Old Spice’s New Champ

P&G has unleashed a new series of ads set up as the Old Spice Champ. The ads will be used to support of its Champion product line of products, with the tagline: “Believe in Your Smellf.”

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Call Of Duty Veteran Founds Robotoki

The former Call of Duty creative strategist Robert Bowling has founded a new studio called Robotoki. The company will be self-funded, with the first game coming to consoles, PCs and mobile devices.

“We are focused on our team first and everything else second, because I believe as an industry we have a lot to learn on how to treat talent,” Bowling said. “I wanted to create an environment where the creative vision holders held complete control over their work and could guide and maintain it from concept to execution.”

“However, how they experience the world is unique to their device,” he added. “The mobile / tablet experience should not mimic the console or PC experience – it should be additive to it, not supplemental. Our focus is creating an experience that is no longer strictly single player, strictly co-op, or strictly multiplayer, but adapting the strengths of each of these into a unique experience that is fueled by the actions and contributions in each.”

Source: Robotoki.com {link no longer active}

Skype Now On PS Vita

Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced that the PS Vita now has a Skype video calling app.  PS Vita owners can use either the front or the back camera, while the app will run in the background during games and other usage; though some games will not allow incoming calls to be received during play.

“Our users appreciate being able to access Skype features wherever and whenever they choose,” said Manrique Brenes, senior director, consumer electronics group at Skype. “With the launch of Skype for PS Vita, we are taking another step towards our ultimate goal of making Skype video calling available on every platform, all over the world, and meeting the demands of existing PlayStation users to offer video on a gaming console.”

Zynga CEO Wants Dog Icon ‘To Be More Recognizable Than A Nike Swoosh’

Mark Pincus has already achieved a lot in life as the head of Zynga, the most successful social gaming company in the U.S. However, he is aiming for the stars when it comes to his larger goals for Zynga.

“I want the dog, our dog icon, which was originally my dog Zynga, I want that icon, that brand, to be what I call a dial tone for play,” said Pincus. “I want it to be more recognizable than a Nike swoosh and mean something to you. If you see that on a game, it means it’s social, it means that it’s going to give you back more than what you put into it.”

“I’m very focused on delivering a positive return on investment for the user. If you play our games, if you give us 15 minutes a day, I’m hoping that we don’t just give you entertainment but we actually enhance the relationships in your life. I challenge our product teams that our games should let you meet one new person a day,” he added. “We are getting there. People are getting married through it. It’s a whole new way to date. What I hope is that we create one of these forever brands and experiences like Google, that people, you know, look for in their lives.”

Source: USA Today

Social Company Goodgame Targeting 600 Employees By 2013

Goodgame Studios already has 200 personnel and is looking to add another 200 by the end of the year. The German company is hoping to push global product launches in the near future and have 600 new employees by the end of 2013.

“We don’t want to merely continue the success of Goodgame Studios, we want to give it a major boost,” COO Christian Wawrzinek said. “To continue to develop new, innovative products and increase our presence in the world’s major markets, we will be expanding in all areas. We are looking for people who love the product like we do, and with us will take Goodgame Studios to the very top.

“This growth plan is just an intermediary step,” added CEO Kai Wawrzinek. “We want to be one of the world’s largest game companies by the end of this decade.”

Facebook Purchases Patents From Microsoft

Facebook has announced that it will purchase hundreds of patents for $550 million from Microsoft. The 650 patents were recently purchased from AOL, a deal which also granted license to another 275 patents, for over $1 billion.

This deal is key for Facebook, which is being sued by Yahoo! for violating 10 of their patents, including several that cover online advertising technology. Facebook is also prepping an IPO that is anticipated could be worth around $100 billion.

Microsoft invested $240 million in Facebook in 2007 and the two companies have been close collaborations ever since. Facebook features search results from Microsoft’s Bing search engine as well as video chat technology provided by Microsoft’s Skype service.

Source: Reuters.com

Bioshock Infinite — Announce Early, Advertise Often

Bioshock Infinite has seen several trailers, developer diaries, and exposes in gaming magazines and the game is still months away from releasing. Ken Levine says that the decision of getting info on the game out early was a marketing one.

“We probably would have announced it later, but we were worried about it leaking. We had a nice unintentional head fake, everyone thought we were working on this X-Com game, but we weren’t. It wasn’t what people expected,” Levine said. “Without our presentation, people would have gotten the wrong message about [Bioshock Infinite], it would have been confusing.”

Bioshock Infinite is a new take on an established franchise, pushing new characters in a new environment. Because of this, marketing has to help fill in the gaps for players so they know exactly what this new Bioshock game is about.

“I would have announced it significantly later if I wasn’t worried about that. We had this external factor. Generally, when you announce… f***ed if I know. Is there a science ” Levine asked Leonie Manshanden, the director of marketing for Irrational Games.

“Yes, there actually is, and it’s a very complicated formula that I cannot disclose,” she explained.

“In other words, no.” Levine countered.

To some, this drip-feed of information saturates information channels and detracts from the experience. “Many people are really hardcore and don’t want to know about it,” Levine said. The problem is that this sort of promotional campaign is necessary if you’re hoping to get through to the consumer. “If you step back, and this might not be a popular opinion, but compare how games are marketed versus movies. Look at the Hunger Games, a big movie. And Bioshock Infinite, a big game release. Or Call of Duty, look at the extreme examples. How many impressions do you think a Hunger Games gets on the average person versus Call of Duty How many opportunities are there to tell people about this cool thing ” He points out that games don’t get on the Tonight Show or get to do much marketing outside of the normal video game press. “We’re not covered in the New York Times in a major way, the way a movie would be. We’re not on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.”

“People overestimate how exposed games are, in comparison to other forms of media,” Levine said. The problem is that big name games with large budgets have to reach an audience that isn’t reading the gaming blogs on a daily basis. “There are maybe a million hardcore games, and Call of Duty is going to sell 25 million copies. You either find ways to reach the other [24 million] in ways you can’t normally, or repeat the imagery enough that when they go to IGN they might come across it.”

While it might be annoying to media-types that they end up getting exposed a lot to certain games, there’s no arguing with the benefits. Something like the simple “Heavy Hitter” series of videos, which are simple exposes on certain enemy types, were seen and talked about by hundreds of thousands of gamers, and that’s the sort of ROI marketers can live with.

“We’re asking them to spend a lot of money: $60. That’s a lot of money. It’s our responsibility to give them the information they need to make the purchasing decision,” Levine explained. “But at the end of the day, the last person you should listening to about making a buying decision about Bioshock Infinite is Ken Levine. I’m biased.”

Source: Penny Arcade {link no longer active}