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The Houdini Solution Thinkertoys Caffeine for the Creative Mind

This blog follows the future of media and ad technologies, bridging the gap between geekdom and advertising since 2004.
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"Eternal Forces" Links Game and iTunes

"Left Behind Games is integrating links to the iTunes Music Store into the upcoming title, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces", allowing gamers to easily navigate to the store and purchase music they hear during gameplay. Clicking the link will pause the in-game action and launch the iTunes Music Store page featuring the song. After a quick download, the game is picked up where it was left off. Gamer’s can then customize their play list and listen to the different songs they have downloaded while in-game." The game's release is scheduled for November 2006. Here's Gamespot's preview. -- press release (pdf), July 26, 2006



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MediaPost Discusses In-Game Ads for Mobile Phones

"Time To Get In The Game?", Steve Smith, Media Post, August 22, 2006. Quotes: "All according to who you ask, mobile gaming seems ripe for sponsor underwriting. Some market researchers insist that portable gaming is booming and will be a $5 or $7 billion business by 2011 or so. Others, including some developers in the industry, complain of stagnation in the market. People like playing mobile games more than they like paying for them, other stats suggest." "MauiGames had early but little-seen golf and sport biking games that actually included in-game ad notices. You run off a cliff in one game and you get some clever full-screen sponsor message. But the first robust dynamic game ad serving system hit the Web last week at GameJump.com. A subsidiary of GreyStripe, which developed in-game ad technology, GameJump boasts 80 ad-enabled Java based games you can download to a select line of phones on Cingular, Sprint and T-Mobile networks. GameJump has an AdWrap engine that serves full-screen units before and after game play."



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American Apparel Store in SL Taken Hostage in Fight for Voting Rights

"Following the lack of any progress towards introducting citizens voting rights to Second Life the [Second Life Liberation Army] began in-world military operations. The SLLA selected as its first target the American Apparel Store in SL. Volunteers from the SLLA have been posted to the store and are preventing SL residents from buying any goods from this vendor. The SLLA has no complaint with American Apparel but is seeking to introduce voting rights to Second Life. We hope that American Apparel will join us in putting pressure on Linden Labs to do this. The SLLA can then stop our attacks against customers using their store." --SLLA blog, August 11, 2006, via PSFK



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Data: Casual Game Audience Preferences

Casual games taking place of daily activities, CNet/Reuters, August 14, 2006 According to a new study by Harris Interactive, "nearly half (49 percent) would play casual games rather than go to the movie theater, 32 percent opted for them over movies at home, and 37 percent chose them over watching TV."



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Dungeon Siege NPC Promotes Other Game

Developers have been promoting their products through in-game billboards since at least mid-1980s, but ArsTechnica writes about an entirely new twist: "In Dungeon Siege 2: Broken World, our forum goer Scero found an NPC [non-playing character] that told him about the Dungeon Siege PSP game and offered him a code for it, as well as saying the PSP game had a code for items in the game he was playing."



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EA's Julie Shumaker Joins Double Fusion

"Electronic Arts’ top video game advertising executive, Julie Shumaker, announced [August 14] she has joined Double Fusion as vice president of sales. Most recently, Shumaker was national director of sales for video game advertising." -- Mercury News -- Double Fusion's press release



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News: WPP Acquires Stake in Wild Tangent

"WPP has bought a 3.4% stake in Wild Tangent for an undisclosed sum. WildTangent sells in-game ads for its in-house developed games as well as for third-party games developers. Mark Read, WPP strategy director, said the move would allow the group's clients to tap into WildTangent's in-game advertising network." -- Brand Republic



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Ford Cars in "Ford Bold Moves Street Racing"

image: IGN.com Ford is preparing a big-budget full-length racing advergame featuring a model line-up ranging from "1968 Mustang GT to the 1973 Escort RS2000 to the hot-off-the-assembly line 2007 Shelby GT500". "Bold Moves" is Ford's current campaign slogan. "One of the features in the "Street Racing" title that's certainly a bold move for Ford is the decision to allow its cars to show damage as drivers ding them up on the road. Damage will also affect the cars' performance. The issue has been a pain point for game developers and publishers licensing real-world autos for racing titles." -- Enid Burns, "Ford Vehicles Featured in New Console Game", ClickZ.com, Aug.11, 2006.



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Rapid Prototyping of 3D Game Objects

"Using OGLE (i.e. OpenGLExtractor) by Eyebeam R&D we can build characters and environments from your favorite video games. OGLE allows for a 'screen grab' operation for 3D data that can then be saved into standard 3D formats. Visit: ogle.eyebeamresearch.org for more information and let Anvil produce real-world objects in full color from your virtual 3D environments." -- Anvil Prototype



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GTA-themed Commercial for Coke

The born-again GTA(-like) protagonist does good deeds and drinks Coke in this brilliant commercial for Coke. Using game characters as product endorsers is an old idea (Pac-Man starred in a 7-Up spot in the 1980s) that is being rediscovered. --YouTube Earlier: Case: Fictional and Proxy Brands: Sprunk



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Data: Activision CEO on In-Game Advertising

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in an analyst call reported by Seeking Alpha: "...We look at the amount of hours that are consumed by consumers and let's take 18 to 35-year-old males in the U.S. in front of a video game screen. So last year that was roughly 30 billion hours. Then you compare that to television watching which was to the same demographic roughly 30 billion hours. There was $8.5 billion spent on television advertising to 18 to 34-year-old males and there was less than $50 million spent in-game advertising last year. So it's somewhere between $50 million and $8.5 billion." "...What we've said all along is the biggest limiter right now in establishing a rate card and generating any kind of reasonable revenues is that you don't have a big enough installed base of next-generation hardware that you can use for measurement purposes. That will not change until you have 20 or 30 million units of always-on Internet capable next-generation consoles in the installed base. So you won't start to see it have an impact on our business until, let's say, two or three years from now."



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Acclaim's Nextr MMO to Be Mostly Ad-Supported

"Acclaim Games announces a free, totally brutal massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) designed specifically for adult gamers. This M-Rated title is targeted at those looking for an adrenaline soaked experience and aimed squarely at players looking to kick @$$ for free! With no subscriptions, and no charge to download the game, it will be funded mostly by advertising--and (even more radically) the user will be allowed to turn off the in-game adverting if they choose. With Perry's approach, Acclaim is determined to offer truly free gameplay by creating a new kind of advertising model for the industry." -- press release via Gaming Age



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Duran Duran To Give Concerts in Second Life

"British band Duran Duran are to create a virtual island within online game Second Life, on which they will perform actual live concerts. The band is the first major group to announce a virtual world presence in the game." Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes said: "When I first discovered Second Life a few months ago, I was astounded by the possibilities that were there. "When I started looking at the figures running around, chatting and interacting, I thought this is somewhere between a bizarre virtual reality TV show, a surreal real-life experience and a video game." -- BBC News, "Duran Duran to Give Virtual Gigs", August 8, 2006 Earlier: EA To Translate Depeche Mode Song Into Sims Language Second Life: U2 Concert Report MTV Overdrive on U2 in SL



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Starwood Is Constructing a Branded Hotel in Second Life

Starwood Hotels and Resorts -- the company that operates Sheraton, Westin, Four Points and other brands -- is building a new-brand (and brand-new) hotel in Second Life while blogging about the progress. The first real-world Aloft (they spell it aloft) is planned to open its North American doors in 2008, so the Second Life builders are working off a single exterior rendering. -- via Three Minds @ Organic x-posted on Adverlab



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