The White House Gets Ready To ‘Tumble’

By Elena Zanone

The Obama White House has proven itself to be a social media maven.  Last week, the White House made the first post to its official Tumblr.  The administration says it will post notes on policy decisions, peel back the curtain on some governmental action, publish quotes from the President himself, and upload animated GIFs.

“We see some great things here at the White House every day, and sharing that stuff with you is one of the best parts of our jobs,” the White House stated in its first post. “That’s why we’re launching a Tumblr.”

It’s a surprisingly late entrance for an administration that has already launched a Vine, the newest social media player to hit the interwebs. The White House has been an active member on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+.  Apparently there’s no shortage of material for adding Tumblr.

The administration continued in their debut Tumblr post, “We’ll post things like the best quotes from President Obama, or video of young scientists visiting the White House for the science fair, or photos of adorable moments with Bo.  We’ve got some wonky charts, too. Because to us, those are actually kind of exciting.”

Obama’s reliance on social media dates back to his first campaign. The President used social media heavily in his 2008 run.  After his election in 2012, many pointed to his campaign’s expert use of social media to communicate with voters and even raise money compared to shortcomings in his opponent, Mitt Romney’s camp.  Obama even had a Tumblr during the campaign – remember   Now that he’s in his second term he’s continuing to position his administration as the most accessible in history.


In proper social media protocol, the White House’s Tumblr will also serve as a place where the public is encouraged to ask questions and share personal stories about what governmental policies mean to them. The administration even wants users to offer suggestions about how the White House can improve its “Tumbling.”

Users can follow the White House’s new Tumblr at

What would you like to see on the White House Tumblr? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Source: Mashable

Beyond: Two Souls Tribeca Trailer

This trailer for Beyond: Two Souls recently premiered at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival. We get to see more glimpses of Ellen Page’s character in this trailer, how she was cast out by her parents for her supernatural powers, how the CIA took her in and trained her, and how she eventually ended up on the run.


Papers, Please – Official Trailer

Papers, Please is becoming an indie darling this year and it tackles the subject of border crossings. As a guard working the border of the fictional second-world country of Arstotzka during the early ’80s, you have to deal with the realities of checking passports and other documentation while dealing with personal stories and the consequences of your actions.


Call of Duty: Ghosts Social Teaser

A teaser engagement for Call of Duty: Ghosts has appeared on the franchise’s official site. An image is slowly being built on a new teaser page, populated based on Tweets using the #CallofDuty hashtag. The image appears to be taking the shape of the mask of Simon “Ghost” Riley, the British soldier last seen in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  Fans can click to post to Facebook or Twitter in order to be featured in the mosaic.



Exclusive: Niche, Core Titles Dominate Amazon’s April Pre-Orders

By David Radd

Amazon does as much volume of game sales as any major big box retailer, and they provide statistics for their own pre-orders. In the first of what we’re hoping will be the first of an ongoing series, we brought in industry expert Scott Steinberg to give his observations on the top games.

“The bulk of the list is solidly hardcore and this comes down to Amazon’s audience being tech savvy and the pent up demand for these titles,” said Steinberg. “The easiest way to get prominence at a retailer these days is to be a military-style FPS title, so it’s obvious discerning core gamers would seek out the games they wanted via online avenues. There’s not as much originality in many AAA games and there’s still appetite for games that speak to gamers specifically.”

One of the interesting aspects of the pre-orders is that six of the top 10 games are Japanese RPGs. “These games used to be far more common and a far more prominent part of the industry. I think there’s still an audience for these games that might not be served by other channels,” noted Steinberg.

One of the year’s biggest titles on PS Vita, Soul Sacrifice, is very high on the list, showing that there must be some demand for the device. “There’s been an undersupply of good games on the Vita and I think many are looking for high quality game experiences that are outside the mainstream,” he noted. “There are many players that want to play these sorts of original games and I think PS Vita users in particular are looking for cutting edge titles and are savvy as to what’s going out there in the gaming world — it doesn’t surprise me they’re willing to step up for a game like this.”

Something that surprised this writer is, despite the large number of download sales on both PC and Xbox 360, the pre-order of the disc based version of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition was in the top five. “I think you would be amazed at the adults who play the game — it’s the sort of phenomenon that new people discover every day,” said Steinberg. “It’s a game that’s priced attractively – people will try it out or give it as a gift and downloading is still somewhat esoteric. Don’t forget the ease of recall. Out of all the games at Wizard Con, the majority of people in cosplay were either World of Warcraft or Minecraft.”

Another prominent feature in most of these top pre-order games is, perhaps unsurprisingly, pre-order bonuses. “If you’re going to buy a retail product, a big part is the deluxe packages, many of which are very appealing to specialist consumers. I think the collectible element is big and if you have so many choices available you’re going to buy the one with the soundtrack, map, artbook, figurine, etc.”

