively high densities thereon, we feel fairly comfortable estimating that the game already has in excess of 1 million players, and potentially could have as many as 1.5 million, with the official launch date of the game yet to come,” notes Creutz. “We note that EA gives players the first month free, so ‘players’ does not yet signify paying subscribers; however, our estimate does at least signify the number of people who have bought the game (and thus far, includes only a subset of those who pre-ordered the title).

“Our (very rough) estimate is based on (1) Star Wars now has 29 percent as many servers in operation as World of Warcraft in North America and Europe; (2) the average player density (relative to server capacity) on the Star Wars servers appears higher than it is on World of Warcraft; and (3) we estimate that World of Warcraft has around 4.0-4.5 million subs in North America/Europe,” he added “The missing pieces of our analysis are that we do not know the relative capacity of Star Wars vs. World of Warcraft servers, and we do not know exactly what the ‘full’/’very heavy’/etc. labels signify. Based on the progress of the launch so far, we continue to feel very comfortable with our FY13 2 million subscriber estimate for Star Wars.”

Ninja Gaiden 3 Gets Collector’s Edition, Pre-Order Bonus

Tecmo Koei have announced that those that preorder Ninja Gaiden 3 from GameStop or Amazon will receive a two character demo of Dead or Alive 5. Also the Ninja Gaiden 3 Collector’s Edition gives a all four character Dead or Alive 5 demo stage, an exclusive Ninja Gaiden 3Unmask” game art book, soundtrack CD, and a unique “Duel of the Masked” figure; Collector’s Edition will only available at GameStop.

“With Ninja Gaiden 3, Team Ninja has created a fresh new way to take players behind the mask of the world’s greatest ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, where they must choose when to give mercy or wreak vengeance to learn what it means to be a dark hero,” said Amos Ip, SVP and General Manager of Tecmo Koei America. “Our preorder packages at GameStop and Amazon and our massive Collector’s Edition will give true fans their first chance to experience the unique fighting action of Dead or Alive 5 on day one when Ninja Gaiden 3 ships.”

Ninja Gaiden 3 will retail at $59.99 for the regular edition and $99.99 for the Collector’s Edition when it releases March 20, 2012.

Sony Tablet S Gets DualShock 3 Support

Sony has announced that their PlayStation-certified Tablet S will connect to a PS3 controller. Users must use a USB adapter cable to connect the controller to the tablet, then the controller will work wirelessly.

Right now, Sony is rewarding Japanese users of the tablet with an Ape Escape-themed mini-game collection. The Sony Tablet P with a clam-shell design currently does not have support for the DualShock 3.

Source: Engadget

Mafia Wars Embezzler Pleads Guilty

Bettysue Higgins has pleaded guilty in Kennebec County Superior Court to theft by unauthorized transfer and forgery. She stole $166,000 from the group Maine Trial Lawyers Association.

What makes this particularly relevant to gaming is that the former administrative assistant for the Association said much of it was spent on social games. She issued the plea just as the jury trial on those charges was scheduled to begin.

Between May 22, 2006, and Sept. 9, 2010, Higgins signed off on 220 checks payable to herself. Association executive director Steven Prince noticed this when a check he had written for $5,500 bounced.

During the latter 18-month period, between January 2009 and September 10, 2010, Higgins had 78 checks that directly funded her pursuits in Zynga’s YoVille and Mafia Wars. “Apparently she was buying virtual coins for virtual property in a virtual world,” said prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin.

Defense attorney Ronald Bourget has noted earlier that Higgins’ personal bank account record for February 2010 shows she had more than $4,000 in gaming-addiction expenditures. A condition of probation will be that Higgins pay up to $166,700 in restitution, but it’s unlikely the full amount will ever be recovered; a home owned by Higgins and her husband is in foreclosure.

Source: Kennebec Journal

NintendoTV Now On 3DS

The first episode of NintendoTV is now available on 3DS. Featured in the episode is gameplay of the system’s hottest titles: Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land.

Also include in NintendoTV will be looks at Super Pokemon Rumble and FreakyForms, with the feature coming from the Mario Kart 7 launch event in London. There also a chance to win an Ice White 3DS console and other Nintendo titles.

NintendoTV can be viewed on both the 3DS and the Wii.