‘The Book of Life’ Game Part Of Mobile Marketing Strategy

Video game tie-ins with popular movies are nothing new, but it’s always good to see one that manages to have content in common with the film it’s based upon.

That’s certainly the case with The Book of Life: Sugar Smash, a mobile game that will coincide with the release of the animated film of the same name, which hits theaters on October 17.

The game is a partnership between Fox Digital Entertainment and SGN, the team that released such popular mobile efforts as Cookie Jam and Panda Pop. The puzzle-based gameplay should easily catch on to both casual players and fans of the forthcoming film, and the price should be easy to swallow, since the game will be offered for free, according to Biz Journals.

“The collaboration potential for mobile gaming and Hollywood entertainment is massive. We are thrilled to partner with Fox to develop a new avenue for ‘The Book of Life,’” said SGN founder and CEO (and MySpace founder) Chris DeWolfe. “Additionally, through the appealing gameplay of ‘The Book of Life: Sugar Smash,’ we can expose a new audience to the film, and vice versa.”

Sugar Smash’s” virtual worlds correspond with the film’s fantasy realms with levels varying in difficulty, objectives and challenges. Players can instantly share and complete for high scores and accomplishments on social media.

“SGN has been a great partner in creating an enchanting game that maintains the integrity of the film’s storyline and unique style and tone,” added Rick Phillips, senior vice president of Fox Digital Entertainment. “With this game we are able to broaden the film’s universe, enabling the audience to interact with the story long after they’ve left the theater.”

The two companies will split revenue from the game through in-app purchases, and it will no doubt give the film, produced by Guillermo del Toro, a promotional boost. Not that it needs it, as you’ll be able to spot the tranquil beauty and humorous dialogue featured in the trailer below.


2K Announces Details Of ‘Evolve’ Big Alpha

Evolve is now slated to be released on February 10, 2015, but a new announcement from 2K International today, coupled with a trailer will have gamers champing at the bit for this hotly anticipated title.

Launching this Halloween, October 31, gamers on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC gamers will have the opportunity to play Evolve during the Evolve Big Alpha event. Xbox One gamers only will be offered exclusive early access to The Big Alpha on October 30th.

The teaser trailer below, helmed by 2K marketing exec Nik Karlsson is 100 percent multiplayer gameplay choreographed, captured and edited in collaboration with Ayzenberg.

“The Evolve game will feature a variety of maps, one of which being a large jungle, with some industrial elements where players can take shelter. There are various power ups that can be taken by both hunters and monster players through killing the local wildlife,” said 2K International in a press release.

“Victory is achieved for the hunters by killing the monster, while the monster can either kill the four hunters, or complete a secondary objective such as destroying a human base or power plant. The hunters are made up of four classes: a trapper, a support, a medic, and an assault class. Each class will contain a variety of different hunters with different play-styles.”

In Evolve, 4 players play against a player-controlled monster, giving gamers a different perspective to choose from.


Snapchat’s Big Plan? Untargeted Ads

At Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday, Snapchat’s 24-year-old CEO, Evan Spiegel, unveiled his plan to bring advertising to the platform.

“We’re cutting through a lot of the new technology stuff around ads to sort of the core of it, which I think has always been telling a story that leaves people with a new feeling,” Spiegel said. “They’re not fancy. You just look at it if you want to look at it, and you don’t if you don’t.”

In other words, these ads won’t be targeted.

Currently the platform is receiving due attention from notable brands like Taco Bell, Karmaloop and others who have gained a sizeable following by creating content that is made specifically for Snapchat and worth the view. As Snapchat doesn’t have a discovery feature still like Instagram, the only way to reach an audience is by pushing out a brand’s Snapchat info on other social channels like say, Twitter.

Reportedly, Snapchat has been in talks with marketers and multiple media companies to roll out Snapchat Discovery at some point this year, which will curate news, ads and other content for the platform.

Some are calling this new ad business plan outright spam, while others are just happy that Snapchat is giving the mobile platform ad units to begin with. The reason for this could possibly be due to how little Snapchat asks of their users when signing up for an account and also the nature of the content on Snapchat itself, as everything created is also destroyed.

Still, it is a wonder why Snapchat isn’t using location-based targeting for this new ad unit.

