MediaFile

Curt Schilling’s video game finally gets on base

Curt Schilling, the former pitcher and two-time World Series champ is more nervous about his new video game than he ever was about baseball.

He told a New York crowd at an event put on by Electronic Arts on Tuesday that he slept like a baby before World Series games in 2007 — but didn’t catch a wink on Monday night ahead of the release of his company’s first video game.

Schilling’s personal fortune is on the line with “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” a fantasy-action game that hit stores Tuesday. Schilling told Reuters last July he had invested between $30 million to $35 million of his own money into the 400-person company he founded that made the game.

“‘This is opening day of career 2.0,” he told the crowd . And it’s an opening day that’s seven years in the making–Schilling founded the company called 38 Studios (after his jersey number) in 2006.

Schilling has been a video fanboy for years. Peter Moore, EA’s chief operating officer said he first spoke with him in 2005. Schilling called Moore, who then worked at Microsoft, to see if he could get his hands on an advance copy of the Xbox 360.

Zynga’s Pincus fights back against copycat accusations

Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga, isn’t pleased with reports that Zynga is ripping off games from small developers so he is doing something about it–wielding his pen to write passionate manifestos to employees invoking Silicon Valley greats like Apple.

After a game developer accused Zynga of copying a game called “Tiny Tower”,  Pincus sent a 60-line memo to employees to make sure his flock knows Zynga has done nothing wrong, (the memo was leaked to the blog VentureBeat and later obtained by Reuters).

“Google didn’t create the first search engine. Apple didn’t create the first mp3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn’t create the first social network. But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways.”

Tech wrap: D.Telekom may be forced to play with Sprint

Deutsche Telekom may be forced into a tie-up of its sub-scale U.S. wireless unit with Sprint Nextel after a $39 billion deal with AT&T collapsed.

AT&T said on Monday it had dropped its bid for T-Mobile USA, bowing to fierce regulatory opposition and leaving both companies scrambling for alternatives.

The collapse of AT&T’s deal to buy D.Telekom’s U.S. wireless unit may be welcome news for network equipment makers, as money earmarked for the merger will be freed up for investments.

Is Zynga’s lead slipping on Facebook?

Electronic Arts, the second-largest video game company in the U.S., is stealing market share away from Zynga, the top dog in social games on Facebook, according to a new report on gaming behavior.

The report, released on Wednesday, is based on data that tracks the game play of more than 10 million users of Raptr, a website that automatically tracks its users’ video game activity on Facebook, consoles and PCs.

 “EA has stolen 10 to 25 percent playtime from Zynga’s top games,” the report said.

The Hoff wants a video game of his own

David ‘The Hoff’ Hasselhoff wants to stay “hip and current with the kids,” so he’s doing it the way he knows best–by getting beat up in cheerleader outfits and chicken suits in an ad campaign.

The Hoff is Electronic Arts’s latest pitchman in online videos for “Burnout Crash,” a racing video game on Xbox Live with the motion controller, Kinect, but he’s not stopping there: He wants a game of his own, he told Reuters in an interview this week.

“I’ve wanted to develop my own game so this was a way of seeing if this works and maybe we can take this one step further with using the same concept as ‘Burnout Crash,’ and maybe do something with the Hoff,” he said.

EA: We love Wii U

Back in June, everyone was talking about the Wii U, Nintendo’s first video game console with high-definition graphics unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.

Since then, no one’s heard much more about Wii U, which has a tablet screen for a controller and can be used in conjunction with Wii remotes. Nintendo must be hunkering down to put the finishing touches on it before it hits stores sometime next year.

But Peter Moore, the video game industry veteran who was promoted to be Electronic Arts’ chief operating officer in August, told Reuters this week that everything appears to be on track with the Wii U, at least from his perspective working for a publisher making games for it.

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.

Tech wrap: Google targets Apple with Motorola buy

Setting its sights on rival Apple, Google announced its biggest deal ever, a $12.5 billion cash acquisition of mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility.

Google’s biggest foray into hardware comes weeks after a failed attempt to buy patents from bankrupt Nortel, and gives it an intellectual property library in wireless telephony to wage war on Apple and Microsoft.

However, analysts agreed that that buy was more about the patents and less about the hardware.

Tech wrap: ITC joins Apple-Samsung spat

The International Trade Commission agreed to investigate Apple’s complaint that mobile phones and tablets made by rival Samsung violate its technology intellectual property. The intensifying patent dispute threatens to strain a lucrative supply relationship: Apple in 2010 was Samsung’s second-largest customer, accounting for $5.7 billion of sales tied mainly to semiconductors, according to the Asian consumer electronics company’s annual report.

Google faces a total of nine antitrust complaints which EU regulators are now investigating, two sources said. Up to now, The European Commission has only confirmed four cases against Google. The increased number of complaints underscores Google’s dominant position but does not necessarily mean bad news for the company, said Simon Holmes, head of EU and competition law at law firm SJ Berwin.

“Google’s strong position means there are lots of interests involved. But there is nothing wrong per se in having a strong position,” he said.

Tech wrap: Now in your Twitter stream – ads

Your Twitter stream could be about to get even more cluttered. Twitter announced in a blog post on Thursday that it will now be placing ads from certain brands and companies directly into the message timelines of users who follow those organizations on the microblogging service. The company said it is testing out the new program with a select group of partners – including Dell, Starbucks and HBO among others – for a few weeks before rolling it out to a wider stable of clients. The new initiative is an expansion of the company’s so-called “Promoted Tweets” program, in which ads show up in search results on the Twitter.com website.

What does the new program mean for users? AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka has this take: “”Depends. Marketers will only be able to deliver the ads — which will use the “Promoted Tweet” format the company rolled out more than a year ago — to users who already follow them on the service. And they’ll only appear on Twitter’s main Twitter.com site. So, if you don’t follow any brands/marketers/companies on Twitter, you won’t see the ads. And if you’re checking Twitter on your iPhone, or via clients like TweetDeck, you won’t see them there, either.”

EA received a thumbs up from antitrust regulators for its deal to buy social gaming startup PopCap Games. EA struck the deal, which is estimated to be worth up to $1.3 billion, to step up its competition with Zynga, the social gaming company behind Facebook games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars.