Internet Of Things Is Already Working For Marketers

The Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices are becoming a bigger part of the marketing picture, with more companies utilizing them to get a better idea of how campaigns work, as well as customer preferences, according to a new report from eMarketer.
In a July 2015 study put together by 2nd Watch, almost six in ten U.S. IT and business executives said they utilize machine data and the Internet of Things devices for digital marketing. That said, it’s still somewhat in the beginning stages, as two-thirds of users are still getting used to the practice.

As you can see from the chart above, there are many factors that benefit from using both data and IoT for marketing purposes. The main one appears to be getting a better understanding of what customers want in terms of preference, although being able to power new campaigns and promotions, as well as improving web and mobile applications, also play a part. All three factor together to get the highest vote on the overall chart.

These efforts seem to be paying off as well, with 43 percent of those polled saying these methods have been greatly successful when it comes to consumer engagement and meeting generation goals. 27 percent of those polled went even further, saying it was “extremely effective,” as indicated by the chart below.

On top of that, the International Data Corporation states that adoption levels are picking up, with IoT-related sales reaching $660 billion last year worldwide, with a forecast leading up to $1.70 trillion by 2020 — not even including traditional electronic devices like desktops and smartphones.

There’s more to the marketing picture beyond that as well. A new report from Marketo breaks down results from 500 high-level marketing executives, looking at three main factors — driving engagement, experience and revenue. Some of the results are compiled here, but we’ve broken them down below.

  • Over 80 percent of all marketers say that their organizations will need to undergo dramatic changes in order to keep up with increased technical and consumer demands 68 percent of marketers feel they are viewed as a cost center today; however that is going to shift dramatically. In fact, in three to five years, 80% of marketers say they will be seen as driving revenue for their companies
  • While roughly a third of all marketers say they own the customer relationship and engagement today, that shifts dramatically in three to five years as nearly 75 percent (!) of marketers say that they will own end-to-end customer engagement
  • Marketers’ #1 investment over the next 12 months is in making a shift to digital marketing and engagement; perhaps not surprisingly, they also say that the top 2 areas of skill development in their organizations are in the areas of Marketing operations/technology and digital engagement.
  • The importance of data and technology to make these shifts can’t be understated with more than 80% of marketers saying they will use data and technology to connect with customers and engage them in a conversation to build advocacy and trust over the next three years.

Vine: A Sleeping Giant?

It’s funny how competition looks like it’s ready to destroy a certain aspect of the market, but often that market somehow manages to thrive. Even in the face of the more popular Snapchat, the video format Vine is still finding a way to hold on to an audience.

A report from Quartz explains that Vine, which originally launched in early 2013, has had some of its buzz wear off since its release, but it’s still managed to emerge as an “Instagram-for-video” format that consumers continue to turn to, despite growing competition from other companies.

Vine continues to hold an audience of more than 100 million people monthly across the web, with more than 1.5 billion “loops” (video views) created on a daily basis. It continues to be in the top 100 free iPhone apps across 13 countries (per details from App Annie), and holds well over Tinder and Shazam in U.S. rankings.

The app draws unique visitors as well. comScore indicates that the video service gained 34.5 million unique visitors in the US for June across both desktop and mobile devices — that’s on the same level as Snapchat, which has grown immensely since its introduction some time back.

As you can see from the chart, Vine thrived for months with around 35 to 40 million viewers, only to drop back a bit in April and allow Snapchat to catch up. However, for June, you can see they’re running neck-and-neck, indicating that the buzz behind Vine could be building again, despite its limited six-second format.

Most of Vine’s success comes from its simplicity, since it works well across the board on Twitter and other social media outlets. Vine also has a fair share of partners, including, which consistently posts clips from baseball games that it considers highlights. For instance, this recent clip shows that a fan will go to any extent to chase after a fly ball.

Vines also seem to fit some audience tastes when it comes to being mobile-native, as people can easily watch the videos on a smartphone or equally small-screen device, like the Apple Watch.

Viners, or video creators for the service, have also thrived with a number of creative clips, including micro-skits (comedy) and quick musical clips. This humorous clip shows a woman getting used to a roller board, only to find others have mastered it well before her. Lele Pons, the submitter of said clip, manages to see six billion cumulative loops on a regular basis. Other creators like Logan Paul and KingBach have thrived as well.

