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.



NPD October US Retail: Overall Sales Are Flat

Once again, US retail sales for video game hardware, software, and accessories presented a mixed picture. October 2014’s overall retail sales ($790.7 million) were just about the same as October 2013 ($791.3 million), with a massive 59 percent rise in hardware sales (to $273.5 million) and 22 percent rise in accessories sales (to $166.8 million) offsetting the 27 percent decline in software sales (which dropped to $350.3 million from last year’s $482.6 million).

On the one hand, it’s clear that the PS4 and the Xbox One have done very well in their first year. Last month marked the one year anniversary of both the PS4 and the Xbox One in the US retail market, and NPD declared that these new consoles are selling far better than the last generation did at launch. “October 2014 marks the first 12 months of sales for the Xbox One and PS4; and after the first year, these consoles have had a great start as cumulative sales are currently over 70 percent higher than the combined first year totals of Xbox 360 and PS3,” said NPD’s Liam Callahan.

Left out of the congratulations is Nintendo’s lagging Wii U console, which has now been passed up in total sales by both the Xbox One and the PS4. Despite the boost provided by Mario Kart 8, and the expected boost from Super Smash Bros., it’s clear that the Wii U is still on course to be the worst-selling console in Nintendo’s history. The recent price reduction of the Xbox One to $349, and the bundled software offered by many retailers for the holidays, puts it around the same price as the Wii U — with a far greater library of software and a massive power advantage. That’s a heavy burden for Nintendo to overcome, with key new Wii U titles slowly making their way to market.

Overall, though, hardware is a bright spot for retails stores, providing much-needed dollars to keep the numbers looking good. “Hardware sales of eighth generation consoles represent close to 80 percent of dollar sales this month driving overall consoles sales to increase by 186 percent over October 2013,” said Callahan.

Microsoft noted that the $50 price cut for the Xbox One has driven the total units shipped over 10 million worldwide and tripled its weekly sales, outselling the PS4 by nearly two-to-one over the past few weeks. That 10 million unit number puts the Xbox One not too far away from Sony’s PS4 at 13.5 million worldwide. Sony applauded its PS4 sales in an infographic, noting that the PS4 has 56 million unique active users that have spent over 1 billion hours playing online.

Accessories were also a cheery note for retail stores, as the category rose 22 percent for the month. “Accessory sales in October 2014 grew by 22 percent over October 2013, due to increased sales of gamepads, headsets/headphones, and video game point and subscription cards,” Callahan said. “Gamepad sales were related to hardware growth as the top items were for the Xbox One and PS4.” The category was also helped by strong sales of digital value cards. “This month marked the best October on record for video game point and subscription cards, beating out the second best October, which happened to be last October, by 24 percent — another sign that consumers are starting to shift their purchasing towards digital,” Callahan added.

The picture for retail video game software is a very different one, and NPD struggled to present the picture in a positive light. “Declines in software this month were driven by further declines of seventh generation software, which were not fully offset by gains in eighth generation consoles,” Callahan noted. “New launch performance was also soft as games that launched this month sold 42 percent fewer units than the games that launched in October 2013. Despite, however, the declines in sales this month of seventh generation software, research from our quarterly Games Market Dynamics: U.S. showed that usage of seventh generation consoles across Q3’14 is still larger than that of eighth generation consoles.”

This shift is beginning to worry analysts. “Given the strong shift toward new-gen games that is apparent from recent data, and the fact that digital currently appears to be taking as much as 25 percent share of total new-gen sales depending on the game, we continue to expect total Q4 physical unit sales to be down double-digits year-over-year,” wrote analyst Doug Creutz of investment firm Cowen and Company.

GameStop seems to be working hard to overcome this retail weakness through a variety of efforts, by Creutz is concerned about other retailers like Walmart and Target that have significant video game sales. Those retailers just aren’t putting in the same effort for the category that GameStop is. Certainly the next two months will have massive sales, and the Black Friday deals are already generating tremendous interest. The new year will likely dawn with a continuing sales problem for retail software, as more dollars head to digital.

October 2014 Top 10 Games (New Physical Retail only; across all platforms incl. PC)
1. NBA 2K15 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC) Take 2 Interactive
2. Super Smash Bros. (3DS) Nintendo
3. The Evil Within (PS4, XBO, PS3, 360, PC) Bethesda Softworks
4. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! (360, PS3, PC) Take 2 Interactive
5. Destiny (360, XBO, PS4, PS3)** Activision Blizzard
6. Skylanders Trap Team (360, Wii, NWU, PS3, XBO, PS4, 3DS, MOB)** Activision Blizzard
7. FIFA 15 (PS4, 360, PS3, XBO, Wii, PSV, 3DS)** Electronic Arts
8. Madden NFL 15 (360, PS4, PS3, XBO)** Electronic Arts
9. Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (PS4, XBO, PC) Warner Bros. Interactive
10. Minecraft (360, PS3, PS4) Microsoft / Sony
**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

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.

If you have a submission for this weekly feature, send info to or fill out our Suggest a Story form.

Raptr Most Played PC Games For October 2014

FIFA 15, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor made their first appearance in Most Played this month, and overall gameplay time was up 4 percent. Diablo III slipped out of the top five, with ArcheAge claiming a spot.


League of Legends didn’t slow down in October; play time was up 2.78 percent compared to September. The World Championship final rounds took place through the first half of the month, but didn’t lead to an obviously identifiable bump. LoL‘s Halloween sales event, The Harrowing, had a similarly understated impact, though play time did peak during the event’s launch weekend.

