Twitch Continues To Expand Services And Reach

Twitch, the live streaming channel that continues to make waves heading into the thick of 2015, continues to expand in a number of ways – and that’s good news for both its user base and its owner Amazon.

The streaming channel has just announced that it will stream the Ultra Music Festival, a popular gathering of electronic music artists, when it kicks off from March 27 to the 29th. “Powered” by a partnership with 7UP, the festival will feature a hundred different artists taking the stage, including favorites like Royksopp and Knife Party.

“We are always pushing the envelope, working with the most innovative companies to stay ahead of the curve and offer our fans as much value as possible,” said Adam Russakoff, executive producer/director of business affairs/talent buyer for Ultra Music Festival and Ultra Worldwide. “We don’t tolerate mediocrity and our switch to Twitch is yet another step in the continuum.”

This continues the company’s delve into music support for streamers, as it previously announced that it acquired a library featuring several artists, which its users could utilize during streams.

However, that’s not all. Per Digiday, Discovery has announced that it will launch a new gaming-focused media property called Super Panic Frenzy on the streaming channel, along with YouTube. Obviously, Twitch will have the better part of the deal, thanks to an improved live streaming experience. “Our view on Twitch is it’s terribly exciting,” said Colin Decker, general manager of Discovery Digital Networks. “We’re always interested in increasing audience share anywhere we think there’s opportunity, so it’s natural we’d push heavily into a space like Twitch with our personalities, who are passionate about gaming.”

Perhaps it’s the interaction angle, as Discovery admitted with one of the show’s hosts. “Phil DeFranco’s fans love nothing more than to be able to continue their relationship with Phil DeFranco and play along with him live,” said Decker. “He’s a longtime pro and very accomplished about steering the audience through an experience with the games in a really fun, irreverent way.” (The trailer for the show is below.)

“One of the more interesting things about Twitch is, in an era where we’re talking about more and more video on demand, there is still a very compelling argument for linear video or appointment viewing,” said Decker. “At the end of the day, nothing beats great content at a great time of day when you can tune in and feel like you’re being part of something.”

With these recent business moves – and continued support for games like Clash of Clans and League of Legends among others — there’s no questioning the site’s impressive popularity. Earlier this year, we reported that Twitch doubled its monthly viewers to 100 million, along with other impressive stats. eMarketer also had its own numbers to report, indicating that there’s a huge outreach in male streamers, although female ones are certainly on the rise as well.

Indeed, when it comes to Twitch, the show is going on – and it’s got quite an audience with it.

 

How Data-Driven Marketing Drives 2015

A study by analytic data platform Teradata indicates that data-driven marketing may be the key to success for future advertising campaigns and strategy, as it allows personalization for consumers and more information for companies, according to Adweek.

“Real-time relevance is moving to become table stakes, and the quickest to move will win,” said a Teradata rep regarding the 2015 analysis of the industry. “Customers today expect — and demand — a seamless and relevant experience. They have grown accustomed to marketers’ knowledge of their preferences and anticipation of their needs. Fractured or conflicting messages from a brand make marketers seem unorganized and annoy customers, sometimes even driving them away.”

But it seems that marketers may be listening. Teradata polled 1,500 different executives worldwide, and learned that many are moving forward with making improvements over data efforts. However, there are still hiccups with the system, particularly with security issues and how some are thrown off by the quick pace of the trend.

GlobalDMA and the Winterberry Group held its own survey across 3,000 marketing professionals, with most of the findings in the infographic below. 77 percent of those polls indicated confidence with the practice of data-driven marketing. Spending for the practice also showed growth, with 74 percent stating that growth will continue — a leap from the 63 percent back in 2013.

As far as where data efforts deserve the most focus, 69 percent feel that targeting of offers, messages and content is the true vital ingredient, while data-driven strategy or product development follows at 52 percent. Customer experience optimization, audience analytics/measurement and predictive analytics followed closely behind around the 40 percent range each.

But what truly drives increased data marketing Well, it turns out that a need to be more customer-centric led the charge with 53 percent, followed by the need to maximize effectiveness/efficiency of marketing investments closely behind with 49 percent.

Here’s hoping more companies pick up on the practice!

Google Glass Poised To Return

Google Glass attempted to make a splash on the market three years ago with an early developer’s version, but was met with its fair share of controversies, particularly with ease of use. The sales of $1500 developer versions of Google Glass got plenty of units in the hands of people, but the backlash that followed led to controversy and critics coining the term “glasshole” to describe Google Glass wearers. With that, the company opted to pull its current model of the headset, while at the same time contemplating what will become of it. Apparently, a new model is in the works, according to the Wall Street Journal.