While Vine doesn’t create a payable network along the same lines as YouTube and Twitch, it still becomes a fun playground for these users, and enables them to generate millions of views through buzz and sharing. There’s also a big outpour of community as well, with thousands of commenters talking about the clips.

Vine can also be a good place for a trend to emerge, like with Kayla “Peaches Monroee” Newman’s clip that indicated that her eyebrows were “on fleek.” As you can see from the chart below, that clip’s popularity has taken off like a rocket.

“It’s not just about shouting into a dark hole,” said Jason Mante, Vine’s head of user experience. “People are putting themselves on Vine — and putting content and ideas and stories onto Vine — knowing that there’s so much potential for millions of people to see this thing.”

More information about Vine’s return to success (well, it never really left, but it’s thriving) can be found here.

Advertaining The Masses

As advertising saturated media, consumers learned to tune out overt appeals to buy products. That natural immune response led marketers to look for ways to break through with advertising and brand messages, and the result has been an ever-expanding array of creative marketing. This is no longer a creative fringe idea for marketers — it’s part of the standard arsenal every marketer should be using.

Of course, the hybridization of entertainment and marketing operates on many levels, with many variations. It’s not a cut-and-dried, standardized process — and in that, it’s much more similar to entertainment. Sure, there are broad forms, but the creativity being used by marketers is endless. The appetite of companies for successful content-based marketing seems to be endless, as long as it drives results. Now we’ve moved into a zone where the creation of content and the creation of marketing for that content are hard to separate.

“I believe the biggest entertainment brands of the future will be built on mobile first, with many starting as mobile games,” declared Andrew Stalbow, co-founder and CEO of Seriously, which has launched the very successful Best Fiends mobile game. Stalbow knows plenty about the intersection of entertainment and marketing, having been instrumental while working at 20th Century Fox in bringing together Rovio with Fox’s movie Rio, resulting in Angry Birds Rio.

“The Angry Birds Rio game was launched three weeks ahead of the movie and, with 20 million downloads ahead of what turned out to be a successful movie release, we saw data that showed the game had been the most powerful piece of marketing in the campaign for key demos,” recalled Stalbow in an article on Medium. Twenty or thirty years ago, games based on movies were seen as generally the worst quality of games. Now, we’re seeing games as an integral part of the marketing mix — and something that can be the biggest factor in helping keep a major franchise going for years.

“Many brands use owned media, or work with celebrities,” noted ad exec Mike Wiese in a Forbes article. “But marketers like Vans with the Warped Tour, or P&G with the People’s Choice Awards, see marketing as an investment in developing an audience to help build their own entertainment brands and loyalty for their products. ”

One of the hottest trends in game marketing these days is something many people don’t even realize is marketing — livestreaming games. What makes this even more interesting is that for the most part, livestreams are not created or directed or controlled by the game companies. This is entirely user-generated content, where someone plays a game and streams it to the world because they enjoy it — or they are really good at, or great at making commentary over not-very-good game playing. Savvy companies are reaping a great marketing benefit by letting this occur, with millions of views and millions of viewers getting engaged and caught up in a brand.

It’s not all livestreaming, either. Much of this marketing content is recorded and kept on YouTube. The clearest example of this is Minecraft, which regularly grabs over 4 billion views per month on YouTube. Millions of Minecraft viewers spend long hours absorbing these videos, and then playing more Minecraft — and evangelizing Minecraft to their friends. Influencers like PewDiePie are helping many different games by showcasing them to their audiences of tens of millions, even when these videos are not necessarily complementary to a game or show a game in the best possible light.

Some companies, like Nintendo, have tried to exert control over user-created videos, wanting a share in the revenue influencers generate and some measure of control over what games are played and how they are presented. The result has been some influencers (like PewDiePie) turning away from using Nintendo games, thus depriving Nintendo of a great deal of attention and awareness.

The growth of advertainment has led to many successes, and the broad array of options for getting content to people has greatly aided this. The powerful amplifying effect of social media can bring small or large marketing content to an amazing audience in a brief amount of time. Look at the success of Red Bull’s videos, and the collaboration with GoPro to create some astonishing videos. Or how Dodge was able to boost Durango sales by more than 40 percent with an adroit use of Will Ferrell in a series of videos.

