The Effects Of GamerGate

Controversy is easy to stir up on the Internet, whether it’s leaked pictures of celebrities or reporters facing trouble within the city of Ferguson. Video games are a nice release from the stress, but even in that world, there’s uneasiness.

Such is the case with GamerGate, an ongoing argument between certain female gamers and certain critics that will stop at nothing to jab at one another, unable to reach certain terms with equality.

The controversy started a while ago when a jilted ex-boyfriend wrote a lengthy blog post about his former flame, game developer Zoe Quinn. In that same letter, many members of the video game industry were mentioned.

As a result, many felt that certain members of the press were corrupt with their coverage, indicating that some may have received sexual favors for positive coverage on products. The resulting argument has led to GamerGate, which has been hashtagged across Twitter and become the subject of many articles. It’s brought out many of the worst people lurking in the shadows, complaining about women in gaming, game journalism, and other favorite targets of wrath.

Many people have commented on the matter since then, including several reddit and 4Chan posters, as well as YouTube channel owners. Some have been outlandish, to the point that they’ve been removed due to sexism or, even worse, death threats.

YouTuber TotalBiscuit lent his two cents on the matter, but was immediately called out by several members of the indie game scene with his comments, adding fuel to the fire of an already troublesome debate.

This was not the first time that Quinn had been in the midst of controversy, as she and PR rep Maya Kramer spoke out against a game jam/charity group known as The Fine Young Capitalists, a group that hires women with no game experience as part of the development process.

The battle has been going on for days now, with some accounts hacked (including those of Fez developer Phil Fish, who has since offered to sell his company Polytron to “serious” buyers), and has raised the arguments even further between feminists, certain gamers and fanboys.

The argument has called for more ethical journalism and, in some circles, fair treatment, but it seems that not everyone is on the same page. Fortunately, some people have decided to not take part in GamerGate at all and instead turn to the things that matter. Like, in this particular case, video games.

Video games continue to be a large industry, and several big releases intend to make a big impact this fall, including this Tuesday’s release of Destiny. However, there still seems to be those who find it necessary to boast opinions about systems, the preference of having female gamers in the industry, and so forth, instead of enjoying said games.

More details about GamerGate are available at this link, but it isn’t a pretty sight. You may be better off playing Madden instead. The games matter, not the politics. However, death threats and hateful comments hurt everyone involved with games, and we all should do what we can to eliminate that where we see it.

Source: Forbes

Samsung’s Risky #thatsucks Campaign

On occasion, companies like to try something innovative – and a little bit edgy – when it comes to their advertising campaigns. Sometimes it pays off; other times, it blows up in their face and creates a problem.

So the question now goes to Samsung’s UK division, which has launched a new Twitter campaign this week as a tie-in with its new vacuum cleaner. The campaign, with the hashtag #thatsucks, is meant to be a promotion that deals with timely jokes and short videos, but it could very well run into problems with the way it’s worded.

So far, Samsung UK’s tweets have been interesting, to say the least. “When you try to combat nerves by ‘imagining the audience naked’ and realize you’re giving a talk to the Naturist Society, #thatsucks,” reads one tweet. “Dusty Springfield never used a Samsung Vacuum, and #thatsucks. She’d have been called Cleany Springfield otherwise.”

As you can see, the jokes are playful little jabs, but they have led to some rather realistic replies from consumers. Said a Twitter user named @Mdrewey, “@SamsungUK 130 days without a working phone and being told I have to send it away for the 7th time. #thatsucks”

At the very least, some of the tweets have been gold, such as “#Thatsucks when your phone battery dies while writing a twe” (meant to be cut off early). In addition, the company has also been using certain animations with its tweets, like crumbling three-dimensional biscuit art.

The promotion, which is a combined effort between the Cheil agency, the company’s marketing team and TV comedian David Schneider, obviously expect it to take off from humor alone. Said Cheil’s head of social Jonathon Buckley about those who hate it, “We think we’re on the 3 or 4 scale right now, and we’re hoping to move to the 6 or 7 space in time. We couldn’t have gone in too strong from the off. It’s about building it up and deciding what we can and can’t say. With the on-the-fly stuff, we rely on good communication and team work – and good legal training!”

No word yet if Samsung’s US division will launch a similar campaign, but it may not be likely, even with the comical jabs.

