Firefox Marketplace Reaches 5,000 Apps

Mozilla’s Firefox has been in the works to create a strong app store for quite some time now, a process that is vital to the success of the company’s OS and phones. However, according to VentureBeat.com, Firefox’s editorial and campaign manager Scott DeVaney has released news that the Firefox Marketplace has now reached 5,000 apps.

This being the case, Mozilla is still encountering some of the same problems other premature app stores do–they need a way to promote the really good apps, and conceal the less-desirable ones. Part of the answer to this problem, via DeVaney, lies in audience curation of apps.

DeVaney spoke about what this method of app curation might look like to a user. According to the conversation, he said it will be a separate space at the app store that has a slightly different look and feel than the home page of the Firefox Marketplace.

“It would be giving people a playground, and letting them rate and review apps, letting people vote the best app reviews up to the top,” he told VentureBeat. “It’s creating a space that’s a little less polished than the homepage [of the app store].”

DeVaney is no stranger to curation. Before Mozilla, DeVaney managed a team at Apple charged with creating the promotional language around iTunes, App Store, and iBookstore content.

Some of the approaches Firefox is taking to achieve this necessary curation include apps based on geographic location of its users, as well as lists of “best apps” by people who have a special interest in a certain class of apps, such as productivity apps or games.

The company’s ideology behind this is that the best people to promote apps are not the people who make them, but rather the people who have used them.

“We’re really trying to democratize app discovery,” DeVaney said at a retreat for app developers last Friday, via VentureBeat.

While some app stores look to solely use algorithms and automation to identify good apps, DeVaney believes number crunching is a limited approach. “Analysis only takes you so far in predicting the next hit,” said DeVaney.

“I could have a staff of 100, but I still wouldn’t know what people in a little village in Nairobi are going to want, or what the people in the village 100 miles away will want,” he continued.

DeVaney is set to reveal the new crowd curation features in Mozilla’s app store “very soon.”

 

Source: VentureBeat

Madden’s Monstrous Marketing Advantage

The Madden NFL franchise has been a real monster for EA Sports over the years. First started back in the late 80’s on computer and Sega Genesis, it has since grown into one of the biggest sports franchises in the world – and this year’s release, Madden NFL 15, shows no signs of slowing.

The game, which is available today for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, mobile, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, provides a plethora of new options for players, including a revamped player interface that actually brings them closer to the action than ever before, with a more concentrated tackle system (utilizing “cones”), better defensive plays, and more.

In addition, there’s a lot happening off the field with this year’s game as well. Ultimate Team once again makes a return, providing plenty of Fantasy Football fans the opportunity to create their dream team with cards earned throughout the game. In-game packs are also available for purchase, should players feel the need to earn rewards a little quicker than actually earning them.

This year’s marketing campaign has also proven to be a boon for EA on many fronts with Madden. The company released the game early as part of a limited demo for its EA Access service on the Xbox One, enabling players to get up to six hours of time with the game five days before its release. The advertising angle has also taken a more unique approach this time around, with a more comedic approach rather than just in-game footage, featuring comedian Kevin Hart bombarding his friend Dave Franco with a series of challenges, officially kicking off what he proclaims is “Madden season”.

 

Adweek’s And Shareablee’s Instagram Video Weekly Chart Returns

After a “brief hiatus,” Adweek’s and Shareablee’s Instagram Video weekly chart is back, with the only difference in appearance being the amount of winners recognized.

The winners are determined by which brand had the hottest single video on Instagram.

Below is a chart featuring eight categories (auto, beauty, consumer electronics, retail, fashion, celebrity, sports leagues and TV show), which will appear every week. Additionally, there will be two wildcard accounts recognized, as well as food/beverage and pro sports teams for this week’s edition.

So for the week of August 16, check out the top dogs in this multimedia infographic, provided by Adweek. The graphic lets viewers watch the top videos while seeing what kind of organic reach the brands achieved.

The Oculus Rift Is Coming To Hollywood

The Washington Post did an online piece last week about virtual reality’s possible future in Hollywood. According to the article, recent reports suggest that Facebook is now going after Hollywood studios and directors, asking them to create “Oculus Experiences” specifically for its virtual reality device, the Oculus Rift.

