Instagram Launches Carefully Curated Autoplay Video Ads

Facebook’s Instagram introduced autoplay video ads into its users’ feeds last week. Activision, Banana Republic, the CW, Disney and Lancome are the initial advertisers to strike a deal with Instagram for the 15-second spots. The company reviewed all of the video ads before the launch to ensure that they fit with Instagram’s overall vibe and contain fresh content. Other social network competitors, like Tumblr and Snapchat, have also recently added autoplay video ads. Continue reading Instagram Launches Carefully Curated Autoplay Video Ads

E3 2014: Microsoft Places Emphasis on Games at Xbox Event

At yesterday’s Xbox briefing, Microsoft took a different approach by focusing its entire E3 presentation on games. Traditionally, the event has included other media functionality of Xbox hardware, but this year Phil Spencer, the new head of Xbox, noted that changes to strategy were necessary for the Xbox One — changes initiated by user response to the (formerly) always-online, DRM-heavy console. The event included major titles, trailers of previously announced games and a slate of indie titles. Continue reading E3 2014: Microsoft Places Emphasis on Games at Xbox Event

GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Take-Two Interactive Software announced that it has sold more than 33 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” since the game’s launch in September, generating an estimated $1.98 billion in retail sales. The New York-based company claims “GTA V” was the best-selling console game last year in North America, Latin America and Europe — and the fastest title in video game history to reach $1 billion in sales. For additional perspective, it’s worth noting that Take-Two generated $2.4 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year. Continue reading GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

Forbes reports that Apple was a big winner on Black Friday. The article notes that InfoScout reviewed more than 90,000 shopping receipts in the U.S. and learned that Apple products accounted for 22 percent of Target’s sales on Black Friday. The iPad Air 16GB, iPad mini 16GB and iPad Air 32GB models were the number one, two and three sellers, respectively. Additionally, the iPad mini 16GB model was the number one seller at Walmart. Continue reading Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

E-Sports Programmer Major League Gaming Launches Network

Major League Gaming has worked to attract video game enthusiasts over the past decade and is now releasing its own premium eSports network, MLG.TV. MLG has tried different distribution platforms in the past for its events. The company, founded in 2002, has shifted from broadcasting its programs on cable networks to broadcasting online. They have also attempted multiple streaming plans, as well as a partnership with Twitch. Continue reading E-Sports Programmer Major League Gaming Launches Network

Video Game Industry Booms as Other Media Industries Struggle

While some areas of entertainment media such as the movie and music businesses are struggling to find their footing in an evolving digital landscape, the video game industry is thriving. “Grand Theft Auto V” by Rockstar Games, for example, earned $800 million worldwide in its first 24 hours of availability. That’s the largest launch day any form of entertainment media has ever experienced. Challenges involved with pirating games contribute to the industry’s success. Continue reading Video Game Industry Booms as Other Media Industries Struggle

Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game

Gamers have opted to hold off on purchasing some high-profile games until Sony and Microsoft release their next-gen consoles. The PlayStation 4 is scheduled to launch November 15 and the Xbox One will be available November 22. Although consumers are showing hesitation ahead of the new hardware launches, Activision Blizzard has shipped $1 billion worth of “Call of Duty: Ghosts” to retailers worldwide. “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” earned $1 billion in 15 days when it was released last year. Continue reading Activision Ships $1 Billion Worth of New ‘Call of Duty’ Game

“Grand Theft Auto V” Generates $800 Million on its First Day

On its first day of availability, sales of Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto V” have topped $800 million worldwide, reports publisher Take-Two Interactive (and the game has yet to make its debut in Brazil and Japan). “GTA V” has been praised by critics, averaging a 98 score on review site Metacritic and is expected to generate impressive numbers, despite a 22 percent drop in video game disc and console sales in 2012 due to the rise of online and mobile games. Continue reading “Grand Theft Auto V” Generates $800 Million on its First Day

Game Developers: Harassment Alarms Industry, Fuels Exodus

A significant threat to the video game industry is harassment targeting game developers from gamers. Video game fan obsession has led to death threats among game developers, forcing them to leave their positions or the industry as a whole. Many fault the anonymous nature of the Internet, and others see the immediate availability to voice one’s complaints or gain notoriety. Groups look to support developers as threats become more commonplace. Continue reading Game Developers: Harassment Alarms Industry, Fuels Exodus

