Game Development On The Rise Worldwide

The game industry continues to be strong worldwide, thanks to smart game development and effective marketing that panders to certain markets, particularly in the United States and China. Today, a new report from Ninja Metrics indicates that other countries are picking up in game development as well, slowly but surely getting their own piece of the pie.

The report, analyzing over 300 million users, implies that developing countries like Laos and Algeria are helping drive the global spending when it comes to games.

First up, social value is weighed in an Android vs. iOS format. iOS players are worth one and a half to two times more in revenue and ARPU than Android players. That said, Android players are 15 percent more likely to become influential in the long run.

Getting into game genre influence, 60 percent of it comes from massive multiplayer online (MMO) games, while PC Hardcore/Multiplayer is close behind, with 30 percent. Mobile social rounds out the top three with 28 percent, while mobile single player lags behind at six percent.

The most important part of the report, however, breaks down influence by world regions — and you’d be surprised who’s number one. Africa actually takes the lead when it comes to being the most influential country, followed by Asia, Europe and North America. Oceania and South America play their parts as well in the fifth and sixth positions.

Geographical influence by income breaks down with 48 percent coming from middle income countries, 33 percent from low income (developing) communities and 19 percent from high income (developed) countries. That says a lot when it comes to the creation of games, especially from studios just getting started in the industry.

Another aspect of the report that we found fascinating was a breakdown of influence by country. Surprisingly enough, the top five consist of Laos, Algeria, Palestine, Ukraine and Cambodia. Coming up as the least influential countries were Kenya, Australia, Iceland, the United States and Norway.

These numbers say quite a bit, and point out just what kind of effect smaller countries can have on the overall market. Regardless, game development will keep going strong.

Core Gamers Drive PC Game Sales

With mobile gaming on the rise, some might think that it’s the “hot market” when it comes to the game industry. And it is – but you shouldn’t count out PC, as it’s likely to see an increase thanks to a core market.

The Open Gaming Alliance, a non-profit organization that keeps tabs on everything happening with the games industry business, is set to unveil its seventh annual research report at the end of this month. With it, using research from market research firm DFC Intelligence, it intends to explain how the PC gaming industry will grow even larger over the next few years. Estimates indicate that the market will rise from $26 billion in 2014 to $35 billion by 2018.

“Much of the growth is driven by pure demographics. We continue to identify a core group of consumers for whom playing on the PC is a major pastime,” said DFC analyst David Cole. “This is, in fact, a fairly new demographic that skews highly male and is only increasing in buying power.”

The report will break down specifics, such as the impact of hardware spending (like who goes all out for buying devoted gaming PC’s and such), as well as the overall growth of eSports, and how competitive gaming has become such a hot spectator sport, driven by such games as Wargaming’s World of Tanks and Riot’s League of Legends.

“In past years much of the growth in PC games has been due to adoption of the platform in Asia. Now we are estimating a potential 86 million PC gamers outside Asia that we have targeted as market growth drivers,” continued Cole.  “These are the consumers that are driving spending not just on software, but also on PC hardware, as they buy expensive equipment to play, view and record games.”

OGA board member and Research Subcommittee chairman Matt Ployhar also had some input on this growth. “The recipe that keeps PC gaming on top is simple:  the platform is accessible to all markets, and especially so with the free-to-play and freemium content; the hardware continues to evolve with gamers’ lifestyles, offering more choice and freedom; and, due to the ubiquity of PC’s globally, it’s easier to share, communicate and be more sociable with friends and family,” he explained. “These same factors, in part, also help explain the meteoric rise of eSports.”

Once more details emerge from this report, they’ll certainly paint a larger picture of what we can expect from this market. But good news is definitely ahead for both devoted and casual game players in this field.


Some Hard-Earned Advice On How To Get The Most Out Of Attending A Conference

There’s no avoiding conferences these days. Every year, a handful of companies host a large number of them across the country, whether it’s a comic-book related event (like San Diego Comic-Con), a gaming oriented tournament (EVO 2K in Las Vegas) or a more informative, educational type of conference (like this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco).

Whatever the case, there are those that are new to these events, and, at first, may be overwhelmed by what they may have to offer. Fortunately, as a veteran of several of these events, I have some sage advice that will certainly come in handy when it comes to getting the most out of them.

Heed these tips well, because they’ll definitely come in handy when you’re hitting the show floor for the first time.

Wear Comfortable Shoes:

This cannot be stressed enough. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking at a conference, whether it’s running around on the show floor to see what all has to be offered, or making your way to a forthcoming appointment in an adjacent hotel. This requires a lot of walking around, so make sure you have a good pair of shoes on you. They can be sneakers or dress shoes, but make sure they aren’t providing any discomfort for the sake of looks, because you’ll have some major callouses as a result. Try to get some comforters for them as well, as you feet will thank you for them the next day.

