Agawi Reveals ‘True Cloud’ Platform

Agawi has announced that it will be demonstrating its True Cloud reference platform at this week’s Cloud Gaming Europe conference on February 21 and 22 in London. The cloud gaming firm has worked with Nvidia, Blue Box, Peer 1, and XO Communications to make cloud gaming accessible for content publishers.

“The previous iterations of cloud gaming have relied on piecemeal efforts and proprietary designs,” said Agawi co-founder Rajat Gupta. “And in today’s infinite-device landscape, developers that don’t create numerous versions of their games have been struggling to get maximum distribution and reach. Agawi True Cloud requires only one version of a game to ever be written in the cloud, and we can make it accessible on any post-PC era device-meaning that one game can reach an exponentially larger audience on tablets, phablets, TVs and next generation game devices like Project Shield.”

“By incorporating Grid servers, Agawi’s True Cloud is realizing the dream of gaming on any device, anywhere,” said Phil Eisler, general manager of Nvidia Grid cloud gaming at Nvidia. “The 12 GPUs found inside Grid K340 servers are designed to enable the smooth, seamless interactive experience of a high-performance gaming PC on mobile devices and unlock the cloud as the universal vehicle for fast and economical gaming.”

Hack It Your Way

Yesterday hackers ran amok on Burger King’s Twitter feed, rebranding the profile as rival McDonald’s. Hackers managed to change the account name, banner, and logo to make it look like the feed was an official one from McDonalds now bashing its rival, including repeated allegations of drug use by Burger King employees.

 

The social stream hijacking lasted for hours before Burger King PR rep Bryson Thorton managed to work with Twitter to have the feed shut down.

Thorton issued this statement: “We have worked directly with administrators to suspend the account until we are able to re-establish our legitimate site and authentic postings.”

While the feed is down, screen grabs of tweets from the hacked account continue to circulate.

Burger King’s competitors took to social media to sympathize.

Wendy’s social media rep, Amy Rose Brown, tweeted, “My real life nightmare is playing out” on Burger King’s twitter feed.

McDonald’s also gave their condolences while cleaning their hands of the affair, stating “We empathize with out @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”

Amidst the fiasco, some pointed out that the hacking might actually be positive for the Burger King brand. New York Magazine reported that despite Burger King’s Twitter being locked during the hacking, followers jumped by nearly 20,000 to 105,000. Since the account has been revived, that number has continued to climb to 112,174 followers.

Afterwards Burger King tweeted, “Interesting day here at BURGER KING, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!”

Burger King’s Thorton later issued a formal apology {link no longer active} for the hack, saying, “Earlier today, our official BK Twitter Account was compromised by unauthorized users. Upon learning of this incident, our social media teams immediately began working with Twitter security administrators to suspend the compromised account until we could re-establish our brand’s official Twitter page. We apologize to our loyal fans and followers, whom might have received unauthorized tweets from our account. We are pleased to announce that the account is now active again.”

While not confirmed, the affair may be related to a report that cyber attackers hacked into Twitter on February 1 and, as acknowledged by Twitter, stole user names and passwords for 250,000 users.

 

Exclusive: Marketing Award Jury Announced

The jury has been announced for the upcoming Game Connection Marketing Awards sponsored by [a]list.  The lineup of judges represents a cross-section of the industry, bringing together senior folks from publishers, first-party, game press, indie development and digital games.

As one of the judges, Richard Iggo has been more accustomed to receiving awards this year than helping dish them out.  Iggo heads marketing on Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, a multiple award winner that took home game of the year at Spike VGA and downloadable game of the year at the DICE awards. Other members of the jury are no stranger to awards.  The judging process shields all members from voting on any submissions from their own organizations.

“Videogame marketers are behind the most effective and innovative campaigns in the entertainment industry, often driven to incredible feats of creative ingenuity by unparalleled competition,” said Iggo after joining the jury. “These awards recognize the talent behind the campaigns we see that continually drive our craft to new heights.”

Stephanie Johnson has been heading marketing on hugely popular franchises for Warner Bros., including Harry Potter and LEGO Batman.  On being selected, Johnson said, “Recognizing the first-class campaigns that the game industry creates is something that I not only look forward to supporting as a judge, but just viewing as a gaming enthusiast.”

Microsoft’s Taylor Smith channeled his passion for Xbox, giving this statement on his selection to the jury: “It takes a gamer and a marketer to pull the cheevos out of the games themselves, and pull them into the marketing.”

Game Connection is accepting submissions now through February 22.  There is no fee to enter or accept trophies, meaning game publishers and developers of all stripes have an opportunity for marketing “cheevos” (a.k.a. achievements) without having to put up hundreds of dollars.

The Game Connection Marketing Awards 2013 jury is made up of the following members:

Carlson Choi, VP Marketing, Namco Bandai

Colin Cupp, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Mochi Media

Richard Iggo, Senior Director of Marketing, Telltale Games

Stephanie Johnson, Director of Marketing, Warner Bros.

