‘Game of Thrones’ Piracy — As Good As An Award?

HBO’s Game of Thrones is easily one of the network’s most popular shows, heading into its fourth season with an incredible amount of buzz and viewer anticipation. That said, not all fans are watching the show in the “official” way, as it’s considered the most pirated show of 2012, complete with downloads from torrents and other sources.

While piracy is a big problem when it comes to sales, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes actually believes the attention is better than any coveted award that the show receives. After talking about the show’s spike in ratings, he explained that piracy was “a tremendous word-of-mouth thing,” as far as getting attention.

“If you go around the world, I think you’re right, that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world,” he stated. “Now that’s better than an Emmy.”

The director of Game of Thrones, David Petrarca, felt the same way, stating that piracy lends to the show’s “cultural buzz”. Even the creator of the original books, George R.R. Martin, felt it was a “compliment,” but not the type he was looking to receive.

Thankfully, there’s still profit coming in, as Bewkes explained that people who subscribe to HBO aren’t just downloading the episodes for free, stating “we don’t see much of that.”

“People have always been running wires down the back of apartment buildings and sharing with their neighbors,” he concluded. “Our experience is, it all leads to more penetration, more paying subs and more health for HBO.”

The fourth season of Game of Thrones should make its debut sometime next year.

Source: The Verge

Trion Closes San Diego Studio

It’s always sad to see a good studio close down, no matter what the circumstances may be. This past week, Trion announced it will be closing its San Diego studio, which was responsible for the multiplayer action-shooter Defiance, based around the SyFy TV series of the same name.

Former COO Scott Hartsman, who was recently hired back as the company’s CEO, stated, “We’re going to rapidly be laying the groundwork for a new strategy at Trion – one that’s closer to the foundation of how we’ve had our wins so far, and then extending that base into the enduring success this company can, and will, be.”

Regarding the closure, Director of Global Communications Katie Uhlman stated the following: “We can confirm that the San Diego studio will be closing. The day to day operations of Defiance will be moved to our Redwood City studio where it can be managed alongside Rift and our other in-development titles including ArcheAge and End of Nations. As part of this transition, we are working hard to ensure that a number of great people will be making the move from San Diego to the Bay Area and continue their work at Trion.”

We certainly wish the laid-off employees the best of luck in getting new employment.

Source: PC Gamer

Quark Games Makes Players ‘Champs’

Thanks to Quark Games, we can all be Champs. The developer has introduced a new “hardcore” real-time multiplayer online squad strategy game for iOS and Android devices called Champs: Battlegrounds, which is available for download now. In the game, players can build up squads from Champs with their own special abilities, complete with upgrades and a choice of of thousands of strategies that can be used against their adversaries.

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Mega Pokémon Revealed

With Pokemon X & Y two months away from release on the Nintendo 3DS, The Pokemon Company has released a new gameplay video featuring plenty of characters from the series, as well as the introduction of three new Mega characters – Mega Mewtwo, Mega Lucario and Mega Blaziken. You can watch the video and get hyped up for the Pokemon madness when it arrives on store shelves (and the Nintendo eShop) on October 12.

The Alien Threat Gets Real

2K Games has come up with a remarkable way to advertise its forthcoming strategy shooter game The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, through a series of live-action shorts featuring actor Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings, Lost) playing an agent who will stop at nothing to bring an alien threat to a halt. The final segment just released on YouTube, and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified launches on August 20 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Word of warning: these aliens aren’t pretty. Neither is the clown. You’ll see.


Xbox One Unboxed

In an effort to clear up some questions by would-be buyers – and continue the hype surrounding it – Microsoft unveiled a new unboxing video for its Xbox One next-generation game console today. Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb, one of the Xbox community’s highly visible leaders, shows off what all comes with the system…and you might be surprised by some of its features.

Along with a fancy sticker – gotta love stickers! – the system will also come with a small wired headset, a nice surprise for those who were fearing that it had to be bought separately. Xbox One will also mark the first time since the Wii U that a game system will come packaged with an HDMI cable – a 4K compatible one, at that.

