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  • AT&T Inks Retail Distribution Deal For U-verse

    AT&T Inks Retail Distribution Deal For U-verse

    AT&T said Monday it plans to sell its U-verse TV and high-speed Internet service at Wal-Mart and Circuit City stores starting this month.

    It is the first national retail distribution deal for U-verse, AT&T's two-year-old product that integrates digital TV, Internet and digital voice services. Video is delivered via Internet connection to a TV set.

    The service is already available in select markets in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and nine other states through Dallas-based AT&T. It is not currently available in Northwest Arkansas, but is in Little Rock and some surrounding communities.

    Customers will now be able to learn about the service, check availability in their area and place orders through some 600 retail stores in those markets. The product will be sold from in-store kiosks.

    The deals signal AT&T's aggressive expansion of the product into the market.

    The company said it expects to have more than 1 million U-verse customers in service by the end of 2008 as it adds new service areas. The company tallied nearly 550,000 U-verse subscribers by August.

    "We've been expanding the U-verse availability at a rapid pace, and now we're expanding the way millions of customers can learn about the benefits of AT&T U-verse and order the service," said Glenn Lurie, president of national distribution for AT&T.

    A Wal-Mart spokesman was not available to provide further details about the deal.

    via Morning News

  • AT&T Inks Retail Distribution Deal For U-verse

    AT&T Inks Retail Distribution Deal For U-verse

    AT&T said it plans to sell its U-verse TV and high-speed Internet service at Wal-Mart and Circuit City stores starting this month.

    read more | digg story
  • Football Manager Coming to Steam

    Football Manager Coming to Steam

    The next iteration of the Football Manager series from SI Games is going to be released on Steam on 14th November for $49.99. For the first time ever Football Manager will be utilising Steamworks, the publisher and developer tools that allow games to plug into the Steam service. Steamworks will be present in both the retail and Steam versions of the game, and more importantly those with the retail version will be able to register their copy of the game on Steam to fully utilise the Steam experience.

    Miles Jacobson, the studio director at Sports Interactive had this to say regarding the announcement:

    “Many of us at Sports Interactive have been big fans of Steam since it’s inception, so to be working with them properly this year across releases of Football Manager on the PC is fantastic. It gives us the opportunity for all of our games players to get any patches or updates that we make available quickly and easily, as well as a place for us to host any other downloads, such as demos and promotional videos, with super fast broadband speeds for download, and no issues with bandwidth, which we are hit with each time we release a demo”.

    The demo for Football Manager 2009 will be made available via Steam a few weeks before the release of the game. You can pre-order the game on Steam now which will allow you to pre-load the game 48 hours before the game is unlocked at 9.00 GMT on the 14th November. Further information regarding pre-orders can be found here.

    If I am not mistaken, this will be one of the first non-Valve games which will let you register your retail version on Steam. I believe this happened with Prey, but I don’t think this has happened since. This means that if you want to get the retail game and not use Steam you can, however if you want a boxed copy and the chance to use Steam that is also possible. This is one of the best ways to release Football Manager and it puts the game in front of a massive target audience and represents a great way to further boos sales of what is destined to be a great game.

    Press Release:

    FOOTBALL MANAGER TEAMS UP WITH STEAM

    Football ManagerT 2009 Leverage Suite of Steamworks Services for Retail and Electronic Versions

    LONDON (9th October, 2008) - Sports Interactive & SEGA Europe Ltd. today announce that the PC versions of Football ManagerT 2009 will incorporate Steamworks, a complete suite of publishing and development tools that offers PC game developers and publishers access to the game features and services available through Steam.
    Steamworks will support both the retail and electronic versions of the Football Manager 2009 games giving players game updates, downloadable content, and patches. Also, players will be able to play from any PC in the world without needing their DVD copy of the game. STEAM will also host and distribute the Football Manager 2009 game demo which will be available when it is released a couple of weeks before the release of the full game.
    Football Manager 2009 is now available for pre-purchase as a PC digital download from STEAM, and will be available for players to play at 09:00 GMT on the 14th November 2008. For details on availability and pricing, please visit www.footballmanager.com/buynow.
    “Many of us at Sports Interactive have been big fans of Steam since it’s inception, so to be working with them properly this year across releases of Football Manager on the PC is fantastic” said Miles Jacobson, studio director at Sports Interactive. “It gives us the opportunity for all of our games players to get any patches or updates that we make available quickly and easily, as well as a place for us to host any other downloads, such as demos and promotional videos, with super fast broadband speeds for download, and no issues with bandwidth, which we are hit with each time we release a demo”.
    “The Football Manager 2009 team has an incredible plan to extend the product beyond launch and achieve a level of connectivity with FM 2009 players that surpasses any prior release in the category,” said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. “We’re delighted to have Steamworks selected as the vehicle to help take this legendary franchise to the next level and look forward to offering the game to the millions logging onto Steam each week.”
    Football Manager 2009 features a vast array of all new features including, for the first time ever, a full 3D view of the world famous Football ManagerT match engine.

    For further information on Football Manager 2009 please visit www.sigames.com or www.footballmanager.com. For assets on Football Manager 2009 or other SEGA games please go to www.sega-press.com.

    About SEGA Europe Ltd.:
    SEGA® Europe Ltd. is the European Distribution arm of Tokyo, Japan-based SEGA Corporation, and a worldwide leader in interactive entertainment both inside and outside the home. The company develops and distributes interactive entertainment software products for a variety of hardware platforms including PC, wireless devices, and those manufactured by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. SEGA Europe’s web site is located at www.sega-europe.com.