Despite World of Warcraft play time increasing 16.32 percent in October versus last month, it was nowhere close to dethroning League of Legends from the top spot. Nonetheless, it received a major bump in play time thanks to The Iron Tide patch, which introduced new character models, world events, revamped group finders, and much more. The MMO also had various holiday events and sales in October. Its latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, will release in mid-November along with events for the game’s ten-year anniversary, which should impact play time significantly for next month’s Most Played.

DOTA 2 also had a bit of a gain in October, up 5.98 percent. Play time reached its peak after the release of Update 6.82c, which was mainly a balance patch.

ArcheAge rounds out the top five, climbing two spots in October, the first full month after the MMORPG’s release.

Diablo III slipped to seventh place, losing nearly 41.48 percent of play time compared to September. The game received an early October push due to a 50 percent-off sale on the game plus the Reaper of Souls expansion, but after the first week of October gameplay steadily declined, despite bonus Gold Find and an increase of experience during Halloween.

Star Wars: The Old Republic rose three spots thanks in part to pre-order bonuses for the upcoming expansion, Shadow of Revan. The pre-order grants a huge (12x) XP bonus from class missions through November.

Payday 2 made a return into the top 20, jumping 19 spots in October. Play time increased significantly when the crime title was 75 percent off in mid-October. To add to the play time increase was the shooter’s Crimefest event, which included various new (Halloween-themed) masks, daily missions, and a John Wick movie promotion that allowed you to play as Keanu Reeves’ character.

FIFA 15 shot up 192 spots after its late September launch. Final Fantasy XIV Online, Warframe, and Guild Wars 2 slipped as each lost play time compared to September. Out of the three, Guild Wars 2 fared the worst, down 10.42 percent.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel landed in 17th place with a mid-October launch.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor also debuted this month. While it stole some play time from Diablo III, current gameplay trends may see Shadow of Mordor drop out of November’s Most Played.

Team Fortress 2 rounded out the top 20. Despite losing two spots, the game’s play time increased 12.55 percent compared to last month. Halloween events and various fixes and updates appeared to be the main contributing factors.

Note: The Share number by each game represents that title’s gameplay time as a percentage of the total time spent on all the PC games played by Raptr members, and is useful for comparing the relative amount of play time between particular games.

CREATIVE: Kate Upton Wants You To Play Games

Lately, there’s been a huge TV advertising push for free-to-play games, with King leading the charge, featuring a number of animated spots for such games as Farm Rescue Saga and Candy Crush Saga. However, Machine Zone may have just taken the cake with its new campaign for the MMO strategy title Game of War: Fire Age.

In an effort to push its highly popular mobile game, the company has unleashed a new global marketing campaign, one that cost approximately $40 million in media and spares no expense on special effects. For good measure, the company has also tapped Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton to appear in the first television ad, goading on players to fight the evil dragons featured within it.

“It is fantastic to be instrumental in the start of a new era in gaming and communications,” said Upton in an email. “I love playing the part of Athena — she’s such a bad-ass character, commanding armies, slaying hydra, charging into battle — the work shows how much fun it is, and I am proud to be part of it.”

However, some have questioned the content of the TV ad, featured below. Polygon, for example, compared the recent ad to “crappy mid-90’s video game” advertising, while others have questioned Upton’s approach towards male gamer, insinuating they can come in and “play with me.”

Some also question the CG effects used in the trailer. While impressive, they don’t represent what the actual game is, as it’s far less visual than it lets on. The ad itself barely features any footage from said game either – a tactic that some game companies are prone to using, like Activision with its live-action Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare commercial.

Despite questionable tactics, this commercial – and Upton’s presence – will no doubt push sales for Game of War, in one form or another.


Tencent Works On Monetizing Mobile Games

Tencent isn’t going anywhere soon, as the game company continues to roll in big bucks between its PC and mobile game divisions, to the tune of RMB 2.6 billion (U.S. equivalent $424 million) for the third quarter. However, PC has taken a healthy chunk of that, while mobile revenue is actually down a bit, mainly due to “delayed launches of upgrades,” according to Tech In Asia.

The company has proven that it can monetize its PC games, fitting in with the likes of World of Warcraft and League of Legends with ease. However, in the mobile market, it’s struggling a little bit, due to the fact that Chinese gamers are more likely to stick with longer-lasting PC efforts than games on their phones. In fact, quite a few of them delete said games from their devices, moving on to the next big thing that’s being offered.

Only a handful of Chinese mobile games have proven profitable, forcing Tencent to produce or license multiple games in order to see which ones actually “stick” with the intended audience. And even when one does manage to gain interest from an audience, it can take quite a bit of time for profits to emerge from said game, and by that time, some people may lose interest, moving on to whatever download is next in line.

However, there’s a fine line to walk with monetization, according to the article. Developers and publishers may feel pressure to try and create a system that relies heavily on monetization, but, as a result, could push certain gamers away, or overdo on the system, to the point it eclipses the game’s content.

Tencent believes it’s a work in progress, however. A strategic shift has to be planned out to keep the attention of mobile gamers, relying more on an improved user experience rather than a demand for increasing revenues. Now it’s just a matter of finding that system to put in place, one that works just as well as it does on the PC front, but without forcibly pushing away those turned off by the idea they have to pay so much to continue the game.

We’ll have to see how the company’s 2015 roll-out plays out. Here’s hoping it can make it work.