Never Miss A Beat

Enhance your in-theater experience with Disney FilmPulse {link no longer active}, an all-new app for your Android smartphone. Just “check-in” to the theater and showtime for the Disney movie you’re about to see, and begin the FilmPulse experience. Unlock surprises and enjoy interactive games and bonus content before the movie, then take advantage of special offers after the credits roll. The FilmPulse app is currently only available for use at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA. There may be films that run at the El Capitan that are not supported with a FilmPulse experience. You will only be able to check-in at the El Capitan when watching a supported movie.

Codemasters Focusing Brand On Racing

Codemasters has confirmed that they will not be putting out any further games like Bodycount or Operation Flashpoint. They will instead launch a new label called Codemasters Racing (though the company will remain Codemasters) and concentrate on their F1, GRID and DiRT franchises.

“Racing is the absolute razor focus for all titles currently in development and those slated for future development across the studios in Warwickshire and Birmingham,” said a Codemasters spokesperson. “The focus is an exclusive one, there are no other genre properties in development at this time; racing is everything. We are also increasing headcount across the operation, which currently employs around 700. We are expanding the teams by a further 100+ development positions, which are opening over the course of the year across the sites.”

Codemasters will launch Race Net to accompany DiRT Showdown. This new game portal, which will give players a persistent driving persona across all Codemasters Racing titles, allows players to show off achievements and receive info on various community events.

Jagex Appoints New Brand Director

Jagex has announced that they have appointed Rob Kinder as a Brand Director. The veteran of Metaboli, Codemasters and most recently at Green Man Gaming will be overseeing the marketing and brand positioning of all Jagex’s existing and upcoming third-party titles.

“Jagex has developed into one of the big success stories of independent British game development, and I’m delighted to be returning to the place I began my career,” said Kinder. “There is an abundance of incredible talent within the company, and I’m looking forward to working them to develop new, groundbreaking online gaming experiences.”

“We’re really pleased to be welcoming Robert back into the Jagex marketing team,” said David Solari, Jagex CMO. “We have some big plans for 2012 and beyond and Robert will be able to utilize his specialties to ensure that our games will reach their full potential. Over recent years Robert has gained a great deal of digital marketing experience and I am confident that his knowledge and experience of launching numerous top selling titles will be a massive asset to Jagex as we strive to become the dominant force in UK digital gaming.”

Marketing And Sales Positions Hit Hard By Sony Layoffs

Sony is planning to consolidate their product groups in Europe into one major office in Weybridge, U.K. The byproduct of this will be 1,000 lost jobs at offices in U.K. & Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Iberia, Central and Southern Europe, Turkey, Switzerland and Austria, Benelux and the Nordic region.

It’s currently unknown how or if this announcement will affect the PlayStation division, which is one of Sony’s more profitable branches. The majority of losses are said to be coming in sales and marketing roles and will be part of Sony’s plan to downsize 10,000 employees.

Source: Brand Republic

ESPN: It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports — Michael Jordan

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to share a name with a superstar This commercial answers the question, by following an ordinary man who has been saddled with a legendary name.

{video link no longer active}


OnLive Reaches 200 Titles On Service

OnLive has announced that the service now has 200 titles available. To celebrate this, the company is running the PlayPack 200 Sweepstakes, and an introductory PlayPack offer featuring one month’s access to all 200+ games for just $2.

The PlayPack 200 Celebration runs from today through Saturday, 28 April. There will be the PlayPack 200 Sweepstakes where players enter every time they play a PlayPack game for a minimum of 200 seconds each for prizes like tablets and controllers, and Multiplayer Madness Developer Events where users can take on game developers and other OnLive members in 200-minute events featuring games such as Homefront and Air Conflicts.

To find out more about the PlayPack 200 Celebration or to join in, visit {link no longer active}.

Feature: PlayScreen Poker Doubles Down With Billboards

Online and mobile ads provide a great, frictionless way for people to download and play online and mobile games. However, there’s still something to be said for old fashioned outdoor advertising. PlayScreen thought so, and recently put up some billboards leaving Las Vegas and for those heading back to California and elsewhere. We talked with William Volk CCO PlayScreen about the marketing campaign and so much more.

