Madden NFL 15’s Unusual Ad Blitz

For over 25 years now, EA Sports’ Madden games have been entertaining the populace, bringing in millions of football fans and casual players with each growing year. This year’s entry, Madden NFL 15, is no exception, although EA Sports has taken a different approach to how the game is advertised, and where. Rather than rolling out an ad campaign on TV, EA Sports premiered this ad on the company’s YouTube channel.

Rather than going with a traditional trailer that shows gameplay, the new Madden NFL 15 ad features comedian Kevin Hart and actor Dave Franco interacting with each other over a gameplay session, including such out-of-control circumstances as a bear playing violin in a pool, and a house catching on fire. A number of football players also appear, taking part in crazy activities themselves, including a “blah blah blah” style rap. The ad, in other words, has a hearty dose of strange that’s very far away from a typical sports game ad.

 

Sqor Social Network Caters To Fans

According to the newly launched social network site Sqor, “there is no offseason.” And it’s true, in a way. Fans love talking about their favorite sports, even after the season ends and leaves them plenty to look forward to when it comes to the next. And that’s exactly where this new site wants to benefit.

Sqor is the home for over 1,500 professional athletes, who share and interact their daily content with devoted sports fans. But that’s not all, as it will also be opening up an avenue that will allow users to play games along with being social.

The site has announced that it will release its first lightweight social network games at the end of the month, including a title called College Showdown, which enables users to predict what will happen in a forthcoming game.

This is just the latest move by Sqor, a network that specializes in sending promotions via the network through social messages on mobile devices, as well as hosting chats with popular athletes, such as former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who serves as a board member.

“Sports is a global language,” said Brian Wilhite, the chief executive of Sqor. “Coming off the World Cup, we all got to see how impactful the global sporting event can be. What we are tapping into is the mobility and ease of participation in these events. You used to sit and watch. Now you can participate and be part of the content creation. We are right in the middle of this explosion of participation. We can touch every sports fan in the world.”

The network has done really well thus far, with around 500,000 unique visitors this month alone, even if the outreach is sure to be bigger in the months ahead with the athletes’ fans on board. A potential 25 million fans can be reached, with plenty of room for more.

“We have no politics, no food,” Wilhite said. “It’s all around sports. Our athletes take video and share it. Before a big event, they’ll make exclusive comments and publish it to their audience. It’s inside talk, right before the event or after it.”

“Sqor delivers the most entertaining content publishing platform for athletes in digital sports,” Favre said in a statement.

Future game releases for the social network will cover a variety of leagues, including the NFL, UFC, NBA and Major League Baseball. “Gamifying even the most mundane platforms seems to work,” said Wilhite. “It’s a natural fit for us. We’ll have really simple, lightweight ways to play against others on the platform. Sports is naturally entertaining and competitive.”

The network’s doing rather well based upon its raised $3 million in funding, and once NFL season kicks in, you can bet it will continue to thrive. “Fans are going to come because Sqor is the place where athletes are going to release exclusive content,” Wilhite said, although he didn’t elaborate on said content.

What do you think Will you check out Sqor

Source: VentureBeat

Integrating Google Glass Into The Workspace

Thalmic Labs has announced a slew of new partnerships with developers to make it easier for people in industries like healthcare and construction to integrate Google Glass into their workday, by using the company’s armband controller.

“We’re literally changing the way that we, as people, interact with the digital world around us,” said Thalmic Labs co founder Matthew Bailey to Forbes.com. “We’d argue that wearables have ‘happened’. If you look around, people are already wearing technology today whether that be a traditional watch or a smartphone on their arm when they go for a run,” Bailey continued, addressing the “buzz” over wearables.

“The question we’re exploring is: how can we find more natural ways to merge technology and people We’re hitting the limits of today’s form factors whether they be personal computers, tablets, or smartphones. We believe wearable computing is the next progression in that evolution,” Bailey said.