Other basic inclusions for the system include the main console, the Kinect motion-reading device, and the wireless controller. The video also shows the connections that you can make with the console, including an HDMI out port for cable boxes and satellites, and more. The Xbox One arrives in stores this November – check out what it will include!

Source: Majornelson.com

Disney’s Animation Archive At Your Fingertips

With Disney’s D23 Expo set to kick off this weekend, fans are clamoring to learn the latest about the company’s projects and franchises, including Marvel and Star Wars. The company has already started the party early for would-be artists, launching a new mobile app that will allow them to study and create with animation from nearly its entire film library.

Disney Animated is a new iPad application that offers users a wealth of information from the films. It’s made in conjunction with Touch Press and offers a wide assortment of animation clips (400!) and cel images straight from the company’s archives, including some rare, never-before-seen details.

This quality comes a price as the app will set you back $13.99, making it the most expensive app that Disney has offered to date. For would-be artists and true fans of the company, it’s certainly worth it.

You can download the app here. We’ll let you know if there’s any breaking information from D23 very soon.

Source: TechCrunch

Ubisoft Snags Hasbro License

The last time we saw Hasbro board game-related video games on the market, it was 2011 when Electronic Arts released Hasbro Family Game Night 4: The Game Show and Trivial Pursuit: Bet Ya Know It. Fans of these games will be happy to know that they will make a return soon.

Ubisoft has signed a deal with the game maker to bring several of its hit franchises back to consoles. This includes games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit, among others. No specific projects were announced at the time of announcement, but expect details to come sooner rather than later.

Mark Blecher, Hasbro’s senior VP and GM for digital gaming, stated, “Ubisoft’s leadership and expertise in the console gaming space will help support Hasbro’s strategy of bringing consumers engaging play experiences with our brands across multiple platforms.”

Meanwhile, Electronic Arts will continue to work with Hasbro on the mobile gaming front, as that partnership still operates very well in terms of sales.

Source: GamesIndustry International


Nintendo’s Exclusivity Explained

Nintendo may be lagging in profits with its below-average Wii U sales, but it still refuses to cower to other consoles, brushing off rumors that some of its classic game library is headed to the mobile market. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata spoke with CVG recently, explaining why the company isn’t going to publish games for other platforms.

“If I was to take responsibility for the company for just the next one or two years, and if I was not concerned about the long-term future of Nintendo at all, it might make sense for us to provide our important franchises for other platforms, and then we might be able to gain some short-term profit,” said Iwata. “However, I’m really responsible for the long-term future of Nintendo as well, so I would never think about providing our precious resources for other platforms at all.”

He went on to explain that Nintendo’s ability to support hardware and software has always been the key to the company’s success.

“What I believe is that Nintendo is a very unique company, because it does its business by designing and introducing people to hardware and software – by integrating them, we can be unique,” Iwata said. “And because we have hardware and software developers in the same building, they stimulate each other. And those kinds of conditions have enabled us to create something that no other companies can create. Those kinds of backgrounds are there behind the fact that such a number of great Nintendo franchises exist, and those great franchises always shine for people around the world.”

With Pikmin 3 now available and more games coming later this year, the Wii U’s fortunes may turn around yet.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Motorola Budget Short Shrifts Moto X

Motorola has some big advertising in mind for its upcoming Moto X mobile phone. The question is, will it be big enough for success

The company has reportedly set up a $500 million advertising budget for the new model when the device goes on sale later this year, hoping to draw in a huge crowd with its features and its four mobile service carriers. However, compared to other companies, that’s actually a “cheaper” route.

For instance, last year Apple spent about a billion dollars with its advertising campaign while Samsung went quadruple on that amount with $4 billion on advertising. Samsung’s spend totaled $11 billion when you add in the $5.3 billion on ‘sales promotion’ for in-store displays and other marketing expenses. Compared to the competition, Motorola is being very conservative.

Along with advertising, Motorola is out to make sure that retailers are set to sell the device, as it “has teams ready to train in-store staff on the features of the phone, particularly the new Touchless Control features.” We’ll see how it fares when it goes on sale later this year.

Source: BusinessWeek