CREATIVE: Microsoft’s Augmented Reality

Want to see what Microsoft has in store for its new augmented reality program for marketing games Simple – you’ll just need to take the bus. Or, at the very least, visit your local station.

The company has launched a new augmented reality program with three different bus stops located in San Francisco, Melbourne and London, which allows visitors to get involved in the digital universe of the company’s recent Xbox One exclusive release, Sunset Overdrive.

When users get close to the screen, they’ll become involved in the digital universe, making them appear as a virtual character that fits right in with it.

The ads are the work of Clear Channel Outdoor and media agency Empowering Media, and will be in these bus terminals for the entre month. They utilize displays put together by digital out-of-home agency Grand Visual, a company that’s quite savvy in the virtual field, working with such previous companies as Heineken, Pepsi and Tropicana on similar set-ups, according to PSFK.

For those unfamiliar with the world of Sunset Overdrive, we’ve included the trailer below. In this highly colorful and animated adventure – put together by the development team at Insomniac Games – you portray a survivor of a pending apocalypse, with creatures appearing all over the city streets after consuming a dangerous new energy drink called Overcharge. With parkour-like movement skills and an arsenal of weapons available at your fingertips, you’ll fight back against the pending invasion, in the hopes of escaping the city with your peers.

This is the latest move in Microsoft’s elaborate promotion for the game, which has also seen a number of TV advertisements, as well as pre-order bonuses with select retailers. So far, it’s done quite well, with the special Sunset Overdrive system bundle selling out, and the game acquiring high scores aplenty from game critics.

It’ll be interesting to see if the momentum can keep up for next year – and if those awesome bus station promotions stick around for the long haul.


Facebook’s Issues With Messenger, Gaming Ads

Some folks showed a bit of concern last week when Facebook’s EMEA director of platform partnerships, Julien Codorniou, was quoted as saying that Facebook would find a way to test certain games with Messenger, as part of a means of monetization, according to TechCrunch. However, the company was quick to correct that error, stating that he simply misspoke, and that it plans to test its advertising system in games through the main mobile app, instead of the separated Messenger service.

With this new business plan in place, Facebook intends to focus on ways for games to earn better money, by working hand-in-hand with developers on new app install ad programs. As a result, Messenger can still mainly be used for its contact services, rather than become plagued with bothersome ads that would send some users storming off.

That’s not to say that games can’t be used in messaging apps, as Korea’s KakaoTalk has proven. The app currently has over 48 million users that utilize its business, which isn’t a bad audience at all considering it’s only been in existence for a couple of years.

However, Facebook wants its focus to remain intact. Founder Mark Zuckerberg explained in a recent Q & A that “messaging is one of the few things that people actually do more than social networking.” As a result, it can stay on a competitive level alongside such services as Snapchat and Viber, without any bothersome features getting in the way.

“We did some tests in the gaming space 18 months ago,” explained Codorniou, speaking with TechCrunch. “Gave it a try. It was not a good option. We had better ways of monetizing the gaming ecosystems.

“(Typically developers) build a mobile app and then pray someone at Apple loves the game and promotes the game. That’s not something we want people to think about on the Facebook platform,” he explained.

As far as general ads through the main app, Codorniou remained supportive. “Our mobile app ads just work,” he said. “These ads on mobile are more reliable. We think you should be able to spend as much as you want for quality traffic.”

Even though some may think Facebook is missing out on an opportunity to expand messaging, it appears keeping it simple could put it on the right track to expanding its audience. Meanwhile, game makers can still flourish on the app once the new systems for monetization – and the tools supporting it – are in place. So, yes, everyone wins – and the Messenger app remains as simple as ever.


Social Spend To Double by 2018

Social ad revenue is on the up and up. By 2018, social spending looks to double to account for $14 billion in ad spend according to a new forecast from BI Intelligence.

What is causing growth at this break-neck pace Mobile and programmatic are the reason. Improved targeting on mobile, the increase in options with regards to programmatic buying and the newfound reach that mobile provides are just some of the factors at play here.

As of this year, mobile spending will pass the halfway mark for social media, accounting for 55 percent of of all social media spending as the mobile shift is never more evident than it is on social media, with many new platforms being mobile-only.

According to a survey from Duke University, social media’s share of overall marketing budgets is set to increase, too, from 9 percent this year to over 13 percent next year.

Another Industry Body Forms To Improve Online Video

By Sahil Patel

The Streaming Video Alliance, a new industry body comprised of online video and entertainment companies, wants to improve the quality of online video — the problem is, the two biggest bandwidth hogs in the ecosystem, Netflix and YouTube, are not involved.

