In The Niche SnapChat Leaves, Sobrr Gains Userbase Quickly

Ephemeral apps are having quite the hayday. With Snapchat continuing to gain prominence with users and marketers, there was a niche that Sobrr creator Bruce Yang felt was yet to be filled: the kind that seems uniquely suited to sharing and then deleting raucous party photos. Sobrr was created with the same ethos as the city of Las Vegas.

“Life in the moment,” Sobrr’s catchphrase is perfectly apt and demonstrates the appeal of these share and forget ‘em apps that are so catching these days. No worries about that the questionable keg stand photo in the following morning daze.

Since the app dropped in July, it’s already gained an impressive 10,000 users and is currently finalizing a $1 million dollar seed round from IDG Ventures. Yang already has in mind that bars and restaurants will be using its location-based features in the future, luring partiers with temporary discounts, although a broad appeal for marketers is obvious.

Yang is foreseeing a sharp increase in users come fall, when social-savvy college students return to campus, ostensibly wanting to curb any possibility of ruining job prospects with less than professional photos.

“We want to help people stay sober online, while they have all kinds of craziness offline,” said Yang.


Almost All PC Games Are Downloaded

It’s been a long time since PC games occupied a substantial part of retail store shelves. When was the last time you bought a PC game on disc? Or even saw one in a store? Now there’s hard evidence to go with what you suspected: PC games are mostly sold via downloads these days.

Analyst firm DFC Intelligence, speaking with British tech site PCR, disclosed that fully 92 percent of all PC game sales in 2013 came from digital downloads. This won’t be a surprise to all of the inveterate Steam users out there, and the numbers are confirmed from other sources as well. Last year Payday 2 publisher Starbreeze reported that 80 percent of its 1.58 million first-month sales came from downloads.

Of course, this also takes into account the fact that many extremely popular games that are only available as downloads, such as League of Legends, DOTA 2, and World of Tanks.

This represents a tremendous growth in digital full game downlaods over the past few years, when you consider that as recently as 2010 analyst firm NPD estimated that only 48 percent of PC game sales came from digital downloads.

The trend is driven by several factors. Increasing bandwidth in homes has made full game downloads more practical. Shrinking shelf space at retail was being devoted increasingly to console games. Perhaps most importantly, the increasing popularity of Steam (now with 75 million users ) and other digital download services made it easy to find titles both old and new – and to get tremendous deals on those games, too. Finally, many of the most popular PC games in recent years have been free-to-play games that are driven by microtransactions, and their popularity has been pushing those games out to huge numbers of people.

Meanwhile, consoles are still behind in the digital full game download trend. Electronic Arts reported that only some 10-15 percent of console games are full digital downloads. Analyst firm EEDAR estimated that less than 20 percent of console games are currently sold as digital downloads, though they see that rising to 50 percent by 2018.

Source: Ars Technica

Mobile Games Growing Fast In Germany

Germany has been a hotbed of board gaming and computer gaming for decades, and the latest survey figures show that gaming continues to grow in Germany — with mobile game sgrowing much faster than other categories. The IHS data cited in a July 2014 BITKOM report shows that martphone and tablet game revenues came to €465 million ($620 million) in 2014, which was about 33 percent greater than the revenues for 2013, and more than double the revenues from two years ago for mobile games.

Meanwhile, digital and online sales of console and computer games continued to grow, but at a much slower rate. Revenues from physical game sales continued to decline from the high point reached in 2008, which mirrors the decline of physical game sales in North America.

Looking at the platforms that Germans used for gaming shows clearly why the revenues are growing for mobile and shrinking for physical games. Smartphones showed a massive increase in gaming usage, leaping from 44 percent of German gamers to 78 percent of German gamers in 2014. At the same time, desktop PC usage declines to 69 percent from 74 percent, so smartphones leaped past desktops in a single year to become the most popular gaming platform among Germans.

Tablets are still far down the list, with only 36 percent of Germans listing them as a gaming platform, but that represents an incredible growth rate, up from only 10 percent in 2013. While this tremendous growth was occurring in mobile devices, traditional consoles shrank from 43 percent to 39 percent, while handheld consoles rose from 24 percent to 32 percent. Laptops also rose in popularity, climbing to 53 percent from 40 percent in 2013.

