It’s a question many people are asking these days — why aren’t female heroes getting more recognition lately But rather than simply asking, 12-year old Madeline Messer actually decided to put her research to good use — and it’s certainly paid off in more ways than she could expect.
The Washington Post initially posted Messer’s story back in March, where her parents allowed her to download the top 50 apps in the Endless Runner category, as part of research to see how many female characters were available to play in the games, without the need to pay for them. Her research pulled up some interesting numbers, as noted in the hand-written chart below.
The notes are hard to read, but the breakdown is that only 18 percent of the games had characters with unidentifiable genders, and 98 percent offered bod characters. Meanwhile, only 46 percent of the apps had girl characters to offer at all. Furthermore, 90 percent of the apps offered the boy characters for free, while only 15 percent offered girl characters for no cost. That’s a staggering set of numbers, especially considering that the popular Temple Run, downloaded more than a billion times, has a general audience of 60 percent females.
When the apps do offer girl characters, Messer found that players are charged an average of $7.53, a larger price than the $.26 average the apps cost to begin with. Temple Run Oz in particular is the worst culprit, charging $29.97 for the only female character in the game.
“These biases affect young girls like me,” said Messer. “The lack of girl characters implies that girls are not equal to boys and they don’t deserve characters that look like them. I am a girl; I prefer being a girl in these games. I do not want to pay to be a girl.”
But not all mobile companies are that way. The Hunger Games lets you choose between a male and female character from the start, and other games follow that tradition as well. And Golden Monkey Media has even gone as far as to make Messer a prominent part of its latest mobile release, Noodles Now.
Sean Henry, founder of the company, asked if Messer wanted to be a character in his game, complete with a designed avatar based on her likeness and full voiceover. She jumped on the opportunity, and expressed joy playing as a female character.
“It’s so fun playing as ‘me’ in Noodles Now,” she said. “It’s really cool to be delivering noodles on a flying scooter.”
Sean added, “It was a real pleasure to get Maddie’s character into our game. She’s a terrific role model for young people everywhere.”
Vessel’s written a blog post letting people know what’s gone down on the subscription/ad-supported video service since its launch about a month ago. Basically, the message is, “We’re doing very well, thank you.”
Addressing the possible concerns of creators wondering whether they can build a long-term business on the platform, Jason Kilar’s company made sure to note that early access content, one of its major distinguishing points from the likes of YouTube, is successfully drawing business. Vessel reports that over 80 percent of its “active” subscribers watch the videos that creators release first on Vessel before they come to YouTube (or elsewhere) 72 hours later.
This seems to be working out in terms of revenue, too. Vessel’s blog post also notes that the company’s monetization goals for creators have “exceeded…initial estimates.” Those initial estimates were $50 for creators per about every 1,000 views their videos get.
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.
YouTube has become home to a number of success stories, with users like PewDiePie and others generating big money and huge interest through original content, as reported in this previous story. That said, some users are still trying to find the right way to get their foot in the door. Don’t worry, though – there’s a book for that.
A new book called YouTube Channels For Dummies is now available, co-written by Pixability CMO Rob Ciampa and VP Professional Services’ Theresa Moore. It’s the latest release in Wiley’s For Dummies series, which simplifies terms and instructions for getting into certain subjects.
With so many marketers trying to shift their media budgets towards online video, the book’s release seems timely, covering a variety of topics that help those get a better understanding of just how useful YouTube can be to success. This includes such elements as Making a Home On YouTube, Making Good Videos, Growing and Knowing Your Audience, and how YouTube Channels Are Serious Business.
“From established global brands to young independent creators, YouTube offers an enormous opportunity to share stories through video, create a community, and even build a business,” said Jim Habig, marketing manager for YouTube.
The book breaks down crucial steps, from getting an understanding of how to build a channel initially on YouTube to managing it, to building an audience and understanding the analytics that come from them. Video editing tips are also included, so that amateur mistakes can be avoided.
“With extensive experience in the online video business – both personally and at Pixability – this book builds upon a foundation of deep video marketing expertise, insight into brand and consumer trends in online video, and experience helping global brands leverage YouTube as a revenue generator,” said Clampa, co-author of YouTube Channels For Dummies. “The book covers everything an individual, an MCN, brand or agency needs to know to build a measurable YouTube strategy.”
