Exclusive ‘Zelda’ 3DS XL Deal

One of the hottest “must have” items for the holiday season is Nintendo’s latest 3DS XL bundle, which includes a gold-colored version of the popular game system, along with the newly released sequel The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. However, if you can get to Target fast enough, you can snag the system for a very affordable price.

Nintendo has confirmed today that the 3DS XL Zelda bundle will be available for $149.99 at Target locations starting Friday, and running through the 30th or until supplies run out. The company tweeted today, “Pick up any Nintendo 3DS XL hardware, including the Zelda 3DS XL, for only $149.99 at @Target from 11/28-11/30!”

Amazon held a sale of Nintendo 3DS XL systems yesterday on its website, and it sold through the entire allocation in just a matter of minutes. You can bet the demand will be just as high once Friday rolls around at Target.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is available now.

Source: Nintendo America’s Twitter account

Black Friday Video Game Deals Aplenty

Black Friday isn’t too far off now, and various retailers will be offering bargains as soon as 5 PM on Thanksgiving night. Those looking to buy great video game deals for loved ones may want to pay attention to some specific deals, which we’ve happily highlighted below.

Amazon: Bundles are the name of the game with this website, as it’s offering an Xbox 360 250 GB Holiday Value Bundle with Halo 4 and Tomb Raider, or a 250 GB PlayStation 3 system with The Last of Us and Batman: Arkham Origins for $199 apiece

Wal-Mart: This national chain has a few great bundles as well, including the Xbox 360 4 GB for $99, the PlayStation 3 12 GB model for $149, the 2DS (red or blue) for $99 or the aforementioned Last of Us/Batman: Arkham Origins PS3 system bundle for $199.

Target: If you want a 3DS XL, this is the place to get it, as Target will have it for $149.99 for a limited time. You can also pick up an Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle with Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures, along with a free month of Xbox Live gold, for $199. The PlayStation 3 Last of Us/Batman: Arkham Origins bundle will be available here as well.

GameStop: Various deals will be available through this retail chain, including a Skylanders Swap Force Wii U bundle with a backpack and a $25 GameStop gift card for $299.99; a PS Vita Walking Dead bundle for $199.99, and a PlayStation 3 Pulse Headset for $79.99, but only on Friday.

Toys ‘R Us: The toy chain will have plenty of deals, including the Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon 3DS system bundle for $150, the Sega Genesis Classic Game Console w/80 built-in games for $29.99, and the Skylanders Swap Force Wii U pack for $259.99.

Best Buy: Last but certainly not least, Best Buy will have doorbusters aplenty, including an Xbox 360 250 GB bundle with Tomb Raider, Darksiders 2, Halo 4 and Batman: Arkham City for $189.99, a Wii U bundle with Nintendo Land and 2 Wii remotes for $319.97, and deals on Turtle Beach headsets for $34.99 apiece.

Source: IGN

Clay Matthews’ Face Goes Through the Elements

A football player’s face might go through hell during a season, but this ad says that shaving shouldn’t be rough on his face. This ad makes the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor seem like some sort of sexy sports car, thought the genius is that Gillette’s core messaging hasn’t changed much in years!

Play ‘Call of Duty’ With Sports Stars

Multiplayer sessions of Call of Duty, including the most recently released Ghosts, can be quite random, but every once in a while you run into a player that you remember well in the match. This could be a professional game player, or, in some cases, a professional athlete, as they’re known to kick back and relax with the shooter.

Now players will have a better opportunity to do so, through a new app called OverDog. Developed in conjunction with Call of Duty publisher Activision, the app allows users to play online sessions alongside their favorite athletes.

“Adrian Peterson is going to play Call of Duty this week anyway,” noted Steve Berneman, CEO and co-founder of startup OverDog.

“Athletes are very competitive, and they see it as another way to compete with each other and the people around them,” added Dario Raciti, director of Zero Code, OMD’s gaming specialty shop, which helped put the app together.

Here’s how it works: those who download the app will have the chance to play an athlete through random selection, once they indicate that they want to play an online match-up. From there, fans can accept the challenge, turn on their game systems, and get into action. During these sessions, fans can ask these players anything – though obviously some topics may be a little touchy, depending on the athlete.

