Explore The World Of Reading Rainbow

Hosted by LeVar Burton, the Reading Rainbow app offers a trusted library of books customized to a kid’s interests, plus exciting video field trips to meet fascinating people and places.

Travel to themed islands, such as Animal Kingdom, My Friends, My Family and Genius Academy, and discover quality fiction and non-fiction books.

Each book comes alive with audio storytelling by celebrity actors, including spoken word Grammy winner Levar Burton himself, and features light animations and activities to enhance the story.

The app is free with a subscription service of $9.99 a month recurring or at an introductory price of $29.99 for six months recurring.


Battlefield Premium At 800,000 Users

Electronic Arts announced that its Battlefield Premium service for Battlefield 3 has acquired more than 800,000 users in roughly two weeks. The service discounts and offers early access to expansions like the recently-released Close Quarters, and offers other benefits.

“We are very pleased with the performance so far. We’re actually only two weeks into it, so it’s a little early to tell how this is going to pay off,” said EA Games Label executive vice president Patrick Soderlund. “It certainly it looks very promising right now.”

Source: USA Today

Facebook Could Dominate Advertising Through Relationships

Facebook has the potential to change digital advertising as we know it. However, Facebook’s recent revenue from advertising hasn’t equaled their recent growth estimates, as many people who bought into their IPO have sadly discovered.

“The key is in a single idea, and Facebook is singularly able to deliver on it: SELL RELATIONSHIPS, NOT IMPRESSIONS,” writes Ben Elowitz. “The first 100 years of brand advertising was built on the paradigm of a captive audience with interruption advertising in TV, radio, print, and online. That created a $540 billion market to reach a mostly-right audience at the mostly-right time, with a sometimes-right message delivered via occasionally-great creative. The basic idea being that if you reach those people with enough frequency and decent creative, they’ll eventually hear your message. But never, ever, ever has any brand had an advertising platform that could create a relationship with a consumer before she makes a purchase… until now.”

The ability to sell relationships, not just impressions, puts Facebook on a higher plane than most websites. Elowitz advises Facebook not to open itself to extensive banner ads like MySpace did, because that reduces the value of the site’s advertising.

“By creating truly original ad products that have no comparables in the market, Facebook will be able to create and sustain its own price point,” said Elowitz. “And because Facebook is the only game in town when it comes to selling consumer relationships at full scale, they have a lock on that market. Scarcity of sources with huge reach and a product that cements relationship for life could be a killer combination.”

Google currently dominates the direct response advertising market with AdWords and AdSense, forming a direct link between the cost and value of an ad. Facebook, however, has a chance to be the king of brand advertising, which could be many times the size of direct response advertising.

“What’s more, advertisers have been pent up, waiting to invest in brand advertising on the web,” said Elowitz. “To date, they’ve allocated only 40 percent of their online ad spend to branding, even though more broadly brand advertising garners 90 percent. As a relationship broker, Facebook is the one who can convince them to spend. Just as Google proved the value of direct marketing online, Facebook can prove that brand relationships can be built more effectively on social media than through any magazine spread.”

Smart magazine advertisements can convince viewers that they are part of the content. Online ads, however, are seen as the price users must pay for free content, and some brands like Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton see online advertising as an image liability.

“Facebook is poised for this challenge. Zuckerberg has always put the user experience forever ahead of revenue today,” noted Elowitz. “He knows better than to devalue the audience’s experience with advertising products that serve advertisers while frustrating users. No doubt advertisers – not to mention Wall Street investors – will continue to be annoyed by their second-class status in the short term, but Facebook’s unyielding focus on user experience will serve all their constituencies well in the end.”

Facebook has very valuable data from its 900 million users. Still, the social network has smartly kept user data scarce to advertisers, which will benefit them in the long run.

“Even in the most recent FBX announcement (an enhancement to its least valuable form of advertising), Facebook kept their own dataset out of it completely, allowing use of third-party data only. When it comes time to sell, or more realistically, lease, that data, Facebook will do it with tight controls and at a huge premium,” added Elowitz. “Remember: the media industry was once robust and profitable. What was different then The targets were the same, but the ways to reach them were fewer.”

One of the biggest opportunities for Facebook down the line is offering the above services to other publishers on the web. By potentially using Facebook’s data to inform their advertising it could both benefit the advertisers and put more value back into Facebook and increase their revenues to boot.

“This is a huge opportunity for the entire digital media industry. Online advertising has become a commodity (thanks, Google!). Facebook is digital media’s one best hope to reverse that trend and make online advertising more valuable than offline advertising by tenfold. Google took direct marketing and made it extremely efficient, allowing advertisers to spend less. Facebook has something to sell that might actually make advertisers open their wallets more: a magic brand relationship machine that far exceeds the value of transactional clicks. Wall Street would much rather that Facebook ignored the five rules above, because Wall Street wants profits now. Facebook wants profits forever. May the latter prevail,” concluded Elowitz.

