‘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.


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

‘StarCraft II’ Out Of Next MLG Event

StarCraft II, Blizzard’s galactic real-time strategy sequel, has been a big hit on the professional gaming front for years. This year, however, Major League Gaming has no plans to revisit this universe.

Sundance DiGiovanni, chief of MLG, stated on Twitter, “Just so folks know – we are currently not planning to run SC2 at Cbus. Should that change we’ll let you know via official channels.”

“Folks who love (Starcraft II) have tons to watch. North American Star League is still there, (and the) WCS isn’t going anywhere,” DiGiovanni continued “(The game) just doesn’t fit into our Columbus plans.”

There’s no official word on why the decision was made, but it sounds like the game will still be part of the program…to some extent, anyway. Blizzard has made no statement on the matter so far.

Source: VentureBeat

A Boy And His Video

DDB has already taken part in a stirring ad campaign this year with the #FirstWorldProblems campaign, teaming up with WATERisLIFE to do so. Now, it has a more motivational story with its latest video, focusing on a 4-year old Maasai boy named Nkaitole who’s completing his “Kenya Bucket List”. It’s an emotional goal that game marketers might strive to reach.


PS3’s Music Visions

Q-Games, the company behind the amazing PixelJunk games on the PlayStation 3/PS Vita platforms, is working on a special new app, set for release early next week. You just need to make sure your music library is up to speed for it…

Called Visualizer, the app reads the library of music that’s on your hard drive, and then generates visuals automatically depending on what’s playing, using a handful of pre-set themes built into the app. The app arrives this Tuesday, August 13, for a discounted price of $2.99. However, that’s only being offered for a limited time, as it’ll go back up to $4.99 on August 27.