By putting on a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift, fans would (hypothetically) be able to interact with scenes or characters within the film, thus creating a more immersive experience for moviegoers.

Well, believe it or not, there have already been rumors that Hollywood directors might be willing to consider the idea. In fact, this past summer’s Comic-Con in San Diego featured “Drift with the Rift” promotions for three different projects — “X-Men,” “Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot” and “Sleepy Hollow.” Fans could strap on an Oculus Rift and experience what it felt like to be immersed in a virtual reality experience.

For example, you could pretended you were a pilot of one of the massive 250-foot-high Jaeger robots in “Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot.”

 

You could have also experienced a scene with the Headless Horseman or Ichabod Crane from “Sleepy Hollow.”

 

Or, if you were a fan of “X-Men,” you could have experienced a three-minute, virtual reality presentation involving Professor X and Mystique.

Image Courtesy Of The Washington Post

 

 

The important factor to take away from all of this is that fans could potentially become part of the storytelling experience, when real-world actions are transformed into virtual reality actions. 3D films were designed to make the movie experience bigger and more real. If virtual reality ever came to be, it would blow 3D out of the water–allowing actual interaction with characters and plot lines.

According to the Washington Post, Facebook could potentially get people to buy the Oculus Rift headset and then follow up with a steady stream of video content offerings, transforming the Rift from a pure gaming device into a video entertainment device.

This being said, virtual reality is still not ready for its Hollywood debut. The only current steps being taken to integrate this innovative technology into the movie business is discussions of developing companion shorts for feature-length films (similar to the way Guillermo del Toro did with “Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot”), as well as creating other types of shorter-form entertainment content designed specifically for the Oculus Rift.

In short, virtual reality could change the moviegoer experience entirely as well as create a big leap forward in long-form video storytelling experiences.
Source: Washington Post

Nintendo Looking For Wii U Momentum

Nintendo has faced quite an uphill struggle with its Wii U console since its release in 2012. The system has failed to find a massive audience, unlike the Wii and GameCube have before. It’s also lost some big support from third-party companies, as Ubisoft has confirmed it won’t make any more “mature” games for it after Watch Dogs releases this fall, and Activision won’t be releasing the highly anticipated Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for it. Electronic Arts has already said it’s not planning any releases for the Wii U.

That said, Nintendo needs to rely on its biggest strength to bring the system to prosperity – itself. The company’s first-party and second-party properties seem to be the main thing driving its success right now, as the recently released Hyrule Warriors (a second-party game) has found big sales in Japan, and several titles have seen an increase in pre-order since their unveiling at Gamescom in Germany last week.

Ubisoft’s European boss Alain Corre has said, despite the company’s decision to not make “mature” games for the system, there’s still success to be found. “To be honest, we always want more consoles,” Corre said. “Just Dance 2015 is resonating very well. We think it will please a lot of [existing] Wii U owners and push more families to buy extra Wii Us. But we also believe that Super Smash Bros. will be a trigger to increase the momentum of the Wii U at Christmas. As a gamer, I was playing [Super Smash Bros.] over ten years ago, and it has some of the best moments that Nintendo has shared. I think that franchise could be magical [for the Wii U].

“Nintendo has some of the best franchises in the world and it knows how to make great games. It proved that with Mario Kart, and it will prove that again with Super Smash,” he said.

Nintendo is planning on bringing a few mature-themed experiences to the Wii U, judging by its picking up of Platinum Games’ action-packed Bayonetta 2, which is coming but doesn’t have a release date yet. However, it’s still focusing primarily on families, and that may be one of the reasons why games such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag just don’t sell for the console.

GamesIndustry International’s Rob Fahey laid out what Nintendo needs to do in a detailed editorial, talking about how Nintendo needs to focus to make the Wii U shine, even if its on its own. “Core gamers buy a Nintendo console as a second device because they want access to Nintendo exclusive titles, primarily first-party games,” said Fahey.

“Nintendo needs to find a solution to its current woes which actually suits Nintendo; something which leverages all the things the company is good at.”

