The Elder Scrolls Online – The Alliances Cinematic Trailer

This new cinematic trailer fulfills the promise of the earlier teaser trailer for the game. Among the various feats of daring-do is a warrior of the Ebonheart Pact, a mage of the Aldmeri Dominion and an assassin of the Daggerfall Covenant fighting for control what appears to be an Imperial stronghold.

If you’re pumped up for the real thing, sign up for the game’s beta at

Dead Space 3 – Mass Effect N7 Armor

Electronic Arts has announced a bonus for Dead Space 3. All of those that have played Mass Effect 3 will receive N7 Armor inspired by Mass Effect‘s Commander Shepard.

Those that have the Mass Effect 3 save need to merely purchase and play Dead Space 3 to unlock the armor. The armor comes in red or black and is available for both Isaac and Carver.

American McGee Apologizes To EA For Alice Marketing Comments

Recently, American McGee issued some statements over trailers for Alice: Madness Returns, saying that Electronic Arts marketing interfered with the tone and focus of the videos, which he said was reflective of a “race to the bottom” by large publishers. After a firestorm of coverage and some angry emails from EA, he issued a correction via his blog.

“‘Tricked’ is the wrong word. I take that back. Apologies to EA and anyone else whose feelings were hurt. Electronic Arts doesn’t trick customers into buying things,” said McGee. “They carefully apply proven marketing techniques to achieve the desired customer response. If they were bad at this sort of thing they’d have been crushed by their competitors long ago and you’d be playing Madden Football from Activision or Atari or something.”

“We live in a world full of marketing. Marketing tells us the ‘2013 Land Yacht’ is more stylish, powerful and awesome than last year’s model. Or that a certain toothpaste is going to get us laid more often. That a wrist watch will finally force the world to understand just how adventurous and manly we are. Or that a game contains lots of blood and guts — even when the creators don’t think that’s the primary selling point. Alice: Madness Returns does contain a lot of the stuff you see in those trailers, but my concern was that the main character was being portrayed in a way I felt didn’t align with her character as I understand it.”

Continuing, McGee became contemplative over the state of the gaming industry. “There has always been and likely always will be tension between publishers and developers over stuff like this,” said McGee. “Truth is, publishers are giving audiences what they want — again, if they weren’t they wouldn’t stay in business very long. Maybe I don’t agree with where gaming content seems to be going ““ but isn’t that the prerogative of aging creators To complain that things are too loud, too bright or too fleshy “

“At the end of the day, I’ve got (well, had) a good relationship with EA. They helped put my name on the map. They funded two of my favorite creations. And they helped me bring strikingly original content to a gaming world that often seems dominated by bullets and boobs. I can’t and don’t fully fault them or their marketing for whatever the Alice games might or might not have done sales-wise. As a developer, do I grumble into my beer about how it could have been different if only . . . Sure do! But I also recognize my own faults, and actions which are to blame for things not being 100 percent . . .  or for inadvertently igniting firestorms. Call this a mea culpa, an apology, a clarification or a cop-out if you like. My feelings around these topics are nuanced and complicated enough that I myself barely understand them most of the time,” concluded McGee.


Facebook Study Looks For A Connection Between Self-Esteem And Self-Control

Columbia Business School professor Keith Wilcox and University of Pittsburgh business professor Andrew Stephen recently did a study of people who use Facebook to stay in touch with their closest friends. Titled “Are Close Friends the Enemy Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control,” it examines how immediate encouragement is not always a positive for self-control.

“Online social networks are used by hundreds of millions of people every day, but little is known about their effect on behavior,” notes the study description. “In five experiments, we demonstrate that social network use enhances self-esteem in users who are focused on close friends (i.e., strong ties) while browsing their social network. This momentary increase in self-esteem reduces self-control, leading those focused on strong ties to display less self-control after browsing a social network.”

One experiment had 84 study participants either browse Facebook or read for five minutes and were given the choice between eating a granola bar or chocolate chip cookie. The Facebook group showed a preference go for the cookie, while the CNN group picked the granola bar more often.

“Additionally, we present evidence suggesting that greater social network use is associated with a higher body-mass index and higher levels of credit card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network,” it continues. “This research extends previous findings by demonstrating that social networks primarily enhance self-esteem for those focused on strong ties during social network use. Additionally, this research also has implications for policy makers because self-control is an important mechanism for maintaining social order and well-being.”

“People with high self-esteem typically have more self control, not less,” Wilcox says. “It seems the momentary increase in self control that the participants got from browsing Facebook for a few minutes creates a sense of entitlement to do what they want and, therefore, lower self control.”

Is this study going to lead to a sudden surge in cookie ads on the social network Both professors caution that correlation does not mean causation, but it could still give pause to the comfort food makers of the world.


Google Q4 2012 Results Up On Slowed Ad Rate Declines

Google saw generated net revenue of $9.83 billion, up from $8.13 billion a year earlier during the holiday quarter. This exceeding of the $9.6 billion average forecast from six analysts pushed shares of the company up 4 percent.

“Business looked really strong, especially from a profitability perspective. They really grew their margins in the core business,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with B. Riley Caris. “Most of that strength seems to be coming from international markets which grew revenues quite substantially: up 23 percent year over year, versus the 15 percent growth in the third quarter.”

The average cost-per-click, a metric that denotes the price advertisers pay Google, declined 6 percent from a year ago, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of decline. Google says that the company has focused on improving the metric by shoring up margins and lowering the overall growth rate of paid clicks in the holiday quarter.

