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  • Disney 'A Good Hand In A Tough Game'

    Disney 'A Good Hand In A Tough Game'

    Work in progressAfter posting a solid quarter, Disney CEO Robert Iger described the company as holding a "strong hand in a very tough game." The tough game is the weak economy that everyone is now talking about. Other than that, Iger talked up factors Disney difference, which includes Wall-E and a nice matchup in the NBA finals (Boston vs. LA).

    -- Advertising: Delving into the numbers CFO Tom Staggs admitted that advertising has weakened, especially in the last couple weeks. This is most pronounced at the domestic broadcast stations, and to a lesser extent ESPN ( NYSE: DIS). Auto advertisers are pulling back the hardest. Advertising at the ESPN unit was up in the low double digits in the quarter. Scatter market prices remain strong, above upfront pricing. As for the aforementioned basketball final: "The success of the NBA in the quarter was a benefit, but not a huge benefit." The hope is that the final can help future pricing for NBA sales, but in this quarter it didn't have much of an effect.

    -- Gaming: Gaming profits were down in the quarter, since thePrince Caspiangame couldn't match last year'sPirates of the Caribbeangame. But, videogames are still viewed as a growth area, and there are no plans to dial back on investment.

    -- Content vs. Distribution: Is there a conflict with shareholder and boardmember Steve Jobs, given his interest in capturing profits on the distribution end? Iger: "The decision that the Walt Disney company makes (how to distribute)? are made solely by the management of the Walt Disney Company." Digital distribution is additive: "Since we've decided to put movies on the iTunes platform, we've sold 5 million movies? which we believe is largely incremental to the aftermarket." Focusing on margins is not the only thing you should focus on? "You see that at ABC, where access to programs has never been greater, therefor consumption is greater. While I admit that monetization against basically specific consumption is still an open question? I actually think that we've been driving incremental revenue."

    via washington post

  • Digital distribution red hot: LG Blu-ray player to stream Netflix movies

    Digital distribution red hot: LG Blu-ray player to stream Netflix movies

    Ever since Apple beefed up its Apple TV offering by announcing support for movie rentals from all the major movie studios back in January, the battle for digital distribution supremacy in the living room has been heating up. Recently, there have been a string of big announcements and today brings another: LG is releasing a Blu-ray player this fall that will have the ability to stream Netflix movies to your television.

    If this sounds familiar, it’s because this marks the third announced device that works with Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” streaming-over-the-Internet service. Previously, Netflix rolled out its box with startup Roku, and then it announced a partnership with Microsoft weeks ago to bring the funtionality to the Xbox 360 gaming console. Netflix previously announced that it had a deal with LG to put its movies on one of its devices, but it wasn’t clear what that would be until today.

    The LG BD300 will offer something no other set top box yet has: A combo of Netflix “Watch Instantly” and Blu-ray high definition video disc playback. The device will also offer other perks that have become standard with Blu-ray players such as up-conversion of old DVDs to near-HD quality. The Netflix content will be streamed in standard definition.

    This new box may throw a wrench into the plans of people who are looking for the best way to get movies from over the web onto their televisions. The Roku box with Netflix is cheap ($99) and is selling well. The company has also hinted it will open the box to more services beyond Netflix in the future, though it’s not clear what those will be. The Apple TV offers a great experience and a good amount of content, but it’s a bit more expensive ($229 or $329) and is limited in high definition content. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has both new release rentals and soon will have Netflix, but it’s selection is still rather limited and it too is more expensive.Meanwhile, Sony’s Playstation 3 is starting to offer digital movie rentals, including some films this fall before they come out on DVD, and has a Blu-ray player, but it has no deal with Netflix.

    There are other options as well such as Internet streaming video startup Vudu, but the ones mentioned above seem to be the key players at this time.

    LG says that this new Netflix enabled Blu-ray player will be “well under $500,” according to PaidContent. For all we know that could be $450, which would still be a very steep price to pay compared to some of the other options. However, if the two things that most interest you in a living room box are Blu-ray and Netflix Watch Instantly capability, this appears to be the box to get now.

    Otherwise, you might be better off waiting for a Blu-ray add-on for the Xbox 360 (the device had an HD DVD add-on before that format was discontinued) or for the Apple TV to add a Blu-ray optical drive. Apple has long been a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, but has not yet released any product that utilizes the format. It’s certainly possible that it won’t in favor of digital distribution through iTunes.

    Or you could just wait for the first of these boxes that offers Hulu streaming. The NBC and Fox-backed online streaming site for premium television and film content has proven to be a hit on people’s computers but is not yet in the living room. via the standard

  • WinSonic Digital Media Group, Ltd. Launches New Business Venture - Rainysongs Digital Content Development and Distribution

    WinSonic Digital Media Group, Ltd. Launches New Business Venture - Rainysongs Digital Content Development and Distribution

        ATLANTA, July 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Winston Johnson, Chairman
    and Chief Executive Officer of WinSonic Digital Media Group, Ltd. (OTC
    Bulletin Board: WDMG), announced today that WinSonic Digital Media Group,
    WinSonic Digital Cable Systems Network and Rainysongs Entertainment
    (http://www.rainysongsentertainment.com) have executed a Memorandum of
    Understanding outlining a proposed venture between the companies. This
    venture will bring more content development, delivery, distribution,
    production and media and entertainment services to WinSonic Digital Cable
    Systems Network. This venture brings to WinSonic substantial catalogues of
    entertainment assets and music recordings available for sale.

    Customers will enjoy full-featured, digital entertainment content.
    WinSonic Music and Rainysongs will offer songs a la carte or
    subscription-based music downloads providing the best in music discovery,
    from music editorial and professional play lists to advanced search and
    browse capabilities. WinSonic Distribution Services enables music labels,
    artists, publishers and media companies the ability to quickly bring their
    products to market, increasing revenue velocity, expediting acquisition of
    new customers and enhancing current customer relationships.

    WinSonic is a market leader for independent distribution of digital
    music and video, with powerful marketing, promotion, distribution and
    operations capabilities throughout the world. WinSonic serves artists,
    labels, music publishers, television, film and video library owners and
    other rights holders by developing new and inventive ways to market and
    sell digital content. In addition, for digital and mobile retailers,
    advertisers, consumer brands and technology companies, the Company provides
    a single point of access to one of the world's largest and highest quality
    digital content catalogues that spans global superstars and niche and
    specialty artists.

    WinSonic platform enables content providers the ability to offer
    end-users a greatly enhanced experience across any digital media type,
    content library or audience scale. This eliminates the need for additional
    investment in equipment or expertise to build and manage their networks.
    The Company Content Delivery provides HTTP/web distribution of digital
    media files such as video, music, games, software and social media.
    WinSonic Music and Publishing Group can now provide on-demand streaming for
    all major formats including Adobe Flash, MP3 audio, QuickTime, RealNetworks
    RealPlayer, Windows Media and iPod compatible. 'WinSonic Music and
    Rainysongs Entertainment strategic initiative establishes local, global,
    and wireless networks, i.e. Verizon, Cogent Sprint, AT&T and Comcast,
    capability to all new platform standards for delivery of digital media.
    Through WinSonic's consolidated efforts, we can provide the promise of high
    quality communications and entertainment integration that our customers and
    the market have come to demand. This combination is more powerful because
    of our heritage of innovation, service, quality, reliability and
    integrity,' said Winston Johnson, Chairman & CEO of WinSonic.

