Live Action On The High Seas

Ubisoft revealed its latest promotional push for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in the form of a wondrous new two-minute live action trailer.  The scene opens in the ocean with numerous bodies flying about, eventually scaling successive levels inside a pirate ship, showing the battles happening throughout. It then pans to the top of the mast where Edward Kenway, the game’s lead character, stands and views a flaming city from the distance.

Assassin’s Creed IV releases on October 29 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC, and later in the year for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

‘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worked with Ayzenberg to start the buzz early and highlight what the headset can do through a teaser web site {link no longer active} and trailer.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.


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

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Source: Reuters 

NFL On YouTube Should Scare TV

The NFL is coming up on the end of its deal granting DirecTV exclusive rights to air out-of-market NFL games live every Sunday.  After nearly a decade of partnership, the league might not only part ways with the satellite TV provider, it could look beyond TV to the internet.

All Things D cites sources who said the rights to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package were on the table at a meeting between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Google head Larry Page.  DirecTV paid $4 billion back in 2009 to get exclusive rights to the package for the 2010-2014 seasons. At the time, none of the major US networks or cable providers stepped up to the country’s top satellite provider to take on the extensive line of programming.

The NFL rules the roost among U.S. sports.  In fact, it’s in the top pecking order for the most popular forms of entertainment in the U.S. in both audience size and dollars generated.  It owns the nation’s most watched TV program in the Super Bowl, and it consistently bests weekly Nielsen ratings with its primetime games.

Network-aired primetime and local games don’t factor into NFL Sunday Ticket. According to All Things D, the package is “ancillary” to the NFL’s nearly $6 billion annual TV revenue, yet it includes the majority of games aired every Sunday.  There’s no doubt a deal giving a digital provider the rights to air all out-of-market games would turn a huge segment of audience away from traditional TV.

Audience metrics will be the deciding factor.  If the numbers favor internet over TV for American football, YouTube is the most viable candidate. Other sports are sure to follow.

Source: All Things D

Bethesda MMO Will Stick To Subscriptions

Bethesda’s upcoming MMORPG The Elder Scrolls Online is already considered one of the most highly-anticipated games of the next generation, and it’s slated to arrive in early 2014 on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Before you jump into this world, you might want to make sure you have a payment plan in order.

Following a 30-day trial period, players will need to pay $14.99 on a monthly subscription rate in order to access all the features within the game.

“We’re building a game with the freedom to play – alone or with your friends – as much as you want,” Matt Firor, game director of Zenimax Online Studios, explained to Gamestar. “A game with meaningful and consistent content – one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support.

“Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play. Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren’t willing to make.”

Source: Gamestar

iTunes Radio Attracts Big Brands

With iTunes Radio set to make a big debut next month for Apple, buzz is growing around the service, with many users eager to give it a try. But they aren’t the only ones showing interest, as Apple has managed to sign on a number of big-name advertisers.

McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble and a couple of other brands are set to go on the service, with deals that range anywhere between single-digit millions to tens of millions of dollars. These deals are said to include a 12-month advertising campaign which will run on the streaming music service for each brand.

The partners will also be under exclusivity deals running through 2013, with no competitors signing on to try and steal away their thunder. However, in early 2014, the ad circles will open up, allowing anyone to sign on for a minimum buy-in of around $1 million.

Source: Ad Age

Google Play Tops Nintendo, Sony

Even though iOS remains the true popular choice for handheld gaming — at the moment, anyway — Google Play is running closely behind.

Google’s Android is now just behind iOS when it comes to mobile gamer spending. An IDC and App Annie report states that the Android device has managed to surpass other game devices in terms of sales, including Nintendo’s dual-screen 3DS handheld and Sony’s PlayStation Vita.

Granted, Android has bigger strength in numbers with more phone and tablet devices available that support the platform, outpacing the 3DS and PS Vita more than twenty-fold. That said, handheld console games typically sell for high prices compared to the free-to-play games Android usually sports.

Can Android hold its lead, especially with Sony dropping the price on the Vita and Nintendo preparing a number of hit titles for the 3DS in time for the holiday rush

Source: Engadget

Games Galore For Windows

Along with its upcoming Xbox One, Microsoft is showing huge game support for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Today, it announced two more companies have joined the fray, bringing some of their biggest hits to the PC and mobile device.

Gameloft will have 15 games available for the service over the next 12 months, including such titles as Asphalt 8: Airborne, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Dungeon Hunter 4, Six Guns, Total Conquest and UNO & Friends.

In addition, Amiga Games will offer 50 titles to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone before years end, though it didn’t say specifically what was coming to each of the systems. You can expect a rather diverse library of hits, though – certainly enough to keep you busy at home and on-the-go.

“Gameloft’s AAA-quality games are a perfect match for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8,” said Baudouin Corman, Gameloft’s VP of Publishing, Americas. “Microsoft’s platforms provide a great environment for serious and deeply engaging games. Gameloft will bring its full support, taking advantage of the platforms’ specific features.”

Source: Engadget

One Dashboard To Rule Them All

Microsoft continued to impress with its Xbox One showcase this week at the Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany. In its latest reveal, Microsoft showed what the Xbox One dashboard is capable of, and if you think it’s just a minor upgrade of what we saw on the Xbox 360, think again.

After logging in to your Xbox One account (users can have up to six per system), you can speak commands to the Kinect device, such as pulling up specific friends lists and accessing the different feature options like watching Netflix, browsing through home video releases, or starting your game.

The Xbox One’s IR blaster will also allow users to take control of components in their home theater – like a TV or a receiver – so that it’s much easier to operate. Whether it’s controlling volume or setting up a particular audio setting, it’s said to be a breeze rather than going through a number of menus. The DVR settings will also work like a cinch, with voice-operated DVR settings. Now you won’t have to scroll through menus just to find your favorite show.

Micrrosoft is making a serious case for the Xbox One as a component of a high-end home theater system, not just as a game console. The Xbox One releases later this year.

Source: The Verge