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.

Kongregate Offers $10 Program To Help Mobile Developers

Kongregate has announced that it is launching a new program to help free-to-play mobile game developers with testing, QA, monetization and marketing. The $10 million program will be overseen by former former Zynga general manager Panayoti Haritatos.

“Developers are increasingly finding it harder to get their games discovered through the different app stores,” said Haritatos. “I personally faced these challenges in 2009 while managing my own game studio. Utilizing the Kongregate platform made my games successful, which ultimately led to my studio being acquired by Zynga.”

Twitter’s Super Bowl Social Playbook

This weekend, Americans will watch the Baltimore Ravens go against the San Francisco 49ers for Super Bowl XLVII, and Twitter has rightfully positioned itself as the vehicle for real-time updates during the showdown. Rightfully because the social network thrives on the unpredictability of live events.  And the Super Bowl, that mecca of sports sensationalism where even halftime generates headlines, is perfect for Twitter’s rapid-fire 140-character inputs to cover and comment on everything that happens.

According to Twitter, more than 13 million tweets took place during last year’s game, with over 100,000 per minute during Madonna’s halftime show alone. Twitter is planning for similar action on Sunday, with no less reasons for the hundreds of millions who tune in to chatter away about halftime performances and the drama on the field, not to mention the buzz generated by pricey TV commercials.  This year, Twitter has outlined a few plays of their own to best follow the action.

Fans may need to use a Twitter client or open a few browsers to follow everything.  Beyonce’s stream @Beyonce will surely be hopping about her halftime performance.  The Ravens have their @ravens stream to interact with their players, and the official hashtag following the Ravens’ point of view on the action can be found at #RavensNation.  The 49ers are interacting through @49ers, and for what their fans have to say they’ve set up the hashtag #questforsix, a nod to this potentially being the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl win.

For Twitter’s part, it has created lists for users to see rosters for both the 49ers and Ravens {Twitter content no longer active}.  There’s also what you could call a virtual VIP area with photos, videos and more from the front lines of the show.  And coming back for a second year in a row, Twitter is promoting Twitter Ad Scrimmage, which allows users to watch and vote on their favorite Super Bowl spots as they air during the game.

Some aren’t even waiting until Sunday.  Players and fans have already begun to share their experiences and excitement, and that’ll see hockey stick growth (or call it slant route growth) over the weekend.

Which aspect of the Super Bowl are you most excited to watch — the game, the halftime show, or the ads? Tell us in the comments below!

Source: Twitter

Mercedes-Benz 2013 Super Bowl Commercial — ‘Soul’

While this ad has been hyped for its inclusion of super-model Kate Upton, she really only has a small role. Willem Dafoe does his best devil impersonation trying to tempt some regular guy with the Mercedes-Benz CLA… which, as it turns out, is surprisingly affordable.

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iPad Continues To Dominate Tablets With Samsung Catching Up

According to IDC, Apple shipped 22.9 million iPad units to lead the tablet computer field in the final quarter of 2012. However, the company’s marketshare dipped from 52 percent a year previous to 44 percent.

Meanwhile, Samsung saw a 263 per cent year-on-year sales growth for its Android and Windows 8 tablets equaling almost 8 million units. The company acquired 15.1 percent of the market during Q4 2012, more than double the 7.3 percent it had one year previous.

“New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season,” said IDC’s research director for tablets, Tom Mainelli. “The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

By contrast, Microsoft’s Surface with Windows RT tablet shipped just 900,000 units during the launch quarter. This put Microsoft squarely outside of the top 5 hardware vendors.

“We believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices,” added IDC’s Ryan Reith. “In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes.”

Lego City Undercover Gets Actual Lego Figure

Nintendo of Europe has announced a limited edition version of Lego City Undercover. The special edition of the game will feature an actual Lego version of the game’s protagonist Chase McCain.

Additionally, there will be a special Lego City playset sold seperately which will come with a code which you can use to unlock missions. Lego City Undercover will launch March 18 in North America and March 28 in Europe for the WII U.

Tera: Rising Free-to-Play Launch On February 5

En Masse has confirmed that Tera: Rising will launch as a free-to-play title on February 5.  With the relaunch of the game, there will be two PvP servers in Mount Tyrannas and Lake of Tears, two PvE servers in Tempest Reach and Ascension Valley along with a PvE roleplay server in Celestial Hills.


“Lake of Tears and Ascension Valley will be on their own matching system for dungeons and battlegrounds. Character transfers (free for a limited time) will be available among Mount Tyrannas, Tempest Reach, and Celestial Hills. Characters can transfer once every 30 days,” notes En Masse. “To handle the influx of new Tera gamers, we’re establishing some chat channel restrictions. Area chat is available for characters level 5 and up, trade and LFG chats are level 12 and up, and global chat is level 20 and up. We’re limiting chat rates as well to handle all the traffic.”“Finally, Tera’s community suggested that we give Tera’s founders—those who’ve already played the game—priority queueing if there’s a wait to get into the game. We agree! If you’re a founder, head toward the front of the line (just step over the velvet rope!),” the company added.

Source: {link no longer active; redirects}

GTA V Falls Back From Spring To Autumn

Rockstar has pushed back the release date of Grand Theft Auto V to September 17, 2013. The game had previously been announced for a late Spring release in October 2012.

Grand Theft Auto V continues to push the series forward in new ways; Rockstar North are creating our deepest, most beautiful and most immersive world yet,” said Rockstar founder Sam Houser. “We are very excited for people to learn more about the game in the coming months.”

Microsoft Updates Office With Touch Screen, Cloud Options

Microsoft announced that it is selling its Office software to consumers as an online subscription service for the first time. The company is hoping that by doing so, it will be able to expand the key franchise outside of laptop and desktop PCs.

“This is a fundamental shift in our business that began several years ago,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote.

The revamped Office incorporates touch controls, just like Windows 8. Office 2013 also stores files automatically in Microsoft’s data centers, allowing for access to the same material on multiple devices.

Despite the push towards offering Office on smartphones and tablets, Office 2013 doesn’t include an option that works on Apple’s iOS or Google Android. Subscriptions for the new Office called 365 Home Premium will cost $100 per year, which includes online access on up to five Windows devices or Apple’s Mac computers.

Office will still be sold under a one-time licensing fee that allows the software to be installed on a single machine which will start at $140 and range up to $400. Individual Office programs such as Word, Excel and Outlook will be available for $109 apiece.

365 Home Premium subscribers receive 20 additional gigabytes of storage on Microsoft’s SkyDrive to supplement the 7 gigabytes that the company gives away to account holders for free. Subscribers also will get 60 minutes of free international calls on Microsoft’s Skype service for internet phone calls and video chats.

“Over time, the majority of the billion plus people using Office will be using the Office 365 service,” predicts Ballmer.

While Microsoft’s decision to reshape Office into an online service makes sense, Edward Jones analyst Josh Olson thinks customers may take a while to embrace the concept, particularly major companies that rely on Office the most. “This is a good innovation, but the uptake may be slow to begin because it is so different,” Olson said.