MLG Sees Itself Competing With Other Global Sports Media Businesses

Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO of MLG, has seen eSports grow from an esoteric fringe activity into a global industry on the verge of mainstream popularity. In fact, the executive has other “real” sports in his crosshairs.

“We need to make it easier for people to find and become fans of eSports,” said DiGiovanni. “We currently have an amazing community and they live and breathe eSports, but in order for us to get to a point where we are truly realizing our potential we need to create more hooks. Hooks that appeal not only to the current audience, but hooks that will help us draw in new generations of fans. We want the next generation to grow up viewing eSports as a global phenomenon that is on the same level as the NFL, European Football, the NBA and other global sports media businesses.”

“If we continue to execute properly and more structure is introduced to the scene, I see eSports rivaling the UFC within 5 years. There’s no reason that we can’t rival even the NFL eventually, we just need to continue to evolve while growing our scene and focusing on sustainability,” he added.

Source: PC Gamer

The Last Of Us – Introducing Tess

Actress Annie Wersching provides both the motion capture and the voice for Tess, a character in The Last Of Us that runs a black market in a city under martial law. She’s smart and savvy, sharing Joel’s ruthless look on surviving in the world, but wonders if loyalty is all that they share…


Why Is Utah So Weird And New York So Expensive?

In politics, perception often trumps reality. Put another way: What people think they know about a politician, an issue or anything else goes a long way to determining how they feel about it — whether or not their initial perception is based in reality or not.

An awesome map reveals what we think about certain states. Married to Google’s autocomplete function for “Why is [fill in the blank state] so…” the map tracks the most common words typed after “so”, and maps the top four auto-completes for each state.

Check out this amazing map.


DICE Summit 2013 Additional Speakers Announced

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) announced new speakers for the 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit.  David Cage joins previously announced headliners Gabe Newell, Randy Pitchford, Jenova Chen and Jesse Schell.  AIAS also released details for panels being held at the summit.

A panel on mobile game trends gathers Matt Lee Johnston, former senior producer on Plants vs. Zombies 2 at Popcap, Phil Larsen CMO of Fruit Ninja maker Halfbrick Games, David Edery, CEO of Triple Town maker Spry Fox, Julian Farrior, CEO of Paper Toss and Dragonvale maker Backflip Studios, and Geg Harper, GM of Clash of Clans maker Supercell.

Microsoft and 343 Industries’ Halo duo Frank O’Connor and Kiki Wolfkill will pair up for a presentation on franchise building and transmedia storytelling.

Additional speakers include Amir Rao, studio director at Bastion maker Supergiant Games, Xavier Poix, managing director at Ubisoft France and producer on Ghost Recon Future Soldier, and David Ting, GM of eSports at IGN Entertainment.

The summit will also mark the 16th annual AIAS Achievement Awards, now known as the D.I.C.E. Awards.  AIAS’ annual honors for top games of the year by category and achievements in various game making discplines are considered to be among the most prestigious awards given to game makers. Â

The D.I.C.E. summit is scheduled for February 5-8 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  The D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony takes place on the night of February 7.

More information on summit presentations and registration details are at

Game Console Launches: A History Of Review Scores

Console launches are typically characterized by a handful of titles that often end up defining the system they come out on, fairly or not. The Wii U launched with a fairly large catalog of games, and the range of scores was large as well.

“This particular view shows that the last three systems released in the U.S. market, the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Wii U, all had an extraordinarily wide spread of launch review scores. The PlayStation 3 and Wii U are also noteable for having their launch game review averages skewed toward the upper end of the range of all their review scores,” said Matt Matthews. “On the other hand, the Xbox 360 and the GameCube both had an exceptionally narrow range of review scores for their launch titles. Also, we can see that the Dreamcast had the fortune of having the best-reviewed launch game ever, SoulCalibur. The second-best was Halo: Combat Evolved on the original Xbox.”

