Next-Gen Attach Rate Predicted

With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches, game publishers are hoping that users pick up a lot of their games alongside their newly bought hardware. However, according to one analyst, it’s a slightly smaller ratio than what the Xbox 360 saw at its launch.

Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz stated that both systems will have an approximate 3.25 software attach rate – meaning roughly three games will be purchased alongside a new system during its launch. By comparison, the Xbox 360 had an attach rate of 4.2 during its holiday launch, while the PlayStation 3 had an attach rate of only 1.9.

Creutz expects this to mean an average of about 20 percent of systems sold will have any given launch title sold with it. Out of all those titles, Creutz believes Battlefield 4 will have the strongest attach rate around 30 percent, while Madden NFL 25 and NBA 2K14, two of the more popular sports games for the systems, will follow closely behind.

Meanwhile, games like Zumba Fitness, Fighter Within, Zoo Tycoon and Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition are expected to have less than 20 percent of an attach rate.

Source: Gamespot

‘League of Legends’ World Championship Viewing

The audience for eSports is expanding, and the viewership numbers provided by Riot Games provides stark evidence of this. The League of Legends Season 3 World Championship was was watched by over 32 million fans worldwide, as South Korea’s SK Telecom T1 earned the Summoner’s Cup in front of a sold-out Staples Center. At peak, more than 8.5 million fans were watching at the same time. The growth over the Season 2 numbers was immense: The Season 2 World Championship was watched by 8.2 million fans, with 1.1 million watching at the same time. This includes global numbers from multiple Internet broadcasts and TV stations in China, Korea and other countries.

Putting this in the context of other popular televised sports, the audience for League of Legends‘ Season 3 finals was roughly equal to the number of viewers that watched the NHL Stanley Cup finals, which had over 5 million viewers on average for the six games in the series, with a peak viewership of 8.16 million.

Still, eSports have some higher targets to aim for. Looking at the most recent figures, the World Series had over 90 million viewers, the Super Bowl had over 108 million viewers, the NBA finals had over 120 million viewers, and the World Cup had over 1 billion viewers. Riot’s got its work cut out for it with Season 4 coming up.

Source: Riot Games

Better Voice Control For Xbox One

Microsoft is more than ready for this week’s launch of the Xbox One, but it’s already working on a number of improvements for it to operate better. Among them is a new natural voice interaction support system, one that works in a similar manner to Apple’s Siri.

The company recently demonstrated this voice control in a video demonstration, showing how it makes it easier for users to look for content rather than giving precisely worded commands. Saying something like, “I feel like watching this movie (with the title replacing “this movie”) or “show me action/adventure games” will do the trick.

This is a hurdle for the company to get over, as its prior products haven’t really had the strongest natural voice support. However, with the help of Deep Neural Network technology, Microsoft believes it can get the job done.

No word yet on when this new tech will launch, but it’s likely to be available next year.

Source: The Verge


PlayStation 4 Hardware Cost Estimated

With one million units sold in 24 hours’ time, Sony has proven that the video game market is more than ready for the next-generation. But does that mean the company will make a profit Not on hardware sales on, given the costs.

According to a breakdown from IHS iSuppli, the PlayStation 4 hardware is actually very close to the recommended retail price. This is a huge change of pace from previous iterations of gaming hardware, namely Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which were sold at an enormous loss.

The PlayStation 3 initially sold at a loss of $300 per unit, only to be trimmed down to a whopping $31.27 loss with the PlayStation 3 Slim in 2009. The PlayStation 4, by comparison, has a cost of about $381 to manufacture, $18 below the retail price of $399. That’s still a loss when you consider the discounts to retailers, shipping, marketing and other costs, but at least it’s closer to a profit. Once Sony sells a software title or two the PlayStation 4 should be profitable.

Another advantage going forward is the extensive use of industry-standard parts, which means Sony will see its costs going down with the usual reductions in parts costs for things like Blu-Ray drives.

