OUYA Addresses Delays

When it comes to making a dent in the video game market, the team at OUYA means serious business. Initial units of the $99 console shipped earlier this summer to various retailers in the hopes of attracting an audience with its competitive price and array of free games. Some Kickstarter backers who funded the Android-based system found themselves receiving their units after it shipped to retailers, but OUYA is making up the mistake to their most passionate supporters with a new program.

OUYA has provided these early Kickstarter backers with not only an apology, but also a credit that allows them to purchase whatever games and apps they wish on the service. A credit of $13.37 is available through code activation on the company’s Discovery Store.

“It wasn’t OK that some of you-our most loyal supporters-didn’t get your Ouya until after it was on store shelves,” said OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman.

Early reports indicate that OUYA is having trouble when it comes to game sales, with only 27 percent of system owners making an actual purchase through the Discovery Store, but this gesture may improve those statistics.

Source: GamesIndustry International

‘The Last Of Us’ Toned Down For Europe

Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is easily one of the best games of the year, mainly because of its riveting single-player campaign tells a whopper of a story. It also has a stellar multiplayer mode where you fight for survival while making tough decisions for your crew. Players worldwide can experience this for themselves, but Sony is making some changes to the European version that is currently releasing throughout the territory.

In other versions of the game, you can easily blast people’s limbs – or heads – off using a shotgun or similarly-powered weapon.  In Europe, though, the most you’ll get from using these weapons is a minor blood spurt, as the game has been edited for graphic content.

A member of the Naughty Dog team, going under the name “EvangM” explained the reasoning behind the censorship. “The gore and violence ratings are subject to local regulatory boards in various countries, so the game must be slightly changed in order to accommodate those choices,” they stated.

The game is a must-play for PlayStation 3 owners worldwide with the kind of dramatic heft that can’t be ignored, no matter the aforementioned change. The Last of Us is available now for PlayStation 3.

Source: Eurogamer


Apple Rejects Phone-Tossing Game

It’s kind of interesting what games are being introduced to the mobile market these days. Carrot Pop just introduced a strange new endeavor called Send Me To Heaven which gauges just how high you can throw your phone in the air by throwing it. We’re not sure what the point is at being the best of the game – especially if you fail to catch it – but, hey, to each their own.

Unfortunately, Apple isn’t too keen on the game. It rejected the listing for the app on its App Store, stating that it was “encouraging behavior that could result in damage to the user’s device.” Meanwhile, Android had no problem with the app being listed over at Google Play {link no longer active}.

The game does feature a competitive angle where you can compare your best distances to the leaderboard. The high score is 5.69 meters…no word on how well the winning phone survived.

However, to compete for the leaderboard it requires you to launch your phone in the air and catch it successfully.  Creative brilliance or nihilistic stupidity Judge for yourself, just make sure you cover the floor with some pillows just in case!

Source: Kotaku


‘Battlefield 4’ Battlelog Only On PC, Next-Gen

Battlefield 4, Electronic Arts’ latest military-based first-person shooter, is slowly marching its way towards a fall release for consoles across the board, but a certain few will be able to take advantage of its most innovative feature.

Back at E3, developer DICE introduced Battlelog, a second-screen application that allows you to view the battlefield and keep track of squadmates in real time during the game as well as prepare loadouts and check stats. The feature is exclusive to PC and next-generation – Xbox One and PlayStation 4 – versions of the game, leaving current console owners out of luck.

One important aspect of Battlelog is making Origin log-in easier by including a QR scanner, so you can use your tablet or smartphone to log in. “It might sound trivial, but it’s actually making something that might be problematic for people super simple,” said Battlelog assistant producer Jesper Nielsen.

Battlefield 4 hits stores on October 29 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It’ll arrive later in the year for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Source: Engadget

Facebook Preps In-Feed Video Ads

Facebook has already resorted to a few mediums to get more advertising dollars out of its social website, but now it’s ready to tackle yet another medium – video.

Video ads are about to be introduced to the service, broadcasting up to three times a day for 15 seconds at a time through users’ news feeds. A report from Bloomberg indicates that companies will be charged up to $2.5 million per day that their ads are used on the network – which is a higher cost than TV ads used during the Super Bowl when it comes to per-second broadcasting.

Currently, the site does allow advertisers to insert video ads in specific posts, but only those who subscribe to the feed need to view the ads. That could very well change once this business practice is put in place.

Once it does launch, it could mean big profits for Facebook, as a prior ad program featuring text and picture ads in the feed produced new ad revenue and gave the company a 53 percent increase in quarterly sales.

