Cross-Screen Gaming: Why Microsoft Is Making The Right Move

On the 21st of January 2015, Microsoft revealed its ambitious plan to extend the reach of the Xbox Service beyond consoles, uniting previously disparate PC and console gamers. The Xbox app ensures that anyone running Windows 10 on a PC can enjoy the full Xbox live experience and stream Xbox One games from a console to a Windows 10 laptop, tablet or PC. Newzoo’s analysis of its consumer insights and global revenue data sizes the opportunity that Microsoft is after. Microsoft’s strategy potentially allows it to increase its share of the gaming market in two ways: by taking in a larger share of the wallet of its current user base and tapping into markets that have been out of reach until now.

Meanwhile, the two reasons why this is a smart first move for Microsoft are illustrated here:

Half of Console Payers are Also Spending on PC
To understand how Microsoft is capitalizing on cross-platform gaming we only need look at the overlap between spenders on the PC and console using the Newzoo Data Explorer. In the US, 58 percent of those who play both console and PC/MMO games are also spending on both platforms — 42 million gamers. Zooming in on the more valuable payers, 10 percent of those playing on both platforms are also big spenders on both. This means that 7.5 million Americans are already spending higher value amounts on both console and PC/MMO games. If Microsoft can lure Xbox gamers that are already spending money on the PC to migrate this spending to the Xbox App, it can take more money from the same gamers’ wallets.

Microsoft has been laying the groundwork to capitalize on cross-platform gaming for some time with the increased publication of big brand titles across multiple platforms and cross-play functionality. Fable Legends, the upcoming sequel to the celebrated Xbox series, will be the first of many to launch on both Windows 10 and Xbox One and will allow for cross-play between PC and console. A statement published by Xbox’s wire service promised “the same game, in the same world, on the same map” for players on Windows 10 and Xbox One machines.

Microsoft can serve the East & West with one solution
In terms of money, our Global Games Market Premium service shows that global PC/MMO revenues exceeded $24 billion in 2014, while console revenues reached almost $27 billion. These revenues are not distributed evenly per region, with the East and West showing very different preferences per platform. In North America, console revenues exceeded $11 billion, far outweighing the PC/MMO revenues of $4 billion. Asia Pacific shows the opposite trend, with $14 billion in PC/MMO revenues, more than double the console revenues ($6 billion). This has rendered the East a much smaller and less lucrative market for Microsoft… until now.

Will Microsoft Take The Next Step
With this new cross-screen solution, Microsoft can potentially serve the large number of PC/MMO gamers in the East and its existing console customers in the West. The company has the potential to increase its addressable revenues by as much as +91 percent, supporting its ambition to become a truly global player in the games market.

This announcement to unify the efforts of its Xbox and Windows teams could almost double Microsoft’s addressable market and turn it into a truly global player. Still, to realistically achieve this goal one crucial step is missing: making the platform reversible, allowing PC games to be distributed through the Windows 10 Xbox app with or without the option to stream these to the TV screen. The current set-up caters most to those who already own an Xbox One, which remains an obstacle for conquering Asia. Upcoming announcements about Windows 10 could change this.

Online Sports A Winner For Both Fans And Marketers

In the old days, sports fans used to gather around the television to watch big events, like the yearly Super Bowl or the Summer Olympics. These days, however, with the rising technology that’s slowly working its way into our hands, the times are a-changing.

With that, though, comes new opportunity, as Adweek reports that online sports broadcasts aren’t just a win for the viewers, but also the marketers that are looking to reach out more to said audience.

A report from the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) indicates that the average consumer watches 4.2 authenticated sports videos on a monthly basis, for the third quarter of 2014. That’s a 10.5 percent increase over the previous year.

In addition, ESPN and other channels that broadcast sports events will soon have a greater outreach, thanks to services like Sling TV and other streaming services. Being able to do so on a more affordable plan than monthly cable should provide better opportunities for viewers — thus extending the audience.

NBC broadcast the Super Bowl online, as well as on television, and reported that a peak of 1.3 million people streamed the broadcast, indicating that there was a huge demand for online viewing instead of just huddling around the TV.

