Nintendo Rolls Out Digital Deluxe Promotion

Nintendo launched its Digital Deluxe promotion site for users that purchased a Wii U Deluxe model and any games from the eShop. Signing in using a Nintendo ID, users can enter retail codes or redeem digital purchases to get 10 percent back in points.

Those with at least 500 points can trade them in for an activation code worth $5 of eShop credit. Ineligible for the promotion are items purchased within the Wii compatibility mode, anything on the 3DS eShop or any subscriptions.

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Google: Android Winning Over iOS

There is some debate whether Android has surpassed iOS in the smartphone market, given the greater developer support for iOS at the moment. However, Google chairman Eric Schmidt thinks that the 1.3 million Android devices activated every day and the 72 percent share last quarter of the mobile market point to a clear Android victory.

“This is a huge platform change,” he said. “This is of the scale of 20 years ago: Microsoft versus Apple. We’re winning that war pretty clearly now.”

“The core strategy is to make a bigger pie,” he added. “We will end up with a not perfectly controlled and not perfectly managed bigger pie by virtue of open systems.”

Source: Bloomberg

The Secret World Opens Up Business Model

Funcom has eliminated the mandatory subscription from The Secret World, assuming a model not unlike Guild Wars 2. Those that maintain their subscription will receive points to spend on virtual goods, while all missions, abilities and equipment will be available to all players.

“Everyone who has purchased (or will purchase) the game can now enjoy the full game without being required to sign-up for a monthly fee,” said Funcom senior community manager Tarib. “This means that all of the heralded story-line and all of the game content available right now can be played as you please without requiring any additional payment.”

Naughty Dog Fought For Ellie’s Placement On The Last Of Us Box

The box art for The Last Of Us features protagonist Ellie very prominently. According to Ashley Johnson, who voices the young character, there was some push back against that idea from the marketing team.

“I feel like they don’t put women on the covers because they’re afraid that it won’t sell,” said Johnson. “It’s all gamers really know – and I don’t want to be sexist by any means – but I get the feeling, generally, that they think game’s won’t sell as well with a woman on the cover, compared to some badass dude on the front.”

“I agree with what Ashley said,” said Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann. “I believe there’s a misconception that if you put a girl or a woman on the cover, the game will sell less. I know I’ve been in discussions where we’ve been asked to push Ellie to the back and everyone at Naughty Dog just flat-out refused.”

Source: VG247

FTC Says Apps For Children Frequently Share Data

The Federal Trade Commission released a study that found most mobile apps for kids are secretly collecting information from children including device IDs, phone numbers, locations, and other private information without their parents’ knowledge or consent. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the mobile apps the FTC reviewed from the Google Play and Apple App stores transmitted the device ID and often shared that ID with an advertising network, analytics company or another third party and 14 also transmitted the location of the device and the phone number, the FTC found.

“While we think most companies have the best intentions when it comes protecting kids’ privacy, we haven’t seen any progress when it comes to making sure parents have the information they need to make informed choices about apps for their kids. In fact, our study shows that kids’ apps siphon an alarming amount of information from mobile devices without disclosing this fact to parents,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a written statement. “All of the companies in the mobile app space, especially the gatekeepers of the app stores, need to do a better job. We’ll do another survey in the future and we will expect to see improvement.”

“Illicit data collection from their mobile phones and tablets places kids at risk,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “No one should get access to kids’ data, especially geo-location information, without prior consent from a parent.”


U.S. Has Most Dedicated Gamers: GameTrack

GameTrack is reporting that U.S. gamers are more numerous, play across more devices, and are more interested in online gaming than gamers in the U.K. In the realm of online, 48 percent of U.S. gamers prefer that compared to 42 percent who play packaged games, with 27 percent of those online that play through browsers.

By contrast, the U.K. and the rest of Europe spend comparatively less time with online products and game apps.  That said, from a dollars viewpoint, packaged games still generate the majority of revenue.

U.S. gamers are more likely to play all three, packaged, online and apps, at a rate of 17 percent. The numbers are significantly smaller in Europe, with 5 percent in the U.K., 3 percent in France and Spain and 2 percent in Germany.

