VIDEO: Jack and Jack Know Content

While they were arguably the youngest people in the room, Viners Jack and Jack blew many seasoned marketing attendees away with their working knowledge about brands on social media.

They related a story about a branded deal they were working on that the company had decided was not a fit for them after all. Jack and Jack, still liking the content they had created for the branded deal decided to go ahead and post it anyway, knowing it was something their audience would enjoy. When posting it, they just eschewed mentioning anything about the brand. Right away, it got 300,000 views.

We caught the creative duo outside after their panel at [a]list summit: Mobile Marketing to talk more about their advice for upcoming creators and about marketers’ attitudes toward influencer marketing.


Bots Could Take A $6.3 Billion Chunk From Marketers In 2015

Meet the new scourge: bots. According to new research from the ANA, or the Association of National Advertisers, bot fraud could mean up to a $6.3 billion loss for marketers in 2015. Those are big numbers and a cause for concern.

As it turns out, almost a quarter of video ads are actually served to bots and not real human beings. Display ads, while much derided for being the victims of “banner blindness,” are not as affected with 11 percent of them being “bot-infected.”

Unsurprisingly, this issue is a big one for programmatic, especially as it grows to become the future of ad buying. Not exactly a vote of confidence for programmatic, which is predicted to expand 3x its current dominion by 2018.

“For 18 of the 36 study participants, three well-known programmatic ad exchanges supplied programmatic traffic with over 90 percent bots,” says the report.

The scope of the problem is quite big. The report shows that up to 50 percent of publisher activity could be coming from bots. As a result, some publishers are now setting up their own ad exchanges.



Newzoo/Overwolf Top 20 PC Games November 2014

On the surface the Top 20 Core PC Game Ranking looks deceptively calm in November, doubly so at the top. League of Legends, World of Tanks and Minecraft continue to dominate the top three spots, with World of Tanks maintaining its number 2 spot for the second month in a row. Further examination reveals the critical impact that upcoming releases and the eSports craze can have on unique game sessions.

It’s a Riot
It’s an interesting time for League of Legends, accounting for 18 percent of all the unique play time sessions in the time period, down from the 20 percent it achieved in the previous month. This small decline is to be expected as the game is now technically in “pre-season,” with zero ladder rank play for gamers, until the start of the new season in January 2015. With a lower incentive for competitive play, we’d expect LoL’s capture of session time to decline until rank play reopens next year. Riot Games recently shared the viewer statistics for this year’s League of Legends World Championship’s final in South Korea. Overall unique viewers totaled 27 million, marking a slight decline by last year’s 32 million. However concurrent viewer numbers peaked at 11.2 million, a fair increase over the 8.7 million achieved in 2013. These numbers are made doubly significant considering the finals were live broadcast between 4-8 a.m. in North America — a generally unfavorable timeslot.

Tank Sports
Wargaming’s World of Tanks continues to accelerate its commitment to eSports, starting with its Stronghold 9.2 update and its most recent 9.4 update that emphasizes clan wars and team work. More importantly the most serious problem with World of Tanks’ eSports ambitions have been addressed: 2015 matches will no longer end in draws with the creation of a new Attack and Defense format. It will be interesting to see how overall session times are affected once the new season begins with these long awaited changes finally in operation.

Expansion Highs
Moving down the rankings we see Blizzard’s World of Warcraft holding steady at rank 4, with Hearthstone moving up one place to Rank 11. The two titles have been the focus of significant interest in the past month with the Nov 13 release of the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion and the upcoming release of Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes on December 8. The WoW expansion saw the largest increase of subscriber numbers for the title in many a year, increasing by 3 million to just over 10 million subscribers, proving that for select titles the subscription model can still be viable.

However, Blizzard’s remaining title on the rankings Diablo III has been on a bit of a freefall. Falling two places to Rank 10 in October, the title has dropped an additional four places in November to land at Rank 14. Part of this decline could be attributed to the delay of the Ruins of Sescheron content patch that has been eagerly awaited by fans since its announcement at BlizzCon 2014. The title itself is in an interesting position considering it is currently the only Blizzard IP without a full expansion announced. This is in addition to the unveiling of the brand new Blizzard IP Overwatch, a title that seems directly aimed at the casual FPS competitive space.

EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic increased by one place to Rank 10, driven by the imminent release of the Shadows of Revan expansion in December.

The New and Not So New
HiRez Studio’s Smite, having been conspicuously absent from the rankings in some time, has returned to take Rank 18. The likely reason is the increasing traction the title has received in the eSports arena, empowered by a recent large investment from Tencent and its forthcoming release on the Xbox platform. The title’s first World Championship will be taking place in Atlanta in January 2015, with a community sponsored prize poll that is already over 1.6 million dollars.

The other new entry is Freedom Games’ Robocraft, a PvP game where players design and build robots to competitively battle each other. Described as a sci-fi Minecraft with guns, the title is F2P, has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam, and currently sits at number 4 on IndieDB. Despite the small development team and limited media coverage, the title is a perfect example of the effect community driven interest for new and exciting game types has on the overall PC market.

Find more information on the eSports market and audience here.

About Overwolf
Overwolf is a customizable in-game overlay platform that has been installed in over 8 million PCs. This community of hardcore PC gamers are consistently making their own apps within the Overwolf platform and sharing them. Why Because it’s super simple and it enhances the gameplay experience of anyone’s favorite title in a personal way. From in-game chat systems to customized controls, streaming or video capture, Overwolf allows users to implement their own visions into these games and do so in a timely manner.

About Newzoo
Newzoo is the leading global market research firm focused purely on the games market. The company provides its clients with a mix of primary consumer research, transactional data and financial analysis across all continents, screens and business models. It is also known for actively sharing a variety of insights by means of free trend reports, infographics, blogposts and monthly rankings. Newzoo’s clients include Tencent, SEGA, Logitech, Wizards of the Coast, Nvidia, Microsoft, EA, Coca-Cola and Visa/PlaySpan.

Coke Exec Matt Wolf Discusses New Twitch eSports Initiative

Coca-Cola has partnered with Twitch to host its first-ever, but likely first of many, eSports charity event. On December 15 at the Atlanta Coke headquarters, Twitch will livestream a variety show, called Game-a-Thon 1.0, featuring YouTube and eSports celebrities like Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, Jon Carnage, Twitch programming director, Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico, Justin Flynn and Joseph “Swiftor” Alminawi to raise money for several charities. It’s the latest marketing initiative from the soft drink maker that aims at unifying the eSports community.

Matt Wolf, head of global gaming at Coca-Cola, has worked closely with Riot Games to integrate Coke Zero into the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) over the past year. Now that the Challenger Series had a successful first season as a minor league for aspiring League pro gamers, Wolf hopes to build on the company’s @CokeEsports Twitter success by working with Twitch. He talks about the opportunities in eSports, and explains the similarities between the LCS Championship in Korea and the World Cup in this exclusive interview.

What was it like experiencing the LCS Championship in Seoul, Korea this year?

I’d never seen anything like it and I’ve been in gaming for over two decades. It was amazing to see the power of the broadcast and the size of the attendance — two things we really didn’t have five years ago at this scale. There were over 35,000 people in the World Cup stadium and the broadcast reached 10s of millions of people. The concurrent views were off the chart and the excitement was palpable. Korea is the birth of eSports, but people came in from all over the world to attend. It felt historical with the sold out stadium and Imagine Dragons opening up the event. It was really special.

How did Coke take part in this event?

We activated there similarly to the FIFA World Cup experience, except we did it around League of Legends. We got great results through social media on the League Twitter account. We gave away collectible Coca Cola character cups and people showed up at 5 a.m. and waited in a one kilometer long line to go through the booth experience. We had custom Share a Coke bottles and other prizing activations. Fans got to take pictures with some of the characters form the game, they got the cup and all this other stuff. For Riot it’s just a big win. It shows the power of League and of eSports in all these different facets.

How have you used Twitter to connect with eSports fans?

Our Twitter (@CokeESports) account grew 13,000 percent in 2014. We went from zero to over 203,000 over a year. We’re looking at Twitter as a great tool to have an always-on platform with fans and consumers. It’s more about doing iterative marketing, and we’ll continue to grow it and speak to other gaming activations in the future.