E3 2013: Gamers Spending Less Time with TV and Movies

According to an annual study by the Entertainment Software Association, video games are beginning to have a larger impact on other media. The study found that active gamers are more inclined to give up time spent with television and movies while pursuing interactive entertainment. However, the ESA also notes that 42 percent of the console owners they surveyed indicate that their game systems are used to watch movies and play games. Continue reading E3 2013: Gamers Spending Less Time with TV and Movies

Video Game Violence: Time for Industry Self Evaluation?

Columnist Todd Martens avoids violent entertainment unless it comes in the form of a video game. “It’s not because I write about them for a living. It’s because the modern, big-budget game that doesn’t celebrate the art of shooting is as rare these days as an original Intellivision console,” he writes. In other words, if you want to play modern video games, you almost have to play violent ones. Continue reading Video Game Violence: Time for Industry Self Evaluation?

Steam Takes on the Console Competition with Launch of Big Picture Mode

  • In a challenge to console makers, Valve has officially launched its “Big Picture Mode” for its cloud-gaming platform Steam, enabling users to play titles on their televisions by simply connecting their computers.
  • “Steam has been offering its users the option to put the service on their television since September in beta mode,” the Washington Post reports, “but the company has deemed it ready to lose that testing tag. The mode makes it possible to use almost all of Steam’s features including its Web browser, social network and — of course — its games in a way optimized for television screens.”
  • To promote the new mode, Steam has put the compatible games on sale. “All the sale titles have full controller support, which means that users won’t have to tote their mouse and keyboard to the living room,” the article notes.
  • “There are also quite a few partial support titles, such as ‘XCOM Enemy Unknown,’ ‘Hitman: Absolution,’ and ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.’ Steam is very clear about which titles have full support and which do not,” explains the article. “Titles with partial support may need the keyboard and mouse during installation or for ‘limited interactions’ throughout the game.”
  • Because Valve has established itself in the gaming community, the company could move further into the console territory currently dominated by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. “Some see this step into the living room as a test for bigger things in the future,” the article suggests.

Activision Breaks Record as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Tops $1 Billion

Activision announced yesterday that “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” beat its own record by earning $1 billion in just 15 days (last year’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” reached $1 billion in 16 days).

“‘Black Ops 2’ earned $500 million in the first 24 hours,” reports PCMag. “Since its release, Activision reported that gamers have logged more than 150 million hours playing the game on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.” The game is currently available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Windows PC.

“Last month, millions of fans descended on 16,000 midnight openings at retail store worldwide,” notes the post. “Within 24 hours, ‘Black Ops 2’ was a Twitter trending topic in 23 cities worldwide.”

According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, the game’s release “has been one of the most significant entertainment events of each of the last six years.”

Since the “Call of Duty” franchise launched nine years ago, Kotick says cumulative worldwide revenues have exceeded the global box office numbers for the top 10 grossing films of 2012.

“This is an incredible milestone for an incredible franchise, and I want to thank every passionate, talented, committed person on our team who made it happen,” added Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, who referred to “Call of Duty” as an “entertainment juggernaut.”

Is Modern Warfare 3 the Most Successful Franchise of All Time?

  • “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” has set a new entertainment launch record, selling 6.5 million units within 24 hours after its release last week. The first-person shooter raised $400 million in sales revenues in the Unites States and United Kingdom.
  • This marks the third consecutive sales record for game publisher Activision Blizzard with the “Call of Duty” series. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” sold 4.7 million copies during its first day of availability in 2009, and last year’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops” hit 5.6 million in its first 24 hours.
  • “We believe the launch of ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’ is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories,” said Activision Blizzard chief exec Bobby Kotick.
  • “Other than ‘Call of Duty,’ there has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records three years in a row,” he added. “Life-to-date sales for the ‘Call of Duty’ franchise exceed worldwide theatrical box office for ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lord of the Rings,’ two of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time.”