Building Multiplayer FPS Success

The intersection of first-person shooters and multiplayer online competition has yielded a vast audience of players, and there’s no shortage of games that attack that genre. Jagex’s new entry, Block N Load, adds in the creation element from Minecraft to produce an unique twist on the genre. Block N Load launches on Steam today, with a Steam Free Weekend coming up. Players with a Steam account can immediately jump into the constructing, attacking, defending and destroying action in this online 5v5 shooter that is an explosive mix of build and battle gameplay. Block N Load is available to purchase from the Steam store, with a 15 percent discount off its $14.99 price for the launch week.

Jagex chief marketing officer David Solari spoke with [a]listdaily about the game and how YouTube and Twitch have been the key drivers for the game’s marketing efforts.

David Solari

Tell us about what makes Block N Load so different?

We’ve tried to do something different with Block N Load. We wanted to make a game where building is as important as bullets, smarts are as important as skills, and players could contribute to their team in their way. We can’t wait to see the creativity and invention of those that play Block N Load now that it’s live. Today’s launch is only the beginning. We have a player-first mentality, and look forward to an exciting journey with the players as the game evolves.

What’s your plan for getting Block N Load discovered by players?

First off, the most important thing to us is the player. I absolutely believe that if you make a great game and have great sentiment, then money and success are a side effect. Those are not easy things to have, and you have to work hard to try and get them, but if you tick those boxes first then every decision you make has got to be about how do we make the game better, and make sure customers are positive and happy. All the way through the development we’ve done a lot of focus group testing, we’ve brought a lot of YouTuber guys in. It’s been really important for us to understand what players of these games feel about this game, are we going in the right direction, and creating what they would like. That’s why we’ve had a pretty decent length of beta as well.

How has your marketing mix evolved?

When we initially announced it, we did quite a broad market mix. We did some YouTuber support, we had guys who we’ve been working with who support us and they’ve been totally awesome. We did a thing with Yogscast as well.

We did a bunch of traditional display advertising, we did some digital programmatic advertising, but all of this for me was just testing. We were dipping our toe into pretty much every single marketing channel because I wanted to see what really worked. We did a survey recently with 3500 people and asked them the question: ‘How did you get into the beta ‘ We saw from that that 36 percent of the people came to the beta via YouTube and Twitch, which was great to see. We saw that 25 percent of people came to us via Steam. About 18 percent came from friends telling them about it and getting them involved. Things like PR was 11 percent, and advertising and everything else made up all the rest, so those are relatively small parts of it. For us the most important things are YouTube and Twitch, followed by Steam support followed by friend’s recommendations.

We will do bits and pieces of other advertising, digital marketing and all that kind of stuff post-launch. But we’re really focused on YouTube, Twitch, and Steam.

Were there any particular parts of YouTube and Twitch that stood out?

Absolutely. We probably got 30 percent of our views with our Yogscast partnership from guys that supported us as friends, which was great. Another 40 percent came as the result of the buzz around the launch and all the rest of it, and people making videos themselves, which was absolutely huge. The numbers were very good. I hoped and suspected that YouTube would be really important for us, and it turns out it was. We’re basically 10xing what we did before in terms of YouTube and Twitch, so we’re excited by all the things we’ve got lined up for that.

What can you tell me about working with Steam?

The game’s going to launch with a Free Weekend, which is super exciting. As far as we’re aware, they’ve never launched another game with a Free Weekend. We’ve been talking to them for a while about this game, and they’re really into it. If the Free Weekend goes well, then obviously if we’ve got a good chart position then they’ll continue to support us, and that’s absolutely huge.

Most games, if you don’t get a good start, they just fall of the radar and die. So we’re putting a huge amount of effort into shouting about our launch. Which is even more pressure on making sure the game is tight and clean and there isn’t a problem when you do launch.

Fiksu: Mobile Users Cost More Than Three Dollars Now

App downloads are a nice vanity metric for a mobile publisher, but it’s having users stick around and invest in apps that’s really the key business driver. Savvy publishers track the lifetime value (LTV) of users, and try to keep the cost for acquiring new users below the expected LTV of that user. Unfortunately, according to Fiksu’s latest numbers, that acquisition cost for loyal users is rising.

