Game Streaming Comes To Android

Streaming game sessions are picking up greatly in popularity, with Twitch thriving with its large user base and Valve looking to offer its own services on its Steam marketplace. But streaming for mobile devices hasn’t been available until now, keeping competitive gamers from showing off their abilities. However, a new Android app certainly makes doing so more of a possibility.

VentureBeat has reported that the launch of a new app called {link no longer active} enables users to broadcast pretty much anything they put on their mobile screen to the Internet, including a variety of games like Angry Birds and ReTRY. The app ties in to a webpage, where game sessions and other mobile activities can be streamed for others to see.

With the app, Android devices now have a very compatible – and safe – way to broadcast sessions to others, with easy functionality. Even though some games come with this ability built in, enables users to broadcast other titles.

A number of mobile games are picking up in audience numbers, like the wildly popular Clash of Clans and Minecraft: Pocket Edition, so could easily widen the audience with its online viewing sessions. VentureBeat tested out the service and found it worked with very little error, as indicated in the video below.


2015 Game Industry Wish List

We have no illusions that anyone in the game industry is waiting for our suggestions, or anyone else’s, on what to do in the new year. By and large the executives at game companies are pretty sharp, savvy about the industry, and good at creating effective strategies — or else they wouldn’t have gotten to the position they hold, or stayed there overly long. Still, sometimes it’s difficult to get a good perspective on your own company and its products when you’re inside of it, and for that matter it’s difficult to admit that you were wrong about something and a new strategy needs to be adopted.

What follows are some positive suggestions and possible strategies to follow, rather than criticism of past mistakes. It’s usually pretty clear to everyone when major mistakes were made, as companies become unprofitable and stay that way if corrections aren’t made.

Console Makers
Thanks for making new hardware that that brings us some great games. Keep up the good work — constant platform updates that add new features are appreciated. Microsoft in particular has been very regular about new updates, and Sony and Nintendo would do well to emulate them. Your efforts to improve the value of your consoles by bundling software are appreciated, and we wish for that trend to continue in 2015. Be aggressive at reducing prices — console games have more competition than ever, and the high price of the hardware is the biggest single barrier to widespread adoption. Microsoft showed this very clearly — lower the price of the hardware, and sales soar.

Nintendo, we wish for more in 2015 — more great games, more innovation, and more success. Don’t hesitate to improve the Wii U however you can, and reduce the price as much as you can. You’ve had some great software titles for the Wii U, but we want more, and we want them more often. If you think a brand new console is the answer to your sluggish sales, fine — but make it a great one when you do that, and make damn sure that at least one of your core franchises like Mario or Zelda is ready to ship with it at launch.

Amazon, we wish for you to keep trying hard with the Fire TV. The software lineup is growing, and so are the features. We hope for a spec bump at least this year so you can have even better games. Google and Apple, we wish you guys would get busy with your consoles. Apple, we’re all waiting for the Apple TV we know you can produce, with a kick-ass processor, an app store, and a controller — the game publishers would be all over that, and you’ll sell millions. Google, now’s your chance while Apple is dawdling — get those Android TVs out there and spend some money to get some great games.

Game Publishers
Let’s face it, it hasn’t been a great year for big game publishers, with a long list of AAA games that shipped weeks or even months before they were really ready. We wish that you will take this lesson to heart for 2015 and beyond — we’ll forget about games being late, but it’s a long time before we forget about games that are broken or just plain bad. Electronic Arts was wise to move out Battlefield Hardline if they felt it wasn’t ready, even though that must have hurt the quarterly results. We think you’ll find that publishers will be rewarded by gamers for games that are rock-solid at launch.

While we’re talking about pleasing your audience, we wish that publishers would put more emphasis on community. Community is like dynamite — used wisely, it can change the course of mighty rivers, but if you fool around with it you can blow yourself up. Too many publishers don’t seem to invest enough in engaging with customers, especially mobile publishers. Your audience is your business, and constant communication will pay off for you in the long run.

