SA Studios Talks eSports Marketing

SA Studios has partnered with eSports Arena, which is opening three dedicated pro gaming facilities in the U.S. this year. The marketing and branding agency is now introducing eSports to mainstream brands in an attempt to bring the same types of deals to fruition that real sports enjoy. The company works with Hollywood studios like Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Pictures as well as game publishers like Microsoft, Rockstar Games, Ubisoft, Square Enix and Capcom.

Nate Eckman, vice president of entertainment at SA Studios, has been watching the growth of eSports and the livestreaming boom that has made pro gaming a global entertainment phenomenon. He talks about the opportunities that eSports Arena will bring to marketers in this exclusive interview.

How long have you been watching the eSports scene and why did you decide to get involved now?

It’s really been over the last two years that my focus has shifted from console games to online games. Watching competitive eSports online is part of my daily ritual but when I found out that a dedicated eSports Arena was being built I became obsessed and needed to know everything about it. The enthusiasm for what the eSports Arena will become is what made me decide to get involved.

How is your company working with eSports Arena this year?

We are focused on the lifestyle component of the space and how the eSports Arena will be a destination for not only gaming culture but also things contemporary gamers are passionate about like music and apparel. Our company will be connecting brands that we love to the space, creating custom programming, products and opportunities to get involved in dynamic and memorable ways.

How does having dedicated eSports arenas in the US open up new opportunities for mainstream sponsors?

It really opens the door to mainstream sponsors in a fresh new way as it can exist outside of the typical pop up tournament schedules that come and go. Having a facility that is open throughout the year allows sponsors to really get integrated in a way that offers sustained activity and a platform to react to trends in real time.

What opportunities does the popularity of livestreaming open up for brands?

Livestreaming represents pure on demand media opportunities. Up until now we’ve really seen livestreaming be fairly one dimensional. Typically the viewer has a fixed vantage point on the game play. The dynamic nature of the eSports Arena environment will enable us to show so much more of the social engagement the space has to offer and the variations on storytelling will really expand.

What impact has already seeing Coke and American Express get involved in eSports in 2013 had on other brands?

A significant impact for sure, brands can now see an example of industry leaders putting their trust and vision in to eSports.

Outside of the big three eSports games — League of Legends, DOTA 2 and StarCraft II — what opportunities do you see for other games in attracting an audience and sponsors?

We see exciting opportunities for console games as well. Competitive gaming takes on many shapes. Having a cultural hub with eSports Arena will allow us to have a platform to showcase the lifestyle around a title with launch events, curated experiences and custom programming.

How difficult is it to reach the young male demographic today?

There is so much content and media out there to consume and so many ways they can get it I think it is a complex challenge. However, despite all the intense digital activity out there there is a secondary effect in which they crave experiences, social connectivity, and participating in a community that acknowledges their shared interests. The eSports Arena is designed to reach them but also give them a place to bring their friends.

What has been the reaction when you tell brands about the length of time eSports fans dedicate to livestreams and live tournaments?

The metric data alone is completely mind blowing. The education process to introduce the world of eSports and the culture around the fans to new brands is always interesting, typically met with a level of confusion around how it would be possible for their target consumer to behave in such a way that is completely foreign to their perception and awareness.

What impact do you feel Hollywood embracing eSports recently with the Ender’s Game $20,000 eSports tournament will have on sponsors?

A positive impact, gaining more visibility for eSports in our mainstream media.

How under-the-radar is the eSports phenomenon in the marketing circles?

Fairly under the radar. Marketing is such a specialized industry with a multitude of services and trained experts in diverse fields. ESports represents a new vertical that people either completely get on board right with or they pass it off as confusing and niche.

What impact did the League of Legends Finals at sold out Staples Center have on getting eSports on marketer’s radar?

That day for me was like a line in the sand. I was there that day. I lost my voice from shouting and cheering on the teams! The Staples Center story is an epic one, truly eye opening for marketers across the planet.

What’s your outlook for eSports in 2014 with big name brands coming on board?

I am completely excited for eSports this year, I can’t wait to see the continued growth further enable us to offer the community an even greater experience.

Mobile Media Summit LA Puts “Cars and Stars” Center Stage

Mobile Media Summit, the largest mobile advertising conference series in North America and Europe, is headed to Beverly Hills April 1st for its third-annual Los Angeles show, where the focus will be on “Cars and Stars.”

As consumers spend more and more time on mobile, the advertising dollars have followed, with Gartner projecting mobile ad market spend to hit $18 billion in 2014 and rise to $42 billion by 2017. Although marketers of all stripes are finally recognizing the importance of investing in mobile, marketers in the automotive and entertainment industries have long realized its potential, as it is particularly influential in swaying consumers in these two categories.

Indeed, a study from the IAB found that auto shoppers are 71 percent more influenced by digital ads than other consumers, with mobile making a huge impact in particular. Auto shoppers are no longer heading to multiple dealerships before deciding on a new car – they are shopping around on their mobile devices. Meanwhile, a separate IAB study on moviegoers found that 87 percent of people turn to mobile after seeing ads for movies on other channels, and almost half of moviegoers say they use their smartphone to help plan trips to the movies. Thus, marketers these days must master the art of weaving mobile into a comprehensive mixed media strategy. At Mobile Media Summit LA, leading executives from the entertainment, auto, advertising and digital technology industries will discuss how they create such strategies, and discuss the opportunities and issues facing the mobile advertising as a whole.