Marketers can take huge advantage of this, getting a better outreach through a specified ad campaign that ties into the content. Per ADI, online viewers actually see 66 percent more ads per video than watching sports content than they do watching regular, non-sports related content.

As you can see from the chart above, streaming possibilities also appear great outside of the United States, as the NBA, NFL and MLB all have decent overseas audiences, along with their domestic ones. And there’s no question that events like the World Cup would have a big impact if they manage to introduce some form of streaming service for its next event. The online hype behind the 2014 World Cup was proof enough of that, as you can see in the chart below.

The more sports stream over into the digital world, the more both fans and marketers will benefit. Sure, television may be getting a little shut out in the process, but there’s no doubt the popularity of the programming itself would remain as high as ever. Marketers certainly understand the benefit of streams that can be seen anywhere in the world, unlike broadcast TV that is limited to markets where they have agreements in place, Fans are where you find them, and by putting sports content online many more fans might be found.

Blizzard Sees eSports As Building Community

Making a game community doesn’t happen overnight. You need to have the right amount of devotees talking about your product, as well as the right balance of marketing (so that it doesn’t go overboard) and plenty of support from the company producing the game, so fans have something to look forward to.

Blizzard Entertainment knows all about community, as it’s produced a number of games over the years with an avid fan base, including Diablo, StarCraft and, most recently, the mobile hit Hearthstone. During the DICE Summit this week, Blizzard executive producer Chris Sigaty explained that that eSports can actually got a long way into building up a gaming community, if the games don’t do it enough themselves.

“At Blizzard, we view eSports as a community builder,” said Sigaty, according to GamesIndustry International. “We arrived at that not through statistical analysis or some sort of deep dive into big business or anything like that. It was arrived at with the advent of StarCraft and the growth that the community built up around the game and our appreciation and love for being a part of that.”

The developer and publisher don’t necessarily decide what game is going to be the next big hit in the eSports realm – those decisions usually rely on the players. “At least at Blizzard, we believe the community absolutely determines that and we take a careful approach with our games as we go in, we may have an idea that we think it will be a very fun game to watch competitively and turn into an eSport but we make no assumptions about that,” said Sigaty.

“We have now three major games that we’re dealing with, four really, and they’re all dealt with in different ways, subtly different ways, but every time we’re kicking the game off we one, have to know we have a competitive game that is fun, we’re going to be in it for the long haul with keeping the balance there, continuing to support it and then watch and embrace what the community is doing.”

So an eSports-based title shouldn’t be claimed as such right away, until the community reaction is first gauged. “The community has educated us in what is the approach, what do they want, we go to the community a lot,” said Sigaty.

“ESL, our partners are building the knowledge, we go outside to get those expertise and certainly we have a lot of ground to gain within the industry. When you look at ESPN, you look at NFL, you look at some of the major sports that are out there we still have room to grow, but there is an expertise that’s started along time to go, it continues to level up all the time and we go to that community to help put on the shows, what are the right ways to tell the story,” he concluded.

So let that be a lesson to those who want to jump into eSports right away – it’s all about getting the community on board, and not necessarily claiming right away that you have a winner. Let the players decide.

Nintendo’s Approach To YouTube Shows Effect On UGC

Nintendo has seen an improvement in the video game market over the past year, thriving on software successes as the Pokémon games, as well as big Wii U releases like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8, even though hardware sales continue to disappoint. However, Nintendo appears to be struggling in another department — with online videos.

Despite the fact that it opened up a community with YouTube support for Mario Kart 8 last year, Nintendo has seen a sudden drop in views and videos on YouTube since December 10, 2013. It probably didn’t help that the company put such strict policies on claiming revenue on users’ “Let’s Play” videos that contain content from its games, but the drop still seems somewhat drastic.

Tubular Labs reported that, from January to May 2014, there were an average of 697 videos uploaded per month regarding Nintendo IP, which reached 25,000 views or more on the social channel. These videos managed about 80 million views a month during this time.

