Sweden Seeking New Game Ideas

The world is flourishing with creative game designers looking to find an audience – and now Sweden wants to play a part in it.

The country has opened up a new website dubbed Democreativity, a site that combines concepts of democracy and creativity while trying to promote diversity and new ideas.

Launched by the Visit Sweden campaign, as well as the Swedish Institute and Business Sweden, the group is seeking input from gamers around the world to help put together memorable game experiences. The site does take submissions, including submitting new game ideas as well as adding to others, such as character designs or gameplay ideas.

Once all the ideas are put together, they will be presented in a brief that anyone will be able to see, including students from the University of Skovde who are taking part in game designing programs.

Source: The Next Web

SXSW Gaming Has Marketing Impact

Marketing games has become both easier and more difficult as gaming has expanded massively. Games now reach over a billion people, social media and other technologies make it easy to distribute information, and the cultural influence of games has never been greater. At the same time, there are far more distractions that grab people’s attention, and tens of thousands of games released every year all competing to be noticed.

One key marketing tactic is to reach out to consumers directly with hands-on experience, and one of the most cost-effective ways to do this is at a consumer show focused on games. Game publishers are looking for ways to connect to customers, and this has propelled the growth of consumer game shows and events. Shows that cross the streams of consumer media, like the San Diego Comic Con, offer an audience of over 100,000 media fans eager for a celebration of their favorite media properties.

The South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) was first held in 1987 in Austin, Texas. In 1994 SXSW added film and interactive sections to its growing event, and now the show has become a major venue for interactive software and gaming while continuing to attract massive crowds for music and film. The [a]list daily spoke with Justin Burnham, SXSW Gaming Producer, about the show and its cultural impact.

The SXSW show has been on a strong growth curve in recent years. “For SXSW Gaming, we had 20k+ attendees in 2012 and 40k+ in 2013,” Burnham said. “We’re expecting to see the attendance numbers up again this year!” Those are the kind of numbers that get marketer’s attention, and it’s clear from the events planned that there will be plenty of attention focused on SXSW.

Throughout the three days of the show, there are events such as Into the Pixel Art Gallery presented by the Entertainment Software Association; the SXSW LANFest presented by Intel and Dell with featured tournaments including Chivalry, Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and League of Legends; and the eSports Tournament Stage presented by Monster and Logitech courtesy of the Evil Geniuses with DOTA 2 as the battleground The Karting Reimagined event is Powered by Pennzoil, which partnered with Nintendo, to create a life-sized Mario Kart track.

The marketing benefit of a show like SXSW Gaming extends beyond the attendees in this era of social media. “Twitter was practically launched at SXSW Interactive in 2007,” Burnham notes. “Although the service had actually gone live nine months before the show, it caught on like crazy at SXSW that year. The audience of connected people were using it to discuss panels they were in, discover content that they might be missing out and — most importantly — to track where all the great parties were. Over 350,000 people Like SXSW on Facebook and nearly the same follow on Twitter.” In other words, marketers can expect good social amplification for events and information from the show.

The lineup of gaming guests will also help generate interest. “SXSW is huge for software, tech and gaming, with some of the most influential people and companies from those worlds attending,” Burnham said. “At Gaming alone, the people who come to the show will have the chance to see Randy Pitchford, Jade Raymond, Phil Spencer, Palmer Luckey, Andrew Wilson, Feargus Urquhart, Chris DeWolfe, Matias Myllyrinne and many more.”

Game publishers are also represented at the show. “This year, we have publishers like Microsoft, Nintendo, Intel and Wargaming on hand, along with an entire area dedicated to the Oculus Rift,” noted Burnham. “We’ve also built out an Indie Corner that highlights some of the best and most creative games I’ve ever seen.”