Source: Yahoo! Finance


Behind The Scenes Of ‘Infinite Crisis’

As if its presentation at last month’s San Diego Comic-Con wasn’t enough to get excited over, DC Entertainment provided another sneak peek behind its forthcoming MOBA project for PC, Infinite Crisis. In this first of several behind-the-scenes vignettes – with more to come in the following weeks – DC’s Jim Lee and Geoff Johns talked more about how this new interpretation of the Multiverse would work best to players’ advantages.

You can learn more and register for the current Infinite Crisis beta {link no longer active} at the web site.

Former ‘F.E.A.R.’ Creators Debut Colonial Era Shooter

We’ve seen first-person shooters that have taken place in the past before – like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor harkening back to the era of World War II. But are you ready to go further back in time Blackpowder Games has announced a new PC first-person shooter called Betrayer, one that takes place in the Colonial era. The game utilizes Unreal Engine 3 technology and uses weapons from that era, including crossbows, muskets and axes. Despite the change in tempo from current era weaponry, Betrayer means serious business, as Blackpowder consists of former staffers from Monolith Productions, the creators of the F.E.A.R. franchise.

Betrayer will be available through Steam Early Access starting August 14, for $14.99.

Source: Polygon

‘Star Wars’ Filibuster

An outtake from an episode of Parks and Recreation became a viral hit not long ago, as millions watched comic Patton Oswalt filibuster a town council meeting. His choice for a filibuster was to pitch his proposal for the new Star Wars film that’s under way. His hilarious vision of the script has been given an animated treatment by animator Daniel Spellman for Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist channel as part of YouTube’s Geek Week.  Well done!

Tide Takes The Bait During Shark Week

As part of an accelerating trend where brands are using video app Vine in order to engage consumers, Procter & Gamble’s Tide recently came out with a stealthy six second spot that capitalizes on the annual buzz surrounding Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.”

“When oceanic imagery is already built into your brand name, as with, say, Tide, you probably don’t have to worry about jumping the Shark Week,” Adweek writes.

To elevate the bloody good Vine spot, Tide purchased Promoted Tweets under the tagline “We get out blood, too,” featuring an animated shark chomping through the brand’s iconic logo until the screen flashes red, displaying the witty copy.

Also taking advantage of the sensationalized week is The Weather Channel which is promoting its coverage of the hurricane season via Twitter, as well as a 15-second YouTube video. Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group is also driving multiple creative executions, like purchasing the term ‘Shark Week’ in its Promoted Tweets.

Shark Week is entering its 26th season on the Discovery Channel, and has over the years generated massive hype via social media, making it a definite “thing” in pop culture. Yesterday marked its premiere and was already trending on Twitter.






Source: Adweek

Failed ‘Halo’ Film A Blessing For Blomkamp

Neill Blomkamp has said that he owes his career to “the ruins that were Halo,” referring to his and Peter Jackson’s failed attempt to turn the video game franchise into a big budget film. The sci-fi film director was speaking to L.A. Times on the eve of release for his first star-studded effort Elysium, a futuristic thriller starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

Blomkamp gained notoriety as a young director chosen by Jackson and his filmmaking partner Fran Walsh to help green light Halo for the big screen.  At the time, Blomkamp was best known for his work directing TV commercials for big brands. He caught Jackson’s eye for his ability to blend live action with impressive CG effects on a budget.

Blomkamp created “Landfall,” a three-part live-action video series acting as a proof of concept for a Halo film by setting the stage for its milieu.  The videos caught fire with fans, and they took home a 2008 Cannes Lion after Microsoft worked them into its campaign to promote Halo 3. But the Halo film didn’t take off.  Jackson then helped Blomkamp with his next project, the modestly budgeted sci-fi film District 9, which went to become both a critical and commercial success.

“The luck is the fact that Peter and Fran let me make [District 9] out of the ruins that were ‘Halo,” Blomkamp said. ‘What happened out of that was learning to trust my ideas. If ‘Halo’ had come out and succeeded or failed, I wouldn’t have learned that.”

Blomkamp with Matt Damon

Besides teaching him a lesson as an artist, Blomkamp says District 9 helped him break into feature films on his own terms.  After the film succeeded, the director says he turned down big budget film offers from Hollywood studios because Halo was still fresh in his memory.

“Our impression was that [Blomkamp] was a brilliantly talented young visual filmmaker who had a real voice,” Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad told L.A. Times. “He seemed to stay away from the fishbowl of Los Angeles and to be interested in making original, unique films.”

Blomkamp said that the inspiration for the dystopian society in Elysium came from growing up in South Africa, comparing the class-delineated world in the film with wealthy neighborhoods in his native Johannesburg as well as posh Los Angeles communities Bel-Air and Beverly Hills.

“What I do is spend too much time thinking. Most of the time I just walk around annoyed. Would I describe myself as relatively happy, I suppose, but society gets to me. And the people that have mastered life seem to not care and then they die and then the grenade goes off,”said Blomkamp.

Source: LA Times