“From channel creation to audience discovery, advertising, monetization and analytics, we left no stone unturned,” added Moore. “We distilled years of professional experience on YouTube into a comprehensive resource that addresses every element required to build a business on YouTube.”
YouTube Channel For Dummies is available for both paperback and in Kindle form over on Amazon. It looks to be a good tool for those that want to make YouTube work for them.
Zynga today launched Empires & Allies, a new modern military strategy game for mobile platforms where players design their perfect army and deploy the weapons of modern war in a never-ending battle to save the world. The game is available today as a free download on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and on Google Play. Developed by a seasoned team of developers, and led by real-time strategy (RTS) and social games pioneer Mark Skaggs, Empires & Allies gives players new levels of strategic choice and control in every battle.
Mark Skaggs, senior vice president of games at Zynga sat down with [a]listdaily to give us some insights into the game and its marketing strategy.
How did you get from FarmVille to building a real-time strategy game for mobile?
Pincus hired me in 2008 to make an RTS game, but then it was Mafia Wars Myspace in HTML. We were actually working on something we called social RTS when Bing Gordon and Mark Pincus were like, “Why don’t you just make a farm game ” So we stopped everything, we pivoted, and we made FarmVille. If look in the FarmVille code it’s still called “Social RTS.” So we did that, and CityVille, and lots of other stuff, and two and a half years ago I was in Austin and I said, ‘This one’s going to end and I need to build an RTS team.” Because now I think mobile devices can handle it.
Up until about a year ago there was about twenty, twenty-five people on the team. Really tiny, focused, good people. The goal was ‘how do we take the Westwood style, Command & Conquer style RTS experience and put it on mobile in a way that feels good, feels fun, feels exciting, but fits the fact you can’t micro-manage units ” Your play session can’t be 45 minutes, it’s got to be three, and squeeze it onto this little device, squeeze it onto a phone, and have it look good and actually play it. That was the first goal.
How did you work out the balance of the game, and work that into something that monetizes well?
The game makers that came into Zynga had to go through the matrix, which is take all the knowledge you have and set it aside. Forget any way you had of doing things because this business works differently, and faster. Then we layer that knowledge and experience back in. When you can see what players are actually doing, it’s such a relief. The next step is knowing that there’s a pattern to play, and then machine learning to find the patterns and correlations that would take humans hundreds of years to find.
You’ve got to know the genre well enough to know what’s important and what’s not, and then once you’re there the data science behind it — making it free-to-play versus a $60 purchase, and then acquiring players to get into the game — there are so many more nuances than just make the thing, put it on the shelf at Best Buy.
How important are the social aspects of the game?
Somebody going “Hey what are you playing ” The organic virality that happens when people tell their friends “hey, you have to play this game!” You know the game genre well, you know the social side of it, but the community — we cal it player acquisition, running ads and acquiring players — they all form a key component of making this game a success. You can say you’ve got a good game, but if there’s not a community of people that support it and enough players to fight against, or you can’t acquire enough quality players, the whole thing just falls down.
Who’s your target audience for Empires & Allies?
First are the people who like modern military strategy games. We did some consumer research and found that of military, fantasy, ancient times — military strategy was at the top of consumer feedback. People want this type of game, and I think it’s for two reasons. There’s a little bit of a dearth with not a lot of games doing it close enough to realistic. So, first people who like military strategy games. The concentric circles that go out from it are people who like action games, and it’s a male-dominated genre. Quite different from FarmVille and CityVille, where the majority were women. We’re very much going after traditional strategy game players, 13 to 40 or whatever.
How are you approaching the marketing for Empires & Allies?
The game of of game making now is not only to make a good game, but to acquire game players profitably. That’s what soft-launching has taught us — how to do that. Beyond just testing the game, we’ve tested our player acquisition strategy. We’ve built a profile for different types of players in different countries. We put this together into another simulation, it’s a business simulation — “If we spend X for these players and they come in the expectations of LTV are this,” and “these players came in from a featuring so their window shoppers, very less likely to stay than hard-core players.” We’ve built a model that’s all about figuring out if you can be successful before you actually spend all this money.