[a]list: Give some background on your history in the gaming industry.

William Volk: In the age of the dinosaurs I worked for Avalon Hill in the Year of Our Lord 1979. The first game I ever wrote was Conflict 2500 that came out for Apple II, Atari 2600 and Commodore 64. Voyager I is a 3D FPS ahead of its time. It had a map that only showed you what you explored, and had randomly generated levels. It used some assembly and some basic. You could make more money in those days per hour than you could now!

William Volk

Then I worked for Rising Star for a few years, then I worked for the Mac and I did Pyramid of Peril. I was at Activision for eight years as Vice President of Technology; I green-lit and produced Manhole, the first CD-ROM game. Bobby Kotick knew me from the Amiga days and I was probably the only senior person to stay on after he bought the company. There’s also Return to Zork and people are still complaining about the puzzles in that to this today. We made an unfair, ridiculous game – we had puzzles that were so crazy, you could break the game without even knowing it. It was literally cracking us up while we were doing it.

[a]list: Double Fine is trying to bring the genre back with their new Kickstarter.

William Volk: It warms my heart what Double Fine is working on. My answer on why adventure games went away is that they were too expensive and everyone wanted to do FPS. Anyway, I eventually I did some educational games for Lightspan for educators who wanted to try and have kids learn fractions. The whole project was over a million dollars and it ended up on the PlayStation. That company went public in early 2000 and the stock market crashed, especially for tech companies. Then I started dabbling in mobile. I met Sherri when she was working on a project for James Cameron. We worked on a big social mobile game at Bonus Mobile Entertainment called The Dozens inspired by the Wayans Brothers card game in the middle of the decade that worked on multiple platforms. We worked at mynumo, not a game company at first, but we started getting more mobile games; from 2007 to 2008 we were supported by those games we made.

Now Sherri made a poker game for AOL in the mid 90s and I was made the CCO. First title we did at PlayScreen was with Bocce Ball, and it succeeded because it was simple. If you want to learn why something does well, look at Draw Something compared to Ngmoco’s Doodle This; while ngmoco’s game had more features, OMGPOP made their game more accessible. Poker took a long time to come out but we always had in mind to do that.

[a]list: Tell me about how PlayScreen Poker differentiates itself in the mobile poker game market?

William Volk: It’s a beautiful looking product, and it has things like a practice mode even when you don’t have an online connection. But the thing that’s coming out is the ability to connect with people and make the game yours. How do you measure being the best poker player Against your own friends, and that’s what the game will let you do.

[a]list: What metrics can you talk about with PlayScreen Poker so far

William Volk: We’re about the ninth top title in the App Store. In the past we’ve gotten up to the level of Zynga poker but we’re waiting for the revision of our product and then we’re going to push it with more innovative advertising.

We have thousands of players per day and hundreds of thousands of downloads, but that’s not important. We have players that play the most, the whales. These are interesting players and they’re playing for a lot of times and they’re playing long times. Players wagered 18,000 chips apiece on April 9 but generally it’s in the thousands.

[a]list: Talk to me about the billboard promotion you had recently.

William Volk: We understand the iPhone marketing channels. We do video ads and incentive ads, but what you want are good users. We were spending all most ten times as much on online advertising as we are now with billboards. There are four full sized billboards – it’s not like it’s driven a huge number of users, but it’s driven people who play a lot. Statistically, we had one of our historic highs recently; the number nine category in poker and eight in free games.

We did on the way back from Vegas because people are going to Los Angeles and San Diego, their minds are on going back to work, and this helps them bring their minds back to Vegas, where they were having fun. We have more people playing the games a lot and Sunday in particular was a large day for wagering. We were driving people that were interested in poker. It’s not so much who you bring in, especially for social games, a lot of it is how players are attached to the game.

Right now we’re close to releasing a new version with PlayScreen Poker 2 and PlayScreen Poker 2 HD for the Retina display, we were trying to be where everyone was and we wanted to figure out what the players wanted to do. We’ve rewarded people who want to play with us. PlayScreen Poker 2 is about people who want to engage with other players . We make it easy to set up games with your friends. We’ve done a lot of engagement and we’ll let people earn chips by watching ads.