It will be interesting to see if the strong sales of next-gen consoles can slow down the loss in consoles gaming in Germany, but it doesn’t look like anything will get in the way of mobile gaming’s growth. Expect next year’s numbers to show even more growth in tablets, and probably a continuing loss among PC gaming.

Source: eMarketer

Pinterest’s Plan To Lure Males

Pinterest has become an enormously popular social web site, with millions of people sharing five million articles every day. The difficulty for Pinterest – or what the company sees as its big opportunity – is that over 70 percent of the current audience is female, and the June comScore data shows that Pinterest is the most gender-imbalanced among the major social platforms.

The company knows that its current state is very appealing to women, and that’s been a strong selling point for the site as it sells ads. However, this could be hampering future growth, with men reluctant to venture in if the site is replete with pins that are strongly female-oriented. Becoming a social platform at significant scale really requires a broad appeal across all genders.

“If you pull up Pinterest and go into any content section, you will see purses, dresses and women’s shoes because women are the user base,” DigitasLBi’s vp of social and content strategy, Jill Sherman, said in a previous interview. “When 70 percent of the users are female, then 70 percent of the content is going to be female-oriented.”

So Pinterest is working on the basics of the Pinterest site, trying to make the initial sign-up process more inviting to new male users, according to Joanne Bradford, Pinteret’s head of partnerships. It’s a challenge, but Pinterest is intent on showing male users more gender-appropriate items when they sign on.

The company is also working on other initiatives that may be more appealing to males, signaling that intent by hiring a partner manager of media in New Your or Los Angeles. The job description says the company wants someone to “develop strong media, entertainment and publisher relationships” and to “work closely to help them get the most out of Pinterest and meet their business goals.” Pinterest is encouraging people to use the site as a way to flag articles for later reading, something that should appeal equally to all genders.

Will these efforts improve Pinterest’s appeal to males? What do you think?

Source: Digiday

How Consoles Could Evolve, And Xbox One Could Beat PS4

So far, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been selling well, which is keeping hope alive that this latest console generation will be as successful as the last one. Many like to point to previous console cycles as evidence that this cycle will look the same for hardware and software sales. Microsoft and Sony have publicly stated that they are looking for these consoles to sell strongly for as much as seven years or even more. Is that realistic

The counter argument is that this new console generation faces an unprecedented challenge. Mobile hardware, while only now reaching the performance level of the last generation of consoles, has been at least doubling in graphics power ever year. With the next-gen consoles being roughly 6-8x as powerful as the last generation of consoles, that means mobile devices could be reaching equivalent power levels in three or four years. If next-gen consoles remain static in graphics power, this could be a serious threat — especially as we’re already seeing mobile hardware, with its low cost and high performance, being built into set-top boxes explicitly being designed as consoles. Does this mean next-gen consoles are doomed to a short product lifetime

Not necessarily. Yes, it’s true mobile hardware will continue to advance rapidly, and the massive volumes and bitter competition of the mobile business (an order of magnitude larger than consoles) will keep advances coming regularly at low cost. Meanwhile, PC graphics continue to improve every year, and next-gen consoles are already only comparable to a mid-range gaming PC. Still, there are things that console makers can do to improve the situation — and that shows a possible way for Microsoft to recapture the lead in console sales from Sony.

First of all, let’s acknowledge that games are already improving on next-gen consoles as developers get more familiar with the platforms. And that system software changes can lead to improvements, as Microsoft’s DX12 is supposed to do (boosting graphics performance by a noticeable amount). Even hardware improvements are already happening; one of the new Xbox One bundles features a 1 TB hard drive instead of 500 GB. Microsoft has also released the approximately 10 percent of system resources dedicated to Kinect, so developers now have that extra horsepower available. We may also see improvements to games through cloud-powered processing, where (for instance) sophisticated AI might be offload to the cloud for processing in a seamless fashion.

There’s plenty of room for improvement beyond tweaks to system software, though. One major difference with the next-gen consoles is that they are based on standard PC architecture from AMD. Thus, creating a faster CPU or GPU would be less of an effort than it would be for the previous custom architecture of consoles. Typically, process efficiencies alone (moving to smaller die sizes) usually saves console makers money over the course of the console’s lifetime; instead of saving that money, a more efficient part could be used. Imagine, if you will, an Xbox One or PS4 with a CPU and GPU that is twice as fast (or more) for the same price.

