Touch Coming To Virtual Reality

Virtual reality does go a long way in enveloping a user into a secondary world, but doesn’t really provide much of an experience outside of visual and audio sensory. However, that could change soon, if Dextra Robotics has its way.

The robotics company recently held a Reddit AMA to discuss its latest invention, the Dexmo F2, which will enable the ability to touch objects within a virtual world. As the company explains, “It works like this, when the avatar you are controlling hits a digital object, a signal is sent back via our SDK to Dexmo F2 and the small activators activates, brakes the joint and locks the exoskeleton. When you further bend your finger inwards, a normal force will be created on your fingertip.”

Using special sensors, the device provides control in the virtual world as well, while also providing force feedback support. The device will also work in conjunction with the STEM system, so you can see virtual hands interact within the universe, signifying the experience even further.

The device is still in the very early stages yet when it comes to development, with only a rough 3D printed prototype serving as a working tool. However, Dextra Robotics hopes to make the final product out of quality metal, so that people can still feel surfaces and objects in a game without going through discomfort. The prototype is working well, though, as it’s incorporating Unity technology to allow the “feeling” of certain surfaces.

It won’t be too deep however, as the “feel” system only works on a basic level, without certain structures for textures. At least, not yet.

There’s no word on a release date for the tech, but Dextra hopes to launch a Kickstarter later this month to receive funding, and hopes to debut the Dexmo F2 kit for a price of around $200.

What do you think? Are you prepared to “feel” in a virtual world?

Source: Kotaku

A Massive Hit Game Is An Existential Threat

There are so many game developers struggling just to make a living, and moving from one game to the next, that it may seem crazy to worry about the rare case when a game company has a huge hit. Yet there are dangers inherent in a massive success, and some companies don’t seem to be aware of them.

What can success do that’s harmful The seductive power of a successful game can harm a company’s long-term prospects in a number of ways. The drive to produce new products can decline. Companies often spend wildly or go on massive hiring sprees. Executives can start believing their own press releases and miss danger signs or market signals. Sometimes audience tastes or technology changes rapidly, and a hit product can become a dud with amazing speed.

Of course, a highly successful game throws off massive profits, which is a good thing… isn’t it? Not always. If a game’s success is not sustainable in the long run, early profits may be squandered on expensive luxuries that are not investments in the company’s long-term health. Companies can burn brightly and then fizzle out when tastes change.

A company that’s likely to survive and grow for a long time will usually do so by having more than one reliable hit. Yes, some games can seem to an unstoppable hit — until the success stops, or sometimes just fades away. Take World of Warcraft, for example. That game has been at the top of the MMORPG market for many, many years. At its peak in 2010 the game had 12 million subscribers, but that number is now under 7 million. You can bet that this year’s Warlords of Draenor expansion will boost that number, but it seems very likely that the boost will wear off in a few months (as previous expansion boosts have) and subscriber numbers will go back to a slow and steady decline.

At this point it seems hard to imagine that Blizzard can find a way to revitalize World of Warcraft and once again start growing the subscriber base from year to year. Perhaps fully going to a free-to-play model might do that, but there’s no particular reason to think it might. Has the game somehow become a bad game Not at all. It’s just that the marketplace has changed, and gamers have many more options than before, including many excellent free-to-play MMORPGs. Fortunately Blizzard has other games that are doing well (Diablo III and Hearthstone), and some strong prospects in the works (like Heroes of the Storm).

Valve is a company that is not in any immediate danger, but they’ve had some serious hits in their time. They must have a lot of cash tucked away from the amazing success of Steam, which continues to reach new heights of subscribers (now in the neighborhood of 75 million). The continuing river of cash from Steam has, apparently, reduced the company’s drive to get new games out the door. Where’s the next Half-Life game There’s really no hurry. Besides, DOTA 2 is doing a terrific business.

