Video Game Review Scores Still Matter

Video game critics came under fire this year, now more than ever, following the rise of the #GamerGate hashtag on social networks and the questionability of certain reviews of products, especially those with embargo-based materials like Assassin’s Creed Unity. However, according to an article from GamesIndustry International, reviewers’ game scores still make quite a difference.

EEDAR believes that is the case, despite some feedback from certain folks, like COO of Double Fine Games, Justin Bailey, explaining that opinion on sites like Metacritic “doesn’t really matter, as far as sales of the game.”

Some look to such sites to measure the quality of a game, based upon reviewers’ opinions of certain aspects. As such, financial success can often be achieved even without their impact. Destiny and Titanfall are two such examples of this managing to be bet-sellers despite the fact that they faced review scores that were below publishers’ expectations. As a result, some may feel that certain critics look at the wrong things when it comes to reviewing a game, such as Titanfall‘s lack of a single player campaign — even though it was built as a multiplayer experience from the ground up.

EEDAR conducted a recent analysis to look into the relationship between sales and review scores, with the chart posted below, showing the correlation between the two. Review codes continue to show some form of validity, showing “strong” tie-ins with sales, even though this generation of games has shown a decline in strength of relationship between the two, compared to the last generation of consoles. The chart below clearly shows this.

Another chart posted by the company, featured below, also discusses unit sales performances by review score brand, once again divided between the previous and current console generation. As you can see, there have been a rise in numbers between the 80-86 score bracket, while those 87 and higher have been fewer and far between over the past few years. However, there’s still a rise in more positive review numbers than those that drop below 70, as indicated by the red markers on the chart.

EEDAR broke it down even further in GamesIndustry‘s article. “While there is clearly a penalty for achieving a low review score for an Existing IP in the 60s or even the 70s, there is less of a strong relationship between achieving a breakout review score in the high 80s or 90s and breakout success. The sales performance score for 8th generation Existing IPs is approximately the same between games with an average review score between 80 and 86 and games with an average review score of over 87,” it explains.

“The data for both Existing and New IPs suggests a common theme – 80s are the new 90s. While achieving a breakout review score does not appear to be as critical as it used to be, it is still important to release an HD console game that reaches a certain threshold of critically-determined quality.”

EEDAR’s findings overall indicate that the average review score remains vital for game releases, and some consumers still reflect them when it comes to making purchases, particularly on new titles that they remain unsure of. It’ll be interesting to see if this generation can catch up on higher-rated releases, though.

What Kept Marketers Awake In 2014

Marketers had a lot to talk about this year, according to an article from Adweek. The website posted a huge infographic, detailed below, that broke down the different trends that they discussed over the year.

Using data compiled from Salesforce, 86 percent of marketers surveyed indicated that building some form of holistic marketing approach was a top priority. By comparison, however, only 29 percent of companies actually made the effort to put such a structure to effect.

With the details provided by the infographic, email, social media and mobile showed the most growth amongst marketers, even though only 51 percent of those surveyed believe that there’s any given return on investment on the mobile front. That’s not to say it’s not put to good use, though — 30 percent of marketers utilize location-based tech, while 47 percent have their own app in place.

With the survey, 68 percent of marketers felt that email played a vital part with their strategies. However, out of those polled, 64 percent of respondents actually send out less than one million emails a year through their companies — so as not to spam their audience with unnecessary information.

Other information broken down in the infographic includes the importance of effective topics, predictive intelligence, and social marketing. In fact, 46 percent of the marketers polled believe that social marketing is an integral part of their business, with 89 percent preferring Facebook. Twitter came in second place with 87 percent, while LinkedIn and YouTube follow closely behind.

Another important part to take a look at in the infographic below is the effectiveness of select digital marketing technologies by the importance marketers place on them. As you can see, the numbers are quite up and down with the likes of CRM tools, marketing analytics and content management, but they all play a vital part of some sort.

