Motion City Soundtrack Goes 8-bit

Motion City Soundtrack recently launched an 8-bit video game where fans can play as their favorite band member. The game is the classic tale of a man on a mission to rescue a woman who ended up on the other side of a treacherous 8-bit obstacle course. After beating the game, you are awarded a free download of an 8-bit version of their new single, True Romance from the album, “Go”. You can check out the game now by clicking here.

Nintendo Characters Will Invade Scribblenauts Unlimited

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and 5th Cell announced that they are working with Nintendo to add even more themed bonus content to Scribblenauts Unlimited for Wii U. This will allow players to create dozens of characters and items from the Mario and Legend of Zelda franchises.

“Players will delight in producing fantastical and sometimes hilarious interactions between the Mario and Legend of Zelda characters and objects, alongside everyone’s favorite word-wielding Scribblenauts adventurer, Maxwell,” announced Warner Bros. “Discovered Nintendo characters and objects will behave in the fun and fantastical ways they do in their respective game worlds.”

Future Appoints New Head Of Entertainment

Clair Porteous has been named head of entertainment group at publisher Future. She’s overlooked the company’s digital brands Total Film,, Official Xbox Magazine and and will now oversee all their properties, which include the official U.K. Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation magazines.

“The growth of the entertainment group is crucial as we continue our development as a borderless, digital business,” said Nial Ferguson, group publishing director for technology and entertainment at Future. “Clair’s drive and desire to accelerate the growth plans made her the perfect candidate to lead the strong entertainment management team through the next phase of the portfolio’s evolution.”

“Digital acceleration is at the heart of Future’s strategy for its thriving entertainment brands,” she added. “The strength of our pillar brands means we’re building on extremely solid foundations. And – as the last year has shown us – there is tremendous growth potential in the digital space for our games and film properties, online and on mobile devices like iPad.”

Google Finds Gaming Secondary To Only Email On Tablets

According to a Google study, 51.5 percent of participants used their tablet for gaming in a two-week period. Gaming represented an average of 10.9 percent of the total incidents of use.

Checking email was done by 84.5 percent of participants, with 18.9 percent total incidents of use, making it the only activity with a more favorable combination. The study found that gaming was apparently more popular than watching video and social networking.


Joystick Labs Decelerates Accelerator Program

Joystick Labs announced that it is ending its accelerator program for video game developers. Launched in 2010, it was designed to help digitally distributed video game developers start their own studios while retaining their IP.

“It has become very difficult for an independent developer to get noticed,” explained managing director John Austin. “For every Angry Birds, there are literally tens of thousands of great companies not getting noticed.”

“It think it’s a blow any time we lose resources,” said Ben Brooks, a partner with Raleigh venture capital firm Southern Capitol Investor. “I think accelerators can be important to young, inexperienced entrepreneurs who haven’t been down the road.”

Source: News & Observer {link no longer active}

Disney Yearns For Digital Relevancy

Walt Disney Company has redesigned its primary web site for the third time in five years. The media conglomerate is desperate to turn around its gaming, mobile and Internet division after 15 consecutive quarters of losses, adding up to nearly $1 billion.

Disney CEO Robert Iger is optimistic about new products, which include an ambitious and unannounced gaming initiative code-named Toy Box. It’s been a huge concern to investors that the company has not been able to figure this out.

“We’ve been waiting for years and years and years,” said Jessica Reif Cohen, a senior analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “For traditional media companies, this really does seem like a totally different skill set.”

While Disney used the Disney Channel as its introduction to many young people, they know that is important to the next generation of consumers. Major companies like Time Warner with AOL, News Corp. with MySpace and Viacom with Harmonix have had a hard time with new media, and Disney in 2001 took $878 million in charges to close its portal.

Among recent failings of the company were Epic Mickey, which went through six years of development and came out on the Wii when that system’s fortunes were starting to fade. Disney also had six AAA development studios at one time poised for console development, but weren’t readily ready when attention shifted to mobile and social games, having to buy out Playdom for $563 million in 2010.

Leading Disney Interactive’s latest quest for profitability are James Pitaro, a former Yahoo executive, and John Pleasants, Playroom’s former CEO. They quickly cut costs through a series of layoffs and have shut down three of Disney’s console game studios.

“We can’t expect to grow in reach and engagement if we’re just focused on marketing,” Pitaro said.

One major change is reaching out to external websites, enhancing the company’s presence on YouTube, spending up to $15 million to make original Web series. One of them, based on Outfit7’s Talking Friends apps, has generated over 102 million views in only a few months and Disney now operates more than 60 YouTube channels.

“We have to take our content to our guests wherever they are,” said Pitaro.

One of their best new prospects is Swampy, an alligator who stars in Disney’s mobile game Where’s My Water?  The game has over 100 million downloads, has spawned a toy line and been added to Typhoon Lagoon, a Walt Disney World water park, with a Swampy short series planned for the Disney Channel.

A lot of emphasis is being made for Toy Box, a console game with extensive mobile and online applications in which various Pixar and Disney characters will interact with each another. “I’m excited about what we’ve already done and where we’re going,” said Pleasants, adding that Disney has had three No. 1 apps in the last six months.

Pleasants, whose contract expires in 2014, said “it would be an honor to be asked to stay. We have a long way to go, but we have a plan and just need to execute it.”

Source: New York Times

Big Fish Lands Chris Williams

Big Fish announced that it has appointed Chris Williams as vice president and general manager of its free-to-play division. His responsibilities will include overseeing the company’s growth in free-to-play both in the mobile marketplace and Big Fish’s PC and Mac app store.

“With the explosion of mobile and social games over the last 4 years, new gaming styles and player behaviors are starting to emerge. F2P games are at the forefront of that growth and Big Fish is extremely well positioned to take advantage of this with its huge total global audience of more than 70 Million casual gamers and its portfolio of more than 3000 games,” said Williams. “I am excited to be working with such a content-rich company, and look forward to working with its network of more than 550 developers, as well as its in-house teams, to help create the most playable and fun F2P games in the market.”

PlayStation Teasers – The Aftermath & The Arrival

Following up on Sony’s enigmatic The Reload trailer, they’ve continued with two more teasers titled The Aftermath and The Arrival. With nods to Cole from InFamous and Nathan Drake from Uncharted, along with the appearance of Sly Cooper’s cane and Sweet Tooth’s blade, it seems pretty likely that this is setting up something for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.


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