“Amongst kids, gaming across categories is more common than it is amongst adults, pointing to a future gamer comfortable playing across different platforms. Kids’ convergence is strongest in the UK, where 36 per cent of kids play all categories,” says GameTrack. “This is some way ahead of Germany, where for example, only 9 per cent of kids play all three categories. The U.S. doesn’t have quite as much difference between adults (17 percent) and kids (22 per cent) playing all three gaming types.”

In the U.S. the PC is the most popular medium for playing games, followed by consoles. In the U.K. it was a tie between the PC and consoles, while the PC was tops overall across all countries.

The U.S. had the most gamers and the highest percentage, with 165 million having played a game within the past 12 months, equivalent to 68 percent of the population. France was number two at 49 percent (29 million people) while the U.K. was third with 35 percent (20 million people).

Hotline Miami Sales At 130,000

Hotline Miami has sold 130,000 copies in seven weeks, impressive returns for the ultra-violent indie title from Devolver Digital. But despite (or perhaps because of) efforts to make sure those pirating the game didn’t receive a buggy version, project manager Graeme Struthers says the game has been extensively pirated.

“It has been torrented to such a staggering level, and given the file size of it, I mean, you can’t really be surprised, right You could pass this thing around on the world’s smallest memory stick,” said Struthers. “So it has been torrented to extraordinary levels.”

Source: Eurogamer

GameStop To Carry Kindle Fire Tablets

GameStop has announced that the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will be available at all GameStop retail locations, while the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD and the 7-inch Kindle Fire will only be available at select locations, available for $199.99, $299.99 and $159.99 respectively. Those who purchase one of the Kindle Fire tablets at GameStop through January 31, 2013 will get a $25 Amazon gift card.

“Gaming is one of the most popular activities on Kindle Fire, so we’re excited that GameStop is offering the new Kindle Fire family to its customers,” said Amazon Kindle vice president Mike McKenna. “Kindle Fire HD, with its stunning custom HD display, gyroscope and accelerometer with full tilt and turn controls is great for gaming, and the perfect choice for GameStop’s enthusiastic customer base.”

“Android tablets are topping many holiday lists, so it’s the perfect time to add Kindle Fire to GameStop’s mobile electronics selection,” said Joe Gorman, vice president of mobile at GameStop. “And with customers able to trade old video games, devices and more toward the purchase of new products, including Kindle Fire, we’re making it easier than ever for customers to get the holiday gifts they want.”

Xbox Live Getting Loads Of New TV Content

Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb announced that 40 new global entertainment partners will be coming to Xbox Live. There will also be apps for ARTE, CinemaNow, CNET, Karaoke, Maxim, Napster, SkyDrive, SPORT1, VEVO, and Zattoo launching internationally.

Here’s a list of the various TV channels that will be coming to Xbox Live between now and Spring 2013:  

1. All3M (United Kingdom, United States)
2. Ameba TV (Canada, United States)
3. ARTE (Germany, France)
4. Azteca (Mexico)
5. Canalplay Infinity (France)
6. CBC’s Hockey Night (Canada)
7. CrunchyRoll (Majority of LIVE Regions)
8. Deezer (Majority of LIVE Regions)
9. Eredivisie Live (Netherlands)
10. Fightbox (Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom)
11. Flixster (United States)
12. GameTrailers (Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States)
13. Globosat Muu (Brazil)
14. Gulli Replay (France)
15. HBO Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden)
16. IndieFlix (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States)
17. (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom)
18. Machinima (Majority of LIVE Regions)
19. Maxim (United States)
20. MTV (United States)
21. MyTF1 (France)
22. MyTF1VOD (France)
23. Napster (Germany, United Kingdom)
24. Pathe Thuis (Netherlands)
25. PBS (United States)
26. PopcornFlix (United States)
27. Rai TV (Italy)
28. Sainsbury (United Kingdom)
29. Saraiva (Brazil)
30. SBS (Netherlands)
31. SF Anytime (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden)
32. Slacker Radio (Canada, United States)
33. SPORT1 (Austria, Germany)
34. The CW Network (United States)
35. Televisa (Mexico)
36. TV3 (Spain)
37. Viaplay (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden)
38. Vidéo à la Demande d’Orange (France)
39. Vimeo (United States)
40. VIVO Play (Brazil)
41. Watchever (Austria, Germany)
42. Zattoo (Germany)
43. Ziggo (Netherlands)