The company has a pretty good line-up going into Christmas, with Hyrule Warriors set to launch on September 26, and Bayonetta 2  and Super Smash Bros. due for release before year’s end, pending any delays. Still, it will take some time before we see if the Wii U can pull through or not. The system is still fairly expensive, and customers have plenty of alternatives these days for platforms that can play games.

On the bright side, there’s always Mario Kart 8, which has sold quite a few units since its release, and continues to be a big mover and shaker.

Source: GamesIndustry International

AwesomenessTV Goes To TV (Again) With New Roku App

by Sahil Patel

AwesomenessTV has launched an app on Roku.

Developed by 1 Mainstream, the app features all of the multi-channel network’s original content, including shows like Side Effects, The Jenn & Andrea Show, and Runaways. Other content includes shows and videos featuring beauty tips, teen advice, celebrity gossip, sketch comedy, and pranks produced by the youth-oriented digital media company.

The move to Roku for AwesomenessTV continues the trend of YouTube-built media companies expanding to other platforms in order to attract new revenue streams. Fullscreen is also working on a Roku app as well as an over-the-top video platform, while Maker Studios has launched an owned-and-operated platform called Maker.TV as well as apps for some of its creators in recent months.

For its part AwesomenessTV, which was acquired by DreamWorks Animation in a deal that could be worth $117 million, has been pretty active in expanding its brand to other platforms. The company has a weekly TV show on Nickelodeon and a feature film in the works with Vine stars Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas, among other projects.

News of AwesomenessTV’s Roku app launch was first reported by Variety.

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.

New Music Streaming Ads Being Tested

Music streaming sites are starting to pick up in popularity, and now some of them really want to take advantage from an advertising point, without flooding the site with a bunch of unnecessary ads. SoundCloud may have found the ideal way to do that by introducing a series of new ad products that it believes will draw new revenue for the site, along the same lines as Spotify and Pandora.

Ads from the likes of Red Bull, Sonos, Comedy Central, Jaguar and Squarespace will be available over the next few weeks, as part of a new campaign called On Sound Initiative. With it, promotions will feature the labels and distributors, comedy networks, independent artists and other programming. As mentioned, the ads won’t overlap the interface, and as a result of taking part content creators will receive part of the profits.

The introduction of this campaign could bring about new subscription pricing for the site. “We’re introducing advertising into the service now,” said Jeff Toig, Chief Business Officer at SoundCloud. “In the coming months, we’re going to introduce a subscription offering that allows people to remove ads if they want to remove ads, and it will have other features.” And, as expected, it will be completely optional for those who just want to sit back and chill with their favorite tunes.

As part of the campaign, there will also be promoted tracks, which provide a push to certain content through the desktop and mobile music streams. “Similar to (how a Promoted) Tweet on Twitter is a real tweet, it’s just promoted, these native ads are actually tracks that Squarespace will upload and then we promote,” said Dan Gerber, head of sales over at SoundCloud.

Squarespace currently offers a ten percent discount off its services through the campaign, while Red Bull is highlighting six individual artists through its set-up as well. So it sounds like it benefits quite a lot more than the usual business partners.

Audio ads are also being introduced, and these cannot be skipped, as they play out for about 15 seconds before the start of a song — similar to how YouTube sets up some of its videos. This program has already kicked off, as a few listeners may have already noticed.

What do you think Is this a smart promotional move for SoundCloud

Source: Adweek

Twitter Recommends Content, Facebook Style

In an effort to bring relatable content to its users, Twitter has began publishing additional content on its user’s timelines. The platform began this development early last week and it doesn’t intend to stop anytime soon.

If you are a current Twitter user, chances are you’ve seen a tweet Twitter has inserted from someone you don’t follow, aimed to consist of something you care about. More so, it usually includes a short header trying to explain why the tweet is appearing on your timeline. For example, you might see a tweet from a stranger, along with a label saying that a friend you follow on Twitter favorited the tweet, or follows the account that generated the tweet.

It would be reasonable to assume that you’re seeing that tweet because of your friends’ actions. However, that isn’t the case necessarily.

