Metal Gear Solid 3DS Snake Skin Coming

Kojima Productions has confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater will see a 3DS hardware bundle. It is not confirmed whether or not the special console will be available outside of Japan; more details will come January 20.

Hideo Kojima has taken to Twitter to confirm to share the above image of what the console would be like. He said it will be the first console with a snake pattern embossed design.

Source: Andriasang

Journey Through Music

Journey will be a wonderfully atmospheric game with it’s vast, welcoming environments. It’s sense of wonderment and adventure will be extended to the orchestral soundtrack, which was recorded live by the Macedonian symphony orchestra.

Facebook Top Developers Decline In Late 2011

According to a report by AppData, leading Facebook publishers Zynga, Electronic Arts and Playdom saw declining numbers during December 2011. Zynga, the largest of the publishers by far, saw its daily active users (DAUs) were down 608,000 to 47 million.

Meanwhile, EA’s DAUs dropped by 1.2 million to 10.9 million over the month, with The Sims Social declining for the third consecutive month. Playdom owned by Disney also saw a drop of daily active users (448,000) to 3.1 million as Gardens of Time continued to lose users; the company has been criticized for not releasing new titles often enough.

DAUs for December 2011 (AppData)

It’s also worth noting that Zynga, who once owned over 50 percent of the social gaming market as recently as early 2010, now own an estimated 35.7 percent share. This change has mostly benefited the mid-level publishers, and the seven other companies that comprised the top ten saw their DAUs increase.

Tetris Online and Happy Elements the bigger increases during December 2011. Meanwhile, Wooga, King.com, GSN, Halfquest and Playtika continued to be more competitive and benefited from growth in secondary markets such as the Middle East.

LoveFilm Adds BBC, ITV Content

LoveFilm has announced new deals with both BBC Worldwide and ITV that will bring extra content. The streaming service that works on PCs, iPad, PS3 and Xbox 360, will now pick up ITV shows like Cold Feet, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, and Prime Suspect, while BBC programming will include Spooks, Life On Mars and Planet Earth.

“We are thrilled to be bringing together great British TV content with Europe’s leading film subscription service,” said CEO Simon Calver. “This gives LoveFilm an even more powerful, unique offering of instant programming for our members to view across a growing number of platforms, for one low monthly price.”

“We’ve had a content partnership with LoveFilm for several years now and it’s great to see this evolve digitally,” added Lisa Rousseau of BBC Worldwide. “We’re delighted to give LoveFilm’s subscribers the opportunity to instantly watch their favorite British shows, wherever and whenever they wish, alongside a diverse range of great programs and films.”

Prototype 2 Pre-Order Bonus Lets You Kick Butt

Those who pre-order Prototype 2 at GameStop will receive what is called “Sgt. James Heller’s Devastating Bio-Bomb Butt Kicker Ability.” The game will release April 24, 2012 for PS3 and Xbox 360.

“Butt Kicker is a fun twist on Heller’s already over-the-top new Bio-Bomb ability,” said Radical Entertainment studio head Ken Rosman. “Rather than just throwing enemies once Heller has infected them with the Blacklight virus; Butt Kicker allows Heller to drop-kick punt them across the map, turning enemies into projectiles that rain down devastation from above.”

NBC Names New G4 GM

NBC Universal has announced that they have appointed a new general manager Adam Stotsky (previously president of marketing for the NBC entertainment division of NBC Universal) for G4 after Neal Tiles stepped down suddenly last week. Stotsky will help the network for gamers find a voice after a poor showing in 2011 where average prime-time viewership was down 18 percent from the year before.

“I’m confident that he’ll provide tremendous leadership and unlock G4’s potential as a genuine force on the media landscape,” said NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios chair Bonnie Hammer, to whom Stotsky will report.

Steam Sees Over 40 Million Registered Accounts In 2011

Valve has announced that their Steam service has seen over 100 percent sales growth for the seventh straight year. Last year, Steam offered over 1,800 games and had over 40 million registered accounts.

“Steam and Steamworks continues to evolve to keep up with customer and developer demands for new services and content,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “Support for in-game item trading prompted the exchange of over 19 million items. Support for Free to Play (FTP) games, launched in June, has spurred the launch of 18 FTP titles on Steam, with more coming in 2012. Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode, which will allow gamers to experience Steam on large displays and in more rooms of the house.”