That sounds like good news, but consider the numbers from the previous year, where, from January to May, there were an average of 1,361 videos uploaded with 25,000 views or more, with an average of 192 million views per month.

These numbers indicate a massive drop of 58 percent year over year over the period, which also show a similar drop month-after-month, according to Tubular.

As you can see from the chart, the differences in traffic are quite noticeable, and include a number of the company’s more popular games, including Smash and Mario Kart.

Tubular noted that the drop came right after Nintendo began claiming revenue on “Let’s Play” videos, as, before then, the numbers were quite healthy. Clearly, Nintendo doesn’t seem to be doing anyone any favors in this department.

And it’s probably going to go even lower. The company introduced a program that allows users to make money off of Nintendo-related videos, provided that they were approved. However, Nintendo limited this program to not include third-party games, and also shut out avid Smash Bros. players when it came to their replays, as well as Pokémon and Bayonetta 2 devotees.

Called the Nintendo’s Creator Program, it’s been met with a heavy dose of criticism. PewDiePie, one of YouTube’s most popular broadcasters, recently posted his thoughts on the matter, indicating how it was bad news for the YouTube community in general.

Despite a high number of requests to take part in the program, it appears that Nintendo has a ways to go to reclaim its YouTube audience. Now it’s just a matter of seeing what moves it makes next to bounce back. Trying to exert tight control over videos involving your game may sound like a good idea for a number of reasons, but video creators have plenty of other games they can showcase. Nintendo is losing visibility in a marketing channel where other companies are getting plenty of attention. Will the company figure out a way around this problem, or will it simply decide that Nintendo products will be shown on the company’s terms or not all, regardless of the consequences

First Project From What’s Trending And Marriott Development Deal Emerges

by Jocelyn Johnson

This past weekend, Marriott Content Studio and What’s Trending released their first co-production featuring YouTube talent, including Jeana from PrankVsPrank, Louis Cole (FunForLouis), Tom from TheSyndicateProject, Steve Zaragoza from SourceFed, and Meghan Camarena (Strawburry17), as they live out their bucket list items in cities like New York City, Shanghai, and San Francisco.

The project marks the first to come from the earlier announced development deal between the two companies.

Read and see more here…

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.

YouPorn Exec Talks About Marketing With ESports

After getting the infomercial treatment {link no longer active} (complete with Jack Black as the owner of the company) in last year’s Hollywood movie, Sex Tape, adult entertainment company YouPorn is investing in eSports. The company is sponsoring Spanish eSports team Play2Win, which has been renamed TeamYP, and hopes to further capitalize on the ability for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers to directly access pornography through their consoles. Brad Burns, vice president of YouPorn, explains how his adult entertainment company is marketing to millennials through eSports in this exclusive interview.

Why did you decide to enter eSports?

The eSports scene has seen tremendous growth and we really wanted to be a part of that. We think we can help contribute to the growth of the industry in 2015 and beyond. When an opportunity in a billion dollar industry presents itself, we’d be silly not to jump on it. This was the perfect time for us to enter the market.

“We think we can help contribute to the growth of the industry in 2015 and beyond. When an opportunity in a billion dollar industry presents itself, we’d be silly not to jump on it.”

What type of marketing will you employ aimed at the Millennial gaming audience that follows eSports?

The intention of our sponsorship was to attract those of age with interest in adult entertainment. We really want Team YP to market themselves through their play. We want our team to gain recognition as a top competitor on the gaming circuit. Their success is our top priority, and we are looking forward to the splashes Team YP will make all year long.

Are there any similarities between having YouPorn featured in the Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz Sex Tape movie and what you can accomplish in eSports?

The YouPorn feature in Sex Tape was awesome. It spurred a ton of activity to our site. That feature just goes to show how much we’ve grown since our inception. It demonstrates our popularity. I mean if we can bring YouPorn to the big screen, just imagine what we can help the eSports industry do.

How did you choose your eSports team?

We had various teams across the world reach out to us asking for sponsorship. We wanted to find a team that would put their all in every trip to the battlefield, and a team that we could help gain success and exposure. We found that in Play2Win (team name before the YP sponsorship), a group of great guys who have set off to achieve great things

What opportunities do you see for YouPorn for teams and sponsorships outside of Spain?

