Best Buy’s Shopper-Based Google Hangout

If you’re a shopper who’s stuck with last-minute gift buying in time for the holidays, you’re not alone – and Best Buy certainly wants to help you out.

The retailer is currently tinkering with Google Plus-enabled ads that will assist customers via a shoppable Hangout.

Taking place this week, the Hangout will be hosted by Carolyn McCarthy and feature the likes of Austin Evans, Soldier Knows Best, Marques Brownlee and Machinima. During this time, a menu will be on the right side of the page, providing assistance with certain items, including laptops and video games.

Consumers can watch the Hangout on their PC, as well as on laptops or mobile devices. “Whichever way works best,” said a Best Buy rep.

No word yet if Best Buy will continue this service after the holidays, but it’d be a novel idea.

Source: Mashable

Sphero’s Suggested Amazon Ground Delivery Service

Not to be outdone by its recently introduced flying drone service, a robotics startup and iPhone-enabled toy maker, Sphero, has introduced a fun little concept of its own.

Sphero is responsible for small, iPhone controlled robots that can light up and play a number of app-enabled games using one or more units. In the video below, which was originally meant to be a joke, it does give an idea how ground-based delivers could work with robotics. Of course, what’s stopping someone from just kicking these little guys over and stealing their cargo is beyond us.

The Sphero is currently in a 2.0 version of its builds, and has Amazon tied in as its main retail partner. There’s no word if this could be an option in the future, but don’t be surprised if they give it some consideration.

Source: TechCrunch

Disney Introduces Free-To-Play Star Wars Game

Disney has announced that it’s hard at work on an all new Star Wars game, one that will take advantage of the free-to-play gaming market while, at the same time, concentrating on an element that a lot of players have been waiting to see come back – space combat.

In Attack Squadrons, players can take on each other in online combat, in up to 16-player death matches and team-oriented dogfights. There’s also a base defense mode, where one team can work to try and overtake it, while the others attempt to defend.

Players can customize their ships however they please, and upgrade with additional parts available in the shop. There are also new ships and battles set to be introduced each month upon the game’s release, including classic ships from the films, like TIE Fighters and X-Wing fighters.

The game, currently in development at Area 52 games, should be introduced next year. Players that are interested in the game can sign up for a forthcoming beta here.

Source: Star Wars


Instagram Direct Detailed

Last week, Instagram announced that it was hard at work on a new service called Instagram Direct, one that would allow users to send messages and images to small groups of their friends and families. At a recent news conference, the company’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, detailed the service a bit further, explaining the program’s rollout over the holiday season.

“As we enter into the holidays, it’s a perfect time to be able to share with a small group or someone you love,” said Systrom.

However, one thing the company didn’t mention was how the program would enable the sharing of data, which would benefit marketers in terms of personalized sales pitches to the fellow users.

For example, if someone talks about certain shoes, that would allow a company like Nike to prepare such a pitch to an interested party.

No word yet on the exact date of the Instagram Direct debut, but it shouldn’t be too far off.

Source: Computer World

Lego: The Hobbit Official Game Trailer

Following a popular run in 2012 with Lego: Lord of the Rings, WB Games will return to the Shire for an all new adventure in 2014 with Lego: The Hobbit.

The game will feature events from the first two films in the trilogy, An Unexpected Journey and the recently released The Desolation of Smaug. It will feature “the most diverse questions of any Lego video game to date,” according to the press release.

The official game trailer is included below, and the game will arrive in 2014 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, 3DS, PC, PS Vita, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

Source: PlayStation Lifestyle


Verizon Launches FiOS For Xbox One

For those of you who subscribe to Verizon’s FiOS service, but want a new means for watching live channels, it just provided another way to do so.

Verizon has announced that a new FiOS TV app is available for use on Xbox One. It gives subscribers access to up to 74 live channels to watch through Microsoft’s console, including HBO, NFL Network, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, G4, FX and Comedy Central. The full channel line-up is available here.