We’re now even seeing brand advertisers on the cutting edge of technology, with companies like Marriott using VR to create some very engaging marketing. The company has even set up its own studio to create content like the new Do Disturb web series. There’s nothing to show more clearly how content is becoming a part of marketing even for companies where making entertainment is normally not at all part of their business.

The Mad Men days of marketers focusing on creating some TV ads, magazine ads and perhaps few billboards and knocking off the rest of the day for drinks are long gone. Marketers are now being called upon to create content as well as integrate with it, and become part of the entertainment media rather than merely a funding source. It’s an exciting time, and the changes are far from over. Marketers will help lead the way into new future for advertising, entertainment, and marketing.

Newzoo July 2015 PC Game Rankings: F2P Titles Dominate

Free-to-play games are quite addictive, enabling players to get the most out of their game while paying a minimal amount for premium items or other goodies to enhance their players. And they’re certainly picking up in popularity, according to a new report from Newzoo. The full report can be found below.

In July, the Top 20 Core PC Games notably saw the success of F2P titles. The two that saw the biggest gains in July are games that emphasize user experimentation and modification: Valve’s Garry’s Mod and Team Fortress 2. Garry’s Mod climbed four spots to #9, while Team Fortress 2 soared eight places to #10, possibly pushed by a major (“Gun Mettle”) update at the beginning of July. Meanwhile, Trion Worlds’ F2P voxel MMORPG Trove entered the top PC games at #12.

Prosumer Power
The two titles that gained the most positive traction in July were community favorites. Garry’s Mod climbed four spots and Team Fortress 2 gained eight places to #9 and #10 respectively. These titles, both F2P, exemplify what we term the prosumer transformation, with inbuilt design decisions to allow user modification, content sharing, video streaming and (in the case of Team Fortress 2) gamer profit with the sale of user-created items in the Steam Workshop.

Cheap Block Magic
New at #8, Re-Logic’s Terraria encompasses what’s currently hot in the games industry. First, it’s an indie title created by a very small team that is vocal with its passionate community. Secondly, it features a 2D procedurally generated voxel environment similar to Minecraft. Thirdly, it’s cheap, a fraction of the price of most major studio titles. With almost 90,000 positive reviews on Steam and a legion of devoted fans and Twitch streamers, Terraria epitomizes the trends Newzoo and Overwolf have pointed out over the past year.

Massively Blocky
Trion Worlds’ Trove (new at #12) is a voxel MMORPG set in a massive universe of online worlds with a similar gameplay to Minecraft. Featuring everything MMOs are expected to contain, from dungeons and loot to building homes and crafting, it marries RPG tropes to the creative flexibility of voxel world building and wraps it into an irresistible F2P package.

F2P MMO Success
The MMORPG scene is in a state of flux. Despite its one spot gain in July, World of Warcraft reported its subscriber numbers fell to 7.1 million at the end of Q1 this year, the largest drop in the title’s history. The success of NCSoft’s B2P Guild Wars 2 (#7) and the change from subscription to F2P (and subsequent success) of EA’s Star Wars:

The Old Republic (#16) are strong evidence for the end of the subscription model as the default for an MMO launch. With the transition of Bethesda Softworks’  The Elder Scrolls Online to B2P and Jagex’s Runescape offering a F2P option, both titles have attracted greater interest and are new to the July rankings at #19 and #20 respectively. Wargaming’s F2P World of Warships, created by the same team behind World of Tanks, is also new at #17. The single outlier is CCP’s subscription-based EVE Online, a new arrival at #18, though there are rumors in the gaming community that the title will inevitably transition into some form of F2P.

MOBA Instability
In June, Heroes of the Storm rose significantly in our rankings. However, analysis showed that a substantial amount of these players were also League of Legends players likely trying out Heroes of the Storm. One month later, the data indicates that a share of these players has stopped playing Heroes of the Storm, causing Heroes of the Storm to drop six ranks to #15. Valve’s Dota 2 fell three spots to #11 despite The International fast approaching and with a prize pool now exceeding $18 million. It will interesting to see how Heroes of the Storm and Dota 2 place in August.

