Your Watch Begins

In anticipation of third season of Game of Thrones, HBO has launched a destination URL called My Watch Begins where fans can record the oath of the Night’s Watch.

Fans must use their microphone and repeat the sacred oath:

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.



Journey Wins Big At D.I.C.E. Awards

Journey from thatgamecompany was the the biggest winner during the 2013 D.I.C.E. Awards, taking home eight trophies including Game of the Year. The Walking Dead was the second most acclaimed title, taking home four awards.

“For the past 16 years, the D.I.C.E. Awards have brought together the brightest and most creative minds in games to celebrate outstanding achievement in interactive entertainment. This year is no exception as the hottest players representing all facets of the industry — from downloadable to console to mobile games — took center stage,” said AIAS president Martin Rae. “From our many category winners to our distinguished honorees Gabe Newell, Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, we congratulate all the talented developers and publishers whose contributions led to another exceptional year in games.”

Full list of winners below:

Action Game of the YearBorderlands 2 (Gearbox Software)

Mobile Game of the YearHero Academy (Robot Entertainment)

Handheld Game of the YearPaper Mario Sticker Star (Intelligent Systems)

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music CompositionJourney (thatgamecompany)

Outstanding Achievement in Sound DesignJourney (thatgamecompany)

Outstanding Achievement in StoryThe Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Outstanding Character PerformanceThe Walking Dead: Lee Everett (Telltale Games)

Downloadable Game of the YearThe Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Casual Game of the YearJourney (thatgamecompany)

Web Based Game of the YearSimCity Social (Maxis, Playfish)

Family Game of the YearSkylanders Giants (Toys for Bob)

Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year Mass Effect 3 (Bioware)

Strategy/Simulation Game of the YearXCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games)

Outstanding Innovation in GamingJourney (thatgamecompany)

Sports Game of the YearFIFA Soccer 13 (EA Canada)

Racing Game of the YearNeed for Speed Most Wanted (Criterion Games)

Fighting Game of the YearPlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (SuperBot Entertainment)

Outstanding Achievement in Online GameplayJourney (thatgamecompany)

Outstanding Achievement in ConnectivityHalo 4 (343 Industries)

Outstanding Achievement in AnimationAssassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft)

Outstanding Achievement in Art DirectionJourney (thatgamecompany)

Outstanding Achievement in Visual EngineeringHalo 4 (343 Industries)

Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay EngineeringXCOM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis Games)

Adventure Game of the YearThe Walking Dead (Telltale Games)

Outstanding Achievement in Game DirectionJourney (thatgamecompany)

Game of the YearJourney (thatgamecompany)

Monopoly Adding Cat, Subtracting Iron

Monopoly’s “Save Your Token” contest has ended and the cat has been named the winner. The loser of the contest is the iron, which will be taken out of future editions of the game.

Fans from 120 countries, including Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Guam and Liechtenstein, voted in the contest according to Jonathan Berkowitz, vice president of marketing for Hasbro Gaming. “It’s been an exciting campaign and a lot of Monopoly fans around the world have gotten involved,” Berkowitz said.

“Because there’s a Scottie dog, there was always a conversation about, ‘Should there be a cat ‘ so that’s how it ended up being one of the options for the voting,” Berkowitz added. “We chose all of the new token options by really listening to our fans and hearing what they were talking about.”

The token wars got companies to side with their favorites. Zappos created campaigns for the shoe and Ames True Temper made videos pulling for the wheelbarrow.

Jolly Time Pop Corn, petitioned to create their own, though write-ins weren’t included in the ballot this time around. “We’re going to keep listening to our fans,” Berkowitz said. “We’re going to make sure we keep Monopoly current and exciting, as we’re doing with the token vote.”

Hasbro will release an exclusive version of the game that includes all the old token pieces and all the new candidates on February 15. The new version of the board game, in which the iron will be replaced with the cat, will be released in the Fall.


Apple Facing Lawsuit From Investor

Apple is facing a lawsuit from Greenlight Capital over the company’s proposal to make it more difficult for it to issue preferred stock. David Einhorn says that the company’s proposal will close down one avenue for Apple to reward shareholders with more cash.

While Apple is still hugely valued, its stock has dropped 35 percent since September.  The company is making money hand over fist, but shareholders would rather they give them a larger share of the profits instead of stashing the money.

“Apple has $145 per share of cash on its balance sheet,” Einhorn said in a public letter to the company. “As a shareholder, this is your money.”

Apple has nearly $137 billion in cash, making up nearly a third of Apple’s stock market value. It’s unusual for companies to hoard as much cash as Apple is, typically either investing it in the company or handing it out to shareholders; most borrow for acquisitions.