As reported by VentureBeatnumbers provided by Fiksu show that acquiring users for games and apps is up ten percent from the previous month, a rise of a whopping 113 percent over the previous year. As a result, the cost per loyal user has risen to $3.09, nearly twice the amount that it was last year at around $1.50. Check out the chart below just to see the contrast in these numbers — and how quickly they’ve risen.

In addition, the Cost Per Install Index (looking only at what it costs to get an app installed by a user) climbed to $1.53 on iOS, up 46 percent from the previous year. Another index, Cost Per Launch, showed increases on both iOS and Android, up to $.31 and $.24, respectively — that’s a 62 percent increase for iOS and a huge 135 percent jump for Android in year-over-year measurements.

That can be quite expensive for some companies as they seek out new players to join their folds, although some, like the developers behind DomiNations, have managed to find success. That doesn’t mean everyone is guaranteed success, however.

“One of the big issues here is that, according to John Koetsier’s recent Mobile User Acquisition study, mobile app and game developers prefer cost per install (CPI) user acquisition techniques more than any other,” said Stewart Rogers, an analyst for VentureBeat Insight. “CPI may enable cost management against lifetime value (LTV) but it also attracts low-spending, and low quality, users. That in itself is driving the CPLU index up, since that group is the least likely to stick with the vendor’s app.”

That said, demand for new apps continues to be on the rise, as the App Store Competitive Index from Fiksu shows shifting numbers with the average daily download volume for the top 200 free iOS apps. Although the recent month report for March 2015 shows a 16 percent drop, the overall numbers are still up 15 percent from the previous year. A total of 8.1 million downloads were calculated overall for the month.

“As we enter another record breaking month, brands must face the inevitable rising tide: mobile marketing is maturing and becoming more expensive,” said Micah Adler, CEO of Fiksu. “To stay ahead of this evolving market, marketers must continually adjust and take advantage of programmatic media buying methods to spend marketing budgets as wisely as possible. Sustainable success will be found by brands that use more precise forms of targeting to reach the right mobile users: those who will engage with an app and become loyal over the long term.”

YouTube Thrives With Its Millennial Reach

The Digital NewFronts event, which kicked off this week with hundreds of companies and producers in attendance, has a primary focus on original content being offered to many different distributors. When it comes to YouTube, however, it appears that reach is a more important factor.

Adweek recently reported that the Google-owned video channel hosted its own NewFronts presentation last night. Rather than focusing on trailblazing new programming, YouTube instead opted to discuss the power of its young audience. Stars like Grace Helbig, Justine Ezarik (iJustine) and John Green took the stage for the presentation, along with other content creators, discussing the sheer enthusiasm of said audience.

“Millennials actually want to hear from you (brands) on YouTube,” said Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations for YouTube. “They are nearly twice as likely to prefer watching your ad on our platform than anywhere else.”

Content-heavy companies like BuzzFeed and Universal Pictures also took part in the presentation, as well as musicians like Mark Ronson (with Bruno Mars, performing the hit “Uptown Funk”) and Nate Ruess, as part of the musical groups that have found success on the platform.

Helbig, who has since gone on to host her own show on the E! Network following her viral success, said, “Because people come to my channel specifically to watch videos, your ad will resonate a whole lot more because they are engaged. How do I know this Well, in the last year, I’ve experienced first-hand how my engaged fan community drives sales. My fans made my book number one on the New York Times best seller list. My podcast debuted at number one on iTunes. They went to Netflix to watch my movie, Camp Takota. And thousands came to over 20 cities to watch my #NoFilter comedy tour with my best friends Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart. It was all very humbling.”

YouTube also stated that its number of visitors was on the rise more than 40 percent year-over-year, serving more viewers between the ages of 18 to 49 than any other cable network.

The company also hosted a popular after party, with rap superstar Snoop Dogg playing the DJ role. His specific YouTube channel has performed well, with more than 1.2 million subscribers tuning in.

70% Of Digital Marketing’s Spending Increase Is Concentrated In Mobile

With mobile continuing to show huge increases in revenues and attention, it should be no surprise that it’s become the hot spot for digital marketing.

Mobile Marketing Magazine reports that global brand and retail spend on digital marketing activities will reach an estimated $200 billion, which is an increase of 15 percent over last year’s numbers, according to numbers provided by Juniper Research.

