MediaFile

Tech wrap: Modern Warfare 3 answers call to duty

Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ video game racked up more than $400 million in sales on its first day in stores in the U.S. and the UK, beating last year’s record of 5.6 million units, or $360 million in sales of “Call of Duty: Black Ops.” That game went on to sell $1 billion in less than two months.

Apple’s iOS 5.0.1 update did not address all of the battery issues troubling iPhone users, AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski writes. In a statement given to AllThingsD, Apple told the blog that “the recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices…We continue to investigate a few remaining issues,” according to Paczkowski.

Regulators are investigating the safety of batteries used to power electric vehicles after a General Motors Chevrolet Volt caught fire following a routine crash test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it has asked other manufacturers who make electric cars or who plan to do so for information on how they handle lithium-ion batteries. The request also includes recommendations for minimizing fire risk. NHTSA said it does not believe the Volt and other electric vehicles are at greater risk for fire than gasoline-powered engines.

Lenders will confront Olympus next week to demand an explanation for an accounting scandal engulfing the firm, a banking source said. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also weighed in, describing and calling for strict measures to preserve financial markets confidence. The disgraced maker of cameras and medical equipment risks being delisted from the stock market, and is being investigated by police and regulators, after it admitted this week to hiding investment losses for decades and using M&A payments to aid the cover-up.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 hits stores tonight

One of the biggest video game launches ever is going down tonight at stores all over the U.S.  “Modern Warfare 3″, the eighth game in the “Call of Duty” series is going on sale at midnight While the usual suspects like GameStop and Best Buy will be open late to accommodate the crowds, Wal-Mart is going all out by hosting tournaments centered around the game at more than 2,700 stores starting at 8 p.m..

To give you some idea of how big the market for this game is, last year it took a little over two months for ”Call of Duty: Black Ops”  to generate $1 billion in global sales.

In 2010, the last edition of the Activision military game sold more than 5.6 million copies, or $360 million worth units on its first day on sale. That is more than double Harry Potter’s record-breaking opening weekend box office take in June.

Zynga herding its users like sheep from game to game: data

Social games company Zynga is adept at converting its current players to its new games, just as smoothly as some of the top video game franchises like Call of Duty, according to a new 21-page report by the game tracking service and social network Raptr.

The report takes into account more than 3 million Zynga players who use Raptr’s game tracking applications.

“If Zynga were to release a new game tomorrow, our data reveals that 90 percent of users of that new game will come from an old game,” said Dennis Fong, Raptr’s co-founder.

How Bobby Kotick ended up alongside Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

 

How did Bobby Kotick, the CEO of the largest video game company in the United States, end up with a speaking role alongside Brad Pitt in the upcoming movie Moneyball?

In the baseball-meets-math flick based on the bestseller by Michael Lewis, Kotick plays a convincing owner of the Oakland Athletics, at least for the three seconds he is seen in the trailer (see clip above starting at 17 seconds).

When Brad Pitt, playing general manager Billy Beane, comes into his office asking him for a bigger budget to buy players, Kotick says, “we’re not in New York. Find players with the money we do have.”

“Modern Warfare 3″ vs “Battlefield 3″ fight turns ugly

The showdown between next fall’s biggest first-person shooters escalated at E3 this week, with EA’s and Activision Blizzard’s top brass exchanging some vitriol. Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s CEO first went on CNBC on Monday claiming that EA’s “Battlefield 3″ was just a PC title with only a ”small audience.” In response, EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, told Reuters that Kotick was spreading misinformation about “Battlefield 3″ and that contrary to what Kotick said, it would be widely available on consoles.

Here’s what both CEOs told me:

BOBBY KOTICK, CEO, ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

“We just want to stay true to the interest of the Call of Duty fans and we try to not get distracted by what people are doing. I can’t objectively tell you what I think of other products until I see them. Battlefield I’ve only seen on a PC and nobody’s seen it on a console yet. Most of our consumers play games on a console. Until I see it on a console, I wouldn’t be objective on commenting on it.”

