Nike’s Winning In A Winter Wonderland

It’s quite cold across the U.S. right now, but that doesn’t mean that athletes are waiting around for the snow to subside. Nike is pushing the idea of winning in winter with their Hyperwarm lineup, emphasized by this ad spot.

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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

‘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.


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

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

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

‘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

Nintendo’s National StreetPass Weekend

Nintendo 3DS owners will have more than enough opportunity to get social this weekend, as Nintendo has announced a National StreetPass Weekend that will run through December 14 and 15.

The weekend will have Nintendo shuffling around StreetPasses through Nintendo Zone locations across the nation, allowing users to meet with others no matter what their location.


Mobile Browsers Now Over 20% Of Web Use

Web browsing can be addictive, whether you’re sitting in front of a computer or using a mobile device. If you’re doing yours on the go with a smartphone or tablet, don’t be shocked – it’s picking up more in popularity than you might think.

A report from StatCounter indicates that the use of mobile web browsers has risen higher than ever, accounting for more than 20 percent of all global browsing for the first time. The chart above shows just how much they’ve picked up with this milestone.

In general, the mobile share of browsing has picked up an approximate 53 percent this year, as back in January, it only accounted for 13 percent of worldwide browsing, according to Computerworld. This has clear implications for makers of browser-based games, among others.

One has to wonder if the trend will continue into 2014. Don’t be surprised if it does.

Source: GigaOm

PlayStation 4 Boosts Twitch Traffic

With the PlayStation 4, Sony has provided the means for users to record and set up live feeds for their gameplay sessions using the Twitch TV streaming service. Today, the company reported just how popular the service has been – and it’s definitely growing.

Sony has stated that the system has accounted for approximately 10 percent of Twitch content since its launch last month, a figure tallied based upon broadcast minutes. In addition, the service has also added over 100,000 new PlayStation 4 subscribers since the system’s release, pushing its user base to well over 700,000 broadcasters total.

Matthew DiPietro, VP of Marketing at Twitch, stated, “When people look back at the true game changers of 2013, the integration of Twitch into the current generation consoles will be on the short list. As testament to the growing appeal of live broadcasting video game content, the amount of broadcasters on Twitch has grown from around 600,000 in October to more than 700,000 in November.

“In addition to more than 100K new broadcasters signing up since the launch of PlayStation 4, PS4 owners make up ten percent of all content on Twitch based on minutes broadcast,” DiPietro concluded.

Look for the number to continue to grow in 2014.

Source: Engadget