The deal with Google Glass is only a fraction of the notable announcements Thalmic Labs released as it prepares for its public launch next month with over 40,000 armbands already preordered.

The armband operates with sensors that detect when muscles in a wearer’s forearm are moving to make a hand signal and translates that into gestures on a screen.

Additionally, Thalmic Labs previously announced it’s working to change gaming as well as interacting online and controlling a desktop. Now, Thalmic Labs is targeting workers in industries like construction, field service and healthcare where interacting with smartglasses using subtle hand and finger gestures while on the go could make the most sense.

According to Forbes, CEO and cofounder Stephen Lake explained in a press release that the armband uses subtle hand gestures to instantly interact with applications on smartglasses, without needing to remove gloves or pull out a secondary controller.

Thalmic Labs is also partnering with Augmedix, which uses Google Glass to free physicians from documentation so they can focus on patients; APX Labs which builds software for smartglasses; Bridgit, the deficiency management software suite aiming to respond to issues of miscommunications on construction sites; and Recon Instruments, which produces a smartglass technology for sports.

Myo Developer Kits start shipping in July and the Myo armband ships this fall. It is currently available for pre-order for $149.

 

Tim Howard Partners With Marriott For #LoveTravels Campaign

“It’s huge for me—working with Marriott International. I’m always trying to seek out top brands that think the way I think—that to me is important when engaging in a partnership,” said Howard in AdWeek. Marriott had moved quickly to pursue howard after the star athlete became a household name after the World Cup.

The fact that Howard is an avid traveler, getting new tattoos for places he has been, made perfect sense that they should partner for the #LoveTravels {link no longer active} campaign. The campaign entails branded videos with select spokespeople like fashion designer Angela Simmons and chef Mia Banducci. The campaign encourages participants to share their travel photos for a prize of $2000 or the chance to win their weekly prize of $500, a great way to incentivize UGC.

 

Google Introducing Accounts For Younger Users

In a first (official) move for social networking, Google is preparing to open up its venue for younger users. The company has announced that it will offer accounts for children under 13 years old, which could open up a potential new market for the site, but also some complications that could lead to problems down the road.

Beforehand, Google didn’t offer such accounts in Gmail and YouTube to younger kids, even though they could still log in anonymously and/or lie about their age when it came to verification.

The new system allows parents to set up the accounts for their kids, still keeping tabs on what kind of content they can see and access, as well as what private information is collected during their web-surfing sessions.

This follows the news that Google was looking to provide a younger user-friendly version of YouTube for tablet computers, also with parental controls, even though that project hasn’t been given a release date as of yet.

The main reason this could be a problem for Google is because of COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. With it, limits are placed in terms of how information can be gathered for young users on the Internet, with parents’ consent required. However, Google appears to be quite compliant with the rules when it comes to this move.

Not everyone is convinced, however. “Unless Google does this right it will threaten the privacy of millions of children and deny parents the ability to make meaningful decisions about who can collect information on their kids,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, an online privacy group.

That group has already talked with the Federal Trade Commission about Google’s new business practice, and plans to chat with its legal team on a plan to keep tabs on Google to make sure the services are properly rolled out.

No word yet on if the FTC had any response, as it appears to be ongoing.

What do you think Would you let your kids have their own Google accounts

Source: Wall Street Journal

Dong Nguyen’s ‘Swing Copters’ Bound For App Store

Flappy Bird was an instant wonder, with its simple and addictive gameplay inspiring odes from gamers everywhere. Nguyen’s new game employs similar mechanics, but instead of being horizontally-oriented, the game involves tapping to get a little creature with a helicopter hat to move upward while avoiding all sorts of swinging hazards.

Previously Nguyen returned with Flappy Birds Family on August 1, which is only playable on Amazon Fire TV. That provided a two-player option for the beloved game.

Swing Copters is set to launch tomorrow on iOS and Android with an option to remove the ads for just 99 cents. Take a look at the gameplay trailer below and let us know what you think of it in the comments.

