Avatar Celebrities Ready For The Spotlight

Everyone dreams of stardom and now your Xbox Live avatar can get some!

If you and your avatar are willing to pay that price, then the all new Avatar Famestars program is for you! The exclusive avatar items awarded only in Avatar Famestars marks your avatar as a gaming star!

Avatar FameStar is a new program from Microsoft Studios that delivers new and exciting ways to play online with your friends and compete for social recognition. Every Avatar FameStar game lets players earn Fame by accomplishing weekly and one time challenges.

Dress your Avatar with exclusive new outfits and items, and show your achievements off to your friends and competitors. Avatar FameStar puts you in the spotlight, bringing Avatar FameStar games together to reward people who play and compete!

Earn Fame in a variety of games, including Wreckateer, and updates to Full House Poker and A World of Keflings to support the new program. As you earn Fame, unlock new avatar items and outfits, showing off your skills and achievements inside the games. Future titles that will support Avatar FameStar include Avatar Motocross Madness, Fire Pro Wrestling, and Homerun Stars. Keep an eye out for these and even more exciting new games!

Wreckateer uses the Kinect to put you in control of a massive castle-wrecking Ballista. With the help of Wreck and Tinker, use 6 magic projectiles to travel the land and destroy 60 castles.

Go all-in with Full House Poker! Play Texas Hold €˜Em against your friends and thousands of players worldwide, and bring your personality to the table with unique tells and unlockables galore. Save your player progression and winnings between sessions as you increase the stakes and make your mark as a Full House Poker pro!

Fire Pro Wrestling is a raucous, light-hearted party wrestling game featuring your Avatar. Body slam your friends and family alike. Engage in fun, fast-paced single player modes as well as great same screen and Xbox Live multiplayer Battle Royals for up to 4 of your friends. If you like co-op play try out 2-on-2 tag team matches with custom Tag team moves that can only be performed by 2 players working together. Fire Pro Wrestling also allows you to customize your avatar wrestling style and looks with over 300 unlockable apparel items and more than 300 different wrestling moves. New attacks, aerials, grapples, and finishing moves are at your fingertips as you build and grow your character through a robust RPG style progression system!


David Cage Talks Creating An ‘Emotional Experience’ With Beyond: Two Souls

David Cage, the CEO Quantic Dream, has always been ambitious in his game projects — a close look at Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain are all confirmations of that. Now, one of the leading storytellers in games today is looking to advance things even more with Beyond: Two Souls.

“My goal is to surprise people, to give them something they want without knowing they want it. I want to create an emotional journey, a unique experience,” says Cage. “I am not interested in giving them ‘fun’, I want to give them meaning; I don’t want to challenge their thumbs, I want to challenge their minds.”

“Maybe this is irrelevant or just overly ambitious,” he says. “Maybe this is not what most people out there actually want. But this is the goal I set myself with Beyond: to create something different.”

Source: Edge

Android Sales May Be Approaching Peak, Say Analysts

According to Strategy Analytics, Samsung is the leading seller of smartphones, with over half of the Android market. Troubling, though, is that U.S. sales of Android declined 5 percent year-over-year, implying that the platform may have reached its peak

U.S. smartphone sales trends reflected the slowdown globally, even though Android is still at 56 percent of all sales and remains the most dominant in the U.S. Still, that share was lost to Apple who has 33 percent of the market and was the only OS to have grown over last year (up 10 percent); RIM’s Blackberry stands at 1.6 million units sold or 6.5 percent of the market.

“This was one of the slowest growth rates ever experienced by the important U.S. smartphone market,” said Alex Spektor, associate director at Strategy Analytics. Some of the reasons given are economic issues, higher penetration of smartphones, and tighter upgrade policies to improve margins – roughly the same as they are for the global market.

Source: TechCrunch.com

Hobbit Film Series Now Officially a Trilogy

Peter Jackson recently posted on Facebook to say that looking at the first two Hobbit films in the editing room and were pleased with the story, characters and cast. To him and his wife (who has worked with him on all of his largest projects) they saw the opportunity as filmmakers and fans “to tell more of the tale.”

“We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance,” said Jackson. “The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.”

“So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of The Hobbit films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three,” announced Jackson. “It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, ‘a tale that grew in the telling’.”

Source: Facebook.com

Facebook: Growing To 1 Billion Members And Beyond

Facebook is set to hit 1 billion users by the end of 2012. Growing this number is helped by a dedicated team that helps influence nearly every aspect of Facebook, and has grown from just five people to 150.

Central to this group is Naomi Gleit, product manager and the second-longest-tenured Facebook employee. Her goal is making “Facebook available to everyone in the world” as she describes.

Growing Facebook is perhaps more vital than ever, given some signs that expansion is slowing down and disappointing results from Facebook’s fiscal report. Since Facebook’s initial public offering in May, its shares have fallen more than 22 percent, to about $29 per share.

