Nike Leaves Door Open With Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong is as tarnished as an athlete can be, having come out and admitted that he doped before and during his run at seven straight Tour de France victories. Still, despite severing ties with the cyclist last year, Nike indicated that it wouldn’t rule out sponsoring Armstrong again.

“Never say never,” said CEO Phil Knight, before adding, “We don’t have any plans.”

Nike famously stood by Tiger Woods, despite the beating the golfer’s public image took with the revelation of multiple extramarital affairs.

Source: NY Daily News

Gas Powered Games Looks To Save Company With Kickstarter

Gas Powered Games has had an eventful week, announcing the Wildman Kickstarter project and laying off all but its most core employees a few days later. Gas Powered Games CEO Chris Taylor even contemplated ending the Kickstarter, though the feedback he’s gotten has encouraged him to continue on with the crowdfunded project.

“It never occurred to me that the industry would rally like it did, and that people would then invest, not only in Wildman, but in helping me to save GPG and the team (in fact, it’s probably the other way around, and I think the Kickstarter has become about saving a company and the game is a distant second),” said Taylor.

Since he released a video talking about the state of Gas Powered Games, the Wildman project now has roughly a quarter of the funds it needs with well over three weeks remaining. “I don’t want to make any assumptions at this point, but things look much better, and I think it’s still going to be a long road ahead, but we’re prepared to work very hard to make this happen,” said Taylor. “And I’m already making phone calls and setting up meetings to talk to key people about coming back, to see the campaign through. At least now, everyone has their eyes wide open, no surprises.”

While there has been some criticism for the layoffs, many of those former employees support the decision for a few reasons. “I was one of those laid off that will be back to work tomorrow regardless. I want to see this succeed,” said Matt Kehm. “Chris went over it in his video update Friday, but the reason why he did not keep us longer was the fact that if he would have kept us on for the month, and the campaign failed, there would not be enough money left to give people severance packages. By laying people off now, everyone received severance pay.”

“Many of us are returning to work tomorrow to make this campaign a success. For me, this goes beyond a paycheck. It is a company I love. I will do everything in my power to see that it does not close its doors,” Kehm concluded.

Source: Polygon

American Airlines Changes Up Plane Livery

American Airlines unveiled its new livery today, showing a tail painted with stylized American-flag stripes rather than the AA logo and with a hint of an eagle beak in a logo near the noses of planes. This is significantly the first redesign for American in more than 40 years.

“Since the polished metal look was no longer an option, the importance of the paint selection became critical to honoring American’s silver bird legacy,” American says in a release. “Silver mica paint was chosen as a way to maintain the silver heritage which American’s people and customers are passionate about, yet progress ahead with a clean new look.”

“While we complete the evaluation of whether a merger can build on American’s strengths, we remain steadfast in each step we take to renew our airline, a step we take with great respect for our name American,” added American CEO Tom Horton. “Today marks important progress in that journey as we unveil a new and updated look for the first time in more than 40 years.”

Source: USA

Trials Franchise Reaches 4 Million Sales

Ubisoft has confirmed that the Trials franchise has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Developed by RedLynx, the most recent release Trials Evolution sold 1 million copies by the end of 2012.

The publisher also announced Trials Evolution: Gold Edition for the PC. This March 22 release will include all of the tracks from Trials HD recreated using Trials Evolution‘s graphics and physics engine.

“As developer RedLynx’s signature franchise, the Trials series first made its mark in gaming with the 2008 release of Trials 2 SE for the PC,” Ubisoft said. “That breakout indie success led to further success on the Xbox, but ever since then PC gamers have been asking for more Trials. The Gold Edition is their reward.”

Sony Might Move On From DualShock In Next PlayStation

According to a source, Sony has been trying out numerous different iterations for the controller for the next PlayStation. Some of the controllers prototypes include biometric sensors on the grips and an LCD touch screen.

Another engineer said that Sony is looking to replicate some of the features of the PS Vita for their next controller, with its touch-pad on the underside and touch-screen on the front. While the DualShock 3 will apparently not be the standard for the next PlayStation, it is likely that the controller will will be compatible with the next-gen console.

Rumors have been swirling that Sony is seeking to radically change their controllers for next PlayStation, with some rumors pointing to something that more resembles the DualShock in form factor that breaks apart to form two separate motion controllers.


EA Gets Involved In Education With SimCityEDU

Electronic Arts has announced that they are working with GlassLab on SimCityEDU. The serious game is an online educational community designed to help teachers as a learning tool.

SimCityEDU will help educators make and share digital SimCity-based lesson plans. More importantly, it will allow students to think critically about challenges that face modern cities.

“For decades, SimCity has been embraced by the educational community as an engaging videogame that also provides a powerful learning experience, teaching problem solving skills through imaginative civic gameplay,” said Lucy Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA’s Maxis Label. “We want to up the ante of SimCity‘s educational influence. Through our partnership with GlassLab, SimCity will become the foundation of a program to re-imagine learning in a way that will inspire today’s youth to get excited about STEM education and become the problem solvers of tomorrow.”


Get Familiar With Ni No Kuni

In Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, creatures are sentient beings that are born from the hearts of living things. There are many different species in the world and certain ones can usefully be employed by wizards as familiars. Since familiars are often born from human hearts, many think that all familiars are created in this way. This is not the case, however. Most creatures can become familiars, irrespective of their provenance.

Anything with a heart — in the sense of a soul or a spirit — can give rise to a creature, including animals, plants, stars, and even certain man-made objects. Note that while creatures not born of humans are considered “wild,” this does not preclude them from becoming familiars. It is simply a matter of approaching them in the correct manner. The most important step in making a creature your familiar is giving it a name. Naming creates a bond between wizard and creature, and once you have formed this bond with a creature, it will willingly take up residence in your cage and become your familiar.

Jump over to Facebook and start to “Get Familiar with the Familiars” and get ready to jump in and play!



Exclusive: Making Mobile Gamers Appy

Appy Entertainment represents one facet of success for game developers who migrated to mobile, and perhaps the more down to earth version of it. There are no theme parks based on their games, no Halloween costumes, nor any films or TV shows, at least not yet.  The studio was founded four years ago by a team who cut their teeth on making big budget console games, and with a lot of experience working on original IP coming from Oddworld, High Moon Studios and Midway Games. Two of the co-founders, Chris Ulm and Paul O’Connor, were the minds behind Malibu Comics, creators of Men In Black. They know a thing or two about IP creation.

Since its founding, Appy has put out a string of iOS games based on original IP that have either become modest successes or, as in the case with Trucks and Skulls and Face Fighter, hit it big with a global audience. With their last two titles, Appy has made the move to freemium.

We talked with Ulm and Appy’s game director Rory McGuire about how they’ve used their knack for creating art-rich games based on original IP to continually turn gamers into fans, and how that’s benefitting them as their games become free-to-play.

Ray Lewis Gets A Light Show In Baltimore

Baltimore’s Marriott Waterfront put up a light show for Ray Lewis, who is retiring at the end of the season, depicting him doing his celebratory pre-game dance in pretty convincing fashion. Also included is a fan video of some highlights, lowlights and words of inspiration from the Raven’s linebacker because Ray Lewis hasn’t given everything . . . not yet.