After initially shutting down Glass and its coordinating Explorer program earlier this year, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has stated that the project is now under the watch of Tony Fadell, head of Google’s Nest connected home division, in an effort “to make it ready for users.”

“It is a big and very fundamental platform for Google,” he explained. “We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us canceling the whole project, which isn’t true. Google is about taking risks and there’s nothing about adjusting Glass that suggests we’re ending it.”

That, alongside the company’s recently announced self-driving car, is intended to be made for the long term. “That’s like saying the self-driving car is a disappointment because it’s not driving me around now,” explained Schmidt. “These things take time.”

The failure of Google Glass to get a foothold in its first form was primarily a failure of marketing. Or, at least, that’s the essence of Google X director Astro Teller, who spoke at SXSW. “The great decision is that we did the Google Glass Explorer program—that was absolutely the right thing to do,” Teller said. “The thing that we did not do well—that was closer to a failure—was that we allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program.”

The attention was intense, and Google provided little guidance in terms of how to view the product and its uses. Google Glass was not a product ready for release, yet Google didn’t make that clear enough to the world. “We could have done a better job communicating that and preventing it from becoming as loud of a conversation as it got,” Teller said.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the goals of the new product are for it to be more affordable to the mainstream market, along with having better battery capacity so that it will last longer. Improvements to the sound and display are also reportedly being planned, although Schmidt has yet to confirm any information on the newer Glass product.

Regardless, it’s got a tough uphill climb ahead of it when it debuts, thanks to the emergence of other popular technology that’s on the way, including the launch of the Apple Watch next month, the continuing efforts of Android Wear, and perhaps even Microsoft’s planned HoloLens technology. Perhaps Google may have plans to make its Glass technology more affordable — though it’s still likely to be met with similar controversy like the first product, especially when it comes to users complaining about invasion of privacy.

While the wrist is the next battleground for technology, Google’s not giving up on head-mounted devices. With the array of virtual reality and augmented reality devices announced, it’s clear that’s going to be an area of intense interest in the next few years. Google’s already gathered plenty of practical, field-tested information on user experience and user interface, something other devices have still to gather. A new Google Glass, featureing advances in technology, interface, and apps along with a friendlier price tag, could well claim a spot in the market. We’re just giving you a heads-up, as it were.

VIDEO: Forums Are Still A Great Medium For Gamers

Chris Parsons, product manager of Muzzy Lane, spoke to [a]listdaily about how marketing towards educators differs from branding for commercial. He also details how keeping an open community forum blossomed into a special and unique medium of interaction among their players.

Making Virtual Fun Real

The excitement over virtual reality is reaching a new height with advances in display technology coming soon, from Oculus Rift to Project Morpheus, from HoloLens to Magic Leap. While these technologies are exciting, they are merely the gateway to new experiences — with potential to transform a wide range of industries, from games to movies, from tourism to medicine, and not least basic social interactions. When it comes to dealing with virtual worlds, no company has more experience than Linden Lab, creators of the virtual world Second Life, and that company is working towards a more compelling virtual future not just on PCs, but also on mobile. The company recently announced that Hasbro’s iconic G.I. Joe brand will be coming to Linden Lab’s Blocksworld, the popular build-and-play game for Apple’s iPad.

Blocksworld lets players of all ages create fun 3D games, interactive scenarios, unique memes, models, and more, using a huge variety of blocks and a simple but powerful visual programming system,” said Linden Lab in a statement. “Blocksworld builders share their playable worlds in a global community and earn coins redeemable in an in-app Shop as their creations are ‘liked’ by other players. Players have already more than 2.3 million worlds in the community, from great games to impressive interactive models, and there’s always something new to play with.”

The partnership with Hasbro means that six G.I. JOE games will be available for all Blocksworld players. The games present a new storyline in the conflict between G.I. JOE and COBRA that ends in a cliffhanger, and Blocksworld players will be challenged to create and share their own interactive endings to the narrative. Of course, there will also be plenty of G.I. Joe building sets available, too, so players can create characters, vehicles, and more with their favorites from the stories. The playable G.I. Joe content can be used in any worlds the players create.