 

Tiltify CEO: Use eSports For Charity Fundraising

Tiltify CEO Michael Wasserman has been involved in charitable fundraising for the past decade. Four years ago at a Stiks Celebrity Video Game Challenge charity event in Hollywood that featured a THQ UFC Undisputed video game tournament with the likes of Zac Efron, Rampage Jackson, Cobi Jones, Snoop Dogg and Michael Strahan, Wasserman saw the power of video games raise $50,000 and draw over 800 guests. The growth of livestreaming the last few years has allowed Stiks Gaming to transition into Tiltify, a new platform that connects celebrities, athletes, eSports stars and YouTubers with gamers to raise money for charities.

Michael Wasserman

The first gaming campaign, “Race Against Cancer,” hopes to raise $50,000 for Teen Cancer America. As an incentive for gamers to donate money to the cause, they can win the chance to play Microsoft’s Forza 5 against Indy Car drivers Josef Newgarden and Justin Wilson on August 28 with the event livestreamed on Twitch.

[a]list daily: How powerful are video games when it comes to fundraising for a good cause?

Michael Wasserman: The event we did in 2011 was not meant to be nearly as big an event as it was. We had 800 people come by. But what was interesting is that a lot of the celebrities were the last to leave. As someone who has thrown a lot of galas and traditional charity events, that doesn’t normally happen. Celebrities appreciated doing something fun and unique and they play games in their own time anyway.

[a]list daily: When did you launch Tiltify.com?

Michael Wasserman: We did a soft launch on August 2 for our Beta version. We’re looking for feedback from the gaming community. It’s a new site, so we want help from the community on what features to continue to build out.

[a]list daily:What opportunities does Tiltify open up for the burgeoning eSports community?

Michael Wasserman: This has a huge opportunity for eSports. One of our focuses has been speaking to a lot of the eSports tournament organizers and asking them to get involved in the charitable side. You can create a campaign and fundraise, but Tiltify also creates a widget that can be put on your Twitch or YouTube page so you can campaign for whatever charity you love. If you’re having a big League of Legends or Pokemon World Championship, there’s an opportunity to add additional user interaction and put the charity button on the livestream page. Twitch has a lot of space below the stream to add simple buttons and we’re talking to them about increasing the functionality of those buttons for charity.

[a]list daily: What does the fact that many eSports stars already livestream practices regularly open up for charities?

Michael Wasserman: When you look at the number of people pro gamers reach, they could generate millions of extra dollars for charities. And it doesn’t impact what they’re doing. If anything, it could enhance their fan base because it brings new people to the stream as people watch because they want to support their charity. Over 80 million people in U.S. watch eSports. Having a button where you could touch the screen and donate — and potentially have cool rewards as a gamer like the Forza 5 digital game and DLC giveaways for the “Race for Cancer” — we have that game changer.

[a]list daily: What have leaders in eSports like Riot Games said about this new platform?

Michael Wasserman: We’ve spoken with Riot and have received great support from them since February when we first started talking about what our platform could do. They offered to connect us with tournament directors and they love to help out with charity. We’re talking to them about things like integration for the viewing parties you can organize through Riot site and potentially linking to our site through that. We’re talking to everyone from Riot to Blizzard to MLG to see if we can help everyone enhance their streaming experience.

[a]list daily:What opportunities do you see for Tiltify beyond the core eSports games?

Michael Wasserman: The Forza 5 campaign is a great example. We’d been speaking with Teen Cancer America for awhile. They saw the value of what we were doing. They had two Indy Car drivers who support their cause and we reached out to Xbox and they were very supportive. Once we had Josef and Justin wanting to battle each other Microsoft came in and gave us downloadable versions of the game and the Forza 5 car pass and also got Indy Car involved. That’s not your typical eSports community like League of Legends or DOTA 2. It’s a great opportunity for fans to interact with their favorite athletes or musicians or Youtube stars or gamers. Livestreaming has opened up the ability for fans to connect with their favorite celebrities in a way TV can’t do. Indy Car fans probably have no idea what League of Legends or Twitch is, but they can go and watch these cool experiences and help a good cause. Ultimately, it could bring more people into the eSports fold.

