Xbox One Sells Two Million Units

The Xbox One hasn’t even been out a month yet and it’s already setting sales records. The company announced today that it has managed to sell over two million units in just 18 days time.

That’s a remarkable record for the company, as it took five months for the Xbox 360 to reach a similar mark when it released several years ago.

Microsoft’s corporate VP of strategy and marketing for Xbox, Yusef Mehdi, was quite pleased with reporting the news. “We’re also particularly excited to see consumers engaging in a wide range of games and entertainment experiences on the platform, with more than one million paid transactions on Xbox Live to date,” he stated.

Still, that number is just shy of the sales that Sony has boasted about with the PlayStation 4, as that system has managed to sell 2.1 million systems worldwide in 18 days’ time.

It’s going to be an interesting next-generation…

Source: GamesIndustry International

‘World of Warcraft’ Launches In-Game Store

It’s not enough that Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is a highly addictive game that can take hours of play to get into. Now, the company has gone and launched an in-game store where you can buy a number of goodies.

Detailed in a new post on the company’s page, Blizzard has explained what is available for purchase in the newly launched store, including a variety of pets and mounts that are ripe for the taking. Even better, players don’t even need to leave the game to make their purchases.

“Just click the Shop icon on the menu bar once you’ve logged in to a character, and you’ll be able to pick out a new friend to add to your collection and start your adventures together right away,” said the post. “By combining the best of cutting-edge goblin and gnomish technology, we’ve also made it possible for you to receive your new pal right in your inventory (or via mail if your inventory is full).”

For a limited time, several of these items are available for 50 percent off, both through the game and the official shop. The sale will last through January 2nd – perfect for some after-Christmas shopping.

Source: Polygon

Xbox One, PS4 Get System Updates

With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in stores, many users are enjoying their gaming experiences even more than before. Still, they aren’t quite perfect, and this week, both companies confirmed that new system updates would be coming.

On Xbox One, a new update is now available, which improves several issues with the SmartGlass compatibility, as well as multiplayer issues, fixing notifications, dashboard performance, Xbox One TV tweaks and a better wireless networking driver. The update is available free of charge, and should prompt automatically upon start-up.

As for the PlayStation 4 update, it’s currently available in the United Kingdom, and offers a number of improvements to “system software stability,” as well as automatic game downloads. There’s no word yet on when this will be available in the U.S., but it should be in just a few days.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are available now.

Source: UK PlayStation, Major Nelson

Japan Outspends U.S. On Mobile Games

Considering the huge economic force that’s been behind it for the past year, it should be no surprise that mobile game spending in Japan is on the rise. What’s startling, however, is that their consumers are putting more money into mobile purchases than ours.

A report from the App Annie Japan Spotlight indicates that Japan has risen significantly over the past year in spending, thanks to certain leading games. Games on iOS earn three times as much in Japan as they do in the US, on average, and six times as much as Android games.

For instance, Line Corp. has made quite a bit with its PokoPang release, and GungHo Online Entertainment has followed suit with approximately $4.1 million earnings per day from its games, including Puzzle & Dragons.

Japanese developers are working to keep gamers engaged with new content and downloadable goods, keeping said updates from slumping. As a result, consumers have gone from spending 30 percent less than U.S. buyers last year to rising over 30 percent this year.

“The download is just the start,” said Jun Otsuka, Line’s global business manager about the application process. “The real grunt work is in running the game.”

Even launching a free-to-play game in the market can be profitable, provided it’s got the right type of addiction behind it. GungHo producer Daisuke Yamamoto stated, “people will eventually pay, if they keep playing.”

It’ll be interesting to see if these numbers continue to rise next year.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Publishers Battle YouTube Claims

It’s been a tough week for those who post video game-related content on YouTube, as a new policy implemented by Google utilizes auto detection for breach of copyright on certain content. As a result, several popular users have seen flagged, with revenue shying away from them and instead going to the content owner. The automatic flagging targets streamed game videos for removal, making players and publishers unhappy.

Hardly anyone is pleased about this policy, and this includes several game publishers. A representative for Blizzard, the publishers of World of Warcraft and Diablo III, stated that YouTube users affected by flags with its games should reach out so “we can quickly resolve them.” In addition, Deep Silver’s international community manager, Maurice Tan, has spread the word on Twitter that the company will help if user’s videos featuring the company’s games are affected.

Several other publishers are joining the fight as well, including Capcom and Ubisoft, who released a full statement:

“If you happen to be hit with claims on any of your Ubisoft content, it may be that some of the audio is being auto-matched against the music catalogue on our digital stores – it might show up as being claimed by our distributor ‘idol’. In such cases please take the following steps and we can get it cleared for you.

1. Leave the video live for now.

2. Send us the URL of the affected video and let us know who flagged it.

3. We’ll get it cleared hopefully same day.”

Source: Computer and Video Games

‘Angry Birds Go’ Revs Up Mobile

After spending months with strategic “knock down” games that included promotional tie-ins with Rio and Star Wars, the Angry Birds are now headed in a new direction – on the road.

Rovio Mobile has launched Angry Birds Go for iOS, Windows Phone 8 and Android devices, and gives players the opportunity to race with Mario Kart style vehicles on a variety of tracks.