While it is clear why the social platform wants to present users with relatable and important information based on their actions and preferences, it is unclear just how Twitter is going about doing this.

According to Re/Code, sources familiar with the update say Twitter’s algorithm “searches for popular tweets in your ‘social graph,’ marked by actions like favorites and retweets.” However, the algorithm isn’t showing you those tweets because of a friend’s specific actions, it’s showing it to you because lots of your friends have either favorited or shown interest in that tweet.

This means users can favorite a tweet and not have it appear on someone else’s feed (due to the necessary engagement from many other people, too), however it is speculated that users might still begin to treat the favorite with more caution.

Despite 50 other people favoriting a tweet that Twitter surfaces, if your name is the one included on the label it certainly looks and feels like an endorsement, regardless of your intention.

In response, people familiar with the algorithm are saying that Twitter is considering an alternate method to indicate why you’re seeing certain tweets.

Source: Recode

OUYA Brings Games Service To China

While the OUYA has struggled to find footing in the ever-growing video game console market with its affordable Android console and game service, there’s no question that there’s potential for growth. One recent indication to this is the company’s recent news that it’ll be bringing its game service (but not its game console) to China, through a forthcoming partnership with Xiaomi.

Ouya has teamed up with the smartphone seller to bring its library of independent and popular games to living rooms, through Xiaomi’s streaming devices and smart TV’s. Xiaomi has been rapidly gaining market share in China, with many describing it as the Apple of China with its emphasis on design  — much of it based on Apple’s clean design language, but built around Android.

The deal benefits Xiaomi as well, since it just made its way into the TV and set-top box market last year, following its heightened success with selling smartphones.

OUYA chief executive Julie Urhman said details are still being worked on before the deal will be closed, but in the end, the service is likely to have its own devoted channel through Xiaomi software, available for installation on the devices. From there, gamers can shop to their heart’s content and try over 600 different titles available. Ouya’s titles have been optimized for use with a game controller, giving them an advantage over standard Android games that only work with touch screens.

“For the likes of Xiaomi’s MiTV, its set-top boxes and other Android set-top boxes that are entering the market, this could be a turning point … in bringing great content and developers to gamers and into a region that they have never had access to before,” Uhrman told Reuters.

As part of the deal, Xiaomi will probably play a part in marketing OUYA games as well, possibly opening up a large new revenue channel for the company, assuring its success moving onward. It needs every bit it can get, as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One still take up a majority of the market with their respective next-gen hardware.

Considering the growth of the Chinese game market ($14 billion last year alone), this is a partnership that’s sure to pay off over time. “The whole industry is still in a very early development stage,” said Uhrman. “There is an opportunity for both” companies, she believes.

Source: Recode.net

Movie Theaters Go Interactive

Interacting with movies isn’t really that big a thing right now, even with Disney’s previous screening of The Little Mermaid where it invited viewers to “tweet along” with what was going on with the movie. However, Audience Entertainment could be introducing a new way to interact with the films people love.

With a new SDK the company is making available, audiences would be allowed to play along together, controlling actions on the movie screen with body motions.

Audience’s founder and CEO Barry Grieff, who brings big-time ad experience with his work at National Lampoon Magazine, Rolling Stone and Interpublic Group, believes that the idea comes from “a sea change in content creation,” shying away from the usual content in favor of better interactivity. By installing cameras that can track motion and sound, he believes that audiences can play along with certain experiences – and it’s not just limited to movie theaters, as concert venues and arenas can also take part.

The company’s software development kit enables third parties to create content for these platforms, which it plans to launch at the end of September during Advertising Week. Those interested in signing up for a kit can do so here.

This is the latest attempt to get audiences to “interact” with their movies, and while it’s too soon to tell if it’ll be any kind of success, it could very well get more people involved when it comes to pre-shows. Audience Entertainment already confirmed that it intends to bring the technology to 3,000 screens worldwide, thanks to a new partnership with digital cinema company Barco. No word yet on which theater chains will pick it up, but you can bet that some parties may be interested.

What do you think Are you ready to play along with the movies, or do you just want to sit back and enjoy the show After all, Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t going to play itself.

Source: TechCrunch