The Top 20 PC Games For July 2014

Two different services now list the Top 20 PC games every month using different methodologies and different data sets, which is terrifically useful for anyone trying to get a sense of what’s popular in PC gaming. Retail sales just don’t begin to address where the money is in PC games these days, with most sales conducted digitally — and with huge revenues coming in from free-to-play games as well. Raptr tracks actual play time, and Newzoo/Overwolf tracks unique play sessions, which are both interesting looks at where players are spending time (and, by implication, money) in PC gaming.

Raptr has 30 million users playing PC games, and seeing what games they are playing offers useful insights into the popularity of various PC games. Especially for games that are free-to-play, the amount of time the game is being played is a crucial factor in how much money the game is making. Even paid games are concerned with this metric — if they are selling DLC, those sales will be affected by how much people are playing the game.

Overwolf has 8 million customers of its in-game software, and thus generates data about monthly players. Newzoo/Overwolf’s rankings are based on the number of unique play sessions per month rather than actual play time as with Raptr’s numbers. Working with analyst firm Newzoo, the monthly ranking service gives insight into the popularity of PC games in North America and Europe.

For Raptr, the top two slots were held, as usual, by League of Legends and DOTA 2, both muliplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs). Those two MOBAs held 26 percent of all time spent playing games — no wonder so many more MOBAs are in development, whether on PC or tablet. Riot and Valve have demonstrated the value of being on top in that genre, and even a small part of that market can be worth a lot of money. The MOBA genre is a difficult one, though, and it’s not a genre where you can expect to reach a huge audience right away. A stern chase is a long chase, and the leaders are continuing to sail ahead at full speed. To be a successful MOBA, it’s not sufficient to be fun and balanced and fast with beautiful graphics. The meta (what players call the various strategies involved in creating teams and choosing abilities) has to be interesting too, and crafting a game with not one but two levels of fascinating play is a tall order.

In the Newzoo/Overwolf numbers, League of Legends is still on top but DOTA 2 is in sixth place, while Minecraft takes the #2 position.

It’s interesting to note that six of the Raptr top 20 games are MMORPGs, or nearly thirty percent; the number is similar in the Newzoo/Overwolf numbers. It’s also instructive to see how much of the total playing time belongs to free-to-play (F2P) games. Of the Top 20 Raptr games, five of them are F2P, but they account for almost one-third of all the time spent playing games on PCs. For Newzoo/Overwolf, F2P games are even more dominant. Both in terms of time spent and number of unique play sessions, F2P games are coming to claim an ever-greater share of the PC game business. F2P is not as overwhelming as it is in mobile, but it may yet get to that point.

Another interesting thing to note is how far new MMORPG WildStar fell in both indices, though it’s perhaps not unexpected given that the initial newness has worn off. It remains to be seen if WildStar‘s impressive pace of new content releases will drag in a lot of players. How long should we give this strategy to know how well it’s working

Raptr Analysis
You might expect overall gameplay hours to fall in the middle of summer, but they haven’t, at least not among Raptr members: Total monthly play time was up 30.19% from June. And while Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Smite, and Payday 2 all had big gains, Diablo III, WildStar, and Watch Dogs headed in the other direction.

Highlights
June’s top four games, League of Legends, DOTA 2, World of Warcraft, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, retained their respective rankings in July, and all enjoyed month-on-month play time increases of over 30 percent.

League of Legends’ highest peak in July was on the 27th, the final day of the featured game mode Doom Bots of Doom, where the AI bots were set to an extreme difficulty level. LoL was relatively quiet on the eSports front.

DOTA 2′s premier tournament, The International, took place mid-month and led to a significant play time increase.

Despite Blizzard’s announcement of a decline in WoW players, Raptr members showed no signs of slowing down. We’ll be watching to see what kind of impact WoW’s 10-year anniversary events have in the run-up to, and through, November.

CS:GO’s new Operation Breakout DLC introduced new missions, weapon balancing, skins, map fixes, and various other tweaks to the game at the beginning of the month, and had a significant impact. CS:GO gameplay time was up a staggering 65.19 percent versus June.