    About Sports Interactive Ltd.:
    Sports Interactive (SI), is the world’s leading developer of football management simulations through it’s Football Manager series of games Founded in 1994 and based in the Old Street area of London, SI has a full-time staff of 44 and employs services of more than 1,500 part-time researchers across the globe. The company’s games have enjoyed an unparalleled history of commercial and critical success, with nine of its creations among the UK’s Top 20 fastest-selling PC games of all time, and 4 in the UK’s top 20 best selling PC games of all time. Sports Interactive became a wholly owned subsidiary of SEGA in 2006. Further information on the company and its games is available from the SI website, www.sigames.com.

    About Steam:
    The leading online platform for PC games and digital entertainment, Steam delivers new releases and online services to over 15 million PC users around the world. For more information, please visit www.steamgames.com

    via Chris Evans @ EVO gamer

  • Economic down turn, Game Software "Highly Recession Resistant"

    Economic down turn, Game Software "Highly Recession Resistant"

    The global stock market has seen tumultuous times as of late, but consumers are still willing to drop cash on a videogame, says one analyst.

    Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said in a Monday research note, "Notwithstanding this month’s anticipated decline, we believe that the videogame software sector remains highly recession-resistant...

    "...As a category, games are one of the lowest cost forms of entertainment, particularly to those households that have already invested in a home console."

    He expects U.S. NPD retail software sales figures for September to be down 6 percent year-on-year, not because of lacking demand, but due to a tough comparison--mega-hit Halo 3 launched the same month last year.

    Pachter forecasts September sales of $620 million.

    On the hardware front, he expects Wii to have sold 600,000 units, followed by DS (550,000), Xbox 360 (300,000), PSP (200,000), PS3 (175,000) and PS2 (125,000).

    The boost in Xbox 360 sales is attributed to the recent price cut across all models, bringing the base Xbox 360 Arcade to $199.

    He added, "We believe that the long-awaited Wii production increase finally impacted unit sales in September. Xbox 360 price cuts occurred on September 7, and we forecast a 50 percent sequential increase in Xbox 360 sales for the month.

    "We think that some substitution occurred, with both the PS3 and PS2 likely suffering sequential monthly sales declines." via Edge

  • Infogrames Completes Atari Acquisition

    Infogrames Completes Atari Acquisition

    Atari is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Infogrames. The acquisition will enable Atari to expand its distribution capabilities and online initiatives.

    by James Brightman on Monday, October 13, 2008

    Infogrames Completes Atari Acquisition

    Infogrames' plan to buy the outstanding stock in Atari, first revealed back in March, is finally complete. The French publisher now owns all of Atari, as compared with 51.4 percent before the acquisition.

    Infogrames paid $1.68 per share for all outstanding shares of Atari common stock. The transaction is valued at about $11 million and is being funded by Infogrames from existing cash resources. As part of the deal, Atari's existing management – Jim Wilson (President and CEO), Tim Flynn (Senior Vice President of Sales), and Jeff Reese (Vice President of Marketing) – has joined the Infogrames group. They will continue to focus on growing the North American gaming market.

    "The completion of this merger is an important step in the implementation of our strategy. Reshaping U.S. operations was a key element of our 'Atari transformation' plan," said David Gardner, CEO of Infogrames. "Profitable first quarter results were reached thanks to the tremendous work accomplished by Jim and his team. The completion of the merger creates a simplified efficient global structure that we anticipate will generate greater opportunities to expand U.S. distribution capabilities and strengthen our platform for global online initiatives."

    For more on Atari's plans, check out our Jim Wilson interview from this summer
    via GameDaily
  • Microsoft to Offer 'Storage Solutions' for New Xbox Experience

    Microsoft to Offer 'Storage Solutions' for New Xbox Experience

    Some Xbox 360 owners will not have the necessary amount of memory to fully enjoy the New Xbox Experience, but Microsoft said it plans to offer those customers solutions.

    by James Brightman on Friday, October 10, 2008

    Microsoft to Offer 'Storage Solutions' for New Xbox Experience

    Microsoft's soon-to-be-launched dashboard overhaul (the New Xbox Experience) has gotten many Xbox owners excited, but some users who purchased the Arcade SKU without a hard drive simply won't have enough memory to take advantage of all the new features in the New Xbox Experience, which requires 128MB of free space. Ironically, purchasers of the Arcade model are exactly the mass market audience that Microsoft is trying to target with the streamlined New Xbox Experience.

    Microsoft said it would be offering "storage solutions" to those owners who don't have the required memory, but the company would not provide exact details at this time.

    Here's the full statement from Microsoft:

    "The New Xbox Experience will require 128MB of free space. A hard drive is recommended for the optimal experience, to take advantage of some new features, and to be able to enjoy the great movies, TV shows and games available on Xbox LIVE. While we expect the majority of consumers to download the New Xbox Experience without a problem, a small percentage of Xbox 360 owners do not have enough memory to accommodate the update. To help ensure all Xbox LIVE members are able to download the New Xbox Experience and enjoy its new features, Microsoft will be offering storage solutions to the Xbox LIVE community. We are not sharing details of this offering yet. Be sure to check xbox.com."

    Thanks to Joystiq for the tip via GameDaily

  • PSP Direct Downloads Confirmed for North America

    PSP Direct Downloads Confirmed for North America

    New firmware this month will bring the PlayStation Store to PSP in the U.S. SCEA also said new firmware will be released for PS3 this month. Details on both within...

    by James Brightman on Monday, October 13, 2008

    PSP Direct Downloads Confirmed for North America

    Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) today announced details around the next firmware updates for both the PS3 and PSP platforms. Specific dates were not mentioned, but both updates are planned for this month.

