Sales Via Smartphone Zoom

A report from Branding Brand indicates that purchases via smartphones have certainly risen quite a bit from last year’s Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday shopping weekend.

The company reports, in conjunction with data from IBM Benchmark, that sales for smartphone-oriented sites have risen tremendously, with a whopping 186.54 percent increase for Black Friday over the previous year, and 75.65 percent more visits than before. iOS leads the charge with 66.62 percent of mobile site visits, while Android lagged behind with 32.97 percent. These buyers generated 174,111 orders with a $93.20 average in price, an increase of just over 22 percent compared to the previous year’s sales.

With the Black Friday weekend spreading into Thanksgiving, numbers also picked up on that day as well, with 69 percent more visits and increased sales of over 258 percent over Thanksgiving 2012, according to Branding Brand’s index.

No word yet on Cyber Monday sales, but numbers could be through the roof for that day as well.

Source: TechCrunch

Shield Adds Streaming

When the Nvidia Shield first launched last month, it came with a bunch of notable features, including the ability to broadcast Android gameplay onto a television. Now, the device is working a different way, this time with PC games.

A new downloadable update for the device now provides the opportunity to broadcast PC games on a television with 1080p resolution. In addition, 720p streaming mode has some notable improvements, and players can also use the new Gamepad Mapper feature. This allows them to set up gameplay options however they wish on the Shield controller.

Some 63 games currently support the game streaming service, including popular hits like Batman: Arkham Origins, Borderlands 2 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but many others are expected to be compatible soon, with another possible update.

The update can be downloaded now for free of charge. Nvidia Shield is available in retailers nationwide.

Source: Endadget

Teens Flock To Twitter

New data from J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth shows that Twitter, as compared to Facebook and LinkedIn, is where the under 34 set are flocking by and large.

The graph shows what almost looks like a nearly perfect bell curve when it comes to tracking adoption by ages for Twitter, spiking up a bit in the middle age-range. It also shows Twitter is remarkably popular for young people who likely have no use for LinkedIn and are looking for ways to live socially sans Facebook.

It is telling that Twitter’s global audience has a larger slice of that share, with 32.3 percent on Twitter between the ages of 15-24.

Which means that when young people go mobile, they also choose Twitter. The largest sector of mobile users on Twitter was in the 18-24 age range.

Gone are the days for Twitter when it was the oldies driving Twitter traffic. Twitter’s demographics have steered the ship to new waters, as opposed to Facebook which is losing teens. It’s high time to focus energies on the microblogging and photo-sharing platforms over Facebook’s beleaguered news feeds.

Source: All Things D

Yoyotech’s Ultimate Gaming PC

A lot of avid PC gamers spend a great deal of time building what they feel is the “ultimate” game-playing rig, something that will run a game like Battlefield 4 efficiently and without fail. However, Yoyotech believes that it has such a rig already set to go — for a steep price.

The UK based PC retailer has put together a jam-packed unit called the XDNA Aurum 24K that comes with a number of ideal features to make it run smoothly and supreme power, including not one but two Nvidia Titan graphics cards, an Intel Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition CPU overclocked to 4.6 Ghz. Top that off with 64 GB of the fastest Corsair RAM, a 256 GB SSD and 2 TB hard drive all housed in a Corsair  Obsidian 900D towercase, it has no problems running even the most complex games. Bioshock Infinite Handles like a breeze.

Yoyotech’s high-powered PC can drive a 4K monitor at 31FPS in Crysis, and 21 FPS in Battlefield 4. That’s if you have a 4K monitor… but if you have to get by with three 1920×1080 monitors, this PC can drive those at even faster drame rates.

However, you’ll need a good amount of cash to pick it up. The unit retails for approximately $13,000 or 7,979 pounds in the UK. PC owners will certainly get what they pay for, but others may have to wait to make their dream purchase.

Source: Forbes

Mobile And Console ‘Both Great Gaming Experiences’

Epic Games is one of the leading independent game developers in the world today. After conquering the PC market with franchises like Unreal and the console market with Gears of War, the company managed to wow Apple with its Infinity Blade iOS franchise. With Unreal Engine 4, Epic has a game engine that’s been built for mobile, Web, PC and next gen game development. Mark Rein, co-founder and vice president of Epic Games, talks about the growing opportunities in mobile games and how they’ll impact current and next gen consoles in this exclusive interview.

[a]list daily: When it comes to the rapid exponential growth that we’ve seen in the mobile side, what excites you about the direction we’re seeing on how quickly tablets and smartphones are upgrading and pushing technology capabilities for games?

Mark Rein: Everything.

[a]list daily: At what point do mobile devices become competition for consoles?

Mark Rein: It’s a different form factor and a different usage model. They’re never going to be a one-to-one console to tablet because one you plug into a wall, one you carry around with you. That doesn’t mean that they won’t have the same amount of power and you won’t be able to plug your tablet into the wall and add a controller and play it like a console. I think that’s inevitable. I think Apple’s now embraced having a controller.

But you know, it doesn’t really matter to me. There are these great experiences no matter how you want to play. If you want to sit down and play NHL 14 or Need for Speed Rivals on PlayStation 3, that’s great. I’m not going to do that on my tablet. That’s a console experience. And then there are games like Infinity Blade that I love playing on my tablet.

I don’t think the whole “one defeats the other” really is a thing. They’re both great gaming experiences, and consumers will ultimately decide where they’re going to spend their money. If consumers decide to spend their money more on one than the other, it will get more attention, but I think consumers are happy. I know as a gamer I’m happy that I get to experience all these things and have all these different experiences. I have a tablet for playing XCOM Enemy Unknown when I’m on the plane and I have a console for playing it when I want to sit in front of the screen with the controller. I’m perfectly happy to have it all.