Source: Forbes

‘Titanfall’ Exclusivity Explained

Ever since its announcement last year, the first-person shooter Titanfall has been generated huge buzz among gamers. Still, some were concerned when it was announced that it wouldn’t be released on PlayStation platforms, instead remaining exclusive to PC and Xbox 360/One.

At the UBS Technology Conference, Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen explained the reasoning behind the exclusivity, especially to Microsoft.

“That’s a process that’s been done through the industry for many years,” Jorgensen said. “There are lots of single-platform titles. Obviously, you work with the first-parties to make sure the economics make sense for all sides, and we made that decision on Titanfall.

He also explained the publisher’s relationship with Titanfall‘s developer, Respawn Entertainment. “It’s a business partnership. We’re trying to make sure that we’ve developed a great relationship with them,” he said. “We helped them on marketing, we helped them on development where they need it. And we try to maintain a strong partnership with them over time.”

As for sequels, they could see a release on PS4, but for the time being, it remains an exclusive. “So obviously it’s the first title that’s committed to a single platform,” he concluded.

Titanfall hits stores on March 11, 2014.

Source: IGN


PlayStation 4 eBay Sales Soar

A lot of people bought PlayStation 4 consoles for themselves last week . . . but some couldn’t help but buy one out of temptation to get a few extra dollars on eBay.

The online auction site has reported that over 10,000 consoles have been sold on the site over the weekend, between November 15th and 17th. They believe that “more than two PS4’s (were) sold on eBay every minute.”

“Sales of older generation consoles on eBay have also spiked, with 14,000 used consoles from previous generations sold on eBay since the launch of the PS4,” an eBay spokesperson explained. “That’s a 25 percent increase when compared to the 10 days preceding the launch as shoppers look to get some cash to put toward the purchase the new PS4 and upcoming Xbox One.”

Currently, there are still 13,000 systems being listed, so if you want one, feel free to shop around. Be prepared to spend $600 or more, though.

Source: Ars Technica

MOGA’s iPhone Game Controller

First rumored a while back, MOGA has confirmed that it is making an Ace Controller that works with iPhone 5, 5c, 5s and fifth-generation iPod Touch models.

The controller enables the user to snap their device into the center of a unit, with twin analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons and shoulder button – similar to the set-up of a video game controller.

There’s no word on a release date yet, but MOGA intends to release it in time for the holidays, as it stated that it is “going to end up in a ton of stockings this year. It’s a lot of fun, and even only for a temporary amusement, it’s not a bad deal – especially considering how expensive iPhone accessories can be,” according to the Gizmodo team.

Source: GigaOm

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – November 20

Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work. -Bette Davis

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

  • Rockstar Games – Digital Marketing Manager (New York, NY)
  • Storm8 – Product Manager: New Games (Redwood City, CA)
  • Nexon America – Senior Brand Manager (El Segundo, CA)
  • Ayzenberg Group – Business Development for Broadcast (Pasadena, CA)

[a]list daily is your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media.

To see last week’s jobs, click here.

Marketing A Next-Gen RPG

One of the highly anticipated titles destined for next-gen is The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt by CD Projekt Red, coming in the near future for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The product has already gathered quite a lot of buzz with its showing at Gamescom and the compelling videos. This promises to be the defining open-world RPG for the next-gen that’s first to launch, and it could be one of the top titles for 2014. The [a]list daily spoke with CD Projekt Red’s Michal Platkow-Gilewski, head of marketing and PR and Tracy Muniz Williams, head of marketing for North and South America, about the marketing plans.

Namco Bandai is distributing The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt in Europe, while Warner Bros. Interactive is distributing the game in North America. With the launch drawing near, marketing planning is well under way. “We just had the guys from Warner at the studios, and they presented to us a bunch of ideas for what they think we should do for the North American market,” said Williams. “They’ll pitch a suggested budget, put together a forecast estimate of what they think they’re going to move, and based on that it’s a financial exercise. We determine what kind of marketing and trade dollars we’ll support to make that team successful.”