JOHN RICCITIELLO, CEO ELECTRONIC ARTS

“It’s the beginning of the war and (Kotick) recognizes they’re going to be threatened. We’re going to have a clash of the titans this fall. The very fact that he’s trying to cast doubt on our game is a perfect example of how we got his goat. In terms of where this goes, we think our PS3 game is better than their Xbox game and our PC game is better than their PC game. If that’s all he’s got to say, it’s obviously going to evaporate as we launch all three. If you went to our press conference, you saw the PS3 footage and the Xbox footage. If Bobby thinks that is PC footage, he’s in real trouble.”

Activision’s brainy toys take over

At E3, the huge video game trade show that kicks off in LA on Tuesday, the main attention usually falls on first-person shooter titles aimed at teens or young male gamers. Games targeted at children can easily get lost under the bright lights.

Activision Blizzard, known for “Call of Duty” and ”World of Warcraft” is trying to change this by backing its new kids game, “Skylanders” with a hefty marketing push at E3.

“It’s getting the full triple-A treatment,” said Laird Malamed, a senior vice president of development at Activision.

WoW! Blizzard Entertainment turns 20

uk.reuters.com

Blizzard Entertainment, the publisher of World of Warcaft and StarCraft 2 (Korea’s national past time) turns 20 this year. In February 1991, three UCLA grads, Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime founded a publishing company called Silicon & Synapse. Based in Irvine, California, it would later go on to be known as Blizzard Entertainment and crank out $1.65 billion in revenue 2010.

Here are some highlights of an interview on Monday with two of three founders, Pearce and Morhaime, as well as Activision Blizzard’s CFO Thomas Tippl. Here’s a  video the company made to celebrate.

ON HOW FAST THEY CAN GET OUT THE NEXT WORLD OF WARCRAFT UPDATE (CATACLYSM TOOK TWO YEARS):

GlobalMedia-Ghosts of Atari haunt gaming sector dealmakers

MEDIA-SUMMIT/The video game sector is often seen as being particularly ripe for consolidation, with some expecting old line media giants such as Time Warner to swoop in and scoop up a publisher to diversify their entertainment rosters.

But Strauss Zelnick, chairman of “Grand Theft Auto” publisher Take-Two Interactive, remains surprised by the lack of action on the consolidation front. “I think the legacy media companies have not been especially aggressive about interactive entertainment,” he said at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York on Wednesday. His company, of course, fought off Electronic Arts’ hostile takeover bid in 2008.

“I have to admit there are times when I’m surprised they’re not more exposed.”

GlobalMedia-Gaming giants differ on mobile, social games

kotickMuch of the buzz in gaming these days revolves around two small but fast-growing areas: social games and mobile ones played on smartphones. But two titans of the video game industry have decidedly different takes on those markets.

There are already tens of thousands of game apps available for the iPhone and competing Android smartphones, and tens of millions of people playing free games on Facebook.

Still, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick (pictured) sounded less than enthusiastic about those markets when he spoke to the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York on Tuesday. And that represented a stark contrast from what Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said just a day earlier

Activision’s Kotick: Game prices are OK; demand will come

Video game executives are some of the most optimistic you’ll ever meet. But you have to think they dream of the good old days (of only one year ago) when the industry was called “recession resistant”, thanks to the idea that “cocooning” consumers would, ad infinitum, plop down $60 for games.

Those days may be gone — just ask Nintendo. Now game makers are eyeing the holiday shopping season, with a lot on the line. Still, many are upbeat. Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Bobby Kotick, for one, says that at its core, the industry slowdown is about the wicked recession, not a shrinking appeal for games.

Reuters: Has the appetite for games dwindled?
Kotick: I think the reason why the take-up rates over the last 6 or 7 months have been what they have been, as compared with where they were, has much more to do with macroeconomics than fatigue in the category. Once you are getting to that gift giving (season), my sense is that you are going to see a change in consumption.