It’s fun and invigorating for me, because it just feels like the next evolution of game-making. Before it was just “Can we get this thing to run with some pictures and noises on the screen ” Then you evolve into “Now it’s 3D, now it’s networked, now it’s online, now it’s free-to-play. Now it’s free-to-play on a mobile device and acquisition comes into play.” And we haven’t even talked about the data science behind this. We have algorithms looking for patterns that would take a person years to figure out. The nuances are incredible. It’s pretty fun, it’s pretty exciting.
There’s a continuing desire to tap into the brains of top executives to find out what they know about the industry, and that’s something VentureBeat has become very good at doing. The GamesBeat Summit 2015 will bring together 180 gaming executives from all segments of the industry “to develop a blueprint for the industry’s expansion in 2015,” according to the GamesBeat Summit web site.
The summit will explore themes like platforms (including games-as-a-service), global expansion, brands and franchises, monetization, understanding gamers, and the ongoing deals occurring in the game industry. Some of the most useful times, of course, will be the various receptions and meals, where networking is fostered and connections can be forged.
The summit kicks off on Tuesday with Tim Merel of Digi-Capital, who will provide his company’s latest figures on the growth of the mobile game market and the prospects for AR and VR. Insights will follow from speakers like Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari), John Riccitiello (CEO of Unity), and Thomas Hartwig from King Digital.
The crossover from big media companies into games will be explored by David Haddad from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Peter Levin from Lionsgate Interactive. Samsung’s relaunch of its platform will be discussed by VP Mihail Pohontu, and veteran game investor Rick Thompson will close out the day talking about the investment climate for games with VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi.
Wednesday at GamesBeat Summit will find a variety of sessions from the transformation of a mobile developer (ZeptoLab, as told by its CEO Misha Lyalin) to what sort of games we might expect from cloud supercomputing. Kent Wakeford, Kabam COO, will talk about the increasing importance of the mobile game franchise, and there will be concurrent sessions to cover international expansion, brands, monetization, dealmaking, and understanding gamers.
The day concludes with a variety of talks from execs such as Sony’s Adam Boyes, GREE’s Andrew Sheppard, and Super Evil’s Kristian Segerstrale. Attendees will aslo get to learn about Marvel’s path into digital games with peter Phillips, and how Google Play is growing from Google’s Jamil Moledina.
This event promises to be an intense master-class in all aspects of the game industry, giving attendees an overview of the state of the business and where it might be heading in the next year. The people at this summit will be the some of those shaping the direction of the game industry in the next few years, so getting their insights is important. The chance for networking with such people can be even more important, if you have something they might be interested in.
Even the selection of speakers and the topics tells you a great deal about what’s important in the games industry these days. Obviously mobile is hugely important and becoming more so, and Digi-Capital’s upcoming report will confirm that (the mobile segment of the business is projected to grow to $45 billion by 2018). Mobile is also dominating investment and exits in the last twelve months, and that pace probably won’t change. When was the last time you heard of a new console game publisher being founded
Globalization continues to be a hot topic, as China continues on pace to become the world’s largest game market — and Asia will have over half the total mobile game revenues in the world by 2018, according to Digi-Capital. Following along with that is the continuing evolution of monetization and business models, as publishers experiment with all sorts of ways to generate revenue from games.
Perhaps the most important information to glean from the GamesBeat Summit is a greater understanding of gamers, and how that audience has grown, globalized, and evolved. Regardless of what you take from GamesBeat Summit, there will be plenty of insights to be gained from this event.
Last week, the Global Mobile Games Congress was held in Beijing, China. The event is China’s largest mobile game conference and has attracted companies like Google, Ubisoft, Super Evil Megacorp and many more. We spoke to Global Mobile Game Congress‘ Maxim de Wit, VP of International about how the event started and how they have, in a few short years, become a regular calendar event for luminaries in the industry.
Can you tell us how the Global Mobile Games Congress started?
