Logitech Exec Explains The Power Of eSports

Logitech recently expanded its foothold in eSports with sponsorship of eSports teams around the globe, who are using Logitech G headsets, mice, keyboards and mouse pads in competition across World of Tanks, DOTA 2, League of Legends and StarCraft II. The teams using Logitech gear include Alliance in Sweden and Germany, CJ Entus in Korea, DetonatioN in Japan, Invictus Gaming in China, mYinsanity in Switzerland, XCN in Indonesia and Cloud 9, Hammer Time and Team SoloMid in the U.S. Ehtisham Rabbani, general manager of the Logitech gaming business, explains why the company is investing in eSports and what opportunities these pro gamers and their fans open up for brands in this exclusive interview.

When and why did Logitech enter the eSports space?

Ehtisham Rabbani

Logitech was initially a sponsor of the CPL (Cyberathlete Professional League), which launched back in 1997. It was the very early days of eSports. The Internet was at the start of its development, and though there were competitive games occurring, it wasn’t at the level or fidelity that we can see today.

Logitech G, the gaming dedicated division of Logitech, was created two years ago and almost immediately re-entered the eSports scene. We’ve sponsored the League Championship Series and are now focused on sponsoring eSports teams directly. We recently announced our global roster of top notch teams from around the world.

How have you seen livestreaming impact the reach your brand gets in eSports today?

We are very encouraged by the positive effect that streaming has had on the perception of our brand. Our products are a natural extension of the game and fit very well within the narrative of the stream and eSports competitions. We believe that being an organic extension of the live stream is important for gamers and the integrity of games. We hope that livestreaming doesn’t just become another advertising avenue for unrelated products and services.

What impact have you seen from pros and pro teams using your products when it comes to direct sales to gamers?

For Logitech G, being in the gaming business goes far beyond direct sales; it is about being involved and engaged in the gaming community. We believe that increased sales will come as a result, though they can be hard to quantify. We don’t think it’s coincidental that we have experienced double-digit growth as we have invested more in the gaming community. Being part of a community means doing things for the larger good of gaming and gamers, and not just being revenue driven. eSports is an opportunity for Logitech G to assist in the growth of a spectator sport on the level of traditional sports leagues like the NBA, NHL and the NFL.

How powerful is brand engagement with the big eSports events?

Engaging directly with gamers is critical to the soul of our brand. Logitech G participates in most gaming events, including ESL One, Dreamhack, IEM, PAX, China Joy and Paris Games Week to name a few. We talk with gamers, share the work we are doing, get their thoughts and ideas and participate together in the gaming community.

What opportunities have things like livestreaming of practice sessions opened up for advertisers and sponsors?

Live streaming of practice sessions provides a look behind the curtain. Gamers can see how their heroes interact and how much dedication they exhibit to their craft. The gaming community, including Logitech G, can see how our products are used in real environments by the most demanding of professionals.

How have you seen more traditional sponsors gravitate towards eSports in recent months?

Recently, we’ve seen more traditional sponsors gravitate towards eSports. I think this is another indication of the growing appeal of eSports and its community.

Why is having Hollywood studios involved in eSports (like the Ender’s Game StarCraft II tournament or the League of Legends Game of Thrones promotion) good for all companies involved in eSports?

Hollywood helps spread the word and grow eSports. So it’s great for the sport and for gamers. We expect to see more movies capturing the drama of eSports.

What are Logitech’s plans with eSports for 2014?

We plan to continue to actively support eSports teams around the world. Additionally, one of the key objectives for Logitech G is to integrate input from the professional eSports teams into our product design process. These professional athletes need high performance tools that deliver accuracy and fidelity in these very competitive matches. Like traditional athletes, these eSports teams are experts in their profession. And you’ll see our products reflect their needs and input.

What impact do you feel seeing events like DOTA 2 played in a World Cup soccer stadium having on eSports moving forward?