The news wasn’t so good for Diablo III, which slipped just one spot despite losing 20.66 percent play time compared to last month.

Hearthstone’s Curse of Naxxramas DLC started rolling out in July and had a very strong impact; the game was up two ranks and play time climbed 53.33 percent over June. The weekly content roll-out schedule seems to be working very well for retention.

Battlefield 4 also climbed two ranks, thanks in part to its Dragon’s Teeth DLC that went live in mid-July for premium members, with everyone else getting the extra content at the end of the month. EA also kicked off Battlefest — a series of community contests and activities, including Raptr’s own Instant Replay contest — in July.

Payday 2 rose five places, riding the tail end of a big sale and a big boost from the Gage Shotgun Pack DLC, which included new weapons, masks, ammo, and achievements.

Smite was the biggest gainer of the month, shooting up eight spots and 128.27 percent over June, although a series of rewards in Raptr’s Rewards Store was certainly a significant factor there.

Final Fantasy XIV Online also had a big month, gaining five spots thanks in large part to a free login weekend in the latter half of the month as well as the Defenders of Eorzea content update.

The new MMO WildStar lost seven spots in its second month of release – but more worryingly, gameplay was down 45.63 percent.  We’ll see if its latest PvP game mode, Sabotage, launched on July 31, can help spur a rebound, though initial signs point towards probably not.

Though we predicted last month that both The Elder Scrolls games likely wouldn’t chart in July, a major Quakecon-related sale proved us wrong — at least about Skyrim, which jumped five places. The Elder Scrolls Online, however, dropped six ranks to 26.

Throwback RPG Divinity: Original Sin missed the top 20, coming in at the 25 spot, while Watch Dogs tumbled 25 ranks to #33, with gameplay down 67.72 percent.

Note: The Share number by each game represents that title’s gameplay time as a percentage of the total time spent on all the PC games played by Raptr members, and is useful for comparing the relative amount of playtime between particular games.

Overwolf/Newzoo Analysis
July’s 2014 rankings reveal some surprising shifts compared to the previous month, especially in the area of MMO’s and Free To Play. The Top 8 core PC titles in July compared to June remain unchanged, with Riot’s League of Legends maintaining its pole position, followed by Minecraft (number 2) and World of Tanks (number 3). Two of these three titles are Free to Play, illustrating the consumer attractiveness of the business model in the core PC gaming segment. Impressively, League of Legends accounts for 20 percent of all the game sessions generated by the top 20 games while the top 5 games account for over 60 percent. The full monthly rankings can be found here.

The biggest change in the top 20 rankings is Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft moving up 4 positions to number 9 (13 in June) for July 2014. This success is no doubt due to the tricks that Blizzard employed in creating a title that appeals to new gamers and hardcore World of Warcraft fans alike. EA’s Battlefield 3, after a strong showing in June at number 9, has quickly fallen 10 places to no 19 by the end of July 2014 — influenced perhaps in some measure by the decision of EA to stop releasing it for free and also gamers migrating to the newer Battlefield 4. EA now have three titles in the top 20 rankings, with Valve taking the lead with an impressive four titles.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the complete disappearance of NCSoft’s WildStar. While it debuted in June at number 19, the game has dropped 3 places and vanished from the Top 20. NCSoft’s Aion has also vanished from the top 20 Rankings (number 20 in June), with Hi-Rez’s Smite rising up 1 rank to take the number 20 spot. The title with the biggest month on month shift was Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which rose up 5 ranks from June to take number 18 in the July core PC Games Rankings.

Hyundai Collaborates With TNT To Create Sci-Fi Film

Car manufacturer Hyundai has decided to pull a few tricks out of entertainment marketer’s playbook by airing a three-part short film during the commercial breaks of next Wednesday’s Legends pilot.

The commercials were made to air during the show’s premiere on August 13, marking the first branded content collaboration between Hyundai and the television network TNT, according to PSFK.

The short film, titled The Genesis, is a sci-fi story that revolves around a man chasing a shady corporation that has kidnapped his girl.