    About Rainysongs Entertainment:

    After years of research and development in the entertainment business
    Rainysongs has evolved into one of the internet's most innovative digital
    music labels. Rainysongs bridges technology with entertainment using the
    World Wide Web. Since its inception, Rainysongs has expanded its
    entertainment platform to marketing and advertising that's directly
    connected to music entertainment, including movies, automobile reviews,
    business and travel. All this connects to our consumers. "I'm pleased to
    have the opportunity to bring Rainysongs to the next level of technology
    and distribution through our new relationship with WinSonic. Winston
    Johnson, CEO, introduced me to the future of technology and we share a
    common vision for our companies' success," says Rainy Davis, CEO of
    Rainysongs Entertainment.

    About WinSonic Digital Media Group, Ltd.

    WinSonic Digital Media Group, Ltd. is a facilities-based media
    distribution solutions company with a distinctive video transport concept
    that enables users to view, interact, and listen to all types of audio,
    online video, and digital TV, in full-screen format, at high speeds, superb
    quality, and greatly reduced costs, while reducing the need for expensive
    high-speed connections.

    Certain statements in this press release which are not historical or
    current fact constitute 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of
    such term in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of
    the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In addition to statements which
    explicitly describe such risks and uncertainties, readers are urged to
    consider statements labeled with the terms 'may,' 'will,' 'potential,'
    'opportunity,' 'believes,' 'belief,' 'expects,' 'intends,' 'estimates,'
    'anticipates' or 'plans' to be uncertain and forward looking. Such
    forward-looking statements are based on our best estimates of future
    results, performance or achievements, current conditions and the most
    recent results of the company. The forward-looking statements contained
    herein are also subject generally to other risks and uncertainties that are
    described from time to time in the Company's reports and registration
    statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, but
    not limited to, its report on form 10-KSB for December 31, 2007.
    Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made in this press
    release are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no
    assurance that the actual results anticipated by the company will be
    realized or, even if substantially realized, that they will have the
    expected consequences to or effects on the company or its business or
    SOURCE WinSonic Digital Media Group, Ltd.
  • Amazon Offers Online Payment Service For E-Commerce Sites

    Amazon Offers Online Payment Service For E-Commerce Sites

    Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN)'s cloud computing infrastructure now includes a turnkey e-commerce payment system.

    The online retail site on Tuesday announced the availability of Checkout By Amazon and Amazon Simple Pay. The two services are designed to help Web sites sell items online with the same low-friction experience offered by Amazon on its own site.

    Checkout By Amazon lets Web site visitors sign in to Web sites using an Amazon Account login and buy items using the familiar Amazon One-Click button. The service encompasses payment, promotion, shipping and sales tax calculation, and order management.

    Amazon Simple Pay is designed for merchants who don't need sophisticated checkout and order management capabilities, but who still want to incorporate Amazon's customer login system to sell items and collect donations.

    Amazon also offers the Amazon Flexible Payment Service, a developer-oriented money-transfer application programming interface that Amazon opened to public testing in August 2007, and Amazon Dev Pay, a billing and account management service designed to make it easy to pay developers for work done on Amazon Web Services applications.

    Checkout By Amazon competes with eBay's PayPal and Google Checkout. For transactions of $10 or more, the Amazon service costs 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction; transactions less than $10 cost 5% plus 5 cents per transaction.

    Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Checkout costs 2% plus 20 cents per transaction. And for Google Checkout customers who also use AdWords, every $1 spent on AdWords exempts from fees $10 in processed sales during the following month.

    PayPal charges on a sliding scale, starting at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for monthly sales up to $3,000. Merchants generating more than $100,000 in monthly sales are charged 1.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

    One difficulty Amazon may face is turning competing online retailers into payment services customers. Then again, given the extent to which Google has become a competitor with its publishing partners through services like Knol, it may be that online companies have resigned themselves to dealing with "frienemies," as some have taken to calling entities that are both friend and foe.

    In a related move, Amazon on Wednesday announced the availability of a new set of Web-based tools designed to make its Mechanical Turk service more accessible to nonprogrammers.

    Part of Amazon Web Services, Mechanical Turk allows businesses and individuals to post paid online tasks for their ad hoc workforce. Examples of such human intelligence tasks include tagging images, refining search results, collecting or extracting data, and classification of sites, images, and products. via techweb

  • Ingram and Intersell launch e-commerce tools

    Ingram and Intersell launch e-commerce tools

    Strong reseller interest after launch at Showcase events. Techlink4U is used to create e-commerce websites which take information directly from Ingram’s TechLink site, QuoteBuilder for creating and distributing HTML-based quotes and Licence Tracker to manage customer licensing.

    read more | digg story
  • Online retailer PC Connection Q2 profits fall 12%

    Online retailer PC Connection Q2 profits fall 12%

    PC Connection Inc., which sells technology products and services, said Tuesday its second-quarter profit dropped 12 percent because of softer demand from corporate customers, and warned of flat sales in the current quarter.

    Its shares fell sharply on the news, losing $2.11, or more than 24 percent, to $6.63 in morning trading. The stock has ranged between $6.60 and $16.09 over the past 52 weeks, and is off 21 percent since the start of the year.

    Issuing some results two days before its official earnings report, the company said net income fell to $5.1 million, or 19 cents per share, in the quarter ending June 30, from $5.8 million, or 21 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

    The company also said net sales were up nearly 2 percent to $449 million.

    “We believe the current economic environment has affected the demand for information technology solutions during this past quarter, and we see this trend continuing into the third quarter,” said Patricia Gallup, the company’s chairman and chief executive.

    The company said it would issue more details Thursday.

  • Top 20 Game Publishers 2008

    Top 20 Game Publishers 2008

    Edge Online has documented its top 20 publishers of 2008, based on various criteria including revenues, profits, growth and publishing success in the industry's definitive annual game publisher rankings.

    This feature lists each publisher in the top 20 and has aligned all companies' fiscal years to 4/1/2007 to 3/31/2008 for the sake of comparison. You can view exact criteria here.

    Here you'll learn each publisher's strengths, weaknesses, potential for greatness and potential for failure in careful detail. To set the tone, here are a few overall graphs.

    Next, here is a graph of the net profit/loss (or operating profit/loss) for each of those same 20 companies.

    via edge continued...
  • Digital Distribution Nets EA $90 Million In Q1

    Digital Distribution Nets EA $90 Million In Q1

    Electronics Arts pulled in a cool $90 million in its first quarter, strictly from the digital distribution business. While the company saw a net loss of $95 million, as previously reported, bypassing retail channels to the tune of close to a hundred million must warm the cockles of John Riccitiello's heart, while sending waves of nausea through the guts of brick and mortar game shop types.

    EA execs didn't break down the details on which distribution methods did how much, but with the company shilling via its online EA Store, as well as the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace, is has ample opportunities.

    What we'd really like to know is exactly how much of that is downloadable Rock Band content versus paid-for unlockables in games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf and Need For Speed: Pro Street. Excel documents with that information forwarded to tips@ will be treated with the utmost discretion. via Kotaku

  • Circuit City Launches Interactive Online Training Platform

    Circuit City Launches Interactive Online Training Platform

    Pulse LLC and Circuit City Launch a unified community,social network and Interactive Online Training Platform for Store Associates and Product Manufacturers

    read more | digg story
  • 41 online retail tactics to kickstart sales

    41 online retail tactics to kickstart sales

    The economy is weak, gas prices are soaring, and consumers are belt-tightening – not the best landscape heading into the 4th quarter. Fortunately eCommerce is poised to benefit from this scenario as shoppers turn to the web to research, price match, and purchase gifts without driving all over town. To capture your share of this bounty, now is the time to take a good hard look at your website and customer communication to be sure you are delivering the best possible shopping experience factoring into account any time and resource constraints.