    Following last week's news that Sony would soon launch the PlayStation Store on PSP in Japan, SCEA said today that with firmware v. 5.00 for PSP, North American gamers will indeed have direct access to the PlayStation Store from the PSP, meaning they can download new games, trailers or demos anywhere they have Wi-Fi access – connecting to a PS3 or PC will no longer be necessary.

    Other PSP enhancements will include an on-screen keyboard, a sleep timer (during music playback), and an upgrade to the PSP-2000's video-out feature to enable it to display classic PlayStation titles at the full-screen size of the TV that the PSP is connected to (and interlace displays will be supported).

    The PS3's firmware update will bring the system up to v. 2.50. None of the features seem as significant as the PSP getting direct store access, but there are a number of nice, smaller improvements. The firmware will offer advanced voice chat features for the PS3 Official Bluetooth Headset; the ability to capture screenshots in-game with supporting titles in the future; enhancements to make the PlayStation Trophy interface more intuitive; video scene search functionality with thumbnails; the Information Board will be able to include direct links to PlayStation Store; and a power save feature will be added so users have the option to automatically shut-off their console or controllers after pre-selected periods of inactivity.

    "These firmware updates keep both PS3 and PSP in lockstep with consumer expectations for gaming and entertainment, particularly the ability to download PSP games on-the-go, which is a functionality we know consumers can't wait to get their hands on," said Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing and PlayStation Network, SCEA. "As we approach our second anniversary with PlayStation 3, it's remarkable to look back at how much the system has evolved and improved, including its critical link to PSP that effectively extends these entertainment capabilities beyond the home."

    via GameDaily

  • Web Hosting Solutions Provider, Web.com, Tucows, Partner for SMB Services

    Web Hosting Solutions Provider, Web.com, Tucows, Partner for SMB Services

    Ontario, Canada - (The Hosting News) - October 9, 2008 - Web hosting and Internet services company, Web.com, Inc., has joined with Tucows, to offer personalized email and website services, targeted toward the small and medium-sized business sector.

    Web.com will provide Tucows’s OpenSRS Personal Names Service, and personalized email and web addresses for those interested in showcasing their name brand for business.

    Elliot Noss, President and CEO of Tucows noted, ”As a market leader in providing online services to small and medium-sized businesses, Web.com’s selection of our Personal Names Service underscores the importance of email to customer retention for service providers. Too many service providers are content to let their users get email from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft without realizing the cost to their business. Web.com recognizes that a quality email experience with a great, personalized email address is appealing and important to keep customers happy, retention high and word-of-mouth growing.”

    OpenSRS Personal Names is designed for small business owners, sole proprietors or SOHOs looking to showcase and associate their name brand with their company within the email or web address, such as amy@smith.net for their email address and amy.smith.net for the web address.

    Jeff Stibel, President of Web.com remarked, ”We are always looking to make the services we offer to small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) more effective. This partnership with Tucows enables us to provide SMBs with a customized email address directly related to their own name.”

    Tucows is an Internet services company. Through its global network of over 9,000 service providers, its OpenSRS group provides millions of email boxes and manages over eight million domains. Tucows is an accredited registrar with ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). It holds a portfolio of approximately 150,000 domain names that are available for sale, monetized through advertising and support the wholesale Personal Names Service. The Retail division sells Tucows services to consumers and small business owners through Domain Direct, IYD (It’s Your Domain) and NetIdentity.

    Web.com, formerly Interland, Inc., offers do-it-yourself and professional website design, website hosting, ecommerce, web marketing, developer hosting, and e-mail resources, since 1995. Web.com offers proprietary, point-and-click technologies and expert support professionals to ensure simplicity and ease-of-use at every step of the process. Distribution Partners include: Yellow Pages directories, broadband services, telecommunications, retail, and others. Strategic distribution partners include: R.H. Donnelley, Dex Media, EarthLink, British Telecom, Terra Lycos, Thomas Publishing, Ambassador Yellow Pages, Hawaiian Telcom, Encore Software, Office Depot, CompUSA, Amazon.com, and Monster Worldwide. Technology Partners include: Cisco, Compaq, Foundry Networks, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Lycos, Macromedia, Miva, Microsoft, Network Associates, Openwave, PayPal, RealNetworks, Red Hat, Staples, Sun Microsystems, VeriSign, Verizon, VERITAS, Yahoo, and WebTrends.

    Web.com has been honored with the following accolades:

    • Deloitte, Technology Fast 50 Winner, 2005 and 2006
    • Excellence in Technology 2005 Awards - Ecommerce, SmallBusinessComputing.com
    • # 12 on Deloitte’s 2004 Technology Fast 500
    • #1 Web Design, Development and Services Company 2005, Atlanta Business Chronicle
    • Frost and Sullivan Market Leadership Award 2003
    • Who’s Who in Technology 2003 and 2004, Atlanta Business Chronicle

    For more information about Tucows, please visit: http://tucowsinc.com.

    To learn more about Web.com, please visit: www.web.com.

    Read the original post here:

  • EMI Launches Digital Service

    EMI Launches Digital Service

    Distributor EMI will become the latest company venturing in to the e-commerce world with the premiere of their upcoming digital service website, EMI.com, launching this winter.

    According to Variety, the mega-distributor is constructing an online site that will allow users the ability to check out an artist and instantly be given a set of recommended artists. Focused on being more discovery-based, the company will also provide various free downloads and other promotional offers with the possibility of a social-networking feature added to its presentation.

    Known for distribution of popular labels including Capitol, Virgin and Blue Note, a source told Variety the new business venture is not an attempt to contend with major music retailers.

    "This is not an effort to displace iTunes, Amazon or any other retailer partner."

