Big Data’s Limits In Marketing

When it comes to marketing these days, everything is all about the “big data,” as companies attempt to come up with new ways to collect and analyze data in order to find trends and insights regarding how marketing activity has an effect on consumer purchase decisions and increasing loyalty.

Columnist Kohki Yamaguchi recently broke down the seven big points to look at in a new article for Marketing Land, which are as follows:

First off, user data can easily be fundamentally biased. Yamaguchi explains, “The user-level data that marketers have access to is only of individuals who have visited your owned digital properties or viewed your online ads, which is typically not representative of the total target consumer base.

Even within the pool of trackable cookies, the accuracy of the customer journey is dubious: many consumers now operate across devices, and it is impossible to tell for any given touchpoint sequence how fragmented the path actually is.

“Furthermore, those that operate across multiple devices are likely to be from a different demographic compared to those who only use a single device, and so on.”

Certain execution can exist with select channels, according to Yamaguchi. “Certain marketing channels are well suited for applying user-level data: website personalization, email automation, dynamic creatives, and RTB spring to mind. In many channels however, it is difficult or impossible to apply user data directly to execution except via segment-level aggregation and whatever other targeting information is provided by the platform or publisher. Social channels, paid search, and even most programmatic display is based on segment-level or attribute-level targeting at best. For offline channels and premium display, user-level data cannot be applied to execution at all.”

When user results do come up, they can’t always be presented directly. “More accurately, it can be presented via a few visualizations such as a flow diagram, but these tend to be incomprehensible to all but domain experts. This means that user-level data needs to be aggregated up to a daily segment-level or property-level at the very least in order for the results to be consumable at large,” explained Yamaguchi.

And certain algorithms don’t always explain “why,” either. “Largely speaking, there are only two ways to analyze user-level data: one is to aggregate it into a “smaller” data set in some way and then apply statistical or heuristic analysis; the other is to analyze the data set directly using algorithmic methods. Both can result in predictions and recommendations (e.g. move spend from campaign A to B), but algorithmic analyses tend to have difficulty answering “why” questions (e.g. why should we move spend) in a manner comprehensible to the average marketer. Certain types of algorithms such as neural networks are black boxes even to the data scientists who designed it. Which leads to the next limitation…”

That led to the next point, how user data isn’t always suited for product learnings. “Let’s say you apply big data to personalize your website, increasing overall conversion rates by 20 percent. While certainly a fantastic result, the only learning you get from the exercise is that you should indeed personalize your website. While this result certainly raises the bar on marketing, but it does nothing to raise the bar for marketers,” explained Yamaguchi. “Actionable learnings that require user-level data – for instance, applying a look-alike model to discover previously untapped customer segments – are relatively few and far in between, and require tons of effort to uncover. Boring, ol’ small data remains far more efficient at producing practical real-world learnings that you can apply to execution today.”

The following two points were just as crucial, discussing how user-level data is subject to certain interference, and how some of the data can’t be so easily transferred. “Because of security concerns, user data cannot be made accessible to just anyone, and requires care in transferring from machine to machine, server to server.

“Because of scale concerns, not everyone has the technical know-how to query big data in an efficient manner, which causes database admins to limit the number of people who has access in the first place.

“Because of the high amount of effort required, whatever insights that are mined from big data tend to remain a one-off exercise, making it difficult for team members to conduct follow-up analyses and validation,” concluded Yamaguchi.

“All of these factors limit agility of analysis and ability to collaborate.”

More information on this study, including the part that big data plays, can be found here.

Apple Opens Pay Once And Play Category In App Store

With the growing trend of games that work on a “free-to-play” structure and, in some cases, require a minimum purchase through the application in order to continue, some may be frustrated that there isn’t just an option to pay something up front and game to their heart’s content.

Ah, but there is, and several games are like that. Which is probably what drove Apple to create a new category that simply lets users find something they want to play, pay an up-front fee, and then enjoy without being nickeled and dimed afterwards.

Forbes has indicated that Apple has changed up its Featured section in the App Store a little bit, so that it includes a “Pay Once and Play” category, with titles that offer all of the gameplay experience up front after paying a small fee. After that, users can enjoy them, mostly with no advertising or prompts to pay anything further.