“An interesting split appears between the Wii U and Wii and Nintendo’s earlier systems. The GameCube has the best-reviewed launch slate of any system while the Nintendo 64 comes in third behind the Xbox 360. Yet the Wii is near the bottom, near the PlayStation for which little data is available. And the Wii U is currently just above the Wii, albeit with a lower maximum and a much lower minimum,” Matthews added about review averages. “There is perhaps a discussion to be had there about what that means. Does it represent a cultural shift away from Nintendo and its brand Have reviewers simply become more discerning Or, perhaps we can point to an increasing number of licensed titles and sequels as dragging generally on the novelty of a system’s launch. I’m at least willing to ascribe some of the Wii’s lower scores to both developers not quite knowing how to utilize motion controls and reviewers not knowing how to score motion control games.”

Worth noting that the Wii U has the most titles at launch, save the PS2, and that’s not counting those online in Nintendo’s eShop. While the GCN and Nintendo 64 had highly-respected launch titles, they also managed to have some of the fewest number of games.

“So it does appear that Nintendo and its third-party partners have spent some effort to offer more software at launch. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft and Sony manage the software for their launches, which I currently expect sometime in late 2014,” noted Matthews. “In fact, the Wii U could be the last major system whose main method of distribution is through retail. When new Sony and Microsoft consoles arrive, the average early adopter will likely also be a heavy network services user. When that happens, the distinction between retail and digitally-distributed software will largely disappear.”


The Hobbit Breaks December Box Office Record

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey saw $84.8 million over its first three days at the box office. This easily surpasses I Am Legend’s record December launch of $77.2 million, a record the film has held since 2007.

The box office take came from 4,045 theaters, giving it $20,958 per theater average. The 326 IMAX locations accounted for $10.1 million of the weekend gross and about 49 percent of The Hobbit’s weekend take came from 3-D showings.

Despite the strong showing, the release is less than the $100 million some predicted. $37.5 million was earned on Friday, with a 25 percent drop off on Saturday, suggesting many saw the film on its premiere day or at midnight showings.

“We’re very well-positioned to have a huge run,” says Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, who dismissed the high pre-release projections from box office prognosticators. “They were never anywhere near that from us.”

Despite some negative hype for the high frame rate screenings, Fellman asserted that high frame rate screenings generated a $44,000 per screen average as opposed to a $31,000 average for regular IMAX showings. “[AMC’s] biggest numbers came from high frame rate,” he says.

The Hobbit also started off with a robust $138.2 million from 56 territories bringing its early global total to $223 million after only three days. Notable markets the film did not open in include China, Australia, and Russia.


Aeria Games Combines With Gamepot

Aeria Games announced that it is joining forces with Gamepot to form a global entity. The combined operation will accelerate the scaling of Aeria Games’ technology and Ignite distribution platform in four continents, adds mobile development capabilities in Japan and Korea, and provides a singular shop for developers looking to publish games in major international gaming markets.

“This strategic partnership further helps to cement our position as a truly global multi-platform publisher and developer,” said Lan Hoang, co-CEO of the new holding company. “We are adding significant mobile games and development resources while expanding our core PC publishing business and increasing international reach and resources to acquire and publish Triple-A titles. The combination strengthens every facet of our business — strong financials, global reach, a large and dedicated community of mid- to hard-core players, and a shared technology and distribution platform.”

“Gamepot will add development expertise for client-based games, such as the successful Wizardry and Paperman franchises, and its large mobile development teams in Japan and Korea to Aeria Games’ global platform,” said Hiroki Totoki, co-CEO of the holding company. “We have already started collaborating on co-development projects, leveraging our mobile resources, to bring high-quality games to the international markets.”

Minecraft Sales At Over 17.5 Million

Mojang has confirmed that Minecraft Pocket Edition has been bought 5 million times. This goes along with the recently announced amount of 4.5 million on the Xbox 360.

The original version of Minecraft is known to have sold over 8 million copies. This puts total lifetime sales of the franchise at over 17.5 million.


Machinima Lets 23 Go From Editorial

Machinima has laid off 23 employees from its programming and production departments, including editorial manager Billy Shibley and director of gaming programming Justin Fassino. While this is a blow to the editorial department, the YouTube channel will continue to have editorial content and is still hiring in the sales, marketing and product departments.

“This is growing pains. Machinima has grown a lot in a short amount of time. We had to look at the business, look at where we’re focusing,” said Machinima editor-in-chief Rob Smith. “It has hit the editorial group, but we are still doing editorial coverage in a slightly different way.”