There is a danger here for Valve. What if Steam starts, well, losing steam? There is competition out there, and it’s good to remember that the overall PC market has been in decline for the last two years (though it’s started growing again, but not in ways that benefit Valve). Valve could not replace its revenue from new games in any short time frame. And just because some products can taper off gradually, giving a company years to adapt, it doesn’t always happen that way. Just ask Blackberry how fast a product can go from #1 in the market to barely selling.

The news today that Rovio is laying off 130 workers clearly shows the danger of a hit product. Rovio created Angry Birds after more than fifty games that never had much success… and then they hit the jackpot. The company expanded rapidly, and made statements about becoming the next Disney or Pixar. A couple of years and many brand extensions later, the fact is that Rovio has yet to produce another hit, and now has to cut back because it staffed up in anticipation of continued growth.

There are companies who have figured out that they must make the transition away from depending on a single hit. Mojang, for instance, where the strategy for founder Markus Persson was to sell the company to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Wooga has completely revised its product development process to try and come up with a regular supply of titles that perform well, and staffed accordingly. Zynga has essentially torn up its previous list of products in development and is generating a broad slate of titles designed for reliable revenue.

Other companies like Supercell have been slow to staff up in response to major hits, which is a prudent response to the reality that someday the market may turn against you… and there’s no guarantee that future titles will do anywhere near the same business as Clash of Clans.

An example of a successful one-hit wonder is Riot Games. Their League of Legends game is a massive hit, bringing in somewhere close to $1 billion in revenue this year, according to estimates. The team at Riot continues to work hard on the game, with regular releases of new content and the best eSports league in the world. But Riot has yet, in Riot president Marc Merrill’s phrase, “to make the ‘s’ in Riot Games mean something.” The company is entirely dependent on League of Legends for revenue. That’s all well and good while the game is growing rapidly, but at some point they will have reached all the readily addressable market of potential League of Legends players. They may keep that market enthralled for years… or perhaps some technological shift, or a competitor, might make the audience dwindle away.

If Riot waits until the audience begins to fade to start working on another game, that’s too late to keep revenues at the same level. The company may be forced to cut back sharply, or make big acquisitions, or some other dramatic move. A safer strategy to keep revenues up is to invest in some other games, similar or not, and start to see if the company can build up some other franchises. Of course, Riot is backed but the goliath that is Tencent, so there’s plenty of runway ahead – potentially.

At this point, though, it’s fair to wonder if Riot is ever interested in becoming a diversified publisher at all, or whether it will just focus on League of Legends and continue to size itself appropriately to the current state of that game’s fortunes. That’s a perfectly acceptable strategy so long as the investors are happy with it, and Riot’s only investor now is Tencent.

The massive success of Riot is similar to Wargaming, which has catapulted to enormous size on World of Tanks. However, Wargaming has always had plans for more games, and while World of Warplanes is still small in comparison to World of Tanks, it’s growing. The company will be releasing World of Warships soon, and World of Tanks Blitz on mobile seems to be doing quite well. The company doesn’t have a broad array of hits yet, but it’s clearly working on producing a portfolio of successful products.

A one-hit wonder can survive for a long time on its hit, if the company is properly sized. Tetris is still going strong after twenty-five years, but that game isn’t supporting hundreds of employees, either. Nor is Tetris trying to be the basis of a company rivaling Disney. It’s all about properly aligning the company with its goals and its products. Transforming a company from a one-hit wonder into a long-term, sustainable game publisher with a diverse portfolio of products is not an easy task.

The real caution sign here is for investors. Sure, a one-hit wonder may go public after posting astonishing sales figures… but before you buy that stock, think about whether the company has a sustainable strategy for product development that can keep regular moneymakers arriving. Or, at least, that the company isn’t overspending on things that won’t help it create that diverse portfolio.

Yes, the games industry is a hit-driven business. But are the top revenue producers for Activision or Electronic Arts the same as when those companies began Not at all. Both companies have several strong, proven brands that generate reliable profits year after year. Both companies are always investing in developing new evergreen brands that can join the pantheon of profitable products. Both EA and Activision know very well that the market is always changing, and to stand still is to lose ground.