With the app, users can check out channels without the need for a cable box, and can also use gesture and voice controls to flip through their channels, using the Xbox One Kinect. It also utilizes the system’s Snap mode, enabling the ability to watch two channels at once via split-screen support.

The app is available to download free of charge, but, again, a subscription is required.

Source: Xbox Wire

See Homes Recreated Birdhouse Style

Airbnb created birdhouses based on 50 of their own locations, under the idea that birds are traveling all the time, but they (just like humans) like to find a home on the road. These birdhouses will be exhibited December 16 to December 22 in New Orleans’ Audubon Park.


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This Week’s [a]list Jobs – December 18

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood… make big plans; aim high in hope and work. – Daniel Burnham

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

[a]list daily is your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media.

To see last week’s jobs, click here.

Top News Of 2013

There was no shortage of news to fill out the year, and we’re going to take a look back at the most popular news items of the year, counting down to the #1 most popular story of 2013. Of course, not all of these are strictly news… some are fascinating, some are visually impressive, some are outrageous, and others are just plain fun. Take a trip with us down memory lane…

#10: Minecraft Toys Coming from Jazwares

There are few games that have become a phenomenon like Minecraft, and the news that there will be official Minecraft toys no doubt was greet with cries of glee from the ten-year-olds of the world. Seems odd that they would be finding their way to this news item, though. 

#9: Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag Collector’s Edition Blow Out

Sure, it’s a gorgeous collector’s edition, and this news item neatly shows what you can get. Why this particular news item became a star performer is part of the great Googly mystery of our time. If you want to see an exceptional example of a collector’s edition, though, this is the news item to see.

#8: Superhero Posters Go Full Noir Style

Another graphic re-imagining, this time of various superheroes done in a film noir poster style. It’s a trip to see what these iconic characters could have looked like.

#7: Game Developers Of Thrones

Some clever graphic artist re-imagined the houses of the hit TV series Game of Thrones as, well, game developers. Hilarity ensued… 

#6: Gears of War Movie Gets Ted Producer

OK, it’s going to be an interesting movie if the choice of director says anything about it. Probably no teddy bear, but we can hope for a cameo. Just don’t put Ted in powered armor, please.

#5: Dead Space 3 Demo: Get Early Access Now

There was certainly lots of interest in getting early access to Electronic Arts’ Dead Space 3 demo, and this news item showed that clearly. Was the news not that widely spread Sometimes the popularity of these items is a mystery.

#4: Hires In-House Sales Team

The streaming business has been expanding rapidly, so naturally Twitch has been expanding its sales force to meet the demand. It looks like the explosive growth will continue in 2014, with next-gen consoles fueling the increase with built-in Twitch sharing.

#3: Rockstar Hints at ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ Game

While Grand Theft Auto V has easily been the biggest game of the year, Rockstar is thinking ahead… and may be working on a game based around the Miami drug trade, with a female protagonist. Cue the outrage, and get ready to start counting sales in the millions again if they move forward with this plan. 

#2: Holy Press Kit, Batman!

The most impressive press kit we’ve seen since, well, ever, was produced by Warner Bros. Interactive for Batman: Arkham Origins. It’s a silver Batarang with an LCD screen and it’s going to be a hard one to top. Hear that, PR execs The gauntlet has been thrown!

#1: Skylanders U.S. Figurine Sales at Over 100 Million

It’s amazing how popular these figures continue to be, as this impressive milestone was reached in February of this year. It’s a fun game and the figures are impressively well-crafted, and next year we’ll probably be looking at new sales milestones as Skylanders continue to soar.

Un-Marketing Beyoncé’s New Album

Perhaps the biggest surprise about Beyoncé’s ‘The Visual Album’ was that there was exactly zero buzz surrounding the release prior to when it dropped on Friday. Why As it turns out, no one but Beyoncé’s closest inner circle knew it even existed.

Beyoncé’s approach was direct-to-fans. In a video uploaded to her Facebook page, she explains why she decided to showcase the album in this way: