Making Crime Pay

In most games you’re usually playing the good guy, trying to capture criminals and stop evil supervillains. For Overkill Games’ Payday 2, things work a little differently. You’re part of a four-man team that has the main goal of robbing banks in the hopes of building a nice little nest egg. As a team, you’ll need to plan your heist perfectly or risk running into resistance from police and other dangerous forces. The game is available now, in both digital download and physical form, for Steam/PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

For insight into how 505 Games marketed this sequel to the surprise 2011 hit, check out our exclusive interview with 505 boss Ian Howe.

The Secret Behind HTC’s Acronym

HTC, the Taiwan smartphone manufacturer, is embarking on a major campaign to drive awareness of the brand and ultimately higher sales. The company’s HTC One has earned great reviews, but Samsung’s massive marketing budget has left HTC an also-ran in the sales department. The company aims to change that, and it’s starting its planned two-year effort with some ads with Robert Downey Jr.

The actor begins the campaign to figure out just what HTC stands for, and in this first commercial he only utters three words… and they don’t make much sense. But it’s fun to watch!

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Greatest Vines Of 2013 — So Far

This compilation of short videos is kooky, twisted, and funny, showing some of the creativity found within the six second limitation of Vine. It’s an interesting slice of what’s happening with the popular social platform, and some of the unique ways that people are using it.

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Aiming For ‘World Zombination’

Starting a game company is always a leap of faith into the unknown. You have a vision, a need to create a certain game, the right combination of people and talent and determination. The market for games today makes it both easier and harder to launch a new game and a new game company. Easier, because you don’t need massive amounts of money to get a game distributed. Harder, because there are thousands of new games appearing every week.

Proletariat is tackling those challenges in an ambitious step into the difficult genre of multi-player strategy games with World Zombination, designed for iOS and Android tablets (and also for PC and Mac). The [a]list daily spoke with Seth Sivak, CEO of Proletariat, about the game and how the company will find a market for it.

Proletariat is composed of game industry veterans from companies like Zynga, Insomniac, and Turbine, who decided to start their own company and move in a new direction. “The stuff that’s on tablet right now is just scratching the surface as far as multiplayer goes,” said Sivak. “We tried to figure out how we could make something more team-based, real-time strategy gameplayer in a shared world. It sounds like a lot when you think about it altogether, but we thought ‘what was the one game we wish we could play on tablet’ and this is what came out of that.”

Finding the audience is the real challenge when you don’t already have an audience of millions of players. “It’s certainly the thing that keeps me up at night,” admitted Sivak. “The core team here has experience making AAA games, but it’s really this part that scares me the most. That’s why we’re announcing the game now and we don’t plan to release it until Q1 of next year. The goal is to build excitement and let people know and get them involved. One of the things we really wanted to do with Proletariat was to build and cultivate a community of players that enjoy the same type of team-based multi-player games, and to grow that over time.”

We plan to have a good, extended beta, and whether or not that will be geolocked, we’ll see. There is no easy way to do it, especially with mobile right now,” said Sivak. “When you’re dealing with a lot of very deep-pocketed developers who are able to get lots of ads, it can be challenging. We’re hoping that it will grow in a grass-roots way. They’ll see the game, they’ll see the trailers, what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to buld and they’ll get excited about it.”The game will be at PAX Prime, where Sivak hopes to get gamers excited with some hands-on time with the game. “We have a demo that shows both sides, the Human gameplay and the Zombie gameplay, and the goal is just to see if players are excited about that,” said Sivak. “Is there something you’d like to see more of Would you join an early beta on this To get a read on what people think, it’s a great show for that.”

Proletariat plans to have the iOS and Android versions come out first, with the PC and Mac versions following later. Sivak believes the game will appeal to PC players, but the teams’ focus will be on mobile first. “A lot of mobile games are OK with in-app purchases, but with PC games that’s less the case,” noted Sivak. “How do you balance that It can be tough. These are competitive games, so we have to make sure there’s no imbalance there.”

The massive growth of the tablet market and the increasing power of the platform led Proletariat to focus development there initially. “You can actually do some really high end stuff, you can have really great graphics,” said Sivak. “The ecosystem hasn’t fully evolved there yet, you still see a lot of games that aren’t that hot in terms of overall quality, but that will change.”