‘Call of Duty’ Still The Best-Selling Game Of 2014 Despite Sales Slump

Over the years, Activision’s Call of Duty franchise has been quite the best seller on the game market, with games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Black Ops II clearing millions of copies sold with ease. That said, the best-selling game series has declined in sales for the last three years, and this trend continues with the latest release, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Released on November 4h to a great deal of critical acclaim, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has reportedly dropped down 27 percent in sales based on year-over-year numbers with last year’s release, Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Michael Olson, an analyst for Piper Jaffray, explained to GamesIndustry International the impact of these sales numbers. “This is disappointing data following first week Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sales showing a year-over-year increase,” he said. “NPD data does not include digital copies or international sales, which, if included, would lessen the year-over-year decline, but we believe this data suggests potential for Q4 revenue upside is now very low.”

This is the third straight year that the Call of Duty franchise has shown a decline, as last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts dropped 19 percent compared to the 2012 release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which, in itself, showed a 17 percent decline over 2011’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

That’s a stark comparison when looked at directly; when you add it all up Advanced Warfare‘s first-month U.S. retail sales were less than half of what Modern Warfare 3 did back in 2011.

But the news isn’t entirely negative. Despite the decline, Activision was still quite pleased with the sales of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, explaining that sales of the title were still enough during the month of November to earmark it as the best-selling U.S. retail title of the year to date – even that over the company’s prior release of Destiny a couple of months beforehand.

To be fair, Activision did shift the series back to the good side with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare following last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, including a futuristic storyline, new gameplay perks and the star power of House of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey as the main character.

Google Looks To Change Mobile Install Apps

Marketers and advertisers alike have found success in putting together ad campaigns in applications and games, either with subtle ad banners or some other form of word-of-mouth embedded within promotional content or other means. However, Google could change the way this is done, according to an article from Mobile Dev Demo.

Earlier this month, Google confirmed that its new AdWords mobile app install ad unit would be making its way out of beta, presenting a new way for developers to link content within the application through mobile search. This would open up new advertising opportunities through utility apps, rather than just through games – opening a possible new door for revenue.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the campaign, Google utilized the hotel booking application HotelTonight to show how it could be used. For example, someone searching for hotels in San Francisco would see the usual results, along with a promoted search result for the app. Tapping on the link would then instantly transfer them over to the app, with the search results for San Francisco that they were initially looking for (if the application is installed, of course – if not, they would be directed to their mobile device’s app store to download).

With the new program, Google is looking to fulfill two goals. The first is to provide mobile users with intent-based ads with more relevant ads, instead of interstitial. The second is to give developers of regular apps (not games) the chance to leave their mark on the general app install marketplace.

Through the introduction of this program, Google could introduce a more effective mobile app install ad campaign that works better than others, going through search instead of a blatantly placed advertisement through banners or in-app commercials.

Since the marketplace was originally built with mobile gaming companies in mind (instead of general app makers), some companies have found it difficult to finding a working (and non-intrusive) campaign. This could easily be the ticket, given both its ease of use and effectiveness in reaching an audience. As a result, revenue could increase for both Google and its partners, and the program should be able to find suitable footing going into 2015.

More details on how Google’s app install program could work can be found on Mobile Dev Demo’s site, here.

What The World’s Top Brands Are Doing On Facebook

As we’re nearing the end of 2014, it’s a time to reflect on what progresses we’ve made in marketing in just this past year alone. The latest study from Simply Measured juxtaposes a lot of it’s Q3 2014 research with that of last year in Q2. In just the span of a year, social media marketing has gone through changes, even on the world’s standard social media platform, Facebook.

To begin with, this year we see brand adoption of Facebook for Interbrand’s Top 100 Brands near 100 percent. Exactly 97 percent of the world’s top brands have a Facebook, with 95 percent of them posting at least once in Q3 of this year. These brands have an average audience size of 12 million on their respective Facebook pages. Sixty-five percent of top brands are posting 5 times or more a week and 44 percent post 5-10 times a week.

“Facebook is a mature social network with established standards and practices. Audiences are accustomed to branded content, and are willing to become fans of brand pages,” says Simply Measured in the report.

So, what has changed for these top brands and how they interact For one, brands are getting less reliant on using photos to bolster engagement and are diversifying the types of content they share. Photos for Q3 2014 accounted for 62 percent of brand posts and 77 percent of the engagement. This is down from Q2 2013 when photos made up 75 percent of branded posts and 95 percent of all brand engagement.

The use of links have also increased as well, which could give insight into the rise of content marketing. The usage of links is up from 13 percent last year to 27 percent this year.