The difficulty with creating an improved console is the installed base. Those 10 million PS4 owners already out there (and the next ten million that would buy it) would be annoyed if one fine day Sony started shipping PS4’s that had much greater performance. Moreover, software that had already shipped might not be compatible with the new PS4, or able to take advantage of the added horsepower. The same is true for Microsoft and the Xbox One, even though the installed base is less than 10 million.

In the console market of the past, dealing with that installed base was an insurmountable problem. You couldn’t possibly push out updates to everything, not given how difficult and expensive it was to get updates approved and sent. Now, though, developers should be able to easily update games for any reason, and getting a performance boost would certainly be a good reason. So older games could work better for buyers of a new improved console, with some minor help from the publishers.

The more difficult question is what to do about current console owners who want the extra horsepower now available. Here’s a modest proposal — why not turn to a retailer with extensive experience in taking in old hardware and providing new hardware GameStop would be happy to serve in that role with the proper structure. Perhaps Xbox One owners could turn in their old Xbox One and for $100 get a new one with the added power. If Microsoft really wanted to sweeten the deal and improve the percentage of people upgrading, offer $100 of games for free with that upgrade.

In fact, this method could be used to completely turn around Microsoft’s current fortunes in the console market. Microsoft let Sony take the lead for two primary reasons: The Xbox One was $100 more expensive than the PS4 (gamers did not particularly see the Kinect as worth $100), and the Xbox One was seen as less powerful than the PS4 (those endless stories about lower frame rate and resolution for Xbox One games had an effect). Microsoft’s solved the price problem, but the power issue still remains (even though the gap has narrowed, the perception remains). Offering an Xbox One with a clear horsepower advantage over the PS4 at the same price point, along with an upgrade path for current Xbox One owners, would completely change the situation in the market.

Yes, this would cost Microsoft some money — tens of millions of dollars perhaps a hundred million or more. But money is the big advantage Microsoft has over Sony, with over $60 billion in the bank versus a company that continues to struggle with getting out of the losses caused by the TV business. This would be a move Sony would find it hard to match.

If Microsoft really wanted to make life difficult for Sony, and keep a competitive edge against Steam Machines and mobile devices, this process could be repeated every two years as CPU and GPU performance improves. Make consoles a device that gets a regular upgrade, much like smartphones. Part of what makes the smartphone business work is the carrier subsidies in the US, which lower the price for the hardware and drive upgrades, along with the relatively high resale value for smartphones. The combination means that when a new iPhone rolls out, old iPhone owners can get the new hardware for very little out of pocket by signing a new two year agreement and selling their old phone.

What practical difference would this make for games They could be prettier, with more advanced rendering and anti-aliasing, particle effects, and other things that may not add much to the game play but they sure get the juices flowing for hard-core gamers. Most games could take advantage of the extra horsepower to improve rendering without huge changes to the software. Since many games are now being developed for PC right alongside the next-gen console versions, the game engines are usually ready to take advantage of greater CPU and GPU power to improve appearance.

Would Microsoft make such a bold move Certainly the Xbox division has been surprising long-time observers with its ability to make changes (like removing the Kinect, or changing the digital game policies before the launch) swiftly. It’s a bold move, and it wouldn’t be easy to pull off. Microsoft may find itself evaluating this and other difficult options if the market share numbers don’t meet the company’s objectives. Of course, Sony could also implement this sort of plan…

Sony: PS4 Success Vital For Industry

Sony had a big week at Gamescom in Germany this week, not only revealing a number of new games for players to enjoy, but also reaffirming the PlayStation 4’s success by touting its sales of ten million units worldwide – a number that Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president Jim Ryan is particularly proud of.

However, the system’s sales go beyond just adding unit numbers for Sony. They actually help strengthen the industry in general, according to Ryan. “Having momentum and having that initial success – and it is just initial, there’s a long way to go yet – it puts us in good heart for the future,” he said. “Some of the stuff we touched on yesterday, talking about the future, whether that’s PlayStation Now, whether that’s Morpheus, PlayStation TV in the nearer term – all of these things require investment.