Apple has been paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share and started to repurchase some of its share since Steve Jobs’ death in October 2011. Stuart Jeffrey at Nomura Securities believes that Apple will generate about another $103 billion over three years to add to the $137 billion it has now, but it has only committed to returning $45 billion of this $240 billion in total cash to shareholders.

The problem is that the company’s revenue growth has started slowing; in the recent holiday quarter, Apple’s revenue rose 18 percent from a year ago – very good for a company of its size, but not the 50 percent-plus increases it has often posted since the 2007 launch of the first iPhone. There hasn’t been a new ground-breaking product for Apple since the iPad in 2010, forcing Apple to expand the appeal of its current products to achieve growth.

What the situation with the growth means is that investors who look for fast-growing companies aren’t as interested and those that want regular income aren’t as interested either. Greenlight has been a shareholder since 2010 with 1.3 million Apple shares worth nearly $600 million and they want Apple to create a class of preferred stock that carries a higher dividend for current shareholders to better appeal to value investors and those who are risk-averse.

Einhorn indicates he’s been talking with Apple to create the new share class, though they rejected the idea in September. Apple will ask shareholders to approve a measure that would force the board to get shareholder approval before issuing preferred shares at the annual meeting on February 27.

Apple indicated in an SEC filing that it does not plan to issue preferred stock in the future and believes it is “appropriate” to eliminate the possibility from its charter. While Greenlight says the proposal bundles three distinct proposals that the SEC requires to be separated so shareholders can vote on each one, The California Public Employees’ Retirement System plans to vote for Apple’s proposal and it owns 2.7 million Apple shares, nearly three times as many as Greenlight.


Skylanders U.S. Figurine Sales At Over 100 Million

Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg announced that Skylanders has sold over 100 million figurines in the U.S. alone. The company also announced that it has signed a deal with Nickelodeon to publish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles titles, with no less than three games coming this Summer.

“Before the launch of [Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure], we knew we had something special,” said Hirshberg, speaking at the Toy Fair. “The key to longterm success is continuing to bring breakthrough innovation every time.”

“Activision is a leader in the gaming industry and we are honored to have them as the global video game partner for our new hit series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” added Nickelodeon’s Sherice Torres. “We are confident that these upcoming games will take gamers through interactive environments and action-packed adventures that truly capture the essence, tone and exciting elements of the Turtles.”

Find out more about Skylanders in this exclusive [a]list interview.

Source: Destructoid

Wikipad Goes 7-Inches

Wikipad, Inc. has announced that it will be launching a 7-inch Wikipad tablet in spring 2013 for $249. It will have an attachable game controller like the previously announced 10-inch model (which will apparently launch later) along with similar specifications, including a Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of storage, a micro SD slot, with Android Jelly Bean.

“We wanted to get Wikipad into our community’s hands and what we found was that the smaller 7″ form factor just seemed right,'” said Wikipad president of sales Fraser Townley. “The smaller frame delivers an aggressive price while keeping the same amazing specs.”

“[The 7-inch category] seems to be where the market is alive,” said Townley. “The affordability factor is what’s important to people. We took the steps that we had to take to preserve the brand.”

Source: Polygon

Game Of Thrones: King’s Landing Comes To Life In Minecraft

There have been many impressive reactions in Minecraft, but few have managed the impressive scale of this. King’s Landing from Game of Thrones has been recreated in impressive detail, from the ships on the water to the Red Keep standing high on a cliff, the blasted Dragonpit, and the cathedral The Great Sept of Baelor.


Assassin’s Creed Title Launching During Ubisoft’s 2014 Fiscal Year

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has confirmed that there will be a new Assassin’s Creed title launching during Ubisoft’s fiscal 2014, spanning from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. His comments suggest there will be a hero and setting different than Connor during the American Revolutionary War.

Could the game be set in ancient China?

“We are delighted and proud to announce today that in financial year ’14, we will introduce an all-new Assassin’s Creed hero, within an all new team and time period, and we expect it to be another major leap forward for the franchise,” said Guillemot. “It is the benefit of multiple teams, working on multiple chapters of the product, each getting several years to make their versions of an Assassin’s Creed game.”

Source: Ubisoft  {link no longer available}

Boa Compra Bringing Webzen Titles To Brazil

Boa Compra has announced that it has signed a partnership with Webzen. The Brazilian online monetization company will bring the Korean MMO company’s titles to South America and handle online, mobile and cash payments for Webzen, in addition to local marketing of various game titles.

“Korea is the world’s largest and longest established free-to-play market, and Webzen is one of the major players in this arena,” said Julian Migura, Boa Compra’s international business director. “The growth in the free-to-play market in Brazil has been explosive, and games like MU Online and C9, which have been so popular in Korea, are expected to repeat their success in Brazil.”