Some games easily fit into this category and have a lot to offer, like Supergiant Games’ brilliant Bastion, pictured above. Priced at $4.99, this game offers a meaty, console-like adventure where players venture through an open world, all while a quirky narrator follows them along. Players simply pay the up-front fee, then enjoy everything the game has to offer.

Granted, not all games can fit into this category. Titles like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Soda Saga are built upon a structure where players are prompted to pay for additional items, like power-ups and such, and offering everything for an up-front fee with them simply wouldn’t work, based on how they’re made. So expect the “free-to-play” games to continue invading the mobile front, with no sign of slowing down.

Still, the “Pay Once and Play” category looks like a thankful addition to the virtual marketplace, assuring gamers that they simply need to plunk down one lump sum, then move on without having to reach for their credit card or online account. It’s hard to say if other games on other formats, like PC and console, could have the same thing, especially with the downloadable content structure that a lot of them follow. Still, it’d be nice to get a gaming experience that charges you one entry fee, then lets you enjoy to your heart’s content.

Here’s hoping, at the very least, Android follows suit with a similar category.

NPD January 2015 Retail: Software Finally Wins

January was a cold month in most of the U.S., and not just outside. “January 2015 retail sales data across hardware, software and accessories decreased by 6 percent from January 2014, with growth in software (up $12.4 million) and Accessories (up $5.4 million) unable to offset hardware declines of $54 million,” NPD’s Liam Callahan reported. For those keeping score, hardware sales were $185.5 million this January compared to $239.6 million last January, while software notched $235.7 million in sales compared to $223.2 million last year.

The engine of retail sales for the past year has been hardware, and that’s what took a sharp downturn in January. The older consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) really slid, down 35%, probably because there were no price decreases or substantive marketing efforts for them. “Hardware sales declined by 23 percent as sales cooled off after the holiday season,” Callahan acknowledged. “Eighth generation console hardware sales were down by 22 percent while seventh generation console hardware sales decreased by 35 percent.”

Software was a bright spot for once, though coming off of a very down year at retail it’s not a very big increase. “Software spending rose 5 percent from January 2014 as eighth generation console spending outpaced seventh generation console software sales,” Callahan noted. “Eighth generation software increased by 74 percent, seventh generation decreased by 36 percent and dedicated portable software sales dropped by 12 percent.” This is not good news for Nintendo’s 3DS, as much of that drop must be attributed to the software for that device – because the PS Vita has been coasting along at a low level for months.

The top seller among software was Dying Light, followed by most of the usual suspects. Interestingly, Super Smash Bros. made the list, a bright spot for Nintendo which has all too often been absent from this list in recent years. Interestingly, Assassin’s Creed didn’t make the list, though Far Cry did.

January 2015 Top 10 Games (New Physical Retail only)
1. Dying Light (PS4, XBO, PC) Warner Bros. Interactive
2. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)** Activision Blizzard
3. Grand Theft Auto V (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3)** Take 2 Interactive
4. Minecraft (360, PS3, XBO, PS4) Microsoft (Corp) / Sony
5. NBA 2K15 (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC) Take 2 Interactive
6. Super Smash Bros. (NWU, 3DS)* Nintendo
7. Far Cry 4 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, PC)** Ubisoft
8. Madden NFL 15 (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3)** Electronic Arts
9. Destiny (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3)** Activision Blizzard
10. FIFA 15 (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3, Wii, PSV, 3DS)** Electronic Arts

**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

SuperData January 2015: Legacy Publishers Triumph

Analysis from SuperData CEO, Joost van Dreunen, follows:

  • Legacy publishers beat market estimates with digital success
  • Mobile marketing around grows up, gets noticed
  • Valve doubles down on user-generated content
  • Heroes of the Storm is ready for prime time with 9 million users

Digital games reached $1.1 billion in sales in the month of January, driven by strong tailwinds of the end-of-year rush. Downloadable content on PC and consoles continued the market’s momentum, totaling $372 million in sales, up 18 percent from January a year ago. Capcom earned itself an important success with Resident Evil HD Remaster coming in third as top-selling full game download on console.