We think that events like ESL One are evidence of the maturing of eSports. You can also take the prize pool for The International Championship, now totaling more than $10 million, as more evidence of the engagement of the community and the popularity of the sport. eSports is bigger than non-gamers realize and it’s here to stay.

What would you say to companies, especially more mainstream brands, who are still on the fence about eSports?

Engaging in eSports does not make sense for all brands. There is a desire for authenticity from the community. It is more than simply a new advertising channel. However, if done authentically, supporting this growing market would benefit the overall rise of eSports and the players themselves and strengthen a brand’s relevance.

Brands And YouTubers

It is sometimes hard to discern which brands some top YouTubers are working with and how they are working with them. After all, there’s more than a few ways to mobilize influencers on YouTube.

With [a]list summit coming up July 31, we did some sleuthing work to find out as much as we could about what brands certain YouTubers are aligning themselves with, what they’re in for (hint: free games, the ability to impact social change and, um, money).


Keeping Up With Social Media: How the YouTubers Do It

By Jessica Klein

As a YouTube creator, staying on top of social media is key. Outside of events like VidCon, it’s the way in which creators stay in contact with their fans. However, if you have upwards of 18 million subscribers, like Smosh, or even just a few thousand, that’s a lot of social media to stay on top of. So how do some of the biggest YouTube personalities do it

VideoInk got the chance to catch up with many of these creators at VidCon and gleaned some tips on how to handle a world of social media that most describe as “overwhelming.” Here’s what they said:

Acknowledge your limitations.

“You can’t be on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and Instagram all at the same time,” said Ian Hecox of the famed comedy duo Smosh. Facing this reality is an important first step to adequately handling your social media presence as a YouTuber.

Get help.

Dane Boedigheimer, creator of “The Annoying Orange,” admitted to doing just that when it comes to interacting with his fans. “I surround myself with very great people that help me manage all of that,” he said. Though he “loves being a part of that and going through and reading comments,” he enlists aid, as well, because “we have pages for every single ‘Annoying Orange’ character and my stuff as well.” Between the Marshmallow, Pear, Grandpa Lemon, etc., that’s a lot of social media for just one guy.

Stay engaged.

Being one of those people who’s naturally very attuned to her internet presence will work in your favor. Jenn McCallister (better known as JennXPenn) described herself as such a person. “I’m addicted to my phone and social media, so I always try and keep everyone updated and tweeting and posting on Instagram,” she said.

Tweet back.

Anthony Quintal (known on YouTube as Lohanthony) always reciprocates on social media. “I’m always tweeting back, always following people back,” he described of his committed social media presence.

Respond to new videos’ comments immediately.

A common YouTube tactic for responding to comments means sitting tight for the first hour so after posting a new video. “When I put a video up I’m usually responding to comments for like the first hour or two,” creator Kingsley explained. Getting a look at viewers’ first reactions to a fresh video will give you immediate perspective on what you did right, wrong, better, or worse.

Open up.

Tyler Ward is by no means the first YouTube creator to note that the social media intimacy with fans can get a bit overwhelming, but he did confess to “letting them in so much more than I let some of my friends in.” Sharing yourself with your fans means so much that they’ll appreciate your openness even when you’re too busy to respond to everything they have to tweet at you.

Love your fans.

Genuinely caring for your fans will make your drive to thrive on social media somewhat effortless. As Colleen Ballinger of Miranda Sings noted, “The one thing that really keeps me in check is the fans, because if I’m not tweeting constantly they think I’m dead. Knowing that I want to keep them happy…that’s my one, big motivator to make sure I’m constantly on social media.”

Solicit fan feedback.

Social media is also a great way for you to gauge what your fans think of your work. For Sandi, the face of CutePolish, social media means getting a look at the nail creations she’s inspired in her audiences. “I’m always encouraging them to show me their recreations of nail art, always interacting with them online,” she explained.

Don’t be invisible.