    While details are still emerging, the overall advantage for the program will be to allow music fans to search for a particular artist using Google or Yahoo, and be given to opportunity to choose the EMI site in addition to the artist's own personal home pages or MySpace sites.

    Artists under the EMI blanket include MIMS, Corinne Bailey Rae, J. Holiday, Alfamega, Fat Joe, N.E.R.D., Beastie Boys, LeToya Luckett, Cherish and others.

    The EMI digital music site is currently scheduled to launch this December.

    As previously reported by SOHH, the emergence of e-commerce companies has increased lately with YouTube's announcement of agreeing to work with iTunes and Amazon to help sell music and video games.

    According to PC Magazine, the partnership will mean users will now have the ability to make a variety of electronic purchases with the addition of links throughout various YouTube videos. When prompted, interested buyers will be directly taken to Amazon's MP3 store or iTunes.

    Google, who own YouTube - has begun the new revenue generating strategy in the United States and, based on its success, will expand the format internationally in the upcoming months.

    "Our goal is to improve the overall YouTube experience by connecting consumers with relevant information and entertainment content," YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley said in a statement. "The addition of retail links will enhance the viewing experience and allow people to engage more deeply with the content they want to consume."

    Appearing as the latest version of product placement, Amazon's senior manager of the company's associates program, Scott Merlino, suggests the partnership is aimed directly at interested buyers who happen to view a video and would consider purchasing the content found in it.

    "Amazon.com is always looking for new ways to make discovering and buying products as convenient as possible for customers," he said in a statement. "Which is why we're excited to collaborate with YouTube."

    Launching yesterday (October 8), YouTube now places embedded download links to Amazon and iTunes via content videos specifically provided by each company.
    EMI Launches Digital Service
    Written by Cyrus Langhorne
    Thu, 09 Oct 2008 12:33:18 Z
    Source: Sohh
  • Football Manager Gets Steamed Up

    Football Manager Gets Steamed Up

    The PC version of Football Manager 2009 is to be made available via STEAM from its retail launch date of November 14th.

    read more | digg story
  • GamersFirst Partners with K2 Network

    GamersFirst Partners with K2 Network

    The Canadian developer and K2 Network service are teaming up to make a social gaming title due out late 2009.

    by David Radd on Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    GamersFirst Partners with K2 Network

    GamersFirst today announced a partnership with A2M. The service of K2 Network and the largest independent game developer in Canada will work together on an as yet unannounced "social gaming title." GamersFirst promises that the original title will be available late 2009.

    "GamersFirst is continuing its growth with the development of our own IP," stated Joshua Hong, CEO and Founder, K2 Network/GamersFirst. "Being able to develop these new games assures that our gamers will have input as to what they like to see and allows us to put GamersFirst."

    "This new partnership allows us to express our gameplay know-how to social online gaming," said Remi Racine, President and Executive Producer, A2M. "As an independent game developer, we have the freedom to create highly imaginary concepts and, working with our partners, put it in the hands of game fans. Our creativity, combined with our ability to answer the needs of expanding markets, will make the upcoming MMO projects key milestones." via GameDaily

  • 'Piracy is Basically Killing PC,' says Ubisoft

    'Piracy is Basically Killing PC,' says Ubisoft

    It's the same old song and dance at this point, but it bears reiterating, especially when it comes to EndWar, an upcoming RTS title which will come first to consoles.

    by David Radd on Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    'Piracy is Basically Killing PC,' says Ubisoft

    Speaking to VG247, Ubisoft Shanghai creative director Michael de Plater talked about the upcoming EndWar. The strategy game will not be released on PC simultaneously with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, and according to de Plater, there's one primary reason for that: piracy.

    "To be honest, if PC wasn't pirated to hell and back, there'd probably be a PC version coming out the same day as the other two," said de Plater. "But at the moment, if you release the PC version, essentially what you're doing is letting people have a free version that they rip off instead of a purchased version. Piracy's basically killing PC."

    VG247 continued by asking if piracy was a reason to avoid the PC platform initially. "Yeah, at the time of release," he responded. "You know, the level of piracy that you get with the PC just cannibalizes the others, because people just steal that version."

    Ubisoft recently sued the PC game disc manufacturer of Assassin's Creed for contributing to the game's piracy. Cliff Bleszinski recently noted that piracy was the primary reason that Gears of War 2 will not appear on PC.

    via GameDaily

  • Dawdle Challenging GameStop with 'Moronically Easy' Online Marketplace for Gamers

    Dawdle Challenging GameStop with 'Moronically Easy' Online Marketplace for Gamers

    Dawdle.com has officially launched and the new online marketplace is aiming to take a significant chunk of used game sales away from GameStop.

    by James Brightman on Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    Dawdle Challenging GameStop with 'Moronically Easy' Online Marketplace for Gamers

    Chicago-based Dawdle.com is an online marketplace that enables gamers and entrepreneurs to buy and sell video games, systems, and accessories online with no listing fees, buyer fees, per-transaction fees or any other fees. While the website has been in beta since last November, nearly a year later Dawdle is now officially launching and announcing several key partnerships, which should help legitimize the marketplace in the eyes of the industry. GameDaily BIZ was pre-briefed on the news by Sachin Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of Dawdle.

    The whole goal of Dawdle is to make it "moronically easy" for people to list or buy items on the site, which processes all payments on the seller's behalf, thereby eliminating risk; Dawdle uses direct deposit to place the seller's proceeds directly into his or her checking account, so PayPal or other payment methods are not necessary.

    Dawdle makes its business by charging a commission of 11.99 percent, which includes all payment processing fees, only when an item sells. Agarwal points out that these fees are lower than that of other online marketplaces, such as eBay, Amazon.com, or Half.com. Moreover, Dawdle argues that "buyers and sellers realize significantly more value than they do for used items at large chains such as GameStop."

