It’s a Bad Place

While Irrational Games may be dismantled, the BioShock series continues with BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two. The launch trailer lets you know you’re in for some trouble!


You’ve Paid Your Dues

Comedian Ricky Gervais bookends this new Audi A3 commercial that showcases ordinary folks – and extraordinary ones – saying why they’re ready for an A3, to the driving beat of Queen’s We Are the Champions.


Designer Versions Of Google Glass Coming

Not thrilled with Google Glass’ basic design Not to worry, as a pair of glasses manufacturers are looking to make more exotic versions of the technology.

Google has announced a partnership with eyewear manufacturer Luxottica Group that will lead to a redesign of the Glass headwear, specifically being developed under the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands. That should definitely make it more fashionable – and less obvious at looking like Google Glass.

“We live in a world where technological innovation has dramatically changed the way in which we communicate and interact in everything that we do,” said Luxottica CEO Andrew Guerra in a statement. “More importantly, we have come to a point where we now have both a technology push and a consumer pull for wearable technology products and applications.”

More details about the new designs should be revealed at a later date.

Source: PC Mag

Facebook Buys Oculus: ‘Out of Left Field’

No one expected the deal that occurred yesterday, when Facebook announced it is buying Oculus in an estimated $2 billion deal. Well, perhaps The Oatmeal was there first, as the comic below shows. But the very fact that this was chosen as a humorous technology shows the absurdity at the core of this deal. A social network buys a VR company What is going on

Examining the deal from Oculus’ point of view, it’s hard to see why you’d say no. Assuming that Facebook tells Oculus they get to keep doing what they’re doing, full speed ahead but with far more resources, there’s no downside in terms of bringing the technology to market. On the financial side, Oculus gets a huge pot of money now versus an unknown amount of money (and possibly none if something goes wrong) in an unknown future. What’s not to like

The deal is harder to understand from Facebook’s point of view. Maybe virtual reality will be an important technology in the future, but it’s going to be years before it pays out a $2 billion investment — if ever. It’s a long-term bet in a very different direction for Facebook, as much as they try to find connections with their current business. Investors apparently agree, pushing down Facebook stock in after-hours trading. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, when queried about the deal by the [a]list daily, responded succinctly: “You and I clearly lack the vision to see what Zuckerberg sees.”

There’s one connection that’s clear enough. An industry veteran suggested it’s always instructive to look at the boards of directors of the companeis involved in a deal, and that’s certainly the case this time. Oculus just received its Series B investment round a few months ago, which was a $75 million investment led by venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz. And, not at all coincidentally, Marc Andreesen is on the board of directors for Facebook. He did recuse himself from the negotiations with Oculus, but obviously Andreesen saw lots of potential in Oculus. And a nice early exit for Andreesen Horowitz, too.

Cartoon courtesy of The Oatmeal

John Taylor, analyst for Arcadia Investments, when asked about the surprising deal said “Yes, it’s out of left field for me too.” He feels that VR “still has a ways to go in terms of tech and mass consumer appeal” despite generating a lot of interest. “Although it is embraced by many gamers, this tech still produces discomfort for many users,” Taylor noted. “If applied to less motion intensive social activities, it may provide an enhanced experience for users. My guess is that Facebook is interested in this technology as a platform for some kind of really new future experience, not as a gateway to get into the games business as we know it today.”

Taylor feels it’s more about communication and virtual interaction than it is about action. “Perhaps it’s a way of changing the visual dimension as handsets and mobile devices get increasingly powerful,” Taylor said. “I’m tempted to compare the move as similar to Microsoft’s purchase of Skype or WebTV, which have had completely different outcomes in terms of commercialization.”

Industry veteran Don Daglow looked at the deal in a different way. “First of all, this deal certainly surprised me,” Daglow admitted. But he focused on what the outcomes of the deal might be. “How the personalities of the vision-drivers on each team interact is vital to the downstream impact of this deal,” Daglow said. “At its best it may create synergies that bridge across the divide that separates Facebook game audiences and console players. It may be the least distracting and most enabling way for Oculus to both lock in its value and gain financial and strategic resources to broaden its audience.”

There is also a dark side to this deal. “At its worst the deal could trigger the downstream post-incentives departure of key Oculus visionaries and rob the system of its true potential,” Daglow warned. “This is a phenomenon we have seen repeatedly in games, starting with Commodore’s acquisition of the Amiga system over a quarter century ago.”