Now to wait with bated breath to see how users react to this untargeted advertising and stick around for more. In spite of this, Spiegel’s attention to keeping Snapchat’s cool factor alive and well is not an after-thought:

“One of my pet peeves over time has been the technology industry has tried to sell counterculture, sell the revolution, and we have been really resistant to doing that.”

Google’s Street View Comes To The Arabian Desert

Thanks to Google Maps and Street View, as long as you have a mobile device on you, you are in little trouble of getting seriously lost. Now the same is true for even the Arabian Desert, in particular the Liwa Oasis area in Abu Dhabi, a sea of shifting golden sands where camels are the vehicle of choice.

Of course, let’s be real: where you are more likely to experience this is from where you’re sitting right now, but this might be the push you needed to get out and experience the UAE first hand.


Warner Bros., DC Entertainment And OTOY Create A ‘Batman’ VR Experience

A new immersive entertainment experience emerges from the partnership of Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, and OTOY to take fans inside the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. This will give fans a much more initimate view of Batman’s universe using the wonders of holographic video for virtual displays like the Samsung GALAXY Gear VR, Oculus Rift and other light field displays.

“[Bruce] Timm is guiding the meticulous adaptation of the original 1992 designs into a fully realized universe with volume and depth. OTOY is also developing tools that perfectly preserve the show’s distinct visual drawing style in 3D space, without requiring any post-production work or manual artist intervention,” said OTOY in a blog post {link no longer active}.

“The project represents the first of many commercial endeavors leveraging OTOY’s rendering and holographic streaming technology which aim to deliver next-generation media and entertainment experiences to emerging content platforms in the coming years.”

Check out OTOY’s demonstration of the holographic video technology to get a feel for what they are creating:


The project is still underway and is slated for the first release this winter. Here are some stills:

Image Source: OTOY

CREATIVE: Mercedes Ad Reenacts ‘Dirty Dancing’ For The Vito

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if ‘Dirty Dancing’ was recreated by vehicles, now’s your chance. To the tune of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” the classic movie’s main theme song, a Mercedes truck and car court each other and… consumate their love. Out pops the Mercedes Vito, truly born from their “boldest genes.”

{video link no longer active}

Teens Not-So-Interested In Wearables After All

Teens continue to favor Apple with their phone of choice, with 67 percent actually owning iPhonesa and 73 percent saying that the iPhone will be the next phone they buy. However, despite Apple being the top consumer brand for young folks, the excitement isn’t as high for Apple’s foray into wearables with the Apple Watch according to Piper Jaffray.

Only 7 percent of teens own a smartwatch and 16 percent want to buy the Apple Watch. Why is this?

This could be due to a generational gap of younger consumers not used to wearing a watch on their wrists. Cell phones had made watches practically obsolete and relegated to being a style accessory instead of a necessary item. Due to this, teenagers will likely be swayed if the Apple Watch proves to be another useful and worthy screen.

The survey also found that 8 in 10 teens play mobile games, which is down from surveys covering this subject previously.

Image source: Apple

LA: The Epicenter Of Digital Media And Tech Innovation

by Peter Csathy

Virtually every week — everywhere you look — investors are pouring boatloads of money into content-focused digital media and tech companies.

The latest examples  Otter Media’s acquisition of leading multi-channel network (MCN) Fullscreen for a deal reported to value the company up to $300 million — and Corus Entertainment’s lead position in a new $12 million investment in women’s-focused MCN Kin Community.

And it’s not just the usual suspects like studios playing this game. Major brands like Marriott and previously pure leading NorCal tech-focused VCs like Andreessen Horowitz have entered the fray.

For content-first digital media companies, 2014 is as easy (and rightfully so!) as 1-2-3: (1) Disney’s earlier acquisition of MCN Maker Studios for up to nearly $1 billion; (2) Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality Oculus Rift; and (3) Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats and Beats Music.

And, let’s not forget all of the other hundreds of millions of dollars of venture capital and strategic investment into the MCN space alone (here is my overall “cheat sheet” that summarizes all of these deals).