Source: AdWeek


Clandestine Martial Arts Project Kicks Off At Kickstarter

Chris Cowan and Haile Lee are looking to fund their new movie project called Clandestine. As the creators of 20 martial arts shorts including Naruto Shippuden: Dreamers Fight I and II and Street Fighter X Tekken: The Devil Within, they’ve gotten over 13 million views and want $75,000 to do something bigger.

“When was the last time you saw a martial arts film that left you panting We’re talking about gritty, blood and sweat, bone crunching epics where you feel the pain, wince at every blow, root for characters in every fight. We’re talking about fight films where the storyline does as much as the action in keeping you on the edge of your seat,” wrote the co-directors. “With your help, we’ll deliver the next one. We’ll make filmmaking history. We’ll bring back the martial arts epic with Clandestine.”

To find out more about the project and contribute, visit Kickstarter.com.

Wii U Online Service Won’t Be Subscription

During a recent investor event, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata was asked how much the Wii U service would cost. Iwata said that they considered a few options, but they’re going with unpaid for various reasons.

“Iwata said that he doesn’t necessarily reject the idea of a paid service that allows not just Wii U but various other devices to connect to Nintendo Network,” read a synopsis. “However, when considering Nintendo’s users, a paid membership service is not the best approach. By having everyone use the Miiverse together, word of mouth will more easily spread. This will lead to greater hardware and software sales.”

Source: Andriasang.com

Secret World Developers Working On Lego Project

Funcom has announced that they’re working on an MMO with Lego. The developers working with the plastic block maker to create a “widely accessible” game based on Lego Minifigures.

“The market for family-friendly online experiences intended for children and youngsters is brimming with potential,” says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “Being able to work with a world-renowned brand such as the Lego brand to develop an MMO for this audience is incredibly exciting to us as game developers and for Funcom as a company.”

Sony Scoops Up Gaikai

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) announced that it will acquire Gaikai for $380 million. SCE will establish a new cloud service as a result, almost certainly aligned with the PlayStation brand.

“By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences,” said Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices.”

“SCE has built an incredible brand with PlayStation and has earned the respect of countless millions of gamers worldwide,” said David Perry, CEO of Gaikai Inc., “We’re honored to be able to help SCE rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide.”

Adult Swim And Valve Give Out Chicken Hat

The collaboration between Adult Swim and Valve turned out to be . . . a hat. Those that sign up for the newsletter will receive a chicken hat for Team Fortress 2 . . . though that won’t be it between Adult Swim and Valve.

“You can rock it no matter what your class, you lucky so-and-so,” writes Adult Swim. “Sign up for the newsletter below to receive your Steam promo code. Then you’ll be the first to know when we have MORE new stuff coming down the ol’ Steam pipe-hole . . . Because this ain’t the last you’ll hear from Adult Swim and Valve. Stay tuned.”

Source: AdultSwim.com

Battlefield Developer Thinks Mobile Gaming Good For Gaming Industry

There’s some resistance from certain gamers and some traditional elements of the gaming industry against mobile gaming. However, DICE GM Karl Magnus Troedsson is willing to embrace this new trend.

“Yes, people are playing more on their mobile devices, but I don’t see people playing on other SKUs as a problem for triple-A developers, it’s actually the contrary,” he said. “I think people engaging in any kind of gaming is good for all games, because it means that people will play more.”

“People are generally correct that things are changing, and a lot of people in this industry are acknowledging that – some people don’t want to see it, though. But I would also say the people who are painting such a grim picture of where we’re going are wrong,” he explained. “I consider myself to be a hardcore, triple-A kind of player, and I definitely play more on my mobile devices now, but I don’t play less on my other devices as a result. When I’m home, I want to play games with the absolute most hi-def, best audio, best visuals that I can get out of a gaming session. And that will come from dedicated hardware or a very high-end PC.”

Source: Edge

BioWare Admits Mass Effect 3 Director’s Cut Won’t Please Everyone

BioWare recently announced that the free ‘Directors Cut’ DLC for Mass Effect 3 will arrive free of charge on June 26. While it will expand on the original ending by offering extra details for decisions players have made throughout the series, it will not fundamentally change the way the game ends, and executive producer Casey Hudson knows this will disappoint some people.

“Ultimately our passion is entertaining people, so delighting them with our stories and giving them amazing worlds to escape to, that’s what we love to do, so in this medium it just wouldn’t make sense for us to make some kind of artistic statement, and then turn our backs on it forever,” said Hudson.

“There was some feedback that we can’t address,” added Hudson. “There are people who just outright rejected the whole concept of the endings, and wanted us to start from scratch and redo everything. And we can’t do that because that’s not our story, we wouldn’t know how to write that story. What excites us is the challenge of learning how people consume our stories, so it’s a learning process for everybody. And then incorporating that feedback, that’s how we make our work better.”

Source: OXM.co.uk