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With the announcement of PlayStation 4’s social elements, companies, game developers and gamers are coming together in a more integrated social ecosystem.

After watching last night’s PlayStation 4 LiveStream I learned some interesting things about Sony’s next iteration of their upcoming system the “PS4”. I learned that Sony has been watching and listening by integrating social networks, integrating 4th screen technology and cloud technology.

PlayStation Goes Social - Video Game Engagement Trends 1

I assume Sony is planning on hitting these mediums as follows:

Social Networks:

Sony has partnered with Facebook and UStream to help gamers collect and share content instantly with a dedicated “Share” button on the back of the controller. This is HUGE news to any gamer who’s ever wasted their time saving, editing and uploading their pwnage (pure ownage) to YouTube. Now gamers will be able to share their pwnage instantly in game as well as to the world. Seems like a gaming marketer’s dream.

If you don’t believe that people are actively doing this as we speak, here’s a clip from my COD:MW3 (Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3) clan member Dan.

PlayStation Goes Social - Video Game Engagement Trends 1

YouTube: http://youtu.be/kge8esdag1I

4th Screen:

Sony is leveraging what it calls “Remote Play” so users can experience their game on multiple screens and keep users engaged in their game for longer periods of time while helping to boost their PS Vita handheld sales.

Game developers and Sony will also be working on separate apps to leverage smartphones and tablets to help bring gamers together and incorporate updates, news and invites to gamers on the go. Do you see the “social” theme coming through here?

PlayStation Goes Social - Video Game Engagement Trends 1

Cloud Technology:

To the Cloud! Everything has to be on the cloud these days, even our games! Sony seems to have the right idea of leveraging cloud services to give users instant gratification by allowing them to buy a game and play it instantly while the rest of the game downloads. On top of that, Sony will or should be leveraging some of the PS4’s new social technology to help target market specific games to users on their networks based on their “likes”.

Only time will tell how successful the PlayStation 4 will be when it’s finally released, but it’s a great idea to socialize their technology on a medium that’s already its own social channel.

Planning a destination wedding is becoming more popular for couples. Considering the cost of traveling abroad, organizing a U.S. destination wedding can help couples stay within their budget but still have the wedding of their dreams. Think about visiting your selected destination around the same time you plan to get married. This provides couples with an idea of what the area will look like and what the temperatures will feel like on their wedding day. Use this information in the planning the attire, time and other elements for your destination wedding.

The Beach

Consider getting married in the sun and sand. Select a U.S. beach to say your vows. Popping to mind first is Hawaii, with year round beautiful weather, world-class beaches and romantic sunsets. Select an island that meets your style. Consider Oahu and Maui for lagoons, Kauai for tropical, untouched vegetation and the Big Island for black sand beaches and a volcanic landscape. Think about the Florida or California coast if Hawaii isn’t in your budget. Both are closer to home, more budget friendly for guests and offer beautiful settings. Choosing one of the coasts means you could enjoy nightlife with your wedding guests in cities like Miami or Los Angeles.

Beach

Winery or Vineyard

Plan a destination wedding at a winery or vineyard. Consider this idea if you’re a wine enthusiast or for a picture-perfect outdoor setting. Marrying at a winery does require serving the wine at the wedding. Check on policies regarding beer, liquor or other beverages before booking a location. Selecting a winery doesn’t just mean California wine country. Nearly every state produces wine and many offer facilities for weddings and parties. Select a destination that matches your style such as a spacious patio overlooking the vineyards or an intimate barrel room. Planning an outdoor vineyard wedding requires a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Consider renting a tent or preparing a room within the winery for the wedding.

lv

Las Vegas

Thought of as the place to elope, Las Vegas offers couples many options for tying the knot. Consider an elegant ballroom or the lush landscaped gardens of a resort for your wedding destination. Many hotels offer a variety of wedding packages to fit a couple’s budget. Choose one of the numerous chapels in the city to say your vows. Incorporate the Vegas theme into your rehearsal dinner with casino games or celebrity impersonators. Give Vegas-themed wedding favors such as dice or cards. Remember Vegas offers warm, sunny weather year round, but summer temperatures often reach the century mark. Consider the temperature when planning attire, wedding location and wedding time.