    "We've spent a lot of time listening to the needs of buyers and sellers," said Agarwal. "They've universally been clamoring for an online solution that was safe and easy to use, without the hassles of image management, hunting down payment, or juggling the risks of other marketplace platforms. Dawdle.com meets that vision of a 'moronically easy' place to buy and sell games and gear online, finally providing gamers a true alternative to GameStop."

    Whether or not Dawdle is ultimately looked at as that "true alternative" to GameStop in the eyes of gamers only time will tell, but the website does offer a compelling solution that could come in handy for those gamers or parents looking for a Wii or other hot video game products this holiday season. Dawdle features what it's calling "Standing Offers." This unique system essentially allows prospective buyers to place an offer for the item(s) they want and then the Dawdle system will automatically purchase the product when one is listed for sale at or below the specified maximum offer price.

    So for example, let's say you're desperately searching for a Wii but don't want to get slammed with a $500 purchase on eBay; you can set the Dawdle system with a Standing Offer to automatically purchase a Wii when one is listed for sale at or below a specified price of $300, or whatever price you choose as your maximum. "This technology allows professional sellers to purchase product for resale in the same manner as they handle 'trade ins' for their walk-in traffic and allows savvy consumers to get great bargains," notes Dawdle.

    As for the key partnerships, Dawdle has teamed with ExtremePOS and Wolf Track Software, the leading providers of point of sale software to independent gaming retail stores. This is actually the first time ever, in any vertical, that an online marketplace has partnered with in-store point of sale system providers to allow retailers to list product for sale online from within the point of sale software itself. What this means is that with one click retailers can list all of their in-store inventory on Dawdle with no listing fees and no risk. Dawdle said that ExtremePOS will be fully integrated with its site by the end of this year and Wolf Track Software is already present with Dawdle and has a number of live beta sites. ExtremePOS President Tom Kent said that the software will allow the little guys, the independent retailers, "a way to compete against the mass merchandiser."

    While brick-and-mortar retailers can get a leg up with ExtremePOS and Wolf Track Software, Dawdle also announced a partnership with FillZ, Inc. to provide online-only sellers access to its dedicated gaming marketplace through FillZ's multi-channel inventory management solution. This is expected to be live by the end of 2008. "It has become clear that sellers are looking for additional platforms to sell their games," commented Shaun Jamieson, President of FillZ. "That is where Dawdle comes in. I feel they are a great fit for our sellers. In fact, Dawdle is the next new marketplace we plan to offer our customers through FillZ. Timing-wise, now is the perfect time to add a new video game platform."

    Finally – and this is pretty neat in the opinion of GameDaily BIZ – Dawdle announced a partnership with BRE Software to provide price guidance to sellers. If you've ever wondered what price a video game product should be listed for, this will come in handy. Think of it as a Kelley Blue Book for video games. It also marks the first time in any marketplace, in any vertical, that the platform is actually going to make selling price recommendations to sellers. As Dawdle says, it should "allow them to get full value for their items without any guesswork."

    "BRE Software has long provided the premier price guide to independent video game retailers nationwide, but this is the first time that consumers will have a simple price based on our extensive data. Providing price guidance on the Dawdle platform will allow consumers to have confidence that they will get a full and fair price for their items," stated Brad Roltgen, President of BRE Software. via GameDaily

  • YouTube to Start Selling Games, Music

    YouTube to Start Selling Games, Music

    No longer just a video sharing site, YouTube will now encourage purchases of products featured in videos. The company has worked out revenue sharing deals with Amazon and iTunes.

    by James Brightman on Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    YouTube to Start Selling Games, Music

    YouTube is already the world's most popular video sharing site, but now the Google-owned company is looking to expand its business. According to a Reuters report, YouTube is about to start selling music and games through a partnership with Amazon. The company also intends to experiment with new advertising formats to boost revenues.

    Ultimately, YouTube would like to build an entire e-commerce service that will enable users to purchase music, films, TV shows, video games, books, concert tickets and other media-related products featured on the millions of videos on its site. So for example, if someone is watching a video related to EA's Spore, an Amazon link on the page would enable that person to go directly to Amazon to purchase the game. In the case of music videos, YouTube has partnered with Amazon and iTunes. Both Amazon and iTunes will share revenue with YouTube when users buy content through the partnership.

    Google paid $1.65 billion for YouTube back in 2006, and the search engine behemoth is looking for YouTube to start generating some meaningful revenue. With a new e-commerce plan in place, Piper Jaffray Research has estimated that YouTube could generate about $200 million in revenue in 2009; for comparison purposes, Google itself is estimated to produce $27 billion.

    via GameDaily

  • YouTube Unveils eCommerce Platform

    YouTube Unveils eCommerce Platform

    Agreements With iTunes and Amazon.com Provide New Revenue Stream for Content Creators; Platform Enables YouTube Community to Buy Music and Games