When it comes to designing new games, we wish that you’d remember this: The biggest risk is not to take any risks. Don’t expect that successful franchise to post bigger numbers every year, now that many of the top titles are on a yearly cycle. Some of the very best-selling franchises, like Call of Duty, are posting lower numbers every year. That’s not from lack of effort on Activision’s part — the company has thrown its best development resources at the task, and massive amounts of marketing dollars. But there’s only so many new $60 titles in a series that players can absorb, and that game last year you put so much time and effort into is powerful competition for the latest version.

So we wish for more innovation from game publishers, especially the big ones. Sure, mitigate your risks however you can — we suggest creating smaller, digital-only version of innovative new IP that you can sell for a lower price point and produce in a fraction of the time of your blockbusters. Test out the concepts, and then go big if the audience loves it. But however you do it, take more shots at new ideas.

Indie Game Developers
We wish for you to be successful in creating new games and making a living in 2015. But we really wish you’d remember this advice: If you haven’t thought about how you’re going to create an audience for your game, don’t even start coding. Your game design and your business strategy and your marketing strategy and your market assessment should all be part of your preparation… and don’t put your resources into a game if you don’t think it will be worth the effort. Get some expert advice in areas you aren’t sure of, and think about partnerships to cover your weak spots.

We wish you success in this ever-more-challenging game industry. Really, we wish you’ll show those games designers that they aren’t the only ones who can be creative. If you’re still using a playbook of marketing tactics from a few years ago, you’re probably not being as effective as possible. Every product needs its own special marketing push, so we wish for you to show us some stunning ideas in marketing for 2015.

While you’re busy creating marketing pieces, we wish you’ll take a little extra time and care to do it with class. Avoid sexism, booth babes, blood and guns, and generally trying to appeal to teen age boys. Thankfully, most of the industry left that behind a long time ago — but there are still a few throwbacks, even today, with some offensive ads coming from major companies that should know better. If you don’t have a diverse enough marketing team, try showing your marketing ideas to a diverse group of people before you throw that ad up on TV or YouTube. Bafflement may be a reaction you can live with, but disgust is something you should strive to avoid. We wish you will appeal to our highest qualities, not our lowest ones.

GREE Pursues Midcore Gaming In Japan

Breaking into new mobile gaming markets can be a risky gamble – especially considering the content of the game itself – but it can also be quite successful, as the market over there is hotter than ever. And apparently, the team at GREE knows this.

Earlier this year, the company teamed up with mobile phone carrier KDDI to develop, publish and localize specific games for the Japanese market, and, through an interview with Tech In Asia, vice president Yautaka Hori clarified exactly what the company is looking to do through said partnership, leading into the New Year.

Hori explained that Japan is like an “eccentric, older sister among mobile game markets,” and that “We want to get well away from card-battle RPGs or other niches that Japanese developers are historically strong in.” The team will work closely with developers who can create a massive online PC game-style experience, complete with deep gameplay and visuals, since those appear to be a hot trend at the moment.

Hori continued, “What excites us most of all, of course, is the idea of discovering truly trailblazing game modes that no one has even thought of yet, games that break the mold of what’s available in any market.”

The “midcore” market seems to be quite a focus for the company. “A lot of Japan’s recent growth has been in very casual games, but we think it’s getting to a tipping point now where we’re going to see growth in demand for greater depth in gameplay and a broadening in mobile game genres, particularly around the midcore,” said Hori. That said, the company would push forward beyond the typical puzzle games and casual affairs, seeking innovation. Aesthetics will play a huge part in this, according to Hori.

With KDDI as a partner, GREE wants to push forward as a primary mobile game publisher for the market. It’s already assigned half of its team to work on creative native games for the mobile front, but isn’t going to rush them into market. “We’d be delighted to publish far more if we see the right games,” explained Hori.

In addition, GREE will continue tweaking games for better success in Japan, and help them grow overall. “I can’t think of a better way to get started in Japan,” said Hori. “Here you have two mobile industry leaders ready to provide funding and advice to get the show rolling and then a whole range of support along the way. It’s the perfect gateway.”