According to its announcement, the Streaming Video Alliance “will facilitate the creation of architecture, standards, and best practices that will scale the infrastructure for online video and improve efficiency for all providers in the ecosystem while preserving a high quality experience for consumers.”

Member companies at launch include Charter Communications, Cisco, Comcast, Epix, Fox Networks Group, Level 3 Communications, Liberty Global, MLB Advanced Media, Telstra, Ustream, Yahoo, and a few companies you’ve never heard of.

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

[a]listdaily’s #MustReads: November 14th

We sort through quite a bit of the fluff out there on the Internet on a daily basis and we’ve found what we think are the most crucial  and interesting news items from all over. We’re talking no stone left unturned. So, consider this your new one-stop-shop to being your most informed self as you prepare to head into your next work week.

Have something else to share Feel free to comment with your contribution below.

Mobile Games Company Scopely Rasises $35 Million, Plans to Diversity in 2015: With this news, Scopely is certainly one to watch. Back in 2012, the company raised $8.5 million, but as of late has more than doubled its run rate in just 6 months.

Facebook Courts Publishers In Looming YouTube Battle: Facebook is going direct-to-pubishers to nudge out YouTube for video content in what looks to be quite a battle in the near future.

Taylor Swift’s Spotify Paycheck Mystery: As we reported, Spotify has said it was on track to compensate Swift a larger sum that Swift’s team said they have received. So who’s fibbing

Redefining Gamers: The massive changes in the games indsutry are changing the meaning of the term “gamer.”

Why Facebook Has Entrusted Its Future to the CEO of PayPal: Wired dives into the relationship between the social media giant and the online payment monopoly.

The Dawn Of A New Era In Marketing: Rishad Tobaccowala outlines why we’ve entered into a whole new era in marketing.

Machinima Reborn As Online TV Network: Machinima rethinks its strategy to make programming more TV-like.

Surfing, Drowning, Diving: A Brief History of Inventing New Media: A crucial read for anyone who wants to see just how digital media has changed over time and the implications it has for the future of marketing.

This Is What We Should Fight About When We Fight About BuzzFeed: After BuzzFeed tries to reimagine itself by disassociating from the term “clickbait,” there are larger reasons why BuzzFeed raises concern.

Twitter Sharpens Its Strategy To Win Over Investors: Since IPO, Twitter has been lackluster. Now the social media giant must perform in order to win over the wallets of investors.

Five Things Tinder Can Teach You About Mobile Experience: You don’t have to download Tinder to find out why the app is doing so well.

Netflix Is A Data Hog And Other Myths About Net Neutrality: While being a user of the Internet undoubtedly makes you a pro-Net Neutrality type, it’s worth acknowledging the issues.

Beyond The Smartwatch: Opportunities in the fashion industry to integrate wearables in less overt ways are abound.

Paper Magazine Editor: ‘Of Course It Was Photoshopped’: A look at the data behind Paper‘s attempt at breaking the Internet.Â

Welcome To The Instant Gratification Economy: Re/code‘s Liz Gannes looks at the new economy built around instant gratification and the explosion of tech startups that serve it.

Taylor Swift Has Created The Music Video Of The Future: Swift’s new app takes cues from the video games industry and shows how the music industry might capitalize on the fervent followers of its biggest stars.

The Truth About Anonymous’s Activism: Why it could be said that Anonymous can harm more than help the causes they support.

It’s Amazing That The Old Record Industry Existed In The First Place: A restrospective look at why the old record industry was unsustainable to begin with.



Redefining Gamers

The rapid evolution of the game industry over the past fifteen years has had a huge impact on the people and companies working in and around the industry. The customers haven’t seen the changes in the same way — and many of them haven’t really noticed or cared very much. Recently, though, as some game players are getting concerned about whether the content of their games will change, and familiar companies like Nintendo have hit a rough patch, it’s becoming clear that the market changes have reached the audience for games as well. The very meaning of common words and phrases like “gamer” and “core games” is changing, and we’re seeing awkward neologisms like “mid-core” being bandied about, though the meaning depends on who’s using the term.

It’s past time that the industry started being aware of this nomenclature issue and being better about defining or re-defining terms. It’s important because this affects the choices game companies make, the types of games that are being made, and who those games are marketed to — and whether or not those customers are getting the games they want, or the games they think they are getting. Let’s see if we can make some progress towards sorting it all out.

