San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Preview

It’s just about ready to happen again. Thousands of fans, excited folks and “nerds” alike will come down to San Diego for four days of sheer madness at the annual San Diego Comic-Con International. It’s here that these fans will be able to indulge in the latest and greatest of panels surrounding TV shows, movies and video games.

On the TV front, several big pilots are set to premiere during the show. DC Comics will represent with three big premieres over the course of the week: Fox’s Gotham, which takes place in a pre-Batman universe, focusing on Detective Gordon; Constantine, which features Matt Ryan in the role of a demon-battling hero; and The Flash, a fun little spin-off featuring the speedy superhero. Other TV shows will also be highlighted, including Community, 24, and the Showtime hit Penny Dreadful.

Since it is a Comic-Con event, comics will also be featured in a variety of panels, attributing such items as Batman’s 75th anniversary, the new Avengers line-up featuring a new Captain America and female Thor character, and others. Fans will also be able to visit the marketplace on the main floor to pick up exclusive items, including posters and a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed Rocket Raccoon hoodie, featured at the Marvel booth. (We’ll take one, thanks!)

Movies will also take center stage during the event. Marvel is once again hosting a huge presentation in Hall H detailing the upcoming movies in its fold, including Guardians of the Galaxy and maybe even some first footage from next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron; Warner Bros. will host early showcases for its forthcoming line-up, including Jupiter Ascending, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; and a variety of celebrities and directors will be on hand to hype their forthcoming products.

Finally, video games will play a big part in the event as well. Disney Interactive is setting up a special space where players can try out Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes; Activision’s Skylanders: Trap Team will be featured at a number of events; a Bandai Namco panel will reveal more details on the just-announced fighting game Tekken 7 (among other projects); and Ubisoft is hosting a special obstacle course based on its forthcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity, complete with a 25-foot “leap of faith.” (A playable demo for the game will be available as well.) Other events will also be hosted by the likes of Square Enix and 2K Games, among others.

So, yeah, there’s plenty happening this week, and we’ll provide full coverage of the event over the weekend!

Source: San Diego Comic-Con

Facebook Testing New Buy Button

The “Buy” button is a temptation that a lot of shopping sites possess these days, especially when it comes to offering killer deals on items that are too good to miss. However, who would’ve thought that it would become a vital feature on a social site such as Facebook

The social media site announced today that it is testing a Buy button alongside various small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S., with the overall goal to help them drive sales directly through the site, via News Feed ads and Page posts.

The way it works is like this: the posts show a general item that’s available, on sale, and can vary depending on the business that’s involved. From there, users will see a Buy button highlighted next to said item, which will take them to a purchasing page without having to leave Facebook in general.

The feature is built with “privacy in mind,” according to the site, with a payment system that’s “safe and secure.” Any credit or debit card information shared when completing a payment is not shared with other advertisers, although it can be saved for future purchases, should the users decide to opt in.

The ads, in general, are meant to build a following with certain businesses, as well as establishing larger traffic and getting customers to visit physical locations of said retailer. No word yet on how it’s working, but at least now you can buy a watch without having to get off the Facebook social feed.

Facebook’s been on a tear recently with the rapid uptake of its mobile ads, particularly by game developers. The company is clearly hoping to extend its offerings with the Buy button, and indeed it seems like there’s great business potential here. The tough part is getting the implementation correct, in such a way that consumers respond well to it without getting angry at Facebook and turing away from the site. Facebook has seemed to handle this sort of issue quite adroitly in the past, so expect good results when the company finishes its testing.

What do you think? Does Facebook really need a “buy” button?

Source: The Next Web


Simulation War Games Making A Comeback

At one point in time, old-school war games were quite popular on the PC front, including simulations based on classic battles, as well as more modern themed titles like Command & Conquer. Lately, we’ve seen a switch-up in popularity with more first-person shooters, like Call of Duty and Battlefield, a sign that the war game may be on its way out. However, that isn’t the case.

A new article in VentureBeat talks about how the war game genre is getting a nice little opportunity to shine again, thanks to a number of new independent game offerings on the horizon, as well as the ease of downloading the games through digital distribution, rather than needing to track down a physical copy of the game.