[a]list: It must be a challenge to try and go up against the Zynga’s of the world.

William Volk: I’m quoted as saying that Zynga made the casual game market really work. We think they’re a great company to work against. For us, we’ve unleashed achievements across our titles. We’re improving chats and invites and so that players know when their friends show up. It pushes us to make the best product we can.

[a]list: Do you feel like advertising can be a differentiator for mobile titles these days?

William Volk: There’s 22,000 new apps every week. You have to be better than the rest. The quality of games has gotten so high. The NES age, which I remember because I got to work then, during the whole era there was 700 games total and now there’s thousands games every day. It used to be you bid in Kyoto for your cart allocation, but now something like Tiny Wings can come out of nowhere and do great. So any differentiator is key.

[a]list: Where are you hoping to take PlayScreen Poker in the future?

William Volk: PlayScreen has a logo with IClops and you should see something with him soon. We have an amazing word game and strategy game coming and the new bocce game that you’ll see more about very soon.

[a]list: Thanks, William.

_ _

Played PlayScreen Poker Like outdoor advertisements Join the discussion on Facebook.

Coke Tapped Student Talent For New Swirl Logo

A 20-year-old student from Hong Kong created a new image which is two hands in the shape of Coke’s iconic white ribbon passing a bottle. This design premiered this past weekend in bus shelters and elevators in Shanghai and is part of Coke’s global “Open Happiness” campaign.

“It’s got unusual, intriguing stopping power,” said Stephen Drummond, director-content and creative excellence for Coca-Cola in Asia Pacific. “Everyone’s responded with a sense of, ‘Wow, that’s a different, intriguing spin on something so iconic and so familiar.’ Just for that reason it engages people. Of course the message of connection and friendship with the brand at the center comes through very clearly.”

Jonathan Mak Long second-year communication design student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, created the image. He previously created a tribute to Steve Jobs that went viral, featuring the Apple logo with Mr. Jobs’ silhouette making up the bite.

The image was reproduced in several British newspapers attributing it merely to a Hong Kong student. “Because we didn’t know the college, it took quite some time to get hold of him,” said Graham Fink, chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather China. “I had my assistant in Shanghai calling all the colleges in Hong Kong.”

“We went through his portfolio … his book was beautifully simple,” recalled Fink. “I said to him, ‘Look, we must keep in touch. I’d love to help you in any way that I can.’ ”

Mak was given an assignment that was simply called “Sharing a Coke” which he had also shared with Fink’s design team. “I think the way I approached the poster is quite similar to the Steve Jobs Apple logo,” Mak said. “I enjoy making visual puns. … I don’t want to say it’s my style, but I do enjoy combining elements together to create a joke almost. It captures people’s attention. These kinds of images are quite appropriate to advertising. It takes a second to get, and then there’s an ‘aha’ moment.”

Interestingly it was not a formal assignment from Coke. “Ogilvy took the initiative and totally surprised us,” Drummond said. “Sometimes these ideas pop up out of serendipity, it’s very much on-brand and on-brief. [Coke wants to be] open to ideas that come from anywhere and everywhere and embrace it.”

“The way creative departments work these days, ideas can come from anywhere,” said Fink. “You want anything that makes people work better, faster. There are a lot of great people out there, especially in China. The whole country is learning about [advertising]. … There’s a huge opportunity for us to find these people.”

“I’m still a student, and I’d like to continue to see if there are other areas that interest me,” said Mak. “I just want to do good work that can affect people the way the Steve Jobs-Apple logo did. But my concrete career achievements I don’t want to think about that. I just want to do good work.”

Source: Creativity Online Surpasses EA, Eyes Zynga On Facebook has reported that it has 10.3 million daily active users on Facebook. That puts it ahead of rival Electronic Arts, but behind Microsoft with 20 million and far behind Zynga, which has 65.1 million.

“Our ultimate ambition is to be the leader in our segment of games for the casual social player, mainly female, social and mobile,” said CEO Riccardo Zacconi. “Our target is to reach Zynga.”

The company is considering an IPO in 2013. “We are preparing the company,” said Zacconi. “The market is changing very fast. There will be consolidation, and we want to have a war chest.”

Source: Reuters