Gleit joined Facebook in early 2005 after writing a thesis on how Facebook beat out a rival website called Club Nexus on the Stanford campus, and after being turned down for a position as assistant to then-President Sean Parker, she eventually landed a job on the marketing team. “She wanted to work at Facebook more than anything,” says Matt Cohler, an early executive at the company who hired Gleit and is now a general partner at the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.

Gleit pushed Facebook to expand beyond Ivy League schools to other colleges, followed by high schools, businesses, and, in 2006, to basically everyone. “My job has been, over the years, to remove barriers that are preventing people from joining Facebook,” says Gleit.

Gleit was the product management leader for the growth team when it was formed in 2007 because growth had cooled after reaching 100 million members. “She is someone that the engineers both tremendously respected and also feared,” says Palihapitiya, who left Facebook last year. “We used to call her ‘the Mom.'”

What helped the company expand was a deal with Google to show profiles in results and launching the “People You May Know” application. They later created a translation tool lets users in Spain, France, and Germany navigate the site in their native languages and within two years of its creation, the team had expanded Facebook’s roster of users sevenfold to 360 million.

Eventually, the goal of the GEM team (an acronym for growth, engagement, and mobile) was to keep existing members active and logging in from mobile devices.

Gleit wants to build “magic moments” in the site, and helped develop functions like the contact importer, which suggests friends based on names in a user’s e-mail address book. The next big opportunities are in emerging markets like India, where penetration still isn’t high for the site.

“There are still a lot of barriers in international markets, whether that be governmental barriers like in China, and occasionally Vietnam, or competitive barriers like VKontakte in Russia,” she says, referring to the Eastern European social network with more than 100 million users in that country.

Membership growth programs has become a mandatory part in many companies at Silicon Valley, with Quora, Dropbox, and Twitter all having their own now. While Facebook is staring down a billion users Gleit’s more interested in looking ahead. “1 billion is one-seventh of the world’s population,” she says.

Source: BusinessWeek.com

Tony Hawk HD Remake Passes Over 120,000 Sold First Week

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD sold 120,000 copies in its first week on sale. The game launched on Xbox Live Arcade, with a launch on PSN planned for August and on PC later this year.

Day-over-day sales have apparently been solid as the game has received good word of mouth. “It should be interesting to see the sales on PC — we’ve been surprised how many people are asking for that,” noted Josh Tsui of Robomodo.

Source: Gamasutra.com

E3 Staying In L.A. Until 2015

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will remain in Los Angeles for the next three years. E3 2013 will take place June 11-13, 2013, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, L.A. LIVE and a plethora of venues throughout downtown Los Angeles and the City.

“We are proud to partner with Los Angeles for another three years. The City serves as a strong backdrop for the video game industry’s biggest announcements and we look forward to remaining in LA,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, which represents U.S. video game industry. “Video games are a dominant force in the global entertainment marketplace and there is no better place to display that than Los Angeles. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the City and AEG.”

45,700 video game professionals, analysts, journalists and retailers from 103 countries attended E3 2012. The city of Los Angeles was notably eager to keep E3, as the thousands of people attending generated roughly $40 million in revenue for Los Angeles in three days.

“The City of Los Angeles is thrilled to welcome E3 back for another three years,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “My office was committed to doing whatever it took to keep the largest annual conference that the City hosts here for another three years. I personally joined in the negotiations, and we worked with all parties to ensure the needs of E3 would be met. The City is grateful the Entertainment Software Association continues to view L.A., the entertainment capital of the world, as the ideal location for the world’s premiere video game convention.”

The main threat to E3 remaining in Los Angeles were AEG’s plans for downtown Los Angeles that are scheduled to include a reduction in size of the Los Angeles Convention Center, a necessity for the planned development of the new Farmer’s Field. That concern has apparently been addressed with E3 now situated in multiple venues in close proximity.

“ESA’s commitment to remain in Los Angeles is a critical endorsement of Los Angeles as one of the nation’s most important convention destinations,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, president & CEO, AEG. “Working with ESA to provide the confidence in scheduling they have requested has truly been a collaborative effort. We are also grateful to ESA for their thoughtful input into the design plans which will result in the most efficient and modern facilities that will not only benefit E3 but all of the new conventions that will come to Los Angeles. On behalf of our City and AEG, thank you ESA, we won’t let you down.”

“ESA supports AEG’s mission and vision for downtown Los Angeles and the areas surrounding the Los Angeles Convention Center,” Gallagher added. “We appreciate AEG’s willingness to work in partnership with our organization to not only create a construction schedule to accommodate the needs of our guests but also their commitment to incorporate many of our suggestions into the design of the new venues. These resulting upgrades to the facility will truly benefit all conventions and further establish Los Angeles as industry leaders. We are glad we could come to an agreement that keeps E3 in its traditional home.”

Registration for attendees is not currently open, but additional info for hotel & travel accommodations, media credentialing and registration will be forthcoming and available at www.e3expo.com.


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