Ballmer Retiring Amidst Microsoft Transition

Microsoft’s long-time preparations for the Xbox One launch has had its fair share of news over the past several months, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s announcement that he will leave the company next year is shaking things up even more.

Ballmer recently announced his plans to retire sometime within the next 12 months, although he intends to remain at the helm of the company until Microsoft can appoint a new CEO.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” said Ballmer in a press release. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

One immediate result since Ballmer’s decision: Microsoft stock gained more than 8 percent, making Ballmer’s enormous Microsoft stock holdings worth a cool $1 billion dollars more with his decision.

A CEO transition like the one Microsoft is currently undergoing affects any company large and small, but the Xbox One direction and launch plans have been set in stone for awhile.  The Xbox business is worth several billion dollars to the Redmond-based giant, and we don’t expect Microsoft’s overall direction with their home entertainment division to deviate from its set course.

Xbox One is scheduled for release in the U.S. later this year.

Source: TechCrunch

Ad Recall Highest On Tablets

When watching video content online, you’ll usually have to deal with advertising. However, it seems that more people remember said advertising when they come from mobile devices.

A study from IPG Media Lab and digital video advertiser YuMe indicates that a majority of people who watch these ads remember them the most when they watch them from their tablet devices. According to the report, 57 percent remember these ads on tablet devices, compared to 49 percent on smartphone, 47 percent on computer, and 45 percent on TV.

This came from a study of roughly 8,300 users, analyzing their viewing habits during the most likely time of day that they would watch video. They were later followed up with webcam interviews, asking about the results of the study.

As far as the reason why more people would remember the ads on tablets, the report indicated it was because that’s when they relax, watching programs at home.

You can learn more about the report at the link below.

Source: GigaOm

Xbox One Launches UGC Contest

Microsoft is continuing to put a major push on its upcoming Xbox One hardware – and now it wants its fans to sound off on it.  The company has launched a new contest, which will allow Xbox One fans to create and submit a one-minute video talking about their favorite titles for the upcoming system, and why they’re excited for them. From there, Microsoft will choose select winners, who will receive an Xbox One console, a one-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold, a number of Xbox One launch titles and the opportunity to work alongside Microsoft’s Upload team in the future.

It’s easy to take part. Simply film your video for the Xbox One Upload Outreach Program through Vimeo or YouTube, then submit your link to You have until September 15 at midnight to submit.

Who knows You just might have a free Xbox One in your future.

Source: GamePolitics

Finally, A Game Sim For Making Games

Creating a video game can be hard work – unless you’re doing it in a video game.

Game Dev Tycoon, a simulation game where you can run a development studio any way you see fit, will arrive on Steam/PC this week for the low price of $9.99.  Consumers can get it even cheaper for $7.99 if you pre-order before the game’s release on August 29.

This lengthened edition of the game will come with new platforms and artwork, as well as the ability to edit a game name before its release. You’ll also be able to rebalance the review system, check out post-game reports and company expertise, and so much more.

Greenheart Games, Game Dev Tycoon‘s creator, also stated that it’s already working on its sequel, which has already come out for PC and graduated Steam Greenlight back in May. Unfortunately, a release date hasn’t been given for it just yet, but it shouldn’t be too far off.

Quick “pro tip” – make sure you invest heavily in your marketing budget…

Source: Polygon

Facebook Launches Photo Archive

Facebook really wants businesses to advertise on its social network site. So much so, it recently launched a new initiative that’s going to help those businesses better prepare their Facebook presence.

The website has teamed up with Shutterstock in a deal that will allow free access to millions of images to be used in ads. These images will be available via the website’s ad creation tool.

“This is important especially for small businesses who may not have resources for sourcing quality images,” said the company through a blog post.

Businesses will be able to use multiple images in different ads to test which seem like the best fit, then place their buys afterwards when they’re sure of their choices. This update will also spread over to Android and iOS Pages Manager apps, where would-be advertisers can set up said images on their mobile devices, then manage their pages accordingly.

Source: Mashable

It’s Clobberin’ Time, LEGO Style

Warner Bros. is building up a huge amount of interest for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, the latest in its line of LEGO-based action games. To keep both comic book and gaming fans excited for the title, it released a new trailer that reveals more of the story – Doctor Doom’s hunt for the magical “Cosmic Bricks” – as well as a cavalcade of familiar good guys and bad guys. Since it’s a LEGO title, it’s built to appeal to all ages.

Look for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on 3DS, Wii U, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this October, and later in the year for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.


Not Your Average Unboxing

Sega and Creative Assembly have released a new unboxing video for its upcoming Collector’s Edition of Total War: Rome II, and it’s packed with hilarity. You can see all the goodies in the limited edition in the video below…or try to, as the employees attempting to unbox everything are being chased down by trained attack dogs. It’s a very humorous take on most boxing videos, while still giving you an idea of what’s inside. According to Sega, no marketing employees were harmed (permanently) in the making of this video.

Note: Collector’s Edition does not come with attack dog. 

Total War: Rome II releases on September 4 for PC.

Dropping iMacs For A Laugh

It’s frustrating when you’re carrying something, only to drop it and break it as a result. Well, a few people at a shopping mall thought that was happening with a guy valiantly trying to carry a top-heavy iMac, only to end up dropping it. However, the joke’s on them – a group of pranksters for AwesomenessTV set up the prank just to see what kind of reactions they would get.

This certainly got some attention.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see a brand taking advantage of a similar prank for a bit of experiential marketing.


Coke Fans Become Figurines

Coca-Cola says it’s the sugary beverage that “adds life.” For a promotional campaign in Israel, the brand launched an effort where it seems to copy life. The campaign let select fans get a customized 3D-printed miniature of themselves in order to promote the launch of Coca-Cola miniature bottles in Israel. Coke set up a lab inside the company’s Israeli factory, where it used a full-body scanner and 3D printer to capture and recreate peoples’ likenesses.

Of course, this wasn’t available to just anyone.  First people had to download an app and create a mini-me, then be among the lucky winners selected by Coke.  It’s a novel and memorable campaign that generated a lot of interest. It’s certainly a long-lasting memory for the ones lucky enough to be chosen.

From a game marketing standpoint, it builds on what game marketers have been doing for years with offering campaigns where fans can get their likenesses featured in games.  Rockstar was the latest to launch a campaign like this for GTA V. Perhaps the next one will take a page from Coke’s effort and make it less virtual.

Developers Support GamePop Launch

OUYA isn’t the only game in town when it comes to Android gaming on a television. BlueStacks is easily providing a good amount of competition between its subscription-based GamePop and GamePop Mini systems.

Today, BlueStacks improved upon the service by signing on five new developers to help with the launch of the system. These include TinyCo, Animoca, Game Circus, Creative Mobile and Nevosoft – all of which provide over 340 million downloads through the Google Play store to this date.

“Support from the developer community is like air,” BlueStacks CEO Rosen Sharma explained in a email to TechCrunch. “Without it, you can’t get users, as people will have never heard of the apps. We feel very fortunate the community is lining up behind GamePop so strongly.

With these new additions, the game library for GamePop has picked up significantly, now worth about $200 – not bad for a $6.95 monthly subscription fee.

Source: TechCrunch