Nintendo And DeNA Join Forces For Mobile Games

For years, people have been arguing for Nintendo to bring its popular games to smartphones and tablets, in the hopes of gaining access to classic Mario adventures without the need of a special console. And for years, Nintendo has resisted, instead sticking to its own proprietary hardware and rejecting the very concept of Nintendo characters on mobile devices. However, it looks like the time has finally come – we’ll finally be seeing Nintendo properties on a smartphone or a tablet.

The company has announced a business and capital alliance with mobile publisher DeNA, which will develop and manage game applications for smart devices based on Nintendo’s popular IP’s. The deal covers all of Nintendo’s characters, so we could be seeing Mario and possibly Pokémon as well.

“Leveraging the strength of Nintendo’s intellectual property (IP) and game development skills in combination with DeNA’s world-class expertise in mobile games, both companies will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo’s IP, including its iconic game characters, for smart devices,” said the company in a statement. “The alliance is intended to complement Nintendo’s dedicated video game systems business and extend Nintendo’s reach into the vast market of smart device users worldwide. Under the alliance, DeNA will also be able to strengthen its gaming business at a global scale by leveraging Nintendo’s IP. To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U home console or the Nintendo 3DS portable system.”

That means consumers won’t be seeing ports of popular games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Pikmin, but rather original experiences with existing Nintendo properties that take advantage of the mobile format – which more than certainly beats nothing, Nintendo fans.

In addition, the companies will offer an online membership service “that is accessible from smart devices, PC and Nintendo systems, such as the Nintendo 3DS portable system and the Wii U home console. The membership service, which is targeted to launch in the fall of 2015, will be built on DeNA’s extensive experience and capabilities in online membership services.” This could be the replacement to the Club Nintendo program that the publisher intends to shut down over the summer.

The news certainly provided good news for Nintendo’s stock, with an increase in stock that zoomed more than 27 percent on the news. Still, there are some who are looking at the deal with a bit of skepticism, as pointed out in this roundtable article from GamesIndustry International.

Still, hopes are high that the partnership will work out. Said GamesIndustry‘s James Brightman, “Like a child refusing to take its bitter medicine but realizing that it was necessary for its health later on, I’m hopeful that this move will ultimately pay off for Nintendo. The company knows that its expertise isn’t on mobile, so it’s wisely teamed with one of the leaders in Japan in DeNA. Whether DeNA knows how to make a “proper” Mario experience is up for debate, but Nintendo wouldn’t have made the deal if it didn’t trust DeNA to handle its properties with care.” The full article can be read here.

Despite this announcement, though, Nintendo insists that it continues to be a strong force when it comes to console gaming. During the same press announcement, it confirmed that it was working on a new video game system called the NX, which it will have more details for next year. In the meantime, the company will continue its push for Wii U and 3DS games, including forthcoming games like StarFox and Legend of Zelda.

Many important questions remain unanswered, such as whether or not these new games would be free-to-play or premium games, and when we might expect the first games from this agreement to appear. How Nintendo marketing efforts and this new network will connect the new games to other Nintendo properties is an open question as well. Like any such major agreement, the ultimate impact depends on how seriously both partners work on it. Certainly Nintendo’s iconic characters could command more attention, and more value, on mobile than any other video game characters — if the games are up to the quality standards that Nintendo is known for.

This is an important deal for both DeNA and Nintendo, but the ultimate impact won’t be clear for quite some time.

Analyst: Facebook’s Set To Add Billions From Ads By 2017

By: Jessica Klein

It’s not just Facebook saying that video is getting bigger on Facebook.

Research firm Nomura Securities has predicted that Facebook video ads will generate another $3.8 billion to the company’s total ad revenue by 2017, upping its price target on Facebook stock from $90 to $96.

Currently, Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente, who led the research on Facebook, puts the company’s total share in digital video ad revenue at over 3%, suggesting it will triple over the next couple of years.

