Xbox One Goes On Tour

There’s nothing like direct experience with a game — or a gaming console — to convince someone they have to have it. That’s what Microsoft is banking on by launching tours featuring Xbox One-equipped trucks designed to give customers a ‘Test Drive.’ The OneTour web site proclaims, “Meet us at a Test Drive stop in one of the cities below and we’ll put a controller in your hands, a game on the screen, and a spring in your step that’ll carry you through to launch.” The tours are hitting dozens of cities in the USA, Canada, and Europe.

Besides the trucks, Microsoft is also staging Area One parties with live music, live gameplay, and more. These events are for age 18 and over only, so Microsoft wants to make sure you bring ID to get in. Entry is on a first come, first served basis, and you might get asked to return at a later time or day.

Head to the OneTour website to find out where and when to catch these events between now and the Xbox One launch on November 22.

Catch These New 3DS XL Designs!

The popular Pokémon series will be picking up steam once again next month with Pokémon X & Y for the Nintendo 3DS. Fans won’t have to wait that long to get their fix as they can pick up limited edition Pokémon 3DS systems now.

The Pokémon X & Y 3DS XL systems are now available for purchase, sporting red and blue colors and featuring Legendary Pokémon characters Xerneas and Yveital on the front of the systems. They sell for $199.99 apiece, and are likely to sell out fast, like the Pikachu-modeled Pokémon 3DS system did a few months back.

The systems do not come with the Pokémon X & Y games. They’re hardware only. However, players can get their hands on those games in either retail or downloadable form starting on October 12 in the United States.

Source: Prima Games

With Online Privacy, Youth Finds A Way

Children of every generation have learned to operate under the watchful eyes of their parents and guardians. These days, considering that everyone including their grandparents are online, they’ve adapted to doing the same on the internet. According to recent Pew studies, the younger the internet user, the more likely they are going to use privacy settings on social media.

From turning off location-tracking features to clearing cookies and browser histories, children have caught on that learning how to use these features is part of growing up online. In one survey, Pew found that nearly half of teens turn of location tracking when they download apps, and the number skews much higher for girls.

It’s more evidence that children are going to incredible lengths with some ingenious tactics for staying below the radar and some adults are fumbling with the most basic of privacy settings, if they are aware of them at all. That’s what Ars Technica editor Jacqui Cheng found while teaching at a six-week summer program to expose kids to technology. Cheng observed that young adults in her class had not only learned how to use privacy settings for online browsing but also discovered tricks to doing it, including one where they deleted their Facebook accounts then reactivated it between every session.

“They’re taking advantage of the fact that Facebook actually keeps much of your account information on its servers when you decide to ‘leave’ the service,” Cheng wrote in a piece about her experience. “[It allows] them to stay under the radar from nosy friend, parent, or public searches while they’re not online. Their photos disappear and their status updates go on the down-low “” at least until the next time they log back in by re-activating their accounts.”

Misdeeds by and protection of youth online is now a fixture in US society, and outside of Cheng’s insightful piece we had a couple more reminders this past week. On one side of the country there was California governor Jerry Brown signing a law last week that is being called the “Eraser Bill.” It allows minors to permanently delete posts on social media in an effort to protect them from sharing anything that could compromise future academic and career prospects. On the other side, dozens of teenagers implicated themselves in the ransacking of ex-NFL star Brian Holloway’s upstate New York home. The teens broke into the unoccupied house to throw a massive party and posted pictures on social media highlighting their misdeeds, which included causing $20,000 to Holloway’s home. Holloway’s son alerted his father to the incident as it was happening after coming across posts from the party on Twitter.

Sources: Medium

Inside Sony And Taco Bell’s PS4 Promo

Taco Bell is giving fans another reason to Live Más – and now Play Más – by offering the “Play the Future First” promotion in conjunction with Sony. From September 26 through November 10, fans will get the first and only chance to win the highly-anticipated PlayStation 4 before it hits shelves nationwide on November 15.

The promotion is straightforward in its simplicity: To enter for a chance to win, customers can buy a Taco Bell $5 Buck Box (which includes a Crunchwrap Supreme, a Burrito Supreme, a Crunchy Taco and medium drink) and then text in the unique code provided on the box. One prize pack, featuring a PS4, a copy of Knack, and a one-year membership to PlayStation Plus, will be awarded every 15 minutes throughout the promotion.

“Our fans enjoy gaming, and gamers eat Taco Bell, so teaming up with PlayStation for the second consecutive year to give consumers first access to the next generation system before it hits retail was an exciting decision for us,” said Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer of Taco Bell. SCEA and Taco Bell partnered in 2012 to give fans the chance to win a PS Vita before it launched in North America on Feb. 22, 2012. With the upcoming launch of the PS4 system, the “Play the Future First” promotion kicks off a multi-year partnership between SCEA and Taco Bell, according to the press release.

“Following the positive response from the gaming community for the PS Vita campaign last year, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Taco Bell to tap into the excitement as we prepare to launch PS4 on November 15,” said Guy Longworth, senior vice president, brand marketing at SCEA. “PlayStation and Taco Bell both have some of the most loyal fans in the world, and this promotion rewards them by providing an extraordinary opportunity to get their hands on a PS4 before it hits stores.”

The [a]list daily spoke with Will Bortz, senior manager of brand partnerships & sponsorships at Taco Bell, to find out more about the promotion.

The scale of the promotion is bound to generate some great interest among fans eager to get their hands on a PlayStation 4. Often such promotions will give away one or a few consoles, but this promotion is on an entirely different level. “One PS4 will be given out every 15 minutes from Sept. 26 to Nov. 10, which is approximately 4,000 PS4s,” said Bortz.

