Wearables May Provide Big Data Numbers

Most consumers can be wary about sharing their information on devices these days, mainly due to security issues or worrying that they may be bothered again to take part in future surveys or other promotions. However, there is one area where they may not be so hesitant to share what they know — and that’s with wearable tech.

Posted by eMarketer, a national survey of over 1,000 Americans aged 18 and up has been conducted by both Wearables.com and The Center for Generational Kinetics, asking if consumers might be comfortable sharing information provided by wearable tech. According to the numbers, 60 percent don’t mind sharing this data with their favorite store chains, while 56 percent are fine with sharing it with product brains. The only catch is that they wish to remain anonymous, not providing their full consumer details. Also, they seem keen on being rewarded for their input, which certainly makes sense.

The goal of the study, according to founder and chief strategy officer for The Center of Generational Kinetics, Jason Dorsey, was to find whether “consumers with wearables would be interested in having their data scrubbed so as to be anonymous, with no way to trace it back to one specific individual, so that other organizations could use this data, such as employers looking to reduce healthcare claim costs, government looking to understand consumer activity, etc.”

Another report from the International Data Corporation (or IDC for short) indicated from a poll back in December 2013 that numbers for this category were higher for US consumers. 53 percent preferred to have their privacy respected instead of receiving consistent offers, but 47 percent weren’t so concerned about said privacy, and wanted to receive said offers.

One in five respondents in the Wearables poll said they had no problem exchanging information to earn rewards for their visits to their favorite stores. 19 percent also preferred to receive notifications while they were in the store as well — which isn’t unheard of, especially considering the holiday season.

As far as social networking goes, 48 percent of those polled were happy to share data depending on stores they visited, while 34 percent were just fine with the same thing through online shopping. With this data, brands can actually provide a better customer experience for shoppers, particularly within use of wearable technology.

We’ll have to see just how well stores grasp this technology heading into the holiday season. Black Friday isn’t too far off.

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How ESports Influenced Activision’s Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Activision has another $1 billion Call of Duty game in its bestselling franchise. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the first COD game from

Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael CondreySledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey

Sledgehammer Games. While casting Kevin Spacey as the campaign antagonist has attracted mainstream coverage, it’s the multiplayer gameplay that fans live for. Activision has partnered with Microsoft over the past three years to award $3 million to the best COD teams in the world through the Call of Duty Championship. The fourth worldwide tournament kicks off this fall with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as the centerpiece. Michael Condrey, co-founder and studio head at Sledgehammer Games, explains why eSports was a focus for the new COD game and how pro gamers helped the team craft the multiplayer experience in this exclusive interview.

How did you work with eSport pros in designing the multiplayer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare?

Really from Day 1 the multiplayer experience was based off of fan feedback, and that includes the eSports and competitive community.  We’ve had designers from the eSports community imbedded in the team. We worked closely with competitors to really listen and we view them as a loud voice of really great change to the franchise that helps everybody. They’ve come in and given us great suggestions.  They’ve helped us figure out what’s the best way to balance the game, new map designs, what modes to bring back. That intimate engagement with them and with all fans has really helped make Advanced Warfare better for everyone.

What type of feedback did they give you that impacted the game?

We got great feedback from the eSports community. We’ve received everything from returning game modes like Hard Point and Capture the Flag, which is important to everybody, including the eSports and competitive communities. They’ve helped with new ways to spectate as part of both the competitive aspect as well as the spectator aspect. They had some real ideas around how to make it better for everyone with things like tuning, new weapon types and new map designs. It’s really been across the board that their input has really helped make this game great.

“We worked closely with competitors to really listen and we view them as a loud voice of really great change to the franchise that helps everybody.”

One of the controversial things in all multiplayer games is the spawning system. How have you improved that in this new Call of Duty?

I can tell you that the spawning system was a focus from Day 1. We recognized there was an opportunity there to really revamp and focus on making sure that our spawning system was the best in the Call of Duty franchise to date. We think we’ve got something pretty special there, so I thinks fans are going to see that right out of the gate on November 3.

What are your thoughts on how good eSports pros are and how quickly they adapt to new COD games?

The pros and eSports competitors playing Call of Duty is remarkable. We live with this game for three years and they pick it up and they do remarkable things right off the bat. They’re absolutely the best in the industry. I sometimes think that I’m pretty good, and then I immediately find out it’s actually not the case when I see the pros play. These guys are remarkable.

What do you feel the exoskeleton adds to eSports?

A brand new movement set. It’s the first and most radical redesign of a full feature set of mechanics for the players from Boost and Slam and Dodge. This really has changed the speed and the strategy of how you play and I think you’re going to see that in eSports as well.