“Kids love playing and creating in Blocksworld,†said Michelle Vuckovich, Linden Lab’s Director of Product for Blocksworld. “While having fun creating anything they can imagine, they’re also learning to think like programmers, game designers, and engineers – something parents and teachers can appreciate. Blocksworld‘s physics and programming system are great for lasers, explosions, and all kinds of vehicles, and G.I. JOE is a perfect fit for those capabilities and our players’ interests. Blocksworld players will love the exciting new G.I. JOE games, and we can’t wait to see the creations they share to complete the storyline.â€

The [a]list daily caught up with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg along with Peter Gray, senior director of global communications, to talk about Blocksworld, Hasbro, the effort to re-invent Second Life, and where VR is heading.

Ebbe Altberg

What prompted Linden Labs to create Blocksworld?

Altberg: The origin was actually a small Swedish company that Linden Lab ended up buying to get their hands on the core Blocksworld technology. I wasn’t here at the time, but the correct decision of acquiring that company was made on the fact that they had figured out how to make construction very flexible, very scalable, and very easy. The sweet spot for Blocksworld is kids six to twelve years old. We wanted to make it possible for kids of that age to do some very sophisticated stuff without it being completely beyond their capabilities. Ease of use and power, it’s an interesting combination.

What else is in Blocksworld?

Gray: GI Joe is actually the third Hasbro brand we’ve been pleased to be able to bring to Blocksworld players. Before that we brought Transformers as well as My Little Pony build sets to our players They’ve been very popular among our users, particularly the Transformers sets. We’re excited for GI Joe — we’ve heard from our community they’re really excited about this. In Blocksworld we also have a mix of our own in-house developed IP with some building sets among different themes, like castles, spy/military themes, cars, those sorts of things. The Hasbro IP joins our own internally developed themes within the game.

Who’s your audience for Blocksworld?

Gray: Blocksworld is available globally in the App Store and we do see players from all over the world. The app is only in English, but a lot of the app isn’t reliant on language, so I think that doesn’t necessarily limit us. In terms of gender, we don’t have strong data on that — we’re very careful to be compliant the regulations about kid’s games. One of the things kids are able to do in Blocksworld is create a profile for themselves, and pick a little character to represent their profile — we call them blocksters, they can pick a little boy or a little girl blockster. The little boy tends to be more popular. We suspect, based on that and some of the content we see being created, that we probably skew a bit more popular among boys than girls.

How are you marketing Blocksworld?

Gray: We have PR efforts under way, we have ad campaigns in progress as well. We’re starting to connect with communities of GI Joe enthusiasts, we’re hoping some of them will pick up on the news and check out Blocksworld or have their kids check out Blocksworld.

Peter Gray

Altberg: To date we’ve been fairly conservative. We believe we have an incredible quality title on our hands, but we’re spending a lot of our energy going deep on the user experience and the usability of the app. There’s a lot of things we could have done to get to a wider audience more quickly, whether that’s localization or going to other platforms like Android or PCs. But we have refrained from that, because we do have time to get it right before we start to go much, much broader with it. We’re more concerned about the engagement and happiness of the users we have, rather than just trying to throw more people in there. Once we know that this is something incredible then we’ll start to increase the reach of this app. There’s so much noise and crap in the market, we don’t want to be one of those guys. We want to provide something of incredible quality.

Gray: We’re already seeing 4+ stars in the App Store, we’re currently about 125 in all free iPad apps and 67 in free iPad games. We rank very well in more specific categories, like 5th in educational.

You’re working on a new Second Life platform, what can you tell us about that?

Altberg: We have started a huge effort, the vast majority of our people at Linden Lab are working on a next-generation virtual experience platform. We’re going to go way beyond what Second Life ever achieved. This is a large undertaking, because Second Life is the most successful virtual world of all time. There’s no other platform that has enabled users to create that wide variety of content and experiences and communities, and be able to earn $60 million last year [for the inhabitants of Second Life]. We are 200 people and profitable thanks to Second Life, so it’s been hugely successful product.

But there are a number of things about Second Life where we can’t take it further, due to business and technology reasons. So we started about 9 months ago to build a completely, from-the-ground-up platform for users to be able to create content that will provide the creators with way more scale. It will make it easy for creators to create experiences that can be consumed by thousands of people concurrently using techniques like instancing.

Also it will enable creators to sell content and complete experiences, like apps but it’s a virtual experience. We’re also thinking up front on how this will be a fantastic platform for creating virtual reality content using all this new VR hardware that’s coming out like Oculus and Morpheus. This is going to be a way you can create extremely rich, interactive, social content in 3D space without highly technical requirements.