While the all-new redesigned Hyundai Genesis sedan doesn’t shy from the camera, the creators of the short film made sure the automobile didn’t take away from the action or make viewers feel bombarded with advertisements.

The sci-fi short promotes the automaker’s car, while also luring in more viewers for the upcoming TNT drama. The Genesis is part of Hyundai’s multi-screen, season-long series sponsorship that was developed to highlight the vehicle’s striking design and innovative technology through in-show brand integration and television, digital and social promotion.

This collaboration which features branded content is only part of the larger partnership Hyundai has accumulated with the new TV show. Hyundai also has exclusive category sponsor rights for Legends and will sponsor its digital versions as well.

{link no longer active}

Source: PSFK

Why Brands Should Pay More Attention To Pinterest

At a $30 CPM, the social platform Pinterest has brands weary that ads, or promoted “pins,” might be too expensive for their budget. However the relatively small, but passionate user base Pinterest offers may justify that cost.

Our friends at Digiday composed a list of important factors brands should consider when thinking about starting an ad campaign on Pinterest. See why Pinterest is becoming a more desirable ad platform to marketers below.

Source: Digiday

 

Women Are The Best Mobile Gamers

The face of mobile gaming has always been a much more diverse one than traditional console or PC gaming, with women making up a significant part of the mobile device audience from the start. As smartphones and tablets have proliferated, women are fully represented in the market for games — and as this new study from Flurry shows, women are beating male gamers in key statistics that are of crucial interest to developers and publishers.

An example of that change comes from Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, a game that focuses on the actress by enabling the player to decide day-to-day activities in terms of a celebrity life. That game has managed to generate $700,000 per day in the United States, a very impressive revenue run-rate. That’s quite a challenge to more casual games like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans — and an indication that the female audience could very well be taking over.

A new study conducted through Flurry indicates that females spend more time and money on mobile games, and are also more loyal to certain titles, like Kardashian, than the male audience. This is based on a number of successful games that reach a total of over one million devices through the Flurry platform, with women making 31 percent more in-app purchases than men. In addition, women tend to spend 35 percent more time playing said apps than men.

When it comes to loyalty, women have a higher retention rate, to the tune of 42 percent over a seven-day retention period, on average when compared to males. And these numbers aren’t just based in the U.S., as they appear to be measured worldwide.

As far as the genres women enjoy playing the most, Flurry reports that management and simulation titles, a category where Kardashian easily fits, leads the way with over 130 minutes spent weekly from a female audience, while Solitaire follows closely behind with just over 120 minutes weekly. Meanwhile, the male audience falls a little behind in the third place slot, with card/battle games. From there, it waivers a bit, but the neutral games, in which there’s an equal amount of male and female players, sits closer to the bottom with arcade, platformer, racing and physics/puzzle titles.

Indeed, women are taking over, especially as savvy developers notice how appealing to women will make them more money.

Source: Flurry

Brazil Generating Huge Gaming Revenue

We already knew that Latin America was a huge area when it came to a gaming audience, but Brazil in itself is producing some big numbers, according to a report from SuperData Research.

The country makes up roughly one-third of Latin America’s internet users, social media users, digital purchasers and smartphone carriers, and manages to take more than half of advertising dollars spent within the region. That’s including both traditional and digital ads.

However, when it comes to digital gaming, that’s where Brazil has really taken the lead. The report shows that, as of July 2014, the revenues for Brazil in digital gaming alone have managed to reach $1.5 billion — approximately 34 percent of the $4.4 billion produced in the entire region. Mexico is not very close in second place with $963 million, while Argentina is in third with $616 million.

Between concentrated business opportunities across those three areas combined, nearly three-quarters of the digital gaming market will be generated from these regions alone. What does that mean? A bigger audience, and, in turn, a larger revenue.

Meanwhile, in other areas, infrastructure availability plays a huge part, as Chile leads the charge with an estimated $295 million — not too shabby considering its population of 17 million, per the CIA World Factbook. Closely behind are gaming revenues in Colombia (with $224 million), Venezuela (with $195 million) and Peru ($125 million), each with a population of 11 million larger.