Called Digital Retail Marketing: Loyalty, Promotions, Coupons & Advertising 2015-2019, the report shows nearly 70 percent increase on digital marketing spend this year, which will focus primarily on mobile and tablet peripherals. As a result, brand strategies should concentrate more on campaigns within an omni-channel digital environment.

The ability for smartphones and tablets to enable timely, targeted, personalized campaigns that enhance customer engagement are a huge focus of the report, as well as analyzing the relative success of certain campaigns in said market.

One part of the report focused on the use of mobile coupons, with redemption rates showing a much higher rate than before, and costs per redemption showing a much lower rate with traditional mechanisms, including direct mail and newspaper coupons.

Juniper’s study also shows the potential for predictive analytics to be used, based on the wealth of online data generated through consumer activities on both websites and social media. These analytics are used more often than expected, as retailers focus more on making advertising campaigns and promotions that cater more to websites when consumers visit them.

There are warning flags, though. Brands need to stick with marketing strategies that cater to an audience on a single-screen basis, as the use of multiple screens simultaneously for digital activities may not be related. Maximizing the potential of digital media through the entire retail lifecycle is also stressed, as a way to drive product awareness with their business, including physical stores.

Said research author Dr. Windsor Holden, “The beauty of mobile and online marketing channels is that they can play an active role throughout the retail lifecycle, from product discovery to product purchase, enhancing customer value through personalized promotions.”

The report can be found here.

Image source

How Tencent Plans To ‘Turbocharge’ Glu’s Games

Mobile game revenue has never been better. Along with established hits like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans, up-and-comers are enjoying the benefits of in-game sales as well, including DomiNations, which we talked about yesterday. But now Tencent wants to get a bigger part of the picture, as it made a recent investment in Glu Mobile that could mean a change for the better in its games division.

GamesIndustry International reported that the popular mobile company has invested $126 million in Glu Mobile, resulting in a 14.6 percent investment in it. As a result, the company intends to “turbocharge” Glu’s game line-up, with Tencent senior vice president Steven Ma serving on the team’s board.

“Tencent was attracted to Glu due to its five-year growth track record, high-quality entrepreneurial management, and unique approach to methodically building a portfolio of success in the shooter, action-RPG, narrative-RPG, time-management, sports and racing games,” Ma said.

Glu has had no problem seeing success in mobile, with a revenue of $248.1 million last year, led by the highly popular Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, as well as other popular titles like Deer Hunter 2014. The company also has a five-year deal with superstar Katy Perry, and just announced a five-year deal with Britney Spears.

With the Glu Mobile investment, Tencent will have more of a stake in the American market, as 71 percent of Glu’s revenues come from North America. “It’s a case of fewer, bigger, better and not a volumetric approach in either direction,” said Glu’s CEO Niccolo De Masi, speaking to investors. “We do believe we can grow our China business considerably given how large that market is now.”

Speaking with Re/Code, De Masi explained that, with the deal, potential games could be criss-crossed over to other markets. “Potentially, we have the opportunity to help take some of their games out of China to other markets, just as they might take games to China and turbocharge them. It’s quality over quantity. It’ll be one or two projects a year, not one or two a month. And we’re very excited about this. You couldn’t ask for a better partner if you want to make money off of the Android ecosystem in China than Tencent.”

But don’t expect a full buy-out of Glu, as the partnership is pretty well set. “There’s a cap on the amount of shares that they can ever own,” said De Masi. “They can go into the market and buy more shares, but they can’t deter anyone else from coming in to buy Glu. They don’t have a preferred position. Tencent has a track record of being willing to sell portfolio companies at a profit if someone else comes in and want to bid. But we’re in a great position now with a great board member (Ma), and an opportunity to run faster than we could have without them.”

Here’s hoping the partnership reaps great success for both parties.

Google Follows TV Ads Online

Until now, measuring the success of a TV ad’s online impact has been speculative and difficult to do. Google has now partnered up with Rentrak, a global media measurment and research company, to provide advertisers with the online impact of TV ads.

“For the first time ever, advertisers have the ability to see how search queries on Google are being influenced by their TV ads, in real time,” said Google’s Dave Barney to AdWeek.