Don’t feel bad for the one-hit wonders – they have one more hit than most game developers. Just be wary about investing in them. And if you happen to be in a company that has a hit game, think about what that means for the company’s future before you start spending all that money that’s pouring in.

What Is A View On Vine Worth?

Influencers build audiences with great content, interesting stories and an authentic connection to the people who follow. As marketer it is our duty to connect brands to these audiences on mobile. A great mobile platform for short form content is Vine.

We’ve run dozens of campaigns on YouTube where creators integrate the brand’s messaging into the video and based on the complexity of the campaign, the customization of the content, and the high-touch nature of influencer campaigns, we value a video view on YouTube at $.10 when the video is chosen by the audience to be watched; not a paid media placement. In cases where the campaign is very niche that value will increase to $.12 or $.15.

But if a Vine loop in comparison is just six seconds, how much is a Vine loop worth

A reach out to Twitter reveals they don’t have any hard benchmarks on the value of a Vine loop. When a statistically sound study is published, or when Twitter reveals the value of a loop we’ll take that information into account. For now we took our own path to determine the value of a Vine loop.

Determining the Value of Online Video

One creative director at Ayzenberg mentioned that it takes 4-5 loops of a Vine to understand the message and that’s an interesting point, so we compared VIne to existing video ad models below to help determine what the cost of a view might be.

  • 30 Second Spots: These are sold across programming to develop reach and frequency for advertisers. Let’s call this 100 percent of cost for a TV spot.
  • 15 Second Spots: These are sold at a premium in many cases. Half the length of the ad is sold for 50 to 70 percent of the cost of a 30 second spot. These ads tell a full story and are used by media buyers to extend reach and frequency for lower cost than their 30 second counterparts.
  • 10 Second Sponsorships: Sold as caption sponsorships these ad units will include voice-over and banner as a show goes to commercial. In most cases these ad units don’t tell a complete story. These ads are 33.3 percent of a 30 second placement, and cost between 20-45 percent of a 30 second spot. In some cases the advertiser is paying a premium to own this inventory.

A Little Bit About YouTube’s True View Ads

This ad unit requires the user to watch a pre-roll video for at least 30 seconds. If the ad unit is shorter then the viewer is required to watch the entire duration of the ad. For longer ads, if the viewer skips it, the advertiser is not charged for the partial view. Depending on targeting the cost per view (CPV) is $.05 to $.08, but the cost is entirely based on an auction model where supply and demand determine pricing. Certainly the CPV can be as high as $.15.

ION has run dozens of influencer campaigns where creators who have amassed audiences integrate the brand’s message into the video. Based on the complexity of the campaign and the high touch nature of influencer initiatives, we value these ad units at $.12 to $.15.

This cost is higher than True View Ads because the messaging is not intrusive, interruptive or in the periphery of user attention. Users choosing to watch the influencer, the video and consume the endorsement are more apt to take cues from trusted voices rather than ad messages. The ultimate length of these videos are variable to the content, the creator and the interest of the user.

What A Vine View is Worth

Vine condenses the format into just 6 seconds and in that time frame, an entire story can be told.

On par with the shorter length 6 seconds is 20 percent of the “30 second standard,” so every loop is worth 1/5 of a standard 30 second view. Based on this model 5 loops equals one equivalent view. With a 25 percent premium, similar to other video ad units, 1 loop equates to ¼ of a view; 4 loops is one equivalent view.

So, in two different paths we get to 4-5 loops equating to one equivalized view. Since a YouTube influencer view is valued at $.10 that places the cost of a Vine loop at $.02 to $.025.

In other words, 30 seconds of loops, 5 loops, equates to a single view.