The company’s first game under the new deal, Trifort, will release sometime this winter for mobile devices. We certainly wish them the best of luck.

‘SMITE’ Ready To Take eSports By Storm

With its very first SMITE World Championship set to take place Jan. 9-11, 2015 at the Atlanta Cobb Energy Center, Hi-Rez Studios will make history. With a prize purse of over $2.13 million (and counting, thanks to crowd sourcing), the Finals will officially be the third biggest eSports event (according to prize money) in history — behind only Valve’s The International 2014 and 2013, and ahead of Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship 2014. That’s pretty impressive, given that the Hi-Rez MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) just launched this year.

The SMITE World Championship will feature eight of the top teams from across five global regions in the biggest eSports event ever held in Atlanta, or on the East Coast of the United States. Todd Harris, co-founder and COO of Hi-Rez Studios, explains what’s in store for SMITE across PC and Xbox One in this exclusive interview.

Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios

How have you tested the eSports waters for SMITE prior to this world championship?

We started running weekend tournaments without prize funding in 2013 while SMITE was still in beta to see what type of appetite there’d be for players with eSports. The first crowd-funded tournament was at the game’s official launch in March 2014. We started with a $100,000 prize pool and we sold an exclusive Poseidon in-game skin with proceeds going to that pool. We more than doubled the prizing for that event, which proved to us that crowd sourcing would work well for this game.

When did you start the crowd sourcing for the world championship?

In the fall we had a 21-week tournament called the Odyssey. For every 200 gems that were spent on these special in-game items, we put a dollar into the prize pool. We started with $600,000 that Hi-Rez funded and our internal goal was to try to get it to $1 million. The dev team put out more content and the community responded, and it’s driven the total to over $2 million and counting. This year is our first tournament on a global scale. We’re amazed that the prize pool has reached the level that it has, and it’s still going up.

How have eSports events produced by Valve, Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment impacted what you’re doing?

We were inspired by Valve working with its community to crowd source The International prize pool. Our implementation is different, but seeing their example of selling virtual items and having that fund the prize pool was instrumental for us. We’ve done this crowd sourcing with charity drives over the summer for a July 4 American Red Cross drive that raised over $60,000, and we have another one going on for the holidays for the American Red Cross that has raised over $90,000 and runs from Nov. 28 — Jan. 14. There’s a set of exclusive items that can be obtained through a holiday-themed chest and for every 400 gems spent on a chest a dollar is donated to the American Red Cross.

How have your tournaments grown this year?

Our audience needs to build over time. Our launch tournament was held in Atlanta’s Center Stage Arena, which held 1,000 people live. We’re sticking with Atlanta for our events because we’re based there and it has the world’s biggest airport. Our world championship Jan. 9-11 will take place at the Cobb Energy Center, which has a 3,000 person capacity. If you watched The Walking Dead Season 1, it’s the building that served as the CDC headquarters that was blown up. Our event will be in the main theater in that arena. And over those same dates in a ballroom, we’re hosting the first hands-on of SMITE on Xbox One, which is still in pre-alpha now. We expect the event will sell out and we anticipate — based on prior livestreams — that over the course of three days 800,000 will watch on Twitch.

What differentiates SMITE from other MOBAs?

The biggest differences between SMITE and MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2 is that you’re directly controlling your character with a mouse and keyboard from a 3D up-close and personal action combat perspective. That’s why it’ll translate to console because of the 3D action perspective, verses the over-the-top click-through navigation. I also believe that gamers like the mythology theme, where they choose to play as a god or goddess like Thor, Odin, Loki, and Zeus, as well as many new gods and goddesses from Mayan, Chinese and other.

How has Hi-Rez built up SMITE from a marketing perspective?