“Our Twitter account grew 13,000 percent in 2014. We went from zero to over 203,000 over a year. We’re looking at Twitter as a great tool to have an always-on platform with fans and consumers.”

How have you seen non-gaming executives come around to eSports as a viable marketing opportunity for Coke?

The conversations have always been pretty thought-provoking and warmly received at Coke because they had enough vision to seek out a guy like me. They gave me the freedom to apply my vision to CP (consumer packaged goods) and they really supported it. There were moments where it might have been challenging to explain eSports — even people from gaming sometimes have a hard time wrapping their head around Millennials watching others play games for hours a day. Coke trusted me that this is the right direction. There were some, moments where I had to wave my hands a lot before the LCS events at Staples Center last year and in Korea this year. Other eSports games have done powerful numbers, as well. Now Coke looks at this as a viable MarCom strategy.

“There were moments where it might have been challenging to explain eSports — even people from gaming sometimes have a hard time wrapping their head around Millennials watching others play games for hours a day.”

How do you see eSports compare to real sports Coke activation?

Experience is key on that. Coke celebrated the FIFA World Cup with a trophy tour to the four corners of the planet. We’ve taken some of that shorthand as a company and applied that toward an eSports play. You saw a lot of parallel in Korea. The FIFA World Cup showed up in Seoul, Korea at the same stadium LCS was at. The World Cup is one of the big activation plays for Coke. And we did something similar with League with an experiential destination that we dressed authentically with League and Coke Zero. We gave people a chance to interact with the moment. We played the ally to the League protagonists. The heroes are the characters and the game and the players, and we support that just like we support the World Cup athletes. If we go back to May at the League All-Star Game in Paris, it was a similar kind of thing. It’s a new way to experience League of Legends through fans and pros complete with cheer boards. It’s been an evolution this year, but it parallels how we do things like FIFA World Cup.

How are you partnering with Twitch for charity?

Matt Wolf, head of global gaming at Coca-ColaMatt Wolf, Head of Global Gaming at Coca-Cola

We’ve been talking to Twitch for awhile on how to work together in an authentic way to bring value back to community. I’ve been talking to Kevin Lin (co-founder and COO of Twitch) about this for awhile and we decided to come together around the idea of playing for charity. We decided to work on a live production from our Atlanta headquarters with a set and fly talent out and shoot a show where four contestants (popular Twitch blasters) and Voyboy, an ex League pro, would compete for charity. Next Monday starting at 3 p.m., we’ll have four players hosted by popular eSports caster Seltzer and it’ll be a great day of play for charity. Coke and Twitch can talk about what they have going on in each camp. We explore other parts of our company. We’ll have surprise interviews and slide shows around a gaming for good variety show. It’s a fun way for gaming and brands to come together.

What charities are involved?

We’ll have a mix of four charities. We’re putting the finishing touches on things now.

How are you using Twitter for this charity event?

We’ve used our account to let people know about this program. We ran a teaser campaign and revealed a new contestant each day through Tweets last week. Now we’ll continue that discussion and move it over to Twitch.

Will Coke launch a Twitch channel?

We’re interested in growing our relationship with Twitch over time. They’re a powerhouse and it’s a great opportunity for us to partner with Twitch and from that grow a communications platform that we can add to what we’ve started with Twitter. We hope to have a dedicated channel, but we’re working out some moving parts. I’d like to have our own channel on Twitch, but the challenge that goes with that is having content over time. They become hungry babies. When you hatch a chickling like that, it’s sweet, but you have to provide content like we do with Twitter. It needs to be fresh and authentic. We have to be careful about that because we want to grow these things into something special and something big. Twitter has done well because we’ve focused on just that over the past year.

Meet The Anonymous Social Network Taking Colleges By Storm

Snapchat, take notice: There’s a new youth-oriented sharing app on the block, and it’s taking American college campuses by storm.

The app in question, called Yik Yak, is a social media service that works by allowing users to share Twitter-like updates “publicly, but anonymously”. The brainchild of “brogrammer” Brooks Buffington and fellow Furman University alumnus Tyler Droll, Yik Yak is a natural hit with college students eager to speak their mind without throwing their names — and reputations — into potential peril.

