Are you ready for Action City?

A brand that is very popular amongst the advertising blogs is Axe (Lynx) but because they are raising the bar in this segment, competition follows with great advertising as well. And that’s definitely a good thing. Rexona is an example of a fierce competitor that is doing a good job as well.

We all remember the Stunt City commercial and it looks like they’ve been building some more on this stunt theme online.

Stunt City

The Stuntman
Here’s where you’re tested if you’re wild enough for Action City. Throw our stuntman around the scene to prove yourself. Spoiler: you do get the Action City link anyway though. Funny game in the spirit of stunt theme.

Action City / Avenida 13
I wasn’t able to do much in Action City, and my lack of Spanish knowledge doesn’t really help :-) Also check out the Avenida 13 game.

I have no view on what the timing of the whole campaign exactly was and whether it was linked to offline advertising as well. I do like how they’re sticking to this brand messaging throughout the campaign. This honestly always sounds a lot easier than it actually is, at least that’s my experience.

[Via Briefblog]

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Why Soapbox stands a chance

Although we’re late in the game with our video service I do believe we stand a chance. Why? Because we can differentiate where others maybe can’t. Soapbox gets ok/good reviews, but at the moment there’s no real reason to switch to it when you’re using YouTube, Google Video, dailymotion, … or any of the other services.

But there are many opportunities and when they are filled in right (and not too late) Soapbox might become very interesting. Here is what I hope will in Soapbox’s future:

Windows Live Messenger
For the moment it’s already possible to share Soapbox videos through Messenger (and watch it together with one of your buddies), which is a recent update to the service. It would be great though if you could see in your buddy list on Messenger who of your friends has recently uploaded a video to Soapbox. This just like you can see updated Spaces as well in your buddy list.

In the US, the advertising space in Messenger is shared between classic banners (234×60 in this case) and clips for MSN Video. It would be nice if Soapbox would get a place here as well.

Xbox 360
Through Xbox Live there are numerous opportunities for Soapbox to integrate with the Xbox. The most important feature would be the option to consult Soapbox via Xbox Live on your television. With +10M consoles sold today & +5M Xbox Live subscribers I’m sure that would give immediate results.

But think also the other way around. Wouldn’t it be nice that you could easily record a cool part of the gameplay and upload that to the internet, without ever leaving your Xbox nor television? Of course Xbox Live would foresee easy access to these clips for your Xbox Live friends… so you can show of your coolest chainsaw kill in GOW ;-)

Media Center
With Media Center the story is similar to the Xbox. You’re on your tv, connected to the internet and consulting Soapbox from there would make it quite accessible. With Media Center in nearly every version of Vista, I do believe usage will grow quite fast the next coming months. The release of Windows Live for TV (beta) looks promising in that direction.

Same as with the Xbox, there’s also the upload functionality that should be Media Center enabled. Connect your handycam, select your home movie, and upload directly from your tv to the web.

Zune
I guess this is a no-brainer, but integration with the Zune should be interesting in the future. One-click download from Soapbox to the Zune and maybe even Soapbox integration with the Zune store… who knows.

Mobile
Last but not least, I think mobile will gain a lot of importance in 2007 and I’m definitely not alone as you will find this in many of the predictions for 2007. You can already watch Soapbox videos on mobile, but that’s just a start. Mobile content will gain more and more importance so again uploading is a request.

I guess there are a lot more ways to integrate Soapbox with some of the other products & services at Microsoft, but these seem the most relevant to me. I have no view if they are on a roadmap for the moment, I just hope they are. Any ideas yourself on Soapbox?

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Mad World

Gears of War seems to be scoring incredibly good on all fronts. It started with the reviews that gave very high ratings, like the 9.4 on IGN for instance. Then GoW became the fastest selling Xbox 360 title with 1 million copies sold in 2 weeks. And yesterday Joystiq reported that “Mad World”, the song used in the GoW commercial hit the n°1 spot in the iTunes charts.

This is definitely one of those examples where all elements are in place. Great game, great advertising, great buzz, … Meet you in this mad world, my gamertag is krizmaiaz.

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Second Park

Today I’m in a bit of a bad mood and that combined with the fuzz around Second Life I thought of a new virtual world I would like to create: “Second Park”. This would be where Second Life meets South Park and on these days where everything is just going wrong you could go to Second Park and just have a go at eachother: “Oh my god, they killed Kenny” kind of stuff (thanks Clo). Let’s see how long Copybot would survive in there :-)

So I just need some VC to pick up on the idea so I can go create this and become rich. Anyone?

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Treating the world as a place for creation…

“An entire generation has grown up with a different set of games than any before it – and it plays these games in different ways. Just watch a kid with a new videogame. The last thing they do is read the manual. Instead, they pick up the controller and start mashing buttons to see what happens. This isn’t a random process; it’s the essence of the scientific method. Through trial and error, players build a model of the underlying game based on empirical evidence collected through play. As the players refine this model, they begin to master the game world. It’s a rapid cycle of hypothesis, experiment, and analysis. And it’s a fundamentally different take on problem-solving than the linear, read-the-manual-first approach of their parents. In an era of structured education and standardized testing, this generational difference might not yet be evident. But the gamers’ mindset – the fact that they are learning in a totally new way – means they’ll treat the world as a place for creation, not consumption. This is the true impact videogames will have on our culture.”

Quote from a very interesting post (Dream Machine) written by Bill Wright on on how games are unleashing the human imagination and how the gamers generation has a different approach to learning.

[Via Futurelab]

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I truly believe …

This month in Gunk Magazine, a Belgian gaming magazine:

“I truly believe that the quality of games would go up massively if cut-scenes and ‘Hollywood’ scriptwriters were eliminated from our industry overnight’ If I want a story I’ll go to the bookshop, thanks.”

Quote from “Mark & Things”, a column from Mark Walbank. In this month’s issue Mark writes “The crying game” about how video games lack deep emotional value, how he has never played a game that provoked powerful emotion. Mark is an ex gaming journalist and playing games since 1976.

I think the man has a point. How much games sometimes can be enchanting, tense, beautiful, … they never go beyond that.

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Voice controlled Ford game

fordgame.JPG

Ogily & The Parking Lot have launched a cool new online game for Ford. You need to ‘drive’ your Ford Fiesta as fast as you can to the finish, by making just enough (and not too much) amount of ‘noise’ in your microphone to do that. Good fun and very well done, I especially liked the nice creative introduction.

Thanks Beatrice for the heads up!

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Let the games begin!

Interesting news at Gamerscore today. Microsoft announced the XNA Game Studio Express today at Gamefest. The what?! That was at least my first question when I read it, but it’s actually quite exciting. From now on, you can create Xbox 360 console games. From the press release:

“XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to anyone with a Windows® XP-based PC and will provide them with Microsoft’s next-generation platform for game development. By joining a “creators club” for an annual subscription fee of $99 (U.S.), users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360 and access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress. This represents the first significant opportunity for novice developers to make a console game without a significant investment in resources”

I’m very curious to see what will come out of that. The beta will be available at the end of this month, so I hope we’ll be seeing the first games to come out of that in the following months.