“It’s much easier to make decisions like that from a position of relative success, relative strength, rather than a world where PlayStation 4 was struggling, where our momentum wasn’t great,” he continued. “The money man would be thinking, ‘hmmm, do we really want to put more into this ‘ Those conversations, which are very important for us and very important for the shape of the whole industry, they become easier. That can only be a good thing.”

The road to getting PlayStation 4 to success wasn’t always easy, but Ryan believes that Sony followed a great business model to move it onward. “We’ve always said that PlayStation 4 would be a socially connected console, but that’s dead easy to say and talk is cheap,” he said.

“If you want to position it that way you’ve got to deliver in terms of the feature set. And at a very high level, taking that approach and being true to the promise – which we haven’t always done – that must prevail over cannibalization of sales. Ultimately, that is a narrow tactical consideration,” he concluded.

Sony should have no trouble cleaning up over this forthcoming holiday season, especially with better stocking of the system for interested parties.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Here Are The Nominees For The Fourth Annual Streamy Awards

by Jessica Klein

Nominees for the fourth annual Streamy Awards {link no longer active} were announced today, giving digital video fans a preview for what’s to play out during the award ceremony on Sunday, September 7 in California’s Beverly Hills.

Presented by Coca-Cola, the Streamys cover original digital video across 47 categories, from comedy to gaming to pranks. Honors include two Audience Choice Awards, which mean audiences get to vote for their favorite online creators.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. PT on September 7, the Streamys will also be available to watch via live streaming on Though 16 category winners will receive their awards live on that date, a reception at the YouTube Space LA will honor the other 31 on September 4.

This year, the Streamys are also honoring creators in several new categories, including gaming, beauty, pranks, science and education, sports, kids and family, and one that pays homage to traditional TV shows that are working to further engage viewers through digital video and social media. One new category will also honor Vine video creators.

Produced by Dick Clark productions, the fourth annual Streamy Awards are executive produced by Drew Baldwin, Assaf Blecher, and Joshua Cohen. You can find a full list of this year’s nominees below:

Channel, Show, or Series – Overall




Non-Fiction or Reality

Channel, Show, or Series – Subject

Action and Sci-Fi




Food and Cuisine

  • Anthony Eats America {link no longer active}
  • Epic Meal Time
  • Nerdy Nummies
  • SortedFood
  • Thristy For…  {link no longer active}


  • PewDiePie
  • Smosh Games
  • SourceFed Nerd
  • Stampylonghead
  • TableTop {link no longer active}

Health and Wellness

Kids and Family

News and Current Events


  • FouseyTube
  • JackValeFilms
  • Prank it FWD
  • Roman Atwood
  • Stuart Edge

Science and Education




First Person


  • Bad Timing {link no longer active}
  • Destroy The Alpha Gammas
  • Little Horribles
  • Sad Motivator
  • The Platoon of Power Squadron


  • Alaa Wardi (Saudi Arabia)
  • EnchufeTV (Ecuador)
  • Galo Frito (Brazil)
  • Neymar Jr: Life Outside the Fields (Brazil)
  • Noob (France)


Actress in a Comedy

  • Johanna Braddy, Video Game High School {link no longer active}
  • Brittany Furlan, SHFTY ~ Super Happy Fun Time, Yay!
  • Mamrie Hart, You Deserve A Drink
  • Charlotte Newhouse, Idiotsitter {link no longer active}
  • Joanna Sotomura, Emma Approved {link no longer active}

Actress in a Drama

Actor in a Comedy

Actor in a Drama


Ensemble Cast


Cover Song

Music Video

Musical Artist

Original Song




Costume Design



Original Score

Visual and Special Effects



Vine Comedian

Vine Creativity

Viner of the Year

Campaign or Event

Brand Campaign

Live Event

Public Service


Television Show

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.

Unity’s New Gaming Tech Astounds

Earlier this year, Unity proclaimed that it was working on a system that would allow developers the opportunity to make games based on its technology available for play on any Internet browser, without the need for any plug-ins. This would be accomplished using the WebGL standard for browsers, although at the time the company didn’t have a release date planned. That was understandable, since it wasn’t clear when or even if various browsers would build WebGL support in.

Well, wait no more, as the tech appears to be available, per the listing on the Unity page. With WebGL, developers can utilize the power of a computer’s general graphics card in order to render 3D games on the fly, as well as applications, all without the need to download any extra technology or browser plug-ins. The company’s actually been fiddling with it for years, but merely tapped the potential until releasing it into certain browsers like Firefox as of last year.