Don’t Be Shy:

Most of the time, conference events such as GDC or PAX East are a great way to meet up with other people and chat about things in the industry. Some of you may not be used to this, working online all the time or afraid of how to approach someone at an event. But these type of get-togethers are made to have people reach out to one another, so don’t be afraid to give them a try. Bring a stack of business cards, find a good conversation or speaking event that appeals to you, and reach out to others. You’ll be surprised just how much you have in common with some of these folks.

Explore and Learn:

Another convenient thing you’ll find at most of these conferences is how many new companies are on the floor presenting interesting new ideas. For instance, at GDC this week, there will be a huge emphasis on new virtual reality machines, including a team-up between HTC and Valve that’s likely to debut this year. With that, explore a little bit. Roam the show floor and see what’s all out there. Talk to companies and get some perspective as to why they’re working on a certain project. And, provided the line isn’t too long, go ahead and try it out. You may just discover one of the hottest new trends out there, even if it’s by accident.

Don’t Miss Out On Parties, But Remain Steadfast:

During conferences, it’s easy for companies to hold parties in an effort to get people together and provide a good time after the daily events of a show unfold. Most of the time, newcomers won’t get invites to these, but that shouldn’t stop them from trying to stop by.

Some of these parties, depending on capacity, are easy to accommodate newcomers, and they provide a great open door for people to come in and talk with others about various business. And even if it’s not an official party, bars in the area – like the always-crowded main one at the W Hotel in San Francisco – are a superb way to network, even if you’re just getting your feet wet.

At this parties, be sure to have a good time. Don’t be so super-serious about your project, but do talk about it, and where its fascinations lie. Have a good time with it, don’t always take a head-on seller approach. After all, these people are considered your peers, and usually they’ll provide a good open ear, provided it’s not a full-on “buy this” approach.

Also, at parties, it can be a little easy for people to drink too much and not be themselves. In this case, make sure to remain hydrated. Having a drink isn’t a bad thing, but have some water on hand so that things don’t get too out of touch. Have fun, but don’t go over the top.

Keep Uber On Call:

Finally, when it comes to traveling, being on foot can be a real pain, especially if you’re staying at a hotel a few blocks away. Plus, at night, it can be dangerous if you’re on your own. In that case, it helps to have the Uber or Lyft app on hand, so you can safely call for a ride back to the hotel. It may cost a few dollars, but you’ll make it back in one piece and be ready to start the next day with ease. Plus, if you have had a bit much to drink, it certainly beats trying to stumble your way back to your hotel room.

Good luck, and remember – have a good time! The quieter you stay at conferences, the less people learn about you. Go, talk, explore, have fun!

Tapjoy’s Marketing Automation Takes Gaming to a New Level

Mobile advertising is evolving as rapidly as the mobile game industry, which is not surprising considering how the the two are intertwined. Marketers are moving more of their budgets into mobile ads, as mobile occupies a greater part of most consumer’s attention. It seems like a wise move, considering the intimate connection that people have with their mobile devices, and the massive data and precise targeting that are hallmarks of mobile advertising. Since free-to-play games have a small percentage of people who actually pay, ads may be a way to get more value from the game — but developers fear advertising may damage the experience for game players.

If this problem sounds like a business opportunity to you, you’re quite right. Taking advantage of that opportunity is veteran mobile advertising firm Tapjoy, which is launching its Marketing Automation and Monetization Platform at the Game Developers Conference today in San Francisco. The platform is a comprehensive way “to help freemium mobile app publishers maximize the lifetime value of every one of their users,” as Tapjoy’s press release notes. The new platform combines predictive analytics, marketing automation, IAP driven monetization and Tapjoy’s rewarded advertising solutions, which Tapjoy believes is the industry’s most comprehensive mobile marketing automation platform.

Tapjoy is one of the pioneers in mobile advertising, founded in 2007, growing and changing with the mobile industry as the smartphone came into its own. Tapjoy now reaches more than 520 million monthly active users globally (as of December, 2014), and Tapjoy’s SDK is embedded in more than 270,000 apps. Tapjoy’s ad platform “drives deep engagement and monetization opportunities for app publishers, while delivering valuable, engaged consumers to some of the world’s biggest brand advertisers,” as their web site describes it.