As you can see from the pie chart, Brazil is taking the bigger piece of the pie when it comes to the digital gaming front, but its growth overall is nearly unstoppable, and expected to rise even further over the next few years with a number of new offerings. Now the only real question is if the other countries can catch up… although, at this point in time, it doesn’t look too likely.

Source: eMarketer

Netflix Surpasses HBO In Subscriber Revenue

by Sahil Patel

For Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings, HBO is Goliath, which makes for a fun read whenever the company passes a new milestone or HBO metric and Hastings takes to his Facebook page to highlight it. (Albania takes it up a notch comes to mind — posted shortly after Netflix received its first Emmy nominations last year.)

The latest is a pretty good one, too: According to Hastings {link no longer active}, Netflix edged out HBO last quarter in terms of subscriber revenue. In Q2, Netflix made $1.146 billion, compared to HBO’s $1.141 billion.

Reed Hastings Netflix HBO Facebook Post

Don’t count out HBO, though. It still has $578 million in quarterly profits and 99 Emmy nominations to keep it comfortable. By comparison, Netflix made $71 million last quarter, and netted 31 nominations at this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Hastings is aware of that, and notes it in his post.

That said, HBO remains the clear target for Netflix. As the company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in an earlier GQ profile: “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”

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

Facebook Head Of Communications Provides PR Advice

When it comes to heeding the best kind of public relations advice, it’s best to get it from an expert. Thankfully, Facebook head of technology communications Caryn Marooney knows what she’s talking about.

Marooney recently spoke at First Round’s recent CEO summit, providing the kind of sound PR advice that actually sounds like it makes true sense.

“Imagine you’re sitting across from a reporter at lunch. You’re telling them what you do, your story, why they should care about your product. You have to convince this reporter to not only write about you, but that what you’re doing matters. That you’re going to be successful,” said Marooney.

Considering her work repertoire, which includes co-founding PR agency OutCast, which previously worked with Amazon, Salesforce.com, Netflix and VMWare, Marooney definitely has some knowledge on the subject.

A “RIBS” test – standing for Relevant, Inevitable, Believable and Simple – is part of the proceeding when it comes to funding the best firms and hiring the best people, as well as getting the right advisors on board for the project.

Marooney broke each of these categories down, starting with Relevant. “It’s hard to get attention and it’s hard to be relevant,” says Marooney. “Fight for greater relevance. Make it a priority in your positioning.”

Perhaps one of the better key points came with talking about Believable. “You can be relevant, and your product may even seem inevitable, but you still may not be believed,” said Marooney. “At Salesforce.com, when we went out there saying this was ‘the end of software,’ sure it was relevant and seemed inevitable,” Marooney says. “But most importantly it was believable that Marc Benioff could pull it off. He had come from Oracle and knew software and all its issues. Even with that background and credibility, it still took us years to establish true believability.

“Being believable isn’t just convincing people you can win, it’s convincing them that they want you to win,” she said.

As far as being Simple, Marooney stated, “People are torn in so many directions these days — they’re on Facebook, checking email, trying to balance work and friends and family. Somehow you have to break through, and the way to do this is to keep things simple.”

“Take your messaging and edit it down. Get it to its essence. What is the one line you want people to remember You only get one. If your messaging isn’t unbelievably simple, you’re missing the point.”

More of Marooney’s speech and pointers can be found here.

Source: First Round

Google Maps Shows The Way To The ‘Ingress’

Who would’ve thought that a game based around Google Maps would be a buzz-creating, exercise-provoking success

That’s certainly what Google’s own Niantic Labs, an internal game studio startup, has created with Ingress. In the game, players create portals over real world locations, and can hack them simply by making their way to said locations. Sometimes that can be a challenge, as portals can be placed within a great distance — maybe even across continents.