“For creating a huge social media app, Tyler and I probably aren’t the biggest social media users,” Buffington, a man who professes a lack of interest in established social networks like Facebook, said in a recent interview with Digiday. “But we definitely took a lot of cues from the platforms we saw problems with,” he continued, referencing Yik Yak’s level of privacy rarely found in similar social networks.

Regardless of Buffington and Droll’s actual levels of interest in contemporary social networking services, there is no doubt as to whether or not Yik Yak is serious business; its millions of users and reported buyout interest from Facebook prompted venture capital firm Sequoia Capital to value it at over $100 million after a $62 million round of funding.

“We both shared a passion for apps and technology, and wanted to make something that would be huge and world-changing,” Buffington said of Yik Yak’s inception and success.

Burned by the failure of startup Dicho, an app allowing its users to easily poll their friends, Buffington and Droll refocused their energies on anonymous content sharing. Enjoyment reading humorous anonymous Furman University Twitter accounts led the pair to develop the “local, anonymous Twitter” that would blossom into Yik Yak.

Profiles were abandoned; tweets became public messages based on location, targeted towards users in a given area like a digital community bulletin board. Messages live and die by total number of “upvotes” received, a feature borrowed from popular semi-anonymous forum Reddit.

Buffington sees the phenomenon of “identity fatigue” — the growing unwillingness of Internet users to attach their thoughts and feelings to their real names and faces — as the key to attracting a devoted user base. “On Yik Yak, you just put something out there,” he says. “If it doesn’t resonate with anyone, it’s not a reflection on you.”

Revenue generation is another creature entirely. Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer thinks Yik Yak users’ tendency to share lewd and unbecoming thoughts will make advertisers squeamish.

Droll, for his part, sees a large opening for local advertising “in a few years”. For now, he looks to Twitter for inspiration, taking a page out of co-founder Jack Dorsey’s book by worrying about growth before revenue. “This is the new Twitter….a live pulse…a real-time feed of what’s going on.”

20th Anniversary PlayStation Fetching Huge Dollars

This weekend’s PlayStation Experience event not only provided an ample opportunity for Sony to show off its exclusive wares, but it also gave devotees the opportunity to own a piece of history with a special 20th anniversary edition of the PlayStation 4 console, using the same coloring as the original PlayStation that launched in Japan back in 1994.

However, with limited numbers available, the 13,200 systems managed to sell out quickly, with many taking their system to eBay for purchasing. It’s ended up being a move that worked in their favor, as the first auctions have managed to conclude between anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 {link no longer active} according to Ars Technica.

At the moment, 300 of the systems are currently listed on the auction site, even though users don’t physically have them in their hands as of yet (although they do have completed pre-orders indicating a shipment at the end of the month).  These people ended up being quite lucky, as many couldn’t even complete their orders through the Sony Store, where the system was being exclusively sold.

This is just the latest move with a limited edition being sold for higher value on the eBay site. Several systems released in the past have fetched top dollar following their limited edition release, including a Star Wars Xbox 360 Kinect bundle and a Pokemon-oriented Nintendo 64 console, which still fetches a high price all these years later.

For those who want a PlayStation 4 for a far lower price – and don’t mind being without the anniversary theme – Sony does have a good consolation prize. Following its selling out of Black Friday bundles, the company has launched a new deal with its PlayStation 4 console, where users can download one of four games free of charge with purchase, choosing from Destiny, NBA 2K15, Far Cry 4 and LittleBigPlanet 3.

The move is the latest by Sony to remain competitive during the holiday season, especially with Microsoft’s Xbox One bundles still selling significantly well since their announcement a couple of months ago. There’s no question that Sony’s Black Friday bundles were the better deal, but users can still get a free game out of the deal.

And not have to pay twenty grand for it, at that.

‘Monster Strike’ Becomes Japan’s Hot App

The Japanese app market can be quite fierce when it comes to making an impact with a new game, especially considering that GungHo’s immensely popular Puzzle & Dragons has been dominating for months. However, according to the Metaps blog, the team at Mixi has managed to do just that with its newest game, Monster Strike.

The site reports that Monster had no trouble overtaking the Japanese mobile business for November, landing at number one on both the Apple App Store and Google Play charts. This was surprising, considering GungHo’s Puzzle & Dragons had dominated for the past two years prior to its arrival.