From the very start, we embraced new media and that has helped accelerate and amplify positive word of mouth. Our Facebook page has over 1 million fans and we have over 500,000 Twitter followers. We started streaming from the studio on Twitch very early. I believe we were the first studio to have our own studio channel. We actually broadcast SMITE 24/7. We do a tremendous amount of streaming of eSports and other content like a Patch Note Reveal Show and all types of live action skits. On a monthly basis we have over 1 million hours viewed regularly on Twitch, and have for some time.

What types of sponsors have you been able to attract for the world championship?

Curse is the title sponsor. Their Curse Voice Communication is used by our players and is powering the tournament. It’s also integrated into the game so any players can use it. Alienware and Logitech have been consistent sponsors and supporters of our tournaments since early beta. We’re seeing a lot of interest from more mainstream companies. The $2 million prize pool is attracting people’s attention, but I believe seeing the production value of the world championship will help legitimize SMITE in the eSports landscape.

How have you increased the production value over the past year?

We learned a lot over the last two years. The early online tournaments we held were shoutcasted by a guy in his own bedroom with an unmade bed in the back of the shot. A lot of the focus this year has been on finding partners and growing our internal capabilities around producing a broadcast quality event with eSports administration and rules enforcement. It requires a big investment to do it right, but we believe in this.

What role will eSports play for SMITE moving forward?

ESports is not a money maker. It’s a marketing and community expense. You need to take it on faith and/or passion that it’s an investment worth making. Hi-Rez has always made online competitive multiplayer games. ESports is consistent with our brand. At the end of the day, it’s hard to quantify a return on the expense you take. We associate eSports with a longer engagement for the community. Analyst reports indicate that eSports enthusiasts tend to spend more money in the game, as well. We haven’t done any surveys of our community yet to confirm if that’s the case.

What role do you see consoles playing with eSports beyond Activision’s Call of Duty?

We’re at a turning point with next gen consoles and eSports, where brands beyond Call of Duty can thrive. For a number of reasons, consoles are more receptive to free-to-play so you can have a larger audience. The console platforms have better spectating and broadcasting and streaming capabilities built-in. The opportunity for us is the fact that MOBA is the most popular eSports category in the world, but the other large MOBAs aren’t playable on console. It’s a unique and obvious opportunity for us to go after this console audience. According to recent SuperData, more than 50 percent of League of Legends players also play Call of Duty, so if a MOBA game can be played on console, there’s a new eSports opportunity there.

Will gamers be able to play SMITE across platforms?

We’re not supporting cross-platform play. Even though the core gameplay is the same, the controls are quite different across PC and Xbox One. Some characters will be controlled a bit differently. We do think there can be a healthy tournament scene on Xbox One. We see it as a parallel stream of tournaments. We do plan on hosting those, but we’re much earlier on with Xbox One development.

Would the plan be to have both PC and Xbox One tournaments together in the future?

In our ideal world, it’d be one event with multiple platforms present.

When will SMITE be available on Xbox One?

We will make it generally available in calendar year 2015, exactly when will depend on the beta process. The core gameplay translates quite well, we’re spending more development time to make sure the user interface works because there’s lots of tiny text that won’t fit with the console version. We also need to optimize the controls to make them smooth.

Amazon, Netflix Post Full-Page Ads

Sometimes, to get the message across, you need a big ad to get the attention of potential customers. And that’s exactly what both Amazon and Netflix recently did in The New York Times.

Re/code recently reported that the streaming channels took out full-page ads in The New York Times this past Saturday to promote their original programming. Amazon went all out to promote its forthcoming Mozart In the Jungle comedy series (which debuts today), while Netflix detailed its recently debuted historical action/adventure series Marco Polo.

The placement of the ads is obviously intentional, as both channels are reaching out to potential audiences for the holiday season – especially with many people on vacation, looking to “binge watch” something while on the holiday break through New Years.

Both shows have rather large budgets behind them, and both networks are looking to make them big hits to accumulate a large audience – which isn’t easy, considering neither of them have a big critical push. Although Marco Polo utilizes several positive quotes, some consider it a less-than-stellar effort, with The New York Times calling it “a disappointment” and the Times considering it “a sprawling mess.”

