Scopely CEO: Mobile Is Going ‘Fewer, Bigger, Better’

The relentless growth of the mobile game industry has resulted in the rise of a new breed of publishers who seek out exceptional mobile developers and help bring their products to market. One of the mobile publishing success stories is Scopely, which was formed in 2011. Scopely has revealed a strategic partnership with Digit Game Studios, making a multi-million dollar investment in Ireland’s largest games developer as part of the multi-game publishing deal.

“Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading free to play game developers,” said Tim O’Brien, Chief Revenue Officer, Scopely. “We are looking to partner with the world’s leading mobile game developers of specific genres, and see Digit as an emerging market leader in strategy games.” Based in Dublin, Digit Game Studios is Ireland’s largest game developer, with an international team with collective experience working on successful browser, console, MMO, mobile and social games. Digit’s first title, the fantasy strategy MMO Kings of the Realm, launched in Septemeber 2014

“We’ve gotten to know many well-known publishers and chose to work with Scopely because we believe they give us the best chance to build the games we aspire to make and turn them into huge commercial successes,” said Richard Barnwell, founder and CEO, Digit Game Studios. “Partnering with Scopely enables us to quickly grow our team and focus on building incredible strategy games with the confidence that Scopely can bring them to a large audience. Currently, we’re adding new features to Kings of the Realm and scaling up our studio to launch an all-new title together, with iconic, world-leading AAA IP, that we feel has a chance to be huge.”

Walter Driver

Walter Driver, Scopely CEO, spoke with [a]listdaily about the deal and its implications for Scopely, and what he sees for the mobile gaming industry ahead.

Has Scopely made such a large investment before in a developer?

Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading game developers. We craft each partnership based on what makes the most sense in that context and increasingly we are seeing situations where developers are looking for both investment and publishing — so we will be active investors where it makes sense for both parties.

This large investment is being used to develop a title based on a major IP. What are the advantages of licensing in today’s game market, and will we be seeing more of this?

Major IP can assure your product will have an audience in a more mature market where there are well over two million games for consumers to choose from. Scopely’s deep connections in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles provide unique access to major brands and opportunities to create compelling touchscreen experiences with beloved IP.

Digit has built a game that’s cross-platform between mobile OSes and the desktop. Is this something you feel is important for future titles, and does this mean Scopely will now be publishing on the desktop as well as on mobile?

Digit has developed excellent cross platform technology, though the primary focus of the partnership will be on touchscreen devices (mobile and tablet).

How will you market this new title from Digit, and will there be any differences in marketing strategy from other Scopely titles since it’s based on a major IP?

Scopely has now launched five consecutive #1 games on either iOS or Android, and we are going to leverage the marketing technology and infrastructure we have built to develop custom strategies for this specific IP, which will be a very fun game to market.

How does Scopely see the mobile market changing over the next year, and how will this affect Scopely’s publishing strategy Will we see more title or fewer, different genres of games, or a focus on different platforms?

Scopely is focused on working with leading developers in specific genres and developing deep long term relationships with those developers. We will see the largest publishers focusing on fewer, bigger, better releases with significantly larger development and marketing budgets. We will continue to see a huge number of releases in the market as a whole but will see the Top 50 Grossing increasingly controlled by incumbents with the necessary resources, infrastructure and expertise to scale games to significant revenues.

Instagram Users Active On Other Networks

While there is no doubt loyalty with certain networks — such as people who use Facebook but won’t even budge when it comes to other channels — there are many consumers out there that like to multi-network across various channels. And it appears that this is very true for Instagram users.

Adweek has reported that, according to a study from GlobalWebIndex, users of the popular photo and video site are also active on an average of nearly five of the top ten social networks, with 97 percent of them partaking on Facebook.

The other networks that Instagram users frequently visit include Twitter, YouTube, Google +, Pinterest, Linkedin, Tumblr, MySpace, Reddit and Bodoo. Many also user two social apps that are under the Facebook umbrella — WhatsApp and Messenger.