Titles such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg, which recreates the battle between the Union and Confederate armies at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War, are thriving thanks to the addition of the game in the Steam Early Access department. It brings back the classic strategy of war, while staying true to the overall theme of it.

Other games, like IL-2 Sturmovik: The Battle of Stalingrad, is another game that’s benefitting from being on the indie gaming scene, with a digital download release. “There is no way we could have made this game if it were only for physical retail,” said Albert Zhiltsov, producer of IL-2 over at Moscow-based 1C Game Studios. “This genre has not gotten a lot of love from the AAA development community.”

A lot of games also prove easy to use in the market, so that they can accommodate newcomers as well as “hardcore” fans. These include Wargaming’s World of Warplanes (along with its World of Tanks offerings), as well as the recently released War Thunder, which features a number of biplanes from the World War II era. For good measure, that game isn’t just a darling on PC, as it’s available for PlayStation 4 as well.

“We re-create every detail, because most of our fans are pilots,” said Zhiltsov. “We want you to feel the emotion of the freedom of flight. This is not fantasy. We talk about casualties and how terrifying it was.”

War gaming, welcome back to the fold.

Source: VentureBeat

FIFA World Launching In Brazil

Brazil has become a huge scale global gaming market, with billions of dollars being spread throughout mobile, console and PC gaming. So it should be no surprise that EA Sports is ready to storm in there with a huge weapon in hand – FIFA World.

The publisher has confirmed that it plans to launch the multiplayer online soccer experience in Brazil, alongside Electronic Arts’ Origin digital distribution service. EA is teaming up with Sao Paulo-based UOL BoaCompra to launch the service, as it can assist with game portal design and payments.

Market researcher Newzoo reports that the Brazilian game market is the 11th largest in the world when it comes to revenues, and has an estimated 48.8 million gamers actively taking part. 61 percent of that audience spends money on games, with the digital market expected to reach $1.5 billion by year’s end. No wonder EA Sports wants to get on that action with Origin and FIFA World.

Through BoaCompra, EA will be able to provide a local payment option for services and games through both Origin and FIFA World, since credit cards aren’t used most of the time for said purchases.

“In Brazil, soccer is like a religion, and with the country hosting the FIFA World Cup this summer, this is the perfect time to be able to integrate BoaCompra billing into both EA Sports FIFA World and Origin for Brazilian gamers. We’ve seen an overwhelming demand from BoaCompra users for EA Sports FIFA World and PC games from Origin and we’re excited to be able to offer both in the market,” said Julian Migura, Director of Global Business Development at UOL BoaCompra.

“EA Sports FIFA World is for football lovers who were missing an accessible game to be played on almost any PC. Partnering with BoaCompra to offer local payment opportunities for Brazilian gamers enhances that accessibility,” said Mike McCabe, executive producer of EA Sports FIFA World. “We’re also giving Brazilian gamers an easier way to pay for games in the Origin portfolio, so it’s a great time to be a PC gamer in Brazil.”

FIFA World already has a huge global reach, with various languages and over 600 clubs to choose from, including 19 from Brazil. No doubt it’ll be a hit with soccer fans.

Source: VentureBeat

INTOUR Event Launching With YouTube Superstars

The team at Fullscreen is looking to bring the best video talent from today away from the camera, and out onto the main stage for all to celebrate. There will be live performances, social media interaction, games, and more, all with some of the top talent from YouTube and Vine. It’s taking some of the mobile, social, online interactive experience and putting it on stage, where fans can get their favorite interactions with online personalities delivered piping hot. It’s the ultimate fusion of online, mobile and IRL to create an unforgettable experience.

On September 13th, the INTOUR event will kick off in Padadena, which is a co-production between Fullscreen and Kevin Lyman, creator of the uber-popular Warped Tour. The event takes place at the Pasadena Convention Center, and of course the information is all over social media (Instagram, Twitter, Vine and YouTube) and web site.

With INTOUR, Fullscreen wants to showcase its top talent in a compilation of live sketch comedy, musical and dance performances for thousands of fans to see live and in person. It’s a great way to get the talents out from behind the camera, so they can interact directly with their fans.