€œFreemium app developers understand that the vast majority of their revenue comes from a very small percentage of users,€ said Steve Wadsworth, president and CEO, Tapjoy. €œTapjoy’s Marketing Automation and Monetization Platform helps optimize the revenue from those proven spenders, while also uncovering more spenders and increasing engagement and ad-based monetization from the rest of their audience. With Tapjoy’s Future Value Map, developers can now predict the lifetime value of all of their users, and initiate personalized in-app experiences that maximize the engagement and revenue potential of every user.€

Steve Wadsworth


“We are very excited about Tapjoy’s newly integrated product, especially the new analytic features and marketing automation tools,” said Domin Yoon, product manager at NeoGames. “The Future Value Map gives us a clear picture of our users’ lifetime value potential, and allows us to conduct effective marketing campaigns using this segmentation. We also look forward to increasing our monetization through the variety of content and messaging tools offered in the new Tapjoy platform.”

The [a]listdaily spoke with Tapjoy’s CEO Steve Wadsworth, CMO Peter Dille, and Chief Product Officer Jeff Drobick about the new platform and what it can do for marketers.

“We believe at Tapjoy that we need to do more for mobile app publishers,” said Wadsworth. “Our point of view is that today, many mobile app publishers are leaving a lot of money on the table in terms of opportunity to maximize the value of their apps. We’ve had a business for a while that’s been focused on advertising solutions to mobile app publishing. Integrate our solution into their app, and we would surface advertising in those apps and allow them to generate revenue. Part of what we learned is that advertising is great, but it’s not the full opportunity. Our goal has been to maximize the value of every user for freemium mobile app developers, and what this means is providing a platform that really captures the entirety of what a publisher needs to ensure they get the most value from every user.”

“What we’re announcing is the most complete marketing automation and monetization platform for freemium mobile apps,” Wadsworth explained. “We’re going to go beyond just providing an advertising solution. We knew that to provide a full platform you really need an admin solution and the ability to drive in-app purchases, and that both of those need to be wrapped in very deep analytics capability, and importantly real-time analytics that are predictive. The complete platform we’re announcing includes all those elements.”

The focus for Tapjoy is on free-to-play (also called freemium) games, and helping publishers optimize the return from such games. “Why freemium Freemium is by far the dominant model for mobile media companies to create value within their apps,” said Wadsworth. “If you look at the top 200 grossing apps on Android and iOS, more than 95 percent of them use a freemium model. It’s a departure, it’s a new paradigm in value creation. You’re running a service where users can engage in that service, and depending on how well that service engages them, they’re going to decide if they’ll purchase more from that service. It requires a sophisticated platform to fully understand user behavior and extract the true value of every one of those users. It requires the ability to analyze the behavior of every user very deeply, segment those users based on that analysis, and then take just the right action with each user at just the right time to maximize the value from every one of those users.” That, of course, is what Tapjoy’s new platform is providing.

There are certainly difficulties with the free-to-play business model that need to be addressed for any solution to be truly useful. “Within the freemium model there are a couple of problems we’re trying to solve. Today, less than 5 percent of freemium app users ever pay for anything in the app. Therefore there’s a huge opportunity to do a better job in increasing or engaging that 5 percent in a more compelling way, and there’s also an opportunity to engage the 95 percent and gain value from them. The issue is compounded by that fact that there is no solution in the market today to simultaneously maximize the value of both spenders and non-spenders,” Wadsworth noted. “The challenge is that a lot of publishers want to preserve their experience and optimize that experience for people who may purchase something in that app. Which means the idea of serving ads becomes something they’re wary of , because I don’t want to disturb the experience for purchasers. The solution we’re rolling out is intended to address both these problems, and to deliver to publishers a solution that will allow the to simultaneously maximize the value of both their in-app spenders and the non-spenders.”

“Monetize and grow lifetime value from the other 95 percent,” expanded chief product officer Jeff Drobick. “That, to me, is a really important opportunity for our publishers. And to make it easy so that broad-based publishers can focus on building great apps and not building technology capabilities to do this kind of stuff. Let’s make the insights easy to see.” The opportunity is huge, if publishers can succeed in unlocking value from even part of that vast audience of gamers who don’t provide any revenue right now.

There’s more than just analytics and optimizing the offerings at play here. “Our model on the advertising side is the rewarded model,” adds chief marketing officer Peter Dille. “A freemium app economy really does lend itself to a model in which an advertiser can sponsor content for a user. At that moment when we know the person’s not going to buy anything, we can put an ad in front of them where the advertiser is giving them that item that they want or the ability to access the next level, and the advertiser is in essence paying for that user’s ability to engage more deeply in that app. It may be watch this video from this advertiser and get this cool item or this next level, instead of trying to drive them to buy something you know they’re not going to buy.”