The development tool opens up a new door for developers, allowing them access to the WebGL system without needing to pay for additional tools. It provides a great deal of worth for those who were running into road blocks before, such as the need for a “powerhouse” piece of technology or, worse yet, a premium upgrade with a particular browser.

Don’t think that Unity isn’t profiting by giving the technology away for free, though. Per TechCrunch, the company benefits in many ways. It can earn money from premium licenses for those who prefer the advanced tool set; partnerships with various companies are definitely paying off (including Sony); and the program is free of charge up until the developer makes a big load of money with it, to the tune of $100,000. From there, certain fees would apply.

The Unity engine works for computer systems across the board, including Windows, Mac and Linus, as well as iOS and Android for those who want to dabble in mobile development. Furthermore, it’s also supported for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, making it easy for would-be developers to create something for those systems. Still, though, the ability to play browser games that are as powerful as native games depends on browser implementation of WebGL, and WebGL isn’t supported yet on iOS — though Apple has promised WebGL support for the upcoming iOS 8.

Source: TechCrunch

Why Large Smartphones Are More Popular

With Samsung already preparing to test out larger technology pieces on the market, and rumors that Apple will introduce its largest iPhone model to date with its press conference next month, there’s been a curious new amount of attention given to larger smartphones. However, according to a report from market research firm Jana, there’s a good reason for that.

The market first took off in Asia some time ago, but with the technology coming to new shores, it’s expanding rather quickly, possibly even in the United States. “While the four to five inch screen segment is not considered desirable by most of our respondents, four-inch screens are still popular,”  Jana said, regarding the report. Approximately over 1,300 phone owners were surveyed with it, producing interesting results.

For the most part, four-inch devices were accounted for in the poll, although a surprising number preferred something larger, along the lines of a five to a five-and-a-half inch model. Mexico, Vietnam and India seemed to have the highest demand out of those polled.

However, the reason people want a larger screen actually has nothing to do with the usage of the phone itself, but rather the surrounding features. In this case, playing video games, streaming videos via YouTube or Netflix, or surfing the Internet to find information and/or photos. A large amount of those polled do use video to some degree on their devices, which may indicate the more popular response in terms of preference to a larger device.

The market is certainly expanding not only for the “big guys’ in the mobile development market, but also smaller companies that are thriving in India and Southeast Asia markets, with their own mobile phone developments that offer convenience and value for the price provided. The only question now is whether they’ll be able to keep up with Apple and Samsung once they introduce their larger devices.

What do you think? Is a “bigger is better” mentality an ideal thing for smartphones, or do you prefer something more compact

Source: The Next Web

MOBA Games Dominate Charts In China

In the month of July alone, Chinese gamers have accumulated 30-plus billion minutes (about 500 million hours) of playing time playing MOBA games like League of Legends, Meng San Guo, and DOTA 2.

Using data from Shunwang, QQ Games filed a report stating MOBA games were played by far the most in China’s internet cafes.

This chart translates a break down for the results of games by genre. MOBA games actually saw a jump in play in July when compared to June (perhaps due in part to the TI4 hype).Photo Courtesy of Games in Asia

This chart translates a break down for the results of games by genre. MOBA games actually saw a jump in play in July when compared to June (perhaps due in part to the TI4 hype).

Looking at the report, it’s clear that League of Legends (unsurprisingly) is the leader of the pack — garnering about five times as much playtime as Meng San Guo, and around ten times as much as DOTA 2. Additionally, these three games are significantly more popular than any other competing MOBA games.

With first-person-shooters, Crossfire is out in front by a wide margin, with Assault Fire and Counter-Strike in second and third. Moreover, Dungeon & Fighter is king in the fighter genre, Blade & Soul is top dog when it comes to 3D action MMOs, and Fantasy Journey to the West 2 is ruler of the 2D turn-based MMO category.

According to Games in Asia, who also brought this report to our attention, it is important to keep in mind that this is just the data collected by one company, and it only reflects the habits of gamers in some of China’s internet cafes. They make the point that if all internet cafes (including the illegal ones) and gamers who played on their own PCs could be factored in, the results might look slightly different. Either way, it’s still pretty evident that China is a big fan of MOBA games.

Source: Games in Asia