Snapchat’s Monetizing Ways

For most adults, Snapchat sounds like so many cautionary tales waiting to happen. The app first came to light as something of a sexting service. As more users have signed on to it, the taboo-ness of Snapchat’s concept has waned considerably. We now know this isn’t just a sexting service and that in itself is not its appeal. The real reason why kids love Snapchat is because of its ephemerality.

Snapchat is eager to monetize the service and has the ability to experiment because the core idea behind the product appeals so much to how we naturally converse in real life. Brands should amenable to this growing phase so they can flourish right alongside the network.

Snapchat’s founders have begun to unveil their plans for how they plan to enact native ads on an app that remarkably lacks a feed. Snapchat co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel had some interesting ideas about monetization. Looking to Chinese company Tencent as a role model, users of Snapchat may soon being seeing product updates in a new kind of feed.

“The feed was probably the biggest innovation in social media of late. But the interesting thing about a feed is that the more content you consume, the farther in time you go,” said Spiegel at Disrupt SF in September.

With any potential mistakes erased in a matter of seconds and the current pool of brands utilizing the service being so small in number at the moment, it’s a wonder why more brands aren’t experimenting with Snapchat right now.

Karmaloop is a notable brand whose identity more closely resembles the ethos of Snapchat. They are unafraid to use the service in a saucy and risqué wayTaco Bell has been on board, using Snapchat’s new stories feature in cute and refreshing ways. The brand obviously sees ways to develop with consumers an affinity with the fast food brand in a place to market to teens almost exclusively.

Source: TechCrunch

In Asia, Messaging + Gaming = Money

Messaging apps are, at their heart, social networks – and they can make big money from gaming if they’re popular enough, at least in Asia. The leading messaging apps (WeChat in China, Line in Japan, and KakaoTalk in Korea) are growing rapidly both in total users and in gaming revenue. WeChat claims that it has 500 million users, while the competition, Line and KakaoTalk, come in second and third with 200 million and 100 million, respectively.

These social networks are also picking big time revenue. Line has $132 million in recorded revenue for the second quarter of 2013, while KakaoTalk has $311 in revenue – just from the gaming market.

Such games as Rhythm Master really give a push forward for networks such as these. Through the download service Wandoujia, the game, powered by Chinese pop music, has seen a whopping 919,000 downloads per month, with users sharing their results with friends online. WeRunner, another popular entry, has also seen huge downloads, around 522,000. TenCent’s news service reports that the game has brought in $16 million for the first month, with one day even peaking at a million dollars.

We’ll see how much growth these services get over the next couple of years. Can messaging apps make similar inroads in other parts of the world, and become major gaming platforms

Source: PandoDaily

Game Gifting Coming To Xbox One?

Some people like to share the gift of gaming with others, whether it’s buying their little sibling a copy of Rayman Legends for Christmas or surprising a loved one with a role-playing game for their birthday. Soon, Microsoft could be adding the option to its Xbox One service.

Speaking earlier this week during a Reddit session, Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb stated that the system could provide gifting. However, it won’t be anytime soon. “Great feature we’d like to add in someday, but won’t be there at launch,” said Hyrb.

A Family Sharing program was originally introduced with the system, but has since been toned down in favor of more technical features for the system.

The Xbox One will hit U.S. stores on November 22nd.

Source: Polygon

Google Nexus 5 Now Available

Google is ready to take the smartphone market by storm, and give Android gamers a significant power boost.

The company has officially announced the Nexus 5, which was accidentally revealed over the past few weeks by employees of the company through promo videos that have since been deleted. It’s now available in stores, with a 16GB model for $349, and a 32GB model for $399. Both are unlocked and come with LTE technology.

The device ships with the latest Android system software (version 4.4, ‘KitKat’) and the most powerful CPU and GPU combo available from Qualcomm, making it the best gaming handheld for Android to date. Early benchmark testing places it just behind the iPhone 5s as far as gameplaying goes, thanks to the Snapdragon 800 CPU and the Adreno 330 GPU that runs 450 MHz. The Nexus 5 should be the best Android phone for gaming, and with an unlocked price of $349 it’s a very competitive handheld gaming platform.

Other specs for the Nexus 5 are as follows:

Display: 4.95” 1920×1080 HD Display (445 ppi)
CPU: 2.26 Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Front Camera: 1.3MP
Rear Camera: 8.0MP with Optical Image Stabilization (read: a gyroscope built into the lens that tries to counteract any shaking)
Storage: 16 GB or 32 GB internal storage
GPU: Adreno 330 running at 450 Mhz
WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Battery: 2300mAh (w/ an estimated talk time of around 17 hours, or 8.5 hours of WiFi usage)

Source: TechCrunch

Soon, Games Will Fly

If you’ve taken a flight, then you’re aware of certain restrictions with game systems, smartphones and tablets, having to shut them off before takeoff only to wait a certain amount of time to reactivate them. Well, that could be a thing of the past.

The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA for short, has announced that it will ease off on these device shutdowns. With these revised guidelines, users will now be able to continue using their favorite devices during takeoff and landing. This follows a recent report that systems and tablets didn’t cause any interference with radio equipment aboard planes.

There are still certain restrictions, like being unable to make a phone call or send a text, or use devices that emit cell signals – like specific models of tablets. These will still need to be activated in “Airplane Mode” until landing.

“The world has changed a lot in the past 50 years,” said FAA administrator Michael Huerta. “Let’s take a fresh look. It will take some time for each airline to certify their fleet is safe, but we expect implementation to be soon.”

Source: Shacknews

‘Kerbal Space Program’ Gets Schooled

Whoever said games can’t serve a purpose in school hasn’t seen what TeacherGaming has been doing.

Following a successful run with bringing a modified version of Mojang’s Minecraft to certain schools, the team has announced that it will now bring Kerbal Space Program to a number of institutions.

Being introduced under the name KerbalEdu, most of the gameplay will remain intact, save for a few slight modifications. But kids shouldn’t worry, as the general exploration theme, as well as a variety of its options, will remain intact.

“The idea is that we don’t ruin the game,” said TeacherGaming CEO Santeri Koivisto, speaking previously about MinecraftEdu. “So when the kids come to school they don’t think it’s some rubbish school Minecraft, they just know it’s their favourite game at home and now they’re playing it at school.”

No word yet on which schools would be getting the program, but approximately 50 will be selected for a test run in November.

Source: IGN