    MarketLive and the e-tailing group developed this field guide for peak season performance to aid you in that task. From gifting to promotional merchandising we have identified the essentials based on feature presence among the 100 websites in the e-tailing group 10th Annual Mystery Shopping Study (EG100), conducted in 4Q 2007. These are the techniques and tools customers have come to expect and should be the first ones you examine and tune up.

    Get imaginative!
    Be sure that you are up to the minute on industry best practices and winning strategies by reviewing examples culled from our 2007 holiday season repository. Along with additional supporting research from the e-tailing group and other industry sources, this Guide showcases 41 site and email examples of best-in-class execution to serve as a springboard for your team.

    Try new approaches with a twist on tried-and-true tactics to kickstart sales. Do you have the tools in place that can help extend the selling season to the very last moment? It will be imperative that you react close to season so evaluation and embellishment of last minute techniques will be more important than ever before. Get tactical to ensure that standards are in place before your tackle the "bells and whistles." Once the basics are in place, move on to elevate merchandising through imagination and innovation.

    download white paper

    via Retail Solutions Online

  • Benchmark 2008: The Web Purchasing Power Of Gen X

    Benchmark 2008: The Web Purchasing Power Of Gen X

    Executive Summary (This is a document excerpt)

    Despite recent economic woes, online retail sales are projected to grow 17% in 2008 and surpass the $200 billion mark. Further, the bulk of online retail sales are driven by tenured Gen Xers and Boomers, a cross-section of the Web buyer population that values the convenience of the online channel and is actively spending more on the Web. These folks are less price-sensitive, disproving the theory that online shopping inevitably leads to brand-disloyal shoppers. Gen Xers account for 34% of all online shoppers, while Boomers represent 38%.


    itemGen Xers Comprise More Than One-Third Of Online Shoppers

    itemBoomers Dominate Online Shopping

    itemSupplemental Material

    download whitepaper

  • What Brands & Media Buyers Really Think About In-Game Advertising

    What Brands & Media Buyers Really Think About In-Game Advertising

    In a special panel at Casual Connect casual game companies discussed the impact of in-game advertising and luring big brands to the growing space.

    Casual Connect: What Brands & Media Buyers Really Think About In-Game Advertising

    Moderator Mike Vann started by pointing out that advertising is not only in-game, but around games as well. The first statistic he cited was the 200 million players of casual games each month. "Trip [Hawkins of Digital Chocolate] believes that's going to be a billion – and we all hope he's right."

    Vann said that 51.7 percent of casual gamers are female, 48.3 percent are male, and that the average age is 33. "It's growing 20% per year," he reported, adding that 67% of U.S. residents have played games in past three months.

    "So casual games are here – people are playing – probably more than will admit it," Vann told the audience, adding that there was an amazing opportunity to "extract advertising value from all this growth."

    "The ad supported model has definitely arrived," Vann proclaimed, showing a chart that predicts the ad spend for U.S. video games will grow from it's current half-a-billion dollars to $1 billion in 2012. "The numbers are promising, and we all need to pay attention to this revenue pool."

    In that same timeframe, 84 percent of in-game advertising will be of the dynamic type.

    "Once you get [brand marketers] in the door, and they can see the results, they fall in love with [casual games]."

    Jordon Smith, an account executive at ESPN says her network has "identified the casual game area as a growth area for us." She points out that the core demographic of men aged 12-to-34 actually enjoy playing these casual titles. One recent title, Zoom had "over a million plays in two months – which was just phenomenal."

    Meanwhile, Joe Keating, a media supervisor from Avenue A Razorfish, notes that developing a console game takes too long and has too much policy involved. "There's a lot that you can create and do in the casual game space," he says.

    Keating cites the Zoom game having an average playtime of seven minutes per user, and that the casual games gave ESPN the flexibility to create something custom.

    "Advertisers want reach, they want scale, they want to be able to go one or two places to reach a lot of people," states Ty Levine, the vice president of marketing for NeoEdge. He says that, in the ad community, the decision makers have been extremely positive.

    But the challenge Levine finds is that the owners of those brands tend to be conservative, which requires education for them to become comfortable with game ads.

    "Even though we do video advertising," he says, "At the end of the day you're wrestling with conversion" – something the Internet has been used for instead of the brand-building advertising that normally appears on television.

    "Once you get them in the door, and they can see the results, they fall in love with it," says Levine, "if you can get over that first hurdle."

    "We've been spending a lot of time with advertisers and agencies educating them on the data we have," adds Yahoo's Kyle Laughlin. But something he doesn't hear getting much attention is quality, which is something Yahoo finds to be a key factor.

    "Any time brands are eager to cut quality," Laughlin finds himself encouraging them to work with good developers or publishers. Bad games don't work, "nor do they do the brand justice itself." Yahoo's reach, plus great games, he says, "is really paying off."

    NeoEdge's Levine concludes that the unique part of in-game advertising is your connection to players. "In a game, you have an audience that's focused on that game." Outside the Hallmark channel, he says, "There are very few place you can own the 20-minute experience."

    via GameDaily

  • Amazon outpaces Microsoft, Google and Ebay in quarterly profits

    Amazon outpaces Microsoft, Google and Ebay in quarterly profits

    Amazon defies spending slump - Consumer gas pains a boon as shoppers go online

    Someone forgot to tell Amazon.com Inc. about the consumer spending chill sweeping through the United States.

    The world's largest Internet retailer announced yesterday that its second-quarter profit more than doubled over the same period a year ago, blowing past analysts' expectations while shrugging off a slumping domestic economy as overseas consumers gobbled up video game consoles and other electronics.

    Amazon's strong showing stands in stark contrast to disappointing financial reports from fellow tech bellwethers Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and eBay Inc. last week. Unlike its fellow tech titans, Amazon's outlook for the second half of 2008 didn't disappoint investors, with the company raising its previous full-year forecast.

    "The environment for the online consumer probably isn't as bad as we had feared," said Jeffrey Lindsay, senior Internet analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein in New York.

    Amazon's North American sales rose 35 per cent on new product categories such as office supplies and digital book downloads even as consumers wrestled with rising gas prices.

    Investors pushed shares of Amazon up more than 8 per cent in after-hours trading to more than $76.40 (U.S.), though the stock is still down nearly 18 per cent this year.

    Because of a declining U.S. dollar and growing traction of its sites in Britain, Germany, France, China and Japan, Amazon's international sales jumped 47 per cent.

    International media sales - which include books and CDs - rose 31 per cent to $2.41-billion, while sales of other merchandise ballooned 58 per cent to $1.53-billion.

    "The international sales are really starting to show the highly levelled growth that the U.S. sales did a year to two years ago, and they're getting an extra kick from the currency advantage at the minute," Mr. Lindsay said.

    Amazon also enjoyed a hefty bump from the sale of its European DVD rental business, which netted the company $53-million. However, Amazon still would have beat consensus estimates without it.

    Investors had worried that the rising cost of gas would have a negative impact on Amazon, but chief executive officer Jeff Bezos said that higher fuel prices were actually benefiting the company.

    Amazon is spending more on shipping costs - the company began offering free shipping on many of its products in 2002 when oil was trading at about $22 a barrel - but consumers seem to be opting to stay home and shop online rather than fill up and drive to the mall.