“We listen in on these, and the first 30 seconds of the conversation are about the game, then the next couple of minutes are stuff you’d ask a pro athlete,” said Berneman. “Once we get through that, it’s like a couple of 25-year olds playing Call of Duty.

Other athletes taking part in the program include starting pitcher David Price, former NHL player Jeremy Roenick and the NBA’s Patrick Beverly, among 300 or so other athletes.

There’s no word yet on the app’s price, but more information should be released soon.

Source: Adweek

Next Steps For Next Gen

Years of work by Microsoft, Sony and many publishers and development studios have resulted in two very successful launches for the new next-generation consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Does that mean the industry can relax and watch the installed base grow by leaps and bounds while sales and profits grow along with the base If that’s what you think, you need to take a reality check. The hard work needs to continue, and it will not get easier — and success is not assured.

First of all, let’s look at the picture for the next several months. Supply of new consoles will likely be constrained until sometime in the first quarter, and possibly beyond. Certainly it’s possible to ramp production faster, but the cost is high — and neither Sony nor Microsoft wants to build production lines and massive inventory that turns out not to be needed. Right now production is being fine-tuned, and chip yields are increasing. There will be manufacturing problems, hardware and software issues to overcome (the PS4 pulsing blue line and the Xbox One’s disc munching, for example, though both appear to affect only a small number of users).

Eventually, manufacturing will cease to be an issue. — then the fun really begins. The second quarter of 2014 will show us how strong ongoing demand will be for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Will there be great software to kick sales higher Or will this wait until the summer or the fall Typically we don’t see the very best titles on new hardware until the developers have gone through at least one cycle, and tools get better. Here it should be faster due to the familiar architecture and generally better tools. Already we’ve seen some impressive titles on the schedule for next year, like The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, Watch Dogs, Titanfall, Destiny, and many more. However, we’re still not sure of the release dates are even if the titles will live up to the early buzz.

It’s around the first quarter that the essential reality of new consoles will really settle in for the majority of the market. November, December and perhaps January are all about capturing the hardest of the hardcore fans. These are people who love being the first to own the new hardware, and they’re willing to put up with flaws, omissions, and a relative shortage of software. One important fact about both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 that hasn’t really come into play yet is the lack of backwards compatibility. That’s really not important to the hardcore fan, but to someone who has a big library of existing games they love and perhaps not a lot of money to spend on new software as well as a new console, it’s a big issue. Those are the very people who are the next wave of next-gen console buyers.

Marketing’s got its work cut out for it. It’s not just putting out good messaging about the next-gen consoles, it’s about identifying the barriers to sale and trying to lower or remove them. We already know Sony is likely to provide some form of backwards compatibilty with old PlayStation games through Gaikai, and Microsoft has hinted at similar possibilities. That sounds good, but even if the technology works great it doesn’t help the existing console owner with a library of games. Neither Sony or Microsoft is likely to stream games for free, at least not for all of them all the time. How could you verify that a user already purchased a given game for a previous console

There may be an answer, though it will require some work to arrange. Perhaps you could let users bring their old disc into GameStop and turn it in to get a code (and store credit ) that would allow them to stream it on their new next-gen console. This would remove a big barrier to next-gen console adoption, if it could be arranged.

That’s just part of the sort of thing marketing must consider when moving into the next phase of the next-gen console adoption. Ultimately, we all have to remember that it’s really all about the games. Without that you have a very expensive Netflix streaming device, and maybe a few other features (like Skype on the Xbox One) that are pretty cool, but probably don’t justify a sale for most people. Microsoft and Sony need to keep adding great features to their systems, of course, to extend the list of reasons why people would want to buy the console. The best selling point, though, will be as many must-have games as possible. Encouraging indie developers as well as mainstream publishers is an important part of the strategy for both companies, and they would do well to keep pushing that.

Next-gen consoles aren’t just about raw graphics power; that’s nice but it’s not going to provide a really different gaming experience. The real advances will come with things like changing business models, massively multiplayer gaming, design innovation, cloud computing, social gaming features (like streaming) and second-screen integration. We’re already starting to see this happen in games like Destiny and The Division, and we need to see more of this to keep gamers from wandering off to other platforms.