“As both a longtime LA resident and a veteran of mobile marketing and advertising, I have seen how the entertainment and automotive industries are leading the charge when it comes to mobile, as well as the huge impact these two sectors have on California industry in general,” said Mobile Media Summit CEO and founder Paran Johar. “I look forward to bringing together agencies, tech companies, and advertisers from all verticals to learn the steps to successful mobile marketing from the very best in the industry.”

Featured speakers at Mobile Media Summit LA include E! host Jason Kennedy, Paramount Home Media Distribution Senior VP-Media & Interactive Marketing Dina Marovich, Honda Interactive Marketing Manager Mark Ortiz, Relativity Media EVP-Digital Marketing Liz Jones, Scion Digital Marketing Manager Andrew Barton, OMD West President Greg Castronuovo and Mindshare President-Client Development Lee Doyle, among many others.

For a full lineup, visit To save 10 percent off registration, use code ALIST10. Agencies and brands are invited to apply for a complimentary pass.

PS4’s Mid-March Indie Push

Sony is continuing its rollout of impressive looking indie titles for their various platforms, including Hyper Light Drifter and Race the Sun coming to both PS4 and Vita. Coming to Vita is Metrico, which has a cool branching trailer for both the guys and the girls.

Moto G’s Exceptional Experience

By contrast to certain other recent phone ads lately that may have been trying too hard to be edgy, this straightforward ad talks directly about the Moto G’s functionality. Noting just how much people rely on their phone for everyday activities, it’s a positive message that the Moto G has something for everyone.


‘Gauntlet’ Thrown Down

Gauntlet is coming back and it’s a call back to the classic original classic with four fantasy-based characters: Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, and Elf. This procedural dungeon crawler has old-school aesthetics but clearly has modern sensibilities in its design.



30 For 30 Spoof: ‘Brian’

Brian Scalabrine’s fandom far exceeded his play time or talent as a journeyman back-up forward. Still, someone liked the former Net/Celtic/Bull so much they edited together a false trailer for an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary based around his “legendary” career.



PlayStation 4 Price Rises In Canada

Usually following a game system’s release, the manufacturer considers a price drop to help gain an audience. However, Sony’s Canadian division is actually going the other way, and hiking prices for its PlayStation 4 hardware and software in Canada.

The system, which initially launched for $400 Canadian dollars, will now go up in price to $450, as of today. In addition, accessories like the DualShock 4 controller and PS4 camera will also go up approximately $5 in price, and game software like Infamous: Second Son and MLB 14: The Show will also go up to $70 apiece.

Sony said that the price increases were being made “to respond to changes in the market environment,” although it didn’t offer a clear explanation of exactly what that means. Part of it could be due to the weakness of the Canadian dollar in the face of the American economy.

Source: Ars Technica

Pokémon’s Pikachu Now World Cup Mascot

Pikachu is easily a recognizable face in the game industry, thanks to millions of devoted players of the Pokémon brand. Now, he’s headed to a new field – soccer.

The Pokémon Company has announced that it has secured Pikachu a place as Japan’s official World Cup 2014 mascot. The deal was announced in conjunction with Japan’s national kit sponsor, Adidas, and will take effect immediately.

In addition to Pikachu, ten other Pokémon characters will also serve as faces for the team, including Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle.

The tournament will kick off June 12th in Brazil. Meowth, that’s right!

Source: MCV UK

PlayHaven And Kontagent Team Up

Three months following their initial merging, mobile marketing firm PlayHaven and analytics company Kontagent have announced a rebranding for their team, going under the name Upsight. The page will be devoted to assisting developers with tracking user behavior and taking immediate action when it comes to marketing and monetizing them.

The new company, based in San Francisco, will assist mobile developers in the best way possible, with services that include working on analytics for tracking and marketing virtual goods based on what gamers’ demand is. It has a huge audience to build upon, with more than 650 million registered monthly active users – a 62.5 percent increase since the merger.

“We are here to transform the world’s data into valuable action,” said Andy Yang, chief executive of Upsight. “Our merger was a wake-up call for everyone in the industry.”

“Everything we have seen has reinforced our strategy, and we are happy about that,” said Josh Williams, chief technology officer for the company. “There is so much fragmentation in this space. We are seeing consolidation across the board now. We made the right move at the right time.”

Source: VentureBeat

Tapjoy’s New Mobile Advertising Platform

Tapjoy is moving forward with a new mobile advertising platform that will help companies get the word out through their products. nGen, which launched this week, reflects a broader transformation of the company.

Said CEO Steve Wadsworth, “In a lot of ways, it’s a new company. We’ve been rebuilding the senior management team . . . We have done a lot of things to build the company back up to get this product out the door. It all comes together in a much more comprehensive solution for app monetization for publishers.”

While in-game offers will still be included, nGen will represent a bigger platform when it comes to mobile advertising, with “the right ad to the right user at the right moment.” These ads can range from full-screen placement to promotional messages from the publisher, all tied in with events directly through the app.

Ads can be updates without the need for additional code, which will make things easier for certain developers when it comes to implementation.

nGen, which underwent testing for several months, should be entering general availability shortly.

Source: TechCrunch