Top 3 Still Stable
The top three games were stable in July, with League of Legends (Riot), Minecraft (Mojang) and CounterStrikeGlobal Offensive (Valve) holding onto #1, #2 and #3 respectively. World of Warcraft (Blizzard) rose to #4, displacing World of Tanks to #5. With the announcement of its “Legion” expansion at Gamescom last week, it will be interesting to see if World of Warcraft can climb further up the rankings in August. Blizzard’s HearthstoneHeroes of Warcraft also gained one spot to #6 in July, displacing NCSoft’s Guild Wars 2 to #7.

PC Games Market Monitor
In line with our monthly Top 20 Core PC Games Rankings, we have developed a brand new service in collaboration with Overwolf. The PC Games Market Monitor provides a monthly overview of the performance, crossover and churn for the Top 20 PC/MMO games, and covers more than 40 countries across Europe, North America and Latin America. The data is derived from Overwolf’s userbase of close to 10 million PC gaming enthusiasts. Subscribers will receive a monthly report and dataset featuring the Top 20 PC games by unique players, game sessions and average session time. For a PC title of choice, the data will show crossover engagement and churn. Month-on-month changes are quantified for each game in every country of choice, revealing, for instance, the impact of marketing campaigns or (eSports) events.

More information can be found here.

Mobile Amplifies Digital Video Ad Annoyances

A new report from eMarketer indicates that digital video ad spending will go through the roof this year, reaching $7.77 billion (a 33.8 percent increase over the previous year). On top of that, mobile video ad spend will also rise 70.4 percent to reach $2.62 billion by year’s end. But those numbers are just the beginning — by 2019, we’ll see an increase to $14.38 for digital video ad dollars in general, and $6.86 billion on mobile.

This shows that video ads have a way of staying fresh in people’s minds. However, that doesn’t always mean it’s for the better, as some videos have a tendency to annoy.

A poll by AOL asked users between the ages of 13 to 54 who watch video on a mobile device at least one a month about ad recall. Out of those polled, eight out of ten remember digital video placements in each option, with 84 percent recalling them on tablets, 83 percent on smartphones and 82 percent on PC’s.

However, it’s not always for the better. There are complaints about these video ads, and some of them can be hard to miss. For instance, a majority of those polled indicated that they were tired of seeing the same ads over and over again (a problem that consistently happens on YouTube, since certain partners are highlighted for each day). Following close behind is the complaint that too many ads play during most videos, such as Hulu. Finally, the length of ads for some videos can run too long, with some users complaining about how long it really takes to drive the message home about a product.

This seems like a wake-up call to advertisers who rely on video ads to meet their marketing quota, in the hopes that they make ads that seem to reach out more to consumers, rather than bother them. Granted, the set-up of some networks can be to blame as well, as some channels like ABC and NBC rely on multiple commercials to run before online programs, so they can meet a similar quota to television airings.

It’s doubtful that too many changes will be made, but here’s hoping we see more online ads that make a difference, rather than leaving those wanting to change the virtual channel.

Mobile-First And Desktop-First: A Tale Of Two ‘Mobile’ Audiences

When it comes to display ads, sometimes it can be about location, location, location. A new report from eMarketer backs this up, stating that mobile display ads have seen better viewability than those on desktop devices.

The report, based on measurable impressions served worldwide by Sizmek last year, how that HTM5 standard banner viewability was stronger on mobile, by 79.3 percent on average, compared to 48.4 percent on desktop. Meanwhile, rates showed higher on mobile for HTML5 rich media and Flash standard banners, by 70 percent, compared to 50 percent over on desktop. The accompanying chart breaks this down more specifically.

As you can see, desktop still has an advantage when it comes to flash rich media, leading by over double over on mobile. But that’s a small victory in an otherwise mobile-dominant chart.

When purchased directly through publishers or via programmatic means, display ads saw better traffic overall on mobile. Viewability rates for these ads were 74.1 percent on mobile, compared to 54.4 percent on desktop. In addition, programmatic placements saw an average viewability of 81.4 percent, with desktop falling way behind at 39.7 percent.

eMarketer indicates that US digital ad spending will reach an enormous $58.61 billion this year, with mobile accounting for just under half of that total at $28.72 billion. However, by 2019, mobile will overtake the market, by nearly three-quarters.