What are your thoughts on how Call of Duty Championship has evolved over the last three years?

The Call of Duty Championship has been an interesting development in my career. Five years ago that space didn’t exist and now we’re setting records with more people playing and more people watching. It’s an exciting time. You’re going to see more and more competitors, as well as spectators, getting involved. That really just drives interest to fans of all games in Call of Duty, which excites me.

We’re seeing eSports selling out NBA and soccer stadiums now. What is it like being in the middle of all this as a developer behind a multiplayer experience?

“I’ll admit when you see that many fans get together to watch people playing a game, and you see the level of competition these teams perform at today, it’s amazing.”

It’s pretty incredible. I’ll admit when you see that many fans get together to watch people playing a game, and you see the level of competition these teams perform at today, it’s amazing. It really becomes a fan event. And to have your game there and be involved in that, or the franchise that you’re a part of, is exciting and it’s rewarding for fans and for developers.

Can you talk about some of the multiplayer changes that will impact eSports.

Weapon balance is key. Balance, in general, is the key to multiplayer. We’re really focused on Pick 13 this year, and the opportunity for players to craft their play style. But you really want it to be about player skill, not about somebody’s choice of Pick 13 being overpowered relative to anybody else. We have tuning values across the weapon spectrum from mobility to range to damage to accuracy and we played with it a lot over and over again. We looked at permutations with attachments to make sure you’re measuring the power and speed of this weapon versus all of its brethren in that class. A lot of it comes from analytic data, and a lot of it comes from user feedback to make sure we got it just right.

Rupert Murdoch Thinks Hollywood Needs Hulu To Compete With Netflix, Amazon

By Sahil Patel

Rupert Murdoch, who owns a decent portion of the global TV industry, sees the growth of Netflix and Amazon as major threats to the future health of the TV business. One way to counter that growth, he believes, is to invest more in the streaming service that the traditional-media giants already own: Hulu.

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event last week, Murdoch said (via Deadline) that as an industry, TV needs “a competitor, a serious competitor, to Netflix and Amazon.”

Read more…


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.

The Console Wars: Holiday 2014

The earnings reports are in for the three traditional console giants, and they provide an interesting status report as we enter the great marketing battleground that is the holiday quarter. This is the biggest revenue opportunity of the year for console games, and not coincidentally we see marketing efforts and spending peak during the holiday season. This year, the battle has taken an interesting shape one year in to the new console releases from Sony and Microsoft. All three console makers are in a different position, and it’s not entirely clear how things will stand as we start 2015.

First, let’s take a look at the current situation. Ars Technica has crunched the numbers to provide the most accurate look we can get at the current installed base of the three major consoles. Through the end of September, Sony is far in the lead with 13.5 million PS4 consoles sold, while Microsoft and Nintendo are essentially tied with about 7 million sold for the Xbox One and 7.29 million sold for the Wii U. It’s important to note here that the Wii U has been in the market for more than a year before either the Xbox One or the PS4, and it’s had a substantial price advantage as well. Ars Technica also notes that over the last six months, the Wii U is selling at about half the rate of the Xbox One — and that was before the Xbox One’s recent $50 price cut.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the situations for the Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, as revealed by their latest statements.


Sony’s Game Division looks like a duck. Sony’s position in the console market is gliding smoothly ahead in first place, seemingly unconcerned with all the maneuvers and travails of its competition. Underneath, Sony is paddling furiously to stay in first place. The company is comfortably ahead of its competitors and performing very well indeed with its internal competition (other Sony divisions). The challenge is to keep this going at a time when Sony continues to suffer financially because of other divisions.

One of the temptations Kaz Hirai faces is to cut back on Sony Computer Entertainment’s budget in order to help the other areas of the company. No doubt SCE execs are saying something like “no, give us the resources so we can stay ahead!” However that plays out, it likely means that Sony won’t be making major new investments in the games division, and massive marketing infusions or big price cuts are unlikely unless the competition gets very much sharper.

Sony’s not taking its lead for granted, though. The company has a huge slate of games in progress, investments in new areas like Project Morpheus, original programing for PlayStation Netowrk (the new Powers series), and PlayStation Now, and its PlayStation Plus audience is at 7.9 million members and continuing to grow. Sure, PS Vita continues to languish, and the PlayStation TV doesn’t appear to be taking off yet, but overall Sony seems to be making the right moves strategically.

Yes, there have been some stumbles (the DriveClub debacle continues, and the latest PS4 firmware release had serious problems), but Sony’s position in the lead seems firm. Nothing portends explosive growth, but another year of great performance looks like a very good bet.


