Ayzenberg Group Opens London Office

Ayzenberg Group announced that they will be opening an office in London. This is the company’s first expansion outside of the U.S. and is being done to meet the growing need for social media marketing and branding services overseas.

Ayzenberg Group will be situated in the same building as branding agency Holmes & Marchant and the two companies will develop a partnership together in their own areas of expertise. “Partnering with Holmes & Marchant provides us with a significant advantage in the marketplace, and further strengthens our presence as we expand our global reach,” said Keith Pape, VP of Social & Emerging Media for Ayzenberg Group. “The power of our social team will only be amplified once enhanced by their global branding expertise.”

“Although Holmes & Marchant has a firm grasp on branding in the classic sense, we are looking forward to implementing Ayzenberg’s successful social media techniques with a future offer around social brand management.” said Simon Ward, Holmes & Marchant CEO, who previous served as Director of Strategic Development at Ayzenberg Group.

Rift Goes Free June 12

Trion Worlds has announced that Rift will be going free-to-play on June 12. The switchover will commence with the game’s next major content update 2.3, Empyreal Assault.

The whole game will be open to all players, including all zones, dungeons and other content. Subscription options will be open for increased mount speed, extra money for drops and special experience bonuses; certain boosts, cosmetic details and mounts will be available via an in-game store as well.

“We have been listening to feedback from our players and watching the continuously developing MMO community, and are now ready to launch Rift as a premium free-to-play experience,” . “After taking our time and planning a careful transition; we are very excited to bring an enhanced game experience to everyone, without barriers,” said Rift creative director Bill Fisher. “As a gamer’s game, a super fun and fair experience is of the utmost importance to us,” he added. “Players will have the opportunity to buy customizations and boosts to heighten their play experience; however the best gear in the game will always have to be earned through playing Rift.”

Source: RiftGame.com

Windows 8.1 Coming June 26

Microsoft chief marketing officer Tami Reller revealed that the code-named ‘Windows Blue’ update for Windows 8 will be officially released as Windows 8.1. This update for the operating system will be free and available through the Windows Store.

“It will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem. It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play,” said Reller at the conference. “The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. From a company-wide perspective, Windows Blue is part of a broader effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft.”

Microsoft Build Developer Conference’s launch day on June 26 will be the first day the public will be able to preview Windows 8.1. The company says the preview will be available on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Source: Pocketlint

Angry Birds Maker Launching Rovio Stars

Rovio Entertainment has announced that they will start publishing third-party games via a new publishing brand called Rovio Stars. The first games from Rovio Stars will be A Viking Voyage from U.K.-based Nitrome and Tiny Thief from Spanish studio 5 Ants.

“We want to help the developers to give these games that last coat of polish, publish the games and find their audience,” said Rovio director of development Kalle Kaivola. “We’re focusing on a small, select number of games, and each Rovio Stars launch will be an event of its own.”

Rovio wants developers to submit their own games to be part of the the Rovio Stars program. Those games that are tapped by Rovio will benefit from the company’s marketing and PR resources, will receive feedback on the gameplay, and will benefit from help in bringing the game to app stores.

Source: Rovio.com

The Mayhem Bundle Brings The Chaos

Indie Royale has launched The Mayhem Bundle, featuring six games from independent developers from around the world that would normally go for over $60. Burn Zombie Burn, Lucius, Plain Sight, Primal Fears, Alien Shooter 2 Conscription and Droplitz are in the bundle, and they are all available on Steam for Windows.

Right now over 4,000 copies of the bundle have been purchased. Those who pay $8 during The Mayhem Bundle will get Chipzel’s chiptune album Phonetic Symphony in either MP3 and FLAC format.

Source: IndieRoyale.com

E3 Still Very Relevant To The Industry, Says ESA

The state of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is questioned every year and is often used as a barometer to the health of the AAA gaming industry itself. Entertainment Software Association senior vice president of communications and industry affairs Rich Taylor is used to these issues after six years, but to him the response for the show speaks for itself.

“It’s interesting. I’ve been at ESA now for six years, and that question has come up pretty much every year,” Taylor said. “I think the show answers the question itself both through the level of attendance and participation, from the news that comes out of it, and it remains extraordinarily… not just relevant, but vital to the industry, and vital to those who want to share news through the billions of impressions that come out of it. When we convene this show, all the attendant eyeballs and ears are pointed toward Los Angeles to see the news that comes out.”

“Right now, the overwhelming finding is where we are now is a really positive sweet spot,” Taylor added. “Folks feel good about the room they have for their exhibit space, meeting room options, the number of attendees is still large enough to get all the principal folks that people hope to encounter during the show into the LACC, but also not so overwhelming that you can’t actually play and experience the games themselves, which is of course a key part of the show… I think people really are fairly thrilled about what we have now and the model we have now, the size we have now, the timing we have now. That seems to be where the model will sit for the foreseeable future.”

Taylor notes that they are committed to running E3 out of the Los Angeles Convention Center through 2016. This follows setbacks to the nearby planned construction of an NFL football stadium and assurances from the LACC and AEG to minimize any impact on E3 should the stadium be constructed.

Future E3 events should have more coverage of the mobile sector, a growing part of the gaming industry. The Online Mobile Gaming Pavilion will be dedicated to handheld devices, which Taylor describes as something that will be “more conducive to the experience of playing those games.”

Source: GamesIndustry.biz

Nvidia Shield Coming In June For $349

Nvidia’s Shield has been announced for the price of $349 and has been confirmed for a launch in June 2013. Pre-orders for the portable device will start on May 20.

The Shield will come with a 5-inch 720p multi-touch display attached to a console-style controller with a custom Nvidia Tegra 4 mobile processor. Running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.1, the device will support games from Google Play and Nvidia’s TegraZone, with a beta service for streaming through Steam’s Big Picture mode available on launch day.

Sony Investor Wants Sony Electronics Separate From Entertainment

Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb, who has led investments of over $1 billion in Sony Corp., wants Sony to “partially spin-off” its Sony Entertainment business that includes music publishing, cable networks, and movies/TV shows. The remaining businesses of Sony Corp. would be the PlayStation business, cameras, smartphones, laptops and TVs.

“Like many conglomerates we have invested in previously, Sony has two strong businesses facing different challenges side by side, each obscuring the other’s true worth,” explained Loeb.

Loeb proposes an option for owning Sony Entertainment more directly, a move that Loeb is willing to personally oversee. “Beyond Third Point’s willingness to help facilitate a public offering for Sony Entertainment, we offer our assistance to implement our proposal and would gladly accept a seat on Sony’s Board of Directors,” Loeb said.

Source: The New York Times

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – May 15

[a]list daily is now your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media. Check here every Wednesday for the latest openings. To see last week’s [a]list jobs click here.

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

  • Dolby Laboratories, Director of Integrated Marketing, Dolby Wide (San Francisco Bay Area, CA)
  • Samsung Electronics, Marketing Manager of Channel Services (San Francisco Bay Area, CA)
  • Nintendo, Marketing Specialist of Digital Service Development Greater Seattle Area, WA)
  • NFL, Vice President of Programming and Media Events (Greater Los Angeles Area, CA)




Ayzenberg Group, one of the largest independent ad firms on the West Coast, is hiring. We’re currently looking to fill these positions: Creative Lead: Visual Design, Game Capture Artist, Lead Web/UI Software Engineer and more. Check out our Careers page to apply.