The event will bring together a number of popular personalities from both YouTube and Vine, including Connor Franta, Ricky Dillion, JC Caylen, Sam Tsui, JennXPenn, Alx James, Brent Rivera, Crawford Collins, WeeklyChris, Dylan Dauzat, Charity Vance and FreshBigMouf.

The tickets will sell for $42 for general admission, and special VIP tickets are also available, providing fans access to meet and great certain stars from the tour. VIP tickets give superfans access to meet and greets, and there will also be a few tickets available for an exclusive INTOUR After Party experience, although details weren’t revealed.

Interested parties – and fans alike – can buy tickets here.

Source: Fullscreen

Nvidia Prepares New Gaming Devices

Nvidia startled the game industry last year with the release of its handheld gaming console, the Nvidia Shield. The Android-powered device offered an unusual form factor and the ability to stream games from Nvidia graphics-card-equipped PCs, along with a $299 price tag. The device apparently never sold very well (though Nvidia never released sales figures), but it appears to have been something of a beginning for the tech firm. Rumors have intensified, along with leaked images and specs, that Nvidia is about to release not one but two new gaming devices with very different form factors.

A report from the BBC indicates that one of these new gaming devices is a new Android-powered microconsole similar to an Ouya, a small box that plugs into a TV via HDMI, powered by Nvidia’s new Tegra K1 processor that has power comparable to an Xbox 30 or a PS3, according to the company. A “budget-priced” controller similar to standard console controllers will be used to navigate menus and play games. The micro-console’s crucial difference from other Android-powered consoles, aside from the extra power of the Tegra K1,  will be use of the Nvidia GeForce Experience system that allows you to stream PC games from a nearby PC with suitably Nvidia-powered graphics. This may well give Valve’s Steam Machine concept a run for its money, as playing PC games on your TV is the main selling point for Steam Machines (which are apparently delayed until next year, according to Valve). Pricing is still unclear, but it’s likely to be in the $99 to $149 range that boxes like the Amazon Fire TV or the upcoming PS TV from Sony.

“I think it’s fair to say that Shield sold reasonably poorly,” said Ed Barton, a games industry analyst at the consultancy Ovum, who has now seen the new device. “And if the new device requires your PC to have a relatively new Nvidia GPU [graphics processing unit] to make use of its abilities, that will really limit its addressable market.”

Nvidia’s second device is more ambitious, a powerful gaming-centric tablet with an array of cutting-edge features. The 8-inch tablet features a 1920 x 1200 IPS screen, driven by a Tegra K1 chip. The tablet has two front-facing speakers, a 5MP camera front and back, and comes in a 16GB ($299) and a 32 GB ($399) version; the 32GB tablet adds LTE connectivity with AT&T or T-Mobile (the device will ship unlocked). YOu can add Nvidia’s WiFi controller for $60, which boasts much lower latency than a typical Bluetooth controller. The Shield tablet will also include the GeForce Experience for streaming PC games from a compatible PC nearby.

The tablet is said to last approximately ten hours in terms of battery life, and includes a mini HDMI port. The device is also compatible with Nvidia’s DirectStylus technology, which was first made available in the low-cost Tegra Note tablet late last year. DirectStylus uses the Tegra chip to analyze touch input and detect the difference between a finger, a fine-tip stylus, and a blunt eraser end on a stylus. The result is an easy-to-use, passive stylus input system.

Nvidia hasn’t commented on either device yet, so we’ll see what’s announced over the next few weeks. The slides certainly look authentic, though. What’s not clear at all is Nvidia’s intent behind the devices. On the one hand they could be intended to demonstrate the power of the Tegra K1 chip in a tangible way to both gamers and other OEMs who are considering what chip to put in their devices. Nvidia could be looking to use these devices to help sell more Tegra K1 chips to other manufacturers.

Or, Nividia could intend to actually make a dent in the microconsole and tablet market this time, and try to establish some significant sales and market share against a slew of similarly priced competitors. If that’s the case, Nvidia will need to put some serious effort into marketing and in courting game developers to support these devices. Like the original Nvidia Shield, both of these devices have good technology but will be unlikely to generate much in the way of sales without a strong effort to get some impressive games on the systems, and more importantly an exceptional marketing effort to inform and persuade the target audience to buy these devices rather than any of the competition.

