Darksiders II, Sleeping Dogs Sell Under 250k First Month

Reports are that Darksiders II managed 247,000 units for the August reporting period for the NPD, making it the best selling game during that month. Sleeping Dogs saw only 172,000 copies sold at retail; both games had PC versions, though those numbers were not tracked as they were digital releases and not at retail.

“I think that the sales are below what they had hoped for. I presume it sold around 500,000 globally in the first two weeks (the NPD cutoff was Aug 25), so it’s probably over 1 million now, but my understanding is that breakeven is greater than 2 million units, so it’s not likely to get much higher than that,” said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter of Darksiders II. “We should probably give it another month and see if it’s tracking better.”

This demonstrates the current difficulties with original IP in the AAA sphere these days. Despite generally favorable reviews and Metacritic scores in the mid-80s for both titles, they may not sell well enough to see sequels.


Steam Greenlight Announces First Approved Games

Valve has announced the first ten titles that have been approved via the Steam Greenlight submission program. The games are Black Mesa, Cry of Fear, Dream, Heroes & Generals, Kenshi, McPixel, No More Room in Hell, Project Zomboid, Routine and Towns; these games were the ten most popular on the Greenlight charts.

“The Steam community rallied around these titles and made them the clear choice for the first set of titles to launch out of Greenlight,” said Valve’s Anna Sweet. “Since launch, hundreds of titles have been submitted, with more coming in every day. We expect to be announcing more titles coming to Steam via Greenlight soon.”


Social Casino Games Booming Worldwide

According to a report by SuperData, social casino games are expected to hit $1.6 billion in worldwide revenue this year with the number of players doubling since 2010. Furthermore, the online games research firm expects the market to grow wildly on Facebook and increase to $2.4 billion by 2015.

“Both small social game developers and large land-based casino operators are looking at this new space,” said Janelle Benjamin, SuperData’s vice president of research, “With declining margins in the overall social games segment, casino-style games offer a healthy growth potential.”

SuperData estimates that the average social casino gamer spent $78 in July or nearly double the amount the average social gamer spent ($43). Those numbers refer to the average revenue per paying user, since most users in free-to-play games pay nothing at all.

The U.S. is the largest market for social casino games with $660 million in annual spending from 35.4 million monthly users, followed by Europe ($446 million) and Asia ($311 million). Latin America spends $180.7 million on social games, while Australia spends $59.8 million.

Source: SuperDataResearch.com


Microsoft Patents 3D Projection Gaming

Microsoft is at least thinking about a sort of “Immersive Display Experience” that could change gaming. The idea seems to involve using something like a Kinect to read the details of a room and project game images using wide-angle RGB projectors with a combined 360-degree field.

There are adjustments in the technology to account for a player’s peripheral vision and when they look to either side. The 360-degree display unit could also work with the depth camera to avoid shining light in users’ eyes or distracting them with moving images projected onto their bodies.


Game Connection Rolling Out Marketing Awards

Game Connection Europe has announced that it will be launching the Game Connection Marketing Awards. The awards are designed to recognize outstanding work in marketing and communications from across the breadth of the video game industry worldwide, from PR and advertising, to community and digital.

“The Marketing Awards are comprised of seven main categories, with all submissions automatically entered for the eighth category of ‘Best Videogame Marketing Team 2012,'” said Game Connection Europe. “The awards are open to anyone working in video game marketing and communications, whether in-house with a publisher or developer, at an agency, or independent. Those wishing to submit campaigns for consideration can do so as many times as they like and across as many different categories as are applicable.”

Game Connection is accepting submissions for the Marketing Awards from until October 11 with more information at Game-Connection.com/Marketing-Awards. Game Connection Europe 2012 will take place this November 28-30 at Porte de Versailles in Paris, France.


Amazon Shows Path Forward From Boring PowerPoint Presentations

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos used PowerPoint in his recent Kindle Fire presentation, but he did so differently than many companies have done in the past. Instead of bulletpoints, he used slides that were light on text and heavy on images.

“The typical PowerPoint slide has forty words,” writes Carmine Gallo. “It was nearly impossible to find forty words on ten slides of the Amazon presentation. Bezos told the story behind the new products in images and text. I’ve discussed this technique before in more detail but in short, it’s called Picture Superiority. It simply means that the brain processes information more effectively when the information is presented in pictures and words instead of words alone. Neuroscientists have also found that when a slide (or advertisement) contains pictures and words, it’s best to have the picture on the left side of the page or slide and words on the right. This is exactly what Bezos did for a majority of his slides.”

Bezos introduced the new Kindle Fire HD with slides that just had images and very elemental words, like movies, games, photos. The final slide simply had ‘Kindle Fire HD, 7″ 16GB, $199.’

The presentation also included the Kindle Paperwhite. Notably, instead of just saying that it has eight weeks of battery life, it showed a picture of a calendar with the months September and October starting with the day of the presentation, connecting watchers to the presentation.

“I know what some of you are thinking — it works for Bezos because he’s revealing products that people can see and touch,” noted Gallo. “Let me be clear — picture superiority works in any presentation, even for the most complex ideas. I recently gave a presentation on the topic of communication and storytelling to scientists at one of America’s largest nuclear labs. One person implemented the techniques immediately and sent me an email, saying it helped him deliver one of the most persuasive presentations of his career.”

“In no way am I advocating that you ditch PowerPoint. I am recommending that you ditch PowerPoint as we know it — dull, wordy, and overloaded with bullet points. Image-rich presentations work effectively because pictures appeal to the right hemisphere of the brain — the emotional side. You can have great ideas backed up by data and logic, but if you don’t connect with people emotionally, it doesn’t matter,” concluded Gallo.

Source: Forbes.com


Guild Wars 2: Our Time Is Now

Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) worked on this launch trailer for Guild Wars 2, building on the tagline “Our Time is Now”. Produced by ArenaNet and the Ayzenberg Group, this spot focuses on the stasis of MMORPGs as a genre and how Guild Wars 2 seeks to break through that.


Steam Gets The Big Picture

Valve rolled out a major update to their Steam digital distribution service in Big Picture, a new full-screen user interface optimized for readability and interaction on TV (whether this is a first step towards Valve getting into hardware is anyone’s guess).  Valve rolled out this trailer to complement the launch; it’s very Google-esque in its visuals and narration.

NBA 2K13 — Victory

NBA 2K13 is shaping up to be one of the best sports title of the next year, building on the momentum the series has had. Providing the official trailer is Momentous, setting it to Victory by Puff Daddy & the Family.

Zynga Chief Marketing Officer Resigns

Zynga Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Karp has resigned from the company. The Electronic Arts veteran joins former Zynga COO John Schappert as prominent EA veterans who have left the social game company recently.

“Jeff Karp is leaving Zynga, and the groups in his organization have been realigned under appropriate existing divisions,” Zynga said in a statement. “Our marketing and revenue teams have always been industry leaders, and as we continue our transition toward mobile and multiplatform game creation and distribution, their continued execution will be key to our future success. We are grateful to Jeff for his contributions over the last year and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Source: VentureBeat