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.

Microsoft’s Kinect eyes path beyond gaming, into other industries

As Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming console nears its 10th anniversay, the company said its future may lie beyond gaming.

“That’s still the core of what we do, but if you think of the next 10 years of our business, it’s all the new opportunities and possibilities that Kinect is opening us up to,” Craig Cincotta, director of communications for Xbox, told Reuters.

Microsoft’s Kinect, launched last year, is a sensing camera and microphone device that plugs into the Xbox 360 console, allowing users to play games purely with gestures and voice commands.

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.

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: Steve Jobs pitches Apple’s iCloud

Apple CEO Steve Jobs emerged from medical leave to launch an Internet-based service for consumers called the iCloud, which lets users play their music and get access to their data from any Apple device. Jobs walked briskly onstage after James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” blasted over the sound system, but shared the spotlight with other Apple execs who showcased Apple’s enhancements to its PC operating system and mobile platform.

Jobs laid out his vision for the iCloud with the elminiation of MobileMe, a subscription-based collection of online services and software. Jobs said the iCloud will allow people to share book purchases, music and data in general, such as calendar items, across different devices, while backing up and updating information regularly.

Among the new features for Apple’s OS X Lion operating software were an improved email infrastructure and multi-touch features. Early impressions by experts watching the presentations were favorable.

When gamers hit Toys R Us and other tales of Black Friday

Sprinkled among the snaking lines of parents at a Toys R Us in New Jersey on Black Friday were diehard gamers. Many had no children to spoil. Nor were they particularly happy to be in the Toys R Us; but with gaming hardware fast selling out across the region, they followed the scent of the deal.

The Kinect moved especially fast, if early anecdotal evidence is any measure. Brisk sales of  hardware like the PlayStation3, Xbox and Microsoft Kinect on the nation’s biggest annual shopping spree also bode well for software sales, says Mike Hickey, a Janco Partners analyst.

But which games were enticing fans to shell out on Black Friday?

“ We’re seeing strong sales of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft), Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft), Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard), Red Dead Redemption (Take-Two Interactive), Fallout: New Vegas (Bethesda), Gran Turismo 5 (Polyphony Digital) and Donkey Kong (Nintendo),” Hickey said.

Microsoft’s Bach jumps around with Natal

Watch Microsoft’s Robbie Bach getting out of breath playing a wall-demolition game using Xbox’s new Natal technology, which works entirely on body gestures rather than a hand-held controller. (Click on the video and scroll onto 23:30)

Bach, head of entertainment and devices, demoed the new system at Microsoft’s annual financial analyst meeting in Redmond, Washington. There is still no date set for its commercial release.

The company hopes the new technology will vault it past Nintendo’s all-conquering Wii and rival Sony’s PlayStation.

Ballmer upstaged at first-ever CES keynote?

After watching Bill Gates deliver Microsoft’s keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show for 12 years, CEO Steve Ballmer finally got his moment in the sun on Wednesday.

We were rooting for you Steve, but next time, tell your friends not to steal your thunder.

First, it was Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg leaking the news that the U.S. phone company has picked Microsoft as its default mobile search provider. It’s a big win for Microsoft, which has been lagging behind Google and Yahoo on the Web, but Ballmer didn’t get to be the first to tell the world. Seidenberg stole the spotlight, announcing the deal at a Citi investor conference earlier on Wednesday. We were hoping Microsoft would take back the limelight by giving us more details when it was Ballmer’s turn at CES, but alas, all the CEO said was, “I’m also thrilled to announce a new long term partnership with Verizon to offer our live services on all Verizon phones.”

from DealZone:

Shane Kim’s crystal ball: videogame deals, new content

Microsoft's videogame chief Shane Kim came by our New York office this morning for the Reuters Media Summit and shared his thoughts on XBox 360 sales ("cautiously optimistic") and the outlook for the gaming industry amid the economic doom-and-gloom ("Who knows, maybe flat performance will be considered a remarkable achievement").

He also gazed into his crystal ball and served up some insights on the trends shaping the gaming business.

Consolidation is going to continue, he thinks, especially among the smaller videogame publishers as they search for hit games while keeping costs in check.

Video game console obituaries premature – Microsoft

Gaming insiders who have given consoles the death sentence, get a life!

Shane Kim, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Microsoft Corp’s Interactive Entertainment Business, said it’s too soon to write off the Xbox.

“This console generation will have a long life cycle. I think it’s way premature to say there will never be another Xbox,” said Kim at the Reuters Media Summit.

Industry veterans like WildTangent Chairman Alex St. John and Sandy Duncan, who set up and ran the European Xbox business for Microsoft, believe that consoles as we know them are doomed. Duncan said they will “die out ” in the next five to 10 years, according to an interview published in www.Thatvideogameblog.com.