When it comes to status length, most top brands are aware that keeping it short and sweet is best. Brand statuses for the most part hovered between 75 and 175 characters on the social platform.

 

 

 

Seen Any Good Movies Lately? Netflix On Android Has

Popular movie and television-streaming service Netflix got social on an entirely new level with the launch of their “Social Recommendation” feature on desktop, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and iOS platforms last September, allowing users to suggest movies and television shows to their friends on social networking services with the click of a button.

Now, Netflix intends to bring all supported platforms on board with Social Recommendations with today’s launch of the functionality for Android devices. According to a post on Netflix’s official blog, enhanced capabilities will be available for Android users, playing on Android’s highly regarded push notification functionalities to deliver users vibrant images and action buttons.

Android smartwatch users have reason to be excited today, too; Netflix’s announcement included a statement of support for Android Wear, allowing fans of wearables to receive alerts when new recommendations arrive on their Netflix accounts with options to watch, thank, or get information on the show or movie in question.

Today’s announcement continues Netflix’s ambitious push towards becoming an indispensable component of every entertainment consumer’s life; CEO Reed Hastings recently offered up a grim prognosis for broadcast television, while chief content officer Ted Sarandos outlined a plan to become available “everywhere in the world” by 2019.

Hulu Nabs Exclusive Rights To More TV Shows From Disney/ABC

by Sahil Patel

Hulu might be spending more on high-profile original series, but it’s certainly not at the expense of beefing up its TV library.

The company has signed a new licensing deal with Disney/ABC Television, which will give Hulu exclusive SVOD rights to all episodes of ABC’s “Resurrection” and “Mistresses,” as well as previous episodes of Lifetime’s “Devious Maids.”

For “Mistresses,” Hulu Plus users currently have access to all episodes of season one. Season two will become available ahead of the season three premiere, which is scheduled for summer 2015. Following that, new episodes of the show will be streamable on Hulu the day after they air.

Read more…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via thevideoink.com for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Kabam Talks About Monetizing Mobile Games

Kabam has certainly made quite a few moves since its inception five years ago, making lots of money from mobile and social games. Recently, the company made the decision to sell off many of its social game titles in an effort to focus more on mobile titles, possibly as part of its terms of agreement with Alibaba’s investment in the company earlier this year.

That’s not to say it’s missing out on profits. With more than 900 employees on its team, it’s getting close to $500 million in revenues for the year, up from the $360 million the previous year. Franchises based on The Hunger Games and Fast and Furious have certainly helped out, along with The Hobbit, which is likely to pick up in popularity again with the final movie, Battle of the Five Armies, opening this week.

Recently, chief operating officer Kent Wakeford spoke with VentureBeat about the ins-and-outs of monetizing mobile games the proper way – there’s a process that has to be followed to ensure its success.

When it comes to developers developing games with a high monetization rate, Wakeford explained, “When you think about a matrix of areas that we look at, it starts with, what game do you want to make What genre are you going after The genre has a lot to do with getting monetization into the game. Then, going to the development stage, on the monetization we could talk a lot about system design and how you think about that. That could follow into distribution and marketing and how that impacts ultimate revenue per install. We’re in the business of games as a service, of course. Running games and the live operation of games becomes critical. When we think about games we think about those four key areas. Each one plays an important role.”

Wakeford also touched on the subject of optimal game genres, and where they can make a difference. “As you think about the games you want to make, think about the genres you want to develop—genres have a lot to do with the ultimate lifetime value (LTV). In North America and Europe, strategy games have the highest revenue per install of any genre. Something like $3.98 per install. That’s a lot of revenue per player, so there’s a lot of strategy games out there. Second is RPG at about $3.82. Then you drop down to casino, which is a long way behind,” he explained.

“Strategy games tend to have the lowest number of installs, though. The highest number of installs comes in action games, like infinite runners. Those games tend to have a revenue per install of about 25 cents. It’s a trade-off. When you think about a game, you want to think about the monetization side, but also the customer acquisition side. Action games have much wider appeal.”

Wakeford also touched on the subject of licensing popular franchises. “Kabam has a long history of building licensed IP,” he said. “The Hobbit is a good example. What we’ve found is that the biggest impact of licensed IP is on the customer acquisition side, getting a more effective CPI. You get a lot more organic traffic, better search engine optimization in the app stores, more people coming into the game. You can spend the marketing dollars more efficiently because there’s already brand awareness.