While mobile game design continues to advance, it’s important that companies like Tapjoy are seeking to advance the monetization side of the equation as well. Marketers need help to keep up with the advances in game design, and keep the money flowing in so designers are free to craft ever more engaging experiences. It will be interesting to see how Tapjoy’s new platform helps games realize their full potential value.

So When Will Virtual Reality Reach the Masses? The End of 2016?

By: Jessica Klein

We’ve established that interest in virtual reality is growing, but it’s difficult to say how much. Sales of VR headsets haven’t exactly been through the roof (most aren’t even available to consumers yet), and more content is being announced, it seems, than it is being seen.

Still, people can make predictions. Research firm SuperData projected that VR will have 10.8 million users by the end of 2016. That’s a big number…but the end of 2016 is a long time away. Furthermore, VR investments totaled around $2.6 billion in 2014 ($2 million of which came to Oculus from Facebook, with the rest spread amongst about 18 other VR companies), which would have been a hard figure to imagine just the year before. Plus, 1.3 million people already bought VR headsets last year.

So how will VR reach so many more viewers in a couple of years Of these potential 10.8 million users, 46 percent are expected to access VR experiences on their PC devices (“a wave” of which will come out halfway through 2015, said SuperData—the Oculus Rift has already debuted and falls under this category), with consoles accounting for 28 percent of VR viewership (like Sony’s Morpheus) and mobile making up for the rest (which includes devices like Samsung’s Gear VR).

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 for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Valve And HTC’s VR Device Could Be First To Market

With Sony’s Project Morpheus and Facebook’s Oculus Rift not yet ready for retail release (they’re coming, though), that leaves room for competitors to come in and easily snatch a piece of the market. Samsung already has a jump on that with its mobile-ready VR device; and now Valve, hard at work with its own Steam Machine line-up, has a device that’s ready to make an impact at the Game Developers Conference this week.

The company has partnered with HTC on a new device called the HTC Vive, which is set to be unveiled this week. This is a more high-concept sort of virtual reality device, capable of plugging straight into a user’s PC for access to various applications and games. And with Valve’s support, there’s no doubt that it will get a huge push in the gaming department.

The Vive will be built for comfort, but also comes with two high-end screens, so that the user feels perfectly engulfed in their virtual reality experience. In addition, it will also come with support to scan for full room-scale environments. HTC also plans to make compatible controllers, so that users will be able to interact with their experiences in real time, as the device can easily scan for these peripherals and incorporate them into users’ experiences.

But perhaps the most startling news about the Vive is that it’s not going to take its time heading to the market. HTC and Valve fully anticipate launching the device into the community this spring, with a full consumer launch expected in time for the holidays, according to Engadget.

While that still isn’t quite a full-on release date, it does show how serious both sides are when it comes to launching a devoted virtual reality unit – and it could push Sony and Facebook to make plans for their respective devices as well, in the hopes of creating demand for a virtual reality-based market with consumers. With GDC happening over the next few days, we might even see announcements this week. Sony is actually holding a special event for the Morpheus tomorrow night, and could have more details in terms of what potential customers can expect.

March’s Biggest Events For Marketers: GDC, PAX East And More

It’s March, and you know what that means. There are a slew of big events coming up this month, from Apple’s forthcoming Watch event to the Game Developers Conference to the Penny Arcade Expo East, among others. These are sure to be big events for communities, but marketers will want to take notice as well – and there’s a few reasons why.

Game Developers Conference – San Francisco, March 2-6

The Game Developers Conference has become an ideal location for would-be game makers and companies to come together. It has become the leader of the educational side of games, with a number of panels and speakers explaining their side of the industry, and providing insight in terms of what up-and-comers can do next.

However, it’s also become a spot for companies to showcase what new technology they have on the horizon. Last year, Sony debuted its Project Morpheus virtual reality technology with flying colors, while others like Oculus Rift and Samsung rode the wave. This year is no exception, as Valve is teaming up with HTC for its own virtual headset, which is coming this year.

Why marketers should take note: there’s a lot of big business happening at GDC, whether it’s business folk talking locally at the W (which is always full over the week) or showcasing something in the exhibit hall. This is a great place to get caught up with gaming trends before the big E3 event in Los Angeles in June, as attendees can see what a majority of developers are up to, while gaining information in terms of what they’re hiring for.

With no shortage of parties to choose from and plenty of companies and projects on hand, the Game Developers Conference has something to offer for all sorts of attendees. Plus, the business potential is quite huge.

Mobile World Congress – Barcelona, March 2-5

Not to be outdone by the Game Developers Conference, the Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest events to focus on mobile communications, across wearable devices, connected devices and a number of other means.