I was speaking with my wife, Luisa, about all of this as I drove from one meeting with a digital pioneer in this brave new media world (Kin Community’s founder/CEO Michael Wayne) to another (Pluto.tv’s CEO Tom Ryan). I expressed my excitement about what I absolutely believe is a seminal and transformational moment-in-time for the media business. I marveled at the sheer entrepreneurial energy and innovation that Los Angeles and SoCal in general is exuding right now. For me, someone who has been immersed in the media/tech space for 25 years, these are uniquely exciting times.

You see, I like to get down in the streets — down in the trenches with those entrepreneurs and where that innovation is happening. I like to visit them in their company offices. To “feel” how they feel. To see their teams in action. And, after scores of meetings, I am absolutely convinced that we will look back at this year — 2014 — as being the point where the long-anticipated promise of the “convergence” of media and tech became a mainstream reality. Where NorCal investment finally met SoCal content-driven opportunities. When content finally was understood to be king again — precisely because of new technology that enables the creation of new experiences, new ways to distribute those experiences, and new ways to engage with and in those experiences.

This is a new golden age of content. Plain and simple. It is not content divorced from tech. Not at all. It is content fueled by it. It is creativity on a mass scale that involves both the left brain and right brain.

And its epicenter is LA.

As I continued speaking with my wife on my five-mile (should have been 10 minute but instead was 30 minute) drive, we ruminated about our own kids living in these times. About how much fun they would have as young people raised in this digital world — and able to participate in it as more than consumers. As entrepreneurs themselves, if they so wish. For now, they are a bit young (15 and 12, respectively).

But, for other media and tech-hungry millennials, now is a time to harness your passions and fully immerse yourselves in this fully immersive Oculus world. Hundreds (thousands ) of entrepreneurial opportunities and jobs are being birthed amidst all of this investment. They are there for you here and now. Fullscreen, Maker Studios, StyleHaul, DanceOn, MiTu Networks, Kin Community, Tastemade, Collective Digital Studio, Jukin Media, Vice Media, Woven Digital, Pluto.tv, Zefr, NeonGrid, Otter Media, The Chernin Group, AwesomenessTV, Everdream, Eversport, Fanbread, Ninja Metrics, VideoInk, Media Hound, Atom Factory — and, yes, Manatt Digital Media. These are just some of the places where innovation is happening. In beautiful open spaced offices — where the possibilities themselves are wide open.

Yes, Silicon Valley remains a hotbed of innovation and opportunity. But, Silicon Beach is now where entrepreneurial energy and innovation has reached a fever-pitch.

Go West young talented and passionate digital media/tech entrepreneur! Southwest, that is…

 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.

GamerU’s New Way To Acquire Gamers

When you’re stuck on a level in a game, the first place you look for a solution is on the Internet. Finding the right answer quickly is hard, though, and GamerU’s speedy tutorials promises to make that easy. At the same time, game developers have a huge problem — how do you find players for your game, especially players that will stick with the game and spend money GamerU has managed to create a solution for developers, too, and combined both of these solutions into one site.

James Sullivan

GamerU is a destination web site that provides high-quality, professionally created videos that help gamers with popular games, and these videos are short and to the point. The videos share hints on how to beat difficult levels, as well as skill tips to help players become standouts during battle. All videos are easily searchable, allowing gamers to find everything they need in one simple location.

GamerU also helps gamers find other games they might like to play by serving up suggestions based on viewing habits. Of course, that’s of value to game developers as well, helping games get discovered by the people who are most likely to play and enjoy the games — and therefore, more likely to spend some money on the game in the long run.

For developers and publishers, GamerU provides a way to help players and potentially generate more revenue with no up-front cost. Once a developer has partnered with GamerU, GamerU then creates original videos and promotes them. GamerU even provides a mobile app to make it even easier for gamers to find the videos they need.

The [a]listdaily spoke with GamerU president and founder James Sullivan about GamerU’s approach to helping gamers and game developers find the answers and the audience they need.

[a]listdaily: How can you help game developers with the difficult problem of player acquisition?

James Sullivan: We’re a user acquisition platform for game publishers. We professionally produce tips and tricks videos for a wide variety of games. We produce those videos in multiple languages —English, Spanish, French, and German. We then invest heavily in SEO in those various languages, and serve up suggestions to viewers on the games they may like. We will serve up suggestions based on your viewing habits. From an indie publisher’s point of view, they have a limited marketing budget. We pay for all production of the tips and tricks videos in the various languages, and we will integrate their videos into the platform.

