China Unblocking Facebook And Twitter

Twitter and Facebook are frowned upon in China, but there’s one area that will enable them to work. The Shanghai Free Trade Zone will soon have access to those social networks as well as media outlets, according to a report from the South China Morning Post. Foreign telecommunications companies are also being shopped around for the zone.

“In order to welcome foreign companies to invest and to let foreigners live and work happily in the free-trade zone, we must think about how we can make them feel like at home,” said a source speaking with the Post. “If they can’t get onto Facebook or read The New York Times, they may naturally wonder how special the free-trade zone is compared with the rest of China.”

The Trade Zone is a place where foreign investment and a yuan-powered financial sector work more freely than the rest of the country. Not everyone is pleased with its existence, however, as some see it as a potential threat to parts of Hong Kong.

Source: Mashable

What The Fox Says

The Fox by Ylvis has managed to generate over 50 million views on YouTube mostly through word of mouth, and Abercrombie & Fitch saw an opportunity in that. It’s not a bad way to generate some positive publicity for brand that could use some right now.



Another Peek At PlayStation 4 Dashboard

With the PlayStation 4 set to arrive in less than two month’s time, Sony wants to give potential buyers an idea of just how easy the interface will be to use. Yesterday, the company posted a number of screenshots from its GUI, which you can view here.

There are a number of shots available, including the main menu, messages, a profile page, a “live detail view” showing you what’s happening with your friends, a Trophy display page so you can see how much you’re progressing with certain games, and much more.

In addition, there’s also a great feature where you can edit and view videos through the system’s “share” function, showing people how you’re playing in the game. Real-time comments can also be recorded on this page.

The PlayStation 4 releases on November 15 in the United States.

Source: PlayStation Community

Survey: More Ad Dollars Headed To Social, Mobile


A biannual survey conducted by Advertiser Perceptions released this month shows optimism among marketers towards overall spending on advertising, and highlights a trend in social and mobile growth as more advertisers move away from traditional media.

The study asked participants about where they anticipated increasing ad spending over the course of the next 12 months, in addition to where they were planning on running their campaigns.

Results showed that social media spending can expect a big bump, with 47 percent of participants saying they expect an increase in ad spending on social platforms. Online video sites such as Youtube and Hulu were also growth areas, with 40 percent anticipating an increase in their budgets for online video ads. A majority of participants also said they were very optimistic about mobile as people consume more and more media on smartphones and tablets.

Still, as advertisers continue to shift more dollars to the social and mobile side of digital, the online side could see shrinking spending in the near future. Nearly a quarter of survey participants said they are looking to decrease their budgets for online portals such as Yahoo, Google and AOL. And all trends aside, that old stalwart television continues to see the most ad dollars by a wide margin.

Sources: Ad Age and Advertising Perceptions

‘GTA Online’ Will Have Microtransactions

With Grand Theft Auto Online set to launch next week for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, players everywhere are excited to dive back into the criminal world with their friends. Today, Rockstar Games announced a quicker way to get a hold of some major assets in the game, including clothes, guns and cars.

The company will introduce microtransactions, enabling players to purchase in-game cash packs using real money, which they can then turn around to purchase the above-mentioned goods. It has put up a blog post detailing how the buys will work, though they won’t be necessary to enjoy the game.

“You can either quickly accumulate cash through profitable activities like knocking over armored cars, winning street races, doing stick-ups or a host of other cash-making endeavors,” said the post. “Or, if you’re the completely instant gratification type, you can choose to buy denominations of GTA$.”

“The game and its economy have been designed and balanced for the vast majority of players who will not buy extra cash. There is no in-game paywall and nothing that should disrupt the balance of the game. You don’t have to spend real money to attain the cars, guns, clothes, flash and style of a high-roller in Los Santos, but can if you wish to get them a little quicker.”

Grand Theft Auto Online releases on October 1st as a free download to those who purchased Grand Theft Auto V.

Source: Eurogamer

Retailers Roll Out Xbox 360 Deals

With the Xbox One heading to retail shelves in less than two months Microsoft is putting a lot of attention towards it, complete with an advertising push. However, it’s not about to forget the Xbox 360, as Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb not only posted a list of forthcoming games for the system, but also a number of retailers who are offering it for a cheaper price.

These include Best Buy, Amazon, Target, NFM, Walmart and GameStop, each of which have savings to offer in one form or another.

Best Buy, Amazon, Target and NFM are offering $50 off the main hardware in itself, along with a free $50 gift card that can be used towards accessories or games. GameStop and Wal-Mart aren’t offering the gift card, but have also marked down the hardware bundles by $50.

As a result, you can get a 250 GB system for approximately $200 – with a little extra change depending where you shop. Not a bad deal for those looking for a more affordable game machine this holiday season. This is a way for Microsoft to boost sales with a lower price without actually changing the price . . . So Microsoft is free to bring the price back up or make a permanent price cut for the Xbox 360, depending on the results.

Source: Major Nelson

‘South Park: The Stick of Truth’ Lives On

South Park: The Stick of Truth is being billed as the ultimate South Park game, and with this trailer it’s hard to argue otherwise. The legendary New Kid will come to South Park and have to fulfill his destiny . . . if Jimmy can ever get the word out. The release date is December 10th.

Valve Set To Release Steam Machines

Valve promised that it would find a way to get into the hardware market with its Steam service, and while it isn’t exactly the “Steam Box” it was hinting at, we are getting something along those lines – say hello to the Steam Machines.

Announced Wednesday mornings, these devices will allow users to play games purchased through Steam, using the SteamOS system that was announced earlier in the week.

However, Valve hasn’t nailed down a final format for the system as of yet, and is getting ready to launch a closed beta to have 300 users test out the device. Users can head over to the Steam site to register for the beta, which is free of charge.

Steam Machines will arrive sometime in 2014, from a variety of (unnamed) manufacturers. Valve has one more announcement scheduled for Friday morning, so we may get some of these details filled in.

Source: Valve

US Trails In Per Capita Ad Spend

To all the Don Draper wannabes out there, make your next drink a double. The US no longer rules the roost in at least one ad spend category. A recent estimate of per capita advertising spending by eMarketer ranks the US fourth, topped by Norway and the UK respectively in the number three and number two spots. Who’s number one Well crikey, that goes to Australia.

eMarketer found that advertisers in Australia spent a whopping 44 percent more per person on average than what the US spends. In fact, the top three spenders including UK and Norway were neck to neck in terms of dollars allocated, while the US and remaining countries in the lower two-thirds of the list trailed well behind.

The figures can be misleading. Statista, which charted eMarketer’s findings, points out that the US is still considered the world’s biggest advertising market in total dollars spent. Together with Canada, which ranked fifth in per capita spending, the North American market accounts for nearly 39 percent of the global ad market. Despite seemingly dominating eMarketer’s list, Western Europe accounts for 24 percent, trailing even Asia Pacific which accounts for just under 29 percent.

Sources: eMarketer and Statista