Cut A Superbowl Ad, Get To Work On The Next Transformers

Doritos has launched this year’s Crash the Super Bowl contest and is raising the stakes higher than ever before. In a message direct to fans, acclaimed Hollywood film director Michael Bay and Doritos have announced that the grand prize will be an opportunity to work with Bay on the next installment of the Transformers movie franchise, along with a shot at a $1 million bonus.


The Crash the Super Bowl contest invites consumers to create homemade ads for the Doritos brand, with two finalist consumer-created spots ultimately airing during the Super Bowl broadcast. One of those ads will be selected by America’s votes; the other by the Doritos brand team. The finalist whose ad scores highest on the USA Today Ad Meter rankings will be awarded the grand prize-career opportunity working with Bay. In addition, if a consumer-generated Doritos ad scores No. 1 on the USA Today Ad Meter, the Doritos brand will award its creator a $1 million bonus. The Super Bowl XLVII broadcast is set for Sunday, February 3, 2013, on CBS.


Kixeye Strikes Back Against Zynga In Counterclaim

Kixeye has filled a counterclaim against Zynga, claiming the company violated California’s fair competition laws. The suit is a response against Zynga’s fillings against Alan Patmore, a former Zynga executive accused of stealing company secrets.

Kixeye, which was included in Zynga’s original suit, says that Zynga intended to grant itself a competitive advantage by intimidating its employees from leaving for Kixeye. Additionally, Kixeye claims that Zynga wanted to gain information from Kixeye and bog them down in litigation while they pursue mid-core market Kixeye has flourished in.

Kixeye is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting Zynga from interfering with the company’s employment rights, restitution and/or disgorgement, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, among other things.

“We believe Zynga is manipulating the legal process and fabricating claims against Kixeye to access our trade secrets,” said Kixeye CEO Will Harbin. “Their illustrious history of using their legal department to exploit and slander competitors that they can’t otherwise out-perform is well documented. We will not stand for it.”

“We will fight to our last breath to keep this predatory company from accessing our confidential information and best practices. We intend to defend ourselves from Zynga’s legal bullying for as long as it takes to reveal the truth – that Kixeye played no part in this,” added Harbin. “As we have stated previously, we have zero interest in Zynga’s IP or ‘trade secrets.’ Our games are categorically different from theirs in almost every way. Claiming that their failed business practices could inform ours further establishes their complete lack of understanding of the gaming business.”

Microsoft Appoints New U.K. Marketing Director

Microsoft has appointed Harvey Eagle as marketing director of interactive entertainment business in the U.K. He joined the company in 2000 as EMEA advertising manager and was most recently IEB category director for EMEA.

“I’m privileged to join a team that has already achieved leadership position in a market where the competition is fierce and ever-changing,” said Eagle. “Every single person on the planet likes to be entertained. When you think of Xbox as an entertainment service that will show up on any device, you realize our journey has only just begun.”

“Harvey brings with him a wealth of experience and I’m very excited to have him join the Retail Sales and Marketing team to lead the IEB business, in what is going to be a very exciting time,” said Microsoft’s head of U.K. retail sales and marketing division, Jonathan Grimes.

Black Ops II Midnight Sales Over 1 Million At GameStop

GameStop says that Call of Duty: Black Ops II managed to sell over a million copies at their stores on the first day alone. The game is estimated to sell between 6.5 million and 7.2 million units in the U.S. and U.K. in its first 24 hours, exceeding Modern Warfare 3, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson.

Black Ops II is shaping up to be our biggest game launch of all time,” said Tony Bartel, president of GameStop. “GameStop sold more than 1 million units worldwide during our midnight launch period.”


Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX Preview Coming

Paramount Pictures announced that it will release the first 9 minutes from Star Trek Into Darkness exclusively in IMAX 3D months prior to the film’s official release in May 2013. This sneak preview will play in approximately 500 digital IMAX 3D theaters beginning December 14.

“Our longtime partners J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and the Bad Robot team have really hit it out of the park — the footage is absolutely incredible,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President, IMAX Filmed Entertainment.  “Their use of the IMAX Camera and canvas is sure to impress current and future Star Trek fans alike, and we’re thrilled to once again work with our friends at Paramount Pictures to offer this extended ‘first look’ at this highly anticipated summer blockbuster.”

Clock Into The Industrial Revolution

Starting today, fans of Bioshock Infinite can start earning in-game items by playing BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution, a puzzle game in which you assume the role of a factory worker within the sky-city of Columbia. Complete increasingly difficult puzzles while learning more about the warring factions in the game and earning in-game rewards. You can only get access to BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution by pre-ordering BioShock Infinite at a participating retailer.

The game was made by the creators of Cogs and Lazy 8 and out-thinking the machine will grant you exclusive gear items: “Handyman Nemesis, Sugar Rush, and Fleet Feet” as well as bonus in-game cash, some background on Columbia’s warring factions, and a “Facebook pack” that “pledges your allegiance” for one side or the other publicly. Will you join stompy, top-hatted blue man or wrench-menacing red man

Zynga Loses Chief Financial Officer To Facebook

Zynga announced that David Wehner has left the company for a senior finance position at Facebook, and will be replaced by Mark Vranesh. Other moves in the company include David Ko’s promotion to chief operations officer, Barry Cottle’s appointment to chief revenue officer and Steven Chiang’s promotion to president of games.

“Dave remains a good friend to us all and we wish him success in his next role,” said Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga. “Mark, David, Barry and Steve are rooted in our culture, committed to our future and part of the talented bench of leadership at Zynga. I’m confident we have the right team to deliver on our mission of connecting the world through games and position us for long-term growth.”

“I have greatly enjoyed working closely with Mark Pincus and the rest of the team,” said Dave Wehner. “The time I spent at Zynga has been an exciting chapter in my career as we led the rapid development of social gaming. Mark Vranesh and I have been close partners during my tenure at Zynga and I wish my colleagues well as the company continues to deliver on its vision.”

StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm Gets Digital Deluxe And Collector’s Edition

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm has been confirmed for release on March 12, 2012. There will also be two special editions: a Collector’s Edition available at retail stores for $79.99, and a download-only Digital Deluxe Edition will be purchasable from Blizzard’s own store for $59.99.

The Digital Deluxe version of Heart of the Swarm features the Torrasque skin for Ultralisks, swarm-infested portraits, a Baneling companion pet for World of Warcraft, and zerg-like Blade Wings and a banner sigil for Diablo III. The Collector’s Edition of Heart of the Swarm includes the full version of the game on DVD-ROM, everything in the Digital Deluxe version along with a behind-the-scenes DVD and Blu-ray, a collector’s edition soundtrack CD, a 144-page Heart of the Swarm hardcover art book and a “Zerg Rush” mousepad.


Microsoft CEO Characterizes Early Surface Sales As ‘Modest’

Company CEO Steve Ballmer says that Surface tablet sales have been modest, partially because it’s available through only the Microsoft Store online and a handful of brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. The entry level model of the tablet initially sold out online.

As for stock shortages, Ballmer said, “It’s a good sign. [Microsoft will] fix this problem quickly”.

Ballmer also revealed that the high-definition model of Surface, which features a 3rd Gen Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 Processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000, 4GB of memory, and solid-state drives up to 128GB, will be released in the new year.