Can You Survive ‘The Forest’?

While there are plenty survivalist games out there that are vaguely Minecraft-like in their construction, The Forest seems to genuinely take those elements to make a genuinely horrifying game – the trailer itself makes great use of music to convey tension and is great for dislodging a scream that might be stuck in the back of your throat.


Music Sales Down, But Streaming Is Up

It’s a good time for music streaming services, but not necessarily the industry in general.

Subscription services such as Spotify and Pandora have seen a general increase in its listener base, while the general music industry revenue managed to drop down 3.9 percent in the last year.

The global revenue for the industry managed to total $15 billion, but even with that large amount of money, it’s still shown a drop. Meanwhile, digital revenue through streaming sites showed quite an increase, soaring 51 percent and passing the $1 billion mark for the first time, according to a report put together by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

Meanwhile, in Japan, an even sharper drop of 16.7 percent in worldwide recording industry revenue was reported, between establishing digital services and declining CD sales. Still, the report suggests it could have been much worse.

“Even accounting for the difficult situation in Japan, the global recording industry is in a positive phase of its development,” said Frances Moore, CEO at London-based IFPI. “Revenues in most major markets have returned to growth. Streaming and subscription services are thriving.”

Source: Adage

‘Naval Strike’ Ready to Launch

Battlefield 4 Naval Strike, the first of five expansions planned for release by Summer, is coming March 25 for Battlefield 4 Premium members and April 8 to everyone. This trailer not only sets up the scenario of Naval Strike, but also does a fine job showing off all the emergent gameplay madness inherent to Battlefield 4.


The Future Of Game Advertising Is Data, Data And More Data

How are you building social currency Jesse Divnich of the game research firm EEDAR asked that question to the audience of game developers and professionals. Many of the other talks and panels at GDC this year discussing trends in game marketing and monetization touched upon that important question.

One of the take-aways from many of the marketing and monetization sessions at GDC 2014 is that Facebook remains a critical tool for virality and discovery. Especially for mobile games.

While Jesse Divnich presented research showing that Facebook has dropped from being the #2 source of mobile game discovery in 2012 to #5 today (behind different forms of word-of-mouth as #1, featured in store front as #2 and top charts as #3), Facebook is still the undisputed leader in mobile game promotion.

In the company’s own session on Wednesday, Facebook’s Dan Morris showed some impressive figures to back up its continued relevance for game developers and marketers. For example, Facebook is now driving 735 million clicks to games every day and that number keeps on growing.

“The growth of casino games over the last year is probably no surprise to anyone here, but we are seeing growth in many other categories as well,” he said. “Our native ad feed stories is something we are particularly excited about growing in 2014 in
and we have served 245 million mobile game app install ads to date.”

In separate sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Dimitri Williams of Ninja Metrics as well as Jesse Divnich of EEDAR pointed to the need to focus on the 1 to 5 percent of game users referred to as “whales,” users who convert and monetize much better than the majority of players.


Game Developers Conference in San Francisco

So how do you make sure that you get as many whales as possible to play your game Getting demographic and psychographic targeting right is no doubt key to success here. Especially when it comes to mobile games. Going too broad with your advertising is expensive and techniques like paying for your advertising on an install basis (CPI) rather than reach (CPM) can be much more effective.

But even if you manage to convince your advertising partners to pay on a CPI basis, how can you make sure you are getting the right users who will monetize.

Music service Pandora’s Andre DeRussy‘s talk focused on just that, the importance of tracking post-install behavior so that you’re not just buying “dumb installs” for your game, but make sure that they are actually spending something and interacting with the downloaded app. At Pandora they have a lot of active mobile app users, so they pride themselves on being able to predict user behavior well, which is the message they wanted to get across to game developers.

Bottom line: The real advantage going forward will be to use data to drive your marketing and user acquisition tactics. Look at what is performing and who is converting, in real time. Then change your tactics accordingly. The Facebook platform is just so powerful here because they have the most data and a huge audience of 1.2 billion users. Many other publishers are also trying to copy their sponsored updates and in-stream app install ad format, but not doing it as well. At least not yet.


‘The Last Of Us’ Wins More Awards

After winning several other awards through BAFTA and DICE – not to mention selling over six million units at retail – Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us continued to clean house this week at the 14 annual Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco.

The game took home three awards out of the five it was nominated for, including Game of the Year, Best Design and Best Narrative.

In addition, some indie favorites also won big at the event this week. The Fullbright Company’s Gone Home won Best Debut, while the quirky Papers, Please managed to win Innovation Award and Best Downloadable Game. Kerbal Space Program managed to win the Audience Award as well.

Source: Polygon

Twitter Hints It May Lose The @

Vivian Schiller, Twitter’s Head of News, unleashed some information that elaborated on some previous hints that CEO Dick Costolo had made about some changes to how we interact with one another on the site. Signs are pointing to Twitter removing the @ and #– replies and hashtags.

These fundamental elements are the building blocks of Twitter, and Twitter doesn’t appear to want to use that functionality anytime soon. When Facebook finally took a cue from Twitter to utilize tags and hashtags within posts, it appears Twitter wants to make theirs simpler just like Facebook.

What’s more, it appears that the alpha version of Twitter for Android shows that Twitter has been actively experimenting with this change.

Tomos Evans, Director of Social Media at Ayzenberg Group feels Twitter is under pressure.

“The potential removal of the @ reply is surely a response to the increasingly stagnant growth of Twitter. To compete (and now to answer underwhelmed shareholders) there’s a logic to Twitter’s desire to simplify its unique language. The change would appear to be purely ‘grammatical’ but foreign grammar puts many learners off a new language, and I’m sure Twitter hopes any simplification will draw new users to the platform,” said Evans.

When it came to what this move could mean to marketers, Evans was positive. “For brands and brand managers, the removal of something which intimidates consumers should be seen as an opportunity to foster growth and engagement.”


Source: TheNextWeb


WeChat Savors Huge User Base

While WhatsApp continues to be the world’s leading messaging app with over 450 million active users, its rival, WeChat, isn’t too far behind.

Tencent released its latest earnings report this week, indicating that the combined monthly active users between the domestic WeChat app and its Chinese counterpart Weixin have reached 355 million active users by the end of 2013. That’s a 121 percent year-on-year increase, and also a six percent rise from quarter-on-quarter.

While Tencent didn’t provide a breakdown of where users were active depending on region, it did report that it doubled its international reach to 100 million users within a three-month span last year. For good measure, it also passed 100 million downloads through Google Play earlier this year.

No doubt those numbers will continue to rise, making it an even closer race between WeChat and WhatsApp.

Source: The Next Web

Epic Cuts Price On Unreal Engine

Epic Games, the team behind the Gears of War franchise and Infinity Blade series, just made a move this week at the Game Developers Conference that could open the door to a series of new developers.

Founder Tim Sweeney has announced a new business model for the company that will make the Unreal Engine set of tools and source code available to developers for a bargain basement price. The service will run would-be game makers only $19 a month, as well as 5 percent of gross revenue from the game.

This is a huge change of pace from what the company previously requested, between a $99 license fee and 25 percent of game earnings if it managed to make over $50,000. Of course, flat fee deals can still be negotiated, as always. That’s the way big publishers prefer to work with Unreal Engine.

With rising costs in game development, Sweeney believes this move will be beneficial to up-and-comers. “We succeed with this only if developers succeed in making great games,” he said.

Source: The Verge

How A Dog Helps Wounded Warriors

The Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation has run an ad which keenly demonstrates how a veteran can benefit from having a dog. It’s a great ad for demonstrating the natural empathy that animals can demonstrate, which is often what those who have seen combat need.