Mobile Acquisition Costs Charted

In an effort to help developers and publishers gauge how much it costs to acquire new users for an app, Fiksu will soon launch a pair of new mobile app marketing indices to help figure out how much these costs will actually be.

Costs can make all the difference for app makers, especially when it comes to attracting new users over current ones that own an app. Sometimes the cost of getting these users can be higher than the revenue the app can actually make in its average lifetime — which is bad news when it comes to making a profit.

According to the new indices, the cost of acquiring users for iOS and Android-based apps came pretty close, with only about a 16 cent difference between the two. This follows a period 10 months prior when they were further apart, something Fiksu considers a “post-holiday correction.

Fiksu’s Cost per Install index will focus on download costs, as well as the cost per app install directly attributed to advertising. For January, these costs were $1.27 on Android and $1.01 on iOS, with the Android CPI number down 29 percent from $1.80 and iOS going up from 13 percent since December.

More information on these indices can be found here.

Source: Venturebeat

OnLive Returns With New Services

It’s been a rocky road for the OnLive cloud gaming service. Despite offering some key titles, the service has seen a lot of behind-the-scenes shuffling, as well as a lack of new games. However, all that changed this past week when the company launched some new services.

The new CloudLift subscription service links games from a player’s library to OnLive and automatically saves data within said games. That allows them to pick right back up where they left off, playing the game on a number of devices, including mobile. So far, the service only works with a few key titles, including Batman: Arkham Origins and The Lego Movie Videogame, but it’s likely to expand into other titles soon.

In addition, OnLive Go will focus on supporting MMO-style games for the service, although specific titles weren’t confirmed just yet.

OnLive has also seen the addition of new staffers on its team, including Mark Jung, former CEO of IGN who now serves as the company’s Executive Chairman; Carrie Holder, new VP of Business Development; and Rich Sanchez, OnLive’s VP of Product and Marketing.

The new CloudLift service is available now, and OnLive Go should follow shortly.

Source: TechCrunch

Ads Go Multiscreen

A recent poll by the Association of National Advertisers and Nielsen have found that 2 out of 3 marketers dedicated about 25 percent of their budgets on executing integrated, multiscreen campaigns. Marketers are looking to a future where this will be commonplace, as 72 percent of pollers said that by 2016, they expect this to increase to anywhere between 26 to 100 percent. Nearly half said that utilizing multiscreen advertising is important to their marketing efforts now.


Source: eMarketer

EA: No Price Drop Near For Current-Gen

The current console war is an interesting one, while the previous generation (the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) continue to be quite popular. Still, with “fresh blood” on the market, one would have to wonder if the older systems would drop in price anytime soon. EA’s financial officer Blake Jorgensen, however, doesn’t think this will be the case.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Technology conference, Jorgensen stated, “At some point, (Microsoft and Sony) will most likely bring those prices down, which could expand the marketplace for old-generation software. I’m guessing it’s probably late in the year or maybe even after next Christmas. I don’t know; they’ve not told us what their plans are but it’s probably not any time real soon.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of bundles to choose from, many of which are reasonably priced around $200 to $300, for both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

Source: GameSpot

Ouya Launches On Mad Catz’s M.O.J.O.

Even though Ouya is content with its own console, it’s busily spreading its services around to others.

The company has announced that it will share its online store with other hardware makers, as part of its Everywhere initiative. This past week, it announced that it would bring its games to Mad Catz’s Android-based gaming system, called M.O.J.O. As part of the move, Mad Catz will lower the price of the system from $250 to $200, to help attract new customers.

“Up until now, the game console experience has been locked inside a box,” said OUYA chief executive Julie Uhrman in a statement. “Together with the hardware veterans at Mad Catz, we end that. Today’s announcement signifies the inception of a truly open platform where independent developers can bring their creations to the platforms where gamers actually play: everywhere.”

The OUYA services will coincide with M.O.J.O.’s own Google Play application, where players will have a number of games at their fingertips.

“This agreement with OUYA encapsulates our vision of an open software platform powered by M.O.J.O.’s high-performance hardware, and supported by the entire ecosystem of GameSmart gaming accessories,” said Mad Catz chief executive Darren Richardson. “We believe today’s announcements will widen the appeal of M.O.J.O. introducing it to a greater number of passionate gamers.”