That’s not to say that critics have all the say in the matter, though. Marco Polo has been generating big attention since its premiere earlier this month, while Mozart In the Jungle‘s pilot episode did garner a 4.4 out of 5 rating from users who watched it.

In addition to promoting key programs, both ads also serve as a strong lead-in for both networks heading into 2015, as they’ll be offering a slew of new programming. Amazon will no doubt lean on popular shows like Alpha House as well as new shows, while Netflix relies on the third and final season of House of Cards, which debuts this February, along with more original programming, including the premiere of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 over the summer.

Facebook Debuts App Discovery Page

When it comes to discovering new applications on mobile devices, it can be a jungle out there for most consumers, as both Apple and Google Play don’t provide any sort of “discovering” tool that makes it easy to find new apps, outside of a few highlighted ones from specific publishers. However, Facebook has taken a step towards allowing users to find new apps with ease.

On the company’s app, there’s a new bookmark on the mobile navigation menu labeled “Find Apps,” according to TechCrunch. With it, users can find a plethora of app install ads and engagement ads, enabling them to install new programs with a few simple clicks.

Facebook confirmed the feature, stating, “We’re always looking for ways to help people discover apps that are relevant for them, as well as opportunities for advertisers to reach these people, so we’re exploring a few new places to surface apps we think people will be interested in.”

The Find Apps feed works very similarly to the News Feed, with various games and other programs detailed, featuring descriptions, images and the necessary “Install Now” button.

Facebook based these ads on specific audiences for advertisers, as well as a News Feed-styled algorithm for ranking. With it, it charges the same amount to advertisers for them, including same cost per click (CPC), cost per install (CPI) or optimized cost per one thousand impressions (oCPM), with no additional charges beyond that.

It’s an optional tab, one that those who use AdBlock or a similar service don’t have to put up with. However, it’s a tool that could help those discover the next big program or game – and sometimes at no cost, as some of them are introduced as free-to-play releases.

Considering that Facebook made a huge profit from mobile ads this past year (to the tune of nearly $2 billion), it’s no surprise that it would introduce a service like this. Now it’s just a matter of time before it sees how successful it is – and how much its avidly social user base interacts with it.

Report: Alibaba Working On Game Console

China is experiencing a boom in mobile gaming and the continuing success of PC gaming. Since China lifted its ban on consoles, Microsoft has begun shipping the Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4 is coming soon. As if that’s not enough ways for Chinese to play games, another competitor could soon enter the fray – Alibaba.

Niko Partners has reported that the Chinese eCommerce giant, who usually deals in mobile circles, is hard at work on a high-end game console that could very well be as powerful – or even more so – than Sony and Microsoft’s current models.

The company has denied that such a system is in the works, but Lisa Cosmas Hanson, the managing director for Niko, explains that she heard the details through a very credible source, indicating that it’s on track to release sometime early next year.

This could be a tremendous move for the Chinese gaming market, which is in the midst of an upswing following the lift of a 15-year ban for consoles in the country. Both Microsoft and Sony have swiftly retaliated, with the Xbox One already available and the PlayStation 4 and Vita heading that way early next year.

However, Alibaba has more potential for success, since it’s a more mainstream name in the country with its mobile offerings. For good measure, if it could find a way to utilize Android technology into its system, it could easily use a number of its applications and games at launch.

“They have been talking to developers about potentially getting content, some of it domestically developed to avoid the headaches of foreign game content rules yet there are of course domestic content rules too,” explained Hanson.

The company has made some tremendous moves this year, raising $25 billion from its eCommerce business alone, as well as investing $120 million in Kabam and releasing a number of Western titles on the market, including Angry Birds: Stella from Rovio. Now it’s just a matter of time before it could possibly conquer the console market as well. Will Alibaba then look to bring this console to other countries as well The company has vast resources, and an ambition to match. This could make an impact in 2015… we’ll be keeping an eye on it.