‘Annabelle’ Haunts Horror Fans On Twitter

What better way to ramp up excitement for a horror film than to deliver the jitters on Twitter Annabelle, the prequel to popular horror film The Conjuring is set to release in the United States October 3 and has been gearing up by bringing Twitter users something that… will help them stay awake.

The campaign has inspired fans to create fake accounts for grassroots promotion. Scope some creative .gif use and check out more on the official account here.

Facebook to Exclusively Air Video Series Based On ‘Twilight’

by Jessica Klein

After its many recent digital video developmentsFacebook is taking another step toward becoming a big name in the online viewing space. The social network is officially becoming the platform for a short-film series based on the “Twilight” saga, developed by Women in Film, Lionsgate, and “Twilight” author, Stephanie Meyer.

Showing exclusively on Facebook, “The Storytellers New Creative Voices of ‘The Twilight Saga’” will premiere in 2015. Women will create all of the films in the series in an effort to promote up-and-coming female filmmakers. “Twilight” will serve as the inspiration for each video, creating a common thread to run across the stand-alone pieces.

A contest will determine the five creators who get to produce their own videos as part of the series. They will win an advance on the production and guidance from a group of creative female celebs, including Meyer along with actors Kristen Stewart, Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, and Julie Bowen. “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke will also advise the winners, as will Women in Film president, Cathy Schulman, and writer/director of “Frozen,” Jennifer Lee.

“The Storytellers” will also feature an interactive element, as fans will get the chance to give their input on the making of the videos via Facebook and Tongal, a crowdsourcing platform. They will also get to vote on the best short film in the series, the creator of which will win a cash prize.

Lionsgate worked on the “Twilight” film franchise, and is now collaborating with non-profit Women in Film to bring Facebook its first exclusive video series.

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

Millennials Buy What They Share On Social Media

A number of marketers are still trying to find that key element when it comes to drawing in a millennial audience for their products, as some advertising simply doesn’t “stick” with millennials. However, a new report from ShareThis indicates that a new trend could very well lie in an element that’s already at play: social media.

The report suggests that brands can actually utilize social media to their advantage, as most millennials actually base their purchases around what they talk about through social media channels.

Observing more than 58 million people in the 18-to-34 year old market in the United States over a period of four months, ShareThis observed 3.1 million sites and apps, and came up with findings that indicate that 25 percent of those surveyed share online content through their social networks, including Twitter and Facebook. Following that share, 56 percent of those surveyed click on said content. The sharing is 3.6 times more than the usual average, while the clicking is a bit less with 2.3 times average.

“Millennials grew up being advertised at, so of course they’ll be harder to reach if one’s definition of reach is conversion rate,” says Kurt Abrahamson, chief executive (CEO) of ShareThis. “As we’ve found, sharing and social conversations are better overall indicators of purchase intent than ad impressions.”

Out of those surveyed, 70 percent of the millennial group believes that they are more likely to make a purchase based on their friends’ social media posts, rather than general purchases.

As you can see from the chart above, those purchases can increase based on shares. Food and drink, for example, showed nearly double the rise in clicks from social media sharing, while personal care, household supplies and children’s products showed more than double the interest with said links.

This could open the door for brands to find a better way to advertise to a millennial audience. “For one, it means that these brands can reach Millennials at the height of engagement and interest by focusing their media delivery on family and politics content,” said Abrahamson. “It also provides advertisers with a chance to tailor their messaging based on the interests and passion points of sharers.”

Particular brands like packaged goods should “closely monitor social conversations to identify family influencers,” thus creating content that would appeal to said audience, according to Abrahamson.

What do you think Would you find more appeal in a product if you saw a link for it first on social media

Source: Clickz

Key Insights On Wearable Tech Marketing

Throughout this year, we’ve seen a surge in wearable tech, to the point that it’s even managed to eclipse smartphones and tablets (at least, in PR impact) at various electronic shows over the past few months. However, there’s certain care that needs to go into how it’s being marketed, according to a new report titled “Wearables: 10 Insights on Device Adoption and Business Opportunities,” compiled by eMarketer.