“As far as monetization, when you find the true fans of an IP, they will engage. They will engage and play and spend and get their friends to spend. There’s a core group of players who you’ll see over index in terms of monetization. But the key benefit of licensed IP is much more on the acquisition side,” said Wakeford.

The full interview, which also touches on the subjects of advertisements in games to compensate for in-app purchases, can be found here.

Mobile Beats Out Every Other Medium For Your Attention

A number of independent market research agencies have confirmed news analysts had expected: Mobile is now the top attention medium in the United States, surpassing all other broadcast platforms including television.

The “flurry” of news about mobile’s American takeover began with Flurry’s report that Americans spent more time on mobile devices than they did watching television, a shift heralded by similar changes in the rest of the world in preceding months and years.

Nielsen followed with a series of studies painting their own picture of Americans’ embrace of mobile as a broadcast medium, the most recent of which stating that online streaming video viewing increased by 60 percent as traditional television viewership reported a four percent decline.

Finally, comScore told Internet Retailer that American consumers spent 52 percent of their time online on smartphone and tablet apps just this past week, a figure besting desktop web’s second-place forty percent. Facebook leads a crowded field of mobile apps vying for consumers’ attention, accounting for 1/6th of all app time.

What does this mean for marketers? Traditional broadcast mediums are well on their way out the door, a somewhat long-held sentiment now backed up by a bevy of facts and figures from reputable research firms. Marketers who fail to adopt mobile-first strategies for their brands do so at their own peril, risking being left in the wilderness as fans of broadcast television and desktop browsing continue their mass mobile exodus.

Game-a-Thon Gets Hosted At Coca-Cola’s Headquarters

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola’s Matt Wolf spoke to [a]listdaily about the importance of eSports, and why the online gaming competition was important to them. This week, it appears that the company’s initiative is finally getting off the ground, as it has teamed up with Twitch to host an e-Sports-based Game-A-Thon, which is taking place at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, starting today.

As reported per VentureBeat, the event features four players facing off against one another in select games, as chosen by Coca-Cola. This will be the company’s true foray into the world of eSports, and will offer the winner the opportunity to make a big donation to charity. The games will be “mystery” titles, so the players won’t really expect what challenges will come their way – which will no doubt add some interest to the tournament.

“We are interested in gaming,” said Wolf, head of global gaming for Coca-Cola. “It’s big. We know it. We’re being smart and focused about how we approach it. As we head into the end of the year, this opportunity with our friends at Twitch is a great way for us to cap off the year with a great on-site production. We can give back to the players and to a charity for the holidays.”

Coca-Cola originally came to Twitch in an effort to reach out more to the gaming community, according to the streaming channel’s chief operating officer, Kevin Lin. With its audience of 60 million active users – and a healthy investment from Amazon earlier this year – there’s no doubt the soda maker can benefit from such a partnership.

However, Coca-Cola is taking its time entering into the foray of e-Sports. “Matt’s challenge to us was how can Coke embrace not just the hardcore of e-sports but gaming culture more broadly in a good, authentic way,” Lin said. “They want to establish Coke as a brand wholeheartedly and not just as a small piece within Twitch. This is a cool and fun angle that brings a lot of our community people together in a way that has a fun component and a charity component. Our job at Twitch is to help brands like Coca-Cola come into this space and understand it.”

“A lot of these gamers have shunned traditional media. They have completely replaced that with watching Twitch. It’s important to know what type of messaging works with them,” he added.

“It’s a perfect match between the two brands as we make our way into the gaming space, e-sports, and live streaming broadcasts,” Wolf said. “We want to bring our own flavor and speak to this audience through our brand. It’s about being humble and understanding the markets we move into. We need best of breed partners to make sure we deliver quality content and authentic content that resonates with that core.

“A fifth of the world plays games for an hour a day or more,” Wolf continued. “We look forward to continuing with our gaming community for a long time. We are doing this at our headquarters. We want people at Coca-Cola to understand more about what these games are and how people consume them.”

Participants in the tournament include Twitch’s content director Jon Carnage, Frag Doll e-Sports combatant Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico, and other pro players, including The Justin Flynn, Swiftor, and Voyboy.

Interested parties can check out the action here.