Better still, the lucky winners will be getting their consoles before the retail launch of the PS4. “The winners of the PS4 prize packs will be shipped to verified winners on or around Nov. 12, 2013 before the highly-anticipated console will be available in stores nationwide on Nov. 15, 2013,” confirmed Bortz. Winners will likely get a few days of gaming before any of their friends can possibly get their hands on a PS4, adding to the thrill of victory.

Taco Bell marketing will feature the promotion in a TV spots created specifically for the promotion. “A 30-second television spot, entitled “Play The Future First,” features an anxious troop of gamers preparing to fight an epic robot battle set in bombed-out Europe,” said Bortz. “But they arrive only to learn that the “game” has already been won by four guys who got their PS4’s early, thanks to the $5 Box at Taco Bell. Developed by Deutsch LA, the spot will run on cable, sports and network television.”

The marketing will also engage users through social media. “Unique online experiences will also engage the brands’ millions of social fans with more chances to win in addition to radio and in-store marketing,” noted Bortz.

Future promotions in this multi-year partnership will likely deal with multiple Sony products. “Taco Bell fans love gaming and gamers go to Taco Bell, so the partnership with Sony is very exciting,” Bortz said. “We plan to continue bringing innovation through partnerships to give more to our consumers every day. We will look to use hardware and software news to center our promotions around.”

Taco Bell sees interesting potential for marketing opportunities inside the PlayStation Network, but they aren’t willing to tip their hand in advance. “Innovation is key in everything we do at Taco Bell, and partnering with a brand like PlayStation provides many exciting opportunities for our consumers,” Bortz said. In other words, we’re not talking about it yet. Still, with a multi-year partnership there are certainly opportunities to do some innovative marketing with an interactive platform like the PlayStation hardware in all its various forms. Seize the opportunity, Taco Bell – greatness awaits for creative marketers.


Dyson’s Flying Machines

Dyson, a company that specializes in making parts for vacuums and fans, has decided to try something a little different for its next project – flying machines.

The company recently challenged employees to build remote-controlled drones from vacuum parts, ones that could complete a custom-built obstacle course. Indeed, many employees were up to the task, even if some of the models were, well, less than successful.

Drone-style quadcopters, ornthopters and other designs took the course on, some with better results than others. You can watch the devices in action and get an idea of how the experiments went.

Source: Fastcolabs

It’s A Serious ‘Need For Speed’

Need for Speed will be the next game franchise to get a movie version, and for Breaking Bad fans it’s noteworthy as the first big role for Aaron Paul after the TV series.

EA’s long running racing franchise has a tradition of tongue-in-cheek story bits, but as the film trailer suggests, the Need for Speed movie is aiming to be pretty serious stuff.

‘Metal Gear Solid V’ Opens With ‘Ground Zeroes’

One of the more enigmatic AAA games coming out over the next year is Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. No one is sure if it will be a digital or retail release, or potentially come as part of the full Metal Gear Solid V experience with The Phantom Pain. Regardless, check out this full opening of Ground Zeroes, complete with Kiefer Sutherland as Big Boss.

Apple Patents Digital Autographs

A new Apple invention has made its way into the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, one that allows an author or artist to digitally sign their name to an ebook or other digital content such as a game.

While some people prefer to have a physical book signed by their favorite author – not to mention the feel of a real book compared to a digital one – this process will allow them to store a personal signature on any digital content.

Apple provided an example of how the app will work, which you can see above. It basically comes with an ebook download with a specifically set-aside page for autographs, which can then be stored into cloud storage through the app.

First filed in 2012, the process is still in the development stage, with no set date for release. More technical details can be found at the link below.

Source: Apple Insider

Twitter Snags NFL For Multi-Screen Program

Twitter has reeled in one of the biggest content providers imaginable for its Amplify multi-screen program aimed at live TV viewers, partnering with the NFL for the remainder of the 2013-2014 season. The deal provides Twitter with NFL content from live games, including in-game highlights from NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football, that’s custom packaged and accessible to users around the world. The exclusive partnership with a social network is the first of its kind for the NFL.

Twitter announced Amplify this past spring, aiming to leverage how it’s now the social platform of choice for live TV viewers who want to communicate online about what they’re watching. Many popular TV events end up trending as hashtags on Twitter. The social net’s own analytics provider Bluefin estimates that 95 percent of online conversation around live TV happens on Twitter.

Amplify is meant to monetize that traffic more effectively. It creates formal partnerships with live content providers and draws advertisers to sponsor those streams as they take place. Sports are a major draw for the program, with the NBA, Major League Baseball, PGA, and NCAA college football and basketball listed as Amplify partners when it was announced. The deal with NFL is the first to involve content distribution over the course of an entire season, which includes the postseason and Super Bowl XLVIII.

NFL and Twitter are now said to be arranging sponsors for their program. Verizon Wireless, already an exclusive mobile partner to the NFL, has signed on. Adweek has reported that McDonald’s is expected to announce its participation in the coming days.

“With consumption habits shifting to mobile devices and companion experiences alongside broadcasts of our games, this partnership will provide us an additional channel to reach those users which is completely complementary to our flagship mobile product, NFL Mobile from Verizon,” NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp said in a press release.

With statements like that, and now its first social network deal, the NFL just might be getting closer to providing live games online. Prior to the start of this season, Google chief Larry Page and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell were said to have held an informal meeting. On the agenda was the possibility of airing live out-of-market games online, presumably on YouTube, once the league’s exclusivity deal with DirecTV expires after next season. While nothing came of it publicly, the signs point to recognition in the league that future growth may lie outside of the confines of broadcast television, and that may be especially true for its aspirations to reach a global audience.

Source: NFL