When a brand becomes a verb you know it’s proverbial paydirt. Example: What do you do when you want find out about something? You Google it of course. But for all the benefits of having so much information at our fingertips, there may be a downside.

How Google Affects Our Memory There’s a fantastic infographic that was put out by onlinecolleges.net that I want to share with you. It speaks directly to the impact Google has had and continues to have on our everyday lives and more specifically, our collective memories. You’ll notice they do a great job of separating out what they call “The Google’s Brain” into four separate quadrants, touching on each of the four and including the benefits of each these quadrants provide all of us with… well all of us that use Google, anyway.

But be sure to look at the Section 2 – How is Google changing our memory? This is where it gets to be a little disconcerting, at least to me, especially when I factor in my 7 year old son and soon-to-be 12 year old daughter who will of course never know what it feels like to research something via an encyclopedia, either in your own home or in a library. As it reads below “[in the past]… we found ways to memorize what we needed to know; we were genuinely interested in the information which helped us remember it the next time we needed to know this same information.”

However with Google at the ready, we simply search, point, click, save. We don’t remember the information itself but rather where got it from in the first place. Not good…

How Google Affects Our Memory

Then we get to section 3, The Consequences… “We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools. These tools have replaced our need to memorize many details… and without these tools we may be lost.” And “… the internet is filled with incorrect information.” Remember, back in the day, we looked up something in an encyclopedia and it was gospel; it was the truth and you never question the validity of it.

Obviously having a tool such as Google is a good thing… a VERY good thing. Technology being what it is – ever changing, ever adapting and so on, is a wondrous thing for sure. And I am surely not about to sit here and say we need to go back to the days of Funk & Wagnall’s (that’s an old encyclopedia reference for those under the age of 40). No, I am merely bringing up the point that while technology makes our lives easier the catch-22 in some instances we become too dependent on it.

The dining experience awaiting you in New York has the capability to take you back to old New York, or propel you forward into the contemporary styling of the Upper East Side. Lamb, fish, wine, steaks, sushi, dessert, and even something from the kiddie menu is available in this is city. The city that never sleeps sports as much of a plethora of exotic cuisine as it does euphoric nightlife. In order to experience the city to its fullest, one must indulge in one of New York City’s most reputable assets, its restaurants.

Dining in New York City

French Cuisine, Dutch Price

Visit New York’s version of old Paris, as you sip the finest “vino” under rustic yellow lights and authentic wood ceilings. Caramelized onion tart and vegetable puree are menu favorites. Reservations aren’t necessary.

Be Caught. Hottest Sushi/Fish Bars in the City

The spices of Asia meet the freshness of the sea at Bongo, a contemporary sushi and oyster bar located on Tenth Ave. Fifties-inspired architecture suits this sushi-grade hot spot, with an open bar and great martinis.

Dining in New York City

Climb Aboard Le Bateaux

Meant to evoke the nostalgic bateau-mouche rides down the Seine, Bateaux New York takes dining recreation to the next level, much justifying a somewhat upscale cost. Tenderly glazed miso-Chilean sea bass and succulent filet mignon highlight the menu aboard Bateaux New York, yet tourists say the experience is as delicious as the meal. Reservations are required.

Reservation under “Healthy”

Brooklyn’s Imhotep Health and Vegan Restaurant welcomes faraway spices, organic greens and vegan delights in their menu. Reservations are not necessary, and Imhotep has a flaming hot take out service for those on the run.

Dining in New York City

Care to Dip?

Voted most romantic restaurant by a local NY restaurant review guide, Simply Fondue is ideal for an intimate night out. A fondue dinner for two is on the expensive side of moderate, and the martini lounge is always open. Reservations are suggested for this lovebird lagoon; places fill up fast!

Family in Funky Town

Moderately priced, there isn’t another restaurant in Midtown that shouts family as loud as Serendipity 3. From peppermint tea to foot long hot dogs, you’ll find a way to quench whatever you’re craving at Serendipity 3.

When you watch television you get the idea that spring break is all about getting ridiculously drunk and dancing around half naked. In reality, spring break is a time to enjoy your friends and do things that you don’t get to do during your day-to-day life. While drinking can play a part in lowering your inhibitions, there are many other things to do while on your spring break vacation.

