Twitter’s Black Friday

IBM released a report that found online and mobile sales both saw a boost on Black Friday while social traffic accounting for cyber sales overall dipped drastically. The report found online sales on Black Friday rose by more than 20 percent compared to last year. Mobile sales saw a boost of more than 24 percent year over year, which IBM credited in part to iPad traffic.  Meanwhile only .34 percent of overall sales traffic came from social sites, a 35 percent drop from last year. Twitter fared the worst, accounting for zero percent of traffic to online retail sites this year compared to .02 percent in 2011. Facebook drove .68 percent of the traffic.

While none of the major social sites have stepped up to counter IBM’s data — yet — one data firm is saying Twitter conversations about early holiday shopping actually both spiked during Black Friday weekend and saw a bump from last year. DataSift called the report flat out “wrong” and questioned whether IBM was measuring the right thing, for instance factoring in activities such as coupon sharing that drive sales but not necessarily direct clicks to retail sites. The firm said that it measured more than 50 million Tweets relating to Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping this year. The retailers that drove most of the activity were Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and Apple, owning 85 percent of Twitter mentions.

Separately, Facebook released data to TechCrunch that said retailers were the top 25 most talked about pages during Black Friday week, with Walmart, Toys ‘R’ Us and Macy’s owning the conversation.

Source: IBM

Calling All Bounty Hunters

Jump into the bounty hunting business in the the latest mini game {link no longer active} (also available as an app for iOS devices {link no longer active}) for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and play as one of the characters in the film.

Play as Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a bounty hunter on the trails to collect his next bounty. You’ll be shooting bounties dead in their tracks. There are five bounties in total and with each bounty you kill you’ll reveal a new higher-priced bounty and new locations.
After you have freed Django (Jamie Foxx) from slavery, you’ll receive a letter from a townsman desperate to rid themselves of the filth that consumes his town.
The town is not too far from Candieland, the plantation owned by the sadistic proprieter Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and where Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) is possibly being kept against her will.

If you feel that you are not up the to challenge, you will have an opportunity to train your slick hands at a training ground not to far from town. In training, shoot five bottles and be timed.

It helps to have quick hands, so take the challenge, kill your bounties, and share your scores with your friends on Facebook. Show them why you have the fastest guns in the west.


GameStop Seeing Rise In DLC Sales

DLC is content that is often designed, in part, to help monetize a used game market that doesn’t directly give publishers and developers any money. The irony is that GameStop has managed to monetize this burgeoning market quite successfully.

“DLC as a business was created largely not to include a retail partner,” said Brad Schliesser, GameStop’s director of retail digital distribution. “Since we’ve been in the business, [we’ve found that] nearly 50 percent of customers who are purchasing digital content have never bought it anywhere before. They never bought it directly from Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo. They never bought a gift card to redeem on those platforms. There’s a whole other market of people who we’re able to sell this content to.”

A key part of GameStop’s success in selling DLC codes is the ability for them to use PowerUp Reward points and cash to purchase DLC. Roughly 70 percent of GameStop’s digital sales come from non-credit card transactions.

“When we first started [selling downloadable content] in 2010, we had less than a 2 percent attach rate for DLC to a physical game,” said Schliesser.”That started changing in holiday 2011, and what changed is publishers decided to start marketing digital content to customers when the game released rather than waiting three, six, or 12 months afterward.

“We kind of knew at that point that this is the right formula: You have to have a really good game, a game that has a history of good content, and you have to market it at launch. It also helps to have a sales person because that’s one thing that a digital platform [like the Xbox Live Marketplace or the PlayStation Store] really can’t do. You can’t have a customized interaction with someone who knows you and what your gaming habits are.”

The most popular piece of DLC was the “From Dust” pack for Mass Effect 3, which had a 50 percent attach rate at GameStop. The day one DLC, while controversial, was also considered somewhat vital to the experience and such is why many of the knowledgeable employees at GameStop were able to sell “From Dust” to customers so effectively.

“The most important thing that we found is the associates in the store drive the business. They understand what content is,” said Schliesser. “It’s easy for them to sell content to a customer when that customer is buying a copy of the game. DLC for us attaches better to a physical game than any other accessory or add-on that we have in our company — whether it’s a headset, a controller, or strategy guide — because it’s so easy for the consumer to understand what it is they’re getting. From very early on, we understood that we had to do a good job of not only educating the consumer but also educating the person behind the counter.”