Overall, Daglow looked for the silver lining. “As a designer I always like focusing on the upside, so my hope is that this unlocks the opportunity for creatives to combine tech and different kinds of audiences in new and innovative ways that did not seem as likely or available 24 hours ago. My guess is that the mainstream Facebook audience is going to see VR entertainment — and not just games — a lot sooner because of this deal, and that alone may accelerate adoption.”

Given all of the VR technology that’s been popping up recently (some of it on display at the GDC last week), it certainly seems that Facebook could have acquired VR technology for a lot less than $2 billion. Oculus has momentum, though, and a great team, and clearly Facebook put a lot of weight on to those factors.

Where will this all end up In the near term, Oculus will probably keep doing what it’s been doing and continue to get the Oculus Rift ready for market. In the long term . . .  that’s anybody’s guess right now.

Facebook Acquires Oculus VR

Oculus VR is certainly heating up in the forthcoming virtual reality race, especially coming off a well-received appearance at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week. Little did we know, however, how rosy the company’s future would become.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has announced the acquisition of Oculus VR and its 3D tech, in a deal that’s valuedat a whopping $2 billion ($400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of stock, plus an additional $300 million in cash and stock if certain goals are met). Zuckerberg wasted no time explaining the terms of the deal in a Facebook post, expressing his excitement in the acquisition.

“Our mission is to make the world more open and connected,” he said. “For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences. This is where Oculus comes in.”

Oculus was quite pleased with the deal as well. “We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” said co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR, Brendan Iribe, in a press release. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

No doubt Oculus VR could now easily contend with the likes of Sony and its Project Morpheus virtual reality set, amongst other competitors, with Facebook in its corner.

Source: Facebook

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – March 26th


  • Turner Broadcasting, Director of Marketing, Cartoon Network – Atlanta, Georgia
  • Kabam, Director, User Acquisition Marketing – San Francisco, Calif.
  • Kabam, Senior Manager/Director of Marketing Insights and Analysis – San Francisco, Calif.
  • Amazon, Sr. Marketing Manager, Games – Seattle, Washington

[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.

Disney Acquires Maker Studios

YouTube is doing big business these days, and no one knows that better than Maker Studios. First started in 2009, the network has managed to attain 380 million subscribers across all 55,000 of its channels, with 5.5 billion views a month.

Disney recently showed just how much it wants to be involved with the business, as it has acquired Maker Studios for roughly $500 million, with a $450 million earn-out if performance goals are met.

“Short-form online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the center of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger.

“It’s a very exciting combination of a very strong combination of networks on YouTube,” said Disney’s EVP of corporate strategy and business development, Kevin Mayer, about Maker. “The ecosystem is extremely large and growing and extremely relevant to the younger audiences, and those are very difficult to reach.”

This follows Disney’s other recent popular acquisitions, including LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel.

Source: Adweek

iTunes For Android?

With digital music sales on the decline, Apple is trying to find a way to revitalize its iTunes service. However, one of its ideas could see the service end up in the most unlikeliest of places – with its main competition on the mobile market, Android.

While speaking with record label executives, the company may have suggested a launch of a Spotify-style music subscription service for Android devices, as well as the creation of an app for use on the devices, which could open up a new flow for revenue.

Digital song sales have dropped 11 percent year-over-year, according to a report from Nielsen SoundScan, forcing Apple to consider moving towards a subscription service – an idea that the company’s founder, Steve Jobs, has always railed against, since he felt that people didn’t want to “rent” music.

Apple declined comment on the matter, but official confirmation could be coming soon.

Source: GigaOm

FIFA Ultimate Team Stats Revealed

FIFA Ultimate Team, the virtual tie-in to the FIFA video game license, celebrates its fifth anniversary this week, and to commemorate, Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore has revealed some stats about the program — and players may want to take notice.

Shared through Twitter, Moore explained that 64 percent of all FIFA players utilize Ultimate Team, with a total of 21,849,017 unique users racked up in that time.

For good measure, 1.46 billion transfers have been listed through the program, with 13 million per day and 542,000 per hour. 725 million matches have been played, with 1/3 of that occurring per day, and 11,000 per hour.

Expect these numbers to rise with the next FIFA game, which should be announced over the next few months.

Source: MCV UK