GameStop’s ‘Largest Console Launch In History’

GameStop CEO Paul Raines had no problem expressing his confidence in this fall’s game sales, with the release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 expected to pick things up. Raines has stated that this holiday season will see “the largest console launch in history.”

Though he didn’t say which system would be dominating the market the most, he did expect both to make a huge impact. A significant increase in launch-day quantities of both machines is expected over the prior generation of machines, though no specific numbers were given.

GameStop has initiated a “first-to-know” program, where subscribers can learn more about launch availability for each system. It’s really paid off, as 1.5 million are signed up for Sony’s system, while 700,000 want to know what’s happening with Xbox One.

We’ll see how the launch goes when both systems arrive later this year.

Source: GamesIndustry International

‘Ghosts’ Multiplayer Mode Reveal

Last week we featured an interview with Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg from Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty Ghosts multiplayer reveal in Los Angeles.  In the interview, Hirshberg seemed to stress that next-gen features such as instant social connectivity and second-screen functions are a big part of what’s going to evolve the Call of Duty experience.

Now, GamerHub.TV has an interview from the same event with Infinity Ward community manager Yale Miller, who tempers down the difference between current and next gen systems.  Miller says that, for instance, people who play Ghosts on Xbox One versus Xbox 360 might notice “tiny bells and whistles,” but the core experience remains unchanged.  That should put anyone eager to buy Ghosts but not yet prepared to pony up for a new system at ease.

Here’s the full interview.



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.


I Share, Therefore I Am

How can a vehicle that drives constant conversation and connectivity actually make us lonelier A recent animated video from Shimi Cohen called The Innovation of Loneliness illustrates points from author Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together and Dr. Yair Amichai-Hamburgers Hebrew article The Invention of Being Lonely into a lively commentary on the parallels between loneliness and increase usage of social media.

The video plays out like a moving infographic (it’s quite pretty), slowly building momentum to suggest how social networks have increasingly made us less connected and more, self-promotional, self-indulgent, delusional, depressed and ultimately, lonely.

Upworthy writer Ray Flores describes his reaction to the short film, “At 0:40, my jaw hits the floor when creator Shimi Cohen outlines the capacity of our social circles. And when at 2:20 he gets into the mind-blowing reason hitting delete is a crutch…Yup, my brains were pretty much leaking out my ears.”

Elite Daily says, “We, as human beings, think that through social networks, we’ve somehow become more social creatures. The problem with this theory is, the more we ‘connect’ online, the less actual human interactions we have, making us actually fairly unsocial.”

The video escalates into borderline preachy, but does possess some undeniable points –  like, “presenting the best self to peers” and “withholding information that is less attractive” or meticulously “choosing the best possible profile picture” to put out into the wild.

Cohen might not show “exactly what’s wrong with our social structure now, and how we manipulate how we want to be presented to peers, family members, and potential mates on social media, rather than having vulnerable and genuine conversations in real time” like Elite Daily suggests, but the video is something to think about over the weekend.

The short is so beautiful, you’ll want to tell someone. And while you’re at it, give us your gut reaction in the comments below!


Japan Devs Sidestep GREE And Mobage

The $5.1 billion mobile game marketplace in Japan could be transformed soon, and not in a way that helps GREE or DeNA. The country’s biggest daily news source, the Nikkei, has reported that 15 Japanese mobile game makers are teaming up to jointly market their titles on smart phone and other devices. The companies plan to work together on a cross-promotion network when it comes to showing off each of its respective titles.

The goal of the companies is trying to avoid the ‘double taxation’ from paying the likes of GREE and Mobage operator DeNA for network fees, in addition to the percentage already paid to Apple or Google. According to Japanese daily The Nikkei, the companies seeking to avoid GREE and Mobage include Sega, Capcom and Taito, with the former supposedly leading this new charge. This cross-promotion effort would also avoid the increasingly popular Line and KakaoTalk networks and the double taxation inherent in working with them.

The group has a combined player base of 20 million and seeks to add another 15 companies, which would bring the total network to 40 million players – about the same count as the GREE and Mobage subscriber base. The first site in this program is expected to go live this fall, and the cross-promotion network will likely be in place around that time.

It’s unlikely that any of these companies will pull their apps from GREE or Mobage in the near term, or at least until such time as this new cross-promotion network proves its value. Even then, why lose the incremental revenue from apps on GREE and Mobage, even if it is lower margin GREE and DeNA may take steps in response as well. The long-term effect is unclear, but as the amount of money in the market increases competition is sure to intensify.

Source: Dr. Serkan Toto

LinkedIn Revamps Group Pages

LinkedIn Group Pages are getting a complete overhaul, bringing the popular product into line with its redesigned profile and company pages. That means a more streamlined look, with an oversized image at the top above a group’s stream of updates, almost mimicking Facebook’s cover photo reality.