Back in the early days of electronic gaming in the 1970’s, game players were either people who were messing around with computers at universities — and therefore, mostly male and college-age — or they were buyers of the simple consoles back then, playing Pong-like games. Those home players tended to be overwhelmingly male, and with higher incomes, and probably pretty young. The demographics started to shift in the 1980’s with the home PC beginning to sell in the millions, and Nintendo redefining the home console after the 1983 crash.

PC game players were the early target market for companies like Electronic Arts, while Activision largely focused on consoles. The early PC gamers still tended to be young, well-educated, and well off, because computers were still fairly expensive. The console gaming audience that Nintendo developed was aimed more at kids, and a whole generation grew up in the late 1980s with Nintendo (and later, Sega) consoles as their primary gaming experiences. Those kids were still mostly males, as games were primarily action-oriented and competitive (at least for comparing high scores).

The 1990’s saw the rise of more sophisticated computer games, and consoles became more powerful and capable of subtler games as well. The hugely successful PlayStation really moved units by appealing strongly to an audience older than the classic Nintendo pre-teen. Teenage and college age boys became the largest part of the console audience, and computer games began appealing to even older males as well. Women were still a minor part of the game audience, but as the Internet became popular multiplayer and online games began to take hold, and graphical MMORPGs began to appear — which tended to have more appeal to women.

The first decade of the 21st century saw massive changes in game technology and a vast expansion of the game audience. The explosive growth of social games came about largely through millions of casual players, mostly women, who adopted a less intense type of game. FarmVille became the poster child for this new audience, and the average social gamer was a mom in her thirties or forties. The rise of mobile gaming through smartphones coincided with the decline of social games, but again many mobile games were bringing in women as players — the mobile audience was much more evenly divided among men and women than previous gaming audiences. As smartphones spread, and online games became ever more available around the world, the overall gaming demographic enlarged.

Now people who play games can be virtually any age, from toddlers tapping on a tablet to centenarians keeping themselves up past midnight playing online games. Game players are found all around the global, and billions of dollars in game revenues are generated in countries where no one ever managed to sell games in retail stores.

The shape of the problem is clear now. What the industry used to call “gamers” back in the 90’s were teenage boys of all ages. That demographic is still a strong one for a particular type of game, mostly console games — and in particular, Sony’s and Microsoft’s consoles, as they have deliberately targeted older gamers. (Yes, there are certainly games targeted towards younger players or women on those consoles, but the titles that sell 10 million units or more are mostly aimed at men.) Nintendo is really still aiming mostly at kids, although nostalgia for Nintendo games drives many sales among older players as well.

What’s a “core gamer” then That would be the audience that used to be “gamers” a decade or two ago, mostly male. Except that women have been enjoying games by the millions, and many of them are enjoying ever more complex and engaging games like World of Warcraft or League of Legends. A “core gamer” is not necessarily male any more, which is perhaps distressing to some long-time core gamers.

What’s a “mid-core” game Perhaps it’s a game with a deeper strategy that is easier to learn than some of the classic games. The term is often shorthand for “we’d like to sell this game to as many people as possible.” While not every Candy Crush player is destined to become a Mortal Kombat fan in the future, we are seeing plenty of Clash of Clans players enjoying a little strategy along with their building and tending and cartoony graphics.

The important thing for people inside and outside the game industry is to realize that a “gamer” may not have the same meaning it used to. For some, a person who likes to play games is a gamer… but other people may still think of a “gamer” as someone highly dedicated to certain types of games, perhaps in a certain age range, likely male. Discussions or arguments between people with two very definitions of the same term are not likely to be very productive.

When you’re talking about the audience for games, try to be more precise in your definitions. Think about who you’re designing a game for, and who you’re marketing it to, and make sure you describe the game in the right terms that your intended audience will understand. Don’t assume that “gamer” or “mid-core game” or “hard-core gamer” means the same thing to everybody, because it doesn’t. That’s good game design advice, good marketing advice, and good business advice — and we all need to keep it in mind as the game industry, and its terminology, continues to evolve.

Twitter’s Bringing Native Video To All Users In 2015

By Jessica Klein

After enabling third-party videos, Vines, and GIFs, Twitter will soon allow all users to create and share native videos on its service.

According to a blog post by Twitter’s VP of product, Kevin Weil, tweeters can expect to record and edit their videos on the social site “in the first half of next year.”

This comes after Twitter gave advertising partners the ability to share premium video content on the platform. Networks, media companies, and consumer brands have been taking advantage of the technology, available via the company’s Twitter Amplify program.

