Relive The Year Through Twitter Highlights

Twitter has again created a visualizer to recap highlights of the past year both from within its network and the world at large. The site began featuring these in 2010, but this year’s is the best yet in terms of presentation, and most comprehensive for what it covers. Twitter is also introducing a novel feature that’s sure to live well into 2013 and beyond. Using third-party app Vizify, the visualizer’s “Your Year on Twitter” feature lets users create an infographic of their Twitter activity over the past year.

Maybe it’s because of all of those Windows 8 ads over the past few months, but there’s a hint of Microsoft’s OS in the site’s interface. It breaks down highlights of the year by category. Click on “Golden Tweets” and there as the headliner is President and First Lady Obama’s unforgettable embrace. Thankfully it looks like the first family didn’t use Instagram to send it out — the photo still works. There’s gamer love in there too, literally. Included is the touching wedding announcement tweet from anime voice talent Kouichi Yamadera and Rie Tanaka.

Believe it or not, Twitter gets news exclusives, and it’s not just Justin Beiber updates. Among two memorable 2012 events on “Only on Twitter,” one was in the heavens, the other in the depths below. JPL used a constant stream of tweets to keep the curious updated on Mars rover Curiosity. James Cameron sent a tweet from his exploration of the Mariana Trench, broadcasting the moment he became the second explorer to reach the bottom of the ocean’s deepest known area.

“Pulse of the Planet” is wonderful recap of just how varied what humankind can care about in a year can be. From the Olympics, the Super Bowl and Euro 2012 to the U.S. election and the defeat of SOPA/PIPA, and even tragedies like Super Storm Sandy, it’s amazing what we can rally around. For better or worse, there’s no sign of the fiasco surrounding the Mass Effect 3 ending.

Speaking of game flame wars, one might expect to see game industry highs and lows under “Trends,” which recaps the year’s top hashtags and followed topics. The only one on the list looks to be Draw Something, which shows up near the bottom of tech trends. Overall a quick peruse of Twitter’s “top” topics in tech, movies, music and even food raises the question of just how much of what trended was driven by negative rather than positive sentiment.

Last, and let’s call it least, Twitter shows us that no matter how late we think we adopted the site, there are those even later to the party. “New Voices” offers shocking revelations of recognizable people who sent their first tweets in 2012. One look at political figures catching on this late, for instance U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and it makes you want to short each and every one of their stocks for the next election. Except Paul Ryan, who’s already delisted.


Realize Your Inner Geek

Looking to learn more about the second season of Comic Book Men and the guys from Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash? Then you’ll want to explore the Comic Book Men Season 2 interactive press kit {link no longer active}. Set up like an online comic book, fans can flip through and check out embedded videos, animated versions of the guys’ comic book alter egos, photos from Season 2, comic book art inspired by the series, bios and more.


Hobbit Frame-Rate Seeing Negative Buzz

There’s a lot of hype leading up to the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. However, much of the reaction to the decision to show the movie at 48 frames per second has been decidedly more mixed.

Fizziology says that 60 percent of the conversation on social media platforms about the 48 frames per second version of The Hobbit is negative. By contrast, 30 percent is neutral and only 10 percent is positive.

48 frames per second, defying an 80-year industry standard of 24 FPS, is by far the most common complaint about The Hobbit on social media, making up 45 percent of negative conversations.  The two-hour, 49-minute running time for The Hobbit is number two at 13 percent.

The critical reviews of the “high frame rate” version of The Hobbit have been mixed, with some liking the higher quality of the visuals and others saying that the HD television show look makes some sets look fake. There have also been unverified reports that the high frame rate version made some viewers at the New Zealand premiere nauseated.

Still only about 450 theaters out of 4,000-plus in the U.S. and Canada will have the 48 FPS version of The Hobbit. Most will show the film at the standard 24 frames per second, either in 2-D or 3-D.

Fizziology reports that nearly 40 percent of all sentiment surrounding The Hobbit online is positive, compared with just 7 percent that’s negative.  With “tracking” surveys also being strong, The Hobbit is expected to open to more than $100 million this weekend.


Google Search Topped By Whitney Houston, PSY And Jeremy Lin

Google released their 12th annual list of the top searched for items, also known as the zeitgeist report. The top trending search item was Whitney Houston, due to the tragic death of the famous pop singer.

“On our 2012 Zeitgeist website, you can explore the most popular and hottest trending search terms from around the world,” said Amit Singhal, SVP & Google Fellow. “This year’s site is our most global to date, with a total of 838 lists from 55 countries. We’ve also added a number of new features, including an interactive map that shows where and when some of the hottest terms spiked around the world, and a Google Zeitgeist Android app {link no longer active} coming out later today (with an iOS version coming soon too).”

Jeremy Lin became the top searched for sports figure and Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s epic free fall jump made him the #6 globally trending person of the year. PSY’s Gangnam Style landed the #1 spot in many countries and making his song the second most trending query of 2012 and the top YouTube video of all time.“People researched a breadth of other topics, too. Web users took a serious interest in threats to the open Internet, with proposals like SOPA and ACTA both finding their way to the top of many countries’ lists. The U.S. elections brought attention to the candidates and issues, not least the presidential campaigns’ most notorious political gaffes. And while it might not be surprising to see that tragic natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy ranked highly (#3 on the global trending list), it is reassuring to find searches like [donate to Sandy] spiking as well,” said Singhal. “We hope you enjoy exploring what people around the world were searching for in 2012. It’s quite a snapshot of what makes us human: a blend of guilty pleasures and higher pursuits.”Source:

Humble THQ Bundle Raises Over $5 Million

The Humble THQ Bundle has concluded, selling a total of 885,285 bundles. The total amount raised from the bundle was over $5 million, or $5,097,376.36 to be exact.

The average price paid for the bundle of Red Faction: Armageddon, Darksiders, Metro 2033, Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor was $5.76. Those that paid over that amount received Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Saints Row: The Third, Titan Quest and the Path to War DLC for Red Faction: Armageddon!


Assassin’s Creed III Sells 7 Million Copies

Ubisoft revealed today that Assassin’s Creed III has sold over 7 million copies worldwide. In solo missions, gamers have played more than 82 centuries of gaming time, performing more than 3 billion in-game assassinations, while in multiplayer over 250 million assassinations have been performed in more than 5 billion multiplayer sessions.

“The reception for Assassin’s Creed III has been exceptional, and this success has positioned the game among the best sellers of the 2012 holiday season,” said Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Ubisoft. “We knew we had something special on our hands when Assassin’s Creed III was launched, and we’re really excited and proud to see how much fans are enjoying the latest installment in the franchise.”

Ubisoft has been seeing great success at retail with its holiday slate recently. In the UK, Just Dance 4, Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed III were all in the Chart-Track top 5 for the last week.

“We are delighted with the way these titles are performing in what has been a pretty tough year at retail,” Rob Cooper, U.K. managing director told GamesIndustry International. “This is a fantastic way to move into the all-important Christmas season and I’d like to close the year by thanking all our teams for their hard work in bringing these outstanding games to market.”

Valve Opens Steam Up To A Community Market

Valve has opened up the possibility of users buying and selling virtual goods with money from their Steam accounts, starting out with Team Fortress 2. Players will be able to list their items for up to $200, and Steam will take a 15 percent fee of any sale price.

“With over a half million trades made every week, the trading system has been very successful,” Valve’s Tony Paloma said in a statement. “Extending game economies beyond trades and giving players a way to turn gameplay into funds for new items and games is a key component for moving that success forward.”