Read more…

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

Believe the Hype: What Apple Watch Can Do for Advertising

There is a saying in Silicon Valley that “any bet against the Internet is a bad bet.” In the last decade, you could exchange Apple for Internet in that sentence. In my previous article about the Apple Watch when it was first introduced, I pointed to the promise of this device to drive mass adoption of wearables.

While the Apple watch is not cheap, its basic version is cheaper than an iPhone or an iPad and no one today would question that those devices are increasingly important advertising vehicles. Reports project 20 million Apple Watches to be sold in the first year, dwarfing previous smart watches like Pebble, the first smartwatch to launch, which has sold around 1 million copies in its two years on the market.

So if wearables really take off next month when the Apple Watch will become available for purchase in 9 countries, how should marketers respond Should you stand by the sidelines or get in on the action right away

Certainly brands with an already high presence in mobile media have the potential to amplify their mobile campaigns in what’s poised to be the most personal media channel yet. That should be something that’s of interest to gaming and lifestyle apps such as those that enhance your diet habits, workouts and maybe also dating apps.

But perhaps the category with the most potential for advertising success on the Apple Watch is messaging apps. In the US alone, 23 percent of smartphone users use IM services as opposed to text messages or SMS, but messaging app use is much more mature in other countries like Spain, Singapore and South Korea, where these apps are the dominant form of communication on mobile.

On the [a]listdaily we have already noted that brands have started to embrace Emojis to do branding and marketing on the many messenging apps popular with Gen Z. Brands like Taco Bell, IKEA and Mentos have all gotten in on the action. If they want to stand out, it’s not a long step towards doing something similar on Apple Watch.

We have also seen hotels, airlines and other travel and hospitality brands get in on the action. It’s a great way to appeal to tech enthusiasts, high-end travelers and early adopters if those categories index high on your list of (potential) customers.

Another aspect of the Apple Watch is the degree to which it (potentially) could analyze user data such as pulse and other things and for example target ads based on if the user is resting or exercising or stressed.

These opportunities also present a new set of challenges when it comes to privacy and how users will react to this kind of targeting. However, these challenges will be worked out eventually and the Apple Watch and wearables in general will be an exciting new frontier for marketer where the players who figure out how to navigate this new technology first most certainly will see a high payoff.

At SXSW, ‘Community’ Cast Kicks Off Move To Yahoo Screen

To promote the premiere of the sixth season of Community, airing March 17 on Yahoo Screen, creator Dan Harmon and the show’s cast made a splash at SXSW.

After enjoying five seasons on TV, the show is now being resurrected by Yahoo to the delight of millions of fans. The sixth season now lives on Yahoo Screen, the company’s online streaming service, which will be the home to additional upcoming Yahoo Originals like Sin City Saints (premiering March 24) and Paul Feig’s Other Space (premiering this April).

At SXSW, Yahoo set up camp at Brazos House downtown, opening the doors Saturday morning. By Saturday night, the venue was decorated as a “Community College Dance”. All throughout the weekend, the official mascot of “Community College,” the very creepy “human being” wandered the streets, allowing fans to take official school ID photos and post on social with the hashtag #CommunityLivesOn.

The celebration kicked off with a live recording of Harmon-town Podcast, hosted by Community creator Dan Harmon. Later, Harmon joined writer-producer Chris McKenna on the red carpet, along with cast members Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash, Paget Brewster, and Keith David. Everyone was introduced to the fans by Yahoo CMO Kathy Savitt before the sneak peek of the first episode of the new season was screened, closing out with the Community College Dance after-party.

The cast later discussed the big move to Yahoo Screen on a panel at the convention center. Among the big announcements made at the panel was the widely-popular news from Dan Harmon that a new paintball episode will air during the new season, a piece of info that garnered over 35k likes on Facebook.