Source: Digiday

Activision’s Stunning Live-Action ‘Destiny’ Trailer

Activision’s Destiny game is headed to stores and digital release in just a few days’ time, promising an unheralded video game experience from the team that brought us the Halo franchise, Bungie. To further illustrate just how awesome the single player/multiplayer experience is, the publisher has introduced a new trailer to get people excited for the release.

The trailer, directed by Tron Legacy and Oblivion helmer Joseph Kosinski, is an impressive two-minute piece that features a trio of hunters working their way across the solar system, working alongside the cybernetic assistant Ghost to blast evil aliens to kingdom come and restore peace to the planets.

This video does an impressive job showcasing the many locales available within the universe of Destiny, from traveling to the Moon to eradicate a number of nasties to trekking around on Mars to put a gun-toting behemoth in his place with a pair of well-placed grenades.

Abilities are also put on full display with the live-action piece, including a ground slam that knocks enemies for a loop, and a teleportation trick that makes it easier for certain players to get around a map. Activision spared no expense in making the game look like a big-budget film. Hopefully, Bungie will see its way about approving the script for one.

Best of all, the live-action trailer adds a contemporary touch with an interesting soundtrack. Rather than using an epic theme as previous commercials have, the action in this Destiny video play out alongside rock band Led Zeppelin’s classic “Immigrant Song,” after one of the hunters requests to play something “classical.” Easily, it’s a good fit for the video.

This is the latest in the long marketing push for the game, a push that’s likely to continue throughout the Christmas season, even with the release of Activision’s other big behemoths, Skylanders Trap Team and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which will arrive in the next few months.

Source: Variety


Magnum’s Virtual Social Ice Cream Experiences

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. And now, Magnum wants to make the experience of an ice cream social virtual. Sure, it won’t be the same as actually eating ice cream, but it could be the next best thing.

A new app called the M-Pulse allows the use of beacon technology to pinpoint where friends and family members are when it comes to finding the nearest shop that carries Magnum ice cream products. Though the app does require permission in terms of using location services, it’s a snap when it comes to finding where you are, and then tracking down one of the delicious chocolate bars in the vicinity.

With the help of U.S. proximity platform NewAer and Unilever’s agency Karmarama, development on “the ultimate app for connecting and reimagining the ice cream social” was made. The project involved the use of StickNFind beacons, which were placed on a number of fridges in WH Smith stores throughout the London area. From there, the app interacts to provide an “enhanced ice cream experience” to consumers, even if they aren’t physically holding it.

The app is a tie-in with Magnum’s 25th anniversary, and is meant to provide social interaction by sending a message to meet a friend or family member where, obviously, there’s ice cream to be eaten, via the NewAer engine.

The campaign is an innovative way to take on marketing without hammering the message home via advertisements and unneeded messages…plus it totally makes people hungry for ice cream. “We’re thrilled to pioneer an innovative technology such as beacons to deliver a mobile experience which can really strengthen Magnum’s promise of delivering pleasure and connect thousands of pleasure seekers in the city. The app is a pilot initiative and is the first set of projects supported by The Unilever Foundry, an initiative to bring tech orientated startups and brands together,” said Neil Gledhill, Magnum’s global brand director.

So, go eat ice cream!

Source: PSFK

New App Makes Superstar Selling Easy

With the growing popularity of tablets, computers and smartphones, it really just takes a good amount of creativity and effort to turn any given normal “Joe” into a superstar. And now there’s an app that will allow them to interact with fans on a merchandising level, without having to resort to an eBay account.

A new startup called Makr is providing the opportunity for these would-be celebrities to interact with an iPhone app and produce supplementary funds by providing a marketplace for their small or large following of fans.

The app, now available on the Apple App Store, enables these creators to design and sell their own special merchandise right through their phones. Art can be uploaded with ease, and one of Makr’s templates makes it simple to set up said design to be printed on objects, including T-shirts and tote bags. From there, the Makr app would then sell such items to the public through its online store.

Makr would be in charge of the production, shipping and payment receipt from users, although the user would benefit as well, making $2 for each item sold through the company. So it’s a win-win situation on both parts.

“We’re enabling them to make custom products at no risk,” says co-founder and CEO Ellen Johnston, who has a background in design. “The goal is that within a matter of minutes, you can go from just creating — whether you’re a blogger, illustrator, or YouTube star — to monetizing your audience.”