Yesterday in their blog, the company noted that now the right column will feature “top influencers” in a given group and a link to see all members – a functionality that could improve engagement within a group. It also shows a snapshot of the latest activity (another page from Facebook), like someone starting a new discussion or posting a comment, as well as listing any subgroups.

Mashable reporter Kurt Wagner made a solid point on why the change will affect almost everyone who uses the site, “Redesigning LinkedIn Groups is a noticeable change for the platform {link no longer active}, considering how many users utilize the feature,” he wrote. ‘The average user belongs to seven Groups on the site, and those who post or engage in group conversations receive four times as many profile views as those who don’t.”

While the redesign is an impactful one, others, like The Next Web’s Ken Yeung argues that there is still room for change.

“Hopping around from group to group trying to keep themselves up-to-date could be a difficult thing.” LinkedIn needs to make it so that when you arrive, you know what’s going on and in a more efficient manner,” he wrote.

LinkedIn’s blog states that there have been more than 2 million Groups created around almost every topic imaginable,  from entrepreneurship, philanthropy and careers to social and digital marketing. And that today, more than 200 conversations are happening each minute across and more than 8,000 Groups are created each week.

The revamped pages will initially roll out to English-speaking members before extending to other languages.

On another note, LinkedIn this week also rolled out an update of the Pulse newsreader app  {link no longer active} (on iOS and Android) that it acquired earlier this year for $90 million. The redesign is aimed at making easier to find new publications, categories and Linkedin “Influencers” to read as well as speeding up its search tool. Users can now also search by interest, as well as source title, to pull up relevant material.

New to LinkedIn Groups? The company has created a visual to help you learn more about Groups and what they can offer, whether you’re thinking about starting your own or joining ours today  {link no longer active}. See below:



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.


Facebook CEO Wants To #ConnectTheWorld

The World Wide Web may be finally living up to its name. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that the social giant and six other tech and mobile companies will partner on a new project to try and connect two-thirds of the world’s population to the Internet. is the ambitious new project that will use the power of compression technology and cheap, high-quality smartphones to make the web more frugal, ultimately giving access to 5 billion more people. This endeavor follows a similar thrust by Facebook rival Google, which uses everything from balloons to fiber connections to expand connectivity with Project Loon.

In a press release posted to Facebook, Zuckerberg argued that the motivation for helping widen global access was not simply in the best interest of the companies’ pockets involved. In fact, they will probably lose money in this pursuit.

What Zuck is troubled by are completely different numbers, ones not attached to dollar signs. If you can believe it, the group says that just 2.7 billion people on the planet have access to the Internet, and that number is growing by less than 9 percent each year.

“There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making Internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it,” said Zuckerberg in an official statement.

Zuckerberg’s mission statement also addresses some of the road blocks that will have to face – a major one being no return on investment, yet.

“The unfair economic reality is that those already on Facebook have way more money than the rest of the world combined, so it may not actually be profitable for us to serve the next few billion people for a very long time, if ever. But we believe everyone deserves to be connected,” he writes.

The actual website currently provides an overview of the project and its goals as well as a full list of partners. In the coming weeks, it should also provide news on’s activities as well as interviews with technology leaders and experts. In the meantime, check out the video that seems to aim at pulling major heart strings.Â

{video link no longer active}

Source: Reuters 

‘Tearaway’ Some Fun

As part of its impressive Gamescom showcase this week, Sony unveiled a new trailer for the Media Molecule platforming adventure on the PS Vita, Tearaway. You’ll get a glimpse of the worlds the developer put together, along with the charming hero that you’ll be able to control throughout.

It’ll slap a big smile on your face, and leave you wanting more as the game approaches its release date of November 22, in both physical retail form and through PlayStation Network.

Planning Big For Rig

If there was one bright spot in NPD’s game sales reports for July, it was game accessories.  While game hardware and software sales at retail both saw double digit year-over-year declines, accessories stayed fairly flat with just a three percent dip.  In fact dig through the string of mostly negative NPD reports of the past year and you’ll find the game accessories market has shown some resilience.

That hasn’t been lost on Plantronics, a longtime maker of headsets and other audio accessories that’s making a reinvigorated push into the game market.  There’s fierce competition with the demand for game accessories. Perhaps nowhere is it fiercer than audio head gear, which has become a critical piece of equipment for competitive online gaming and eSports.  That’s why as Plantronics prepares their first salvo in the fight to win over gamers – the launch of their new Rig headset and mixer coming later this year – the company worked with Ayzenberg to start the buzz early and highlight what the headset can do through a teaser web site {link no longer active} and trailer.

Look for an exclusive interview with Plantronics on the campaign to launch Rig coming soon in [a]list daily.