International Data Corporation’s projections indicate that wearable device shipments will triple in number throughout the remainder of this year, with 19.2 billion units shipped worldwide. However, there are two things that keep the enthusiasm at bay.

The first is the logic that significant growth shouldn’t be surprising considering the debut of new technology, especially when it comes to being wearable on someone’s body. With various parts being available for said technology, the options seem almost limitless.

Secondly, the introduction of a “magic” product, which would appeal to an audience outside of certain consumers, has yet to hit retail. Sure, there are products out there that draw in a certain crowd, but not as accepted in mainstream as most marketers would prefer. The Apple Watch could change this with its debut next year, but for now, penetration seems rather low across general U.S. audiences.

That doesn’t mean the market should be ignored, as it’s ripe for success, with a number of companies working on new products that utilize next-generation display technology, as well as other bits and pieces revolving around comfort and practical use. Marketers are looking to engage with these devices, rather than actual physical interactivity.

“Interaction on these devices will not be through two-thumb typing,” said Atul Satija, vice president of global revenue and operations at mobile advertising network InMobi. With that, “interaction has to be a single-finger touch that is more of a ‘yes/no’ command.”

But what should be the overall goal of the wearable Kira Wampler, CMO of real estate search site Trulia, believes that the wearable needs to “give just enough information for the user to make a decision whether or not they want to take that next action — getting out their phone.”

What do you think? Is the wearable market due for a huge upswing with the right product, or is more work needing to be done to get advertising moving along?

Source: eMarketer

Brands Show Their Support for #ItsOnUs

A new initiative at the White House has been trending on social since it was announced in mid-September. Since then, brands have been showing an outpour of support for the movement to end on-campus sexual assault. Within a week, there were 52,000 mention on social media according to data provided by Ayzenberg social analysts.

Beyond hashtag activism, the idea is to get people to pledge and make a personal commitment to keep women and men safe from sexual assault on campus. We’ve rounded up some highlights from notable brands with how they are supporting #ItsOnUs.

In-Stream Video Wins The Popularity Contest On Mobile And Desktop

It looks like mobile video is experiencing some growing pains at the moment when it comes to standardization, but the forecast on mobile video is good. Within the next year, we will look to see both in-stream and interactive mobile video types increase in prominence as in-banner, which is not optimized for best practices on mobile, will be used less frequently.

It’s clear that we change how we prefer to video video from desktop to mobile although in-stream (and rightly so) is now the method-of-choice for both platforms.

This infographic by LiveRail sheds light on where we are now in this growing pains process and how the current lack of standardization is affecting the mobile experience.


Source: Digiday and LiveRail

The PayPal Spin-Off: What It Means For Digital Gaming

With the news of eBay spinning off PayPal into its own publicly traded entity making the rounds, the question emerges what the future holds for PayPal. As one of the strongest digital payment brands in the world, the payment solution provider is a household name among digital gamers everywhere. After its acquisition by the online auctioneer in 2002, PayPal slowly but surely moved away from its parent company, as it sought to innovate and compete in markets less compatible with eBay’s business.

Moving to Mobile
Processing well over $200 billion in payments in the past year alone, and counting roughly 153 million active digital wallets worldwide, PayPal has its own battles to fight as the online payment market moves toward mobile.

What has always set PayPal apart from its competitors was its ability to appeal to early innovators. Central to its global success has been its propensity to facilitate payments where other options were either too expensive or cumbersome. Gamers, to be sure, love PayPal. In the global digital games market, PayPal is the best known brand in most of the top markets.

Emerging Slowly, But Surely
Better still, PayPal is starting to pop up in markets that are traditionally dominated by credit cards. In one of our recent studies we found that the processor has room to grow in markets that recently opened up. Gamers lead the charge here, as markets like Poland and Russia spend a combined $1.5 billion annually on social, mobile and free-to-play games. In China, eWallets facilitate 44 percent of digital game transactions, compared to only 19 percent in Japan. Having earned it stripes in Western markets, PayPal has a leg up on localized payment options for digital games markets, as publishers look for reliable payment processors when entering new geographic markets.