The challenge for Sony and Microsoft is to keep pushing on system-level improvements to enable these sorts of innovative designs, and to continue to reduce their bureaucracy and barriers to get more games on their platforms. Next-gen consoles need to take advantage of all the things the modern connected world has to offer and integrate that into a gaming-centric environment where there are no barriers to fun. Next-gen consoles have the potential to take the best of other platforms and connect it to gamers — let’s hope Sony and Microsoft make that happen.

PlayStation 4 European Launch Events

The PlayStation 4  successfully launched in the US and Canada on November 15, but the console has yet to roll out in the rest of the world. Sony is preparing for the next big launches across Europe on November 29th.

The company’s European division has announced that it will hold a UK launch event on Thursday, November 28 at the PS4 Lounge in Covent Garden, London, where gamers can buy the system on a first-come, first-serve basis without the need for a pre-order. For entertainment, Tinie Tempah will also perform, and food and drink will also be provided.

MD and VP of Sony Computer Entertainment UK & Ireland Fergal Gara, said, “Day one PS4 pre-orders sold out in record time and this could be the last chance for anyone who wants to get their hands on a console before Christmas. We really wanted to offer some way for people to buy on launch day, and this is a fantastic opportunity for anyone that hasn’t already pre-ordered to get their hands on a PS4 on day one. The excitement in the run up to our UK launch has been phenomenal, and we want to thank gamers for their support by giving them the chance to take a PS4 home at the earliest opportunity.

The PlayStation 4 launches in Australia and New Zealand, much of Europe, the UK, and Latin America on November 29; the Middle East and the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary on December 13; and finally in Japan on February 22, 2014.

Source: EU PlayStation Blog

How Xbox Trumped Oreo’s Game-Changing Tweet

It was the tweet heard around the world. Even if you weren’t watching the Super Bowl, you were aware of Oreo’s “Blackout Tweet” and the implications it had. Brands felt the pressure to be just as agile and ushered in a new era of “real-time marketing.” Who wouldn’t want to measure up to such stunning success of 10,000+ retweets, 18,000+ ‘likes’, and 5,000 and more shares Who wouldn’t want 6 Cannes Lions  Xbox’s recent social success shows that it isn’t necessarily real-time marketing that drives virality– it is tremendously creative marketing.

At first look, it strikes you that this isn’t even real-time marketing at all, but nevertheless just as well-timed. This was carefully planned, crafted, branded. Moreover, this was anticipated. Unlike Oreo’s tweet, this wasn’t just limited to Twitter, either. The same message on Facebook replicated the tweet’s success.

This caught the eyes of BusinessWeek, who said that it was “a bit surprising that they were so nice about it.” Mashable let out a punny “well-played.” Another outlet went as far as saying the message softened the rivalry between Microsoft and Sony.

What’s really key to the success of Xbox’s post is that it understands and takes advantage of the similar messages being shot out from fans themselves as the next-gen console war is being waged. The message reflects the playful one upmanship of the gaming community right now and extends the brand’s hand out to the competition, and in doing so engaged Sony’s followers too.

The takeaway is this: successful social rewards creativity, promptness and thoughtfulness in regard to the target audience.  It’s not easy, but the message alone can be spare and simple.

Millennials Get Psyched For Black Friday

It looks like millennials by and large won’t exactly be waiting around for Cyber Monday to roll around. Twenty-six percent of them plan on having their big Christmas shopping blowout at retail stores on Black Friday while boomers stand aside with a collective “meh” according to a survey by DDB.

Millennials are keeping the holiday spirits aloft with robust profits from the outset this holiday season. A telling 12 percent will do their shopping as the madness peters out over the weekend and 11 percent will take advantage of the big deals likely to be found Cyber Monday.

While you’re adding up those numbers, it looks like 51 percent of millennials will weather the initial shopping wave to ride it out later in the season. A solid 10 percent are procrastinators, waiting until the last minute to find gifts for their loved ones.

In comparison, boomers appear to be much less excited to hold out for the best deals come Black Friday. A meager 7 percent plan to partake in Black Friday and the same number are prepping their wallets for Cyber Monday. Boomers are also slightly more keen on waiting until the final days to secure their Christmas loot.

Although folks are still planning on getting into the spirit of the giving season, 47 percent say they will be less spendy this year than last.

The most wanted item this year Notably, it’s not a console. Thirty-one percent of survey responders say they would much prefer cash.
Source: AdWeek {link no longer active}