[a]listdaily: That’s a useful service for developers, but how does GamerU make money from this?

James Sullivan: Our business model is a little different than the standard CPI networks. The problem with a lot of those is you’re paying an upfront fee for a customer whether that customer monetizes or not. In a lot of instances, they’re paying people for a customer that could be worth zero. For our revenue model, we take it from a different approach. We say, ‘You don’t have to pay us anything up front, and you don’t have to pay anything if the customer monetizes to zero.’ However, we will take a rev share instead. It’s pay for performance. We invest in SEO, and we believe our users are more engaged, they’re searching for this content, they’re searching for tips, they’re looking to get beter at the game. We believe our users are more engaged and they are more likely to convert as a paying customer. We’re willing to take the risk of pay for performance.

[a]listdaily: How exactly does the revenue share work?

James Sullivan: It’s based on the lifetime value of the customer within that game. We come from the poker industry, where user acquisition on a rev share model is very standard. We’re applying what we learned on the poker side to the video game space.

[a]listdaily: How long has GamerU been active, and what have the results been so far?

James Sullivan: We’ve been working on the business for well over a year; the site launched officially on April 15. The results have been very positive from both the publishers and the users. We’ve just launched with Atari’s new Minimum game this month. The response that we’ve had from publishers in our initial meetings and pitches has been very positive, and from the user point of view, likewise. There’s very little downside for the publishers because we pay for all production. We only get paid when we convert customers.

[a]listdaily: Do you have a relationship with all of the publishers for the games where you have videos, or do you just create some to drive traffic to the web site?

James Sullivan: Initially here for launch we did not have relationships with all the publishers. We are in the process of discussions with various different publishers. We will produce videos for games that are popular, games that people are searching for, just to drive traffic to the site.

[a]listdaily: What’s the future for GamerU? Where do you want the site to be in a year or two?

James Sullivan: The goal is down the road that we are integrated will of these publishers and we have our own user acquisition network with all of these publishers on a rev share basis. And, we launch a game in conjunction with when a publisher launches a game. The goal, and we just did this with Minimum, is the day that Minimum launched on Steam we launched with the content. We had early access to the game and we produced the tips over a two-month period prior to when the game was officially online.

We’re looking to grow our content library and forge relationships with publishers and drive traffic for their games. I view this as the future of the user acquisition model for videogame publishers.

Top Trailers For The Week – 10/08/14

It’s time for another week of great trailer round-ups, as we feature some of the best in movie, TV and video game trailers leading into the second week of October. Let’s get started:

Yesterday, The CW Network debuted The Flash, its latest series based on the popular DC Comics line. The debut was a success, with 4.5 million viewers and a 1.8 rating, prompting the network to provide a sneak peek into next week’s episode, where our hero has to contend with a dangerous foe under the name Captain Clone. Fans will definitely want to tune in for this one.


Clint Eastwood, who directed the film adaptation of the musical Jersey Boys earlier this summer, makes his return to theaters this December with a tense new film called American Sniper. In it, Bradley Cooper plays a soldier devoted to his job, but dealing with the personal repercussions that come from it. The film will debut in theaters later this year.


As it marches towards its November 7th release date, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar continues to make waves. After the opening of a supplementary Google Hub that lets users explore space, Warner Bros. released another trailer for the film, dealing with astronauts that travel across the galaxy to find a new home for the human race. This should be a blockbuster for the holiday season.


Ever since its release last month for Xbox One and Xbox 360, Forza Horizon 2 has been drawing quite a racing audience – and Microsoft looks to keep it with the announcement of a new Mobil 1 Car Pack. Featuring cars powered by ExxonMobil, the pack includes several sweet rides to take across the countryside. The pack is available for download now.


Finally, Square Enix is set to release Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX on December 2nd for the PlayStation 3. In this remake of the captivating Disney-fueled role-playing adventure, Sora teams up with familiar characters to take on a variety of enemies. This will no doubt be a big hit for fans when it arrives.

Source: YouTube