Speaking with SocialTimes, GWI stated, “Overall, Instagrammers are in fact active on almost five of the top ten social networks globally. That’s very much in line with the move toward more diverse and specialized forms of networking — where people turn to different platforms for different activities — but it does underline one of the reasons why Instagram may be keep to engage (or re-engage) its users through a daily mailshot. Quite simply, cutting through the noise being made inside the social space is becoming more and more of a challenge.”

GWI broke down the numbers even further in the infographic below, including multi-networking behaviors amongst Instagram’s most active users (with Facebook leading the pack) and percentage of users who used the apps over the previous month (with Facebook Messenger leading at 47 percent, followed by WhatsApp, Skype and Viber).

 

Stephen ‘Snoopeh’ Ellis Explains What He’s Doing At eSports Betting Company Unikrn

At the age of 23, Stephen “Snoopeh” Ellis has retired from professional video gaming. The former eSports star from Evil Geniuses is now the vice president of global business development at Unikrn, an eSports start-up that focuses on betting. Ellis, who’s from Stirling, Scotland, has been playing PC games like Age of Empires and Medal of Honor since he was 6 years old. He remained hooked on games like Eve Online, Battlefield Heroes, and Counter-Strike until he was introduced to League of Legends. He spent four years playing professionally for SK Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming EU, and Evil Geniuses. Now he’s taking his eSports experience and his honors degree in computer science and business management to his second career, while remaining entrenched in the burgeoning eSports business. Ellis talks about the impact betting will have on the rise of eSports in this exclusive interview.

How did you first get involved in eSports as a pro gamer?

I initially got involved in eSports when I was scouted on the top European ladder in 2011. I was considered one of the best players in my role at the time (out of the millions playing). After being a substitute for SK Gaming at Gamescom in 2011, I quickly replaced the current jungler at the time, and within just a few weeks our team had qualified for Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Guangzhou in China and IEM New York, where we placed 3rd and 2nd respectively.

How did you see eSports grow over the years?

When I first got into professional gaming, we were playing for only a few hundred dollars with maybe a couple of hundred spectators. I’ve watched eSports grow from players earning no salaries to earning well over six figures and having millions of people watching them globally, with 43,000 people filling a stadium to watch two of the world’s best teams duke it out. The production quality of some of our events rivals that of traditional sports, and viewership as well as viewer engagement trumps them. It’s a remarkable industry to be a part of right now.

Stephen “Snoopeh” EllisStephen “Snoopeh” Ellis

What role has Riot Games played in the growth of overall eSports over the years?

Riot Games has played a critical role in the growth of eSports as a whole. They were the first developer to significantly invest in eSports, creating infrastructure akin to traditional sports and hiring hundreds of employees who specifically cater to developing and maintaining the European and North American LCS (League Championship Series), as well as their other leagues in different territories such as China, Korea, Latin America, Oceania, Turkey, and South East Asia. This has led to other developers now taking a more active role in catering to their competitive community, each implementing different strategies but most importantly actively investing in eSports.

What impact has livestreaming had on the growth of eSports?

The large growth spike we had for eSports in 2011 is the result of various factors, but livestreaming is without a doubt one of the biggest catalysts for the growth we have seen over the past few years. There were various incarnations of live streamingservices, but it wasn’t until Twitch.tv came along that things really took off for eSports — we could now reach a global audience with relatively low set-up costs. You could connect with millions of people from your bedroom!

How did you utilize social media to work with sponsors and your own brand in eSports?

Social Media plays an integral part in engaging with my fans and promoting my sponsors. One thing that is unique with eSports is that the talent is very heavily involved with the community, and the community feels actively involved with the talent. There are no agents or PR team acting as a barrier to the community/fans, which can be a great platform to create brand loyalty for your sponsorships. I had overwhelming support from my fans on social media, congratulating me when we won or supporting me when we lost. I owe a large part of my success to their continued support.

What impact have you seen Twitch’s acquisition of Evil Geniuses’ parent company, Good Game, had on the company?

When I first heard of the Twitch acquisition of Good Game, I had a very negative perception. I understand the strategic benefits of such a relationship but it felt like it was a disservice to the players, whom I’m a huge advocate of. The players are the core of our industry and we cannot afford to forget that. If we are going to implement support for the teams, we have to ensure that is passed onto the players or a separate entity offering that support network that the players need. With that said, I believe Twitch, a company spawned by eSports enthusiasts, will continue to do their best to ensure everyone in the ecosystem, especially the players, will be taken care of.

