PlayStation 3 Update Shuts Down Systems

PlayStation 3 users should take caution before upgrading their systems to the 4.45 version firmware, as “a small number of users” has reported that the update has affected their systems. Sony has since taken the update offline so users who avoided the update will not have to worry about dealing with the system update affecting their systems. Concerning those affected by the update, Sony has said “We kindly ask PS3 users to wait for further details. We will announce when ready.”

The update was meant to add trophy notification options and improved system stability, according to a tweet released before the update’s release. Instead, the update created a problem bringing up the home menu interface, leaving the user unable to do anything on their console. This stumble comes hot on the heels of their successful E3 showing, where they showed off their upcoming PlayStation 4, and a strong lineup of PlayStation 3 games coming later this year. Hopefully these problems will be taken care of quickly.

Source: Kotaku


Iwata Says ‘We Are To Blame’ For Wii U Sales

Over the course of the year since the Nintendo Wii U’s release, sales of the new system have been lackluster. At E3 this year, Nintendo attempted to fix the problem by announcing a variety of new titles for the system. Satoru Iwata recently spoke to CNBC about the problems the Wii U’s launch faced, saying that “we are to blame.”

“We relaxed our [marketing] efforts, so the consumers today still cannot understand what’s so good and unique about the Wii U. Because we’re always trying to be unique, it takes some energies on our side to [make] people understand the real attractions about whatever we are doing.”

When the Wii was initially released in 2006, it was accompanied by numerous advertisements and a stellar, easily picked up title in the form of Wii Sports.

Iwata said, “Because there’s not software that’s simple and obvious for people as Wii Sports for the Wii, potential customers do not feel like trying the Wii U.”

From a marketing standpoint, Nintendo and Iwata understand that there wasn’t enough done. When the system was released, there were few Nintendo exclusive games to push the console forward. There was also almost no advertising to show consumers that the Wii U was a step forward from the Wii that was worth taking. Nintendo has recognized the software problem now, and the announcement of games such as Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. Wii U is a step towards solving it. Nintendo needs to start advertising to the same massive number of consumers who purchased the original Wii. When they can produce a steady stream of must-have titles and market them effectively, they may finally see their new console sell in respectable numbers.

There is one key marketing tool that’s still not planned is a price cut for the Wii U.

“From the very beginning we came up with a very aggressive price point,” Iwata said.  “We do not think [a price cut] is a very easy option to take.”

That position may change at some point.  The question is whether that will be before the holidays this year.


WPP Digital Gives $4.4 Million To Mobile Startup

Advertising firm WPP Digital has announced today that they have made a $4.4 Million investment in Muzy. Muzy is a new startup mobile photo-based microblogging app and website that currently has 20 million users and is gaining 1 million a month. The app and website allows users to utilize over 50 widgets to arrange photos, games and content a small album, add a note, and post.

The company says they will utilize this new funding to add to their staff and build more tools and widgets for their platform. The app currently uses no form of advertising whatsoever, so some of this support from WPP will no doubt be used to advertise the service and reach out to new users.

The potential for advertising on this service when it picks up steam is also great. Companies can potentially utilize this service’s photo and text sharing options to show more about games, or possibly even fund new widgets for the site in exchange for advertising for the new widget. Muzy has been seeing rapid growth with no advertising, so potential for growth utilizing advertising is incredible.

It’s interesting to see an advertising firm investing in a platform.  Is this the beginning of a trend Will other ad firms see value in acquiring and/or developing mobile tools that can be useful ad vehicles? Mobile advertising is still in its very early stages with no clear winners yet, so the territory is ripe for innovation. WPP has apparently decided to get directly involved rather than waiting for something to emerge.  It will be fascinating to watch the strategy evolve.

Source: TechCrunch

Apple Shows Off Potential iOS 7 Controllers

After Apple announced plans for iOS 7 controller support at their annual WWDC conference, they also announced partnerships with Logitech and Moga to begin development on game controllers for iOS 7 devices. The explosion of game development for iOS devices over the last several years has left developers wondering when support for a controller would be included in iOS. With this announcement, it can be expected that demand for controller-based games will increase after the release of the controllers.

Two concepts for controllers were shown at the conference, both offering up different experiences for the user. The first concept was called the “Form fitting extended gamepad.” This design fit the iPhone 5 into the gamepad, with buttons surrounding the device allowing for both touch and button based gameplay. The other controller design shown was far simpler. Called the “standalone extended gamepad,” the controller looks similar to the Wii’s pro controller, and includes 4 LEDs for allowing multiplayer gameplay. Both controllers feature two analog sticks, a d-pad, four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, and a pause button.

The controllers have been scheduled for an autumn release to the public and will be compatible with iPhones 4, 4S, and 5 as well as iPads 2, 3, 4, and Mini. As gaming becomes an increasingly common presence on smart phones and other mobile devices, controller support has become an important part of mobile gaming experiences on Android. As of this fall, it can be expected that controller support will be an expected part of the development cycle of mobile games for both Android and iOS.


