FTC Demands Clearer Disclosure for Internet Celebrity Promos

The Federal Trade Commission is now cracking down on Internet celebrities pitching products without disclosing whether or not they’re being paid. Using familiar hashtags such as #ad, #sp, or #sponsored aren’t always enough to ensure viewers realize the content is a paid promotion, says the FTC, whose Ad Practices Division is beginning to hold advertisers responsible for compliance. The result is likely to dampen the impact of a favorite digital influencer enthusing over a specific product. Continue reading FTC Demands Clearer Disclosure for Internet Celebrity Promos

PC-Only Game with Galactic-Size Ambitions Raises $50 Million

“Star Citizen,” a PC-only game still in development by Cloud Imperium Games, is part space exploration simulator and part first-person action game in a huge universe of planets, space stations, cities and ships. Since the game’s announcement in 2012, the makers of “Star Citizen” have raised almost $50 million through crowdfunding, with 10,000 to 15,000 new people donating every month. In June 2013, it became the first crowdfunded project to raise $10 million. Continue reading PC-Only Game with Galactic-Size Ambitions Raises $50 Million

LeapFrog to Launch Educator-Approved Game Console for Kids

LeapFrog Enterprises plans to launch its $150 kid-friendly LeapTV game console this fall. The twist? LeapTV will debut with 100 games and videos approved by professional educators, those who ideally know what is best for children. The console will include personalization features and motion-sensing controls similar to those introduced with Nintendo’s Wii. Games will target children ages 3 to 8. At launch there will be nine cartridge titles offered, with additional titles available digitally. Continue reading LeapFrog to Launch Educator-Approved Game Console for Kids

Nintendo Program to Share Ad Revenue with YouTube Creators

Japanese gaming company Nintendo is poised to launch a new program for YouTube creators that will allow use of the company’s copyrighted material in online videos, and in certain situations, provide creators with a share of the advertising revenue. Nintendo has already been allowing its copyrighted material to appear in videos under “appropriate circumstances,” but the new affiliate program will share ad revenue with YouTube producers who “use the material more proactively.” Continue reading Nintendo Program to Share Ad Revenue with YouTube Creators

Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Later this year, Samsung is reportedly planning to announce a virtual reality headset that will work with Galaxy phones and tablets. The headset with OLED screen is designed to provide gamers with a more immersive experience for Android-based video games. Facebook and Sony have been developing their own VR headsets with the much-hyped Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, but Samsung hopes to offer its product before the competition and at a lower price. Continue reading Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

Google-owned YouTube is reportedly in active discussions to purchase live video-game streaming service Twitch. While Variety indicates a deal has already been reached for more than $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal more conservatively reports that the two companies are in talks, but in the early stages of a potential deal. Twitch was launched in 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, the co-founders of Justin.tv, which was one of the first sites to live-stream user-generated video. Continue reading YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

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

Microsoft Will Offer Xbox One Without Kinect for $100 Less

Six months after the initial release of its Xbox One, Microsoft plans to offer a new version of the game console for $100 less. Beginning on June 9th, the company will offer a version that does not include the Kinect motion sensor, starting at $399. Microsoft also announced that it will begin offering new features to Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners in June. For example, Hulu and Netflix subscribers will be able to use the apps for free, without the need for an Xbox Live Gold membership. Continue reading Microsoft Will Offer Xbox One Without Kinect for $100 Less

Dish Plans to Launch its Internet TV Service Later This Year

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen announced he has signed new deals with programmers to add channels to the company’s Internet TV service that he plans to launch by the end of 2014. The over-the-top (OTT) service is aimed at young cord-cutters who may opt to forgo an expensive cable package for a cheaper offering of channels that can be streamed on smart TVs and other devices. Dish Network already has a deal with Disney to offer channels such as ABC and ESPN. Continue reading Dish Plans to Launch its Internet TV Service Later This Year

Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts released positive financial results and showed optimism about the holiday shopping season. EA said sales of new video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony exceeded their goals, as well as the sales of games for those devices. EA also announced a repurchase plan for $750 million shares, and a lofty profit forecast for the rest of the year. Activision reported that presales for the newest version of “World of Warcraft” are the strongest in the game’s history. Continue reading Optimistic Financial Reports from Electronic Arts and Activision

Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Microsoft is expanding beyond video games in an effort to make its Xbox console more of an entertainment media hub. The software giant is planning to produce TV-like original programming including an expected series from Steven Spielberg based on “Halo,” a version of Swedish sci-fi show “Humans,” a soccer reality-style series and a documentary about discarded Atari games. Microsoft joins a growing field as companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Yahoo are tackling original content. Continue reading Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

Sony and Microsoft have shipped more than 12 million new game consoles since the products launched last fall. One day after Sony announced it has sold more than seven million PlayStation 4 consoles (up one million since March), Microsoft said it has sold more than five million Xbox One units to retail shops. According to NPD Group’s U.S. retail data for March, hardware sales rose 78 percent from the previous year to $395 million, while sales of new console and PC video games in retail stores dropped 28 percent to $432 million. Continue reading Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

In 2013, 71 Million People Watched Online Computer Gameplay

Last year, more than 71 million people worldwide watched other people play computer games, according to a report from games research company SuperData. More than half of those people were in the United States and one in five American gamers either watch or participate in eSports, or organized video game competitions. At the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship last year, 32 million people watched the professional gamers battle it out. Continue reading In 2013, 71 Million People Watched Online Computer Gameplay

Deloitte: Digital Omnivores Crave More Content Across Devices

Digital omnivore is a term that refers to consumers who own a trio of CE devices — specifically tablets, smartphones and laptops. Deloitte’s eighth “Digital Democracy Survey” found that over 37 percent of U.S. consumers are now digital omnivores, a 42 percent increase over the previous year. The growth is driven by a 33 percent increase in tablet adoption and an 18 percent increase in smartphone ownership. Women currently account for 45 percent of the digital omnivores group. Continue reading Deloitte: Digital Omnivores Crave More Content Across Devices

Disney to Acquire Popular YouTube Network Maker Studios

It has been confirmed that Disney is acquiring Maker Studios, a top YouTube multichannel network, for $500 million, with a performance-based earn-out of up to $450 million. The deal is expected to provide Disney with insight into new patterns of discovery and interaction regarding short-form online videos, especially among millennials. Maker Studios was founded in 2009. The network generates more than 5.5 billion monthly video views from its 380 million subscribers. Continue reading Disney to Acquire Popular YouTube Network Maker Studios

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