Black Ops 2 Vengeance Map Packs Bring New Experiences

The newest trailer for Call of Duty Black Ops 2‘s new map pack, titled Vengeance, shows off the new maps along with a new zombies fight featured in the pack.  “Cove” features a beachside fight, “Rush” features a fight in a paintball arena, “Detour” has a multilevel fight on a bridge, and “Uplink” is a mountaintop fight to take control of a command center.

The pack’s new zombies experience brings a new setting to the mix as well, in a literal ghost town. The pack will be released first on Xbox Live on July 2.


Kingdom Hearts 3 Announcement Ends Eight Years Of Waiting

After Kingdom Hearts 2 was released in 2005, the question on everyone’s mind was ‘When will Kingdom Hearts 3 grace our screens ‘ The PlayStation 3 came and went without any word of the next numbered entry. Eight years and four handheld games later, Kingdom Hearts 3 has finally been revealed for next gen consoles. There is no release date set yet, but gameplay footage and some story insight is a step in the right direction.

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Battlefield 4 Promises All-Out War

Outside of the big console battle this holiday season, the marketing battle of the year will be between Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts and Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 4. This trailer show some of the amazing things possible in the new Frostbite 3 engine used in Battlefield 4, including the collapse of a skyscraper and amphibious assaults.

The New [a]list daily

The future is bright, sunrise orange bright.

If you’re reading this, then you’ve seen that we just launched the brand new [a]list daily. There’s this spiffy new web site but it’s more than a re-brand. We’re expanding the daily after four years of steady growth.  All of it has been on the back of word of mouth by you, our readers, which we like to believe has something to do with the content we’ve delivered.

Our expansion is two-fold.  First and foremost, we’ve grown our staff with the addition of Steve Peterson, west coast editor for and now senior editor for [a]list daily.  Peterson brings decades of experience to the role, starting out his career in game design, then in senior marketing roles, and most recently as’s go-to writer for marketing coverage. You might think Peterson has been preparing himself throughout his career to become an editor at a game and entertainment marketing B2B outlet like ours. We’re thrilled to have him.

Saffron yellow is so 2009.

Our new site reflects the other side of our growth, designed around what we expect to be consistent delivery of higher caliber content.  Since Peterson joined our team in May, we’ve expanded our slate with more frequent feature and analysis stories.  Expect that to continue.  We now have a solid series of exclusive columns, partnering with data firms and analysts to cover digital sales and retail game preorders. We’re broadening our coverage of what’s worth highlighting in advertising, marketing and social media. We will consistently look beyond games where other brands are doing things worth noting because they can influence game marketing, or where they’ve been influenced by game culture.  We’re also implementing a couple of handy resources for readers with events and job listings.  Last but certainly not least, the new site is mobile and tablet friendly.

Most importantly, we’ll be continuing the unique slant of coverage that we think readers have come to rely on with [a]list daily.  That is, the insight that our editorial staff and contributing writers can provide on how changes in the game industry affect the way products are marketed and sold.

The game industry is in constant flux. It should be. It has a unique place in this world of ours, residing at the intersection of art, technology and entertainment.  Perhaps more than anything else outside of politics and warfare, these are the three forces that are shaping who we are as a society. Looking at the industry historically, amidst that constant flux have been moments when there’s a collective breath before the next big leap forward.  It feels as if we’re at the apex of another one of these moments.

Here’s how Peterson sees it: “The game industry is in a time of rapid expansion and sweeping changes, with new business models and new platforms bringing games to people worldwide.  Marketing games is a challenge in this environment; you have to be as creative in marketing as you are in game design if you want to succeed.”

The past few years have been about taking breaths as we looked at how online gaming, then digital distribution, then social media, then smart mobile devices each changed the industry in its own way. They didn’t just change the way people play games and what they play. They changed the way the industry needs to do business.  The same media and technology shifting peoples’ gaming habits have also affected how game companies need to market products, and even who now has to be part of the marketing process.

Steve Peterson, red with writing fury.

“We’ve seen a tremendous growth in the number of game developers and publishers as barriers to entry and distribution have fallen, particularly on mobile platforms,” says Peterson. “With thousands of games launching every week, the biggest challenge is discovery — and that’s a marketing challenge.”

That’s where the [a]list daily comes in. Ayzenberg launched this newsletter into a very different world in 2009. It was a time when the game industry waited each month for one set of numbers, NPD’s retail sales reports, to define its health. [a]list daily saw things differently, spurred along by the brain trust in an ad agency that foresaw the coming changes from a marketing perspective. In large part it was thanks to forward-looking companies who enlisted it to help market what at first seemed like fringe products — digitally distributed MMOs, social games, mobile games, free-to-play games.  We covered these categories and genres early on, recognizing they posed business and marketing challenges.  As they became a bigger part of what the industry defines itself around, we’ve tried to stay on top, if not ahead, of what game makers and marketers need to know.  That will remain our mission.

Finally, connect with us.

We’ve grown sizable, and active, communities on Twitter, Linked In and Facebook with content that you don’t get through the site.

If you’ve got an informative, thought-provoking or just plain amusing idea that you feel is fit for the daily, or if you have feedback to share, we always want to hear about it.  Post a comment if you don’t mind everyone knowing about it.  If you want to talk with us directly, check out our masthead at the bottom of the site. We’re all accessible.

The Death Of Vine May Be Greatly Exaggerated

The following is a reprint of an article for iMedia Connection by Keith Pape, VP social & emerging media at Ayzenberg Group.

With the launch of Instagram Video yesterday, many pundits have already announced the death of Twitter’s video service, Vine. It seems that anytime Facebook jumps into a new niche, there is the threat that a smaller offering will be crushed under their weight (of ad spend to gain adoption).