The Global Mobile Game Congress started in 2012, when our founder David Song established the conference’s parent organization, the Global Mobile Game Confederation (GMGC). He founded GMGC as a independent third-party organization in order to provide an international platform and support for the mobile gaming ecosystem – intended not only for developers and publishers, but also for operators, advertising networks, payment solution providers, and investors. To help achieve our goals of facilitating growth and collaboration in the industry, we hold the Global Mobile Game Congress in Beijing, our Mobile Game Developers Conference in Chengdu, and the Mobile Game Asia conference series throughout Southeast Asia.
It’s been 3 years now, and the event seems to have grown in tandem with the overall mobile game market. What trends in particular are you seeing this year?
Looking forward, we will continue to see a lot of potential in the Chinese mobile game market. In the mobile games industry report we recently released with Newzoo, the prediction is that China will surpass the U.S. by 2016 as the world’s #1 mobile games market in terms of revenue. The sheer size of its population means we will see another 200 million first-time smartphone users in next 3 years. In terms of trends we see in China this year, cardgames and RPG games will continue to be very popular, with cardgames garnering the most number of users. This market is very unique in that card games do so well on mobile.
Overall global trends: gaming revenues via tablet devices are now growing more than revenues via smartphones, despite the lower unit sales for tablets, and this revenue growth is solidifying tablets as a key device in mobile gaming. eSports -or spectator sports- will come more and more to mobile, as well as more mobile games will be incorporated into western messaging apps, just as they already are in Asian messaging apps like China’s Wechat and S. Korea’s Kakao talk.
What role do you see the Global Mobile Game Congress event playing in the future?
We will continue to focus on the same objectives that we set when we first organized the congress: to facilitate growth, collaboration and development in the mobile games eco-system. This is the fourth year we have held the Beijing congress and we are starting to see more and more notable international attendees and companies putting this on their annual calendar. This year we’ve had added more attendees and keynotes from the MENA and LATAM markets, so in the next few years we see the event will continuing to grow bigger and becoming an even more global B2B mobile game event.
As Chinese companies go global and internationals start to enter the huge market in China, we see also see organization and our conferences becoming a platform where we are able to connect the global industry leaders.
Additionally, we aim to be at the forefront of industry learning. We don’t just want to be an event where industry professionals go to network, but our goal is to also be a platform where thought leaders are able to share and discuss the future of gaming, and find opportunities for collaboration.
I think we can look at it from two perspectives. From the consumer perspective and from the perspective of game companies.
On the consumer side, we see Chinese consumers becoming increasingly selective and sophisticated in the games that they play. The industry is evolving into one whereby simply taking a Western title and cloning it will simply not work. Chinese are demanding more original gameplay and innovation. The glut of games has also given consumers lots of choice. So competition for users will be tough.
From the developers perspective this will bring good news and bad news. The bad news is that smaller developers who lack the resources or talent to compete will simply not be able to survive. Many industry professionals in China anticipate that in the next few years we will see a drop in the number of mobile game developers. As the weaker players die off.
On the other hand, good developers will find that they have a large market to tap and that they will be able to make good profit. The mobile games market in China is expected to surpass the US, this year and it is likely that we will still see strong growth within China. Good developers will be able to expand and thrive.
Finally, Chinese developers who have established themselves here will increasingly look to expand overseas, maybe not into Western markets as of now, but in the last few years, many Chinese companies have had an active presence in SEA.
$100 is a pretty steep price to pay for a special event, but that’s exactly what HBO and Showtime charged for the somewhat underwhelming Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao boxing match, which took place this past Saturday night.
Some people had no problem shelling out the cash for the event, but others found a more affordable solution – tuning in to live streams broadcasted by the users of Twitter’s Periscope app.
AdAge reports that a number of streams popped up over the course of the event, providing thousands of users with an alternative – not to mention free – way of watching the boxing event. Both HBO and Showtime weren’t too pleased with this, as this would cut into the potential $300 million in revenue to be made from pay-per-view costs.
66 of the streams were reported with fight-related copyright claims, according to an unnamed Twitter spokeswoman, and Periscope managed to take down 30 of them over the course of the event, while the remaining streams went off the air before action could be taken.
While quality was no doubt questionable with these streams (compared to a full-price HD stream), it no doubt gained a lot of popularity from those who didn’t feel like shelling out the cash for the fight. Many of the streams gained a huge audience, with one in particular having over 10,000 concurrent viewers, according to AdAge. Some believe that a lot of these people “liking” the channel led to its receiving of a notification for removal, although the Twitter spokeswoman would not confirm.