    "Even just driving 10 miles these days is a few dollars worth of gasoline, and customers, we suspect, are beginning to take that into account," Mr. Bezos said during an afternoon conference call.

    In order to maintain growth in the U.S., Amazon has steadily added new product categories, such as office supplies, fabric and digital downloads of music, movies and books.

    In September, Amazon launched AmazonMP3, an integrated online music store designed to rival Apple Inc.'s iTunes service. Already the store has grown to become the second largest online music retailer in the U.S., and the company has announced plans to take the service global by the end of 2008.

    However, the company remained coy about sales figures for its Kindle digital book reader device. Although it was launched in November, Amazon has not publicly disclosed any sales figures for the device.

    While its online retail competitor eBay struggles with its clunky transition away from an auction-based system to a more traditional retail model, Amazon has continued to extend its domination of online sales. The Seattle-based company now sells everything from iPods and power tools to jewellery and toys.




    Yesterday's close

    $70.54 U.S. ,up $2.57



    U.S. dollars

    via globeandmail

  • Microsoft: Software, Not Hardware, the Real Platform

    Microsoft: Software, Not Hardware, the Real Platform

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business CTO Chris Satchell is more keen on talking about how software updates will extend the current Xbox platform

    read more | digg story
  • Microsoft Takes on Steam with GFW PC Digital Distribution

    Microsoft Takes on Steam with GFW PC Digital Distribution

    Microsoft today announced that its Games for Windows initiative will launch an online PC gaming marketplace this fall. The service will deliver free and paid downloadable game content in competition with Valve's Steam platform.

    read more | digg story
  • GameTap Loads up THQ Titles

    GameTap Loads up THQ Titles

    It's quite a lineup of PC titles that are coming to GameTap. Players will have access to the RTS titles Company of Heroes and Supreme Commander and action games Saints Row 2 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.

    GameTap Loads up THQ Titles

    GameTap announced today the signing of a partnership with THQ. This deal will give the broadband entertainment network company access to THQ's PC titles for digital download, with certain titles available for free play on GameTap's ad-supported website. The titles included in this agreement include Company of Heroes, Supreme Commander, Titan Quest, Saints Row 2, PuzzleQuest and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.

    "We are excited to be adding THQ's roster of top content to GameTap," said Ricardo Sanchez, vice president of content and creative director for GameTap. "With this new deal, subscribers and website visitors will enjoy great games from THQ, including Company of Heroes and Red Faction."

    "Our new partnership with GameTap allows both a brand new audience and fans alike to enjoy our titles and franchise games online," said Adrienne Lauer, National Sales Director, Market Development for THQ, "Digital distribution is a great way to extend the reach of our properties and GameTap is an ideal outlet for this effort."

    GameTap's future earlier this year did not look bright when the editorial staff of Gametap Read was dissolved, though Sanchez commented afterwards to GameDaily BIZ, "The rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated."

    via GameDaily

  • Games for Windows – Live Goes Free

    Games for Windows – Live Goes Free

    A number of PC gamers are probably thinking, "It's about time," but GFW - Live is now completely free, and GFW is getting its own Live Marketplace. DirectX 11 plans have also been laid out.

    by James Brightman on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Games for Windows – Live Goes Free

    During Microsoft's Gamefest 2008 event in Seattle, the company today announced that it's decided to open up its Games for Windows – Live multiplayer features to all users, free of charge. Microsoft has taken some heat from PC gamers and critics for charging for its Live features on PC, especially since many similar features are available for free to PC gamers on other similar offerings.

    However, effective today everything – including Achievements, enhanced TruSkill matchmaking, cross-platform play with Xbox 360 (in games that support it), voice and text chat, and a friends list that is consistent across both Windows and Xbox 360 – is now free to all Windows gamers. This change immediately affects all available Games for Windows – Live titles and future games in the pipeline.

    Furthermore, in what seems like a move to make Games for Windows – Live more balanced with Xbox Live, Microsoft also announced plans to introduce a Games for Windows – Live marketplace this fall (exact date not announced). The marketplace will offer gamers the usual assortment of downloadable game content (free and paid, determined by the publisher), demos, trailers and more. The in-game interface for GFW – Live apparently is also getting a makeover to make it "much more PC friendly... reducing the technical requirements for developers."

    In related PC gaming news, Microsoft also laid out its plans for DirectX 11. Here's the summary from Microsoft:

    Direct3D 11, a key component of DirectX 11, will include:
  • Full support (including all DX11 hardware features) on Windows Vista as well as future versions of Windows

  • Compatibility with DirectX 10 and 10.1 hardware, as well as support for new DirectX 11 hardware

  • New compute shader technology that lays the groundwork for the GPU to be used for more than just 3D graphics, so that developers can take advantage of the graphics card as a parallel processor

  • Multi-threaded resource handling that will allow games to better take advantage of multi-core machines

  • Support for tessellation, which blurs the line between super high quality pre-rendered scenes and scenes rendered in real-time, allowing game developers to refine models to be smoother and more attractive when seen up close
  • via GameDaily
  • Xbox Live Marketplace - digital downloads for sale

    Xbox Live Marketplace - digital downloads for sale

    Ever want to create a game for Xbox Live and make real money? Microsoft is opening the doors to the multibillion-dollar console gaming industry.

    by James Brightman on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Xbox Live Community Developers to Receive Up to 70% of Revenues

    At its Gamefest 2008 keynote in Seattle today Microsoft went into further detail on its previously revealed plans to "democratize game development." The company's Xbox Live Community Games initiative, which launches for consumers to try out this fall, essentially opens up Xbox Live as a marketplace to members of the XNA Creators Club who can create, sell and share in the profits generated by their games.

    Up until today, Microsoft had refused to discuss the finer details of the business model behind its community games. However, now we see that developers will be able to keep a sizable chunk of sales. "Community games that have been submitted by XNA Creators Club Premium members and have successfully passed a rigorous peer-review system will be added to the Xbox Live Marketplace catalog for sale to consumers. Creators will be able to choose from three suggested preset retail price points varying from 200 to 800 Microsoft Points to sell their creations and will receive up to 70 percent of the total revenue generated by their game," Microsoft explained.

    "...we're creating an opportunity for aspiring developers to start their careers on the world stage."

    Chris Satchell, who was just promoted to Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business Group, said the business model was conceived in order to "create the best possible experience for both consumers and developers."

    "Not only are we democratizing game development with Xbox Live Community Games later this year, but we're creating an opportunity for aspiring developers to start their careers on the world stage," Satchell said. "It is really a win for both developers and consumers because this will no doubt act as an incentive for game creators to continue to develop the best, most innovative games for Xbox 360."

    Microsoft said that it expects community-created games on Xbox Live to double the size of the Xbox 360 video game library and that by the end of this year "Xbox 360 owners are expected to have access to the largest, most creatively diverse game library across all next-generation platforms, with more than 1,000 titles spanning Community Games, Xbox Live Arcade and retail blockbuster titles."

    When Community Games launches later this year (and in other regions throughout '09) consumers will be able to view and rate community games on Xbox.com, watch trailers, and play a trial of each game before deciding to buy it or not.

    Microsoft is very encouraged by the response they've had so far to their Community Games project and the company is quite bullish on its future. "Since first launching XNA Game Studio in 2006, we have been working hard on improving the toolset and building resources for the community, and the response has been amazing. To date, we've had more than 1 million downloads of XNA Game Studio and adoption in more than 700 universities," said Boyd Multerer, general manager of XNA. "For some perspective, the incredible creative community we've unleashed worldwide is more than 25 times the number of professional developers in the industry."