China’s Mobile Advertising On The Rise

Mobile advertising trends have certainly picked up over the last 12 months, with a number of companies trying to find new, non-obtrusive ways to appeal to the public. However, the Chinese mobile market could be even bigger, with over 527 million people using devices in the country. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that advertising has picked up even more over there.

The New York Times reported that the shift in advertising is quite a stark one, as three years ago, nearly half of the advertising dollars went towards television, while only 14 percent was devoted to digital devices. (This comes from statistics provided by ZenithOptimedia.)

Lately, though, more companies lean towards the digital front, with next year expected to show a huge shift towards more technologically based advertising and less on traditional television.

“It’s the first time we’ve had an enormous middle class emerge while being digitally connected,” said Jeff Walters, a partner with the Boston Consulting Group in Beijing. “It sets the stage for why digital advertising is so important.”

In the midst of it all are social sites, but not more worldwide-based ones like Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked in the country. As a result, more local favorites, like Tencent’s Weixin (WeChat) are thriving.

Other companies are benefitting as well, though. Coca-Cola has managed to use the WeChat QR code system as part of a Lyric Coke campaign, which features popular lyrics like “Baby I’m sorry” and “I love summer” that can be shared electronically – an ideal way to get the advertising message across without overwhelming the user.

With this set-up, more unique programs can be used to appeal to the casual Chinese device user, according to Shaun Rein, founder and managing director for the China Market Research Group. “What is happening is that Western brands have to create new aspirations that the Chinese consumer wants,” he explained.

That’s not to say it’s an easy process, as the landscape of Chinese internet can change at the drop of a hat, and marketers have to find new ways to keep up – in different ways than the United States and other overseas markets. Fortunately, some products, like Weixin, have no trouble keeping up to task.

“I’ve been here four years,” said Chris Jones, executive creator director for Wunderman ad agency in China. “In that time I’m now on the third dominant social network – first it was Renren, then Weibo and now it’s WeChat.”

Still, some companies need to be aware of certain campaigns that work – and ones that don’t – as they adapt to this new market. Grabbed the right way, however, there’s no reason why a savvy company can’t thrive within China over the coming year.

More details on the report can be found here.

Image source

Sony Considers Streaming Options For ‘The Interview’

Fear not, fans of James Franco and Seth Rogen’s comedic collaborations: Controversial new offering The Interview might have its day after all.

That is, if Sony can decide where they’d like to release it.

The Interview, a dark comedy from the minds behind Pineapple Express and This Is The End, centers on bumbling broadcast journalist Dave Skylark (Franco) and producer Aaron Rapaport (Rogen) as an interview with an unexpected fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, snowballs into an espionage-filled assassination attempt.

The film’s plot and leaked ending are believed to have served as the impetus for a major hacking attack on distributor Sony Pictures, an attack the FBI claims was the doing of North Korea themselves.

Major theater chains, fearing retribution over the film’s content, compelled Sony to cancel The Interview’s Christmas Day release. Now, with a completed $44 million movie on their hands and a public eager to see it, Sony is considering streaming video as a means of bypassing a traditional theatrical release.

The question, it seems, becomes which streaming service Sony will turn to.

There are several options, each with their own casts of sponsors and partners doubtlessly anxious to get in on the action of a well-liked comedy team’s newest film. Crackle, Sony’s in-house producer of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, is an obvious choice, though Sony spokeswoman Lauren Condoluci denied rumors they’d already selected it by stating they were “still exploring options for distribution”.

“There have been a lot of conversations about the robustness of various systems to be able to make sure they’re not hacked, if and when we put the movie out digitally,” added Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton in a recent interview. “I think, in general, we need to bring together a coalition of platforms to make this operate properly.”

Regardless, Sony’s intention to put The Interview through to release outside of theaters will make it arguably the highest-profile film ever to be subject to a mobile-first streaming strategy, albeit under extraordinary circumstances. Whether The Interview comes to Crackle, YouTube, PlayStation Now, or some other service, the audience it brings along with it will reap massive benefits for sponsors involved.