Firefox May Shut Down Cookies, Advertisers

A Mozilla Firefox volunteer developer named Jonathan Mayer has now threatened to render years of negotiations about the nature of ad-based tracking cookies useless, by effectively shutting them down forever. Mayer has set a cutoff date for ad companies’ negotiations for July. Should they fail to reach a consensus on “Do Not Track” by then, Mayer will shut off the ability to use third party tracking cookies on Firefox for good.

Mayer suggested the talks be abandoned if the browser makers and advertisers cannot come to an agreement this month. This would send advertisers back to the drawing board to find new ways to tailor ads to consumers over the internet. Right now, the browser situation is mixed; Apple’s Safari blocks cookies, Internet Explorer 10 does not block tracking, and Chrome has tracking on by default. Advertisers want tracking on by default, and it’s not clear how the impasse will be resolved.

According to some research, digital advertising is a $40 billion industry in the U.S. alone, and about half of that spend requires using third-party cookies to locate and target relevant consumers. With Safari blocking cookies by default, and apparently Firefox to follow, advertisers are going to have figure out how to target consumers in some other way. Ironically, the end result may be less control in the hands of users, or less transparency. Complicating the issue is the increasing use of mobile devices to access web sites, with an entirely different set of issues for tracking unique users. The situation is a mess, and getting messier.

Source: Business Insider

Donkey Kong Country Trailer Shows Gorgeous Jungles

One of Nintendo’s many reveals during their press conference was the newest iteration of Retro’s reborn Donkey Kong Country franchise, subtitled Tropical Freeze. The trailer shows off the 3D rendered 2D platforming gameplay the franchise is known for set amidst lush, vibrant jungle environments. The game will be released for the Wii U this fall.


Rayman Legends CG Trailer Shows New Character, Settings

In the first trailer for Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends since last year’s E3, a gorgeous CG shows off a new character and new worlds for Rayman and friends to explore. Rayman’s trademark animation is put on display as a new redheaded character jumps between worlds to get Rayman out of a rough situation using her axe and the platforming the franchise is known for. Rayman Legends will be unleashed upon the world on September 3.

Killer Instinct Trailer Elicits Nostalgia

Microsoft’s press conference showed off a number of exclusive titles meant to sell their Xbox One system, and Killer Instinct was one of those titles. The original Killer Instinct was released in 1994 by now Microsoft-owned Rare. Microsoft is cashing in on the nostalgia for Rare’s beloved fighting game to help move Xbox One units. The fighting mechanics look as deep and high-quality as they did so many generations ago.


How To Use Twitter’s Free Analytical Tool

Over this past weekend SHIFT Communications executive Christopher S. Penn discovered that Twitter has a free analytical tool buried within its advertising menu. The service was announced previously, but users may not have noticed as it isn’t the easiest to spot. The tool is well fleshed out with many features that marketers are currently purchasing through third-party providers.

Within the platform’s tool, users can see a more in-depth look at their follower count while also tracking how well certain tweets are performing.  Its interface is divided into two sections: Timeline Activity and Followers. The Timeline Activity shows four to six weeks worth of data, including follow and unfollow stats as well as Tweet statistics like Favorites, Retweets, Replies, and click-throughs.

Users can quickly sort the most engaging Tweets by “good” (top two out of three) and “best” (top 15 percent). The Followers section includes demographic information on users’ followers such as gender, location, and interests. The last section includes a brief overview of a user’s entire Twitter history.

Most of the data can be downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet for your records.

“What’s annoying is that the CSV download contains none of the follow/unfollow data,” wrote Penn in his review of the service. “You only get Favorites, Retweets, and Replies, making the use of third party tools like link shorteners still mandatory.”

To locate the tool, mouse over to the Ads homepage (notice no sign of any analytical functionality). Then direct to Analytics and find Timeline Activity.

Skylanders Named Overall Best Licensed Program Of The Year

Skylanders grabbed the top honors in the International Licensing Excellence Awards from the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA).

“It was a tough competition this year, as there were so many wonderful licensed properties and programs from all around the world to choose from – and our members rose to the challenge with a list of deserving honorees,” said LIMA President Charles Riotto. “The 2013 Award winners delivered outstanding entertainment value to consumers on a global scale, while helping to lead licensing industry growth for the second consecutive year.”

LIMA’s International Licensing Excellence Awards honor the best, most successful licensed properties, products and campaigns in five distinct categories: Art or Design; Character or Toy Brand; Corporate Brand; Film, Television, Celebrity or Entertainment; and Sports. In addition, awards are presented for the Best Licensed Promotion of the Year, Best Retailer of the Year and Overall Best Licensed Program of the Year.

Last year, Rovio’s Angry Birds took the top award, so this marks the second year in a row a game property is honored as the top license program. Skylanders has generated more than $1 billion in revenue for Activision, and is set to have another strong showing this year with Skylanders Swap Force headed to stores this fall.