Community premieres today with episodes 1 and 2 on Yahoo Screen, with all new episodes airing every Tuesday. Follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Yahoo: Native Ads Helping With Branded Search

Creating a new revenue base for advertising can be a tricky business, as sometimes companies have to bet on new techniques in favor of effective ones to increase its audience. In this case, Yahoo has taken such an approach with native ads, with its Gemini platform using both mobile search and in-stream/native display ads as a way to reach out to marketers. However, this appears to have paid off, according to a report from Marketing Land.

During a recent IAB event based in Phoenix, Arizona, Yahoo provided details on consumer research regarding native ad consumer claims. The company stated that 60 percent of consumers who use Yahoo services “feel positive about native ads.”

Through the chart above, it’s easy to see what marketers are effectively buying into for the year, and display continues to lead the charge with 87 percent, followed by social with 85 percent. However, the big notable change is with the native part of the chart, as it shows an increase from last year, going up from 70 percent to 79 percent.

The 614 Group recently found that 69 percent of marketers see native ads as a valued asset, and a following July 2014 study of “Advertiser Perceptions” indicated that 80 percent of advertisers were intending to use some form of native advertising within its program.

Another chart, pictured above, indicates that Yahoo saw an impressive 3.6 times increase in branded search activity through native ads, up from 56 percent to 204 percent. In addition, advertiser site viewthrough also saw a boost, nearly four times to 181 percent.

Fully integrated native ads appear to be the most effective, as Yahoo estimated that four seconds is the average time spent per article, and 3.2 seconds are spent per ad. That indicates 83 percent of time spent looking at a native ad, along with the article.

In addition, eMarketer has noted that the market for native ads in general will see a healthy boost, as it will be worth nearly $5 billion in just a couple years’ time, by the end of 2017.

More findings on the report can be found here.

‘Titanfall’ Franchise Ready To Shake Up Multiplatform

Just over a year ago, Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts launched Titanfall, a highly popular multiplayer shooter game for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC that generated a great interest in the video game world – despite the fact that it never came to the best-selling PlayStation 4 platform. However, if the latest business decision by Respawn is any indication, this issue will soon be resolved.

Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella confirmed that the sequel, Titanfall 2, is in the works, and, for the first time, it will make its way to the PlayStation 4 console, along with Xbox One and PC. This comes as a sigh of relief to many Sony system owners who missed out on the first game.

“I guess EA announced a sequel, so I could play coy and pretend I don’t know anything about it, or… yeah. So we’re working on a sequel,” Zampella explained to GamesIndustry International. “No official name yet, but we’re working on that. That’s the main focus but we’re starting up a second team and doing some smaller stuff too. Small, exploratory, taking it slow! It’ll be multiplatform.”

When it came to missing out on the opportunity to make the original Titanfall multiplatform, Respawn COO Dusty Welch explained, “It would have been prohibitive to do that — we definitely made the right choices for the right reasons — but if you’re saying what would we have liked to have done The opportunity to be multiplatform could have made it even more significant for us.”

However, with Titanfall 2, Respawn appears to have better ideas with the franchise, introducing PlayStation fans into the fold while keeping loyal Xbox One and PC gamers coming back for more. It’s a sharp business move, especially considering that most of EA’s franchises these days, like tomorrow’s release of Battlefield Hardline, end up on more than one platform.

There’s no release date on Titanfall 2 just yet, but some details could be revealed as soon as June, when EA will be out in full force at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. So, suffice to say, fans should prepare to Titanfall.

New Video App ‘Stre.am’ Enters the Live-Streaming Scene

By: Jessica Klein

As Twitter ended Meerkat’s use of its social graph this past weekend, a new streaming video app entered the scene at SXSW.

Stream (stylized: “Stre.am”), a video app available on iOS and Android devices, offers functions similar to Meerkat and other competitors in the streaming app space, such as Snapchat and Vine. Like Snapchat, Stream lets users save videos “Reels” for 24 hours (akin to Snapchat’s “Stories”), which they can share with their friends and can run from anywhere between three to 15 seconds. Videos shot on the platform can often look like Vines, as they allow for lots of quick cuts.

