App Store Approaching 50 Billion Downloads

Apple announced that there have been nearly 50 billion app downloads from the App Store. The App Store had reached the 25 million download mark just 14 months ago.

Games dominate the all time paid app list. 19 of the top 25 spots went to games, led by Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope, and Angry Birds: Seasons.

On the free app chart, games were less prominent, with apps for Facebook, Pandora, and Instagram taking up the top five slots. The six games on the free app chart were (in order) Words With Friends, Temple Run, Angry Birds Free, Draw Something Free, Fruit Ninja Free, and Pac-Man Lite.

Collector Editions An ‘Incredible Marketing PR Tool’

Special Edition merchandise has become a hot commodity with special edition versions of games. Jon Buller, vice president of Marketing Instincts, says that his company has seen game sales positively affected by good merchandise.

“We’ve seen collectable merchandise drive in-game sales tremendously,” Buller said. “When a shout caster wore our custom League of Legends character hoodie (the infamous Blitzcrank hoodie) at PAX Prime before it was released, fans literally went crazy. Not only were fans excited about the future release of the merchandise, the hoodie actually drew attention towards the character Blitzcrank and increased in-game sales for the character.”

“Game companies definitely see collector editions and collectable items as both an incredible marketing PR tool and as a revenue generator,” he added. “The idea of exclusivity really creates hype and excitement for their games, as well as promoting and rewarding brand loyalty.”

Collector’s editions also have a holistic effect for game brands. “Gaming companies come to us to create awesome swag because it truly is a part of the gaming world. There’s something about us gamers that love swag,” said Buller. “When I visit my gaming clients I see it on everyone’s desk, in their cube, they’re wearing it – hats, shirts, hoodies, backpacks, shorts, socks, flip flops and probably, if you looked, their underwear.”

Buller noted that collectors are often willing to pay out big time to get  a piece of rare swag. “I’ve seen swag that our client gave away at Comic-Con being sold for $300 on eBay that day,” he said. “We know there is a growing trend for gaming fans to attend events with the intention to acquire as much free swag and exclusive retail merchandise as possible and then sell it on eBay and to their friends. I’ve managed retail merchandise booths at events for our gaming clients where individuals will commonly buy over $2000 of exclusive merchandise for just that reason. The demand is really that high.”

“I’ve seen the value of items going on eBay directly affect production quantities of many items we’ve produced for our clients,” Buller said. “If our clients see a high selling price on eBay for their swag they definitely ramp up production for their next events.”

Source: GamesIndustry International


PepsiCo In Hot Water For Goat Ad

PepsiCo has taken flak for an ad that some are saying embraces racial stereotypes and makes light of violence towards women. Pepsi has taken the video from off of their online channels, as has the director of the ad, African-American hip-hop artist Tyler the Creator.

For its part, Pepsi was direct when the issue came to light about the ad. “We apologize for this video and take full responsibility,” said a PepsiCo spokeswoman in an emailed statement.To put the ad in context, there was a a previous video where the goat attacked the women, who was its waitress, after she tasted Mountain Dew.


Nintendo Actively Courting Smartphone Developers For Wii U

Nintendo is looking to make it easier to bring smartphone applications to the Wii U. The platform holder is offering professional-use conversion software to developers so they can produce smartphone games that can be played on Wii U

Nintendo hopes smartphone software will push more sales of the Wii U. The Wii U missed its full year sales estimates selling only 3.45 million units during the last fiscal year.


Mega Man 25th Anniversary Case Announced For 3DS/3DS XL

Capcom has announced that they are putting out a Mega Man 25th anniversary case for 3DS and 3DS XL. This comes after the popularity of the Monster Hunter cases and all of the NES Mega Man games coming to Virtual Console.

“On the front you see this striking 8-bit Mega Man image, while the back has the 25th anniversary logo to commemorate two-plus decades of mega-goodness. They’re not on sale just yet (still being ironed out / ordered) but they’ll definitely be at SDCC – plus we’ll have some for the Capcom Store too. And like the MH case, there will be regular 3DS / XL versions from which to choose,” wrote Brett Elston, Senior Online/Community Manager at Capcom. “In other case news, there are even more Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate cases coming. They’re not as far along as this Mega Man case though, so once we have images to share, I’m sure Yuri will post ’em on Unity!”


iPad Leads Tablet Sales As Competitors Come On Strong

IDC reports that Microsoft shipped 900,000 Surface tablets and that Windows 8 and Windows RT shipments totaled 1.8 million during the first quarter, making it the fifth biggest maker of tablet computers. Amazon was fourth with 1.8 million Kindle tablets shipped, Asus was at number 3 with 2.7 million tablets shipped (such as Google’s Nexus 7), Samsung landed at two with 8.8 million tablets shipped during Q1 and Apple lead the way with 19.5 million iPads shipped.