You need a large audience to make a free-to-play game profitable, but there are many paths to monetization. “The jury’s still out on the exact monetization scheme we’ll go with,” said Sivak. “There’s some interesting experimental things going on, especially with PC titles, paying to get into the early alpha that would certainly be awesome. Whenever you’re talking free-to-play you need a massive audience to support that sort of thing. Free-to-play is tough because you need to have players coming back all the time to build up that investment. So you’re constantly working to keep them involved and interested. It’s not easy to do a niche title with free-to-play.”

 

 

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – August 14

“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.” -Craig Davis, Founder of Brandkarma 

More quotes here.

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

[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.

More Roku Gaming Ahead

We know that Roku is the go-to service when it comes to viewing on-demand content as well as other streaming services, but who knew it would grow to be a good gaming machine as well

The company has struck a deal with SDK maker Marmalade, clearing the way for several popular games to come to the service including the platforming game Herman the Hermit and the popular puzzle game Cut the Rope, among others.

Roku is no stranger to games with Angry Birds on its service for some time. However, this marks the first time it’s making strides to adding more games to to the service like Plants vs. Zombies.

We’ll let you know when the games are added to the service, but you can expect them sometime this fall.

Source: GigaOm

‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Gets L.A. Mural

Since the legendary Figueroa Hotel is right next door to the Los Angeles Convention Center, it’s no surprise that its side is often used for advertising purposes, as it’s seen ads based on Max Payne 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the past. Now, it looks like Rockstar Games has returned with yet another new ad which is its biggest yet.

A huge Grand Theft Auto V mural is being painted on the side of the building featuring the three main characters from the game in different windows. What better way to showcase larger-than-life characters than with larger-than-life images? This week is a big one for the game, as Rockstar will be unveiling the online multiplayer portion this Thursday, introducing players to a vast, trouble-filled world.

Grand Theft Auto V releases on September 17 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Source: Videogamer

PS Vita Price Cut On The Horizon

The PS Vita hasn’t exactly sold like gangbusters, as Sony was undoubtedly expecting. Retailers might now be trying something new to get units out the door.

Reports indicate Target is about ready to drop the price on the next-generation handheld, with both the Wi-Fi and 3G models dropping to $199.99. When asked about the cut being official, Target had no comment. The price drop is shown in a proof of a Target ad for the week of August 18, which happens to coincide with Gamescom. Could Sony announce a price drop for the PS Vita at Gamescom?

Sony’s handheld has been struggling a big, with only 600,000 units sold in the quarter, compared to 1.4 million from the year before. A price cut is looking likely, though nothing is official yet. We’ll let you know once it happens.

Source: CVG

Coke Brings PlayStation All-Stars To Mobile

Sony created a huge culture clash last year when it brought several of its popular gaming characters together for PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale on both the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. For those who couldn’t get enough of that game – or just want more All-Stars action – Coke and Sony have put together a promotion for Europe.

Sony has teamed up with Coca-Cola to produce a new mobile game called PlayStation All-Stars Island. In this free game, players can take on a Temple Run-like game based on the Uncharted franchise, featuring its main hero, Nathan Drake. The game is available for both iOS and Android devices It’s pretty simple right now, but Sony intends to add more Coke Zero related content to the game, including characters from Infamous, LittleBigPlanet and Gravity Rush, as well as appearances by Jak and Daxter, as well as Ratchet and Clank.

No word yet on whether this promotion will make it to the U.S., but we promise to drink a Coke if it does.

Source: MCV

Massive Merchandising For ‘Battlefield 4’

With Battlefield 4 just over two months away from release, Electronic Arts is primed to push the game in a number of promotional directions. In fact, the upcoming sequel will receive the biggest promotional push from the company to date.

Branded accessories, such as iPhone cases, mouse mats, books, T-shirts, posters and headsets will grace store shelves alongside the game, just in time for its release this fall.

“This will be our biggest and best planned campaign to date,” said EA’s senior brand licensing manager, Stephen Wanigesekera, talking with MCV UK. “This range will help the specialists diversify their offerings, whilst more mass market retailers will be interested in items that can enlarge their established categories, such as peripherals, books and apparel. There is a great opportunity to position the merchandise alongside the software itself.”

Battlefield 4 releases on October 29 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, and later in the year for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Source: MCV