    Last update: 3:01 a.m. EDT Oct. 8, 2008
    SAN BRUNO, CA, Oct 08, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- YouTube, the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos, today announced a collaboration with iTunes and Amazon.com that offers the YouTube community direct access to buy and download music, games, and other products with a few clicks of a mouse. This is a first step to building a broader eCommerce platform for content partners and users on YouTube.
    The YouTube eCommerce Platform will be rolled out on a larger scale over the coming months to allow partners across all industries including music, film, TV, and publishing to generate additional revenue from their content beyond the advertising we serve against their videos. Just as YouTube users can share, favorite, comment on, and respond to videos with a single click, now users can click-to-buy products -- like songs, books and movies -- related to the content they're watching on the site.
    "YouTube content partners now have the ability to promote and monetize their content in a new and exciting way and create a deeper distribution channel for their content online," said Chad Hurley, co-founder and CEO, YouTube. "Our goal is to improve the overall YouTube experience by connecting consumers with relevant information and entertaining content. The addition of retail links will enhance the viewing experience and allow people to engage more deeply with the content they want to consume."
    "Amazon.com is always looking for new ways to make discovering and buying products as convenient as possible for our customers, which is why we're excited to collaborate with YouTube," said Scott Merlino, Senior Manager, Amazon Associates Program (Amazon's affiliate marketing program). "Now in the context of the YouTube experience visitors will be able to discover and purchase products from Amazon.com that are relevant to the content they are viewing."
    Non-obtrusive retail links to buy songs from iTunes and Amazon.com will appear on the watch pages of authorized video content from companies such as EMI Music. YouTube users watching music videos from their favorite artists will be able to click on buttons that link to the corresponding pages on iTunes and Amazon MP3 where they can buy and download that music. Those partners who use YouTube's content identification and management system can also enable retail links on claimed videos that they choose to leave up on the site.
    The YouTube eCommerce Platform is currently available in the United States. Over the coming months, the platform will be expanded internationally.
    The iTunes Store is the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of 8.5 million songs, over 30,000 TV episodes and over 2,500 films including 600 in stunning high definition video. With Apple's legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as iTunes Movie Rentals, integrated podcasting support, iMix playlist sharing, the ability to turn previously purchased tracks into complete albums at a reduced price, and seamless integration with iPod and iPhone, the iTunes Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.
    Amazon MP3 is Amazon.com's digital music store that offers over 6 million DRM-free MP3 songs from all four major music labels and thousands of independent labels that can be played on virtually any hardware device and managed with any music software.
    About YouTube
    YouTube is the world's most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube, LLC is based in San Bruno, CA, and is a subsidiary of Google Inc.
    via MarketWatch
  • Xbox 360 Gains Exclusive Tomb Raider: Underworld Downloadable Chapters

    Xbox 360 Gains Exclusive Tomb Raider: Underworld Downloadable Chapters

    If you own an Xbox 360 and you're a fan of Lara Croft, Eidos has good news for you. The upcoming Tomb Raider: Underworld will be extended with two new chapters exclusively on the 360.

    by James Brightman on Monday, October 06, 2008

    Xbox 360 Gains Exclusive Tomb Raider: Underworld Downloadable Chapters

    Eidos Interactive sent word today that it's partnered with Microsoft to bring exclusive downloadable content to the Xbox 360 for the game Tomb Raider: Underworld. Two new chapters, which extend the game experience by about six hours, will be available only on Xbox Live.

    The first chapter, Tomb Raider: Underworld – Beneath the Ashes, will become available this Christmas, and the second, Tomb Raider: Underworld – Lara's Shadow, will follow in "early 2009." The second chapter will also introduce a new playable character. Pricing on the downloads was not revealed.

    "We are constantly looking at ways to extend our franchises, whilst developing a deeper relationship with our players. The retail release of any videogame is just the start of the player experience, from there it all depends where you want to take the player in terms of ideas and innovation," said Sean Vesce, General Manager for developer Crystal Dynamics. ."With these additional chapters and the online reach of Xbox LIVE, we are able to deliver exclusive content to millions of gamers worldwide."

    "We're thrilled that Xbox owners will be able to extend their Lara Croft adventures with exclusive Tomb Raider: Underworld episodes," said George Peckham, General Manager of Global Third Party Publishing for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. "We look forward to continue working closely with our great publishing partners to deliver the most robust gaming experiences, only on Xbox 360."

    Tomb Raider: Underworld will ship this November. A playable demo will also release on Xbox Live in October.

    Getty
    19 photos
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    Tomb Raider Underworld is set around the ancient Mayan calendar. (Screenshot 1 of 19)
  • GameTap merger with Metaboli adds "credibility" to digital distribution

    GameTap merger with Metaboli adds "credibility" to digital distribution

    GameTap's acquisition by Metaboli lends "credibility" to the subscription-based digital-distribution business, according to Exent.

    The digital-distribution services company commented to GamesIndustry.biz that the acquisition deal, announced last week, is an important part of the games business and that it would lend "additional awareness and credibility" to games-on-demand business models.

    "We feel that the merger between GameTap and Metaboli is an important partnership in the games business. GameTap was aggressive in their drive to build awareness of subscription gaming to the core gamers in the US, and we commend them for this," commented the company.

    "Subscription gaming services, such that Exent offers to its broad array of partners, builds significant long term customer value, while truly offering a highly cost effective incremental distribution channel to retail and try-buy games distribution models."

    Adding: "This merged entity will serve to lend additional awareness and credibility to the games-on-demand subscription business and other digital distribution models of which Exent is a major player."

    Exent claims to have over 450,000 subscription customers worldwide.

    Scott McDaniel, Exent's CMO, also told GamesIndustry.biz: "This merger will strengthen and further legitimise digital distribution of PC games as an alternative platform to the retail model, which has many challenges, not the least of which is limited shelf space."

    "Digital distribution and subscription services offer publishers a solid and wide reaching 'second release window' and offer consumers a very cost effective way to acquire and play titles that may not be available at retail anymore."

    McDaniel went on to comment on the future of bricks and mortar retail spaces, saying he believed the two were not mutually exclusive and each played a different role.

    "I believe that digital distribution and bricks and mortar distribution can co-exist. If you think about it, digital distribution of PC games has been going on for quite a few years now," he said. "What we are seeing on the consumer front, from our own white-label services and others, is a desire for more variety and back catalogue titles."