Rupert Loman, Founder, Eurogamer

Tim Pivnicny, VP Sales and Marketing, ATLUS Games

Alexandre Scriabine, Acquisition Manager, EA

Taylor Smith, Senior Director, Xbox Global Marketing Communications, Microsoft

Source: Game Connection Marketing Awards

Rock Band DLC Ending April 2013

Harmonix has announced that April 2 will be the last weekly DLC release for Rock Band. The company had kept a consistent release schedule for 275 consecutive weeks, releasing over 4,000 songs for the Rock Band Platform

“While there is no content currently scheduled beyond April 2nd, we still have DLC releases lined up for the next few weeks, including the remaining tracks from Rock Band Blitz, several Pro Guitar upgrades, and a handful of artists who have not yet appeared in Rock Band.” said Harmonix in a blog post. “We’re incredibly proud of the DLC milestones we’ve set, especially producing the largest music library of any game available, and we wouldn’t have been able to release as much outstanding content without the support of our amazing community. As thanks to the community, we’re going to continue the ongoing DLC sale of 50% off over 1,100 songs so fans can continue to build their personal libraries from our back catalog.”

“We hope that you’ll all agree that this has been a tremendous run, and you should know it’s a ride that we at Harmonix have been thrilled to be a part of. We’re going to continue to support the forums and RockBand.com and hope to still see you rocking out online, in photos of Rock Band parties shared on Twitter and Facebook, or here on the forums. Whether you waited in line for a midnight release of Rock Band over 5 years ago, or you just joined the party with Rock Band Blitz… whether you’ve downloaded every single song we’ve ever released, or you’ve just played on disc songs until your neighbors moved away… whether you’re a metal shredder, or a bubblegum pop singer… thank you for being a part of our band,” concluded Harmonix.

Source: RockBand.com

China Tops U.S. In Smartphone Install Base

According to Flurry, China has become the largest market for smartphones in the world. While the total was even through January (222 million in the U.S. versus 221 million in China) it is believed that by the end of February 2013, China will have 246 million devices compared to 230 million in the U.S.

The U.S. is not likely to take back the lead from China, due to China having four times the population of the U.S. at 1.3 billion. The U.S and China have the highest rate of device adoption and five times the active installed base than that of the U.K., the world’s third largest market.

China saw a 209 percent rate of growth on top of a base of 71 million devices from January 2012 over the past year, not leading the world but nonetheless impressive. The four BRIC countries are not all among the top 12 countries in terms of percentage growth (Brazil and Russia don’t make the grade), but all four are among the top 12 when calculating the number of net active devices added per market (i.e., Brazil +11.5 million, Russia +12.0 million, India +12.4 million, China +149.5 million).

“In this new era of mobile computing, sparked by a confluence of powerful innovation across microprocessors, cloud storage and network speeds, Apple and Google have helped create the fastest adopted technology revolution in history, 10X faster than that of the PC Revolution and 3X that of the Internet Boom. And now, as the largest and fastest modernizing country in the world, Chinese consumers lead that revolution,” concludes Flurry’s Peter Farago.

Source: Blog.Flurry.com {link no longer active}

Crysis 3 Pre-Orders 35 Percent Better Than Predecessor

Electronic Arts has announced that pre-orders for Crysis 3 are 35 percent above those of Crysis 2. Sales of Crysis 2 were 3 million after just a few months after its launch March 2011.

Additionally, EA announced that the Crysis 3 multiplayer beta saw 3 million downloads until its conclusion on February 12. Likely helping the situation for Crysis 3 pre-orders is the free upgrade to the Hunter Edition with multiplayer bonuses along with a free digital copy of the original Crysis.

Harrison Ford Returns As Han Solo In Star Wars: Episode VII

Reports are that Harrison Ford has signed on for Star Wars: Episode VII. He will reprise his role as Han Solo, which despite some rumors, he was actually open to revisiting.

While Ford is now 70 years-old, he recently starred in the action film Cowboys & Aliens. 2013 will be a busy year for Ford, as he’s set to appear Ender’s Game, 42 and Paranoia.

Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled for release in 2015. J.J. Abrams will direct the film, and the screenplay will be done by Michael Arndt.

Source: Latino Review

Sandy Hook Arcade Center Opening In Newtown

Andrew Clure and Scott Ciccari of Newtown are opening the Sandy Hook Arcade Center to help bring families together in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting during December 2012. The venture is a non-profit supported by donations and the efforts of volunteers, with entrance fees covered between operating the arcade and the Newtown community.

“The core value of Newtown has always been family and in this time we find comfort in being together, neighbor to neighbor,” a statement on the arcade’s website reads. “With that thought in mind we want to draw on our passion and experience to build the Sandy Hook Arcade Center for the children and families.”

The arcade also serves to put a positive face on a situation where many accused violent video games of sharing some of the blame for the shooting. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing by law enforcement.

Source: Polygon