Electricpig » Gaming http://www.electricpig.co.uk The only tech you need Thu, 22 Nov 2012 12:13:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Play games, get money: Amex buries itself deep into Halo 4 http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/11/02/play-games-get-money-amex-buries-itself-deep-into-halo-4/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/11/02/play-games-get-money-amex-buries-itself-deep-into-halo-4/#comments Fri, 02 Nov 2012 12:12:42 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=473958

As marketing partnerships go, there’s something about the sci-fi thrills of Halo 4 and the grown-up financial sensibilities of American Express that doesn’t quite match up. Odd then, that this is probably the most ambitious, potentially rewarding tie-up ever to hit Xbox Live…

Amex’ deal with Halo 4 isn’t the same as Xbox 360 match-ups that’ve gone before it. If you’ve got one of the little plastic money portals, we encourage you to head to amexbox.co.uk to sync up your account to your Xbox ahead of Halo 4’s launch.

See, Amex has nestled deep into the Xbox framework and deep into Halo 4. This isn’t an app, this is a properly connected marketing deal. “We’re bringing a totally new experience to the platform that’s never been done before,” said the company’s Leslie Berland, adding that the deal is a properly “a native integration.”

Ok, so what does it actually do? Connected users will be able to claim rewards as they progress through Halo 4’s campaign and collect achievements. Beating certain levels will amount to rewards in the shape of statement credit or money off with Amex partners like AMC Theatres and PacSun.

Trailblazing Halo 4 campaign set for live TV

As well as ‘spend this much, get this much off’ offers, there’s also a competition that’ll award the first 25 Amex customers to complete an as-yet unnamed ‘superhard’ challenge with a trip to E3 2013.

But the question remains: are American Express and Halo 4 a suitable pair? Well, surprisingly, yes – despite the stereotypical owner of both card and game being entirely different, Amex reckons there’s 40 million card holders with Xbox Live accounts.

Interestingly, Amex’ plans don’t stop with Halo, with the company suggesting that the reward scheme is “not a complicated exercise to extend beyond Halo.” Where next, then? Netflix perhaps? Watch a movie, get a money-off deal? We’ll have to wait and see.

Source: Adweek

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GTA V pre-order date revealed: Why Rockstar’s still the king of the info drip-feed http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/31/gta-v-pre-order-date-revealed/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/31/gta-v-pre-order-date-revealed/#comments Wed, 31 Oct 2012 10:28:54 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=471926

GTA V, the next big installment in the longstanding stalwart of the crime gaming genre, has had a rough release date and a solid pre-order date slampped upon its rear, along with a tiny smattering of new info. It seems Rockstar wants to continue its reign as gaming’s most teasing force… 

Whilst Apple likes to keep almost completely quiet about its new products until it absolutely has to reveal them, that same tactic doesn’t work in the gaming world – people need to see screens to get hyped up. But revealing too much runs the risk of losing people’s interest.

Rockstar’s always toed the line with the precision of a Russian circus act when it comes to GTA titles – it chucks out mere morsels of info. A trailer will emerge, then nothing for months. Then about five screenshots. Then more nothing.

And now this:

“Developed by series creator Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto V takes place in a re-imagined, present-day Southern California in the largest and most thriving game-world we have ever created set in the sprawling city of Los Santos and for miles beyond – from the tops of the mountains to the depths of the ocean.”

That comes along with the promise of a Spring 2013 launch, a November 5th pre-order date and one new picture. That, in the gaming world, is nothing. Normally a release date is pinned to a new trailer. Or at the very least a bevy of new screens.

How to make secrets work in your favour

But that’s not the way Rockstar rolls. And because it keeps a lid on things, we’re all the more keen. Now, time to get analysing that pic as if it’s a clue to mankind’s reason for being.

Link: Rockstar

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Google’s quiet Nexus launch proves we don’t actually need the fanfare http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/30/googles-quiet-nexus-launch/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/30/googles-quiet-nexus-launch/#comments Tue, 30 Oct 2012 12:10:00 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=470957

Hurricane Sandy has begun its reign (and rain) of terror on the east coast of the US, but before the floods and power outages, the adverse weather claimed its first victim: a big, showy launch for Google. In lieu, the company has been forced to stage the most lo-fi product launch for years.

But the news is still just as full of Google headlines as it otherwise would be. So, what’s the real benefit in a big keynote launch? 

That video carries the bulk of the news: Google has launched a variety of new Nexus devices – the Nexus 4 handset, an upgraded 32GB Nexus 7 and a Samsung-made 10-inch Nexus 10.

