Zynga/American Express Team For FarmVille Reward

Zynga and American Express have launched Zynga Serve Rewards Program. This will take the form of the ‘Serve Money Tree’ that will grow with every transaction; FarmVille users that to sign up and make real world purchases of $25 or more (up to 5 purchases a month) to see the Tree grow.

“We’re excited to partner with American Express to invent new ways for people to experience Zynga play in more parts of their day,” said Mark Pincus CEO and Founder of Zynga. “Together we can add surprise and delight to everyday shopping.”

“We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Zynga and provide an easy way for players to earn Zynga virtual game cash by learning about Serve and signing up to receive the many benefits of our digital wallet,” said Dan Schulman, president of Enterprise Growth, American Express. “As the commerce landscape continues to change, and online and offline spending converges, Serve is focused on partnering with companies like Zynga to create unique value for our customers in the environments they love.”

Ovosonico Conceptualizing Mobile Game/Movie

Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini, founder of Ovosonico, has indicated that his studio is working on a movie-length game. The Italian developer will also work on film and music production.

“All I can say is that I want to craft memorable experiences,” he said. “There is so much more to be explored besides throw-away iPhone games and 40-hour-long traditional productions. I think the best way for us to achieve our vision is to provide a rich emotional experience packaged in a movie-length time frame, and possibly sold at a reasonable price.”

Source: GameSpot

Lollipop Chainsaw — Double Your Fun

Lollipop Chainsaw has two versions of Juliet Starling: Jessica Nigri for the West and Mayu Kawamoto for Japan. Despite the fact that both were signed presumably so they didn’t have to cross an ocean to promote the game, Nigri traveled to Tokyo’s Akihabara so that both Juliets could appear in a photo op alongside game designer Goichi Suda.

Source: Kotaku

Space Quest Veterans Plan SpaceVenture

Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, founders of Two Guys from Andromeda, have taken it to Kickstarter for funding. Their new project is a Space Adventure (or SpaceVenture) and will release it for Android tablets and iPads in addition to PC, Mac, and Linux-based versions.

They promise charming 2D animated graphics for the game, and are in talks with composers like the man that brought you the music from Space Quest 3. Voice actors lined up for the project include John Patrick Lowrie (Sniper in Team Fortress 2), Ellen McLain (Portal’s GLaDOS), and Robert Clotworthy (Jim Raynor from Starcraft) and the narrator from Space Quest 4 and 6 (Gary Owens).

On the game’s story, they said, “Many of you faithful backers, and perhaps many more would-be backers still sitting on the fence, want to know more details about THE GAME we are currently brainstorming. Well, THAT is precisely where we’re at, in the brainstorming stage-  that exciting time where all notions are cast up into a beautiful, fluid nebula of ideas that begin coalescing into concepts for a story, a hero, a villain, characters, worlds and gameplay;  Quite literally the birth of a new universe.”

“Worlds are forming and beings will evolve as the story develops. So why aren’t we releasing any details yet Well, because the details are still very fluid in this early design phase. And, frankly, this is what part of the Kickstarter funds are for . . . to fund the ‘design’ of the game. The script, if you will,” they added. “We have a virtual idea board that we’ve plaster with every sci-fi reference, gag, characters, crazy death, and puzzle ideas that we can throw at it. But most importantly, is the story. Story is King! Without a good narrative thread you’ve got NOTHING. So we’re also in the process of coming up with a compelling tale to stitch together all those ‘milk-out-the-nose’ moments we want you to experience in our game.  You could say we are in the pre-preproduction phase.”

As far as what has been sketched out for the game, there will be an unlikely hero (possibly female) though it will not have any Space Quest characters. The Two Guys (Scott and Mark) will be present as in-game characters, there will be the ability to navigate and dogfight in space and there will be plenty of recent sci-fi parody from Avatar and Firefly to Halo.

Right now, the project has made of 40 percent of its goal with roughly three weeks remaining.