The SXSW show highlights the cultural importance of games and how they intersect with movies, music, and other pieces of pop culture. “Games are a critical part of modern culture in the same way that film and music are,” Burnham declared. “A few years ago, video games were just a small part of Interactive, but it quickly became obvious that we had a huge audience of gamers willing to come to Austin that couldn’t make it to places like Seattle or Boston for PAX or San Diego for Comic-con. Not to mention that there’s a thriving development scene here in Texas, with an amazing amount of talented people in Austin and nearby cities.”

“SXSW Gaming is a huge win for game developers and publishers looking to reach people and grow their audience outside of traditional channels,” Burnham continued. “My hope is that we’re able to turn SXSW Gaming into a huge pop culture event in the same way that Comic-con has evolved over the years.”

Google Celebrates Storytellers

Google continues to show the power of their messaging with this ad that debuted during the Oscars with this one minute spot about storytellers. Andrew Stanton, who has worked on all three Toy Story movies and won an Oscar himself, provides the narration.


Under Armour Shows Us The New Speed

Under Armour has managed to carve out a niche in the fitness apparel category and they want to take a slice out of the athletic shoes market as well. In this add, they make comparisons to fast planes of the past and hype the unique qualities of the SpeedForm Apollo.


Sony Sells Six Million PlayStation 4’s

Sony took a big gamble on its latest game console, the PlayStation 4 – and it has certainly paid off.

The company reported that as of Monday evening that it has sold more than six million PlayStation 4 systems worldwide, including 370,000 units solid in Japan since its launch last month. In addition, 13.7 million pieces of software have been sold as well.

“I am absolutely delighted that PS4 is off to such a great start in Japan,” said SCE president Andrew House. “The responses we have received for the PS4 system’s integrated social capabilities have been phenomenal, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that gamers are utilizing these unique features to engage, share, play and connect with users around the world. SCE will continue to expand the world of PlayStation by growing its library of breakthrough games and bringing more innovative features and services only possible on PS4.”

Along with the big sales numbers, Sony also reported that over 100 million items of shared content and more than 3.6 million gameplay broadcasts have been posted since the system went online.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Microsoft Launches ‘Project Spark’ Beta

Microsoft’s innovative open world game creation tool Project Spark has gotten huge attention since its unveil last year, and numerous Windows 8.1 users managed to get into last year’s beta to give it a try. Now, Xbox One owners will get a turn.

This week, the beta finally launched for Microsoft’s newest game console, and enables users to create games on Windows 8.1 to play on their system – or the other way around, if they prefer.

So far, the beta is quite popular, with over 250,000 sign-ups, according to Microsoft. “Hundreds” more are signing on to the list daily as well. The beta is limited to certain challenges, in order to keep it running efficiently enough to keep it from going into service overload. However, those who sign up will certainly get something out of the experience.

Interested players can sign up for the beta here.

Source: TechCrunch

The Business Card Video Game

Business cards seem to be a dime a dozen, merely handed out for business contact or the occasional free lunch from a fishbowl drawing. However, Kevin Bates has created one that’s so much more.

He’s introduced the “Arduboy,” an interactive digital business card that offers nine hours of play time with the classic game Tetris, using controls that are built into the card.

The card is made from a number of simple, easy components, including a Barebones Arduino, an OLED screen and a Piezo Speaker.

Though the card does requite some assembly, Bates is putting together a kit for interested parties. He plans to launch a KickStarter sometime in the next few weeks to get manufacturing off the ground.

You can view the “Arduboy” in action below.


GameFly Trying Mail-Order Movie Rentals

GameFly has been the go-to company for requesting video game rentals by mail, even for newer platforms like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Now, it’s trying something different – movie rentals.

The company will begin testing the rental service, which includes both DVD and Blu-Ray movies, starting with a beta program on April 4. Customers who currently have the two-disc or higher game rental plan will be able to sign up for it first, with movies being available at no additional charge. Memberships currently go for $16 a month with a two-disc program.

No word yet on when the program will launch full time, but shortly after the beta would be likely.

Source: Time

Image source: Blog CDN