For Microsoft, the company is confirming the old wisdom that a stern chase is a long chase. This coming quarter looks like a real chance for Microsoft to gain some ground on Sony, with two winning exclusive games and a $50 price cut on the Xbox One to try and get some momentum. Still, there’s a tremendous amount of ground to make up. Microsoft is rumored to pressing ahead on the die shrink for the Xbox One’s SOC (system-on-a-chip) to a 20 nm process, which means that the Xbox One could get cheaper to manufacture. Will the price cut continue beyond January, or possibly even get larger. That evaluation will certainly be made after looking at some of the sales numbers from the holidays.

Microsoft isn’t leaving all the R&D to Sony, either. There’s that interesting Illumiroom project, and the unified development environment of Windows 10 (along with DirectX 12) has some interesting potential. Even Kinect might find some new uses in the future. Microsoft is continuing to invest in its Halo original programing despite the shutdown of Xbox Studios, no doubt hoping the Halo effect (ahem) will help Xbox One sales. It looks like Microsoft will do very well this holiday season, especially with the $50 price cut bringing the Xbox One well below the PS4, and only slightly more than the Wii U.


Meanwhile, Nintendo is off on a search for blue ocean, sailing away from the mainstream in search of new markets and new audiences. The company’s latest initiative, though, looks more like seeking blue ocean by pulling your ship out of the water and carrying it across a desert in the hopes of finding an ocean on the other side.

Usually when you seek to expand your large business by opening up a new product area, you look for an opportunity that takes advantage of where your company’s strengths lie, or something that your current audience might buy, or both. For instance, Apple decides to create a smartwatch, drawing on its expertise in hardware and software, creating something that it hopes to sell to its existing iPhone customers. Or Sony buying Gaikai and rolling out its service as PlayStation Now, giving its device customers a new source of games to play.

Nintendo’s Quality of Life initiative is starting off with a technology it hasn’t developed, in an industry it knows nothing about, trying to create a product that none of its existing customers will be interested in and where its brand identity is worse than no help at all — it’s actually harmful to the sale of the product. So the company is expanding in a direction where its expertise in game design is barely applicable, its massive brand is worse than useless, and where it has to develop a completely new audience for its products. How does this make sense

It doesn’t.

A more sensible initiative that built on Nintendo’s strengths would be getting into the toy business, perhaps with toys that could connect directly to Nintendo games. That’s the Amiibo product line, and it has some nice potential. Product extensions could be very interesting — what about remote-controlled toys that connected to Nintendo games and devices. This is an area where Nintendo’s brand is of enormous value, its expertise in game design and hardware design comes into play, and the products can both appeal to the existing customer base and help attract new customers to Nintendo.

Or, if the company really wants to enter into a growth market, how about mobile games Yes, others have suggested that before. But here’s a Nintendo style twist to the idea: Enter mobile games with uniquely Nintendo hardware as well as software. Imagine a Mario Kart for smartphones that came with an adjustable grip for smartphones that added joysticks and buttons; bundled together for $24.99. Or imagine Smash Bros. with the same sort of bundle. Nintendo is the one company that could get away with premium prices for its games. The company has a long history of being able to drive hardware adoption by offering must-have games with the hardware — remember Star Fox 64 and the memory expansion for the N64 The company was able to reach an astounding penetration of its installed base (on the order of two-thirds) with add-on hardware for a consoles, something that never happens to any other manufacturer.

Meanwhile, the Wii U continues to be the worst-selling console in Nintendo’s history, and the 3DS has been on a decline this year compared to last year. Yes, Nintendo is now profitable, but the long-term prospects have yet to show signs of a return to the massive profits of the Wii heyday.

While Super Smash Bros. will undoubtedly lead to a boost in Wii U sales, that will probably be short-lived, just as the Mario Kart 8 sales boost was. The basic fact is that the Wii U now lives in a different universe than the PS4 and the Xbox One, with almost none of the leading titles for PS4/Xbox One appearing on the Wii U. If you’re interested in playing the games coming out from Activision, EA, TakeTwo, and Ubisoft, you’re buying a PS4 or an Xbox One. The Wii U is your device for playing Nintendo games . . . and that’s a hard sell when there’s just not that much new content coming out compared to all the titles you can see on PS4 and Xbox One.

Nintendo will likely have a good and profitable holiday quarter, but heading into next year the Wii U installed base will be behind the Xbox One, never to catch up. Third party publishers will be unlikely to revisit their decisions to withhold support from the Wii U, so going forward the console will be dependent upon major new Nintendo releases for sales boosts. The Amiibo line will be nice, but it seems unlikely that many people will buy a Wii U just to be able to buy Amiibo toys.