We’re excited to have begun with Play2Win, now Team YP, and are really looking forward to all the successes they’ll achieve. That said, we’re always actively looking at future opportunities to expand our potential reach within the gaming community.

How do you see your company working with League of Legends, Call of Duty or other eSports teams moving forward?

We are extremely excited for these relationships moving forward. League of Legends, Call of Duty and eSports, in general, have massive followings/fans and so do we. If we can intertwine those two, the relationship possibilities moving forward are endless.

“League of Legends, Call of Duty and eSports, in general, have massive followings/fans and so do we. If we can intertwine those two, the relationship possibilities moving forward are endless.”

How have you seen the negative stigma of “porn” evolve over the years, especially with the eSports and gaming crowd?

Porn has always carried a negative stigma with it. We’ve been dealing with that since our inception. We fully recognize and understand it. We are just excited to break into the gaming industry and field a successful team who will do their talking on the battlefield.

How have you seen video games, and gaming livestreams, impact the adult entertainment industry over the last few years?

Everything has impacted porn over the last few years. It’s constantly changing, morphing and evolving. That’s what makes it unique and fun to market. We can capitalize on these changes and better market ourselves.

What have the Internet capabilities of the latest consoles opened up for gamers accessing your site?

It’s revolutionized accessibility options for our viewers. They are now able to view our sites via their gaming consoles, and that only looks to increase in popularity in 2015 and beyond.

How does the demographic for YouPorn compare to the eSports gaming audience?

They are very similar. Gamers are typically tech savvy young adults. And those individuals are a large part of the audience that access our sites. They are an integral part of our audience moving forward, and appealing to them outside strictly porn is awesome. We’ve been able to broaden our reach and impact industries outside just adult entertainment.

Twitter Looks To Shake Up Its Marketing Game

Twitter is working hard to assure that its social audience remains not only constant, but growth-based, as it looks to expand its user base in a number of ways.

Re/code posted a number of stories indicating what the social site has in mind.

First up, Twitter has teamed up with the powerhouses at Google, which will allow content from the social site to appear through search results on the Google website. The results will now become much easier to find, should people be looking for a specific user or Tweet.

With this move, Twitter hopes to pick up its “logged out” audience, people who see tweets on a daily basis, even when they’re not signed into an account. Attempting to attract them could bring them back as a user and, thus, pick up user count.

Re/code also noted that the company has a new home page in the works, one that’s designed to attract those who are used to seeing Twitter’s layout, though they don’t have their own account set up.

The current home page, as it stands, doesn’t really offer much outside of viewing a minimal picture taken from one of the company’s accounts. With this new home page, however, Twitter hopes to attract visitors with a number of choices from categories like “General news sources” and “TV shows and stars,” thus making the site more attractive for newcomers. The page is currently in beta testing, but Twitter is likely to launch it soon.

Finally, Re/code talked about the company’s first time as a public company on the stock market, which produced less than stellar results. Still, that hasn’t stopped it from trying to prove to the market that it indeed belongs there, as a safe bet for investors.

Twitter is set to report a six cents per share profit of $453 million, according to analysts, and it can use that to its advantage when it comes to showing its strength in the social media realm. In addition, it’ll talk about its large daily audience, and, according to the same analysts, the growth from 19 to 21 percent over the same quarter from the previous year. While that’s a slight downfall from the previous year’s 22 percent, it’s still considered growth.

Between its syndicated tweets program, Google page support, new home page and other ideas, Twitter is sure to find ways to bring new members of an audience to its site. Here’s hoping the tweets keep on coming in.

Gaming Captures Kid’s Attention And Spending

Back in the “good old days,” children watched a lot of television and occasionally took part in video games. But these days, the times are certainly a-changing.

According to Business News Daily, this generation of kids have taken more of a focus to gaming than to television. A recently report from consumer market research company Interpret indicates that U.S. kids ages 6 through 12 generated a whopping $2 billion in game revenue for the whole year of 2013. The report was conducted with help from the Digital Kids Summit, which helps brand owners, game developers, marketers, producers and professionals to find ways to engage kids online, as well as through digital devices.