“We just started from a core principle that we think that there is the opportunity to build a fun game that gets you out moving in the real world,” said Brandon Badger, product manager of Niantic Labs. “In fact, our graphics are really basic, and our gameplay is very basic. The fun is ‘oh, it was fun to meet my new group of friends.’ And then, it’s also very sticky. This idea of, ‘I’m bored of this mobile game, so I’m not going to play anymore.’ Well, with Ingress, a lot of these people it’s their social community now. You don’t just get bored of your friends.”

Through Google’s social network, players can actually communicate with others and organize special events and meet-ups through the game, thus creating a personable social angle that most other games can’t come close to creating. Niantic has supported these events with a number of promotional items, including t-shirts and a YouTube series called The Ingress Report.

“The way that we’ve structured out engineering processes help us be more adaptable to the things that we’re seeing in the player community and such. So, for example, we have a very agile engineering practices, where, we try to scope out the engineering tasks into smaller chunks that can be done in smaller amounts of time,” said Badger, explaining the game’s infrastructure.

Being able to make quick changes to the game are also a vital asset to its success. “We’re a very agile system for the actual building of the product, and the consequence of that is, because we’ve broken the development into these smaller chunks, it does allow us to get feedback from players, and be constantly reevaluating what our priorities should be. So, we have a queue of what we think are the next 30 game features that we should do. Maybe we’re working on two or three at a time, but, if something comes up, we’re able to switch around the order of that pretty quickly without it being very disruptive to the engineers. We do try to model our development and our team structure like a startup so that we can be quick and nimble.”

What do you think Is Ingress the sort of game that makes you want to travel

Source: GamesIndustry International

New Wearable Tech Could Boost Category

Wearable tech is creating a lot of buzz, with more people wearing smart watches, eyepiece-related camera, activity trackers and fitness bands as part of their ensemble — and companies readying gear for those uses. Innovation is a major factor driving the advance of wearables, and an impressive new device in the works over at Valencell demonstrates that.

The North Carolina-based company has developed a new tech device that will allow for the tracking of vital signs through earbuds, which will also double as a listening tool for music and other audio. With it, travelers can track everything from heart rate to temperature to respiration, all without needing to hook up wires to their wrist or chest.

The tech works through shining a light onto the wearer’s skin and judging the reflection based upon how it appears with blood vessels near the surface. That takes away any requirement for additional wiring, while making the device the savviest piece of wearable tech to date.

In addition, the earbuds also include an accelerometer, which allows users to track their walking or traveling distance in general, along with their pace of exercise and overall speed. Through this, they can deduce smaller statistics, like how many calories they’re able to turn, which can then be tracked through a mobile device via Bluetooth.

This device will help push wearable tech even more forward than ever before, as it’s more practical – and not nearly as distracting – as the easily-noticeable Google Glass. Analysts believe the wearables market is just at the beginning, as future devices will utilize biometric-reading capabilities in a number of ways. This includes practical uses like Internet radio and games, as well as deeper purposes like measuring certain experiences and how they affect us psychologically.

And to think – most people just buy earbuds because they look cool. This could easily change the game and provide multiple purposes for the devices, adding a little more “bang to their buck,” so to speak.

No word yet on when the earbuds will release, but more details about them can be found at the official Valencell page.

Source: PSFK

Video Entertainment Spend To Reach All-Time High

Recently the video entertainment market in the U.S. which includes pay-TV, box office profits, packaged home video, video-on-demand, and online paid video has had a hard go of it. After a 2 percent decrease in 2012, the market has made slow movement in terms of growth, but nevertheless looks on track to reach a peak of $123 billion next year– the biggest year yet.

What this means is that an average of $1,000 is being spent by each and every household in the U.S. on video entertainment. Quite a high number when you put it like that.

“Diving into the detail, Pay-TV is dominating the overall video market at more than $90 billion, around 75 percent of total consumer spend,” says David Sidebottom, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting, “and although cord-cutting is generally over-hyped, the minority of snippers and shavers is having an impact on the bottom line.

Sidebottom says that the digital video marketing is seeing solid growth, making up for those cordcutters. That segment was up 25 perccent last year due in major part to Netflix.

 

Source: Futuresource