As you can see by the chart below, Puzzle had no problem maintaining a steady audience of players, with high numbers on both the iOS and Android front. However, as you can see, Monster Strike easily adapted its own share of players, to the point that more were picking up on it, rather than Puzzle.

That’s not to say that Puzzle‘s profits are bound to drop anytime soon. While Monster has gained a huge following, GungHo’s app managed to keep a fair amount of audience playing, which should keep grosses coming in, continuing its streak of being one of the top-grossing apps in Japan for 2014.

What’s interesting about these numbers is that these two games are the only ones that spent a single day as Google Play’s top grossing game for the entire year. Meanwhile, over on the App Store, only two other apps have managed to have such a streak — Square Enix’s Dragon Quest Monsters Super Light and Colopi’s The White Cat Project, each of which held the top spot for a combined total of just five days for the year.

Now the only question is how long Monster Strike can keep that foothold. Puzzle & Dragons has relied on cross-promotional material in the past to keep players coming back, and can easily introduce it again leading into the New Year. That may require the developers at Mixi to do some thinking in regards to keeping its application from losing popularity. Needless to say, this battle between titans is just heating up.

Apple Names Mobile Games Of Year

The App Store can be quite competitive, but if your game manages to catch Apple’s eye, you could certainly reap the benefits when it comes to end-of-year honors.

VentureBeat has reported that Apple has provided its yearly awards for best applications and games of 2014, and there are some surprising indie favorites that have easily notched their way into the hearts of App Store users.

Leading the charge is Threes, a puzzle game that uses simple addition to keep pieces moving around a playfield. Developed by Sirvo, the game has become a huge addiction for mobile gamers worldwide, making its debut earlier this year and gaining huge ground through social media and app downloads. The game also saw a release recently on the Xbox One console, through the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Even with the release of the obvious clone 2048, Threes maintained its popularity – to the point that it remained in Apple’s top ten for some time to come. Thus, the company felt it deserved the honor to be at the top of the list.

Rounding out the top ten are the platforming game Leo’s Fortune, the puzzle game Monument Valley, and others, listed below:

-Monument Valley

-Hitman Go

-Ruzzle Adventure

-Battleheart Legacy

-World of Warriors

-XCOM: Enemy Within

-Smash Hit


-Spider-Man Unlimited

-Wayward Souls

-Trials Frontier

-Adventure Beaks


-FarmVille 2: County Escape



-Rival Knights


-Crazy Taxi City Rush

-Castle Doombad: Free to Slay


-Royal Revolt 2



-Bonza Word Puzzle

Being mentioned in Apple’s top apps for 2014 not only provides a boost in sales for many of these developers, but also a possible turn-around in terms of word-of-mouth. GamesIndustry International noted that Monument Valley, one of the top three, was taking some flack after including paid-for DLC in its content. Fortunately, the mention should help turn its fortunes around.

Still, there’s no question that free-to-play games played their part as well, with the likes of Clash of Clans and Game of War: Fire Age leading the pack, followed closely behind by King’s Candy Crush Saga.

‘Clash of Clans’: 2014’s Mobile Champion

The mobile game market for 2014 was certainly quite bumpy, with many competitors presenting free-to-play products for casual and hardcore gamers alike to enjoy. However, according to Metaps, one true champion emerged — Supercell’s battle sim Clash of Clans.

According to the company’s research numbers, the popular game, which saw a lucrative TV campaign to go with its free-to-play model, held the #1 position in the U.S. market for 90 percent of the year on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. While it can’t quite call itself the champion in all markets — competition from Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike amongst other games held it back a bit — it shows a huge devoted audience behind it, one that’s likely to stick around as the next year passes.

King’s Candy Crush Saga also played a part in the top ten lists, but didn’t nearly compare with Clash of Clans‘ numbers in terms of user-ship — even though it still made the publisher a sizable amount of money. That’s mainly due to the launch of Machine Zone’s Game of War: Fire Age, which has managed to slide into the second place position in terms of mobile popularity, on both the App Store and Google Play.