All of this, along with some light changes to Android’s services, was supposed to be the subject of a keynote speech in the US – a largeascale launch the likes of which is now the norm among tech manufacturers.

Hurricane Sandy stopped that, forcing Google to show its hand via email, video and on its blog. Disaster, right? Not really – all the likely news hubs still reported on the launches exactly as they otherwise would.

It makes you think: do companies hold these events because they have an intrinsic value, or is it merely because everyone else does? Go back about five years, and Apple was the only company hosting surprise announcements on the scale Google had planned. Its whooping, hollering keynotes were different to everyone else’s, they were much grander – and therefore special.

The secret behind Apple’s secret launches

But now it’s all identikit: you gather 500 journalists into a room, talk for half an hour about how the company is doing, then slowly unveil your wares, pausing for applause several times along the way. It’s the press release glammed up and stretched out over the course of (at least) an hour. But why?

If the online press is going to cover big launches regardless, does it really matter where they are when it happens? Google’s understated launch was a forced one, but the press writ large probably preferred it: there was no preamble, no bullshit and no traveling.

The Nexus info hit inboxes and RSS feeds at the same time, and everyone duly reported on it. And, if anything, it felt like a refreshing change of pace; not anti-climatic, just a bit more relaxed, and certainly less needlessly hyperbolic.

The start of things to come? Almost definitely not, but perhaps it should be. Do you agree? Let us know below.

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Forza Shore? Welcome to the strange place where plugging games and reality TV combine http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/24/forza-shore-welcome-to-the-strange-place-where-plugging-games-and-reality-tv-combine/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/24/forza-shore-welcome-to-the-strange-place-where-plugging-games-and-reality-tv-combine/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2012 13:27:41 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=465186

People are all too wary of product placement now. Audiences will knowingly roll their eyes at Bond knocking back a neither-shaken-nor-stirred Heineken because they’ve seen it all before. So are there any ways to do it that aren’t offensive? The last remaining safe place for product placement and sponsorship seems to be reality TV; people who watch that sort of thing care less about what you stuff down their faces than the audience for a hollywood movie. Just look at Samsung’s X Factor invasion.

And that’s probably why Microsoft’s now exploring that avenue for the launch of racing game Forza Horizon – which is as much the star of a new online reality TV show as the people in it. Will it push the envelope to tearing point?

Chasing With Steve Aoki’ is a mad new eight-part series destined for cable network Fuse’s website and YouTube channel. The show sees three teams of two compete in a raft of challenges set up by Akoi – the superstar DJ you’d be forgiven for never having heard of.

While the action unfolds, the teams will be seen wearing garb with the Forza Horizon logo on, being driven in racing cars and conversing with Akoi via Xbox 360s. This’ll build, probably not that subtly, until the teams will have to race each other on the game in question in the middle of the series.

Behind the scenes at Forza

But this isn’t all just for the sake of Forza. Alloy Digital, which has masterminded the series, expects it to be a three-way street. The Facebook and Twitter followers of Forza, Aoki and Fuse will all be pointed at each other throughout the show’s run.

A smart new way to do product placement? A first step for reality TV’s move online? Or just a cheap plug? Let us know below.

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Gamers are losers: Why the new Nintendo 3DS ad will make you angry http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/24/gamers-are-losers-why-the-new-nintendo-3ds-ad-will-make-you-angry/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/24/gamers-are-losers-why-the-new-nintendo-3ds-ad-will-make-you-angry/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2012 09:29:08 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=465036

Sarah Hyland is not a gamer. Let’s just get that straight before you go jumping to any wild conclusions. Heaven forbid she let us think that she’s a gamer; it would be disastrous to her no doubt blossoming career. Gamers are obese, sweaty losers who live with their parents. Everyone knows that. Even Nintendo

US teen star Sarah Hyland has just popped up in a new ad designed to widen the Nintendo 3DS’ demographic, by insisting that the console isn’t just for gamers. And it’s more than a bit odd. In the ad, Hyland sits in every teenage girl’s dream loft apartment, blabbering on about ‘Style Savvy Trendsetters’ – a 3DS game that acts as a virtual wardrobe. All’s going swimmingly, until she drops the following clanger:

I’m not a gamer.”

Erm… Right. Except, well, you sort of are a gamer, because you’re playing a game on a Nintendo 3DS. The old-fashioned notion that a ‘gamer’ is someone to be looked down on by society is just that – old fashioned. Gaming is one of the biggest media industries in the world, and since its inception it’s managed to successfully escape the confines of your parents basement and climb into the land of the socially accepted.