With over 85,000 attendees and C-Level leaders in attendance, the conference is a who’s who of companies, innovators and other people involved in the mobile community, checking out panels and other news that makes it one of the biggest events in the world – although, given its location, not everyone can make it, as it’s not as easily accessible as, say, Game Developers Conference.

Why marketers should take note: the best mobile information usually emerges from this event, with a number of statistics and projects that indicate its direction over the next year. It’s here that companies can easily learn the “hot new thing” on the market, whether it’s with a particular type of app or a feature that people will be able to get the most out of.

In addition, a number of cutting-edge products are revealed at the show, giving people an idea where tech may be headed. If mobile leaders aren’t at Game Developers Conference this week, chances are you’ll find them at the Mobile World Congress.

Penny Arcade Expo East – Boston, March 6-8

Every year, each of the Penny Arcade Expo shows – East, Australia, Prime, and the just added South – are sellouts, not only because of their extraordinary outreach to a large gaming community, but also because of the involvement of companies like Nintendo, Twitch and Wargaming. This year’s East show will be no exception.

The show will feature a number of “indie” game developers showing off their projects, and will also bring big companies in droves, like Nintendo with its Wii U shooter Splatoon and 2K Games with its forthcoming Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, amongst other games.

Why marketers should take note: the possibilities with consumers and companies alike are endless. Some big announcements are usually saved for shows like this (Harmonix is already promising some fun times ahead with a special “Paxamania” promotion), and people pay attention in droves. It could be the ideal spot for marketers to see what trends emerge in the gaming world here, as well as reactions to games like Splatoon, to see how possible sales or promotions could be ahead of their release.

Plus, it’s a good chance to talk to folks that are involved directly with game making or playing, and getting a better idea of just what’s in store for the next few months in the industry. On top of that, board games are also really popular at these events, and learning what type of games people are into could help some companies with designing the next big Cards Against Humanity, or something to that equivalent.

Apple Watch Event – San Francisco, March 9th

Following the Game Developers Conference, Apple intends to make some big waves with its own event, in which it will talk about the Apple Watch in greater detail. Expect launch dates, pricing details, and maybe even a glimpse of what the device can do in terms of games, applications and other programs.

Why Marketers Should Take Note: Even though it’s Apple’s first real foray into wearable tech, the Apple Watch should be huge with its potential and marketing, and that means big news for companies making applications and/or games for the device. They should be out there talking about their next big product, and how well it’ll work with Apple’s peripheral, right down to the interface.

Obviously a product like this can be a gamble with its limited charge time and screen size, but it’ll sell anyway, because Apple has no problem moving tech. With that, companies should be on board to offer the kind of practical applications that will keep people tinkering away with it for months to come.

Snapchat’s ‘Our Stories’ Gaining Millions of Views

A new report from Giga Om indicates that those who share tales in the mobile app’s “Our Stories” feature are benefitting from a number of views. In fact, they’ve calculated somewhere in the millions.

The reporter who wrote the story explained that a friend sent a Snapchat screenshot, showing that someone’s contribution to the recent New York “Snowmageddon” event in the “Our Story” section has been viewed an estimated 25 million times, with users taking as many as 5,000 screenshots of the story.

Other “Our Story” contributors have also managed to get views that have counted over ten million, with one getting a record high 27 million views.

For those who aren’t familiar with how “Our Story” works, it basically enables a collection of “snaps” that are taken and submitted by users for certain events, including music festivals, weather happenings and holidays. These “snaps” last longer than usual ones, staying on the mobile app for as long a 24 hours before finishing.

27 million views for a single story is spectacular, especially considering that the statistic is almost right up there with television viewing. By comparison, AMC’s Breaking Bad registered 10.3 million viewers for the finale. (However, keep in mind that those estimates are tracked by Nielsen, and not entirely accurate.)

Snapchat followed up on the story, stating that the “Our Story” view number actually doesn’t see an increase from people who watch the story more than once. It actually estimates that, with the 27 million views, there are 27 million people that have seen it.

The company hasn’t reported official “Our Story” metrics as of yet, and couldn’t confirm the 27 million views. However, the Snapchat rep that the reporter spoke to did estimate that Snapchat has about one billion stories viewed daily, including individual users’ stories.

What’s unique about how “Our Story” works is that people can report on these screenshots and share them earlier in the day, and they can continue accumulating views over the 24 hour period, gaining popularity as they continue to do so.

More details on the Snowmageddon story, as well as insight from its author, can be found here. It looks like, with this and other “Our Story” submittals being popular, Snapchat may justify its high advertising price after all. Maybe.