Bigpoint Reaches 300 Million Registered Users

Bigpoint announced that it has 300 million registered users across its 65 games. The company will celebrate the milestone with a sweepstakes where players can enter to win one of five sets of five real gold coins.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a rapid increase and unprecedented numbers in our titles. We want to celebrate our accomplishments and show our appreciation to our international community,” said Bigpoint founder Heiko Hubertz. “The strength and support of our players exemplifies how we’ve evolved in the F2P industry, and serves as further motivation to keep us driving innovation in browser games.”

Call Of Duty: Black Ops II – $1 Billion In Sales

Call of Duty: Black Ops II has sold $1 billion worth of copies in 15 days since launch. This bests the record of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which hit $1 billion worth of sales in 16 days.

“The release of Call of Duty has been one of the most significant entertainment events of each of the last six years,”said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “Since Call of Duty was launched, cumulative franchise revenues from players around the world are greater than current worldwide box office receipts to date for the top-10 grossing films of 2012 combined. Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for Harry Potter and Star Wars, the two most successful movie franchises of all time.”

Black Ops II players have played more than 150 million hours online on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, or about 10 million hours per day since launch. By contrast, the first Black Ops saw online play of more than 600 million hours across all platforms during the same time period, averaging almost 14 million hours per day since that game’s release.

Zynga’s Steve Schreck, Roy Sehgal Depart

Reports are that Zynga vice president Roy Sehgal and general manager Steve Schreck are leaving the company. Sehgal, who joined Zynga in 2009, is resigning to take time off of work while Schreck is leaving to join a game start-up founded by Mike Verdu, who also worked for Zynga as CCO.

Seghal was responsible for the studio’s Cafe World title and was in charge of the casual and arcade games division. Schreck, general manager of around 100 employees in the company’s zCasual division, lead development on Hidden Chronicles and Slingo.


Obama Campaign Emails — Method To The Madness

Anyone who shared their email address with the Obama campaign received emails with subject lines like “Join me for dinner?” “It’s officially over,” “It doesn’t have to be this way,” or just “Wow.” This was playfully mocked by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show and women’s website the Hairpin likened them to notes from a stalker.

The effectiveness of the emails cannot be underestimated, however, and most of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising e-mails. Now, the campaign is sharing some of the formula they used to raise the large amount.

“We did extensive A-B testing not just on the subject lines and the amount of money we would ask people for,” says Amelia Showalter, director of digital analytics, “but on the messages themselves and even the formatting.”

The campaign worked on multiple drafts, as many as 18, before deciding one to send out to millions. “When we saw something that really moved the dial, we would adopt it,” says Toby Fallsgraff, the campaign’s e-mail director, who oversaw a staff of 20 writers. “The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your in-box from other people… ‘Hey’ was probably the best one we had over the duration.”

“We were so bad at predicting what would win that it only reinforced the need to constantly keep testing,” says Showalter. “Every time something really ugly won, it would shock me: giant-size fonts for links, plain-text links vs. pretty ‘Donate” buttons. Eventually we got to thinking, ‘How could we make things even less attractive?’ That’s how we arrived at the ugly yellow highlighting on the sections we wanted to draw people’s eye to.”

Even some mild cursing like “Hell yeah, I like Obamacare” got big clicks, but no formula lasted forever. “Eventually the novelty wore off, and we had to go back and retest,” says Showalter.

One thing the scads of emails showed were that unsubscribers were relatively rare. “At the end, we had 18 or 20 writers going at this stuff for as many hours a day as they could stay awake. The data didn’t show any negative consequences to sending more,” says Fallsgraff, who qualified, “We do know that getting all those e-mails in your in-box is at least mildly irritating to some people. Even my father would point that out to me.”


Get Ready For The Hunt

At the official site for Zero Dark Thirty, a brief mini-game experience puts you in the role as a member of the CIA being tested to see if you have what it takes. Play Covert Ops {link no longer active} to find out if you have the level of courage, mental strength, and grace under pressure reserved for only a select few. Test your skills in this series of challenges; each exercise will be scored based on time and accuracy. Retry the experience again and again to try and get a better score. Connect via Facebook to share progress and invite friends.

Sort through vital information instantly and accurately to determine how you would succeed in the field. For this challenge, you will be briefly shown nine people. Are they friends or foes You decide.

