MediaFile

Kids will be kids, even those of vid game executives

Bobby Kotick — CEO of Activision, “Moneyball” actor --  stopped by the Reuters Global Media Summit on Monday to give us his take on Black Friday (Anecdotally: a success, though Saturday not so much) and to throw some cold water on rival  EA’s upcoming release of “Star Wars.”

But it was what his 9-year-old daughter dressed up as for Halloween that really caught our attention. (Hint: Not Brad Pitt)

If you are betting person, you would likely throw some dough that she donned a costume involving one of Activision’s popular games. Perhaps a character from Skylanders? The game aimed at 6-to-10 year olds involving toy monsters.

Nope.  Kotick let slip that  she dressed up as an Angry Bird.  A Rovio executive must be smiling somewhere.

EA cuts out middleman, launches video game download service

It might be a few days before a stampede of people will storm into the LA convention center to catch the video game industry’s latest wares but EA wasted no time in getting out the word about its new digital download service, dubbed “Origin.”

“Origin”, which EA announced on Friday, lets consumers buy and download PC games directly from the publisher online, as well as track all of their games across different platforms.

Publishers like digital delivery of games to consumers because they offer higher margins than games sold in brick and mortar stores like GameStop.  EA has been pushing its digital strategy hard to investors and its digital business is now growing faster than the company’s overall business.

from Summit Notebook:

More or less fun in a recession? It’s a tough call

EA_Jens_Uwe_Intat_SVP_Reuters_Summit_Paris_2010_17_May_30pctStill unsure whether economic recession is good or bad for video-games sales, more than a year in? If so, you're in good company -- neither does the world's biggest games publisher. Electronic Arts' head of European publishing says the company still hasn't figured out whether people cut spending on big items like housing and cars first, or whether those kinds of decisions are just too hard.

"We really wonder, hmm, in economically difficult times would people in order to have SOME fun actually play more games or less games, and then, would they spend more or less?  It's really, it's impossible to say," Jens-Uwe Intat told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in Paris.

In the early days of the downturn, the industry was widely thought to be recession-proof as people chose cheap stay-at-home entertainment over pricey nights out. That assumption was later turned on its head.

Saints over Colts, says EA’s “Madden”

maddenIf Electronic Arts’ recent track record on Super Bowl predictions is any guide, it looks like New Orleans may well bring home the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.

EA ran a simulation of the Super Bowl XLIV matchup through its popular “Madden NFL 10” game on the Xbox 360, and the Saints edged the Indianapolis Colts 35-31.

A little taste of play-by-play from the world of make-believe sports:

“With the game hanging in the balance, Drew Brees hits David Thomas for an 11-yard touchdown and the game winning score. Drew Brees takes home MVP honors as the Saints earn their first Super Bowl Championship title in the franchise’s 46 year history.”

MySpace Music seeking CEO and funding?

chrisdewolfe1.jpgThe long-expected launch of MySpace Music is happening in drips and drabs. On Sunday MySpace and major music label partners in the joint venture said MySpace Music will launch with four big name advertisers: McDonald’s, State Farm, Toyota and Sony Pictures.

But MySpace still did not confirm when it would launch — though that’s widely expected this week.

In the meantime, several blogs, led by TechCrunch, report that the partners are seeking third party funding of up to $100 million for MySpace Music, valuing the company at around $2 billion. Reuters has not been able to confirm this through our sources yet.

Take-Two to EA: Check us out in private

grandtheftauto4.jpgProgress?

Video games company Electronic Arts has just updated Wall Street on the latest stage in its drawn-out $2 billion bid for Take-Two Interactive Software with news that it will allow its tender offer to expire at midnight New York time.

But Take-Two, maker of the Grand Theft Auto video game franchise, said it is now willing to provide a management presentation to EA containing non-public information in connection with the bid such as its three-year product release schedule and financial projections.

EA and Take-Two’s chief executives exchanged letters over the weekend and had a phone conversation on Friday.

Doesn’t matter what the FCC says Wii love you: Comcast

It’s been a rough few weeks for cable operator Comcast Corp. U.S. regulator FCC is on the verge of punishing it for allegedly fiddling with subscribers’ use of peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent while New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is threatening to sue if Comcast doesn’t agree to join other Internet service providers to block access to child pornography.

But the largest U.S. cable operator is hoping to win over its customers by offering a free Nintendo Wii to new subscribers to its Triple Play package of video, Internet and phone.nintendowii.jpg

The national free Wii offer runs from Monday till August 17th for new subscribers who have to agree to sign up for two years to one of Comcast’s premium Triple Play packages: Preferred Plus (at $129 a month) and Premier Triple Play ($159 a month).

Finally, a little more on Spore

spore.jpgElectronic Arts provided a glimpse at “Spore,” a much-hyped game where players begin with their own basic microbe and customize their creature to weather environmental conditions and population changes on Earth. Reuters video game reporter Jennifer Martinez gives us the story from the news conference. 

During the  company’s E3 press conference, EA showed a brief trailer of the game and set a release date, Sept. 7, for the latest title from legendary game creator Will Wright, known for creating “SimCity” and “The Sims.”

EA has invested $80 million, according to one analyst, into making ”Spore,” which was inspired by Wright’s love of science and his favorite toy as a child, a chemistry set.