[a]list daily: Is second screen forcing the issue by connecting these two worlds?

Mark Rein: I don’t think so. I think we’ve yet to see the real value of the second screen idea, if you’re talking about SmartGlass and companion apps and things like that. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be big one day. I don’t really know what it is yet.

Where I really use SmartGlass is for choosing things from the menu and navigating the store instead of using the controller. It’s great for watching a movie and then continuing it on my tablet when I walk away. There are lots of great uses and applications.

Where it fits into gaming, I don’t know. I’m not sold on picking up my tablet to choose my play and then putting it back down and picking up my controller. It’s kind of a wonky way to choose a play, so I don’t know if that’s how it’s going to go or not.

Developers should try everything and have lots of fun with it, and sooner or later there will be a killer app for that sort of thing, too.

[a]list daily: What opportunities do you see when it comes to the PC moving forward, especially with free-to-play being so dominant out there today?

Mark Rein: There’s an opportunity to reach a very large audience and give them games that have a depth level that is very difficult to achieve on a tablet and not as difficult, but still more complicated, to achieve with a controller.

There’s definitely the opportunity to make new strategy games that are totally designed for moving your pointer from place to place, for example. There’s also the ability to play beautiful 3D games in a Web browser. We showed this at GDC earlier this year as proof of concept with Unreal Engine 3 running in HTML5. It looks really good. And moving forward, Unreal Engine 4 will make it a real feature. Gradually, it will open up markets to us that we currently don’t have today.

[a]list daily: What challenges do you see for the video game industry if you look ahead over the next couple of years?

Mark Rein: The biggest challenge in the video game industry is the same as it’s always been — getting noticed, getting people to know about your game and try your game.

Obviously, that assumes you made a great game that people want to play, which is a bigger job, but really the main thing is how do you stand out, how do you get people to pick up your game and how do you get people to engage with it. And then it’s about how you get people to give you money for it.

Top Games On Social Media: November Edition

Editor’s Note: [a]list daily is happy to introduce a new regular feature from social media trends tracker Starcount, looking at top games by month based on online buzz.  For information on their methodology, refer to the description and link at the end of the article.

Stay tuned for our weekly feature on Top Games on console, PC, mobile and social.

by Starcount

As we get to the end of November, thoughts turn to Christmas lists and stocking fillers. Video games remain an incredibly popular gift and, with sales of the Xbox One and Playstation 4 sure to soar into December, we examine which games have been the most popular on social media going into the Christmas season.

10. Batman: Arkham City
In at number ten for a second consecutive month, Bruce Wayne continues to be the world’s favorite comic book crusader, gaining close to three million YouTube views in the last month.

9. WWE 2K13
The world’s most popular wrestling game remains at number 9 this month, gaining an impressive 44,000 new fans on Facebook. It is also the highest ranked fighting game in the absence of any beat-em-ups, suggesting gamers like their fighting with a dose of realism!

Despite being added to more Google+ circles than any other game in the top 10 with 113,000, FIFA dropped three places down to eighth this month as driving replaced football as the main sport to be enjoyed virtually.

7. Grand Theft Auto
The controversial GTA continues to be the most discussed video game on Facebook – over half a million people were still talking about it online in November, and dedicated YouTube channels are receiving millions of views featuring ‘How to…’ videos in the GTA universe.

6. Assassin’s Creed 4
The biggest drop in position this week befell Assassin’s Creed 4, falling five places to sixth! The game did manage to gain over 47,000 new Twitter followers, but perhaps gamers are starting to finish the game following last month’s excitement.

5. Need for Speed: Rivals
Last month may have been dominated by football, but this month belongs to cars. Receiving nearly 20 million views on YouTube, the return of Ferrari to the series for the first time in 11 years has clearly sparked the intrigue in gamers worldwide.

4. Battlefield 4
Retaining fourth spot, Battlefield lost ground to its main rival Call of Duty – COD gained eight million more than Battlefield’s 20 million views this month. The more realistic Battlefield did gain over 53,000 new Twitter followers – with only COD again beating it into second.

3. Gran Turismo 5
The second driving game to crash into the charts just before the Christmas rush, the return of Gran Turismo is one of the most exciting events in the gaming calendar this year, and the addition of online racing with this addition won the series over 1.5 million new Facebook fans.

2. Pro Evolution Soccer
Just when it seemed that FIFA had definitively won the footballing crown, Pro Evo experienced something of a resurgence in November – 1.7 million new Facebook likes put the series a long way ahead of FIFA’s 40,000 this month.

1. Call of Duty: Ghosts
For years Call of Duty has proven time and again to be the most popular game on the planet, and so far Ghosts has shown it is no exception. 13 million Facebook likes and over 100,000 new Twitter followers shows that gamers cannot get enough of the game, and with COD experts sharing their experiences online the series also clocked up more than 28 million YouTube views this week. Call of Duty remains the undisputed champion of the video game world, and it is going to take a special effort to knock it from its perch as we enter the festive period.

For methodology, Starcount uses 12 global networks including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Chinese networks Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, analyzing the behavior of 1.5 billion users. The firm has a unique algorithm that creates a “Starscore” for each game, which it then uses to rank the most popular games on social media in a given period of time. 

For more information, check out how Starcount tallies their “Starscore.”  {link no longer active}

Tang Livens Up A Meal

It can be hard to get a family keyed into everyday meals, so Tang rolled out this ad with the idea that their product livens things up. Watch as the dinner table becomes a Rube Goldberg device!

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Century 21: Tripping On Turkeys

Hopefully all our readers got their fill during Thanksgiving – if you did you probably felt like a nap afterward. In celebration of this most American of traditions, Century 21 has provided this song about taking a psychedelic tryptophan-inspired journey after a massive turkey dinner.