14.5 million copies of Steamworks games were registered during the year, and there are over 400 games that are part of the program. Steam also doubled content delivered during 2011 over last year by serving over 780 Petabytes of data, doubling its service capacity and adding a new content delivery architecture to improve user download rates and to meet demand.

IPad 3 Out By March, Says Report

Reports are that the iPad 3 is currently being prepped for release in March 2012. Reports are that it will have a QXGA display and longer battery life compared to the iPad 2, though other wise be very similar; still it is expected the iPad 2 will see a price reduction to $399 when its successor releases.

Furthermore, it is expected that a 9.7-inch iPad 4 will release in October 2012 with much more powerful hardware and integrated applications. All of these strategies will look to counter cheaper tablets, such as the Kindle Fire, and more top-flight tablets from Microsoft and Google.

Source: digitimes.com

Social Schooling Network Sees Funding, End-Of-Year Stats

Piazza has announced that it has secured $6 million in Series A funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The social learning network for students and instructors will use the money to expand its interactions and outreach efforts.

“Bessemer invested because we believe that Piazza can lead a communications revolution in higher education,” said Ethan Kurzweil, Vice President at Bessemer Venture Partners who recently joined Piazza’s board of directors. “Across every sector, the world is witnessing seismic shifts away from clunky, centrally-mandated software packages towards tools designed from the ground up to be social and collaborative. That wave is breaking in education, and Piazza is best positioned because of its ability to create positive engagement among users. I wish I’d been able to use Piazza when I was in college myself.”

“In BVP we found a partner that shares our vision for a social learning network that transforms education,” said Pooja Sankar, Founder and CEO of Piazza. “This year we will expand our platform to support more open-ended interactions among students and encourage new forms of social learning, stretching beyond the traditional classroom. As we execute on our mission, we will draw on BVP’s wealth of experience in helping companies to scale from initial customer successes into lasting businesses.”

Piazza, which emerged from private beta in January and how has over 100,000 students at hundreds of schools worldwide, including 109 of the top 250 colleges in the U.S. Designed to be an environment that students can ask questions under the guidance of their instructors, students who sign on to Piazza stay logged in for an average of four hours a day.

During the Fall 2011 term, 96 percent of the questions posted on Piazza were answered, with 45 percent receiving an answer from a student and 67 percent addressed by instructors. Most active class on Piazza was a computer science class at Berkeley, where students recorded over 19,000 contributions during the course of the semester; one student in this class answered 463 of his peers’ questions while 74 percent of the students contributed, which is 7.5 times the industry norm for online communities.

“I demand deep engagement from my students in the classroom,” said Srinivasan Keshav, Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Waterloo. “With Piazza, for the first time I can expect a level of engagement outside of class that enables me to challenge my students with harder problems. I know they will work through them and learn together using Piazza then come to class knowing what they need to learn. That’s not just a better way to get questions answered, it’s a more effective style of teaching and learning.”

“People are making a big deal out of Berkeley choosing gmail as its email solution, but nobody I know uses email unless we’re forced to,” said Tianbo Xu, a student at UC Berkeley and the president of the school’s IEEE student branch. “We’ve grown up with a more social communication style, but at the same time a lot of students are reluctant to participate in class forums because they don’t want to seem too smart or too dumb. Piazza has figured out how to create a vibrant social network centered on your class without demanding that you disclose everything. Once you’ve used it, it’s hard to imagine not using it.”

Max Payne 3 Special Edition: Get It Now

Max Payne 3 will have a special edition, but in order to get it, you have to pre-order before January 15. The game is currently set to launch in March 2012.

Max Payne 3 special edition will come with a 10 inch tall Max Payne Statue, some original still life art prints, copper and brass-plated iron bullet keychain with a screw-off back and the official soundtrack featuring the game’s instrumental score. Downloadable bonuses include a multiplayer character pack of eight playable characters (including characters from the original Max Payne and Max Payne 2 like classic Max, Mona Sax and Vladimir Lem), the “Disorderly Conduct” multiplayer weapons pack including the Hammerhead Auto Shotgun, G9 Grenade Launcher and Molotov cocktail.