What the partnership will do is to reduce the amount of time it usually takes for advertisers to understand the effectiveness of the TV ads.

“Traditionally, TV is evaluated on an annual, semiannual or quarterly basis, just because of the difficulty in getting the data, and so now we’re talking about giving them a seven-day lag in effectiveness.”

In the future, TV Attribution will look to include estimations for online engagement and audience reporting.

Nielsen Teams Up With Roku To Measure Digital Viewership

by Jessica Klein

Nielsen has been trying hard to measure digital video viewership the way it does for TV, and now it will be better equipped to do so via an agreement with Roku.

Per the agreement, Nielsen will be able to measure video ads across content on Roku streaming devices. Specifically, Nielsen will measure OTT viewing with its Digital Ad Ratings tool, allowing advertisers and publishers to use the company’s metrics and measure their audience through typical Nielsen demographics.

Keep reading…

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.


Glu Mobile Strikes Gold

As if mobile gaming isn’t hot enough as it is with three Super Bowl ads from Game of War, Clash of Clans and Heroes Charge to show for it, Glu Mobile, maker of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood announced today that it has sold 14.6 percent of its shares to the Chinese company Tencent for $126 million.

The deal values Glu Mobile around $863 million, making it one of the biggest mobile game companies around in a market that could hit $30 billion this year.

“I am proud to announce that we have entered into a strategic relationship with arguably Asia’s largest internet company and the world’s largest games company – Tencent. I consider their expertise in gaming to be unrivalled and we are excited to power ahead with the support of a fantastic partner that believes in our strategy and shares our vision,” said Niccolo de Masi, Chairman & CEO of Glu.

Tencent already has ownership stakes in Epic Games, Riot Games and Activision and this deal will allow the company to get an even bigger footprint in the US mobile games market as well as open doors for Glu Mobile in Asian markets.

It goes to show how important it is for mobile game companies to break new ground in the market. Using the likenesses of celebrities like the Kardashian-Jenners, Katy Perry and Britney Spears can reach new audiences.

Will we see Glu do a Super Bowl spot with one of these celebs in 2016

Wargaming CEO: eSports Is A Paradigm Shift

The World of Tanks Grand Finals 2015 were held in Poland last week, attracting thousands of spectators to the dramatic tank battles as teams from around the world competed for part of the $300,000 prize money. Over April 25 and 26 at the EXPO XXI in Warsaw, 12 teams battled it out for two days, culminating in the victory of CIS team HellRaisers as the Grand Finals 2015 champions.

At the Grand Finals, Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi took some time to talk exclusively with [a]listdaily about eSports, World of Tanks, and how marketing has contributed to the company’s success.

World of Tanks Grand Finals

How important are eSports to World of Tanks and to Wargaming?

I think it’s not possible to make a game, proclaim it eSports, and it so happens. First of all, we have to have a very enjoyable product, that’s enjoyed by millions of people around the world — we have over 100 million registrations for World of Tanks for the PC.

Look at this from a little different angle. It’s not that eSports will give us whatever, 10% more revenue. I think what we are witnessing now, and not only in connection with World of Tanks but with companies like Riot and Valve with DotA 2 and League of Legends, is the paradigm shift. eSports is emerging as a new media. I remember that ten years ago we heard somewhere in Korea there was a TV station with Starcraft players. Cool, but that’s Korea. Did you ever hear of a little startup called Twitch five years ago Probably not, but today everybody knows what Twitch is and it’s growing like crazy.

How have free-to-play games impacted gaming, and what has your role been in that evolution?

Two years ago, three years ago, when we were pushing consoles to free-to-play, I was referring to it as a philosophical concept. Free is good. The way World of Tanks and League of Legends gives you progression and growth is good — it’s good philosophically. It should be on different platforms. And guess what, we walked the talk. We released the Xbox 360 version, we are in the final stages of development of the Xbox One version. We did the unimaginable, we did a full-scale MMO on mobile devices on iPads, iPhones, even cheaper, less powerful Android phones [World of Tanks Blitz]. We walked the talk. We just demonstrate and show that it works.

Hellraisers Win 2015 Grand Finals

Many companies are trying to develop their games into eSports, on different platforms. How much room is there for more eSports at the top level?