Of course, neglecting to respond to your fans makes you less relatable and, frankly, less of a “real person” on the platform. As Kingsley put it, he tries his best to respond to comments so his fans “feel like they’re not writing to some invisible entity.”

Remember, one social media venue feeds another.

Since it’s all about networking and intertwining connections, it’s true that anything you do on one social media outlet can carry over to another. Said Smosh’s Hecox of social media platforms, “They all just sort of feed off each other. The Twitter helps the Facebook, the Facebook helps the YouTube…” Etc., etc…

Read (even if you can’t respond).

The ultimate conclusion here is that social media is tough to keep up with for YouTubers with significant fan bases. Thus, it’s simply unrealistic to respond to every comment and/or tweet. “Just do what you can,” encouraged Michelle Glavan, a comedic creator with almost 200,000 subscribers. “It’s very difficult to respond to everybody, but I try to at least read it all.” By doing this, you can stay in tune with what your fans think, love, and want without setting unrealistic goals for yourself when it comes to communications.


This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via thevideoink.comfor the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox. 

Behind Twitch’s Transformation

“If you’ve never played a videogame before, Twitch is probably not for you,” he said. 

Twitch, the video streaming website, allows a fraction of users broadcast or record themselves playing video games with a global audience of millions watching live broadcasts has hit a big landmark recently. The site is a hotspot for gamers and other young people between 15 and 35.

How the company got to this point is an interesting story.

Despite being friends from Seattle prior, co-founders Emett Shear and Justin Kan first began working together as classmates at Yale University in 2005. While there they developed and launched a calendar startup known as Kiko. The startup, which aimed to combine the power of Microsoft Outlook with the modern web sensibilities of Google’s then-new email product Gmail, disappeared in less than a month, struggling to compete with Google’s release of Google Calendar.

Along with Google’s immense amount of clout and resources, the young co-founders realized something else that contributed Kiko’s dwindling – neither of them were heavy calendar users themselves and neither of them had the know-how to find any power users for feedback.

“One of the things I’ve learned the hard way over the years is that you should use your own product,” said Kan, now a full-time partner at Y Combinator.

14 months later Kiko’s scraps were (surprisingly) sold on eBay for $258,000.

“We thought we had hit the lottery,” Kan said, after reportedly expecting no more than $50,000 from the auction. “Maybe startups were not so bad after all.”

This kept the duo going until they came up with an idea that Y Combinator founder Paul Graham was willing to invest $50,000 to make happen: A reality show called Justin.tv, devoted to broadcasting Kan’s life on the Web, 24/7.

In early 2007 the show Justin.tv began broadcasting. The show immediately scored major headlines. Kan even made appearances on NBC’s The Today Show and ABC’s Nightline.

“If we had any success with Justin.tv, it’s because we were our own user,” Kan said. “We knew what was important because it’s stuff we wanted.”

The site opened up to other broadcasters in October 2007. Three years later, Justin.tv had raised $7.2 million in venture capital and was claiming some 31 million unique users per month.

In late 2010 the company tried to expand itself even further by working on two projects known as “skunkworks.” One project would spin off into an Instagram-for-video startup called Socialcam, which sold to Autodesk for $60 million in 2012. The other, a taskforce led by Shear to grow the audience for videogame content on the site, would become a new site called TwitchTV.

“It’s kind of counterintuitive, right ” Shear said. “You want to be as big as possible as a startup, why would you pigeonhole yourself in just one kind of content It took us a long time to realize that was a good idea.”

TwitchTV (now known as Twitch) has undoubtedly outpaced its predecessor, raising $35 million in VC funding over the past three years, and maintaining 45 million unique viewers per month by the end of 2013, up from about 25 million when the year began.

Justin.tv, however, has faded. According to Alexa, Twitch is the 249th most popular website in the world while Justin.tv is number 3,168. In February, Twitch became the name of both sites’ corporate parent.

As for what’s next, Shear said most of the company is heads-down on improving video streaming quality and speed.