Hottest Spring Break ActivitiesBeach Fun  

Going to the beach seems to be a given for many spring breakers. Getting a head start on your summer tan, enjoying the warmth after a cold winter, hanging out with your friends, playing volleyball, dancing and having bonfires are all part of the hottest spring break activities.

Hottest Spring Break ActivitiesRoad Tripping

Piling into the car with your closest friends and good music. Setting out for “parts unknown” wandering as you choose, meeting people along the way and generally having a fun and relaxing time while seeing the sights along the way is also a very popular spring break activity.

Hottest Spring Break ActivitiesCruising

A group cruise is great fun. You and all of your friends take a trip on a luxurious ocean liner and head to a tropical climate for a few days. You will meet other groups of friends and enjoy shipboard activities as well as see new sights wherever you dock.

Whatever you decide to do for spring break, don’t overindulge, don’t drink and drive, and be safe. But most of all, enjoy this time with your friends and have fun.

TV Everywhere could be a big moneymaker for advertisers and networks. Viewers now have the option of watching their favorite shows on TV at home, on their laptop or even on their mobile device at no additional cost, which will change the way TV is purchased from a media standpoint.

Television

Gone are the days when the family would gather in the family room to watch their favorite prime-time TV shows. The VCR dabbled in changing this habit, but the DVR completely mastered this concept. Now viewers have the option of watching their favorite shows on TV at home, on their laptop or even on their mobile device at no additional cost. This concept is known as TV Everywhere.

The growing demand for TV Everywhere has transitioned TV from a platform device to an experience, which is beneficial to both the viewers and advertisers. With TV Everywhere, cable operators are allowing mobile access to customers who pay for TV service, improving customer satisfaction and creating new revenue opportunities. And one of the main perks is that unlike DVR, consumers do not have to plan ahead to use it.

Television

TV Everywhere could be a big moneymaker in the future for advertisers and networks. According to Need-ham & Co’s Laura Martin, TV Everywhere could bring an additional $5.6 billion into the ad market each year. Since commercials will be the same as television, revenues will not be lost from ad skipping if the fast-forward button is disabled. This will also change the way TV is purchased from a media standpoint. Companies will be able to buy packages, which allow them to advertise across multiple platforms, and purchases will be focused more on impressions rather than ratings.

Television

David Verklin, one of the cable industry’s most influential executives, explains in this video why he’s bullish on the future of television, and why the reasons have as much to do with new media as old.

In a world where technology is rapidly advancing, service providers will need to produce a consistent viewing experience across multiple devices in order to keep up. How do you think TV Everywhere will influence a shifting approach to advertising?

Chicago

Escape the hustle and bustle of life in the big city of Chicago with a few quick getaways. Getting out of the city for a few hours can rejuvenate a person’s mind, body, and spirit. Choosing an activity away from downtown Chicago provides visitors with the chance to explore new cities and other points of interest. Check if public transportation is an option, and avoid traffic. Pack a picnic lunch, or research restaurants in the area to grab a quick bite to eat. Create a relaxing activity near Chicago.

Chicago

Chicago-land Speedway
Visit the Chicago-land Speedway for the chance to feel some speed. Located in Joliet, Illinois, the speedway hosts both NASCAR and Indy car races during the year. Take a tour of Chicago-land Speedway to get a behind-the-scenes view of the track. Jump into the action at Chicago-land Speedway with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Get behind the wheel of a stock car and see the track like the drivers do. Test your driving skills at the mile-and-a-half track with speeds of up to 160 miles per hour. Make arrangements through the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Chicago

Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore
Escape the busyness of Chicago with a trip to Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore. Situated about an hour from downtown Chicago, the dunes offer the perfect afternoon escape. Access the dunes by public transportation using the Chicago South Shore line. Enjoy the beaches of Lake Michigan, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, or swimming during the summer. Try hiking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing during the winter. Camping facilities are available for an overnight stay on a first-come-first-served basis.

Chicago

Springfield
Take a trip to the capital city, Springfield. Jump on the train or make the three-hour drive to Springfield, and enjoy a day full of history. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Lincoln tomb, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, and the Lincoln home. Stop by the Illinois State Capitol or the Executive Mansion while in town. Stay for a summer evening in Springfield, and enjoy the drive-in movie theater or the Muni, an outdoor theater by the lake.