    To build further buzz around Community Games and to drive interest from aspiring developers, Microsoft is also holding a second annual Dream-Build-Play contest, which will yield prizes in excess of $70,000 and an opportunity for one of the winners to sign an Xbox Live Arcade publishing contract (full details and rules here).

    via GameDaily

  • Does the Home Page Still Matter?

    Does the Home Page Still Matter?

    Only a few years ago, a Web site's home page was the most prime piece of digital real estate a publisher could offer. Today, not so much. The relevance of the home page as a media buy is on the wane. Search, social networks, blogs and RSS are driving more and more users deep into today's Web properties. Often, the majority of consumers bypass a site's home page completely.

    The impact this is having on the online ad industry is profound. For example, The New York Times dismantled its relatively successful paid service, Times Select, in 2007 to focus on getting ad revenue from the massive amount of traffic driven by search and blogosphere linkage to Times Select content. That meant walking away from at least $10 million in subscription revenue per year, according to paidContent.org. That's hardly a paltry sum for a newspaper publisher today.

    The effect of this change is being felt even more strongly by broadcast and cable networks, which are wrestling with a host of different online distribution models for their programming— few of which involve driving traffic to their sites or home pages. In 2007, CBS created the CBS Audience Network, a broad-based digital distribution platform to syndicate its entertainment, news and sports to as much of the Web as possible. In doing so, the company inked full-episode distribution deals and community partnerships with nearly 50 companies, including MSN, AOL, Comcast, YouTube, Joost and VideoEgg. So far, revenue has been more of a trickle than a stream according to Adweek. But CBS's strategy is still strong recognition of the fact that content is moving to a new environment, residing wherever users are on the Web.

    Despite the confusion about how this will ultimately shake out, one thing is clear: There's no sign that the home page will regain its former prominence anytime soon, if ever. Today's consumers increasingly expect content wherever and whenever they choose.

    But this isn't a doom-and-gloom scenario. Here's how publishers and marketers can adjust:

    1. Adopt "traffic distribution" as a key site metric.
    To ensure that your digital content and Web properties are fully optimized for this new ecosystem, make sure you add traffic distribution as a key performance benchmark. Traffic distribution is comprised of all traffic driven to your Web property (either directly, referring or through search engines) and the distribution of that traffic beyond the home page throughout the rest of the site. Approximately 65% of a property's traffic should originate from somewhere other than the home page. In addition, make sure that traffic from referring sites and search engines combined exceeds direct traffic to the property.

    2. Treat every page like a home page.
    Every page on a site is now a home page, with a wider reach, a lasting shelf life and the ability to attract new audiences like never before. To capitalize on this, ensure that every page has a strong, clear global navigation scheme and related content that is visibly promoted. And don't forget to make sure that display advertising gets prominent, above-the-fold, home-page-like treatment (300x250 rectangles and 728x90 leaderboards). Remember, every page can be accessed in any conceivable manner and in any conceivable order—you can't design properties to control user flow anymore.

    3. Distribute content widely and freely.
    Distribute content through syndication partners, promotions on social networks, linkage from blogs and other viral techniques. Every page should sport a "Web 2.0 toolbar" that enables consumers to share freely via applications such as Digg, Reddit, and del.icio.us. If you have video, post and distribute it through all major platforms, including YouTube, Veoh, MySpace and Facebook. Cast your net as widely and freely as possible to ensure maximum reach for your content.

    4. Track performance across all digital touchpoints.
    Success of Web properties now needs to be measured both on-site and off. Detailed tracking of content syndication efforts, RSS feeds, e-mail subscriptions, widget downloads, podcast downloads, search engine performance (paid and organic), blogsophere linkage and video consumption gives the most holistic measurement of Web property performance. You need to start thinking about the entire channel to measure success and not just the site itself.

    Dave Friedman is president of the central region for Avenue A | Razorfish.

    via chiefMarketer

  • Games for Windows Live to sell digital download games

    Games for Windows Live to sell digital download games


    We found a press release in an unexpected inbox folder that gives a few more details on Microsoft's announcements. All of the user-matching, cross-platform multiplayer, and other formerly premium services via the Games for Windows Live Gold Membership should now be free (effective today, says MS). The digital distribution comes this fall, along with a revamped user-interface.

    The release also features the official announcement from Microsoft of DirectX 11. Features include support for GPU computing, and better use of multicore CPUs, among others.

    Original post:

    Free admission.

    (Credit: Microsoft)

    We have an interview with Microsoft's Kevin Unangst in a few hours, so we'll be able to find out more shortly, but the basic news is that Microsoft has announced that it will be add digital distribution to its Games for Windows Live program. It also plans to shed all user fees connected to its Games for Windows Live, whose Gold membership level previously required $7.99 a month for some advanced services.

    Microsoft hinted at its plans to sell online game downloads a few months ago. Combined with no more user fees (which we're not sure anyone actually paid to begin with), Games for Windows Live becomes a more direct competitor to Valve's Steam service.

    Thanks, Shack, for the heads up.

    via Crave

  • Duke Nukem Trilogy™ to be released on the Nintendo DS™ and Sony PSP®

    Duke Nukem Trilogy™ to be released on the Nintendo DS™ and Sony PSP®

    Deep Silver and Apogee Software today announced an agreement to co-publish the Duke Nukem Trilogy™ episodes for the Nintendo DS™ and Sony PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) systems in North America and Europe. The Trilogy is comprised of three new episodes, released sequentially, beginning in the Summer of 2009: Critical Mass™, Chain Reaction™, and Proving Grounds™. The Trilogy is being produced by Apogee under an exclusive license agreement with 3D Realms Entertainment and MachineWorks Northwest LLC, and will be released by Deep Silver, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Media.

    “We were seeking a strong global publishing partner to herald the eagerly-anticipated return of Duke Nukem,” said Terry Nagy, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Apogee. “We have indeed found that partner in Deep Silver.”

    “Since we launched the Deep Silver label, we’ve aggressively pursued the best properties to bring to market,” said Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Koch Media. “Apogee has produced some of the greatest franchises in the history of gaming, none of them more popular than Duke Nukem.”

    Deep Silver is exhibiting at the 2008 E3 Media & Business Summit on July 14 - 17 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in the Showcase Pavilion, Booth #401.

    About Apogee
    Apogee Software, LLC, is a privately held Texas company, with a core team of industry experts in game development, publishing, and distribution. Apogee builds franchises around original IP, publishing content for retail and digital distribution on next-generation consoles, the PC, and mobile platforms. Apogee's amazing history includes the original releases of Commander Keen™ (1990), Duke Nukem™ (1991), Wolfenstein 3-D™ (1992), Raptor™ (1993), and Rise of the Triad™ (1994), just to name a few. For more information, please visit www.apogeesoftware.com

    About Deep Silver
    Deep Silver develops and publishes interactive games for all platforms. The Deep Silver label seeks to captivate all computer and video gamers who enjoy and share a passion for thrilling gameplay in modern game worlds. Deep Silver works with its partners to maximize success while maintaining the highest possible quality, always focusing on what the customer desires. Deep Silver products are designed to appeal equally to enthusiasts and casual players, children and adults.