The technology used in Nvidia’s new devices is impressive, as the benchmarks show. Nvidia clearly believes its tablet will be the best gaming platform among tablets, and with the GeForce Experience technology you can get PC games on your tablet while playing with an exceptional controller (though that leaves aside the fundamental question of what to do with all those keyboard and mouse controlled PC games, but perhaps you could add on Bluetooth devices for that… but then you’ve lost that compelling portability argument).

Still, features and specs aren’t sufficient to sell devices — what counts is the experience that the specs deliver. Can Nvidia point to compelling games you can only play on its devices What sort of publisher support can or will Nvidia be able to line up If Nvidia does have an array of great games to go with this hardware, can the company find a way to get that message out to consumers and convince them to buy these devices That’s a tall order, considering the sheer volume of marketing effort that will be expended the rest of this year. Nvidia will be competing for attention with full-powered next-gen consoles, current-gen consoles, microconsoles from the likes of Amazon, Sony, Google and Apple, along with a slew of new tablets and smartphones with marketing budgets measuring in the billions.

This holiday season will see some intense marketing as gigantic companies battle for scarce pool of consumer technology dollars. And it is ultimately a zero-sum game: There will be winners, and there will be losers. Only one thing is for sure: The battle for hearts, minds and wallets will be epic indeed.

Source: Digital Trends



Why Instagram Isn’t Interested In Your Links

Unlike nearly every other social site, the particular frustration of interacting as a brand on Instagram is that you cannot put a link in your post. At best, you can hope that your followers will jump through the hoop of going to your profile page to click on a link placed there.

Recently a piece in Digiday, appropriately titled ‘Instagram’s War Against the Click’ spoke about how The Onion’s recently launched mock-Buzzfeed site, ClickHole, has been using Instagram as a way to direct traffic to the site this way, updating their Instagram profile’s main link with each post. Whether or not this is ClickHole’s satirical commentary on the inefficiency of such tactics or a component of their actual traffic strategy is hard to discern.

Social sites like Facebook and Twitter have taught us to think of social media as a way to direct traffic to other sites. It does this effectively, but as we proceed into a mobile-first world, there is a clumsy segue from app-to-web. The fact of the matter is those on Instagram aren’t there to be hounded by brands to click on links to open to mobile web browsers. Instagram knows this and has no plans to implement external links anytime soon.

We are seeing a rise in the popularity of self-contained apps. With marketers increasingly interested in how to leverage brand advocates on platforms like Snapchat, Whisper and so forth, how best do you utilize these apps, knowing full well that they aren’t traffic drivers or even more difficult, an unquantifiable “dark social” app

“Instagram isn’t going to make the mistake of most digital advertising and be hostage to the click because there are no clicks to count. Rather, Instagram wants its ads to be the kind of upper-funnel brand images consumers would typically find in a Condé Nast glossy,” said Digiday’s John McDermott.

As Instagram is courting brands now, marketers must be seeing the value of Instagram as an upper-funnel or at least testing its waters. With high rates of engagement, perhaps one can eschew a link after all.

What do you think?

Xbox One Gets More Social With Update

While the PlayStation 4 may still lead the sales charts as of June, Microsoft isn’t standing still. The latest update to the Xbox One is due to roll out in August, and Xbox spokesman Larry Hyrb, better known as Major Nelson, previewed the new features on his blog.

The biggest new feature is focused on improving the social experience of Xbox One, looking to make sharing game experiences with friends easier. “We’re adding new ways for you to interact with friends in the activity feed,” noted Hyrb in his blog. “The interface will change to a single column scrolling list that is longer and includes more content. We’ll add the ability to post text to your feed, and to “like” and comment on feed items. You can share game clips and anything else in the feed with friends either publicly (to your activity feed) or privately (as an attachment to a message). You’ll also be notified when anyone likes, comments on or shares your items. Each user will get a personal feed on their profile, so you can see what specific friends have been up to. And, with SmartGlass, you can see what your friends have shared to their activity feed and “like” specific posts (additional activity feed support coming in future SmartGlass updates).”