Nintendo 3DS review

And then Nintendo goes and does this – insisting that Hyland placate the worries of the teenage girls it’s trying to attract by insisting that, ‘hey, don’t worry, owning a 3DS doesn’t make you one of those people’. Instead, it means you’re a style icon. You’re still cool; it’s fine. You are not a gamer.

It’s a bizarre misfire for Nintendo – a company that has built itself up at the heart of the gaming industry. Why not be proud of that?

The top comment on the YouTube page sums it up perfectly: “I’m not a gamer, but with my 3DS, I’m an overweight Italian plumber with a mushroom only diet who can jump 5 metres high and has an extremely hard head that can break bricks.

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Angry Birds Star Wars: New teaser trailer doesn’t show if Han shot first http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/18/angry-birds-star-wars-new-teaser-trailer/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/18/angry-birds-star-wars-new-teaser-trailer/#comments Thu, 18 Oct 2012 09:37:09 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=458987

Angry Birds: you may have heard of it. Rovio’s monster mobile gaming franchise is marching towards a new title in the series, and it’s arguably the biggest tie-in yet. Angry Birds Star Wars is just a few weeks away, so here’s the latest teaser…

Angry Birds Star Wars is Rovio’s latest big-name franchise tie-in, and is set for launch on November 8th. To build up the hype, Rovio’s produced a teaser that splices together some in-game CGI with footage from A New Hope.

Amazing Angry Birds peripheral is amazing

Along with that, there’s a few cartoon stills that seem to vaguely follow the plot of the original movie, which suggests that the game will, too. Watch the video below, and just imagine, for a moment, what it must be like to be George Lucas…

…Or George Lucas’ accountant.

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Bacon Bits: Why Kickstarter videos need a kickstart http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/16/bacon-bits-why-kickstarter-videos-need-a-kickstart/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/16/bacon-bits-why-kickstarter-videos-need-a-kickstart/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2012 13:51:03 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=456865

Electricpig’s Associate editor Ben Sillis waxes lyrical about the eerie familiarity that now runs through the majority of Kickstarter’s promotion videos. Time the formula had a shake-up?

You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter, the darling of the crowdfunding scene. Designers, engineers, singers, writers and all sorts of creative types up rock up, cap in hand, asking for money.

Sometimes, a star is born: the open-source games console that bagged £8million for development, or the $429,000 (£266,000) pledged to create a dress shirt with a thermostat built in. Yes, really.

Of course, for all these successes, there are lots of failures too. This week, I’ve been looking into Kickstarter projects that didn’t quite make it, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s not always because the idea isn’t up to snuff. Instead, I think Kickstarter pledges have become a cliche in themselves.

The project I’d been focusing on was Silverball Studio’s bid to bring Pro Pinball back from the dead and onto the iPad, in HD. It failed, but it did unusually well, picking up almost half of its $400,000 ($248,000) campaign goal – usually it’s all or nothing. Here’s the video:

Seem a bit familiar? That’s because it is. We’re starting to see a recurring structure in Kickstarter campaign videos, and one I’m not convinced always works. Tim Schafer started this on Kickstarter with his hilarious (and successful) bid to make a new point and click adventure game, in the same vein as the hit Monkey Island games.

The recipe works a little like this:

  • Take a much loved retro property.
  • Have the person behind said property walk through their HQ, explaining the concept.
  • Hijinks and deadpan comedy moments ensue.
  • Money rolls in.

Schafer didn’t mastermind this though. I blame the guys behind Dollar Shave Club, the American start-up that picked up venture funding earlier this year with this here pitch:

As you can see from the Silverball video, the concept is wearing a little thin by now. Once the CEO of Valve turns up in one, making jokes about the absence of Half Life 3, it’s all over. It’s like watching Taken 2, knowing that, deep down, Liam Neeson knows it’s a terrible concept for a film but goes through the motions nonetheless.

Gabe Newell may not be the nimblest of men, but when he appears, the shark has been well and truly jumped.

With Kickstarter, visibility is a huge problem. It can make finding funds easier, but the PR machine required to get it is just the same as always. Contacts. Elbow grease. Cold calls. Luck. And I’m no longer sure a viral video is the solution.

In fact, so long as the product is a good idea, a clear and simple video laying out the pitch still works. It worked for Ouya, and it worked for the team behind the Pebble smart watch.

The plan for Pro Pinball is a good one. It just needs to lower its funding targets, and just focus on the game in any future video.