    Deep Silver has published about 40 games since 2003, including the most successful adventure of 2006, Secret Files: Tunguska, the bestseller ANNO 1701 (co-published with Sunflowers), the challenging CrossworDS knowledge puzzle game, the horse simulation Horse Life DS, and the soccer MMO World of Soccer Online. Current projects in development include Warhammer® - Battle March™ (in cooperation with Namco Bandai), the action role-playing game Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (in cooperation with Ascaron), S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky, the sinister Chernobyl shooter for PC, and a new game from the Piranha Bytes team. Deep Silver's internal development studio, Deep Silver Vienna, opened in 2007. For more information, please visit www.deepsilver.com

    About Koch Media
    Koch Media is a leading producer and distributor of digital entertainment products (software, games and movies on DVD). The company's own sales activities, marketing and distribution extend throughout Europe, and it has formed strategic alliances with numerous software and games manufacturers: Ascaron, Braingame, D3P, G-Data, Gamelife, Kaspersky Lab, Lexware, Namco Bandai, Pinnacle, Square Enix, Sony Online Entertainment, System3, etc. Headquartered in Planegg near Munich/Germany, Koch Media owns publishing and distribution branches in Germany, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and the USA. For more information, please visit www.kochmedia.com

    About Machineworks Northwest LLC
    MachineWorks Northwest LLC is an award-winning mobile and handheld console game developer. Voted "Best Mobile Developer 2007" and "Best Graphics Technology 2007" by IGN Wireless, MachineWorks is well known for its mobile adaptation of the Duke Nukem Universe (IGN Editor's Choice) and the development of Prey3D Mobile, VGA Video Game Award's 2007 "Best Mobile Game of the Year." Prey3D Mobile also took home a special "Best Visual Design" award and was nominated for an Academy of Interactive Sciences (AIAS) award in 2007. MWNW holds the exclusive mobile and handheld rights to Duke Nukem. For more information, visit www.machineworksnorthwest.com.

    Nintendo DS is a trademark of Nintendo. All product titles, publisher names, trademarks, artwork and associated imagery are trademarks, registered trademarks and/or copyright material of the respective owners. All rights reserved.

    via Apogee

  • Interview With Artist Marc Johns

    Interview With Artist Marc Johns

    I can't remember when I first heard of Marc Johns, but I've been a fan ever since, I tracked him down, more out of personal satisfaction than anything to learn more about him, and hopefully introduce more of you to his amazing work. I spoke to Marc who…

    read more | digg story
  • Protexis to Speak at Software Industry Conference

    Protexis to Speak at Software Industry Conference

    Protexis will participate in panel discussions and be on hand to discuss its flagship product, Protexis RED (Retail Electronic Distribution), and how RED can create more revenue and opportunities for growth for software publishers at the Software Industry Conference, July 17-19, 2008 - The Quincy Marriott in Boston, Massachusetts,

    read more | digg story
  • Warner Bros. Announces "Motion Comics"

    Warner Bros. Announces "Motion Comics"

    Press Release

    Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Warner Premiere announced today a new way for graphic novel fans to connect with their favorite characters and the stories they know and love through short-form digital content. “Warner Premiere’s Motion Comics” draw on a massive amount of source material to bring a visually engaging experience to life through the use of subtle movements, voice-overs, sweeping music scores and stunning comic book artwork. The highly anticipated debut episode of DC Comics “Watchmen” is now available exclusively as a free iTunes download for the next two weeks via Entertainment Weekly’s website (www.ew.com/watchmen). Beginning August 2, the debut “Watchmen” Motion Comic will be available on the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) for purchase and download for $1.99. In addition, the Eisner Award-winning “Batman: Mad Love” starring Batman, The Joker and Harley Quinn can be downloaded to own from Xbox Live and available on Verizon Wireless’ V CAST Video service starting July 22. A full lineup of “Warner Premiere’s Motion Comics” and release dates will be announced shortly after Comic-Con.

    Watchmen – Motion Comic
    “Watchmen” takes viewers through the critically acclaimed DC Comics and Hugo award-winning graphic novel by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Set in 1985 at the height of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, costumed avengers have been banned with the exception of two – The Comedian and Rorschach. During this time the mysterious murder of a United States government official named Edward Blake occurs in New York, possibly by Soviet Communists. It is later confirmed that Blake is actually a costumed avenger – The Comedian. The news of the murder is discovered by his fellow costumed avenger, Rorschach who sets out to discover the murderer.

    During his search viewers discover whether Rorschach is really insane or if he’s uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians. On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives. But what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet. Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking comic story — the story of The Watchmen.

    In the July 18 edition of Entertainment Weekly fans will find a special link through EW.com (www.ew.com/watchmen) that provides access to the episode via iTunes. Additional episodes for purchase will also be made available via iTunes and other distribution partners in the coming months leading to the theatrical release of Watchmen in 2009.

    Batman: Mad Love
    “Batman: Mad Love” is taken directly from the pages of the Eisner Award-winning single issue graphic novel by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. The story revolves around The Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn who is madly in love with him. She uses crime to demonstrate her love for her “Puddin’” and sets out to commit the ultimate act of love – killing Batman.

    The “Batman: Mad Love” Motion Comic will be available to purchase from Xbox Live and viewing on mobile phones enabled for Verizon Wireless’ V CAST Video service starting July 22. “Batman: Mad Love” episodes will also be available from other distribution partners in the coming months.

    Sign up for Comic-Con Updates from Warner Bros.
    To get the latest information on Warner Bros. activities during Comic-Con, go to the official WAP portal: http://getwb.com/comic/. Fans can also sign up for text alerts to Warner Bros. Entertainment events, free downloads and more by sending a text message with the word COMIC to 58671. Standard carrier rates may apply.
    via ComicImpulse
  • Amazon Video on Demand: Why build one online video service, when you can build two at twice the price?

    Amazon Video on Demand: Why build one online video service, when you can build two at twice the price?

    Anyone who still doesn’t think that online digital distribution of films is the real deal apparently slept through this week. Today brings another big announcement: Amazon is launching a service, aptly called Video on Demand, which will allow some 40,000 films and television programs to be streamed over the Internet, according to the New York Times.

    This follows the week’s earlier digital distribution announcements coming out of the E3 expo: Netflix’s partnership with Microsoft to brings its “Watch Instantly” streaming movie service to the Xbox 360. And Sony’s announcement that its Playstation 3 system would allow for movie rentals and downloads over its Playstation Network.

    Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos first hinted at this service was first hinted at back in May. At the time it brought up more questions than answers and some of those questions still persist. After all, Amazon already has another Internet-based digital distribution service, Amazon Unbox. But this offering looks to be much more robust than that one which offered movies you downloaded to own and downloaded to rent over the Internet.

    This new service is more akin to Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature which allows Netflix subscribers to instantly watch over 10,000 of its catalog of films streaming over the Internet. The major difference? Well, it’s the difference between 40,000 and 10,000 — the number of titles Amazon will offer versus the number Netflix serves up. But perhaps more importantly, it appears that Amazon’s offering will include new releases as well as catalog films. The Netflix offering only offers older titles for now.

    There is no word about whether any of the films will be offered in HD, as NewTeeVee notes, but my guess would be no, at least not at first. The service is streaming-only for the time being and streaming HD video is still very bandwidth intensive and thus expensive.

    Interestingly enough, it’s also not entirely clear whether this new service will completely kill off Amazon Unbox. It would make sense for that to happen however Amazon has deals for Unbox with the likes of TiVo that allow its customers to access that content on their boxes. And there are still people out there who prefer to buy their movies and own a copy of them, even if it is a digital one.

