Can You Survive ‘The Forest’?

While there are plenty survivalist games out there that are vaguely Minecraft-like in their construction, The Forest seems to genuinely take those elements to make a genuinely horrifying game – the trailer itself makes great use of music to convey tension and is great for dislodging a scream that might be stuck in the back of your throat.


Xbox One Price Drop

Those of you who haven’t picked up the Xbox One system yet probably won’t find a better time than now to do so, as a pair of major retailers has slashed the price of the system by $50. This means the Xbox One is less than the cost of a PS4, if you count the $60 game included for free.

Both Walmart and Best Buy are selling Microsoft’s new system at $449, including both the original console bundle and the newly released package that features Titanfall.

However, this doesn’t indicate a permanent price drop for the system. Both Best Buy and Walmart confirmed that the discount is only available “for a limited time,” although a specific date wasn’t given as to when the promotion will end.

As for Microsoft’s say on the discount, the company stated, “This offer is available at Walmart and Best Buy retail stores in the U.S. for a limited time. Microsoft sets a suggested retail price, but specific pricing and offers vary by retailer.” It will be interesting to see what impact this has on sales, and whether other discounts or bundles appear when these expire.

Source: Polygon

Hawking Gives His Voice To Syrian Children

Save the Children has launched another ad marking the third anniversary of the Syrian conflict. Professor Stephen Hawking gives his voice to the children of Syria, which Save the Children calls “the worst humanitarian crisis of our generation.”


PlayStation Gets Original Show

Following the example made by the likes of Netflix, Hulu Plus and Microsoft, Sony has announced that it will develop original TV shows for its PlayStation video game consoles.

The publisher already confirmed the first series, under the name Powers. Based on a graphic novel, the series will revolve around a noir detective living in a world where people have superpowers. Sony’s TV division will produce the show, which was originally being considered for FX. Around 10 episodes have been ordered so far.

No other series have yet been announced, but more are likely to be revealed in a few months at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Source: Forbes

E*Trade Baby Over And Out

One of the more recognizable ad icons of the 21st century, the E*Trade baby, is apparently being retired. While there are practical reasons behind this (new ad agency, the bit getting stale) it’s contextualized in an amusing fashion with an annoying talking cat as a sidekick.



‘Game of Thrones’ In ‘League of Legends’ Promotion

Riot Games has caught the attention of Hollywood. HBO made a cold call to the Santa Monica, CA-based game studio to connect with the massive eSports fan base that League of Legends has around the globe. The pay cable network kicks off a three-week program today (March 22nd) to promote the fourth season of Game of Thrones, which debuts April 6. Dustin Beck, vice president of eSports and merchandising at Riot Games, details the promotions and discusses what this deal means for eSports and its growing popularity in this exclusive interview.

On the heels of the Lionsgate Ender’s Game eSports Tournament, how have you seen Hollywood take notice of pro gaming?

Generally speaking, a lot of non-endemic players are starting to take notice given some of the mainstream press we’ve been getting recently, whether it’s our Staples Center event or our announcement about doing an All-Star Game in Paris. Big names are now starting to understand the demographic that they’re able to reach through eSports, which is a relative nuanced and new demographic that they traditionally haven’t been able to reach effectively.

Do you have a sense of how big an overlap there is between League of Legends players and Game of Thrones fans?

We’ve done a lot of player surveys to see what our fans like and dislike and I think a lot of the discussion and strategies going forward that we have are going to cater to our fan base. We want to make sure that any activations that we do are super authentic to our fans and that we’re not working with brands that aren’t going to have any value to our players.

How did this Game of Thrones advertising deal happen with HBO?

We got a cold call from HBO because they thought that there was going to be a great overlap between our players and their demographic of people that watch Game of Thrones and this was a good way to explore reaching that demographic through new media.

This fan artist on DeviantArt has already mashed up League of Legends with Game of Thrones

Can you detail the Game of Thrones plan?

HBO is doing a three-week activation in advance of their series premiere on April 6. They’re going to be getting some marketing assets, whether that’s logo bugs or Website takeovers. But we’re also working with their team to produce a mash-up trailer. They’re giving us some exclusive sneak peaks into footage that hasn’t been seen before.

What are the advantages to Hollywood studios or mainstream brands when it comes to the League of Legends community?