Game of War‘s adoption rate shouldn’t be surprising, considering that the game featured a huge promotional ad campaign featuring supermodel Kate Upton and impressive CG effects. However, the fact that the game was able to push aside Candy Crush Saga in just a month’s time shows how incredibly popular it has become — and also indicates that the team should have no trouble making back the $40 million it invested in the TV campaign.

As far as third place positioning in the mobile game market, six different games easily slotted there over the year. Candy Crush Saga made its way there once Game of War bumped it aside; Candy Crush Soda Saga managed to claim the spot following its launch a few weeks back; and Pet Rescue Saga, Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Farm Heroes Saga and Game of War: Fire Age each spent some time in the third place spot before making some moves. Out of all of those, Game of War spent the most time, with anywhere from nine to 27 days in the spot before eventually moving to second place.

Metaps also provided the numbers for top-grossing apps in the App Store and Google Play for November. To no surprise, Clash of Clans dominated at number one, followed by Candy Crush Saga in second (before being unseated by Game of War, which sat in third). Other apps that show impressive profits for the month include Big Fish Casino, Farm Heroes Saga and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

Free apps for November told a different story, though. More social apps were featured in these top ten than games, with Facebook Messenger at number one on both App Store and Google Play, followed by Facebook and Instagram/Pandora Radio in third. Other apps that made the cut included Snapchat, Pandora Radio and New Words With Friends.

Finally, the site reported that Android had a stronger foothold in the U.S.’ mobile game market, with 97.5 percent of overall app sales going to games, compared to 80.7 percent on the App Store. In addition, Google Play ended up being home to more top free titles (an estimated 55.7 percent of the overall apps offered), compared to the 29.7 percent over on the App Store.

More details on these stats can be found on Metaps’ site.

South Korean Gaming Market Sees Change

While many think that the gaming scene is quite big in America, it’s also making a huge impact in South Korea – and it could get even bigger, according to an article from Tech In Asia.

The article explains that, last year, South Korea saw an annual revenue of $2.5 billion, the highest total for the market following a decade of growth. It got to the point where many avid gamers played massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG’s) as their main free time activity, spending thousands of dollars to have all the latest items. In fact, it got to the point that console and smartphone gaming was even eclipsed – a huge fact considering their impact in other parts of the world.

However, this year, things are different. “Local companies no longer cater to local tastes,” the article reads. “They have turned to China to find growth. The South Korean government’s decision to cap a person’s spending in online games provided some of the impetus for this change.” However, it also notes that a variety of competition – including games from the U.S. and other developers – played a part in changing the domestic market as it originally was. A recent event, G-Star, also highlighted titles that weren’t made solely in that country.

Part of this Western impact comes from the likes of Blizzard and Valve, whose titles (like World of Warcraft and DOTA 2, respectively) have gained an immense following overseas – even in a short time frame. Riot Games’ League of Legends has also played a huge part, where it continues to be a tremendous draw with tournaments worldwide.

Part of the impact from lost revenue comes from pricing competition through these developers. “While Nexon pioneered the virtual goods business in the early 2000’s with a free-to-play model, other Korean MMORPG makers stuck to subscriptions,” explains the article. “When League of Legends offered a free-to-play model to compete against the subscription fees offered by similar games, it blew open the market. It took NCSoft, the developer of Lineage and Aion, years to launch a free-to-play version, and NCSoft still has not regained the audience it lost.

“Today, four of the top five games in Korea are from overseas developers – and League of Legends, the largest online game in the world, claims 40 percent of the South Korean market.”

Meanwhile, the smartphone market has picked up immensely in the country, with 70 percent of Korean people having access to some form of device – all within an 18-month period. The messaging app KakaoTalk also boosted attention to mobile, with its various social features.

Still, Tech In Asia believes the government provided the biggest blow to the market, setting a curfew at game cafes across the country and capping the amount a person can spend on a game, to the tune of $300 a month. This hurt several developers in the process, to the point where some even saw layoffs, like Neowhiz. However, the $13 billion Chinese game market continues to keep most afloat, despite the limitations. Crossfire is easily one of the most popular titles, clearing $1 billion last year for China alone.

It’ll be interesting to see if any changes come to the market in 2015 – or if the government possibly loosens its grip on spending. One thing’s for sure – Western developers are certainly making a bigger impact in Korea than anyone expected.