Legacy publishers beat market estimates with digital success
Digital revenue reigned supreme among legacy publishers during this quarter’s earnings calls. Electronic Arts reported $693 million in digital revenues over the last quarter, more than 25 percent above financial analyst expectations. Similarly, Activision benefited from a powerful digital combo of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the release of its Warlords of Draenor expansion and a reported 16 million registered users for Destiny. Finally, Take-Two reported a 64 percent increase in net revenue from digital content to $217 million as earnings from virtual currency sales, DLC and online games grew.

Mobile marketing around grows up, gets noticed
Digital marketing in mobile games is growing up. The combination of a lower than expected cost-per-install around the holiday season and not one, but three titles advertising during the SuperBowl are signs that the industry has changed from a year ago. The combined spending of Ucool ($2.25 million), Machine Zone ($4.5 million) and Supercell ($9 million) on their ads triggered a flurry of buzz both in the industry and among consumers. Following a record $405 million in mobile game spending in December, the segment slightly declined in January.

Valve doubles down on user-generated content
Valve launches the Steam Inventory Service beta and expands Steam Workshop. Steam Inventory Service will help developers create virtual items that can be unlocked or purchased and can then be sold or traded in the Steam Marketplace. Virtual items form the bulk of downloadable content revenue for digital PC, which earned $94 million in January and grew by 13% year-over-year. Steam has also expanded the Steam Workshop, a tool for user-generated content (UGC), to include third-party games Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and Dungeon Defenders: Eternity. Since its 2011 debut, 1,500 Steam Workshop contributors have earned $57 million by selling virtual items for Valve titles like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Moreover, MMOs like Everquest Next, City of Heroes and Star Trek Online have since adopted similar UGC tools and markets.

Heroes of the Storm is ready for prime time
After a month of beta testing, Activision/Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm has garnered 9 million players, positioning it to become the second or third highest grossing game of its kind at launch. The upcoming free-to-play title resembles MOBAs like League of Legends and DotA 2, and could debut with estimated monthly revenues between $5 and $10 million. While the publisher’s subscription-based World of Warcraft is still going strong with 10 million current subscribers, the decision to launch another free-to-play title suggests even Blizzard is reluctant to pursue paid subscribers anymore. Free-to-play MMOs in the US grossed $137.2 million this January, a 13 percent increase from the same time last year. On the other hand, MMOs with paid subscriptions remain stagnant with only $53 million in US.

[a]listdaily Analysis
The relentless march of digital revenue shows up clearly, as EA transitions to making more money from digital than retail, and Activision looks poised to make that transition sometime this year. TakeTwo is behind the curve, but no doubt they’ll get there eventually as well. It’s still going to be a difficult transition to navigate for these traditional publisher, as van Dreunen points out in his open letter to EA’s CFO Blake Jorgenson.

While traditional publishers will still work hard to maintain good relations with traditional retailers, they will be aggressively pushing the digital part of their business. It just makes good sense, as Activision’s success with Heroes of the Storm shows very well. That title also shows the power of a well-established brand and IP, as the characters in Heroes of the Storm are popular because of Blizzard’s long history and huge audience. While the game is certainly a good one, it’s also much farther along than it would be if all of the characters in the game were brand-new ones. The popularity of Blizzard’s IP and characters from Warcraft and Starcraft and Diablo are paying off for the company in a big way. That’s one advantage that EA lacks, since the company’s longest-running franchises are either based on licenses (like Madden and FIFA) or they aren’t really character-based (Battlefield hasn’t developed iconic characters).

‘World of Warcraft’ Goat Raises Good Money

When special pets are offered through popular PC games, it seems players have no problem buying them in droves. That’s certainly the case for Argi, an intergalactic goat pet that was offered in Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, which avid fans snapped up in a heartbeat, while at the same time helping out the Red Cross’ Ebola relief fund.

Eurogamer has reported that the pet, which was offered for virtual purchase a while back for $10, has sold like crazy, with 100 percent of sales proceeds going to benefit the Red Cross. In all, Argi (the goat in question) has managed to raise a whopping $1.9 million for the fund, indicating that, once again, gamers have no problem giving back to a good cause.

The virtual animal has no limitations either, as players can utilize Argi with any given player in Warcraft, whether it’s a current character that’s leveled up or a new character that’s just getting started on his or her quest. So it really pays off for players as well.

“Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of World of Warcraft players around the world who purchased the Argi pet, we’ve raised a total of more than 1.9 million USD to support the ongoing Ebola relief efforts in Africa by the Red Cross,” said the company in a post. “In December, we announced that for every Argi purchased by December 31, 2014, 100 percent of the adoption fee would be going to assist in aiding in the fight against this deadly disease — and the community embraced this cute little intergalactic nibbler, helping out a great cause in the process. Thanks again to everyone who helped make a difference.”

Who knew that a magical goat would be able to make such an impact And for the players that missed out on Argi initially, don’t worry — it’s still available for purchase in World of Warcraft now.

Twitter Adds Niche To Its Growing Stable

Twitter is always looking for new ways to expand its reach in the social media world, as indicated by its recent business moves it’s taken, including several revenue-generating measures. This week, it continued to expand on those horizons, adding another agency to the fold.

The company announced earlier this week, via CNET, that it has acquired a New York start-up called Niche, which provides connection with social media superstars and brands in an effort to create a new wealth of sponsored content. It works along the same lines of Tumblr’s Creators project, working as a talent agency that provides better outreach for certain talents that know their stuff on the social media front.

Although Twitter didn’t disclose just how much it invested in the company (it’s rumored to be worth about $30 million), it did explain its interest in it, as “a provider of software, community and monetization services for the growing creative community.”

More and more advertisers are dipping into deals with social media superstars, and this deal with Niche will help Twitter make the most out of said business proposition. “The talent and creativity across the entire media landscape is incredible, and we hope this acquisition continues to inspire people to create great content,” the company explained in a recent blog post.

With the boost in social media, the deal with Niche could also create new revenue circles for Twitter, in an effort to get it back to profitability. This could easily push it past its previously reported quarter of profit, and provide a possibility of getting new consumers in the fold as well.

Niche had previously worked with Twitter on a Vine video, one that was inspired enough to create a full-length commercial featuring several of them interconnected together. You can check out that commercial below, which has plenty of pop, especially Zach King, who creates a glass of orange juice with his tablet. (Don’t try this at home, kids.)

 

Creating Virtual Works Of Art From Legos

Legos are great toys. They allow people with vivid imaginations to create whatever they desire, be it the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars saga, a skyscraper, or maybe even something bigger, provided they have the time and effort to put it together. But what if you could turn your physical creation into something virtually spectacular Thanks to Lego X, you can.

Wired explained how the program works, coming from the same team that put together the Oculus Rift program Gravity Sketch, which allows people to draw in 3D through the magic of augmented reality. With Lego X, users are able to scan their Lego creations and thus create a virtual building, one that they can tweak to perfection using the program.

The bricks utilized with the program are read using a sensor and gyroscope, allowing the toys to interact wirelessly with one another so that scanning is accurate. As the bricks are put together, the rendering appears on the Lego X program on a tablet, in real time. Once the file is put in place digitally, it can be modified to remove the nubs from the bricks, thus creating a smooth surface – and a structure that can look more lifelike that anything that could be created out of Legos. Users can also add little things, like windows, corners and other additions to make their buildings even more lifelike.

The idea of building something really inspired the team. “Our understanding of tools and how they related to the material were transforming is something that dates back to almost stone ages,” said Oluwaseyi Sosanya, one of the designers behind Lego X. “That’s our dream vision for how it would be used.”

With such a tool, designers and creators can find a new outlet in which to build upon their dreams, and then improve upon them virtually for showcasing purposes – or to perhaps even create a resume that would be a big hit with would-be employers.

For now, the program is just in experimental phase, with no due date for production. Still, the team is onto something here, and hopefully Lego’s squad is paying attention and will put this to good use for the future. You can check out the scanning process in action here.

 

App Downloads Snag Fans Kanye West Tickets

Want to get the attention of fans Offer a free ticket to a concert through a special promotion. That’s certainly worked for Adidas.

PSFK has reported that the popular rap artist has offered an interesting exchange, providing a free show to a limited audience in New York in exchange for promotion through a special downloadable app provided by Adidas, as a tie-in for a forthcoming limited edition sneaker that will be released on Valentine’s Day.

Here’s how the promotion works. Fans that downloaded the special app, created an account, set up their New York location via Geotag and secured their sneaker purchase – then showed it to the proper folks at the Adidas store – were able to score a ticket to a special concert by the artist.