Entertainment trade publication Variety has recently reported that YouTube may buy Twitch, the three-year-old video site, for more than $1 billion. Twitch declined comment on those reports for Re/Code.


Source: Re/Code

Netflix Dominates With Movies, TV Shows

When it comes to streaming entertainment, there’s definitely a competitive market out there. However, Netflix continues to hold a steady lead, thanks to its variety of TV shows and top films.

A report from Piper Jaffray & Co. shows that Netflix still has a steady pace over Amazon’s subscription-video service, especially when it comes to content-licensing, as it has more of the top 50 movies and top 75 TV shows than it has over the previous years.

“Relative to Amazon . . . Netflix is still leading by a wide margin,” said Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Michael Olson.

In the report, Netflix shows a 32 percent market share, compared to Amazon’s twelve percent. However, Netflix numbers have dwindled a bit, showing a decline by about 2 percent from the previous year, while Amazon has increased its count to around 5 percent.

Netflix has 10 of the 50 box-office leaders from the past year, while Amazon only has three. However, Amazon has more movies that are from the past couple of years, while Netflix relies a bit more on an older library of classics – not that that’s entirely bad, just a notable difference.

Hulu Plus, while not as competitive without certain movies in its line-up, still holds steady with nearly three times as many recent top-rated shows over Netflix, with 57 percent of the total count over the past year, compared to 20 percent for Netflix and nine percent for Amazon.

When it comes to original content, however, Piper Jaffray played it casual. “While definitely a competitor, we view Hulu as increasingly less of a direct threat as Netflix focuses on original content,” said Olson.

The streaming content market is poised to become even more competitive, especially with original content coming from Yahoo!, MIcrosoft and Sony. Meanwhile, both Amazon and Netflix continue to sign deals for new original content, so the battle will continue. Can these new companies put a dent on the market share of the leaders

Source: Variety


Japanese Game Industry Holds Steady

With the video game industry continuing to ride on an all-time high in terms of sales, Japan continues to play its part in contributing to those sales, according to a new report from Tokyo-based magazine publisher Enterbrain.

The company, which owns the popular gaming magazine Famitsu, reported that Japan’s console market in the first half of 2014 held steady for sales, with 706.3 million yen spent on consoles and 1016.3 million yen spent on games, for a total of 1722.6 billion yen (or $1.685 billion dollars in U.S. funds). The PlayStation 4 played a small part in that number launching in February, but surprisingly enough, not as big as Sony had anticipated.

The previous year’s numbers show a total of 1720.2 million yen, or $1.683 billion U.S. dollars. Again, it’s a small increase (only $2.3 million), but an increase nevertheless.

Still, it’s a bit off from 2012’s numbers, as a total of 1753.4 billion ($1.72 billion) were spent on games and consoles – a slight but notable drop.

Keep in mind that the market for gaming in Japan is very different from the U.S., as Microsoft doesn’t play as prominent a role in that country with smaller sales than what it’s done on overseas markets. For good measure, Nintendo also has a pretty strong foothold, even if the Wii U hasn’t quite been as popular as other consoles released in the past.

The smartphone market is having a major impact on game spending, though, with half of all game spending in Japan now coming from smartphone games and the other half from console games. With consoles and console games looking to show little if any growth, it’s clear that smartphone games in Japan will be the majority of the game industry in that country. Could that ever happen in the United States

Source: Serkantoto


Wendy’s Music Video All About The Pretzel Bun

Wendy’s customers have shown such utter excitement and attachment to the restaurant’s legendary ‘Pretzel Burger’ that they have turned to Twitter and Wendy’s has taken advantage of the hubbub.

Wendy’s uses actual customer’s tweets as lyrics to an original pop song parody. Who would have known that a pretzel bun was such a big deal The music video proves that simply broadcasting their over-the-top customer reactions to the pretzel burger is a hilarious and promising move for their latest campaign.