Pokémon’s Pikachu Now World Cup Mascot

Pikachu is easily a recognizable face in the game industry, thanks to millions of devoted players of the Pokémon brand. Now, he’s headed to a new field – soccer.

The Pokémon Company has announced that it has secured Pikachu a place as Japan’s official World Cup 2014 mascot. The deal was announced in conjunction with Japan’s national kit sponsor, Adidas, and will take effect immediately.

In addition to Pikachu, ten other Pokémon characters will also serve as faces for the team, including Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle.

The tournament will kick off June 12th in Brazil. Meowth, that’s right!

Source: MCV UK

PlayHaven And Kontagent Team Up

Three months following their initial merging, mobile marketing firm PlayHaven and analytics company Kontagent have announced a rebranding for their team, going under the name Upsight. The page will be devoted to assisting developers with tracking user behavior and taking immediate action when it comes to marketing and monetizing them.

The new company, based in San Francisco, will assist mobile developers in the best way possible, with services that include working on analytics for tracking and marketing virtual goods based on what gamers’ demand is. It has a huge audience to build upon, with more than 650 million registered monthly active users – a 62.5 percent increase since the merger.

“We are here to transform the world’s data into valuable action,” said Andy Yang, chief executive of Upsight. “Our merger was a wake-up call for everyone in the industry.”

“Everything we have seen has reinforced our strategy, and we are happy about that,” said Josh Williams, chief technology officer for the company. “There is so much fragmentation in this space. We are seeing consolidation across the board now. We made the right move at the right time.”

Source: VentureBeat

‘Crazy Taxi’ Revs Up Again

Crazy Taxi creator Kenji Kanno is back with a new mobile version of the franchise called Crazy Taxi: City Rush. The platform might have changed, but this taxi is no less crazy!


Coca-Cola Says Don’t Slurp During Movies

Noisy jerks at the theater are terrible, and Coca-Cola is doing their part with their own ad designed to encourage considerate movie-going. In Denmark, they filmed audience members and then projected them into the footage into the background of a fake movie trailer for a laugh, but they also worked up a series of pre-edited ads showing moviegoers slurping and ruining a scene.

Source: AdWeek.com


Amazon’s Game Controller Revealed?

Between purchasing key developers like Double Helix Games and readying certain assets, Amazon could be moving closer to releasing its own Android-powered game console for the family TV. Another major hint dropped last week when a revealed picture of a prototype controller hit the Internet, with pictures taken from Brazilian regulatory agency filings.

The controller, seen in the image above, features the usual face buttons, two analog controllers, a directional pad and several center buttons, including a “home” button for a game menu. It also has shoulder triggers, as well as interactive play, pause and rewind/forward buttons on the bottom, similar to OnLive’s controller set-up. This indicates that the controller could work with other interactive services, including Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Amazon hasn’t given an official statement on the controller or console just yet, but more information should be revealed over the summer.

Source: VentureBeat


iOS 8 Could Ditch Game Center

Usually, when it comes to play games with others on iPhone, gamers have to turn to the Game Center app in order to connect. However, Apple may be looking for a way to simplify this process with its forthcoming iOS 8 update.

A report from 9to5Mac indicates that the operating system could simplify a number of things when it comes to game connection and other services. While nothing has been confirmed by the company yet, this could include improvements to the Notification Center, including the removal of the “missed” tab so users don’t keep getting updates on their display.

Voice Memos could also go through some refining, with a better interface to make it easier to control when recording options. Perhaps the most critical change could come to Game Center, as Apple may remove the app altogether in favor of a simpler connectivity service with game players. Players would connect to other gamers within each game, rather than going through a central Game Center app.

All of these moves would be intended to clean up the Home screen, so users can get around much easier. It’s just a matter of time before Apple reveals just what changes are in store.

Source: TechCrunch

PlayStation Now Hints At Rental Periods

Sony’s moving right along with its cloud-based PlayStation Now rental service, which is currently undergoing closed beta for certain PS3 owners. However, some information has come to light that indicates just how long users can rent games for.

A rental version of Atlus’ strategy game Catherine recently popped up on the service, indicating that it could be rented for one, seven or up to 30 days. Functionality and pricing weren’t activated for it yet, but it looks like those will be the options available when the service launches sometime this summer.

Previously, we reported that game rentals could go from $4.99 to $5.99 depending on the title, including such popular games as Far Cry 3, Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us.

There’s no option present for buying games outright — at least, not yet.

Source: Computer and Video Games

Facebook Launches Video Ads Soon

After spending so much time advertising on other media channels on the Internet, Facebook is just about ready to give video a shot. The company announced last week that it will begin debuting 15-second video advertisements in its News Feed over the next few months.

This follows a few months of testing of the service with the clips, running with muted sound until someone scrolled over them to get more information. The goal of the campaign was to make sure the ads were informative, yet not intrusive to those who simply wanted to use the social site.

Bloomberg estimates that the services will launch in late April or early May, but Facebook declined to comment.

Source: GigaOm

Xbox One Controllers Work With PC’s

Those of you looking for a good controller for your PC may have a new option to consider – Microsoft’s Xbox One controller.

Despite reports that the peripheral was only compatible with the Xbox One console, Microsoft’s director of product management Albert Penello confirmed that the controllers will also work with Windows PCs.

Regarding rumors that the controller would be “locked out” for use on PC’s, Penello explained, “This is 100 percent wrong. When the drivers become available, they will work with the existing controllers. There is no plan to do a new, separate controller that only works on Windows. It will be the same as it is on Xbox 360 – the Xbox One controller you have today will work.

“That’s not to say that we may not ship also a PC SKU of the Xbox One controller, much like we do on Xbox 360.”

Penello hopes that the functionality will be added sometime this year, although a date has not yet been given.

“New wireless protocol, combined with the ability to work in ‘wired’ mode, and the addition of features like Impulse triggers, means that new software has to be written and optimized for the PC,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “There is also some work that we need to do to make sure that existing PC games that support the Xbox 360 controller will work with the Xbox One controller.”

Source: Polygon