In this day and age, wth the explosion of virtual reality that’s happening around us, and the renewed interest in things we’ve been doing for a long time — Linden Labs has 12+ years of experience operating a huge, user-generated virtual reality content with a huge economy. We want to take that experience and give users some new, high performance, high quality, beautiful, easy to use, very scalable ways for people to create these immersive experiences.

ESRB Brings Ratings To Mobile Games

For years, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (or ESRB) has been providing rating services to a number of video game products, including digital releases and console games. But now, it appears that it’ll be taking its ratings to a whole new platform – mobile.

From a report in GamesIndustry International, the ESRB has announced that it has teamed up with the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) with a new global rating system, one that would classify ratings for titles on both consoles and mobile devices across the world. Several ratings boards have jumped on the program, including PEGI in Europe, Classind in Brazil, USK in Germany and the Classification Board in Australia, with more expected to join the program in the future.

With the help of the IARC, the ratings authorities “agree on a unified process that simultaneously generates ratings for multiple territories while preserving each of their distinct cultural standards.” The system is expected to begin with such digital stores as Firefox Marketplace and Google Play, as well as digital storefronts like Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s eShop, where ESRB ratings are already pretty common.

Patricia Vance, president of ESRB and chairperson of IARC, said about the new initiative, “The market for digital games and mobile apps is exploding across the globe. With a single click, developers can publish their games and apps on digital storefronts reaching a worldwide audience. These realities have created regulatory and cultural challenges that call for an innovative solution like IARC to help developers and storefronts provide consumers with culturally relevant, legally compliant and reliable guidance about the age appropriateness of the content in games and apps they may be considering for download. It is encouraging that digital storefronts recognize the benefits of this groundbreaking initiative.”

Vance also added that the Google Play Store “is deploying the system as we speak,” although other companies, like Valve’s Steam service and Apple’s App Store, have yet to be on board. When it comes to those companies, Vance said, “Discussions with other storefronts about adopting IARC have been held, but you’ll have to ask them directly about their plans.”

Apple currently has a ratings system that’s based on numbers, or user ages, ranging from four plus to 17 plus, depending on the content involved with the title. Developers are usually responsible for issuing such ratings – and it appears to be a system that will continue to be used. Meanwhile, Steam has no adoption for such a rating system, although it does warn developers that games “must not contain offensive material or violate copyright or intellectual property rights.”

Several company heads have spoken in support of the new partnership. Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox and vice chairman of the ESRB board, said “Microsoft has been a longtime supporter of ESRB ratings. Our users are familiar with them and, more importantly, trust them. We will continue to support IARC’s creation of a global ratings solution that makes it seamless for developers and producers to get their digitally delivered content rated globally to benefit consumers in their purchasing decisions.”

Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO of Nintendo of America, added “Nintendo has always been a strong advocate of helping people make smart choices about the games they buy for themselves and for their children. More than 20 years ago, Nintendo was instrumental in supporting the creation of consumer-friendly rating systems, and now we’ve joined with other leaders in the video game industry to support the IARC initiative. As digital downloads continue to grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever for people to be educated about the content of the games they are buying.”

Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software and ESRB chairman of the board, chimed in “For more than 20 years, the ESRB has provided invaluable leadership to the interactive entertainment industry and played an integral role in protecting the creative freedom of today’s most innovative artists and storytellers. In addition, the ESRB has been lauded resoundingly as a highly effective resource for consumers, particularly parents, ensuring that gamers of any age can easily access trusted content rating information. Together with the other associations, the International Age Rating Coalition is poised to take a bold and important step forward with the Google Play Store and Mozilla Firefox Marketplace that will enhance further our industry’s standards of excellence and self-regulation.”

And finally, John Riccitiello, Unity CEO and former ESRB chairman of the board, said, “Having been an early supporter of IARC for years, I applaud Google and Mozilla for taking the initiative to deploy the IARC rating system. The IARC system presents a common-sense solution with a single standard, providing locally relevant age and content ratings that consumers recognize and trust. Obtaining IARC ratings is free to the app developer and incredibly easy to use.”

A unified global ratings system would be of use to marketers, providing a consistent way to label and categorize games. It would also make it easier to get the approrpiate labeling for each country, a process that can be complex and time-consuming.

A video showcasing what the IARC is about can be found below.

How NOT To Market Games

Sometimes you learn better by examples of how not to do something. Sadly, all of these ideas have been expressed or practiced by game developers . . . usually the ones who wonder why their games aren’t making much money.

Wait until the game is finished, or nearly so, to begin your marketing efforts.