    He added: "To draw an analogy to the film business, brick and mortar equates to theatrical release window, while digital subscription offerings equate to the DVD and home entertainment release window. Both are terrific revenue generators, however, one is significantly more 'hits driven' than the other. Digital distribution models offer the 'long tail' recurring revenue to game publishers, and we believe this is even more valuable now as development costs increase and consumer want wider access and greater value for their dollar."

    Extent provides software solutions to companies looking to become digital distributors and includes both Metaboli and GameTap among its customers.

    via gamesindustry.biz

  • Inevitable Commerce: Retail vs. Digital

    Inevitable Commerce: Retail vs. Digital

    Posted by 1UP Staff on Oct 2nd, 2008

    Inevitable Commerce: Retail vs. Digital
    Should soaring digital-download sales make retailers nervous?

    By Lara Crigger

    "There is no question digital will overtake physical. It happened in music, and it will happen to our industry."

    These are strong words from Microsoft VP of strategic marketing David Gosen, who gave the keynote address at Microsoft's U.K. Gamefest in August. But is it just another case of bigwig posturing, or is Gosen simply acknowledging the inevitable?

    Only an ostrich hasn't noticed the astonishing growth in the digital-distribution market. All three consoles offer digital-distribution service, with Microsoft and Sony both introducing major upgrades to their systems this summer. MMO juggernaut Blizzard added digitally downloadable titles to their online store. Even Amazon.com apparently wants in -- a job posting on Gamasutra seeks employees for its newly formed "Software and Video Games Digital Technology Team."

    via Clintisageek

    senior Java and/or C++/UNIX Developers! Join Amazon's Digital Video Games Technology Team! Do you want to give customers the satisfaction of getting what they want from Amazon.com right away? Do you want to have an innovative, cutting edge technology job within Amazon? The Software and Video Games Digital Technology Team is the right team for you. Our team is responsible for digital distribution of software and video game products from the Amazon website, including the newly launched Amazon Software Download store. Come join us and find out what else we have in store in this exciting, ever-changing business! We are a small and motivated team that knows how to deliver.

  • Newegg.ca Delivers Better Online Retail for Canadians

    Newegg.ca Delivers Better Online Retail for Canadians

    Award-Winning Computer and Consumer Electronics E-Retailer Expands to Canada

    Last update: 9:35 a.m. EDT Oct. 2, 2008
    TORONTO, Oct 02, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Popular e-retailer Newegg.com announced today the launch of its Canadian website www.newegg.ca with a promise to transform the online shopping experience for Canadians. Newegg's tried and true formula of unparalleled shopping experience, timely and accurate order fulfillment and superior customer service has made the company a trendsetter for e-commerce in the United States and China.
    "Newegg has grown dramatically over the years because of our commitment to providing the ultimate online shopping experience for our customers," said Tally Liu, chairman and CEO, Newegg. "This fall, Canadian consumers will be able to log onto Newegg.ca and discover what loyal Newegg customers have known for years: Once you know, you Newegg."
    Newegg has established a superior reputation as an e-commerce innovator. Its award-winning site enables shoppers to search and compare a comprehensive selection of the latest high-tech products. Complimented by competitive pricing, detailed product information, peer reviews and expert commentary, the site delivers a highly visual and interactive shopping environment. Newegg's online experience is backed up by an order fulfillment process that ships over 99% of orders within 24 hours of payment validation and an award-winning customer service group which operates 365 days a year.
    "We are thrilled to be able to share our world-class products and services with our neighbors to the north," said Michael Amkreutz, vice president of product management, Newegg. "Why shouldn't Canadians enjoy the service, selection and pricing customers have come to expect from Newegg.com? We have planned this expansion for some time, and now we are ready to bring our selection, pricing and overall value proposition to Canadian consumers."
    Newegg.ca's early offering bolsters the core products the company is best known for, an extensive inventory of computer components/accessories, gaming and consumer electronics. Like its Newegg.com counterpart, www.Newegg.ca will offer thousands of products from premier manufacturers such as AMD, Intel, Microsoft, Asus, NVIDIA, Western Digital and more.
    The launch of Newegg.ca comes at a time when many industry observers and researchers have recognized a lag in e-retail growth between Canada and the United States.
    "The research often shows that Canadians are looking for and expecting more than what is currently offered by many online retailers in this country," said Andrea Hadley of eMetrics Canada, an industry forum for web analytics and marketing optimization. "Retailers such as Newegg can hope to capitalize on that gap by raising the bar for Canadian consumers and in the process earning their loyalty as customers."
    Newegg owns and operates the vast majority of its inventory directly by maintaining state-of-the-art warehousing and distribution services. This allows the company to maintain control of the complete customer experience while often meeting and beating the price point of their closest competitors.
    The company's constant optimization of its customer service, product offerings and distribution systems have been responsible for its remarkable success and numerous awards since its inception in 2001. Newegg recently received Computer Shopper's Shopper's Choice Award for a fifth year in a row, testifying to its continuous ability to respond to the tech consumers' high expectations.
    "We believe we have a compelling and winning formula for success online which will resonate with Canadian consumers looking for more than just the status quo," said Bernard Luthi, vice president merchandising, Newegg. "We look forward to making Newegg.ca the new standard of excellence for e-retail in Canada and sharing the benefits of our expertise with our new customers up north."
    About Newegg
    Newegg Inc. is one of the world's leading online-only retailers of information technology products and consumer electronics. Founded in 2001, Newegg has more than 10 million registered users and regularly earns industry-leading customer service ratings. At its award-winning Web site, www.newegg.com, shoppers can compare a comprehensive selection of the latest high-tech products, view detailed descriptions, pictures, how-to information and customers reviews, and interact with members of the technology enthusiast community. Newegg.com is headquartered in the City of Industry, Calif. For more information, visit www.newegg.com.
    via MarketWatch
  • Game Sales Expected to be Flat in September, Bounce Back in October – Lazard

    Game Sales Expected to be Flat in September, Bounce Back in October – Lazard

    September is facing a very tough comparison with last year when Halo 3 launched, but October has a number of hot releases and sales should reaccelerate then, says Colin Sebastian.

    by James Brightman on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Game Sales Expected to be Flat in September, Bounce Back in October – Lazard

    The September video games sales data won't be released by The NPD Group for another couple weeks, but Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian believes that software sales for the month (including PC games) were either flat or even down 10 percent. This is likely due to a tough comparison with last September when Halo 3 stormed retail and boosted overall software sales 47 percent.