Breaking it down into individual lists, the top Xbox 360 pre-orders were more different than alike from the PS3 pre-orders. It seems there’s a larger difference between those two console audiences than many give them credit for. “I think there are differences; Xbox 360 has more of a generalist audience, from families to hardcore,” he said. “PS3 has that larger focus on Japanese games, and mainly because of the Japanese background, it attracts a particular audience that likes those sorts of games.”

Another aspect is Sony developed software, and The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls both ranked highly on Amazon. “Demand is high for games from Sony studios. If you look at Microsoft’s franchises they’re graphic and also fewer in number, but Sony has more mature storytelling content and that appeals to the gamer who enjoys that sort of nuance. The Last of Us places as much emphasis on shooting this as it does the personal interactions and Beyond: Two Souls is heavily cinematic. I think their first-party games have more character to them… though games like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale might not have that level of sophistication.”

The most prominent Wii U exclusive to get on the list was Pikmin 3 at 27. “It’s clearly been proven time and time again the reasons most people buy a Nintendo platform is for the Nintendo software. Mario, Zelda and the like continue to be top performers and the Wii U, while it had a number of titles at launch, hasn’t seen many releases since and it’s no surprise to see Pikmin 3 being so heavily pre-ordered on the system. For a Nintendo system to appeal to Nintendo fans it has to be built on the back of Nintendo franchises. So yes, it’s high time that more Nintendo games come to Wii U. There are two reasons people buy Nintendo systems: they like family friendly games and they want Nintendo properties, and right now the Wii U doesn’t have enough of either.”

Developer Exposes Piracy Irony With Cracked Version Of Game Dev Tycoon

Developer Greenheart Games took an unusual approach when it released Game Dev Tycoon by seeding torrent sites with a cracked version. The main difference with this version of the game is that the player’s in-game developer would suffer rampant piracy and eventually go bankrupt, leading some pirates to ask if they could invest in DRM in-game.

“As a gamer I laughed out loud: the IRONY!!!” wrote Greenheart co-founder Patrick Klug. “However, as the developer, who spent over a year creating this game and hasn’t drawn a salary yet, I wanted to cry. Surely, for most of these players, the 8 dollars wouldn’t hurt them but it makes a huge difference to our future!”

The cracked version of the game also reported back usage stats to Greenheart. From the data gathered, 3,104 users pirated the game compared to just 214 who played legitimately purchased copies.

“Whether or not to use DRM isn’t clear at all to a new start-up,” detailed Klug. “The main argument against it is that all it does is to inconvenience genuine customers. Fact is that any game can be cracked, so all you do is spend time on something that in the end just annoys your real customers while only slightly delaying the inevitable. The only way to protect yourself is to create an online game. I guess that’s why so many studios focus on these types of games and it’s probably a driving force to eradicate traditional single player games. Personally, I love single players games and hope to be able to continue down this path and if more people would buy our game, we might even be able to.”

Torment Nudged Towards $4.5 Million Stretch Goal

inXile announced that their PayPal pledges has risen to $239,438 over the past month, putting the total that Torment: Tides of Numenera has raised at $4,428,365. While this is insufficient for the game to reach its $4.5 million stretch goal by itself, the company had some good news.

“Our percentage of dropped pledges was way below our estimates, proving yet again that you guys rock!” wrote Thomas Beekers, Line Producer at inXile. “As you may recall, our Lead Tormenter Brian Fargo and superfan Steven Dengler matched pledges between $1,000 and $3,000, adding a total of $200,000. That money was set aside primarily against failed pledges, but because of your dedication, we can apply enough of it toward our budget — combined with the PayPal totals — so as to have reached $4.5 million.”

“Which means We made it! Because you guys are so awesome (and because Fargo and Dengler are so awesome) we can implement every single one of our stretch goals, including not just the player “stronghold” but also our ideas for expanded reactivity, length and depth, pursuing some of our crazier ideas concerning choice and consequence. As we outlined in update 19, while the classic “stronghold” concept might not fit this game the potential is there to do some really interesting things to tie it into our theme of legacy and the unique weirdness of the Ninth World. Colin’s been hard at work hashing out the overall plot as well as resurrecting and moving forward with ideas we had for features such as the stronghold, and he’s come up with some pretty great ones.”


Star Citizen Raises Over $9 Million

Cloud Imperium Games has announced that it has raised over $9 million to fund its Star Citizen game. This includes the $2,134,374 from 34,397 backers on Kickstarter and a further $6,927,508 raised through the Roberts Space Industries website from 132,572 fans.

The Chris Roberts studio recently opened a new office in Santa Monica and announced its intention to add 20 new staff members to the team. Star Citizen is expected to launch in alpha by Winter 2013.

Gears of War Movie Gets Ted Producer

Scott Stuber, producer of Battleship, Ted and Love And Other Drugs, has signed up to work on the Gears of War movie. He will develop the script in partnership with the game’s developer Epic Games, though very little has been attached to the project yet.

After a failed attempt to get a Gears of War movie started at New Line in 2007, Epic has been shopping around the property to find a new partner. Some of the producers who were interested include Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Chernin Entertainment, who have taken on properties with this kind of gravitas in the past.