‘Gauntlet’ Reboot Hitting PC This Summer

“Elf needs food badly!” Some old-school gamers may remember these words from the Atari arcade game Gauntlet. Now, Warner Bros. is bringing back the game in an all-new adventure.

The new version of Gauntlet is a “completely modernized action RPG” that is the latest addition to WB Games’ Vault portfolio of digital games. More games based on the Atari/Midway arcade line-up are expected to be announced later on, with Gauntlet taking the forefront for now.

“With Gauntlet, we combined the arcade style of the original game with an entirely new look and feature set that includes emergent, local and online four-player gameplay,” said WB Games digital SVP David Haddad.

In development over at Arrowhead Games, Gauntlet will make its debut this week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Source: Joystiq

New Xbox One System Update Incoming

Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb, spokesman for the Xbox brand, announced today that the company will launch a new update for the Xbox One console this April, which will bring a number of updates to the system’s features.

The first is the GameDVR, which will have improved compression algorithms and greater video quality. The update will also improve motion commands and Kinect voice recognition, making it easier to interact with the system.

Friend notifications will also be easier to come by with the update, via pop-up messages that indicate what they’re currently playing.

Finally, game save and app update status notifications will be improved, with a progress bar to show how long it takes for a game to save, as well as what’s currently being updated with new patches or downloadable content.

There’s no word on an exact day for the update, but it will be free of charge.

Source: Joystiq

 

Wal-Mart Jumping Into Used Game Market

Most stores these days have their own video game trade-in program, including Gamestop and Best Buy. This week, Wal-Mart decided to give it a go.

The store brand has announced that it will begin accepting used games as trade-in for store credit, with 3,100 stores taking part in the promotion starting on March 26. This will allow users to bring in any unwanted games so they can purchase new games – or other goods – with the credit received.

Both gift cards for Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club will be offered, while exchanged products will be “sent to be refurbished and made available for purchase in like new condition starting this summer,” said the company’s announcement.

The store brand has already released an exchange rate calculator so interested parties can see what their games would fetch in value. As expected, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases are getting top values, ranging from $35 to $38.

Source: Joystiq

Google Gets Jump On Smartwatch Market

The era of the smartwatch is just about here – and it’s Google, not Apple, that’s leading the charge.

LG Electronics and Motorola announced on Tuesday that they would begin producing smartwatches that run on the latest version of Google’s Android operating system for wearable devices, in a new line dubbed Android Wear.

Details about the operating system were first revealed in a blog post, with the companies closely working with the electronics manufacturers Asus, HTC and Samsung, as well as chip makers Broadcom Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm. Fashion brand Fossil Group was also involved with the design of Android Wear, which should launch later this year.

The watches are likely to use the Google Now technology, a personal-assistant software that makes recommendations and answers questions from users, as well as predict trends for particular users.

This allows Google to get a huge jump over Apple in the smartwatch market, as it hasn’t announced what its plans are for its own form of the technology.

Source: Wall Street Journal

PlayStation Vita’s New Video Apps

The PlayStation Vita doesn’t have too many video apps to speak of, aside from being able to purchase movies on the PlayStation Network and stream content via Netflix. However, that’s about to change.

Today, Sony has announced the launch of a number of new video services for the handheld system, including anime-based Crunchyroll, NHL GameCenter and Qello. In addition, other apps will be released this spring, including Redbox Instant, Hulu Plus and Galam TV.

“PlayStation is dedicated to giving our fans the best entertainment options on our platforms; and we’ll continue to bring epic entertainment options straight to you,” said Sony’s Jamaal Moore.

The PS Vita is currently being prepped for a relaunch phase, with a new model of the system, being bundled with Borderlands 2, set for release this summer.

Source: IGN

GDC Marketer’s Eye View: Day Two

The Game Developers Conference for 2014 has been interesting so far. The first impression is that the show is much busier these first two days than previous years. While there’s no official announcement yet, seasoned attendees agreed that Monday seemed like the usual Wednesday crowd for GDC. It’s possible that putting in more sessions and tracks is attracting more attendees, but there were plenty of people both in sessions and outside the sessions.

Attendance was strong at business sessions, of course, as people wanted to here the latest tips on user acquisition and free-to-play games. Sessions on narration and story were packed, and so were sessions on teaching game design. There was much more going on than the sessions, though — there was plenty of marketing going on in the areas outside of the sessions, and the [a]list daily was there to cover it.

Marketing opportunities were offered by the GDC in the form of spots in the lobby areas, and a number of clever companies took advantage of this.

Ubisoft set up a lounge area at the top of the escalators in Moscone West, offering free coffee in the mornings, and a number of monitors and places to sit. Why So developers could meet Ubisoft employees, see the tools that Ubisoft works with, and listen to key Ubisoft employees discussing techniques. It’s a subtle way to get people interested in working at Ubisoft, and it’s been getting excellent traffic according to the personnel manning the booth. It’s a clever way to stand out for potential employees, even before the official Career Center opens up.

Wacom found a clever way to put their Cintiq artist’s workstations in front of customers, by setting up a couple of workstations for anyone to use next to the escalators. Artists who are used to drawing with pencils or brushes would find these very easy to work with, and there’s nothing like going hands-on to be convinced of the utility of the product. That direct experience is good marketing, and it’s important when you’re trying to sell tablets that can run up to $3000. You don’t have to sell very many to make that both an effective marketing spend.

Moga used the space to advertise their mobile controller with a gigantic controller. Sadly, it wasn’t functional, merely a large piece to attract the eye. There were some flyers arranged on the bottom, but there was no one handy to explain what was going on. Perhaps next time the screen can be a real one, with a looping video talking about the benefits of including Moga support with your games.

The display area on the second floor had a number of booths, occupied by a variety of companies. They reported excellent traffic the first two days, and were happy with being able to capture the attention of showgoers before the Expo opens today. Booths included analytics firm Upsight (the new brand formed from the merger of Playhaven and Kontagent), advertising services vendors like Rocketfuel and Ad Colony, mobile industry powerhouse ARM, and tech firm Sensus offering development kits for its touch-sensitive mobile phone case.

While small, these booths had heavy traffic with sessions happening right next door, and those manning the booths were pleased with the responses they were getting from showgoers. While almost all the vendors had literature to provide, they usually had some tchotchke to generate additional interest and branding, from candy and energy drinks to Upsight’s aluminum water bottle.

Get Shaved In The Face

Old Spice is one of the few companies that can get away with bizarrely funny ads, partially because they keep the focus on the product itself. In this case, we see a crazy Terry Crews ad that gets the point across that the shaver is sharp and effective.

 

Zombies, Monsters and Robots! Oh My!

Why settle for a zombie game or monster game when you can have the best of all worlds That’s the impetus behind ‘Zombies Monsters Robots,’ a new game from En Masse Entertainment which gets a trailer come March 26.

‘ZMR’ promises to be a “third person shooter filled with intense co-op and competitive modes, an expansive variety of maps and enemies, gear customization, and multiple PVP modes,” according to the FAQ on the official site. The game will fully launch in the summer, but an early access phase is slated for this spring. Those interested are encouraged to sign up to have a chance at accessing alpha and a ‘First Blood’ pack with exclusive items.

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – March 19th

Sometimes career advice can hurt more than help. Take a look at this list of possibly harmful sage advice you should consider throwing out.

  • Activision Blizzard, Associate Manager, Consumer Marketing – Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Sony Pictures, Digital Marketing Manager – Culver City, Calif.
  • Games of Chance, Director of Marketing – Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Cloud Imperium, Director of Marketing – Santa Monica, Calif.

[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.