Twitter Illuminates As Stadium Lights Go Out

Twitter was fast and furious last night as the Baltimore Ravens flew to glory as NFL champions, upsetting the San Francisco 49ers to cap a Super Bowl full of unexpected events.  The most unusual was a 30-plus minute post-halftime pause in the action session due to a power outage, which drove fans into a tweeting fury with speculations. Brands took clever advantage of the distraction, intercepting Super Bowl hashtags and using the social platform as the longest commercial break in Super Bowl history.

Twitter set the stage for a stellar Super Bowl. It paid off. According to Twitter, the virtual roar of the crowd set a record high of 24.1 million tweets. Despite an exciting finish and a memorable halftime show, the power outage took the spotlight with more than 300,000 tweets fired off during the commotion.  Interestingly, most fans were crediting Beyoncé’s fierce halftime show as the culprit. Celebrities Neil Patrick Harris and Kelly Clarkson were among those who lit up the social network with tweets.  Clarkson tweeted, “The force and power that is Beyonce just shut the Super Bowl down ha! Too funny!”

While fans made cheap puns over lights out, brands took advantage in their own way. The half-hour-plus downtime gave companies on Twitter a chance to showcase humor and creativity that ranged from Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” quip to  Calvin Klein sneaking in a six pack… of abs.  And by taking advantage of well-trafficked hashtags, these brands a slice of the Super Bowl pie for free.



While the blackout was the most buzzed about, some of the other popular moments came from the game itself.  The Ravens Jacoby Jones scored on two spectacular plays and set Twitter peaks on both, generating 185,000 tweets per minute with his 108-yard TD kickoff return and 168,000 tweets for a spectacular TD on an underthrown ball from quarterback Joe Flacco.  The 49ers Frank Gore generated 131,000 tweets per minute on his TD run, and the clock expiring to mark the Ravens as champs set off a flurry of 183,000 tweets per minute.


God of War: Ascension – ‘From Ashes’

To outsiders, they might think God of War seires is simply about tearing mythological creatures apart. Any fan of the series, however, knows it’s about Kratos’ despair and anger over his departed honor and lost family and that’s conveyed brilliantly in this live-action trailer.

“I’m extremely excited to share the final, full-length version of our From Ashes live action trailer for God of War: Ascension, featuring a special arrangement of Ellie Goulding’s Hanging On,” wrote senior brand manager Anthony Caiazzo. “This is just about the biggest production we’ve ever undertaken for a God of War commercial or trailer — or for any PS3 game for that matter. We are very proud of how it turned out, and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Also, check out the first 30 minutes of gameplay from God of War: Ascension.


Killer Is Dead Is U.S. Bound

Suda 51’s Killer is Dead has been confirmed for a Western release on PS3 and Xbox 360. Xseed will be handling the game in North America, while Deep Silver will have publishing duties in Europe.

“Killer is Dead is set in a not-so-distant future similar to (but not the same as) the world we know now,” reads the official description. “The player takes control of an executioner named Mondo Zappa who wields a Japanese sword in his right hand and brandishes interchangeable weapons in his left artificial arm. His ultimate goal is to execute various heinous criminals scattered around the world and beyond.”

It has also been confirmed that the game will have both English and Japanese voice options on the disc. Check out the first trailer for the game here.

Auto Club Revolution’s Early 2013 Updates

Eutechnyx has announced a series of updates and enhancements for Auto Club Revolution. These include HUD improvements adding a car proximity radar, personal best laps times and an improved navigation map.

The game now has a 3D racing line, improved collision physics and enhanced car handling mechanics. There’s also a ghosting system preventing griefing, and an introduction of the ‘VPR range’ matching players with cars of similar capabilities.

For competitive racers, multiplayer races will now show across all hangouts, allowing the player to race the entire world from one position. Players can register and play at

Super Bowl Ads Wear Out Old Tropes

Anyone who watched the Super Bowl might be forgiven if they forgot what decade it was. It wasn’t because the play on the field was a throwback (the game was an exciting shoot out) but the ads had a conservative bend to them.

“The commercials that CBS broadcast nationally during the game were, by and large, disappointing. They represented a missed opportunity for marketers and agencies to demonstrate that they had at least some understanding of how contemporary consumers think and behave,” says Stuart Elliott. “Alas, the so-called creative minds of Madison Avenue chose once again to fall back on familiar strategies and themes that would have appealed more to viewers during the Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan or Clinton administrations.”

There was a Century 21 ad that made a a mother-in-law joke, a Wonderful pistachios ad with a chorus line and ads for Axe Apollo, E*Trade, the Kia Sorento and Lincoln, which features images of astronauts. There were also tired tropes of anthropomorphic animals for spots of, Doritos and Skechers and dopey men in a spot for Kia Forte.

Also, while it wasn’t old fashioned at all, the GoDaddy ad where a computer nerd made out with Bar Refaeli was one of the most uncomfortable ads to watch ever.

“Fortunately, all was not dross,” notes Elliott. “There were some enjoyable and effective commercials mixed among the clunkers, particularly those that sought to be timely by including in their plots New Orleans, the site of Super Bowl XLVII, or references to the contenders, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.”