More like Meerkat, Stream lets users shoot and share real-time video accompanied by a live chat. A “hide” feature lets users shift their focus back to video from the chat at any time.

Read more…

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

 

Tanya D: Struggles For Women In The Video Game Industry

A few weeks ago, [a]listdaily ran an article explaining how involvement of women in the video game industry was growing, with a 52 percent chunk of overall gamers consisting of women. We also briefly talked about prominent women in the industry, including Jade Raymond and Amy Hennig.

What we didn’t elaborate on, however, was the struggle that many women face finding such a place in said industry. GamerGate (which continues to be an ongoing – and very ugly – issue), along with acceptance in eSports and development circles, are incredible hurdles – and a few industry peers stated that the previous article didn’t go nearly in depth on these issues.

This past Friday, we spoke with EA’s Bianca Anderson on several subjects revolving around women in the industry. Today, we’re continuing our study of women in the game industry, as we had a chance to chat with #INeedDiverseGames hashtag creator Tanya D. about a number of different subjects, including the controversial GamerGate.

First off, what do you think is the main problem with acceptance of women in the industry? Do you think it’s just some guys accepting the “he-man woman hater’s club” logic, or is it something deeper?

I think it’s twofold, one is realizing that men don’t hate women in the industry for the fact they are women, that’s never really it. It’s the insidious and almost unseen ways in which gaming has been normalized as the domain of boys and men, not women and girls. There’s not been a lot of pushback on the idea that women don’t make or play games, at least none that I’ve seen discussed as publicly as it’s been over the last year or so.

There is also a sense of entitlement, that THIS IS MINE, it will always be mine and you cannot have it. The idea that women are not real gamers, despite all evidence to the contrary. The idea that women aren’t real gamers because they are casuals, or only play Candy Crush on their iPhones.

That’s kind of hilarious, considering some of the most go hard, go home gamers I know are women. There’s also an element of toxic masculinity at play when you look at how women are treated, this idea that the mere presence of women in the industry is a threat to it, that there’s some fallacious secret agenda to paint the industry pink, get rid of FPS games and make it all rainbows with glitter. It’s ridiculous.

It’s why I’m glad there are women like Brenda Romero and Robin Hunicke who are doing such great work. Brenda has been in the industry since 1981! So women are in the industry, and they are not going anywhere. The hard part is getting more women in, getting them in visible roles and knowing they are present as heroes to girls and women who want to get into the industry.

With eSports, some male gamers have expressed disinterest in seeing females in their hobby (and even went as far as saying they would “rape” them, as one player said a little while back), while some companies feel that having separate tournaments for the groups is the answer. What’s your take on this?

It’s ridiculous, especially that anyone would entertain the idea that players should be reduced to segregation to keep the peace. If someone is at the skill level to compete professionally, then they have reached that level through hard work, lots of practice and skill; they deserve to compete on a fair playing field. If a male identified player can’t take that, then maybe they should reconsider their stance on competition.

Do you feel that certain male gamers are intimidated by the strength of female gamers, or do you think they just refuse to shake the notion that it’s a “man’s world” when it comes to their approach to games?

That’s a fine line to balance on, no matter how I reply I’m sure there will be at least NOT ALL MEN from the audience. But, I think it’s a bit of both, some male gamers probably don’t like the idea that a woman is as good as or better than they are at something they consider their domain. As long as they can’t wrap their heads around the idea that a woman can hold her own at (game of choice); then things won’t change. There needs to be a cultural shift in how people view gaming as a guy’s thing.

Do you think companies should just let loose and have tournaments where all players are welcome?

If they meet the skill level required, yes. If I work hard and get to competition ready skill level Yes, I should be able to compete against anyone of the same caliber.