It would seem that Nintendo will need a new console, or a bold new strategy of some kind, to return to the heady days of the Wii’s market dominance. A sleep sensor doesn’t look like the technology that will awaken sleeping profits. Nintendo needs to find a new Triforce to invigorate its sales.

Android Slowly Overtaking iOS In Tablet Market

The war between iOS and Android-powered devices continues onward. First, battle lines were drawn with Android slowly overtaking the smartphone market, and now, according to a new report from IDC, it’s happening with tablets.

Posted by Digital Trends, the report shows that, despite the introduction of new iPad models, Apple’s share of the tablet market has dropped from 29.2 percent last year to 22.8 percent this year. Even though exact percentages weren’t reported, it appears that Android tablets are picking up that slack, followed by Windows-enabled tablets and other devices.

That’s not to say that the Android market is completely dominant, as Samsung experienced a slight drop as well over the past year with tablet sales, going from 19.3 percent down to 18.3 percent.

It’s not all bad news for Apple, though. “Although the low-cost vendors are moving a lot of volume, the top vendors, like Apple, continue to rake in the dollars,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst at IDC. “A sub-$100 tablet simply isn’t sustainable – Apple knows this — and it’s likely the reason they aren’t concerned with market share erosion.”

When it comes to customer satisfaction, though, Apple isn’t the only game in town. Amazon has managed to top the company with a rating of 827 (out of 1,000) in a report published by JD Power. Apple was closely behind with 824, though, while Samsung was behind in third with 821. A close race, indeed.

“As value-priced tablet brands continue to flood the market, customer attention is turning away from just the price of the device to their perception of the combined value of price, features and performance,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at JD Power. “Tablet brands that continue to successfully convey more value and package more performance at a reasonable price are more likely to satisfy tablet owners and increase loyalty and advocacy for the brand.”

Will next year be the deciding factor when it comes to the power of Android tablets Or does Apple have something up its sleeve to possibly retake the market The next few months will certainly tell an interesting story.


Tetris Record Set In LA Marketing Event

For almost 30 years now, Tetris has remained a classic puzzle favorite, with dropping puzzle pieces paired with a classic Russian soundtrack (since the game was developed by Alexei Pajitnov, after all). The game has been released for a number of platforms over the years, including PC and game consoles alike – and now it’s set the stage to claim a world record over the weekend.

Hundreds of people flocked to the Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles this weekend, dressed as Tetriminos, human versions of puzzle pieces included in the classic game, to set a world record. Over 200 participants took part in the get-together, paying tribute to the 30th anniversary of the classic puzzle game.

The idea was put together by Blue Planet Software, the agent for the Tetris brand, and submitted to the Guinness World Records for verification, according to VentureBeat. Maya Rogers, CEO of the company, explained why it was shooting for such a unique record. “When we decided to participate in Comikaze, we knew it would be the perfect opportunity for Tetris fans of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate their affinity for the game and show the world that Tetris symbolizes how we all fit together,” she explained.

Even all this time past its initial release, Tetris remains just as relevant in today’s gaming scene as it was so long ago. The game has been downloaded more than 425 million times to date, across both casual and mobile releases. In addition, billions of Tetris matches continue to be played on a yearly basis, showing its popularity is as high as ever.

It’s still seeing new releases as well, as Ubisoft is preparing to release Tetris Ultimate for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita later this year. The game will feature new variants that allow players to compete against one another, including four-player competitions on the Xbox One and PS4.

If that isn’t worth dropping a four-line Tetris for, we’re not sure what is.


Mobile Payments Ideal For Millennials

More and more sites these days are using some form of peer-to-peer payments, including the likes of Facebook and Apple Pay. With that, various other companies could be getting on board — and millennials are a vital part of its success.

A report from JWT, initially reported by Adweek, that various companies, including established brands and start-ups alike, “are jockeying for position in a bid to capture a piece of the huge payments market, along with a mass of consumer data and the chance to boost customer loyalty.”

Along with apps and other similar payment methods, other forms of currency are also being looked at, according to JWT. “Marketers have been more creative in bypassing the currency system, turning everything from social media shares to mobile minutes into forms of value exchange.”

With that, JWT has come up with a few suggestions in terms of what companies can do to work with consumers on spending their money, including the following suggestions:

– Brands must prepare for a cash-limited future.
– Companies need to cater to millennial desires for expediency and ease of use.
– It’s important to compel consumers to opt in.
– Personalized marketing channels can increase communication with customers in a meaningful way.
– Security and privacy protection are essential considerations.
– Bartering can reinforce the value of a product as currency.
– Social currencies such as offering free products or services in exchange for social shares can drive engagement.
– It’s important for brands to embrace alternative currencies.