In addition, over 12.8 million kids in the United States own a smart toy of some sort, and usually spend around 12.1 hours per week playing games. Out of that time, a fourth, around 3.2 hours, is spent gaming on either smartphones or tablets.

The parents of the average gamer around the ages of 6 to 12 manage to spend around $29.40 a month, including around a tenth of that ($2.60) on mobile gaming apps and in-game purchases.

YouthBeat also had its own report, showing that 83 percent of kids in the age bracket of 6-13 use and download apps, while 71 percent of parents download apps for them.

Kids also spend a lot of time online, around 1.3 hours per weekday, and 1.9 hours on the weekend.

So why the sudden change in interest from television to gaming Well, it isn’t quite as sudden as you may think, as TechCrunch noted a number of reasons behind it, such as kids and “tweens” growing into digital natives with accessibility to mobile devices, and the ease of use for both kids and their parents. In addition, long-term brand loyalty can be of importance to marketers, as kids are “extremely influential” to household spending, according to a third of parents surveyed.

Protection also plays a key part, as ad inventory for games like these have to be compliant with both the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Children’s Advertising Review Unit. However, as expected, most companies are following these, so it appears that everyone wins. (Well, maybe not television.)

Indeed, gaming – particularly mobile gaming – appear to be playing a big part in kids’ lives, and that trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

Glu Games Teams Up With Katy Perry

We may be seeing a new trend with mobile games – studios teaming up with big stars to use their audience for instant acceptance of the game, while at the same time presenting an experience that will no doubt draw in millions of downloads.

It worked before, as Glu Games teamed up with Kim Kardashian on the mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which has resulted in millions of downloads and millions of dollars generated for both parties. Now, it appears that Glu is at it again, working alongside singer Katy Perry for a new mobile effort, according to VentureBeat.

Perry, coming off a very well received Super Bowl halftime show this Sunday (with the left sharks and all), will be the subject of a new free-to-play game, based around the performer herself. It will feature her “voice, likeness and personality,” according to the company.

Glu chief executive officer Niccolo de Masi stated that Perry is “arguably the most recognized musician in America. She is a cultural icon and we expect to translate key elements of her success into an innovative, highly entertaining mobile experience.

“We anticipate that Katy’s significant global audience, including more than 170 million fans on social media, will make her a strong gaming partner for Glu.”

The game has a release scheduled for later this year for both iOS and Android – and could be the first in a new trend of “hot hirings” for mobile games to come. That shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that the mobile gaming market is now nearing a worth of $25 billion, and a chunk of that came from the success of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.

Part of the reason for the success of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is that it took an already successful game and revised it to fit with a star that had a huge audience. The nature of the game went very well with the nature of Kim Kardashian’s fans, and by working with a proven design the game was able to take off swiftly. It’s not just about finding a celebrity with a large audience; it’s about matching the right game to that audience.

Of course, it just makes sense. Stars like Kardashian and Perry have a huge following outside of the mobile world, and “gamifying” their experience into a mobile release guarantees that said audience will be along for the ride, along with those that were interested in the game to begin with. The hundreds of millions that Kim Kardashian: Hollywood generated shows that the formula works – and could pave the way for others to try their hand on the mobile market, provided their popularity is good enough.

And with 77.1 million followers on Facebook, 64.6 million followers on Twitter and 14.9 million viewers on VEVO, it’s a pretty safe bet that Katy Perry is, indeed, a firework for the mobile market.

Everything We Learned At #DICE2015 Today Pt. 2

Check out Pt. 1 of our DICE Summit coverage here.

It Begins With A Conversation

A second day of of DICE Summit sessions kicked off with an opening keynote conversation between President of Sony Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida and Lorne Lanning, Creative Director of Oddworld Inhabitants, creators of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddyssee.

The conversation began with how Yoshida came to work at Sony and where the company was at in the mid-nineties, a time when Shuhei and Lanning relate that there was a lot of skepticism about PlayStation.