Facebook Auto-Plays Video On iOS

In a move that appears very similar to Instagram’s auto-play video feature, Facebook has rolled out auto-playing videos for iOS. If you updated the app between Wednesday evening and now, you may have noticed a video in your feed suddenly come to life. The feature was announced in September, so this comes as no surprise, although it will be interesting to see the results of the roll out on other devices in the presumed future.

Auto-playing video is a hallmark of Vine and Facebook’s recently acquired Instagram, so it makes sense that Facebook would give themselves such a feature as well, given the utilities of promoted posts on the social platform. Video ads will be coming to the fore on mobile at a time when Facebook is the most used app in the United States.

Facebook hasn’t been particularly known for video, but this could up the ante for ads on the social network, which has been placing a lot of emphasis on promoting brand pages in recent days.
Source: PC Mag

Mobile Analytics Companies PlayHaven, Kontagent Merge

Today, two major players in mobile analytics, Kontagent and PlayHaven, are merging to create one company “with the mission to transform the world’s data into valuable action,” as the press release reads. Kontagent and PlayHaven are used by a variety of mobile-focused businesses including established brands such as Warner Brothers and game publishers like Glu, Electronic Arts, SEGA, BigFish and Backflip, as well as thousands of indie app developers.

The combined solution is already live in more than 22,000 apps, with over 400 million monthly active users (MAU), tracking over 370 billion actions per month. The merger brings Kontagent’s analytics together with PlayHaven’s comprehensive acquisition, engagement, and monetization tools so that “mobile-focused businesses and app developers can leverage a single platform to understand users, predict meaningful behaviors and take action — impacting key business goals.”

Andy Yang, CEO of PlayHaven will become the CEO of the combined company. Josh Williams, CEO of Kontagent, will become Chief Technology Officer and serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors. “This is a massive game changer — not only for PlayHaven and Kontagent, but for our customers and the broader mobile industry,” said Andy Yang, CEO of PlayHaven. “Together, we are bridging the gap between insight and action in unprecedented fashion.”

Mobile analytics is a crowded area for startups, with dozens of firms competing to be added to developer apps and provide information and services. One the leaders in the market is Flurry, which just raised $12.5 million dollars (it’s raised a total of $62.5 million so far), which will no doubt help it expand its offerings. Flurry already works with 125,000 companies with over 400,000 apps using its service, tracking over 1.3 trillion actions per month. The merger of Kontagent and PlayHaven will create a firm better able to compete with Flurry and other firms.

The information game developers get from analytics is essential for optimizing the game design and its monetization. While data can be gathered about almost every aspect of a game, developers have to be careful not to ask for too much data — a flood of information being sent back can slow game play or choke servers. Massive amounts of data don’t necessarily help you,. Either, unless you know enough to ask the right questions. Kontagent and PlayHaven are focusing on the correct issue — helping developers ask the right questions and get useful answers that can drive decisions.

The [a]list daily spoke with PlayHaven CEO Andy Yang about the merger and the competitive picture in mobile analytics.

“The space is definitely getting more competitive, and what you’ll see is the winners start separating from the pack,” Yang said. “More importantly, our customers are demanding a better solution. They want an end-to-end solution that combines leading analytics with tools they can use to take action that make an impact on their businesses. Our combination is a clearly differentiated offering in the space.”

The mobile market continues to grow strongly, but growing faster than the market is important to long-term success. How does the merged company plan to grow your market share in analytics against a diverse array of competitors?

“That’s a great question,” replied Yang. “Growing faster than the market is a main goal of ours, and we think that we get there by providing the best product on the market and serving the most significant pain point, which is fragmentation with mobile service providers. We are creating an end-to-end solution that will help mobile businesses and app developers understand user behavior, decide what it means, and take immediate action.”

Other than sheer reach (in number of apps, MAUs, actions tracked per month), what’s the key reason a developer should choose one mobile analytics service over another? Why should they choose yours?

“Data in mobile is becoming a commodity. Data to customers isn’t valuable if you can’t do anything with it,” Yang pointed out. “Our combined company solves this problem for our customers by providing a solution to track, understand and act — closing the loop on getting from data to action. Developers should choose our combined solution because we better address their needs.”

There are dozens of mobile analytics firms right now offering a variety of services. Are we entering a period of consolidation? Will there be fewer mobile analytics firms in a year’s time?

“Definitely, you will start to see some consolidation,” Yang said. “Businesses are becoming less tolerant of fragmentation of service providers and are demanding a single solution to address their needs. Our customers tell us all the time that they want to tie Kontagent and PlayHaven together. We’re clearly addressing this need.”

One important aspect of the merger remains undecided —what to call the merged company.

“We are still determining the branding for the combined solution, and we’ll be sure to fill you in once we’ve decided on a combined name,” said Yang.

Corvette Stingray Ad Looks Like A Game

The 2014 Corvette Stingray looks like a car of the future, so Chevrolet is giving the ad for the machine the full sci-fi treatment. There’s enough CG effects in the ad to shame a moderately priced movie, with its cool transforming machines and crazy flying stealth stingray creature.

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