Also of note: Peer-to-peer file sharing giant BitTorrent has expressed an interest in taking The Interview off Sony’s hands, offering to utilize their paygate-enabling Bundle service for the benefit of both parties. “This is bigger than Sony at this point,” BitTorrent chief content officer Matt Mason said of their offer. “We can’t let this go, and by we, I mean the free world. When it comes to freedom of speech, what’s happening with this is really frightening. This film should come out, whether on BitTorrent or not, even if it’s the worst movie in the world.”

A Sony-BitTorrent partnership would carry a fair amount of irony along with it, as peer-to-peer services were instrumental in the propagation of Sony Pictures’ leaked documents after they’d been hacked.

Social Networks Shopping For Shoppers

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with others and get the message across on what you’re working on, whether you’re trying your luck cooking a new dish or simply gushing about what television show or movie you’re currently watching. However, they also want to take the shopping experience to the next level, as both Twitter and Facebook have been working on ways to enable posters to purchase products directly through their sites.

The only question now is if the practice will become more effective. A new article from Marketing Land indicates that it’s still a work-in-progress, although the potential market is definitely there. Data from the U.S. Census shows that this past year has managed to wrangle $293 billion in sales.

Twitter got its start last year with a tie-in program with American Express, having users make their purchases featuring the hashtag #BuyXboxController. It worked pretty well, although it had its problems in terms of people responding to tweets before the purchase could be completed with an American Express card. As a result, it never took off like Twitter expected.

However, some users managed to thrive by trying such a program. Innovative recording artist Amanda Palmer managed to sell 100 copies of her latest book, The Art of Asking, through a Twitter campaign, with people picking up on it with the promise of receiving a limited edition draft page, signed by Palmer. She tweeted, “100 books sold in 20 minutes using Twitter! One small step for an artist, one giant step for artistkind. I hope this tool helps many people.”

Launching an effective program, according to Twitter head of commerce Nathan Hubbard, requires “interest graph, geo data and contextual data,” in an effort to serve people who become interested in purchasing something through the site.

Twitter president of global revenue Adam Bain added to the matter as well, speaking at the Web Summit in Dublin last month. “People are tweeting about products and services, but there’s a big distance between that and actually making a purchase,” he explained. “American Express and Amazon have already brought e-commerce closer to tweets. We saw this as a great organic experience, and we decided to shrink that experience. If you’re tweeting about a product or service, a button shows up and you can one-click to buy.

“We’re experimenting with different products and price points, and most importantly what emotions do you need to find to generate a sale. What we do is monetize emotions.”

Facebook, meanwhile, has more of an uphill struggle. Some retailers opened and closed site-specific stores within just a year’s time, indicating they weren’t accessing enough ROI and creating an ideal shopping destination for users. “It was basically just another place to shop for all the stuff already available on the retailer websites,” explained digital strategist Wade Gerten, who became familiar with the situation attempting to launch a store on the site. “I give so-called F-commerce an ‘F’.”

However, Facebook isn’t giving up. “We are very clear,” said head of eCommerce Nicolas Franchet. “It’s a small test, limited to the test, and our job is to continue testing.

“We don’t want to complicate the picture for them,” he continued. “The ‘buy’ button gives them a glimpse of where we may be going in the future – but maybe not.”

There is room for success in social media, particularly with sites like Instagram and Pinterest offering glimpses of items that can be purchased with the click of a button. Curalate CEO Apu Gupta indicated that certain brands are using these services to great success, with 60 to 70 percent click-through rates.

“Gumroad allows you to have a shopping card anywhere,” explained Gupta. “Somebody can take products from a brand, put it onto a blog and affiliate link there and actually clear the transaction remotely. So you are going to see a broader distribution of places in which transactions can happen. That’s going to include social but I think it’s going to favor certain social networks over others.”

More details on the report – and possible trends leading into next year – can be found here.