The marketing team is mostly based in Warsaw, we three people working as art designers, one of them the game’s former lead concept artist. “They’re poaching some people from the dev team to help with the marketing side,” said Williams. “It keeps the quality high, it keeps the look and feel of all the consumer facing items just as high quality.” It’s an advantage for other reasons, too. “They know the product first-hand,” added Platkow-Gilewski. “They are connecting us with the devs even more strongly, which makes accessing the assets easier.”

Williams is not alone when it comes to marketing in the Americas. “We have support from Warner with marketing people on their side, and access to their in-house PR resources, their press list, their distribution,” noted Williams. “There are a lot of conveniences they bring to the table, but I also have myself and we’ll have our own small office in the US which will oversee all our products for North and South America.”

The PC version of The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is launching alongside the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions. It’s all next-gen in terms of the graphics and horsepower required, not current generation, and that is important in the publisher’s view.. “As you can see right now with games that ship on both current-gen and next-gen, there has to be some kind of compromise,” said Platkow-Gilewski. “With our game there are no compromises. All of the hardware is finally supporting the quality the studio has always had, and now consumers will finally be getting that quality benchmark that PC gamers have had for a little while.”

The response to the game has been much better than CD Projekt Red had anticipated, according to Williams. Right now the response is mostly from the press because that’s where the focus has been for marketing efforts, but the anticipation is building among consumers as well. “We have focused 100 percent on trade and media, but it’s so amazing that we’ve also won some fan awards,” said Williams. “It’s really encouraging that what we’re doing is resonating really well with everybody.”

That enthusiasm comes with a price, though. “What we’ve shown them so far has pumped their expectations to the maximum,” said Platkow-Gilewski. “Now we have to match it. The buzz is quite good, and I can’t wait until we show the game to everyone. So far we’ve won 84 awards without any single hands-on yet. I hope we double or triple that when we release the game.” The exact release date has not yet been announced but clearly the team is looking to be one of the most important games of 2014.

The marketing strategy sees hands-on as an important element. “The biggest thing that we’re doing is participating in more activities,” said Williams. “We’re going to be in more places we haven’t been to before, showing the game to more people, whether it’s more retail opportunities, whether it’s more trade shows, or more consumer activation. I think we have a real opportunity with all three SKUs shipping at the same time. There’s a lot more that we can do with this game from a marketing perspective.”

As the marketing plans are being formed, part of the issue is to make a larger audience aware of the Witcher brand. “The first game as PC only, and the second game was PC and then a year later it came out on Xbox,” noted Williams. “The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is going to be the first game with all three SKUs releasing simultaneously. We have a little bit of an education challenge because we have different platform consumers that are at different stages of education and awareness about the brand.”

Part of that awareness-building will come from licensed products. Dark Horse is creating a Witcher comic book, and there’s a board game in the planning stages as well from a partner that has the same quality standards. “Our idea for the business is that we will never do low-quality anything,” said Platkow-Gilewski.

Of course, a collector’s edition is something to be considered for any major game release these days. “We know a lot of our fans love collectible stuff,” said Williams, “and where it makes sense we want to give them collectible items. We do offer quite a bit in the base game itself. We do like to have something special for the hard-core fans, but we haven’t decided what that’s going to be right now. Most likely we’ll have some bonuses for the hard-core Witcher fans.” So there will be a collector’s edition, which Platkow-Gilewski teases “It will be one of the best collector’s edition ever made.” It’s a big challenge considering some of the amazing collector’s editions that have come out, but CD Projekt Red is dedicated to high quality.

The challenge is not just to produce a marketing plan for the launch of the game, but to keep interest up for the long term. “We’re at the point in this business, especially with these console games that are expensive to make, you’ve got to think of it as life-cycle management,” said Williams. “Regardless of whether your coming now or later, how are you going to keep that game top of mind, what additional things are you going to offer to the consumer to allow them to engage, whether it’s free content or paid content. We have to think about all of those things in advance. We want people in every possible form of entertainment to experience our brands.”