When did you know it was time to retire?

It sounds ridiculous to say you have retired at the age of 23, when my professional career really only started at 19. It wasn’t an easy decision. I hadn’t yet won the world championship, which was my ultimate goal as a professional player. However, I had the opportunity to travel all over the world and living in South Korea, China, Germany, and Los Angeles. I had hundreds of thousands of fans supporting me throughout my career, and I met so many amazing people on my journey, and I had the ability to inspire thousands of kids across the world. I was ready to start the next chapter and help the next generation of professional players and further develop the eSports ecosystem.

Why did you decide to join Unikrn?

I spent many months deliberating what exactly I wanted to do next. I had very compelling offers from some of the largest and most successful organizations in eSports, but I kept finding myself wanting to grow something from the ground up. When I met the guys at Unikrn in Seattle a few months ago, I couldn’t wait to work with them. They are a great bunch and I believe in our vision as a company. We can create the safest platform for wagering in eSports globally in our partnership with TabCorp and offer a level of engagement in eSports which traditional sports already benefit from.

What specifically will your job be?

As VP of Business Development, I’ll be actively working to shape the direction we take as a company in several ways. I’ll be helping develop strategic partnerships with key individuals and orgs throughout the industry. I’m responsible for interacting with the community on Unikrn’s behalf, taking feedback and using my experience in the industry to help deliver the best possible product.

What do you feel differentiates Unikrn from other eSports companies like Proxy, AlphaDraft and Vulcun?

It’s great to see other companies involved in the eSports industry, but we are completely different. The main difference with Unikrn is that we are not fantasy-based wagering. Unikrn is simple, it’s just betting. Customers can bet on the outcome of the week’s biggest matches to selecting the winner of the entire tournament. Fantasy requires deep knowledge of the space and the players, the learning curve is higher. We also have plans to offer new betting products in the future.

How much room do you see for fantasy and betting in eSports?

Well, there were 205 million viewers of eSports last year. The reason Unikrn is passionate about bringing betting to eSports is because we want to help drive more mainstream engagement. In terms of how much room there is, it’s a global marketplace. So unlike other sporting events, which tend to be localized, eSports is a global movement.

How does this change the engagement of eSports for fans?

Quite frankly, there’s no better way to increase engagement on any sport than through betting. The cool thing about eSports is people watch in person and online for multiple days. When they’re online they tend to chat with each other, betting just makes it that much more interesting and engaging.

From a player perspective, what opportunities does this open up?

We at Unikrn know that there is strong evidence of traditional sports betting growing and engaging mainstream audiences, and we believe that eSports can and will follow suit. Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, recently came out with strong support for betting in traditional sports for these reasons. We aim to pioneer betting in eSports, bringing it to one country at a time, game by game — while providing a safe, legal, and responsible platform for our users.

How big do you see fantasy and betting becoming in eSports moving forward?

ESports is as big as the NHL today. According to research done by Newzoo, it’ll grow to 145 million eSports enthusiasts by 2017, which is almost as big as the NFL (151 million fans). How big is their betting market Perhaps if eSports is even a fraction of the size . . . we can assume it’ll be pretty big.

Must-Know Stats About Livestreaming Video Apps Meerkat and Periscope

Over the past few months, both Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope live streaming apps have gained a massive amount of users, streaming everything from their daily chores to popular events, like the recent Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fight. But just how popular are these apps compared to more established social networks

Adweek recently reported that Horizon Media’s WHY Group recently posted a large infographic, breaking down the popularity numbers between Meerkat and Periscope compared to other services. You’ll find the full infographic below, but here’s a general breakdown of the numbers:

  • In terms of who would try the Meerkat and Periscope applications, people within the age group of 18-34 are most likely, with 50 percent of those polled indicating interest. The lowest group, at seven percent, was those age 65 and up.
  • Regarding the top factors driving interest in using the apps, 59 percent said they would download them because they were free. Closely behind with 43 percent is that they’re an easy way to share live events with others in real time, while 42 percent believe that they provide a new way to see what’s going on in the world. Only 32 percent, however, believe that it’s a good way to see what’s going on with friends and family.
  • When it comes to how the apps would most likely be used, 53 percent said they would share life events with friends and family, while 35 percent would use them to socialize with friends.
  • The biggest concerns of the app are noteworthy, as 49 percent believe they would wind up seeing uninteresting random videos, while 41 percent would see a negative effect on their mobile devices’ overall battery life.
  • Where both apps could use improvement is with awareness. Snapchat, Instagram and Vine all have a larger user base across the board, with all age groups. Instagram has the most popularity, with Snapchat in second place and Vine in third. Meerkat and Periscope’s numbers are rather low, in the single digit to 12 percent range. (Keep in mind, though, that both of these apps are still rather new.)

So while the reach of both of these applications isn’t quite out there just yet, keep in mind that they’ll gain strength as they go on, and more and more users are likely to pick up on it as the year goes on. Despite some concerns with copyrighted material being broadcasted, it appears that Meerkat and Periscope aren’t likely to slow down anytime soon — if at all.

The infographic is below:

 

$1M Dollars Are Flowing Through YouNow Per Month, Says The Founder

by VideoInk Staff

Live-streaming is one of the hottest topics in web video; but while services such as Meerkat and the Twitter-owned Periscope command most of the attention right now, it should be noted that user-generated live-streaming has been happening on the web for quite some time now.

Case in point: YouNow, which has been around since 2012. Unlike its newest competitors, YouNow is also able to help its creators generate revenue, with some high-end talent earning as much as $10,000 per month on the platform. Overall, the company says $1 million per month flow through its service every month, and it’s working with online stars such as singer Shawn Mendes and Vine comedian Andrew Bachelor (King Bach).

We sat down with YouNow founder Adi Sideman to talk about YouNow, the growing live-streaming business, and how it helps creators “broadcast” to their fans.

What was the original inspiration behind YouNow?

To create a community and make a new entertainment platform available. The goal was to create a true interactive TV experience; a place where people could share their thoughts and talents, and express themselves.

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

 

Instagram Users Clean Up With Brand Deals

This is the day and age where, if a user is savvy enough, they can actually make a living from a social network, as we previously explained with various YouTube programmers. Adage recently reported on a savvy Instagram user who’s managing to make some big bucks by simply including brands with some of her posted photos.

Danielle Bernstein, who runs a style blog called We Wore What that ties in with an Instagram account, recently chatted with Harper’s Bazaar on how she makes a comfortable living (around six figures) by simply posting these photos.

“Right now, Bernstein’s rate card, through Next Models, sets her range for the cost of a single piece of sponsored content (i.e. one Instagram shot) from $5,000 to $15,000. This rate can go up or down, depending the terms of the deal, such as if a brand wants a long-term commitment or multiple Instagram pictures,” said the article.

Bernstein’s got quite a following, with nearly one million followers on her Instagram, and once she crosses that point, she could easily request — and get — $100,000 from brands for a post, according to Bazaar. She’s recently worked with Lancome and Virgin Hotels, to great success, as you can see from the photo below.

While this may inspire some savvy users to try and find a business side to their social account, there are warnings being issued in terms of loose disclosure with paid endorsements. Back in December 2013, the Federal Trade Commission called publishers to Washington D.C. to see what steps are being taken in terms of labeling native ads. It hasn’t stepped into social media channels like Instagram and Vine just yet, but it could happen some day, according to Adage.

Regardless, it looks like Bernstein’s success will continue forward, with plenty of clients in tow. “With Instagram’s highly selective ad placements, brands are definitely itching to integrate with the platform. Combined with Instagram’s propensity for high quality imagery and content, brands and influencers alike are certainly placing a premium on any branded material. Fashion, beauty, and travel are among the top categories we’ve seen so far on the platform,” says Steven Lai, ION‘s Talent Group Director.