Source: VentureBeat

Microsoft Bundles ‘Forza’ With Xbox One

Microsoft is ready to up the ante with its Xbox One console. In addition to launching a specific Titanfall bundle with the first person shooter’s launch next week, the company has another deal in place for those who prefer the regular model – the racing game Forza Motorsport 5.

Those who purchase the system will receive a complimentary download code for Turn 10 Studios’ realistic racer, according to company spokesman Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb.

The offer is for a limited time, but it’ll save potential buyers $60 on a purchase, making the $500 asking price for the Xbox One seem a little more affordable. Note: the offer is only for regular Xbox One systems, and not the Titanfall package.

Hey, that still provides something to play, doesn’t it

Source: Digital Trends

Sony UK Bundles ‘Watch Dogs’

Now that Ubisoft’s high-tech adventure Watch Dogs has a release date (May 27th), the company has moved forward with promotions on the game – one of which will see it bundled with PlayStation systems in the United Kingdom.

Sony has confirmed that special bundles featuring Watch Dogs will be released on May 27, the same day that the game arrives in stores. Both bundles will include a copy of the game, which features 60 minutes of gameplay exclusive to PlayStation consoles. The game will be featured in both a PS3 and a PS4 bundle.

Pricing hasn’t been revealed on the bundles yet, but they’re expected to not rise that much, making them a great value for those who don’t own them yet.

No word yet if the bundles will make their way to the U.S., but, at the very least, players will still be able to snag Watch Dogs on these shores when it arrives in late May.

Source: Polygon

Virgin Gaming: eSports For Everyone

While attention has been drawn to the enormous success and amazing growth of eSports over the last few years, Virgin Gaming has been bringing competitive gaming to everyone else. The company provides tournaments in a variety of console games, primarily on the Xbox 360 and PS3, as well as head-to-head competition, gaming leagues, and sponsored tournaments, all with cash prizes. Since its launch, Virgin Gaming has registered over 2.7 million users and awarded over $41 million in cash prizes. Virgin Gaming has partnered with some of the top brands in the world including NOS Energy Drink, Maxim, Dr Pepper, Pizza Hut, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, SteelSeries, Energizer and Proctor & Gamble.

In other words, you don’t have to be a professional eSports competitor to make money playing a game. You can challenge individuals to a matchup in FIFA or Madden on NBA 2K and lay some money on the outcome, with Virgin Gaming handling all the details of the competition and the financial transaction. Or you can compete with your friends in a league, or join in an online competition. The [a]list daily spoke with Virgin Gaming’s Wim Stocks, EVP of business development, Zack Zeldin, VP of gaming operations (and Virgin Gaming co-founder), and Eric Nachman, director of marketing & strategy about Virgin Gaming’s latest moves.

Virgin Gaming has been busy adding more titles and making it easier than ever to begin competing. “Super Street Fighter IV is the first title we’ve used with the new onboarding process,” said Stocks. “We’re really broadening the number of titles on our platform, and not just sports titles or shooter — we’ll have racing titles, fighting titles, and military shooters and a whole host of other titles coming on board in the next three to four weeks.”

“Xbox Tournaments on the Xbox 360 is a free app that you can download today,” Stocks noted. “It streamlines the interactions a player will have in our events and our tournaments through Xbox Live. It syncs up friends lists, registrations, our wallets so a player can use their PayPal or credit card account.” As you might expect, Virgin Gaming is working on a successor to that app for next-gen consoles, but that won’t be announced until it’s almost ready. In the meantime, there’s plenty to play for current-gen console owners. “We’re announcing a whole host of tournaments that will run in conjunction with some of our key titles like NBA 2K14, FIFA 14, NHL 14,” said Stocks.

Making it easy for players to get into competitive gaming is obviously important, and that’s why Virgin Gaming has introduced a mobile app, Wewana: Play, to make it easier. “It was a little bit tedious for users to take that extra step to go to and challenge someboday,” explained Zeldin. “That was always a focus for Virgin Gaming — if I can go on Xbox Live and press the A button three times and get matched up into an online game, what’s the advantage of Virgin Gaming We always struggled with that. How can we do this seamlessly, how can we take away the pain point for consumers Mobile was obviously the natural step for us in that direction.” Mobile is just the latest effort in this process. “The Xbox app was really the genesis to bridge that gap to eliminate the perceived barriers to entry,” added Nachman.