“Click prices are still declining, but it’s better than expected,” said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis.

The Motorola Mobility division saw net income of $2.89 billion or $8.62 per share, compared with $2.71 billion, or $8.22 per share, in the period last year when Google had not yet acquired Motorola. Overall, Google said it earned $10.65 per share in the fourth quarter.

“The core business is a great business and the fourth-quarter is always a time for Google to shine,” Gillis said. “However, Motorola is still losing money and click rates still declined. They only declined 6 percent, but go back four or five quarters and click prices were improving. So mobile is still pressuring click prices.”

Consolidated revenue that includes the Motorola phone business was $14.42 billion. Motorola Mobility itself had an operating loss of $353 million during the quarter.


White House Petition Rails Against DmC

The official White House petitions site “We The People” has seen a variety of odd filings of late, including requests for certain states to leave the union and that the U.S. build a Death Star. Few have been more trivial, however, than a recent request to pull DmC: Devil May Cry off the shelves.

“We, as consumers did not want nor need this reboot and we believe it violates our rights to have a choice between the original’s or the reboot,” said the grammatically challenged posting. “This game is violating our rights as a consumer and we believe it should be pulled off shelves from game stores due to it’s insulting nature and the fact that it violates our rights. Please Mr. Obama, look into your heart and make the decision that will please us Gamers.”

A screen of the petition.

While the petition had no realistic chance to reach 100,000 signatures anyway, it was removed after a short time due to violation of the site’s Terms of Participation. Regardless of intent, the request was probably better directed to the Better Business Bureau if it somehow didn’t meet industry standards — simply existing as a retail product, however, is not violating anyone’s rights.


Microsoft Might Invest In Dell

Reports are that Microsoft is looking into supporting private-equity company Silver Lake Partners with an attempt to buy Dell from its shareholders. Microsoft could potentially front $2 billion of the deal’s $22 billion, with the rest of the money coming from Silver Lake, Dell’s cash reserves and owner Michael Dell’s 16 percent stake in the PC manufacturer.

Microsoft could use this investment similar to what it has done with Nokia and Barnes & Noble’s Nook to influence hardware to suit their purposes. While it could give Microsoft more control over the PCs that use their software (something the company is conscious of after the Windows 8 release) it could potentially strain relationships with other important hardware partners the way the announcement of the Surface tablet did.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Minecraft, Call Of Duty Dominated Xbox Live In 2012

Microsoft released a list of the top games for 2012 based on average unique users per day connected to Xbox Live or full versions purchased between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Call of Duty is still a dominant force, occupying three out of the top five slots for most popular online titles.

What’s also clear is the influence of Minecraft on the chart. Not only was it the top Xbox Live Arcade title and fourth most played Xbox Live game, it also directly or indirectly influenced eight out of the top 20 Xbox Live Indie titles.

Most played Xbox Live games, by average daily unique users

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Halo 4
  • Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • FIFA Soccer 13
  • FIFA Soccer 12
  • Battlefield 3
  • Halo: Reach
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Borderlands 2
  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Skyrim
  • Madden NFL 13
  • Gears of War 3
  • NBA 2K13
  • NBA 2K12
  • Far Cry 3
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Forza Motorsport 4


Most downloaded Xbox Live Arcade titles (full version only):

  • Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
  • Trials Evolution
  • The Walking Dead
  • Pinball FX2
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Castle Crashers
  • Gotham City Impostors
  • I Am Alive
  • Fruit Ninja Kinect
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD
  • Trials HD
  • Magic 2013
  • Fez
  • Dungeon Defenders
  • Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
  • Peggle
  • The Simpsons Arcade Game
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Full House Poker


Most downloaded Xbox Live Indie Arcade titles (full version only)

  • CastleMiner Z
  • CastleMiner
  • Total Miner: Forge
  • Avatar Deathmatch
  • FortressCraft Chapter 1
  • Murder Miners
  • The Impossible Game
  • Avatar Laser Wars 2
  • The $1 Zombie Game
  • Avatar Paintball
  • Avatar Legends
  • Fortress Wars
  • Miner Of Duty
  • Miner4Ever
  • Avatar Laser Wars
  • End Of Days: Infected vs Mercs
  • Toy Stunt Bike 2
  • Flight Adventure 2
  • Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy!
  • Block World


PS Vita Tops Famitsu Survey Of Interested Consumers

A Famitsu questionnaire was published showing that 64 percent of respondents said they were looking to purchase a Vita in 2013. Second on the list was another handheld console in the 3DS, which was chosen by 48 percent of readers.

Possibly skewing the results a bit is the fact that the PS Vita has a small install base in Japan, so more consumers could be looking to pick it up. Famitsu is also a core gaming magazine, with 75 percent of those responding being male.

Full list of most desirable consoles in Japan, according to Famitsu:

  1. PS Vita – 64 percent
  2. 3DS – 48 percent
  3. Wii U – 34 percent
  4. PS3 – 25 percent
  5. PC – 14 percent
  6. Xbox 360 – 11 percent
  7. Smartphone – 10 percent
  8. PSP – 10 percent
  9. Wii – 9 percent
  10. iPad – 7 percent
  11. DSi / DSiXL – 5 percent
  12. iPhone – 5 percent
  13. iPod Touch – 4 percent
  14. Other – 2 percent

Source: CVG