In addition, the infographic below breaks down the crucial necessity of millennials, and how their shift from traditional payment methods could be beneficial for companies. According to these stats, only 85 percent of millennials have used cash for purchases, compared to 10 percent higher from previous generations. In addition, credit cards aren’t used that much, with only 63 percent of those polled between the ages of 18-34 using one.

It looks like companies have some work to do to rake in the cash this holiday season.

Hyundai Intros New Spokesperson

The Sonata continues to be a hot brand for Hyundai Motor America’s division, and the company is wasting no time launching an interesting new campaign to promote it.

The company has introduced a series of new Vine ads to promote various features on the Sonata. In addition to that, the ads also feature an interesting spokesperson (or rather, spokesfigure) that tie in with the ads – an action figure named Hyundai Hank, modeled after director of marketing communications David Matathia.

Speaking with Digiday, Matathia explained the reason behind the debut of Hank. “We wanted to do more than just the owner’s manual to the car and wanted to have fun with it,” he explained. “We wanted someone generic yet someone that everyone could relate to, and before I knew it, I was an action figure.”


The campaign features seven different Vine videos, including the two embedded here, and was created by an agency called Innocean, whose in-house social team worked on the project. Various materials were used with putting them together, including old-school materials like putty, thread and wooden dowels.


So far, the clips have been a success, with over 5,000 loops since their debut last week. An outreach to various social networks have certainly helped, as well as other promotional tie-ins, such as the newly introduced “3000 mile test drive” campaign, showing personal journeys featuring the Sonata.

“We wanted to take advantage of Vine as a medium, and we were deliberate in not wanting to be a mere corporate voice,” said Greg Braun, the executive creative director at Innocean. “These were conceptualized for a younger, quirkier audience.”

However, Hank will remain the primary focus – at least for now. “Hank is a bit of a tour guide, and the goal is to use him beyond this campaign,” Matathia said. “We want to try to use him in future efforts, depending on how the engagement levels go.”

Here’s hoping Hank continues on the, ahem, road to success.


Nintendo Makes Online Progress

When it comes to providing gamers with online options, Nintendo has been in a distant third behind Sony and Microsoft. While the company has been providing more and more online opportunities over the years with such games as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart 8, many players feel that these features are “second rate” compared to what Sony and Microsoft have to offer with their PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, respectively.

However, it appears that Nintendo may finally be “getting it,” and preparing to move its Nintendo Network into a more casual place for gamers to enjoy a variety of services. The Japanese video game hardware/software company discussed its strategy during a Semi-Annual Financial Results Briefing last week, according to TechCrunch.

One key feature it’s finally introducing is the ability to “pre-load” games, allowing users to purchase and download a title before its official release, so that it’s ready to go the moment it officially releases. This enables players to get right into the action, instead of having to wait for the game to download – which could pose a problem depending on how badly servers are getting slammed. The company will officially introduce this feature with Super Smash Bros. with the Wii U later this month, and other games to come for both the console and the 3DS handheld.

In addition, players can also purchase games directly through Nintendo’s site, rather than having to log into the eShop on their consoles in order to buy games. Of course, the catch is having to log in to the site with their game login, so their purchases match up.

Finally, Nintendo is looking to optimize online game performance, as it’s done previously this year with Mario Kart 8. One big title that will test this is Super Smash Bros. when it releases on November 21st, as it’s likely to be a huge party favorite with Nintendo Network users. If the company plays its cards right, it could also see a boost in its online MiiVerse feature, which enables users to post messages using items from games.

Obviously, Nintendo still has a ways to go to make the Nintendo Network accessible for all users – and a few glitches to overcome as well. However, forward progress beats none at all, and 2015 will certainly be a year when it can give its all with online-compatible games, including upcoming releases like StarFox and the all-ages shooting game Splatoon.

Top 5 Emerging News Channels On YouTube

By Jessica Klein

Getting news on YouTube may still sound like a joke to, say, your grandparents, but more and more news outlets are popping up on the platform that deliver high-quality current events coverage while appealing to younger viewers.

As Carlos Restrepo, the head of business development at Outrigger Media, puts it, “The News & Politics category is one of most powerful on YouTube to demonstrate the quality of native producers. We consistently see channels like The Young Turks and SourceFed top traditional media outlets like CNN and New York Times in this vertical.”

Though a version of CNN does make this emerging channels list (which was created using Outrigger’s Emerging Talent Tracker tool), most of the others eschew typical news coverage for a cheekier, more creative, and frankly more fun approach.

See the Top 5


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.