It’s a variation of the popular Etsy store, which also allows users to create and sell their own wares, but provides the opportunity to do most of the work for them, particularly with production and shipping – effectively removing some labor from their end, so they can get right back to creating.

To assure that it isn’t left with unsold stock, Makr works with certain vendors to produce orders as they’re entered by the users. Over 100 designers are already onboard with the process, and more options are expected to be added as time goes on. “The sky is the limit,” said Johnston. “What we’re trying to do is introduce products in a very thoughtful way. One really important thing for us from a brand perspective is we want to maintain control of quality.”

Considering that Etsy generated over a billion dollars in sales last year, it’s easy to see a possible new direction for business. And Makr is all over it.

Source: Wired

Yo Has Harnessed The Power Of Push Notifications

Anyone with a smartphone can tell you that push notifications– even the informative kind– can be kind of annoying. It’s little wonder then why an app that poked fun of them rose so quickly to prominence.

As a joke app, Yo gained 1.7 million users and got those users to send about 50 million Yo’s. The concept was simple: you send your friend a Yo, they get a push notification. It removed the hassle of the labor-intensive process it takes to construct a text. It toyed with the concept of push notifications as they were probably never meant to be toyed with.

It was so simple, it was easy to dismiss. Marketers everywhere went from “What is this thing called Yo “ to “OK. That’s simple.” to “What in the world could this possibly be used for “

It seems that the people behind the Yo app went through much the same process and in doing so, made Yo secretly more awesome. Yo is a sleeper.

A new update to Yo has added IFTTT integration, now allowing anyone to use Yo to trigger actions made with IFTTT “recipes.” You can essentially set up a social campaign to automatically trigger Yo’s to followers. There are also link attachments. There are also hashtags.

“This version shows the real power of the Yo platform which is, at its most basic, a 2-way communication platform between people, websites, brands, businesses and virtually anything that can connect to the internet,” said Yo in a blog post on Medium.

Yo has accomplished these changes without throwing a wrench into the core functionality and simplicity of the platform. At the same time, Yo is becoming more helpful to users. With new developer access, marketers can create their own Yo service and be added to the index. RSS feeds can also send automatic Yo’s.

Looking for metrics Yo counts how many Yo’ers have used your hashtag and you know exactly how many Yo’s you receive back.

The stupidly simple platform has finally shown it is really a veritable iceberg of complexities. Yo’s time has come.

Mobile Game Revenue Grows Strongly In 2Q 2014

Revenue for mobile games for both Apple and Android devices continues to grow, with great interest in a variety of titles, including the likes of World of Tanks Blitz and Minecraft: Pocket Edition. As such, it appears that spending is also picking up quite a bit as well.

A new report from App Annie and IDC, indicates that spending on mobile games has changed quite a bit over the previous year, in a report dubbed “Portable Gaming Spotlight.”

Within this time frame, Android shows an increase of more than eight percentage points in the combined smartphone and tablet user base, where other devices like BlackBerry and Windows Phone have faltered. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Google is playing such a big part in gaming, as 85 percent of its Google Play store is devoted to games.

While both iOS and Android games saw double-digit increases in revenue over 2013, iOS fell a little bit with its year-over-year share of 75 percent of app revenue. Both the App Store and Google Play have games representing just under half of all downloads.

However, in-game purchases are growing. Over on iOS, they’ve gained more than 70 percent worldwide over the previous year, even more so than Android. It also left handheld systems like the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita in the dust, although both of those machines could catch up with the forthcoming holiday season.

Out of all the games on the market, three dominated with ease — Puzzle & Dragons, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. Meanwhile, Game of War and Hay Day followed closely behind on iOS, while Monster Strike and The World of Mystic Wiz rounded out the top five on Android.

So where is the revenue jump coming from IDC researcher Lewis Ward believes it’s all in the hardware. “The revenue increase is mostly driven by the increase in smartphone and tablet ownership worldwide,” Ward said via email. “Sure, monetization in select games is up, but overall gamer ARPU (average revenue per user) on combined smartphones and tablets appears to be trending down marginally in 2014 compared to 2013,” he said.

Don’t be surprised if mobile gaming — and the spending that comes with it — continues to increase in the next year.


Google Maps And ‘Destiny’ Go To Mars

Activision’s epic first-person space shooter Destiny is just around the corner, and with it is coming a huge marketing push, including TV commercials, a song tie-in with musician Paul McCartney, and, now, a curious new partnership with Google Maps that allows players to explore planets when they aren’t playing the game.