Such a crossover deal is a win-win for everyone. Fans are able to see one of the most popular artists around; West gets exposure with his new line of fashion wear; and Adidas benefits with a huge social outreach with the special Confirmed app, as well as drumming up attention for the special sneaker line, with a tie-in with West.

The event, dubbed the “Yeezy 750 boost” line, tied in with the official unveiling of the shoe line, which should happen this weekend leading up to the concert. It’s a unique way of electronically reaching out to fans, rather than the traditional means of advertising – and it’s a step in the right direction for the team at Adidas.

While many traveled a great distance to secure the shoes and the ticket – some even from New Jersey – others used it to their advantage, as one particular student was able to grab up to 12 tickets and secure a pre-order for “Yeezy 750 boost,” but intends to “flip” them for a sale of up to $850.

Still, you can’t argue with good promotion – and this will no doubt pay off in the long run for both West and Adidas. Those interested in the Confirmed App can check it out here {link no longer active}.

Making Songs Out Of Selfies

Who would’ve thought that a car company would make “selfie” photos into something more innovative

The Lincoln Motor Company has created a website where users can upload their best “selfie” photos (or worst, if they prefer) to put together a custom song on the fly.

Here’s how it works. The song is put together using certain elements from each photo, with each instrument representing certain parts of the body. Here’s the breakdown:

-The arrangement of eyes puts together the keyboard harmony

-The person’s jawline helps create the bassline

-The formation of lips helps put together the tonality of the guitar

-The rhythmic percussion is formed around the shape of the person’s nose

-The eyebrows help set the ambient tone for the song

The goal of the site is to “celebrate your individuality by turning your selfie into sound, as personal and unique as your own thumbprint,” according to the description on the website.

Lincoln Motor Company has already put together an impressive gallery, showcasing all the different music styles that incorporate with the “selfies” of many users. However, that shouldn’t stop visitors from putting in their own and seeing what kind of creation their photo comes up with.

It’s a unique approach for would-be consumers, as it allows them to integrate with a tool that isn’t usually associated with automobile sellers, providing a distinctive touch that still ties in with Lincoln’s main website.

This isn’t Lincoln’s first attempt at tying in its brand with music genius. A couple of years ago, it hosted an event {link no longer active} where Emmy-winning recording artist Beck performed a cover of David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision” using a 157-piece orchestra, with artists from around the world. The video’s outreach did good business for the company, while at the same time providing Beck more room to stretch his musical creativity.

Indeed, Lincoln is on a roll every time it connects with music. Don’t be surprised if it launches future campaigns that keep things in tune.

Hammer & Chisel: Forging Hardcore Gaming For 1 Billion Players

The mobile game industry is moving out of its toddler years and into childhood, relatively speaking, and with that growth mobile games are getting more than just casual. A number of startups are betting their investor’s money on the belief that as the mobile game business grows and matures, more players will desire gameplay that’s richer, deeper, and more engaging. One of the startups dedicated to that proposition is Hammer & Chisel, the company started by OpenFeint founder Jason Citron, which today announced it has closed its Series B funding round from investors Tencent, Benchmark Capital and YouWeb’s 9Plus. Hammer & Chisel aims to be the first core gaming company to reach one billion players, with the fast-growing market of mobile devices reaching over 2 billion people soon.

Hammer & Chisel was founded in 2012 by Jason Citron, whose previous company OpenFeint was acquired by GREE for $104 million in 2011. With this latest round of investment, Hammer & Chisel has raised more than $8.2 million from top tier Silicon Valley VCs and investors like Tencent, Benchmark, YouWeb’s 9Plus, Accel, TWI, and IDG. Hammer & Chisel’s first title, the iPad only Fates Forever, was released last year, reimagining the MOBA genre on touch devices. Fates Forever has received awards such as “Apple’s Editor Choice” and “Best of iPad 2014.”

Jason Citron

“There are an estimated 100 million to 200 million core gamers right now – growing at a rapid pace. We think there’s tremendous opportunity to craft high end, respectful experiences tailored to the mobile play patterns of core gamers,” said Citron. “This investment paves the way for us to bring high end mobile games to emerging markets all around the world, which constitutes a substantial percentage of the future core gaming population.”

