McDonald’s is sponsoring an ARG called The Lost Ring in partnership with the Olympic Games. It may prove to be the most diverse ARG ever launched (no surprise, given the context.) Lots of puzzles in different languages and set in different countries, requiring international cooperation. Cool stuff. 🙂
Accenture Careers, a Second Life-based employee recruiting initiative, launched this month. It offers “fun tests” that visitors can take, and it is implied that Accenture’s HR people might well be watching and reaching out to visitors who catch their attention.
BuildABearville.com hit one million users after its first month, and has now surpassed two million. The toy-turned-virtual-world trend continues. I wonder how many toy brands will NOT have virtual worlds associated with them five years from now? (I also wonder how many will flame out in the face of such intense competition, given that many of these virtual worlds won’t do much to differentiate themselves?)
Apparently Xbox 360 sales have jumped 36% in the UK since March 14th’s price cut. Hooray for us. 😉
Looks like a major publisher finally took notice of the tremendous popularity of Travian; the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise will be spinning out Kingdoms, a persistent, web-based strategy game. Speaking of Travian, those of you who appreciated my review of that game might enjoy a similar account from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. It’s a fun retelling of a long gameplay experience that petered out as abruptly as mine did. I like the clever way that Kieron describes the game, concluding with: “ultimately… I knew there were no Lions in Travian. It’s a game for Jackals.”
Nice post by Chris Anderson about how discount airlines are using alternate revenue mechanisms (the same way free games use alternate revenue mechanisms) to drive ticket costs way down.
Nexon is integrating retail outlets like Best Buy and 7-Eleven into Maplestory. Not just integrating them from a distribution perspective — I mean actually making virtual 7-Eleven stores part of the game, with “appropriately themed quests.” Huh? Allow me to redirect your attention to the Maplestory info page, the first sentence of which reads: “You can explore a totally new and unknown world you have never been to.” Irony is not dead; it’s just depressing. Every time a game company does something like this, it sets the entire industry back because advertisers are learning the wrong lessons about our medium.
Valve recently began selling Weighted Companion Cube plush toys, and they’re already sold out. I want one. 🙁
Every once in a while I’m really tickled by an ARG (in this case, one promoting the upcoming movie Dark Knight.) They sent players on a quest to find cakes in bakeries around the country; the cakes had phone numbers written on them in icing. When players called those phone numbers, the cakes themselves rang — cell phones were hidden inside them. 🙂
XNA 2.0 has shipped. Biggest improvement: multiplayer matchmaking.