Despite the illegal activity, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo couldn’t help but comment on the matter, tweeting, “And the winner is…@periscopeco.”
There’s no word yet if HBO or Showtime will consider legal action against the streaming app, similar to when Viacom pursued YouTube and the UFC went after Justin.tv following illegal live streams of events. Both of those suits ended up being unsuccessful, but that may not stop the companies from considering options for future broadcasts.
Periscope had been a pain in HBO’s side before, as broadcasts of the season premiere of Game of Thrones ran rampant following the app’s launch. That goes against Periscope’s stance, indicating that copyright-protected material can’t be streamed through the app. But, as you can see from the numbers, that certainly isn’t stopping them from trying.
With more and more children using mobile devices for games and other applications, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s a focus on them when it comes to advertising – and business is about to pick up.
Native Mobile has reported that SuperAwesome, one of the world’s largest digital advertising platforms to focus on children and teenagers, recently predicated that the market for kid’s advertising on mobile is expected to triple over the next two years, going up from the current $500 million up to $1.5 billion.
To help assure that it reaches this number, the company has formed an alliance with another children’s ad agency, Beacon Media Group.
“With kids aged 2-12 spending more time on mobile games than any other age group, it’s a market that brands – even those more used to spending their marketing budgets on TV spots – can’t afford to miss,” said VentureBeat on the partnership.
There’s still a question of boundaries with certain advertising, especially when parents get involved, although SuperAwesome’s “kid-safe ad network” has gained a pretty good reputation, with an outreach of 85 million kids a month in the U.S. (and 200 million globally). That’s across desktop, mobile and tablet devices combined – an effective program, to be sure.
“(Our partnership) with Beacon Media is an illustration of the very real shift that’s starting to happen from TV to digital in the kids’ market,” said Beacon CEO Dylan Collins. “We’re incredibly excited about what we can do together.”
There’s no word yet on what kind of program the two companies have in mind, but it’s sure to use the safety protocol that SuperAwesome has put in place with its network, while exploring new ideas that effectively find their place in popular apps amongst kids – and that includes games.
We’re sure to see the results sooner rather than later, especially since the goal is to triple the numbers in just two years’ time. Here’s wishing both companies the best of luck.
While Twitch is an undeniable force in the gaming world with over 100 million viewers a month, Google’s YouTube channel has plenty of stature as well, including a variety of Let’s Play videos along with official game trailers, special videocasts and other content.
Ryan “Fwiz” Wyatt knows all about the gaming scene on YouTube, as he’s the global head of gaming for the channel, after stints that included both Machinima and Major League Gaming. The personality and eSports commentator recently spoke with Re/Code about the state of YouTube’s gaming scene.
He noted that 40 percent of the video site’s top 200 channels focus on gaming, with “hundreds of millions” of viewers in toll. Part of that, “Fwiz” believes, is due to the convenience some developers have provided with video tools. “Grand Theft Auto just put out that tool that lets editors create content and put it out on YouTube easier,” he said. “I think they realize there’s a great marketing vehicle behind all this content that’s being created around the games, and they want to figure out how to be a part of it. Even mobile games, especially in Australia and Japan, are looking at video content as ways to market and grow their game.”
eSports is also growing on the channel, despite the competition from Twitch. “In a lot of ways, it’s still nascent, but in a lot of ways it’s starting to mature and grow into something much bigger,” said “Fwiz”. “I think we can do better and do more to empower eSports creators on our platform. There’s no doubt that we need to do more with eSports, and we’re going to.”
Continuing on the topic, he added, “I think we can do more and will do more with the live product, and that doesn’t just impact gaming. That impacts all verticals that utilize it – news, sports and so forth.”
Interaction has a degree of value with live streams, “Fwiz” added, even with just comments. “The big thing you have to work on is: How do you make sure creators and fans can constantly engage in the most intimate possible way When we look at live chat in particular, it can’t just be the comment system that you know today. The way you interact in VOD (video-on-demand) is very different from how you interact when a broadcast is live. That’s really critical, to be able to engage.”