Read up on Twitter’s native video moves…

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.

Next-Gen Consoles Spark Resurgence In Hardware Sales

A year on from the near-simultaneous launches of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, it seems as if reports of console gaming’s death might be greatly exaggerated, though publishers have their work cut out for them if they want to mount a full-throated comeback.

New data from The NPD Group on Statista shows video game hardware sales in the United States posting positive year-over-year growth for the first time in several years, its march into green territory matching up with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s competitively-timed November 2013 launches. (Nintendo’s November 2012 Wii U release failed to reverse hardware sales losses, though November still represented 2012’s smallest monthly loss.)

The PlayStation 4 continues to dominate in terms of total next-gen consoles sold and market share, making Sony good for three wins in the last four installments of the Console Wars so far; actual sales figures are unavailable from the NPD Group, and the manufacturers themselves aren’t telling. It also remains to be seen whether Microsoft’s recently-announced holiday Xbox One price cuts will rescue them from a long spell in second place.
Game publishers have no choice but to adjust to the realities of digital distribution as physical software sales continue to decline. Physical software sales, according to NPD, are down 28 percent from last year due to a relatively small pool of next-gen titles, consumer embrace of digital content (a recent VentureBeat report suggests one out of every five copies of best-selling Destiny are digital), and a sharp dropoff in last-gen software sales. Though increased consumer spending, fast-growing next-gen installation total, and impressive sales figures for top-performing titles might paint a rosy picture for console manufacturers, it’s quite clear that the digital takeover is here and in full force.

‘Generation Invisible’ Leaves Data Gaps

This year has not gone well online for some folks, as the problems with online privacy and data breaches have left millions of them burned – even by something as simple as a purchase from Home Depot. Because of this, today’s generation – slowly being dubbed “Generation Invisible” – are taking extra measures to assure their safety, according to Mediapost.

A recent survey from GlobalWebIndex, conducted across 32 countries, indicates that 58 percent of those polled show genuine concern about their personal privacy being invaded on the Internet – a figure that’s risen quite steadily since 2010.

As a result, more and more consumers are taking measures to assure that their information is safe, using safeguards and other steps to assure that other companies can’t easily obtain said information.

Three-quarters of online adults have reportedly deleted cookies off a website, for the main sake of them not being remembered, even when consistently revisited. That’s 40 percent overall of those polled. In addition, private browsing windows are on the rise, by nearly a 50 percent increase, and smaller services, like ad blocking (30 percent) and anti-tracking (20 percent) have also seen increased usage.

Also seeing extra usage as of late are Virtual Private Networks (VPNs for short) and Proxy Servers, enabling users to bypass traditional connections to use the Internet, via a remotely located server. Only 7.5 percent of those polled are using this method, but that’s still over 100 million individuals worldwide – and with things going the way they are, that number just might grow.

This could mean bad news for marketers in the long run, mainly because of the inability to get information for certain campaigns, and more actions being taken that could block certain advertising types.

Between deleted cookies, secure channels for surfing the web and other services assuring information can’t be so easily passed around, it could be an uphill struggle for online networks and marketers alike. Here’s hoping someone figures out a secure solution so everyone wins in the long run – and without losing their credit card number, at that…

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Biggest Marketing Moves: November 14th

Here are some of the top personnel moves in marketing last week. Our congratulations to these people taking on new challenges!

Hulu’s Head of Branded Content Bryan Thoensen Exists: Thoensen headed Hulu’s integrated marketing division for 4 years. Hulu will now incorporate branded content into their ad sales group.

Top Marketers Farley, Odell Trading Places At Ford: Some top marketers at the vehicle company are trading places with Jim Farley moving to EVP and president for Europe, Middle East and Africa and Odell taking EVP of global marketing.

BuzzFeed Hires HuffPo’s Director of Native Advertising: BuzzFeed is looking to monetize and believes Tessa Gould, formerly of the Huffington Post, is the one for the task.

Vevo Hires Former Bedrocket, Turner Exec to Lead Consumer Marketing: Stacy Moscatelli will lead Vevo’s consumer marketing and branding efforts.

Shannon Out At Hyundai, Automaker Confirms: Steve Shannon, VP of Marketing for Hyundai, is leaving the position amid other surprising top-level shake ups the automaker is making.

Alexis Ohanian Is Returning to Help Run Reddit: Quite a surprise that Ohanian has returned to help the company he founded. As a result, Yishan Wong who was acting as CEO has exited.

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