Has anyone found the same to be true for categories other than games on Kickstarter?

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Halo 4 needs you: Trailblazing ad campaign wants to show your face on live TV http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/16/halo-4-needs-you-trailblazing-ad-campaign-wants-to-show-your-face-on-live-tv/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/16/halo-4-needs-you-trailblazing-ad-campaign-wants-to-show-your-face-on-live-tv/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2012 11:26:08 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=456728

Everyone wants to be famous, even if it’s just for a fraction of second. This is nothing new, and it’s a fact that’s been exploited on TV and in campaigns since forever. But there is still new ground being broken, and new ways to make people feel all special. Case in point? The upcoming Halo 4 marketing machine, which wants to recruit you and your heroic visage.

The arrival of social media as a mainstay on on day-to-day TV has rolled in at a similar pace to the introduction of mild peril in a Harry Potter book, but it’s not finished yet. Not by a country mile.

You may be able to get your Tweets read out on the X Factor or on your local news on a daily basis, but what about a picture of your face? That’s the frontier that Microsoft wants to burst through with its UK campaign for the launch of Halo 4.

Sign up for the ‘roll call of honour’ on the game’s Facebook page, and you could become one of the heroes who makes it onto the second TV ad for the game, set to be aired on Channel 4 after its November 6th launch. That’s coming after an initial ad next week, which has been directed by David Fincher. Somewhat apt really, given that he also directed The Social Network.

The ad will be live, choosing random Facebook fans pics and info, as well as broadcasting the number of people playing the game online at that exact moment. Microsoft expects that to number in the millions, but either way, it’ll be the player faces that really break new ground for a TV campaign.

Best get your profile picture sorted out. Now, where’s that Master Chief helmet gone?

Link: Halo 4 on Facebook

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iControlPad 2 makes it into production: The ultimate mobile gaming tool? http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/11/icontrolpad-2-makes-it-into-production-the-ultimate-mobile-gaming-tool/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/11/icontrolpad-2-makes-it-into-production-the-ultimate-mobile-gaming-tool/#comments Thu, 11 Oct 2012 09:21:32 +0000 Adam Bunker http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=448596

For all the dross that finds its way onto Kickstarter, it occasionally plays host to a proper gem of a project. The sequel to the iControlPad mobile gaming add-on is one such stroke of genius, and it’s just smashed its target. This is good news.

“Well as I’m sure you have all seen the KS is a success, and we have waited until it is well past the goal just to be sure before posting this,” says the official update to the iCP2’s Kickstarter page.

“We’re now requesting part invoices and arranging the moulding process for the rubber membranes and plastic parts – the battery company will also start production of the cells. Once the KS ends we will post the first production video and you will see us start making this real!”

Kickstarter’s 10 biggest success stories

The joypad raked in $163,000 of a $150,000 target, and with good cause.

As the below video explains, the iCP2 is completely open source and has support for touchscreen button mapping, which means it should work with any iPhone or Android game you throw at it – as well as the upcoming OUYA console and the Raspberry Pi.

Watch the video for all the facts:

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Pro Pinball: Just two days left to fund a gaming classic http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/03/pro-pinball-just-two-days-left-to-fund-a-gaming-classic/ http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2012/10/03/pro-pinball-just-two-days-left-to-fund-a-gaming-classic/#comments Wed, 03 Oct 2012 10:25:42 +0000 Joe Svetlik http://www.electricpig.co.uk/?p=435840

There are just two days left to fund the amazing Pro Pinball Kickstarter project: it’s the rebirth of a classic pinball simulator, for PC, Mac and iOS.

Pledge some money, and you’ll get some great free goodies too.

Silverball Studios is the company behind the classic Pro Pinball series of games in the 90s, and helped popularise tables like The Web, Timeshock!, Big Race USA, and Fantastic Journey. As well as remastering these for modern day platforms (PC, Mac, iOS and consoles), Silverball wants to create a whole new pinball classic. And to do so it’s enlisted the help of Pat Lawlor, a legend of pinball who created the legendary Addams Family and Twilight Zone tables.

It needs to raise $400,000, and at time of writing sits at $150,082. If you want to see these classics given a new lease of life, you’ve just two days to get your donations in.

Pledge some dosh, and you’ll get some goodies in return. These include exclusive double gatefold signed boxes, old school boxed copies, keyrings, t-shirts and more, depending on how much you donate.

This deserves to be made for the lighting alone – check out the tech demo they’ve got running on an iPad below:

For more, bounce on over to the Kickstarter page.

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