    The two at the very least will co-exist for a little while.

    One new deal that has been made is with Sony to bring this new Amazon Video on Demand to the Bravia line of televisions. At first this will require the Sony Bravia Internet Video link, a $300 box that connects to the television, but eventually the service is likely to be piped directly into the televisions.

    This deal is interesting because it seems that Sony is cutting deals to compete against itself. After all, it’s digital download aspirations aren’t limited to the Playstation 3, it previously stated that it too would offer a service that distributes movies over the Internet right to its Bravia televisions. Perhaps the Netflix/Microsoft deal made it shift strategy a bit?

    A deal to pipe the movies directly into Sony televisions is nice, but for this service to really work, more distribution deals will be needed. If Amazon were to say, extend its deal with Sony and allow Amazon Video on Demand on the Playstation 3, that would be a huge deal and would more directly pit Sony/Amazon against Microsoft/Netflix.

    Perhaps Amazon could strike a deal with the Roku box as well which currently offers up Netflix streaming movies, but has said it is working on other partnerships.

    A Roku box offering up Netflix free streaming titles (for Netflix subscribers), Amazon pay-per-view streaming titles and something like Hulu for new, free ad-supported television content, might be the ultimate dream box for the living room.

    One important thing to note is that Disney and its network ABC are not on board for this venture with Amazon. Disney has a very close relationship with Apple, whose chief executive Steve Jobs is its largest shareholder and sits on its board. The new Amazon offering compete with iTunes movie rental service, as do the other services by Microsoft/Netflix and Sony announced this week.

    How will Apple respond?

    No pricing details have been announced for the Amazon Video on Demand service (update below), but it is expected to launch today to a limited number of customers.

    Update: Pricing will be the same as the current Amazon Unbox model, according to ReadWriteWeb. Television episodes will be $1.99, with movies ranging from $7.99 to $14.99. Movie rentals will be $3.99. All of these prices are pretty much inline with Apple’s iTunes store.

  • Apple’s Future: Digital Downloads?

    Apple’s Future: Digital Downloads?

    In fact, Apple started digital distribution of iPod games a while ago in the iTunes Music Store. But only a small number of titles are available, and the development process includes making a direct deal with Apple. But the iPhone developer process is open to just about any serious developer. There are at least 500 titles available.

    So, now that the iTunes Music Store delivers iPhone and iPod software, why not Mac software?

    This should be an easy addition, and the pieces are probably already in place. Apple could start with their own applications, like iWork, and then let third-party developers get in on the act, with Apple taking its 30 percent cut. I’d bet developers would jump at the opportunity to distribute this way given that most software stores still ignore the Mac platform.

    Come to think of it, they could do this on Windows. The iTunes Music Store, and even the iPhone App Store inside it, works in iTunes for Windows. Apple could become the largest distributor of Windows software.

    This goes further than the PC and the iPhone. Apple already distributes to living rooms via Apple TV. So with digital downloads, Apple is taking on Blockbuster and NetFlix, they are already dominating retail music stores, and they could soon be challenging retail and online software stores. Apple could be the next Amazon.com, but for digital products only, which is probably the most profitable type of product — at least from a distribution standpoint.

    via Gary Rosenzweig MacMost

  • MS once again say no to Blu-ray 360, focusing on digital distribution

    MS once again say no to Blu-ray 360, focusing on digital distribution

    Shane Kim of MS has stated that Microsoft has no interest in adding a Blu-ray player to the Xbox 360, instead he indicated that the company was to focus their growing work on digital distribution.


    Give up any hopes you might have had about adding a Blu-Ray player to your Xbox 360.

    Shane Kim, vice president of strategy and business development for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment business, tells me that the company has "no interest" in adding Blu-Ray functionality to its console, opting instead to focus on digital distribution.

    "I can categorically say that we're not working on a Blu-Ray player for Xbox 360," says Kim. "To my knowledge, we don't have any intent to do that."

    News Source: Forbes
  • 2008 Online Retail Sales - Statistical Abstract

    2008 Online Retail Sales - Statistical Abstract

    The US Census Bureau:

    Wholesale & Retail Trade: Online Retail Sales The 2008 Statistical Abstract

    1019 - Retail Trade Sales-Total and E-Commerce by Kind of Business: 2005
    [Excel 42k] | [PDF 466k]

    1020 - Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses--Total and E-Commerce Sales by Merchandise Line: 2004 and 2005 [Excel 31k] | [PDF 465k]

    1021 - Projected Online Retail Sales: 2006 to 2011 [Excel 30k] | [PDF 465k]

    1022 - Online Retail Spending, 2000 to 2006, and Projections, 2007 [Excel 32k] | [PDF 465k]

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    This symbol Symbol indicating that file is external to this site. indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.
  • Netflix Does Not Undermine Xbox Live Marketplace Rentals

    Netflix Does Not Undermine Xbox Live Marketplace Rentals

    Microsoft's Shane Kim couldn't be happier to have Netflix on Xbox 360, and he's not concerned with Netflix possibly cannibalizing Video Marketplace content.

    E3: Kim: Netflix Does Not Undermine Xbox Live Marketplace Rentals

    With Microsoft today announcing that it's formed a business partnership with Netflix to feature on-demand movies on Xbox Live, some may be wondering if this actually could have a negative impact on Microsoft's own video marketplace downloads. In a special roundtable that GameDaily BIZ was invited to, Shane Kim, Corporate Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Interactive Entertainment Business, insisted that it's absolutely not detrimental to the company's video marketplace.

    "I think we look at it as additive; I don't think we're at the point where we've got so much content that we start to cannibalize the other content that's available on the marketplace," he said. "Adding Netflix just adds tremendously to the library, but I don't think any of us would say that they would get all the content that we eventually want to offer folks."

    What about redundant content? Kim acknowledges it's a real possibility since Netflix has a very wide array of content, and he noted that Microsoft is still actively pursuing partners and further content on its own for video marketplace.

    Kim also clarified some of the Netflix news from the press conference. While a Netflix subscriber on Xbox Live may share his movie with another Xbox Live user, that friend must also have a Netflix subscription. via GameDaily

  • Electronic distribution of retail games hits prime time!

    Electronic distribution of retail games hits prime time!

    And so it begins...

    People have long talked about the day when we would just be able to buy a retail-level game and be able to download it right then and there. And for the past two years, Stardock has allowed its customers to purchase and download Stardock's retail titles via Drengin.net. But the challenge was how to expand those titles beyond the Stardock titles? How to convince independent developers and publishers to put their titles for available on-line -- especially since revenue, at the start, will be relatively small.

    There is still a real concern in the PC game industry over piracy. I've written before that I believe piracy is overstated. And that was on new titles. On electronic distribution, your target audience has plenty of opportunity to pirate long before they've logged onto your service. So our view has been to try to make it as easy and convenient as possible for them to legally purchase the games.

    And hence, we now have TotalGaming.net!

    via Draginol

  • Apple releases flood of new games for iPhone and iPhone 3G

    Apple releases flood of new games for iPhone and iPhone 3G

    Well, I guess Apple does care about games.

    The flood of titles on the new online App Store for the iPhone and iPhone 3G is a good sign for gamers eager to see someone other than Nintendo or Sony in the portable-gaming space.

    Although the first crop of iPhone games is mostly of the sort that cellphone owners have been playing for a decade (Tetris, sudoku, poker, etc.), there are some cool, high-end titles, such as the racing game Cro-Mag Rally, that look as good as anything you'll get on the DS.