Critical mass should be there. I think the ecosystem beneath this is growing very fast — connectivity, mobile devices, access to Internet, general awareness, streaming services growing to be broadcast TV like ESPN. When something happens in Staples Center or Frankfurt Stadium, other people think ‘Hey, maybe this is something worth looking at.’ If companies like us and Riot will supply good entertainment — enjoyable games, fast, epic with intrigue and some drama — people will watch it. People watch some sports that I don’t understand. Curling I don’t get it. I’m not saying it’s bad, but people watch it. Can you imagine a stadium full of Candy Crush Saga fans Given their numbers, or Supercell’s Clash of Clans… why not If they have 200 million players, perhaps they can pack a stadium.

What’s the future of eSports on mobile, and what have you learned from World of Tanks Blitz?

This is how eSports happens. You have to have millions and millions of players, preferably dozens or hundreds of millions, who enjoy the game just for fun, and then some of them become obsessed with money, the red carpet, showing off or whatever, and become eSportsmen. These guys have interesting lives — they travel, they train, they meet interesting people. They are like entrepreneurs. Those people find certain things in eSports for them, that’s why they join.

You have to have critical mass, so Xbox and Blitz are not yet there. However, as iPad and iPhones and Android phones grow — can you imagine your life without this? [holds up his smartphone] They have become part of our lives. The penetration and coverage is huge and is growing as we speak. I say why not? Classical sports do reflect certain activities or realities of your life. Horse riding,. Shooting, running, swimming, car racing — those are all things we do in life. If this is a big part of your life and it provides you this fantastic opportunity to be always connected and have fantastic graphics and input quality, I see this happening. I cannot tell you when or where, but why not?

How important has marketing been to where Wargaming has climbed, and how important do you think it will be for Wargaming in the future?

I’m really proud of the many things we did right. Some things behind the scenes, people don’t see this. Before we started World of Tanks, we were already experts in banner advertising. We knew the power of statistics, of CPM, all those things. The first splash of World of Tanks was huge, but novelty wears off. It’s not a new game any more. PR, word of mouth, of course yes, but there are limits to that too. It’s easy in Russia, because tanks, Russia, we are close to that historically and mentally. Other countries where tanks were not history, you have to be smart about it and use special techniques to penetrate the market like big companies do. America, Western Europe, China, Korea, Australia — the key point is how you combine this, how you don’t overdo it, how you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

We spend huge resources — this is not a free picnic, I promise you that. Sometimes you have to use billboards, and sometimes you have to use TV. Look at Clash of Clans and Game of War. Who would imagine some young people from Finland would be buying Super Bowl halftime ads Seriously If you had told this to me three years ago I would have said you are crazy. You have to be smart about it, some things you have to do your homework, some things you do standardly. This is a very fast-changing world. Advertising is changing all the time, including the technology. You have to have specially trained people who this is their 24/7 job to maximize the ROI. Sometimes it’s TV, sometimes it’s banner ads, sometimes it’s search engines. There are always ways to optimize.

Microsoft Build: What Will Devs Do With HoloLens?

Today Microsoft kicked off day one of their three day long event, Microsoft Build, with a lot of fanfare. There was code. Lots and lots of code. After all, it is a developer event.

You can tune in to watch the livestream and watch recorded footage from the event here, but we’ve condensed some of the biggest takeaways from today in a digestible format below.

Windows 10’s A-Comin’

According to Microsoft, they expect to see Windows 10 on at least 1 billion devices in the next 2-3 years. Providing current users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 will certainly be helping to make this possible.

Visual Studio 2015 Will Work Across Platforms

Why should you be excited about Visual Studio 2015 Because it will allow developers to write cross-platform applications and supports Universal Apps that will run on Windows 10 devices, whether they’re phones, PC’s, Xbox’s, tablets and HoloLens. Synchronicity is the game on Windows 10.

Goodbye Internet Explorer, Hello Microsoft Edge


At Build, one of the most exciting opportunities was the hundreds of HoloLens devices for developers to test out and see just how real the tech is. We also found out today that Unity is not just for Oculus, but will also be able to build games for the HoloLens as well. How cool is that

And this too:


We remain absolutely excited to see what the future holds for this device.

Nadella’s Build 2015 Keynote In 9 Minutes