[a]list daily: How have charities come on board?

Michael Wasserman: We have over 10 as of this interview and I expect to have about 50 by the end of the month. It only takes 15 minutes to sign up. Charities have responded to this platform because in the past gamers had to contact a charity and figure out who to talk to, which could be difficult. Our platform makes it easy with a one-click contact. Also, before Tiltify charities were wondering how their branding and logo was being used. Now when they sign up on our platform, a charity like the Able Gamers Foundation know that the logo they’ve approved gets transported into their campaign.

[a]list daily: What opportunities does this platform open up for Hollywood celebrities

Michael Wasserman: Tiltify offers an opportunity for celebrities to get involved in a low time commitment threshold. Instead of flying to a golf tournament or going to a gala, they can play from home or anywhere they’re at and raise money any time they want. Seth Rogan has his Hilarity for Charity foundation and if he wanted to raise money he could do that and play games from home, which is better than asking him to commit to being at a gala and potentially having to do something more time-consuming. We’ve had great response, especially on the athlete side. There are a number of cool campaigns coming out within the next 30 to 60 days where we’re working with athletes and musicians and celebrities that are starting to put some campaigns together.

[a]list daily: EA Sports hosts the Madden Bowl every year during the Super Bowl. How easy would it be to add a charity element to a video game tournament like that

Michael Wasserman: You can take something like the Madden Bowl and athletes can take their favorite charities and we can build out a campaign in minutes. If EA is going to stream that event, they can turn it into an instant fundraiser and get the athletes more excited about the competition. Because they’re playing for their favorite charity, it means more to them.

This Week’s [a]list Jobs – August 20

[a]listdaily is now your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media. Check here every Wednesday for the latest openings.

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

For last week’s [a]list jobs, click here.

New Minecraft Mod Teaches Kids Coding

The education company ThoughtSTEM has created an educational add-on called LearnToMod that teaches children the basics of programming while creating tricks and tools that they can use within the Minecraft world.

While ThoughtSTEM isn’t the first company to use Minecraft for educational purposes, LearnToMod works differently than most. Instead of using Minecraft as a virtual classroom, ThoughtSTEM built its own interface that exists outside of the game. However, the coding skills kids learn through the web application actually helps them gain in-game advantages.

Using LearnToMod enables kids to quickly create things that would otherwise take a long time to build in the game, such as mountains or massive dungeons, or create custom types of blocks. Kids can also create special rules that enable them to do things like build their own games within Minecraft, such as capture the flag or Tetris.

Once youngsters draft their code in LearnToMod, the application connects to their Minecraft account to make the mods available in the game. By teaching kids to build their own Minecraft mods, ThoughSTEM is hoping to keep students motivated to learn some of the trickier parts of coding.

“Kids are already spending ridiculous amounts of hours on Minecraft,” said the co-founder of ThoughtSTEM Stephen Foster in an online piece with Wired.com. “So we thought this would be a good way to help them learn skills.”

ThoughtSTEM has also integrated a kid-friendly programming interface called Blockly (created by Google), which is based on MIT’s classic programming education system Scratch. Blockly allows students to create programs by dragging and dropping virtual blocks, instead of typing out a profusion of code. Foster hopes this will make the tutorials more feasible to younger programmers, while still offering more advanced options for older kids.

 

Reddit App Available On Xbox One

Microsoft is always looking for new ways to innovate with its Xbox One console, especially when it comes to applications that play a tremendous part in the community. There’s no question that it’s managed to do so with the latest addition to its line-up, ReddX.

The app, which allows community users at Reddit to post through their console, is now live on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and is available free of charge. Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb announced the debut of the app this morning, as well as what it’s capable of as far as posting messages and utilizing Xbox One services are concerned.