The fact that Instagram video is integrated into their existing application certainly helps their cause by gaining access to an existing install base, but Foursquare has certainly shown that a mere entry into a space (such as online check-in) isn’t a guaranteed death sentence. The key to Instagram’s success and their greatest differentiation is certainly their filtering options. Filtering turns any point-and-shoot photographer into Ansel Adams with the push of a button. I’m not sure the same is true for video. There is much more to consider when creating a short-form video; and just adding on a lighting filter at the end may not make up for aggressive movement, bad composition or poor aim.

From a functionality standpoint, I do admit I love that they came out with iOS and Android the same day. The ability to use both camera views (front and rear) is a godsend, and having the option for a slightly longer form —while being able to stop anytime I want and move on to filter and share — is quite refreshing.

The key for Vine is to find its differentiation, much as Foursquare has done for check-in. How can they find a new feature or audience niche that finds Vine to be the special sauce they need Vine will need to pivot quickly on their business model to stay relevant. I don’t really see them as an underdog (as they are a division of Twitter) but as a first mover, I do root for them to make some quick changes and I’m still hopeful for an innovative and competitive future.

What do you think I’ve taken a few already and see not necessarily innovation, but certainly a more full-featured experience. What have you shot What do you think Vine’s next move could be? Leave a comment or send me a tweet and let’s keep this conversation going.

About the Author

Keith Pape leads social, mobile and emerging media opportunities, as well as strategy and creative execution at Ayzenberg Group.  He is a senior digital marketing executive with 14+ years of experience driving business growth, leading teams, launching brands and products, and achieving results through creative, results-driven and technology-enabled marketing. 

Source: iMedia

OUYA Micro-Console Hits Stores

The opening salvos in the Console Wars, 2013 Edition are just beginning. We have Nvidia’s Shield appearing later this week, and today the OUYA micro-console appears in stores. OUYA, the Kickstarter-funded Android-based console retails for $99 with controller and hooks right into your TV set, hoping to grab a spot away from other consoles.

OUYA is in retail locations across the U.S., Canada, and U.K., including Amazon, Best Buy, GAME, GameStop, and Target. The console has a library of more than 170+ free-to-try games and media apps in 1080p HD to start. More than 17,000 developers have registered to develop OUYA games, so it’s a good bet we’ll see many more games from companies like Sega, Square Enix, and Double Fine Productions as well as many indie developers.

“It’s incredible to think that a little under a year ago OUYA was just an idea — we wanted to do something completely new in console gaming: build a $99 game console, with no discs to buy, open to all developers, and affordable to all gamers,” said Julie Uhrman, CEO and co-founder of OUYA. “Today, OUYA is real. Console gaming has never needed something new more than it does now.”

It’s not clear how well the console will do against the well-established competition from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The current-gen consoles from the Big Three are likely to see price cuts this fall that will put them close to the OUYA’s $99 price point. Game prices will be the big difference, with all of OUYA’s games being at least free to try out, and most are either free-to-play or much less expensive than normal console games.

Embraer’s New Catalog Soars

Airplane manufacturer Embraer has decided that when showing off their new Lineage 1000 plane, a simple 2D catalog wasn’t good enough. Their new catalog has magnets embedded in the back cover, allowing the book to actually float when placed above the slipcase (which also has a magnet in it). In addition, the cover of the magazine features a 3D cutout of their plane, giving the illusion of it floating off the ground.

As the world becomes an increasingly connected and online world, regular print advertising has been falling by the wayside in favor of web advertising. To stand out with print advertising, print advertising must become more creative. Embraer’s new catalog here does this by literally standing above the rest. While print may seem like an old and dated method of presenting marketing materials, there’s still room for creativity that can make a product stand out. Or, in some cases, float out.

Source: Mashable

HTML 5 Is A New Frontier For Advertising

HTML 5 is quickly becoming the go-to platform for browser-based game development. More developers are beginning to invest in the platform for its ability to work cross platform between computer, and mobile devices. In addition to this, advertisers are beginning to recognize this movement from flash to HTML 5 and are taking notice. Advertisers haven’t all made the move yet, as it requires more skill to use the platform, but the jump between platforms is worth it.

A lot of advertising companies and game developers are realizing that the potential for cross-platform, mobile, touch, and online games that HTML 5 offers has enormous potential for advertisers. Video advertising is still a relatively Flash-dominated field, as sites like YouTube continue to use Flash to operate. The rest of the Flash-based world is beginning to move on. Though the barrier of entry into HTML 5 is high and will take time to surmount, the payout for cross-platform utility will be worth it.

One of the factors holding back widespread adoption of HTML 5 has been performance, but speedier mobile hardware and better HTML 5 tools has made that less of an issue. The increasing array of HTML 5 development tools is also making the process of creating HTML 5 content easier. Game makers and advertisers alike need to keep an eye on this technology as it continues to advance.

Source: VentureBeat

Former I Love Bees Worker Hired By Microsoft

Back in 2004, Microsoft hired Elan Lee and 42 Entertainment to conduct a viral marketing campaign called I Love Bees. The campaign was an alternate reality game marketing Halo 2, and featured both Internet and real world portions, bringing players into the campaign. Now, Elan Lee has joined Microsoft as the chief design officer of Xbox Entertainment Studios.

He now works under Nancy Tellem, the former CBS executive who is now in charge of video content for Xbox. It is likely that Lee’s new position has to do with Steven Spielberg’s Halo television series which will be featured on the Xbox One. This new alliance may be part of an effort to bring more crossover content between games and video to Xbox’s entertainment services. The Xbox One’s robust TV features leave a lot of potential for working with video games to make cross-media games and shows.

Source: Joystiq