How ‘Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic’ Plans To Get The Whole Family Playing

There’s no question that Disney Infinity 3.0, which is based mainly around the Star Wars franchise, will be a big seller. Ever since the game’s initial announcement a few weeks ago, fans have been buzzing about playing around in each of the respective Star Wars universes, including cinematic and the Twilight of the Republic set based on the animated Clone Wars series.

VentureBeat recently had a chance to chat with Disney Interactive about the forthcoming game, and how various developers are coming together to make it an overall worthwhile experience for players of all ages, and not just fans. “We want to bring these great brands together,” said John Blackburn, studio vice president and general manager of Disney’s Avalanche Software Studio. “Our goal is to create the best quality family friendly games of the year.”

The developers include Ninja Theory (creators of DMC: Devil May Cry), who’s working to make sure the game’s combat is innovative and fun; Sumo Digital (developers of Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed), who will improve the overall racing mechanics in the game’s many events; and a number of others, totaling eight in all, according to John Vignocchi, vice president of production at Disney Interactive.

However, all of these teams will make sure that the experience comes together as a whole, so players can experiment with everything from Han Solo having shootouts akin to the original Star Wars film to more contemporary events from The Clone Wars. The game will provide ample opportunities for players.

“It was very important to create an authentic and complete Star Wars experience,” said Ada Dunn, vice president of LucasFilm digital business and franchise management for Disney. “We know for research that video games are often the first way that kids experience Star Wars for the first time. We also know Star Wars is a multi-generational property. We often see parents introducing their children to Star Wars in multiple formats, beyond the films.”

Various playsets are being planned for Disney Infinity, including Twilight of the Republic, Rise Against the Empire and one based on the forthcoming The Force Awakens film, which should release around the same time in December. Players will be able to take components from each of these and create their own wondrous experiences, through pre-set campaigns and the interactive Toy Box world. (Sets based on Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out and Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron will also be introduced.)

“We allow players to create and tell their own stories,” said Blackburn. “It’s a competitive advantage for us, as this is the only place you can experience these brands together.”

A first look at the Twilight of the Republic set, provided by Family Gamer TV, can be found below.

Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars will release this fall for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Wii U.

Marvel, Samsung Team Up For Phone Promotion

With Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron cleaning up at the box office ($1.1 billion worldwide and rising), it’s no surprise that a number of companies are looking to team up with the superhero juggernaut. Samsung is the latest company to hop on board, producing a special model of its Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge mobile device that fans will no doubt be clamoring for.

The Verge recently provided details on the device, which focuses primarily on Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron man character. The casing for the phone features a depiction of Iron Man’s helmet on the back, surrounded by gold and red coloring – the same as Iron Man’s armor. There are also special wallpapers included on the device, so users can automatically get their fix of Marvel goodness without needing to set them up on their own. The package also comes with a wireless charging pad that resembles one of Iron Man’s ARC reactors, further simulating the superheroic zest of the overall package.

This is just the latest in a long line of goods related to the Avengers franchise, which continues to be a boon for Walt Disney. Last year’s Disney Infinity 2.0, which focused on Avengers characters alongside others in the Marvel universe, has become a best-seller for the company; and its toy division continues to thrive, alongside the traditional comic business and home video success of the movies.

The video below showcases the unboxing of the limited edition device, complete with a collector’s case and all included components.

However, there is a downside to Samsung’s latest device – it isn’t being planned for a U.S. release. The special Avengers-themed phone is currently set for release in South Korea, Hong Kong and China sometime this year, for a yet unnamed price. Samsung didn’t explain why the device isn’t getting a release in this market, but that shouldn’t stop die-hard fans from importing the device. After all, Tony Stark would’ve bought one, right?

 

Mountain Dew, Doritos And PlayStation Play Well Together

The visceral connection between gamers, snacks, and sodas is so strong that it has not escaped the notice of major brands. For over a decade, the Mountain Dew ® and the Doritos ® brands have been giving gamers exclusive in-game rewards, solidifying that connection between gaming and snacks. Continuing that legacy, the Dew and Doritos brands are launching ‘PWRUP,’ a unique, always-on gaming program via www.dewanddoritos.com in partnership with PlayStation ®, offering access to games and the ability to redeem value and in-game rewards all year long.