Bud Light had a commercial featuring Stevie Wonder, focusing on the superstition theme the company had been trading on all season, with a nice shout out to the voodoo of New Orleans. Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch’s flagship brand in Budweiser had a sappy but effective ad about a Clydesdale and a trainer.

“The plot of a commercial for the new Mercedes-Benz CLA echoed everything from Faust to Damn Yankees. And a dream sequence echoed a 2012 Super Bowl spot for Kia,” writes Elliott. “Still, the commercial was infinitely better than an overheated teaser spot that promoted it. It also had a nice New Orleans atmosphere, Willem Dafoe as Lucifer, clever cameo appearances by Condé Nast magazines like GQ, and a punch line centered on a selling point, the car’s sticker price.”

There were two sweet ads for treats, with M&M’s character Red singing “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and a clever Oreo spot that had people arguing softly in a library over preferring the cookie or cream (with a call to engagement on Instagram for users to voice their opinions).

“A delightful commercial for Tide, sold by Procter & Gamble, told a fanciful tale of a ‘miracle stain’ on a 49ers fan’s jersey that resembled the team’s former star quarterback, Joe Montana,” adds Elliot. “The sendup of media hype was knowing, and the surprising punch line was perfect.”

Source: New York Times

IGN Acquired By Ziff Davis

Ziff Davis has acquired the IGN network, making the games-media conglomerate part of J2 Global. The IGN brands will be used along with other Ziff Davis properties to target males aged 18-34.

“This is a transformative deal for our digital media business,” said J2 Global CEO Hemi Zucker. “By combining two of the most storied organizations in tech, gaming and entertainment, we have created a very powerful company capable of producing and delivering content in all forms to an audience that marketers highly value.”

Before this deal, Ziff Davis owned PCMag, ExtremeTech, and GearLog. The IGN network currently consists of the main IGN site, GameSpy, AskMen, GameStats, Vault Network and 1UP (which was sold by Ziff Davis to UGO Entertainment in 2009, which itself was subsequently acquired by IGN in 2011).

THQ’s Jason Rubin Talks About The Company’s Downfall

Some have put the blame for THQ’s collapse on larger market factors squeezing the whole AAA gaming industry. However THQ’s now former president Jason Rubin thinks the company dug its own grave.

“I think it is incorrect to attribute THQ’s predicament with overall changes in the industry,” said Rubin. “To be sure, all triple-A publishers have been under pressure, but THQ had every chance to survive had it not made massive mistakes.”

“Unfortunately, the mistakes that were made long before I joined, like the incredible losses attached to uDraw, massive wasted capital in the unpublished MMO that was canceled, sticking with children’s and casual titles far after mobile and tablets had killed the business, bad, late, or otherwise inferior titles like Homefront, and a generally haphazard and inefficient approach to deal making, left the company with too much negative hanging on its books.”

“THQ had to be restructured to survive, and unfortunately, the restructuring ended up in an asset sale rather than an acquisition.  There are certainly things to be said about challenges in the mid-tier triple-A publishing business, but I don’t think that conflating it with THQ’s experience is helpful.”

When asked if luck could have helped the company with a breakout hit, Rubin said, “I think that luck plays a role in success and failure, but THQ’s decisions and execution were the major reason for its failure,” he argues. “It would be a cop out to say that bad luck was the predominant force. Could Homefront have caught a nerve and sold 10 million copies  It’s possible I guess, but probably not without better production. And it’s hard to attribute a canceled MMO to bad luck. That was simply a bad decision in a sea of bad decisions.”


Facebook Aims For Core Gamers In 2013

Facebook has announced that it will help launch ten core oriented games including u4ia’s Offensive Combat, Plarium’s Stormfall: Age of War and nWay’s Chronoblade. Facebook head of game partnerships Sean Ryan says that they want more multiplayer-focused core genres like first-person shooters and real-time strategy.

“You’ll see a whole set of games hitting in the next two quarters in particular and throughout the year that really start to redefine what people think of Facebook games,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t mean we’re walking away from other games, but there’s no question our focus for 2013 much of it will be about becoming a better platform for core gamers and developers who make those games.”

Facebook wants to increase the number of gamers on its platform, which already numbers in the hundreds of millions. Mainly, they want game revenue to increase after it was flat from the same quarter a year ago in recent financial results.

Source: Reuters

GameStick Kickstarter Concludes With Nearly $650,000

The GameStick Kickstarter has wrapped up, raising $647,658 in funding from 5,691 backers. This total blows past the $100,000 original goal for the project.

GameStick is an Android-powered console designed for TV gaming with an Amlogic 8726-MXS processor, WiFi and Bluetooth functionality, 1GB of DDR3 memory, 8GB of NAND Flash memory, and its own wireless controller designed to dock with the console. GameStick is expected to ship in April, with the basic console and controller combo selling for $79.

Madden Franchise Reaches 99 Million Sales

Electronic Arts has announced that the Madden franchise has sold 99 million copies, bringing in a total of $3.7 billion in revenue. The original game launched for home computers in 1988, with 1993 being the first year it had the official NFL license.

The company also announced that this year’s entry will be named Madden NFL 25 in celebration of 25 years of the franchise. EA will have a fan vote determine the cover athlete from a variety of potential players.