    For Sebastian, October should be a key month for judging the health of the game industry in the U.S. He's optimistic that strong titles and the continued popularity of the music games should push sales north once again.

    "Based on recent investor meetings we hosted with Nintendo and LucasArts, and other industry checks, we believe video game companies remain cautiously optimistic ahead of the key holiday selling season. However, given our expectation for slower growth in September industry sales data, coupled with overall consumer uneasiness, we believe shares in the sector are likely to remain choppy until there is better visibility for holiday sales. Specifically, we believe the performance of an extensive October new software release lineup will provide the next meaningful gauge of the industry's resistance to the broader macroeconomic slowdown. Importantly, when industry sales historically have fallen below expectations (e.g., 2002 and 2004), we believe decelerating trends became clear in the September/October timeframe. At this point, based on the strength of the October lineup, we currently expect a healthy rebound to positive growth in October on a stronger release lineup," he stated.

    While the music game genre has been a key contributor to video game sales in 2008, and Sebastian expects them to drive holiday sales as well, he does acknowledge that these titles' higher pricing could perhaps hinder market performance somewhat. "While our checks indicate that interactive entertainment remains one of the stronger categories at retail, we cannot rule out the possibility that high ASP software such as $180 music titles may face some headwinds at retail this holiday," he noted. via GameDaily

  • GameStop Acquires French Chain

    GameStop Acquires French Chain

    Videogame retailer GameStop has increased its footprint yet again in Europe through the acquisition of established chains.

    Grapevine, Tex.-based Gamestop said Wednesday it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire leading French games retailer Micromania from private equity fund L Capital.

    Micromania has 332 stores throughout the region. GameStop previously had no French stores.

    The transaction is worth about $700 million (€480 million) in cash and has yet to be cleared by the European Commission, according to the firm. GameStop will purchase "virtually all" Micromania outstanding shares.

    "The transaction is a reflection of our belief that the European video game market is growing and will be an important part of GameStop’s worldwide growth," CEO Dan DeMatteo said in a statement.

    The company aims to achieve EPS growth of at least 25 percent in fiscal 2009.

    GameStop expects the purchase "to be accretive to our fully diluted EPS in both the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2009.”

    The retailer now lays claim to 1,077 European stores. GameStop has over 5,100 stores across the globe. via Edge
  • Ten Most Annoying DRM Methods

    Ten Most Annoying DRM Methods

    Digital rights management is the bogeyman of PC gaming. Most publishers demand it to help stave off piracy, yet the pirates seem to hack through it as effortlessly as if it was not there at all. Meanwhile, the people caught in the middle—the gamers who are forced to jump through activation hoops and endure limited usage licenses—are made to feel like they are being punished for the virtue of not being a thief.

    Anyone who’s purchased a PC game at any time has experienced the frustration that comes with proving your innocence. But these ten DRM measures could very well be the worst of them.



    10. Lenslok


    In the days before digital products could also be digitally protected, copy protection was handled by analog technology. More of a precursor to DRM in the strictest sense, these star maps and decoder discs attempted to make the authentication process fun (and immediately rendered the game unusable once the necessary doohickey was lost or stolen by a pirating schoolmate). Lenslok was one that didn’t have to get lost to get under the skin. A foldout series of prisms, Lenslok was designed to be held against a computer screen to unscramble a bit of text. But this text had to fit inside the eye of the Lenslok, which meant each game of Elite was started with a lengthy graphics calibration process that wouldn’t even work if used on a large enough TV. That such a problem seems quaint today is a testament to the gauntlet of modern DRM troubles.



    9. Manual-Based Protection


    Again this isn’t strictly DRM, but no conversation of gaming copy protection history would be complete reminiscing on the days when it was all about the manual. Any older PC gamer will remember when they had to whip out the documentation every few hours just to get the game to trust them again, and most recall being thwarted by Leisure Suit Larry’s infamous trivia-based age check (an even more difficult task now as the questions were designed for today’s fifty year-olds). Not as annoying as Lenslok, manual-based protection was however significantly more pervasive. There’s no telling how many gaming man-hours were taken from players who had lost their manuals and were instead relegated to guessing the name of the mustachioed man on page 14.


    8. Earthbound


    Consoles are walled gardens by nature, with the DRM built in so deeply that most gamers don’t even think about it. But that doesn’t mean tactics to prevent copying don’t exist on console—such strategies have existed forever, and some of them were actually downright brilliant. Perhaps the most prominent example of cartridge-based DRM was in the SNES classic Earthbound. Those that had Super Nintendo disc copiers would find that their illegal copy of Earthbound seemed to play fine. What they didn’t know was that the game was spawning way more enemies than normal, making the entire game an endless annoyance. And to those intrepid pirates who slogged their way through anyway, Earthbound had a special treat for them—the game would freeze in the middle of the battle with the final boss, taking the time to instead delete whatever saved games it could find.
    more...
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