    And in September, Electronic Arts is shipping an iPhone version of Spore, the hotly anticipated simulation game that will also be crawling onto the PC and DS.

    One of the big hurdles for iPhone game developers is going to be finding a way to get their titles into the spotlight. A lot of gamers and game makers have complained about the traditional retail model for games, in which a title has a tiny sink-or-swim opportunity on store shelves to either become a hit or get relegated to the bargain bin.

    Digital downloads, the theory went, would be far more forgiving, allowing unknown projects time to slowly filter into the gamer consciousness.

    But with the number of iPhone games shooting through the roof, small titles seem destined to be just as buried at the App Store as they are on the rack at the local GameStop store.

    Still, it's good to have another entrant in the portable-gaming space. via VICTOR GODINEZ Dallas News

  • PSP Go!View Service Launches in the U.K. and Ireland

    PSP Go!View Service Launches in the U.K. and Ireland

    The PSP's video-on-demand service is now available in U.K. and Ireland thanks to SCEE and Sky. The service features top content from distributors like ESPN, BBC Worldwide, and National Geographic.

    PSP Go!View Service Launches in the U.K. and Ireland

    Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) and Sky today announced that the PSP video-on-demand service, Go!View, has gone live in the U.K. and Ireland. This means that PSP users can download video content from distributors like ESPN, BBC Worldwide, Sony Pictures Television International, and National Geographic straight from their PC to their PSP. There are comedy, sport and entertainment packs that can be tried out free for a month and subscribed to for 7 euro ($11) for one pack, 11 euro ($17.50) for two packs and 14 euro ($22.25) for three packs, with TV and movie rentals available for 2 euro ($3.20) and 3.20 euro ($5), respectively.

    "We are working with our content providers to secure a quality range of programming and ensure that PSP owners are getting the best possible service on-the-go and on-demand," said Alison Turner, General Manager, Go!View Entertainment U.K. via GameDaily

  • PSP (PlayStation Portable) v4.05 Update

    PSP (PlayStation Portable) v4.05 Update

    I wanted to give a quick heads up to everyone that a new PSP firmware update, v4.05, will be released soon. We know that more and more of you are listening to music on your PSP, and this update will add new visualizers for music playback, among other features. Enjoy!

    read more | digg story
  • Digital River to Participate at the 18th Annual Software Industry Conference

    Digital River to Participate at the 18th Annual Software Industry Conference

    Digital River, Inc. (NASDAQ: DRIV), a leading provider of global e-commerce solutions, announced that the company will exhibit, sponsor and speak at the Software Industry Conference (SIC). The conference is being held July 17-19, 2008, at the Boston Marriott Quincy Hotel in Boston, Mass.

    Digital River, a premier sponsor at SIC, plans to have an extensive presence at the conference. In addition to sponsoring a reception, the company will host an exhibit booth in salon 5 and a hospitality suite in room A. Digital River also will have a number of e-commerce experts speaking on a variety of topics during educational workshops throughout the conference. Workshop topics include blogging, and email and newsletter marketing as well as file downloading services and revenue-generating strategies.

    At SIC, Digital River will introduce new features for its e-commerce solution, which are designed to help software publishers build their online sales and businesses. These features include more sophisticated options for creating customizable CD labels, additional global currency offerings, more in-depth reporting, an affiliate store builder and an enhanced Digital River developer resource site. Located at www.developer-resource.com, the developer resource site provides software publishers a variety of branding, marketing and website merchandising suggestions.

    The Software Industry Conference is a three-day event featuring informative and educational breakout sessions focusing on the software industry. For more information about SIC, please visit www.sic.org.

    About Digital River, Inc.

    Digital River, Inc., a leading provider of global e-commerce solutions, builds and manages online businesses for software publishers, consumer technology manufacturers, distributors, online retailers and affiliates. Its multi-channel e-commerce solution, which supports both direct and indirect sales, is designed to help companies of all sizes maximize online revenues as well as reduce the costs and risks of running an e-commerce operation. The companys comprehensive platform offers site development and hosting, order management, fraud prevention, export controls, tax management, physical and digital product fulfillment, multi-lingual customer service, advanced reporting and strategic marketing services.

    Founded in 1994, Digital River is headquartered in Minneapolis with offices in major U.S. cities as well as Cologne, Germany; London, England; Shannon, Ireland; Luxembourg, Luxembourg; Stockholm, Sweden; Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; and Shanghai, China. For more details about Digital River, visit the corporate Web site at www.digitalriver.com or call 952-253-1234.

    Digital River is a registered trademark of Digital River, Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks, registrations or copyrights of their respective owners.

    Digital River, Inc.
    Media Contact:
    Heather Morris, 952-253-8828
    Public Relations Specialist
    Investor Relations Contact:
    Ed Merritt, 952-540-3362
    Group Vice President, Investor Relations

    DIGITAL RIVER39.42-0.7%down00:06 19/07/2008 Archive

    via EuroInvestor
  • CD Projekt Launch Digital Distribution Platform

    CD Projekt Launch Digital Distribution Platform

    Stardock recently joined the Digital Distribution party and today saw CD Projekt do the same. Well known for their hit RPG The Witcher, the developers have launched GOG.com. Their unique pull is a DRM (Digital Rights Management) free system that will offer classic games which have been optimised for the modern age. Codemasters and Interplay are already on board with titles like Fallout, Operation Flashpoint, Freespace 2 and TOCA Race Driver 3 all expected to fetch between $5.99 and $9.99. A closed beta of the program is expected to begin in the first of August.
    via AvidGamer
  • Protexis to Speak at Software Industry Conference

    Protexis to Speak at Software Industry Conference

    Protexis will participate in panel discussions and be on hand to discuss its flagship product, Protexis RED (Retail Electronic Distribution), and how RED can create more revenue and opportunities for growth for software publishers at the Software Industry Conference, July 17-19, 2008 - The Quincy Marriott in Boston, Massachusetts,

    read more | digg story
  • How does the Video Game Business Work?

    How does the Video Game Business Work?

    How does the video game industry work? How and why do we get certain titles on shelves and who gets the money we pay to play that next awesome game we’ve been reading about on Game Informer for the last year? Here is an analysis.

    read more | digg story
  • 160+ Games for iPhone App Store Launch

    160+ Games for iPhone App Store Launch

    More than 160 games will be available from Apple’s new iPhone software portal when its launches this Thursday.

    ImageCoinciding with the release of its iPhone 3G, Apple’s online App Store will offer more than 500 software applications upon launch, a third of which will be games.

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs told The New York Times that 25 percent of the first 500 applications will be free. Of the commercial applications, 90 percent will be sold for $9.99 or less.

    According to Jobs, Apple doesn’t believe the App Store will be a great revenue driver itself, but views it as a vehicle for selling more iPhones. The platform holder will give developers a 70 percent cut of sales, as well as handling distribution and marketing responsibilities.

    “The reaction we have gotten so far has been really strong,” Jobs said. “The quality and the sophistication of the applications you can write for the iPhone is in a different class.” via NextGen

  • Browse and buy at the iPhone App Store.

    Browse and buy at the iPhone App Store.

    Downloading applications to iPhone is easy. Just tap the App Store icon, browse whatever categories you’re interested in, then download your purchases wirelessly. Many are even free. Once you own an application, the App Store automatically notifies you when there’s an update.
    You can even shop for applications on iTunes, then sync them to your iPhone.


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