Obsidian Says Kickstarter Relieves Release Day Pressure

While most games are hugely reliant on initial sales, that pressure has been relieved somewhat by Kickstarter supported projects. For Obsidian Entertainment creative director Chris Avellone, post-launch sales will just be icing on the cake.

“Actually, it doesn’t matter if it’s a flop, although I don’t believe that it will be,” said Avellone. “The nice thing about Kickstarter is that people have already paid for the title. So anything else that happens after that is great, but we know what our budget is, and practically speaking, that’s all we’re really focused on: ‘We’re going to make a game for this amount of money.'”

“We already have the backer support. They’ve already paid for it. That’s our end destination. If it ends up getting released and selling a lot of copies, great. If it sells enough where we can support future installments, we’ll absolutely do that. If it doesn’t make much of a profit, and we did want to do another installment, we’d probably take it back to Kickstarter,” he added. “Hitting the funding the first day was awesome and also scary at the same time, because we were like, ‘Oh my god, we have to figure out these stretch goals a lot faster than we’d planned for’.”

Source: Gamasutra

Console 2012 Black Friday Sales Chart

Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all revealed their sales stats for the Black Friday holiday. This gives us the means to compare how all of the major console manufactures are doing compared to each other (Sony deigned to provide hard stats, a very rare occurence.).

“On November 18, Nintendo’s Wii U went on sale in the United States. The release of the successor to the immensely popular Nintendo Wii came just in time for the shopping-intense Thanksgiving week. Nintendo reportedly sold more than 400,000 units of its new home console during the week and, according to Nintendo, the Wii U is now effectively sold out in the United States,” said Felix Richter, media relations manager at Statista. “What puts a little dent in the Wii U’s launch performance is the fact that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s Playstation 3 outsold Nintendo’s new flagship console by a significant margin. The heavy Black Friday discounts offered on both consoles apparently persuaded many shoppers to go with the slightly dated HD consoles instead of the Wii U.”


THQ Executives Open Wallets For Humble Bundle

The Humble THQ Bundle has seen the company’s CEO Brian Farrell and president Jason Rubin pay $1650 and $1050 respectively to support their own bundle. Other industry types are leading the way in support for the game, with donating $1600, and, RAD Game Tools, and various Havok employees donating $1050.

“My donation was 100 percent charity,” tweeted Rubin. “That should not be interpreted as a recommendation to others on their split.”

The Humble THQ Bundle currently has raised over $3.2 million and is fast approaching 600,000 bundles sold.


Black Friday Not Always Indicative Of Holiday Sales

It’s projected by the National Retail Federation, a record 247 million shoppers spent an average of $423 (a total of $59.1 billion) over Black Friday weekend. However, this amount is based on a consumer survey and some people question the overall consequences of Black Friday sales for the overall holiday.

This chart below, based on U.S. Commerce Department data, shows that Black Friday sales are not always indicative of the overall health of the holiday spending season.


Batman vs. Villains In Arkham City Escape Board Game

Cryptozoic is working on a new boardgame based around Batman: Arkham City. In a twist, one player is Batman while the other player personifies his adversaries.

“Batman: Arkham City Escape is a two-player game that pits Batman against all of his greatest foes as they try to escape Arkham! In this game, one player represents Batman, and the other player represents the villains that Batman has fought in the past,” reads the game’s description. “The player controlling the Arkham inmates earns victory points by helping the villains escape Arkham, while the Batman player gains points by apprehending his rivals before they make it out of the city. The first player to earn 10 Victory Points is the winner!”

Source: {link no longer active}

Apple Announces Chinese Plans For iPad Mini, iPhone 5

Apple announced plans to release the iPad Mini, 4th-Gen iPad, and iPhone 5 in China. The Wi-Fi versions of the iPad Mini and iPad are planned for release December 7 and the iPhone 5 will release in China on December 14.

“Our conversations during our meetings and casual consumer interactions during our China trips tell us that the iPad Mini will take off like wildfire in China,” said Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White. “The smaller form factor and lower price point, we believe Apple will be able to sell the iPad mini in meaningful volumes.”

Source: Mercury News