After all, the game is the important thing, right Marketing is what you do after the game is done, sin’t it You know, when you’re sitting around looking at the daily sales numbers for your game, wondering why no one is buying it. That’s when you have plenty of time to think about marketing, when you’re not wondering how you’re going to pay your bills.

That sounds pretty silly, and yet all too often it’s the way startups and indie developers approach marketing. Like it’s some kind of icing you put on the cake when you’re done baking, rather than an ingredient that should be included in your recipe when you begin planning your meal.

Ideally, wouldn’t you want your game to be selling strongly from day one of release Sure, of course you would. That means people will have to know about the game well in advance of release, get excited about it, and decide to buy it as soon as it’s available. Doesn’t that sound like it requires some planning and work Yes, it does, and we call that marketing. It’s not an item, it’s a process, and to work properly you have to begin well in advance of when you want results.

Keep marketing completely separate from the game development process and everyone developing the game.

Sure, marketing might pollute the purity of the game design. Any hint of money or revenue will tarnish the game experience. And all of the programmers and artists and composers and designers shouldn’t be worried about where their paychecks will be coming from in the future, because it’s all about the Art of the Game, right

Perhaps, but if you expect to have a business based on revenue from games you create, you’d better be thinking about that from day one. Monetization is another ingredient that needs to be baked into the mix from the start, not slathered on top when you’re done. Look at the best-monetizing games out there for examples. Either you’ve got a price paid up front (which means you have to convince an audience it’s worth that amount from the start) or if the game is free, you’ve got to convince people to hand over money at some point. The best games are the ones where players are delighted to buy that cool stuff you’re offering. That means marketing thinking has been part of the game from the beginning.

Oh, and you want your game to grow organically Marketing cleverness can be integrated into the design such that players are happy to share about their game experiences, and the game makes it easy to do that.

Don’t waste your time on social media or the community that plays your game.

All that Twitter and Facebook time is just wasted, and besides, you’ll no doubt hear lots of complaints and outright assaults on your character. Who needs the grief Just give me your money, people, and shut up and leave me alone. If I can’t hear you, you’re not saying anything bad, right

Yes, it’s time-consuming and often annoying to wade through social media and spend time on community forums. But, you know, those are your customers, the people who you want to give you money. And the people you want to tell other people about your game and why it’s cool. Yes, it’s possible a community might arise on its own around your game, and be a wonderful, warm, inviting spot to visit. If you believe that, you’re probably buying a lot of lottery tickets, too. You want a good community You’re going to have to spend time building it.

Is that effort really worth it Well, ask Chris Roberts if the nearly $75 million he’s raised for Star Citizen has anything to do with their community efforts. Or ask Riot Games if their social media, community forums, and livestreaming games have anything to do with their success. Or Blizzard if their community forums and BlizzCons have any impact on their sales. Or… pretty much any other successful game company these days.

There’s no need to think about marketing if your game is good enough, it will go viral and grow itself.

This is pretty much standard thinking among many game startups these days, and it’s appalling, especially from people with industry experience who really ought to know better. Yes, perhaps if you’ve created Minecraft, this plan would work. And how many times have we seen a phenomenon like Minecraft in the games industry Somewhere in the vicinity of once.

Yes, of course you’re going to believe your game is just incredible, otherwise you wouldn’t have spent all that time putting it together. But just in case the rest of the world doesn’t recognize how wonderful your brain child is right away, you’d better put some effort into marketing. You know, just on the off chance that your game isn’t the very greatest game ever created.

Don’t spend money on marketing professionals, you can do all that stuff just as well.

Sure, what do those people know It’s all just common sense. You should be able to do that marketing stuff with a little thought, maybe a weekend or two and you can figure it all out. Uh huh. You know, if that’s true why should you spend money on a top-notch programmer or an ace artist Anybody should be able to do that stuff with a little help from a YouTube video or two. Who needs experts

Great art or killer coding or creative marketing isn’t something that just happens; you need great people who have the talent and experience in those fields to cause greatness to appear. Yes, a top coder might be expensive, but that may be what your game needs to get a key part of it done. Some impressive artwork may be pricey to commission, but it will get plenty of attention. Similarly, getting professional quality marketing help should be a given. Sure, you have to choose the right people. But there’s an immense boost that’s possible from the very best marketing.

Great games don’t just happen by accident. Luck may be a factor, but you can make luck more likely by getting the best talent for all aspects of your game. Marketing is no different than any other ingredient — choose the best, put it all together well, and you’ve increased your chance of a great outcome.