The [a]listdialy spoke with Citron about the investment, Fates Forever, and where mobile games and Hammer & Chisel are headed in the future.

How has the Fates Forever performed for you since its release? Has it met your expectations?

We launched Fates Forever last summer, over the July 4th weekend, and Apple gave us their Editor’s Choice award and we were featured on the front page. The project overall has really been an experiment for us. We’re a new company trying to bring a new type of hardcore gaming to mobile devices. The game has done well, but it hasn’t been a grand slam. On our journey of building an important gaming company, we started with something we thought would push the envelope a bit and we’d learn a lot from. If you look at other gaming companies that have been around longer and are very successful, the journey that all these companies take is they start by making games that are experiments to learn and grow on their way to building a massive success.

What size is your new round of funding, and what will it enable you to do?

The round of funding was led by Tencent. We met them a while ago, when we were doing the beta testing of Fates Forever. They are very interested in the MOBA space, and they are a huge distributor in China. They were interested in investing in us and building a relationship for high-end games on mobile devices. We’re not disclosing the size of the round, but it’s a multi-million dollar round that Tencent led.

The way that we look at the world is that mobile devices are just at the beginning of a multi-decade run. Who knows what will happen after that, but it seems conceivable in ten to twenty years every human being on the planet who’s not in poverty will own a smartphone. So we think there’s a tremendous opportunity to bring high end gaming to not only the current smartphone market,long term over the next twenty years. The money we’ve taken in this round will help us in our journey to bringing core games to a wider audience than we did with Fates Forever.

With tablet growth slowing, does this change your perceptions about the market opportunity or your strategy?

Sure it does. Fates Forever is tablet only right now, and when we started building the game a few years ago it looked like tablets were going to be the “next big thing.” That really hasn’t shaken out. We’re thinking of our next step more broadly in terms of mobile devices. The market conditions have definitely affected what we do going forward.

What lessons have you learned about multiplayer gaming on tablets?

The summary version of what we’ve learned is that the tablet gaming market how really high-end multiplayer games is still pretty early. The level of adoption and awareness of that type of content is very different than what it is on the PC. The PC people are used to sitting down and playing a game for hours, a really deep and immersive experience, and people don’t expect that of a tablet right now. Wone of the things we’ve found ourselves having to do is try and educate them people that they can get those kind of really deep experiences on tablets. The type of gamers that really enjoy high-end multiplayer games, it’s a different audience, and spreading that message is a big part of what we’ve learned we have to do.

What I really want to do with Hammer & Chisel is bring the kind of games that have had meaningful, deep impacts on us in our lives to the next billion gamers. Both you and I have spent the majority of our lives completely submerged in gaming culture, but the people who have smartphones and will be getting them in the next five to twenty years will have not experienced that. There’s an opportunity to bring the really meaningful, shared experiences we’ve had to them, and to make a first impression. Smartphone growth in the developed world has slowed, but in emerging countries it’s still 30 percent to 40 percent year over year growth. These are people to whom it’s their first computer, and this will be the first time they’ve experienced a videogame. That’s such a remarkable thing — it has an impact, and it’s great to be a part of that.

Where do you see mobile gaming, and especially tablet gaming, going from here? What is the biggest opportunity ahead, and what’s the biggest challenge?

The fundamental challenge over the next year is content diversity. As a player if you go to the App Store there is a ton of stuff. Apple and Google, every week, do a good job of promoting the new stuff for the week, but what usually happens is those games tend to not stick. On the top free and paid charts, for the last year and change, the top ten games have been relatively static. They don’t change. The ability for developers to get their content seen and played is so hard, it’s now going to affect the quality and the diversity of content. If you look at consoles and console gaming, and you map the trajectory over the last thirty years, the amount of diversity and experimentation in content from big-budget studios any more is nonexistent because it costs so much money to make something that stands out.

On the low end on console and PC you have the indie game phenomenon happening. None of those studios are successful in any measure similar compared to the ones at the top. Some of those indie studios have good lives, but if you look at the amount of money Call of Duty brings in compared to a hit game like Braid, there’s no comparison.

The bright light here is that because Apple and Google go out of their way every week to feature new content, that content does get pickup, and you will see games that come out of nowhere and do well. The trick is making a game that, from that pop, can sustain itself.