Additionally, the Friends area will be expanded on the Home screen, so you can see what your friends are doing on Xbox One – including a leaderboard so you can see just who’s doing the best on their Gamerscore.

The new update also provides a much-requested feature, one that the PlayStation 4 has had from the beginning: The ability to purchase a game or DLC from you mobile phone (using Xbox SmartGlass or and have your console automatically begin downloading. So you can buy a game while you’re on the road and find it waiting for you, ready to play, when you get home.

There are other new features as well which Hyrb details in his blog post.



QuakeCon Draws Gaming Crowd In Dallas

One of the biggest “hardcore” gaming events to take place each year, QuakeCon, held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, managed to grow even bigger this year, drawing thousands of devoted PC and console fans to an open exhibit hall, as well as a greatly expanded BYOC (bring your own computer) area, where many proud PC zealots showcased their custom PC cases – some even featuring a twist, like a working fishtank built into the middle, or monitors built into the sides.

Many vendors made their way to the show this weekend, including Nvidia, bringing various Shield units and PC tech for players to check out; Bethesda, which showcased the upcoming The Evil Within and free-to-play multiplayer game Battlecry, as well as the latest content from The Elder Scrolls Online; and Gunnar Optiks, which brought its latest models of gaming eyewear to its booth. Several equipment sellers were also on hand, and other little oddities stood out, including a photo booth with an interactive Doom background and classic Star Trek pinball machines.

The main stage was also a huge draw at the event, featuring the likes of Geoff Keighley, Adam Sessler and other panelists for a live episode of the GameTrailers show Bonus Round; showcases focusing on The Elder Scrolls Online and building a better video game; and, Thursday night, the exclusive reveal of the next chapter in the Doom franchise, which is scheduled to launch sometime next year for unspecified platforms. The new Doom goes back and reinvents the original, with the latest technology producing some impressive graphics, according to attendees.

Although QuakeCon leans more towards the “hardcore” players on the market, there was something for everyone to enjoy this year, and QuakeCon 2014 is likely to have an even bigger audience, particularly those who built custom PC cases and want to show them off. It’ll be hard to top that fish tank one, though…

Source: Shacknews

Learn more about influencer marketing at [a]list summit, our 9th event on the future of marketing, on July 31st  in Los Angeles. Catch the last few tickets before they’re gone!

Target Dresses YouTubers To Push Brand To College-Aged Shoppers

By Sahil Patel

In an effort to reach millennials, many of whom will be focused on back-to-school shopping in a couple of weeks, Target is going where this generation watches content — YouTube.

The retailer will prominently feature a group of four YouTube stars as part of a multi-show online video campaign called “Best Year Ever,” centering on back-to-school shopping. Each member of the quartet — Todrick Hall, Ann Le, Tiffany Garcia, and Michael Balalis (Mikey Bolts) — will star in his or her own show that provide lucky guests with dorm-room makeovers.

Each star will be assisted by interior designer Veronica Valencia, and will provide makeover tips and recommendations using products sold at Target stores.

Spanning four episodes each, the shows will be available on Target’s YouTube channel, which has more than 26,000 subscribers (compared to the four YouTubers, who collectively reach more than 4.5 million subscribers). The campaign begins with Hall’s show, which runs this week.

Why is Target using YouTubers for a video campaign The answer is pretty obvious and one that you’ve heard from any brand that embraces YouTube creators. “You have to go where the millennial generation is,” said Rick Gomez, SVP of brand and category marketing for Target, in an interview with The New York Times. “YouTube celebrities have a built-in fan base and get a ton of exposure.”

It’s not the first time Target has dipped into the YouTube well. Last year, the brand aired “Bullseye University,” a live-streaming program that featured five YouTube stars, including Chester See and Tessa Violet (meekakitty), living in Target-designed dorm rooms for 96 consecutive hours.

“Millennials are influenced by a lot of different sources, especially social platforms,” added Gomez in that same interview. “We’re going to those who have credibility on those channels, using them as thought leaders.”

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 for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.