Source: Kickstarter

Diablo III Smashes PC Game Sales Records

Blizzard has announced that Diablo III sold 3.5 million in the first 24 hours on sale, setting a new record for the fastest selling PC game, and saw 6.3 million players after a single week.  GameStop opened thousands of stores at midnight to mark the launch.

“We’re definitely thrilled that so many people around the world were excited to pick up their copy of Diablo III and jump in the moment it went live,” said CEO Mike Morhaime. “We also regret that our preparations were not enough to ensure everyone had a seamless experience when they did so. I want to reaffirm our commitment to make sure the millions of Diablo III players out there have a great experience with the game moving forward, and I also want to thank them for their ongoing support.”

“Regarding today’s announcement, we recognize that setting a new launch record is a big achievement,” he added. “However, we’re especially proud of the game play feedback we’ve received from players worldwide. We’re pleased that Diablo III has lived up to players’ high expectations, and we’re looking forward to welcoming more players into Sanctuary in the days ahead.”

Gree Platform Enters Beta

Gree has announced that their self-named platform has entered open beta. The SDK is available for developers to download and features social elements like leaderboards, achievements, and share and request services, and will incorporate the best of OpenFeint.

“The Gree platform has been built with the goal of creating a worldwide developer and player community,” said SVP of product Ethan Fassett. “We believe the Gree platform offers developers the tools to deliver unique and customized games to an engaged, global player base. We are looking forward to seeing the adoption of these new mobile-social features and helping innovate the mobile games space.”

Source: Developer.gree.net/

Angry Birds Launches Silver Jewelry Line

Rovio has announced that a Angry Birds jewelry line is debuting, created by a noted Finnish designer Kristian Saarikorpi. It will start with a Mighty Eagle priced at an $290.

“Rovio guards the image of the Mighty Eagle character jealously”, noted Saarikorpi. “Just as in the games, only a portion of the powerful bird is depicted on the ring — his shape is never shown in full.”



Source: Forbes

Moshi Monsters Come To Gree Platform

Gree and Mind Candy have announced that they have signed a deal to bring two Moshi Monsters games to the Gree platform. The mobile platform runs on over 230 million smartphones and tablets around the world and it is hoped that many of the 60 million registered Moshi Monsters fans will be signing up to the service in order to play the new titles.

“Our fans love tablets and smartphones so we’re really excited to take our much loved characters and stories to these new platforms,” said Mind Candy CEO Michael Acton Smith. “Gree has achieved phenomenal success and we’re looking forward to working with them on these two games.”

“We’re really excited to work with Mind Candy to bring Moshi Monsters to our global mobile community and to the Gree Platform,” said Gree founder Yoshikazu Tanaka. “Moshi Monsters is a leader in the online industry and has built a great and loyal following.  Gree is delighted to be a part of the franchise’s move to mobile and believes the relationship is a great opportunity to further illustrate Gree’s on-going commitment to bringing quality content for all gamers to the new platform.”

Pepsi Withdraws Sponsorship In Response To Horse Abuse

Pepsi has announced that they are dropping their sponsorship of the Walking Horse National Celebration. This comes after a ABC News broadcast footage of a horse in training for a show being beaten by a trainer.

“We have ended our sponsorship of the event,” Pepsi spokesman Vincent Bozek said without elaborating.

The Humane Society of the United States conducted an undercover investigation and filmed the video which was given to ABC News. An animal rights activist went to work in a horse barn and secretly taped the abuse in March and April 2011, which showed the horses being beaten with wooden sticks and poked with electric cattle prods; their ankles were slathered with caustic chemicals and ankles wrapped with plastic to amplify the pain.

This is designed to cause the horse to raise its front legs high while in the show ring. The practice has been so pervasive that the show hired hired veterinarians to tour shows and inspect the horses.

“For any animal to be abused like that . . . I totally disagree with that,” said Dr. Stephen Mullins, president of SHOW, the organization that inspects the horses.

Keith Dane, the Humane Society’s director of equine protection, applauded the Pepsi decision, which he said might help clean up the industry. “This procedure of soring has been going on far too long . . . the industry itself has been allowed to self-police and with very poor results,” Dane said.

Source: Reuters