“Sustained demand for the iPad mini and increasingly strong commercial shipments led to a better-than expected first quarter for Apple,” Tom Mainelli, research director for IDC. “In addition, by moving the iPad launch to the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple seems to have avoided the typical first-quarter slowdown that traditionally occurred when consumers held off buying in January and February in anticipation of a new product launch in March.”

Overall tablet shipments grew 142.4 percent year over year to 49.2 million, better than the entire first half of 2012. While Apple was far and away the biggest maker of tablet computers and saw its shipments nearly double from last year, its market share was down from 58.1 percent last year to 39.6 percent.


Mark Sanford Gets Endorsed By Marriage ‘Dating’ Site

Ashley Madison is taking full advantage of the high profile congressional race by putting up two large billboards in Columbia, South Carolina. The billboards feature an image of philanderer Mark Sanford and the message, “Next time use . . . to find your running mate.”

Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman explained that they’ve staged similar marketing campaigns before and in other countries. The extramarital “dating” site has featured ads with President Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, and the King of Spain.

Biderman sees moments like this as ones that normalize infidelity. “These campaigns are social commentary,” Biderman said.

Biderman wants Sanford to win and it has nothing to do with politics, it’s all about cultural acceptance of what his site does. “I want to be able to buy ads during the Super Bowl,” he noted.

When asked about the particular affair Sanford had, which the politician characterized as a love story and eventually proposed to his mistress, Biderman said, “I don’t think it’s uncommon to position infidelity as a love story,”

Still, Biderman admitted that most people on hope to save, not sink, their marriages. “The vast majority of [Ashley Madison’s] users are looking for something much more temporary to supplement their marriages,” he said.

For the moment, the billboard (and other things) have South Carolina voters talking about Sanford’s indiscretions. The voting for the special election between Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch begins on May 7.


Instagram’s Big Deal For Marketers

By Elena Zanone

Instagram has rolled out a new way for users and marketers to tag people and objects in their own photos and file them in a new tab called “Photos of You.” The introduction of photo-tagging on the social platform could be a game changer for not just users but also brand. It seems to be part of parent company Facebook’s move to accelerate growth and make it more appetizing for brands to take up real estate on the platform.

“‘Photos of You’ offers a new way to share and discover stories on Instagram, as well as provides users with a great way to share and discover content that showcases the brands and products they love.” Instagram announced in their blog yesterday.

Instagram’s new feature is similar to Facebook’s own photo tagging system, where users can add a person’s name, and the image will then appear on their own profile and News Feed depending on privacy settings. Previously, users could @mention others in photo captions but there was no way to indicate who was who in a photo.

The biggest improvement is that now users will be able to tag objects, which is perfect for brands.  It’s a feature that Facebook doesn’t even offer, so Instagram’s brand amplification meter just got a little more juice. The change could be a goldmine for marketers who are constantly striving to create ways to reach the platform’s 100 million users and drive more engagement.

Before “Photos of You,” brands could only curate the Instagram stream to show off the best products they sell. Users could then follow the brand’s account to see what they had to offer, and that was the end of it. (Womp. Womp.) It wasn’t much of a pull for advertisers who currently dedicate their social dollars and time to more advertising-friendly sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Now, brands have an interesting opportunity to get creative for future campaigns and other marketing initiatives on Facebook’s photo sharing darling.

Mike Isaac at AllThingsD shared insight to on what major brands could do: “‘Photos of You’ essentially gives a brand the ability to crowdsource photos of its products — likely put to use — from the millions of people who are on Instagram and taking pictures all the time. So, basically, if I’m Nike, I could potentially get tons of free content for my Photos of You tab, all courtesy of the rest of Instagram.”

Incidentally, there are currently millions of photos tagged with hashtag #Nike on Instagram that the company can use.

Another possibility — this could answer the problem of users who’ve risen against advertising on the platform. One remedy may be that brands can now ask users to share their tagged photos on Facebook, essentially getting permission to incorporate their Instagram content into a platform where they might already be running campaigns. It’s one way to get branded content out through users who might otherwise have disdain for straight-up ads in their feed. It’s also likely to drive deeper engagement by that users’ friends than traditional sponsored content.

“Photos of You” is available in Instagram’s iOS and Android versions of the app, but no talk yet of incorporating the feature into the web version. Facebook says all users will have until May 16th to test the feature before their “Photos of You” section is visible to others.

What creative ways do you foresee brands using Instagram’s “Photos of You” feature  

Source: Instagram