Top Payment Brands
In a world where localized payment options are generally the most popular, PayPal has managed to build a global presence. Among top European markets, well over half of digital gamers has an active PayPal account. And despite the incumbency of credit cards in the U.S., PayPal accounts for 26 percent of digital game transaction, by volume. This will prove to be a key strategic strength as even platform companies like Apple, which recently announced its Apple Pay solution, enter the payment space.

So really the question at hand is — now that it’s all grown up and moved out of its parents’ house — what will digital gaming mean for PayPal?

The [a]listdaily spoke with SuperData CEO Joost Van Dreunen to find out more about the changes in the digital payment space and how it might affect the rapidly growing arena of digital games worldwide.

[a]listdaily: Is PayPal going to expand further around the globe, especially for gaming Google is now using PayPal in a dozen countries for Google Play… do you think that will grow?

Joost Van Dreunen: Absolutely. Looking at the continued growth of the digital games market and, more generally, at the mass adoption of online shopping and commerce (considering, for instance, Alibaba’s successful IPO) it’s clear that consumption will increasingly take place online and via digital platforms. Gaming has always been a frontrunner in terms of early adoption and innovative revenue models, so we expect that to continue. Google has been rolling out its own payment methods, but can’t afford to ignore or block PayPal because of its popularity among gamers.”

[a]listdaily: Does bitcoin or some similar digital payment have a future in the gaming business This has had its ups and downs, value-wise, and plenty of competition being built. Will this sort of payment be a major factor in gaming any time soon?

Joost Van Dreunen: It’s possible. But although gamers may be playful, they don’t mess with the money. Given a clear incentive to use Bitcoins for gaming over both traditional and alternative payment options, gamers may be willing to switch. But this seems to exist primarily at the fringes for the foreseeable future.

[a]listdaily: Will Apple Pay have a major effect on gaming It would seem to make in-app purchases even easier, especially if new iPads support it (along with TouchID sensors) as seems likely.

Joost Van Dreunen: Not likely. Since it’s a NFC-technology it’s geared more toward physical transactions. It won’t have a big impact on games sales at retail. Here, Apple seems to follow the example set by NTT Docomo in Japan, which offers an integrated credit card system as part of its handsets to make daily transactions seamless. That’s very exciting, but not going to play a major role for gaming. Likely, it will create a problem for a company like Square instead.

[a]listdaily: Will the increasing scope and ease of use for digital payments of various types lead to more virtual item purchases in games Will different business models become viable, like very small transactions for virtual goods or time to play (10 cents an hour, say)?

Joost Van Dreunen: No. In terms of innovating on direct consumer monetization (different from indirect, such as in-game advertising, etc.) the industry is reaching a plateau currently. There’s a moment when making purchases that involve fractions of a penny are neither interesting for game companies (who will have to design and build an endless stream of items for purchase) nor gamers, who (by that logic) at some point would only be spending time in the in-game stores buying items and playing less. Effective monetization is always a function of solid game design and exciting play. No doubt there will be marginal innovations, but those won’t move the needle at large.

[a]listdaily: Other thoughts on where payments for digital games are going?

Joost Van Dreunen: It’s true that traditional payment methods will have to innovate, but they’ll likely cling to the status quo. Already we saw the acquisition of Playspan by Visa. Recently, its Ultimate Game Card was discontinued as it doesn’t fit well with Visa’s overall business. Similarly, AMEX partnered with Foursquare to see if there was value to be had in marrying physical presence with digital currency. This, too, has not reached critical mass. I expect these firms to continue to look for innovative solutions, but at the same time stick to the rivers and lakes that they’re used to for fear of chasing waterfalls.