This time, the promotion isn’t limited to the fall time period: For the first time ever, Mountain Dew ® Game Fuel Citrus Cherry will be available through online retailers all year long. This also marks the first time the Dew and Doritos brands will offer gamers code redemption throughout the year. By purchasing Mountain Dew Game Fuel or select Doritos products on Amazon, fans will receive a unique code to redeem in-game content through the PlayStation ® Store. Each quarter, the featured game and content will change.

Alexis Stoll

Alexis Stoll, brand manager for Mountain Dew, spoke with [a]listdaily about the promotion and how it will unfold.

You’ve had a successful history with Mountain Dew/Doritos and videogaming promotions in the past. What’s changed in this year’s promotion, and why did you make the changes?

For over a decade, Mountain Dew ® and the Doritos ® brand have partnered with iconic titles and gaming systems to give gamers exclusive in-game rewards and value that enhance the in-game user experience. To continue that legacy in 2015, the DEW and Doritos brands are launching PWRUP, a unique, always-on gaming program via www.dewanddoritos.com in partnership with PlayStation ®, offering access to games and the ability to redeem value and in-game rewards all year long.

This marks the first time the DEW and Doritos brands will offer gamers code redemption throughout the year. By purchasing Mountain Dew Game Fuel or select Doritos products on Amazon, fans will receive a unique code to redeem in-game content through the PlayStation ® Store. Each quarter, the featured game and content will change.

Why have you chosen a special flavor of Mountain Dew for this promotion, and why this particular flavor?

In years past, fan favorite Mtn Dew® Game Fuel Citrus Cherry had only been available as a limited-time offering in tandem with the brand’s fall gaming promotions. But now, in conjunction with the launch of the PWRUP program and for the first time ever, the tried and true gamer favorite will be available through online retailers all year long.

Will you still be doing some in-store promotions tying into videogames as well as this online promotion If so, what are they?

At this time, the program is only online and works the following way:

  • Fans can buy Mtn Dew Game Fuel Citrus Cherry 15-packs of 16 ounce bottles or 4-packs of Doritos 10.5 ounce Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, Spicy Sweet Chili or Spicy Nacho flavors online during the offer period on Amazon.
  • Fans will then receive a code for the PlayStation ®4 computer entertainment system, redeemable via the PlayStation ®Store.
  • They will then be able to enter codes online at the PlayStation ®Store.

Mountain Dew and Doritos have been associated with gamers for over a decade. Do you think this association is helping those products do better among an older demographic, as those gamers get older?

DEW and Doritos are uniquely positioned to tap into mutual consumer insights in order to deliver impactful, authentic experiences for fans. There is a high overlapping purchase incidence of Mountain Dew and Doritos products, and the two brands are primarily consumed by males ages 18-34. These insights, along with the fact that the products are consumed during complimentary times of the day, make the gamer a top fit for the brand’s joint marketing programs.

Are there particular types of games you like to partner with for this promotion Warframe is a first-person shooter . . . will other games in the promotion also be first-person shooters, or will you look to bring in other types of games? Can you let us in on which games we might see in the rest of the year?

At this time, Warframe is the only announced game as part of the PWRUP program. But, fans should stay tuned to PWRUP via www.dewanddoritos.com for upcoming quarterly promotions with new gaming value/in-game rewards for different titles.

Mobile Ad Interaction Growth May Be Stagnating

Mobile ad interactions have been at pace with the growth of smartphone and tablet use, but it now appears that growth is slowing down.

Digital Ad Interactions Q1 2015

New stats from ad tech firm Fluent show what shares of digital interactions each industry is seeing as of Q1 2015.

According to eMarketer, 18 to 24 year-olds have a greater share of ad interactions on mobile, with a rate as high as 80 percent. Additionally, women tend to interact with ads more on mobile than men do

Unsurprisingly, the media and entertainment industry takes the largest slice of the pie, enjoying 23.9 percent of the share of digital ad interactions, with retail not too far behind at 22.6 percent. Automotive and Internet and telecom industries see the lowest share with .1 percent and .5 percent of interactions, respectively.