Virgin Gaming is essentially offering eSports for everybody by providing competitive gaming to the biggest possible audience. “We have tremendous respect for these eSports organizations that are really catering to the top 0.01 percent, the best of the best,” said Nachman. “Zach and I still play baseball with our friends in a league, even though we’ve aged a lot and we’re really bad. It’s ultra-competitive between the teams. Why not make it interesting and lay five dollars on it, that appeals to the casual gamer. With eSports the interest is there, we’re just making it available to everyone, and streaming is a big part of that.” It’s really bringing power to the people. “Now the consoles give you the ability to be your own directors,” Zeldin noted. “We can direct our matches, chop up the highlights with ‘Xbox record that’ and I can now show that awesome half-court shot I used to beat Eric.”

Getting the message out to players about the existence of competitive gaming is, of course, a challenge in itself. “Discoverability is always the challenge,” agreed Nachman. “For the most part, we’ve found that the most effective marketing tools and channels we have available is working directly with our publishing partners. We have a fantastic relationship with Electronic Arts, with TakeTwo, now with Capcom, and often times we’ll work a marketing communications strategy directly with their marketing team about aligning Virgin Gaming tournaments to their key beats. Whether it’s marketing in the game through kickers, relying on the publishers to work through their social channels, work with their key brand ambassadors, we look for the top influencers.”

Competitive gaming has been a very successful brand marketing tool for major brands looking to tap into the tremendous engagement of gamers and connect that to their brands. “We’ve got a number of different brands involved with us, looking at the opportunities to associate and communicate with the gaming audience,” said Stocks. “We just ran a Madden McDonald’s tournament, and a FIFA 14 event with ESPN FC — they actually ran the final event live in their studios. They’re seeing the power of engaging with this audience, and as a proving ground to try out different sorts of creative that can resonate with this audience.” The Madden McDonald’s tournament shows how creative a popular brand can get in trying to connect with gamers.

“It’s no longer CPM and impressions,” said Stocks. “The more insightful brands are seeing the engagement that videogaming and our tournaments can bring. It’s changing the discussion around what is effective advertising and what is effective sponsorship. We’ve got some pretty compelling evidence that things like purchase intent and affinity for the brand are off the charts. We did a sponsorship two years ago with Head&Shoulders, they’re an NFL sponsor, they sponsored a tournament. Some of the metrics that came from the tournament that they commissioned, they called it some of the most effective advertising and brand association that they’ve ever seen.”

This year Virgin Gaming plans to add 20 or more new games to the service, expand its mobile footprint (with some mobiles games getting ready for testing soon) and work on next-gen consoles as well. With competitive gaming finding support from players, publishers, and major brands, it looks like Virgin Gaming isn’t leaving anything to chance as the company expands.

‘Twitch Plays’ Past Prime

‘Twitch Plays Pokémon’ has had an incredible run. Thirty-six million views total, with peak viewership at 120,000 with such a massive amount of activity that it actually caused Twitch to crash at one point. In the end, 658,000 people participated while creating a large Reddit community and some incredible user-generated content. Brands were jumping in. Speculations that ‘Twitch Plays’ could become a regular mainstay in the gaming community were rife.

According to these charts, the fun’s all over.

‘Twitch Plays Pokemon’ rode the wave — the crest being where Twitch beat the Elite 4 — but that all came down crashing within a fairly short amount of time. Once this game was beat, the community moved on to the third generation, Pokémon Crystal. With a lot of momentum built from the initial run, one expected that this would keep going. Not so.

As of yesterday, it looks like there were just 20,000 viewers watching — a far cry from the initial spike in viewership and below the average of about 40,000 viewers.

Those are the hard facts, but it’s too early to tell if this is a lull or if the situation will recover itself. It appears the live streaming audience is a fickle one, and without an infusion of new and novels ways to be entertained, it is possible that ‘Twitch Plays’ may have just been a fluke one-off.

Game marketers are looking are going to be incorporating Twitch and live-stream gaming into marketing strategies, but perhaps may tread lightly. We’re only just getting an inkling if this is what we can expect for the future.

Lego ‘Hobbit’ Game Ready For Capers

This Lego The Hobbit commercial presents the Company of Dwarves as a sort of heist team, each with a myriad of personalities to keep the lively adventure going. Hilariously, they give up presenting the members individually about halfway through and just says, “And the Rest of Them” before showing more of the uproarious escapades.