Between Google and Activision, a new website called Destiny Planet View has launched, and enables players to explore different planets as part of a tie-in with the game. These include the moon, as well as Venus and Mars.

Put together using Google technology, the site works in a similar manner to Google Street View, allowing users to visit any of the planet’s terrain and look around in a real-time 360-degree view.

In addition, motionless scenes of characters from Destiny taking part in combat will be strewn in to the maps, giving players a chance to keep track of their friends and other first-person shooter fans while looking around. In addition, players can explore for screenshots, character art, 3D models and videos from the game, which help explain what they can expect from the experience.

Although the Destiny Planet View website does enable players to do a bit of poking around and see what the universe is like, a spokesman was quick to remind that the explorable areas are merely “a small slice” of the vast, open worlds that players can check out in the game itself.

Bungie, the developers of the Halo franchise, have been working tirelessly on the game for the past few years, and have promised a gaming world unlike which few players have ever seen.

More details on Destiny Planet View are available in the trailer below.

Destiny will be available in both digital and retail form on September 9th for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.



Marketers Need Tools To Be Personal

Trends change within marketing all the time, and one that’s currently hot right now is personalization, as a lot of marketers are using data to create a viewpoint that customers can relate to. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s on board just yet.

A May 2014 study provided by Forrester Consulting (commissioned through ExactTarget Marketing Cloud) indicates that, despite the growth in interest in personalization, it’s still rather small, with just 18 percent of U.S. digital marketing decision-makers working to create a personalized customer experience across digital touchpoints as a general goal.

As you can see by the chart, there are some who would consider using certain ideas when it comes to targeting and personalization tactics. 86 percent feel that using personalization and targeting based on broad segmentation and simple clustering techniques to execute campaigns in individual digital channels would be ideal. Closely behind with 83 percent is the idea that it can be used with simple business rules, and campaigns can be executed across digital channels.

However, some tools still need to be firmly grasped when it comes to personalization, such as self-learning analytics that work in real time, machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. Not everyone, it seems, is ready for those tools just yet — but there’s no better time to learn.

The main hurdle is that some execs feel that these technologies aren’t the best when it comes to real-time targeting and making decisions. They fall behind when compared to web analytics and email marketing, sitting on the wayside next to the likes of A/B and multivariate testing tools and next-best offer technology.

Technology does create challenges for marketers, according to a supplementary poll from Experian Data Quality. These challenges emerge when it comes to making a single customer view that creates a representation of the data known by an organization. With the poll, 40 percent of those asked (which includes 24 percent of US data management professionals) believe that the inability to link different technologies together is the biggest challenge, followed by poor data quality and a lack of relevant technology.

It’ll be interesting to see if marketing folks change with the times. It never hurts to evolve a little.

Source: eMarketer

Top 100 YouTube Channels Show Growth

We’ve touched on the subject of popular YouTube channels before, talking about how users like PewDiePie and others have managed to make a tremendous living setting up videos for the channel and interacting with their fans. However, it appears that their popularity is growing higher than anyone could’ve anticipated.

A new report from online video industry site Tubefilter and analytics firm OpenSlate indicates that the video channel still attracts more than one billion viewers a month, watching six billion hours of video. 40 percent of that traffic comes from mobile devices as well.

Out of those, the top 100 YouTube channels have managed to grow over 80 percent in viewership over the last year. A chart for July 2014 shows that the videos have collectively gathered 9.46 billion views for that month alone, up over 5 billion from July 2013.

Leading the pack is PewDiePie, also known as Swedish game personality Felix Kjellberg. For the year spanning from July 2013 to 2014, he’s managed to increase from 221.6 million views to 438.9 million views, and has nearly tripled his subscriber base from 11.75 million to 29.47 million.

Closely behind are DisneyCollector with 268 million views for the month, Stampy with nearly 200 million views, and The Diamond Minecart with 186.1 million views.

Out of all the videos features, it seems that music, games and comedy continue to be tremendous draws. TubeFilter’s report shows that the top 100 gaming channels by themselves managed to generate 4.34 billion views for July 2014 alone.

With the competitive video market set to grow from new offerings by Amazon (with its recently acquired Twitch services) and Yahoo!, it’ll be interesting to see where YouTube goes from here. One thing’s for sure – no matter what the competition may throw its way, it’s bound to keep a very large audience.

Source: The Guardian