Counting Down YouTube’s Top DIY’ers

DIY YouTubers are fun ones to watch. After all, a lot of things can fall under the DIY umbrella, and the more variety, the more opportunities for brands. From life hacking to turning food into something way too cute to eat and finding out what As Seen On TV products actually work, it’s all there.

Sega: Goodbye Console, Hello Mobile

Sega’s had its ups-and-downs with console games in recent years, but there’s no denying the company has been performing well on mobile devices. The result seems to be Sega’s focusing even more resources on the fast-growing mobile market and reducing its efforts on the console front. It’s even possible the company could exit the console market altogether at some future point, which says something about the overall direction of the industry when such an iconic console game company is shifting strongly towards mobile.

According to GamesIndustry International, Sega has already announced ten mobile game launches for the first half of 2015 alone, and has benefited from big-time sales of mobile-based titles in Japan, including hit games like Chain Chronicle and Puyo Puyo Quest, both of which have earned over 500 million yen ($4.1 million) each.

Out of the mobile games it released last year, only a handful came across as “failures”, earning less than 30 million yen a month. That isn’t stopping the company’s Japanese division from cleaning up on cash, though, with the remaining 13 games making an estimated $15 million in profit on a monthly basis. That adds up to $180 million for the year.

The company has 20 games in development in all, including five internal titles, 10 co-partnered by studios within Sega Networks, and five co-developed and published with third-parties. And, as you might guess, most of them are set to release on mobile. Sega has been working hard to bolster its mobile team line-up, acquiring the likes of Space Ape and Demiruge Studios, among other smaller teams.

Sonic the Hedgehog may not be flourishing on consoles, but on mobile, he’s a hit, as Sonic Dash has surpassed nearly 100 million downloads worldwide. That’s a far greater success than the Sonic Boom titles, and the biggest hit for the hedgehog to date – which could indicate that future releases will, again, be only released for mobile.

The company hasn’t officially abandoned the console front yet, as it’s planning to release Tembo the Badass Elephant, a side-scrolling platform developed by Pokemon creators Game Freak, sometime this spring. However, it’s probably likely that its releases for consoles will dwindle down in favor of more affordable mobile fare – if not altogether.

It’s interesting to contemplate Sega’s journey from top console game manufacturer, competing head to head with Nintendo, to exiting the hardware business altogether in favor of focusing purely on software — and now shifting from console games to mobile games. With Nintendo’s announcement that it will now be developing mobile games, one wonders if the same evolution may lie in Nintendo’s future as well.

Just Another Day At Magic Leap

Magic Leap, a forthcoming “augmented reality” technology that promises to be a real game-changer, has been making quite a stir over the past few months, despite the fact that actual hardware (or any specs, or cost, or release date) has yet to be revealed. Investors like Google, Qualcomm, Legendary Entertainment and Andreessen Horowitz have already funded the project to the tune of over $500 million, but since that time, only bits and pieces of information have leaked out about it – and a new video leaves even more questions as to what can be expected from it.

Re/code has noted some instances surrounding what’s going on with Magic Leap. One such occurrence involved CEO Rony Abovitz, who insisted via Reddit that the technology would be good enough to not only act as a replacement to smartphones, but also all types of digital screens. However, before he was able to explain how this technology would take shape at a TED conference in Vancouver, Abovitz abruptly cancelled the appearance, with no given reason.

The questions continued to arise today with the arrival of this tech video, included below. Titled Victory, the tech demo features a player using high-tech weaponry to face off against robotic enemies from a first-person perspective. Aside from gaming, the video also shows some common applications using an augmented reality interface. There’s no doubt that the demo has some impressive visuals, and does manage to show augmented reality in a whole new light, but there’s a small problem – it may be too good to be true.

As you can see in the video, framed above, there’s a clear watermark for WETA Workshop, the special effects studio that previously worked on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. That makes the video come across more as a simulation of what the hardware can do, rather than a demonstration of the hardware itself. Re/code attempted to reach out to the company to clarify if it was a real demo, with no response.

On top of that, the company’s patent application illustrations appear to be based more on science fiction-oriented concept art rather than something created in-house by the team, as reported in this link by Gizmodo.

With multiple millions invested by high-end partners, there’s no question that Magic Leap has a lot on the line when it comes to living up to promises. And if the final hardware can produce similar results to what’s seen in the video above, then it’ll certainly be a game-changer. For now, though, the company’s “mum’s the word” approach seems to leave people wondering just what’s going to happen with Magic Leap – and the sooner those answers can emerge, the better.