Corporate stuff

Digging for Atari's 'corporate shame,' the buried E.T. games

AUSTIN, Texas -- E.T. wants to go home. But first there will have to be a massive excavation of a city's garbage dump.

As is part of video-game industry lore, in 1983 Atari ran screaming from its ill-advised E.T. game and hastily and quietly buried millions of cartridges. Somewhere. No one was quite sure where.

It turns out the where was Alamgordo, N.M., and almost certainly deep in the giant city garbage dump. Last year, a team of filmmakers announced they're working on a documentary about the infamous E.T. game disaster -- which cost … Read more

Disney Interactive lays off 700 workers, adios social gaming

After dismal earnings, Disney announced Thursday that it's laying off one quarter of its gaming and Internet division -- that's about 700 people, according to the Associated Press.

The cuts are in the company's Interactive unit and will most likely affect people who work on Disney's social games, according to the AP. The layoffs also come with discontinued games like Sorority Life and Tap Tap Revenge.

The restructuring was "difficult but necessary given our long-term strategy focused on sustainable profitability and innovation," Disney told the AP.

Disney put most of its Internet properties into … Read more

Transformers, meet 3D printing: Hasbro and 3D Systems team up

3D-printed products from multinational toy company Hasbro -- which oversees brands such as Transformers, Star Wars, Scrabble, and Monopoly -- may be a future fixture of children's playrooms, classroom show-and-tell, and family board game night thanks to a partnership that could accelerate the adoption of 3D printers in mainstream settings like households and schools.

The Rhode Island-based company announced Friday that it has partnered with 3D Systems, a maker of wide-ranging 3D printers and accompanying software, to "co-develop, co-venture and deliver new immersive, creative play experiences powered by 3D printing for children and their families later this year.&… Read more

Slow Wii U sales send Nintendo shares into a downward spiral

Nintendo's forecast doesn't appear to be looking up since the company's announcement of its sluggish Wii U sales on Friday. Shares in the gaming company have plummeted 10 percent in Japan over the last two days.

Trading on Monday in Japan quoted Nintendo's stock at 13,145 yen ($126) down from 14,645 yen ($140) on Friday, according to Reuters. This is far below the company's record high stocks in 2007 that saw share prices at 73,200 yen ($704).

Nintendo announced on Friday that it has revised its Wii U sales expectations from an … Read more

Making Roomba for innovation: 5 lessons from iRobot

iRobot has launched its latest Roomba, a high-end 880 series vacuum with a new cleaning system dubbed Aeroforce and a bevy of tweaks based on customer feedback.

While I've tried the Roomba 880 and found it handy, the real story to me revolves around how iRobot thinks and approaches its products. The company started out making military robots, then got into its iconic Roomba and now has health care robots too.

In other words, iRobot is a fun company to watch, and its main value proposition is adding some time back to your life with fewer chores.

Here are … Read more

Ouya changes the rules for its Free the Games Fund

Ever since Ouya launched its Free the Games Fund, gamers and developers have wondered whether some people were taking short cuts to get funding for their projects -- namely getting friends and family to donate a high amount of money to meet the project minimum on Kickstarter.

It may be because of this speculation that the gaming company announced Wednesday it was changing the rules of the fund. Now, the project minimum has been lowered to $10,000, but projects must have at least 100 backers for every $10,000 raised.

"You need to play by the spirit of … Read more

Airbnb hires hotelier to lead host hospitality training

Airbnb has hired a seasoned boutique hotel executive to set up hospitality standards for its listings, the company announced Tuesday.

Chip Conley, founder of the posh boutique hotel company Joie de Vivre Hospitality, is Airbnb's new head of global hospitality. His first task is creating a training program for hosts that will set standards for the peer-to-peer home rental company. It's a unique challenge, given that there are more than 500,000 Airbnb listings globally, all with different hosts acting as hoteliers. The company now has listings in 35,000 cities spread over 192 countries, with hosts and … Read more

Facebook perks cater to employees' every need

The last time I visited the buildings located at 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park, Calif., Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg were nowhere to be found. It was 2007, and I was reporting on Sun Microsystems.

Today, traces of the former tenant are still visible. But aside from the occasional Sun sign or logo, much of the campus' look and feel has been completely reimagined. Gone are the warrens of cubicles. Instead, Facebook has opted for clusters of desks to foster collaboration. The adequate, but rather ordinary, Sun Micro cafeteria has been replaced with Philz Coffee, the Burger Shack, and … Read more

Disney tries to revive its digital gaming with 'Disney Infinity'

Disney is looking to boost its digital unit, and to do so it has reportedly thrown more than $100 million toward a new project called "Disney Infinity," according to The Wall Street Journal. This comes after abysmal earnings and hundreds of layoffs over the past couple of years.

The project will feature video games from many of Disney's TV shows and major movies like "Cars," "Pirates of the Caribbean," and "The Incredibles." The games will work similarly to a choose-your-own-adventure scenario. They are designed for players to be able to create … Read more

Activision to spend billions to buy back Vivendi stake

Activision Blizzard, publisher of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, is spending $5.83 billion to buy back roughly 429 million shares from majority shareholder Vivendi.

Activision announced Friday that it will acquire the shares for $13.60 each. In addition, ASAC II, led by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, will conduct a separate transaction to purchase another 172 million Activision shares for $2.34 billion.

Under the agreement, Vivendi will no longer be a majority shareholder but will retain 12 percent ownership -- a drop from 61.1 percent. ASAC II will own a stake … Read more