When you’re an agent in the field, accuracy and confidence in your decisions are everything. Watch a brief surveillance video and click to decide who you believe is the person of interest.

As an elite agent, courage will only get you so far. Engage your powers of reason and deduction to positively identify the members of an enemy organization and their individual roles.

Social Media Stats From 2012

It’s that time of year when everyone is into lists – shopping, resolutions, top this and that. Huffington Post has collected 100 statistics on social media sites from 2012, all properly sourced.

Amidst head scratchers (37 percent of Instagram users have never uploaded a photo) and some clutter (85 percent of women find their Facebook friends annoying), there are useful marketing stats. 80 percent of social media users prefer Facebook to connect with brands. 77 percent of consumer products companies have managed to acquire customers from Facebook. 26 percent of re-tweets are prompted by re-tweet requests. In August, Instagram beat Twitter in traffic to the tune of 432,000 daily users. People prefer Pinterest (43 percent) over Facebook (24 percent) to connect with retailers. Plus a whole bunch of stuff about Google+.

Check it out at Huffington Post

Exclusive: Consumers Vote Yes On Need For Speed’s Prop 130

Sometimes it can be hard to breakthrough with an original ad concept. It’s not just that most of the good ideas are taken; presenting a game or a concept originally can be hard while also staying true to the spirit of the original product. Still, Ayzenberg and Electronic Arts were able to come up with a unique angle for their Prop 130 infographic, considering the U.S. election was very much in everyone’s mind when Need for Speed: Most Wanted launched. We talked with Daniel Lingen, community manager at Electronic Arts, about the Prop 130 infographic.

[a]list: Where did you come up with the idea for the Prop 130 infographic?

Daniel Lingen: We really wanted to showcase the idea that Most Wanted was all about “Making Trouble,” and we gathered in a room to brainstorm ways we could do that. Everything was brought up, but one idea in particular stood out: start some trouble in the upcoming U.S. election. With Proposition commercials and ads everywhere we really wanted to poke fun at them, and there’s nothing we’re more passionate than speed. So why not raise the speed limit to 130?

[a]list: When did it come up as a possibility that Prop 130 might go into the New York Times?

Daniel Lingen: We created the campaign around the concept of scalability — we wanted to make sure that the project would get better as more resources piled on. With that in mind, we spared no expense brainstorming the best place to put it. Billboards seemed great, but at the end of the day wouldn’t get us the distribution we’re looking for. TV placement was far too much, and it would most likely get lost in the shuffle. This is why we decided to go for a newspaper. Great distribution, and easily picked up and passed around.

[a]list: What sort of response have you gotten to the Prop 130 ad so far?  Do some people think it’s real?

Daniel Lingen: During the first 3-4 hours of the day we saw a few comments here and there that thought the proposition was real. It wasn’t enough to actually catch momentum, but it did get a few chuckles here and there. Rest of the sentiment has been fantastic. Some of our favorite quotes include:

“This is some of the best advertising I’ve seen for a game this year. Easily.” — Polygon Commentor

“This is just the right amount of ridiculous that you know it is a joke, but presented in a serious stereotypical info graphic. Good on them.” — Kotaku Commentor

[a]list: Was there any serious attempt to draw out something resembling real statistics for Prop 130?  How were the “stats” constructed?

Daniel Lingen: No serious attempt. We kicked off our agency Ayzenberg with a few of our own ideas, but wanted to make sure all of the statistics were clearly made up. All in all we had a few back and forth where we eliminated / added the stats, but each time we made it clear we were aiming for just the right amount of humor so we didn’t seem too serious.

[a]list: Were you pleased by the press coverage that Prop 130 got?  Were there any examples that stood out?

Daniel Lingen: Press coverage was fantastic, we couldn’t have asked for better reception. Outlets like Kotaku, Polygon, GameTrailers, and even MotoAuthro were all getting in on the action. Even the comments were pleased!

[a]list: Turning to TV, were there any particular inspirations for the TV Spot that was done with the show down with the cop cars?

Daniel Lingen: I can’t speak for the TV spot as I wasn’t on the initial team for that spot, but I can say it served as a huge inspiration internally. This game is all about making trouble. For the cops, for your friends, for fun, and the TV spot conveys that perfectly.