Let’s Plays have a huge presence on the channel. “People like going down the rabbit-hole, viewing games through another person’s lens,” he said. “But we’re seeing higher-quality, produced video content now, as well. At the surface level, PewDiePie might just be playing a game and having fun, but you’re seeing production – funniest moment montages and so forth.”
However, there are restrictions put in place by publishers that can get in the way, such as Nintendo with its Let’s Play stance. “Ultimately, (it is each) publisher’s decision if they want to tap into monetization from a creator and so forth,” said “Fwiz.” “I believe a lot of publishers understand the incredible marketing value that they get from creators making compelling, amazing content around their games. At the same time, Nintendo is creating avenues that they can still claim monetization and work with the Nintendo Creators’ Program.
“We do try to make sure that conversation is beneficial to both parties, but at the end of the day, if that’s what Nintendo or a publisher wants to do, that’s their decision. And I think we’ve seen a lot of interesting feedback from the creators about that decision. We have to support both the publisher and the creator on things like this.”
Regarding what a publisher can do in regards to keeping control of their games, “Fwiz” advised, “There’s a direct correlation between watch time on YouTube and sales of games, especially pre-sales. To be honest with you, not a lot are pushing on this because they understand the fallout if they decided to take creators’ money and the importance of working collaboratively with content creators. I don’t have to spend a lot of time painting the picture. What I do want to help them with is getting the right data that helps them make informed decisions.”
More details on the interview, including the introduction of high-definition video and virtual reality-based content, can be found here.
eSports have emerged as a huge phenomenon over the past few years, with tournaments getting attention through both live attendance and online via Twitch and other streaming services. Some believe that the popularity is only reserved for PC titles like Dota 2 and League of Legends. New research contends that isn’t the case.
iResearchChina has reported that mobile devices could play a huge part in eSports for years to come, and they could have a presence as big as that on PC. The site explains that mobile eSports have “large coverage, simple operation, weak real-time confrontation and low threshold” – some traits opposite with traditional eSports, which has “small coverage, difficult operation, fierce confrontation and cooperation.”
eSports will develop in two ways, according to the site. “One way is to take national brand-new ‘micro eSports’ route by advantage of its popularity and low threshold; the other is that it learns from PC games, then becomes the competitive mobile games with higher requirement for operation. In this way, it can make up the shortage of visual appreciation and turn into the professional game via building the professional player team.
“Under such circumstances, mobile eSports can increase gamers’ attention and participation, and make game manufacturers, sponsors, publishers and platforms join this industry chain. Compared with traditional PC eSports born in (the) 1990’s, the mature process of mobile eSports greatly shortens. It is predicted that its first round of explosive development will come in 2015.”
A recent survey on China’s eSports game participants taken earlier this year indicates that only 56.6 percent of those surveyed would consider taking part in some form of mobile-based competition, while 13.3 percent indicated no interest in it. Meanwhile, 42.3 percent of those polled indicated they would watch these tournaments, depending on the game involved.
A big difference with mobile-based eSports, according to the site, is that almost anyone can participate, thanks to the low requirements for operation and low threshold for participation. “Diversified designs and great rewards don’t only enable users to experience eSports, but also make them enjoy it,” said the site. “Moreover, winners can finally receive fame and fortune at the same time.”
In terms of higher marketing costs for games, an eSports competition would also provide “effective propaganda” for certain titles, “appealing to more and more manufacturers to join it.”
It’s still early, though, with room to “improve competition design and enhance propaganda and normalization. Meanwhile, brand image also needs to be built up and maintained between users, more and more manufacturers can join in, its influence can be expanded as well, and that’s the way to set up a national brand-new entertainment competition, which is different from traditional eSports competition,” says the article.
Since more first-person shooters and MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games are emerging on the mobile market, it’s certainly ripe for competition – now it’s just a matter of acceptance. “iResearch believes that two-way development of national micro eSports and professionalized competition will promote mobile eSports to realize explosive development in 2015. Moreover, property of mobile eSports will become the new engine for mobile game industry,” concludes the article.
It’ll be interesting to see where this leads, but could we be looking at some Clash of Clans or Game of War: Fire Age competitions Maybe.
Thank you for your continued support and readership.
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