ElfYourself Comes To YouNow.com

OfficeMax has released the seventh version of its ElfYourself holiday app. This year, they are bringing the ability to turn yourself into a holiday elf to YouNow.com. In mid-December, ElfYourself will come to iOS, letting people create ElfYourself eGreetings on-the-go. View the original website, where over 470 million customized videos have been created, at ElfYourself.com.


PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale Pixel Ad Work

Aled Lewis was commissioned to create three pieces for the launch of PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale. These 16-bit images are composites of classic images from films and some characters from the game, like Fat Princess taking on the 72 steps in Rocky, Jak and Ratchet squaring off Reservoir Dogs style and Kratos and Sackboy go one-on-one in the final All Valley Karate Tournament in The Karate Kid.

The work for Vice Magazine U.K. appeared on a 20 meter long, 10 meter high billboard on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch.

Source: Facebook.com

Black Friday Weekend Sales Up Estimated 6 Percent For 2012

Merchants raked in an estimated $59.1 billion in sales from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday during Black Friday sales, up from $52.4 billion a year earlier, according to the National Retail Federation. Millions flocked to stores and browsed online, and spending per shopper jumped 6 percent to $423.

“Everyone is feeling very bullish,” said Matthew Shay, chief executive of the National Retail Federation. “We are really seeing a five-day weekend that started on Thursday and ends on Monday. The entire week is really getting extended with special promotions that roll out in waves.”

Shoppers were drawn in by sales offers earlier than ever before, some as early as 8 PM Thanksgiving day. 30 percent of consumers who went out shopping over the long weekend were in stores by midnight Thanksgiving, of which 40 percent were between the ages 18 and 34.

The Thursday deals likely sapped some enthusiasm for Friday sales, as it was estimated that Black Friday sales were down 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion. “There was definitely more hype this year for Black Friday, and the shoppers came out in droves,” said James Rushing, a partner in the retail practice at consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

A positive sign for sellers in their confidence in the economy is that sales prices for 75 percent or more off were far rarer. “Retailers are feeling more confident about consumer sentiment,” said Kearney. “They were more focused on making a profit” rather than just making the sale, which “has potential to lead to a stronger fourth quarter.”

Despite the good returns, there’s still concern over the “fiscal cliff,” where tax hikes and spending cuts go into effect at the first of the year. “The economic concern is still out there as are the political concerns,” Shay said. “For that reason people are more prepared this holiday season to spend what they got and look for value, because of what might happen next year.”

“It was quite apparent this year the self-gifting process during Black Friday was on the rise,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, estimating at least a quarter of shoppers treated themselves to a present over the weekend.

Source: LA Times.com

Wii U First Week Sales At 400,000 In U.S.

Nintendo has revealed that the Wii U has sold roughly 400,000 hardware units during its first week of availability. The original Wii saw 300,000 systems sold and the DS outsold the 3DS 275,000 to 250,000; the 3DS has seen 6 million units sold in its first 21 months on sale.

“Wii U is essentially sold out of retail and we are doing our best to continually replenish stock,” said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. “Retailers are also doing their best to get the product to store shelves. But as soon as product hits retail, they’re selling out immediately.”

Despite Fils-Aime’s assertions, the Wii U is still available at a smattering of retail locations around the U.S. and can still be readily purchased online.

Source: CNET

Mass Effect Future Crowd Sourced On Twitter

Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson has taken to Twitter to ask fans what future incarnations of the franchise will look like. “Parsing through your thoughts on the next #ME game,” he asked. “Would you be more interested in a game that takes place before the trilogy, or after ”

Responses have been many and varied to the query. Some don’t want to experience the Mass Effect universe after the end of the trilogy, taking into account the various happenings at that conclusion, and others want the series to move on instead of trying to fill narrative holes from the past.

A fourth main Mass Effect game has been confirmed to be in development at BioWare Montreal. It is unknown if Hudson is polling for the announced game or some unannounced project for BioWare Edmonton, where he is based and the majority of Mass Effect development had taken place in the past.

Source: Twitter.com

Warface Has 5 Million Registered Users In Russia

Crytek announced that Warface has reached the 5 million registered players mark in Russia. Published by Mail.Ru Group, the game hit a million registered users in its first month after launch.

“Reaching the five million registered users mark speaks volumes about the quality and appeal of Warface,” said Mail.Ru’s Vladimir Nikolsky. “With a combination of first-class visuals and game play that is second to none, Warface stands out from the crowd and promises to attract even more attention from players in the future.”

Warface was also recently given a Runet Award for its contribution to the Russian-language Internet.

DmC Dev Diary 3 – Becoming Dante

Probably the most controversial change with the Devil May Cry series reboot DmC is Dante, partially for his looks but also for his voice. Now you get a chance to meet the man behind both the voice and mo-cap work for the new Dante in Tim Phillips, veteran of Neighbors, Animal Kingdom, The Secret Circle and Once Upon a Time.

The Last Story Most Successful Game In XSeed History

XSeed Games has announced that it is releasing a standalone copy of The Last Story to retailers for $29.99 in order to meet demand. Any remaining copies of the premium launch units, available with a bonus 44-page softcover art book packaged together with the game in a custom outer box, are now available for $39.99.

The Last Story has been an amazing title for XSeed Games and it has become our most successful title to date,” said Ken Berry, Executive Vice President at XSeed Games. “This is a must have title for RPG fans, and we’re looking forward to more players discovering the magic that lies in Lazulis Island.”

To read more about The Last Story, read this exclusive [a]list interview.

Google Maps May Return To iOS

Reports are that Google is preparing a version of Google Maps for iOS 6. A nearly completed version of the app is believed to be in the hands of people outside of the company already as part of an ongoing test.

Apple was deeply criticized for removing the Google Maps App from the latest version of iOS. A major Apple executive was reportedly fired for refusing to publicly apologize for the incident.

Source: WSJ.com

Game Industry Veterans Weigh In On Wii U

The reception to the launch of the Wii U has been mixed by many people, and that’s reflected in opinions that have come out from the media and people in the industry. Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is among those that are pessimistic, but former Xbox executive Robbie Bach is more bullish, even if he thinks Nintendo should bring its games to other systems

“I actually am baffled by it,” said Bushnell of the Wii U. “I don’t think it’s going to be a big success,” he continued, suggesting that only hardcore gamers would be interested in purchasing a new games machine when the current-gen is still delivering great games. “These things will continue to sputter along, but I really don’t think they’ll be of major import ever again. It feels like the end of an era to me.”

Nolan Bushnell

“It’s the hardest strategic decision Nintendo has had to face in a long time. Would Mario on an iPhone be an interesting property I think yes, it would.” said Bach, adding of the future of the Wii U, “I’ve learned not to count the Nintendo guys out.”

Source: New York Times