There are a couple of advantages going through us. We have a very loyal, dedicated fan base that has built up trust with Riot and our brand and our eSport. We make sure that any of the brands that we are working with have relevance to them and to properties that they like. The advantage with us versus traditional TV or even traditional sports is we have a very limited, focused advertising or sponsorship and partnership strategy. We’re not working with a ton of different brands. There’s not going to be the kind of sponsor overload you get when you look at NASCAR for example. You see a car that’s littered with various sponsor bugs and it’s very hard to focus in on what logo you’re looking at. We have the exact opposite approach, where we’re modeling our strategy after what The Masters of golf does, where we want a very limited, focused set of advertisers or sponsors with very high touch, high share voice and frequency. We have about three-and-a-half minutes of ads per hour, whereas TV is 14-plus minutes of ads per hour.

What impact do you feel having American Express and Coke get on board has had on opening up Hollywood’s eyes to eSports?

American Express and Coke have been very thoughtful and intelligent partnerships with us. They get the value that their brands can bring to our players and community in a first-mover segment. They’re blue chip, well-established brands that are going to put a lot of people on notice. They’re brands that haven’t been involved in eSports traditionally, so it’s groundbreaking. Traditionally, eSports had been very inundated with endemic partners and brands and these companies are breaking the mold. They’re the first to market and they’re establishing a lot of brand credibility in that sense.

How have you worked with Coke on the Challenger Series?

Coke has been a very valuable partner for us on the Challenger Series. They’re bringing to the table a new kind of approach on how we want to engage with our plans and with our players. They want to make sure that they’re doing it in an authentic and genuine matter that is going to add value to the scene, and not just be a logo bug on the screen. They’re starting to build up their own discipline within gaming. They brought in a head of global gaming, Matt Wolf, who’s been our go-to contact on that front. And they’re exploring a lot of ways now that they can get involved with the scene and help us build this Challenger League into what we hope it’s going to become. We think it’s very similar to the Coke leagues that they have for European soccer, for example, that are feeder leagues into the premiere league. We’re looking to do the same thing.

‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’ Breaks Cover

Following an apparently unplanned leak of the game, Ubisoft has announced officially Assassin’s Creed Unity. Set in France during the 18th century, this trailer does a great job of conveying the general mood of the times without any dialog, simply using sound effects and shots of the Paris landscape.


PlayStation 4: Short Supplies Until Summer

The PlayStation 4 continues to be in massive demand, especially behind the strength of such games as the recently released Infamous: Second Son and Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes. However, some folks are concerned that the company won’t catch up on said demand.

According to Sony, however, it hopes to catch up. Andrew House, Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO, spoke out on the situation.

“We’re struggling to keep up with demand,” said House. “Conservatively, as we get into the early summer months, we’ll be closer to a full supply situation.”

Source: Wall Street Journal

‘Guild Wars 2’ Has Unique China Pricing

With a free trial underway in China, the marketers of Guild Wars 2 (creator NCSoft and Chinese partner Kongzhong) are trying a very different path to profit for a Chinese MMORPG. Most MMORPG’s in China are free-to-play, but Guild Wars 2 will have an upfront price to pay –and it’s set to sell for a bargain basement price upon its release.

When the game goes on sale later this spring, it’ll retail for 88 RMB, or around $14.50 in American dollars. Pre-orders will kick off starting on April 2nd, while the trial is in full effect. That marks the lowest price point for the game to date, as it sells in other markets (including the US) for as high as $50.

Those in China that are interested in the trial have until today at 5 PM to check it out. Otherwise, at least it won’t cost very much. It will be interesting to see how this pricing experiment in China performs, and whether it might change the way MMORPGs are priced in China.

Source: Games In Asia

F2P Games Grow 50% For Sony Consoles

Free-to-play games may be somewhat new to consoles, but there’s no question that they’re picking up in popularity.

During this past week’s Game Developers Conference, Sony held a panel to discuss the growth of F2P games on its PlayStation platforms. According to the company, revenues from such titles have increased by 50 percent year-over-year, and that’s coming from a small amount of the business model’s potential.

Games such as Dust 514, Warframe and DC Universe Online have done big business on these systems, and others are on the way, including console versions of EverQuest Next and the highly popular Planetside 2.

The PlayStation 3 has a more developed eco-system when it comes to the F2P market, but the PS4 market is also growing, and shows a lot of potential for the coming year, according to the company.

Source: VentureBeat