GamerGate is a rather ugly subject — and it’s exploded beyond the original argument over ethics in gamer journalism. As a result, certain women in the industry were affected, such as Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu. Why do you think things have gotten so far out of hand with the death threats and what not?

It was never about ethics, let’s get that straight. In part, I think it’s because those targeted did not lie down and take the threats or go meekly off into the ether and let themselves be pushed out of the industry as game makers/gaming as consumers. It’s ridiculous that anyone speaking up for diversity and inclusion has to literally fear for their lives because of a hate mob. There’s been a slow decline of discourse online for the last few years, look at how people respond to things they don’t like, game delayed Threaten the devs, call them names and harass them.

Another reason I think it’s gotten out of hand is because people separate online interaction with in person interaction. They relegate it to the box of “not real”, and think it’s only the Internet! Stop taking it so seriously, come on no one would actually do that would they But Internet threats are serious, when people’s personal information is put out there for the purpose of harassment it’s no longer just the Internet. When you get someone posting YouTube videos of how they plan to murder a game dev It’s not just an Internet troll, that’s red flags, code red, I am in danger.

There’s a component of sexism as well. People are fast to dismiss women as emotional, hysterical, etc. when they point out something that is a threat. They are treated as if they should be glad of any attention that comes their way, and what ungrateful bitches they are if they push back! Woman with an opinion No we can’t have that! There’s also toxic masculinity at hand, again. The idea that men are master of all they survey and if women won’t behave in a proscribed way then they are asking for it, by somehow daring to speak up.

I mean look at Chris Kluwe, John Scalzi, Seth Rogen. All men who spoke out against GamerGate, what’s the worst that happened to them A few people attempting to harass, Kluwe got doxxed and people threatened not to buy Scalzi’s work, and there was some “disappointment” that Rogen wasn’t down with the GG. But none of them are in danger of being killed, or getting constantly harassed.

Do you think social media makes it too easy for certain male gamers to “lash out”? It seems like Twitter’s lack of punishment for certain threats may not be helping, especially where Zoe and Brianna are concerned.

Yes, reference above answer. Reference the way you can’t use the hashtag to point out their continued harassment without becoming a target yourself or even mentioning them without getting your TL jammed with commentary. Without blockbot and blocktogether, I wouldn’t probably continue to do the work I do under #INeedDiverseGames.

We’re seeing more and more women enter into prominent roles in the game industry, like Jade Raymond breaking away from Ubisoft in the hopes of pursuing her own goals. Do you feel that more can be done to welcome them within said industry?

Yes, and this is something that needs to happen in gaming culture, not just the industry. Women and girls need to be kept in STEM fields, computer science and engineering. Women and girls need to be kept on those paths so they don’t get discouraged. Those that make it through need to be promoted to visible leadership positions. Especially needed are more women programmers.

Do you have any advice for those that want to take a crack at entering the video game industry?

As I don’t actually work in the industry, not sure how practical this is but here’s my two cents. Go to IGDA (International Game Developers Association) meetings and events, network. Use your university/high school resources. Seek out mentorship. Don’t be afraid of putting yourself and your work out there. If you can, go to GDC under the student rate. Seek out women in gaming, and keep at it.

Finally, The Guardian recently reported that 52 percent of the industry is made up of women, but it doesn’t seem to realize the growing stature of that audience. Why do you think that is, and do you think something could be done to change that, so more people could see their roles in the industry?

Again, I’m answering as a game consumer not as an industry person. This shift needs to come slowly but steadily from the ground up. People need to stop assuming all women who game are casual players, and the idea that casual gamers aren’t real gamers needs to end. Reference earlier points as to why people assume women don’t game, or better yet assume that they are all playing Candy Crush and not Halo, or Street Fighter or Destiny. We need a cultural shift and that means people need to speak up when they see the argument that women don’t game. Actually listen to the women in the field, many of their voices are going unheard except for a few.

You can follow Tanya D. on Twitter here. Make sure to follow the #INeedDiverseGames hashtag for more insight.