Another report from Social Times shows that a lot more cross-device conversions are taking place, with 40 percent of online adults starting an activity on one device, only to shift over to another to finish it. This includes viewing movies, amongst other projects.

A Facebook analysis indicates that out of the people who showed interest in a mobile ad before converting, over 32 percent converted to desktop within less than a month’s time.

Other stats were revealed for those who converted within 28 days of viewing an ad in the campaign:

  • 75 percent of those first expose to the ad on mobile converted on desktop vs. 25 percent who converted on mobile
  • 95 percent of those first exposed to the ad on desktop converted on desktop vs. five percent who converted on mobile

More information on that report can be found here.

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Scores With Meme Success

It’s not easy to create a viral ad campaign that can catch on instantly — but it can be done, as Beats By Dre has proven over the weekend.

The audio accessory maker has launched a new online program that ties in with the forthcoming movie Straight Outta Compton, which launches in theaters this Friday. The film focuses on the rise and fall of the N.W.A., one of the most notorious rap groups of the early 90’s — including Dr. Dre, founder of Beats By Dre.

Visitors can stop by the official “Straight Outta” site and create their own “Straight Outta” images. The site suggests that the campaign was made to help people exhibit their personality with a self-image. Several fans, however, have found more creative means for the “Straight Outta” imagery.

A couple of examples are below, to give you a better idea of how the “Straight Outta” message was cleverly paired with said images…

This one depicts the classic Robocop character, indicating that he’s “straight outta Detroit.”

Marty McFly is the focus of this image, indicating that, yes, thanks to the DeLorean from Back To the Future, he’s “straight outta time.”

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as brands have been getting in on the “Straight Outta” phenomenon as well, according to DigiDay.

This image from the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account indicates the troubles of “Hedgehog life”, as Sonic runs “Straight Outta Rings” in an image from the original Genesis game.

The official account for the candy bar Snickers also got into the “straight outta” fun, suggesting to consumers the plight of being “straight outta Snickers.”

This campaign has been a huge success, and is still rolling strong into Compton‘s release in theaters on Friday. Those interested in seeing more of these types of images can do so by searching under the hashtag #straightoutta on social media accounts.

They’re not all pretty…some even indicate that Bill Cosby is “straight outta Quaaludes.” Regardless, it’s a big hit for Beats By Dre, and an indicator that Straight Outta Compton should have a fairly successful run in the theaters. The trailer is below.


‘World of Tanks’ Rolls Onto Xbox One

Wargaming has had an amazing run with World of Tanks, the massively multiplayer “free-to-win” tank battle game for PC that’s rolled to an immense audience of over 100 million people globally. The company has already taken the game to mobile success with World of Tanks Blitz, and entered the console gaming market in February 2014 with the official release of World of Tanks for the Xbox 360, which now has over 6 million registered users. That game represented an interesting milestone, with a major free-to-play game on Xbox Live where previously Microsoft had not embraced that business model.

Now, though, Microsoft is even coming out with its own free-to-play games (Fable Legends is coming soon to the Xbox One), and Wargaming has moved forward to conquer new gaming territory with the release of World of Tanks for the Xbox One. The game is gorgeous, with fully rendered 3D environments, and the tight gameplay fans have come to expect — along with battlefield-altering physics, where any damage you do remains and smolders, adding smoke to the map.

Brian Willits, associate console producer for Wargmaing, spoke to [a]listdaily about bringing this popular game to the Xbox One.

What did you learn from World of Tanks on Xbox 360, and how did that influence World of Tanks on Xbox One?

Releasing World of Tanks on Xbox 360 was a huge learning experience. We rebuilt the game to be better suited for console gaming and everything from control schemes to UI had to be finessed to perfection. With Xbox One there were opportunities for even more game enhancements, we recreated every map from the ground up to take full advantage of the HD textures and models, enhanced lighting, volumetric smoke and particle effects, dug into the physics engine for a more destructible environment, and offer fully rendered vistas to truly bring the battlefield to life.

Do you expect the audience for the Xbox One to resemble the audience for the Xbox 360, in terms of demographics and in terms of monetization?

World of Tanks is the #1 Free-to-Play game on Xbox. When we first launched on Xbox 360 a year and a half ago, console players may not have known what to expect from a Free-to-Play game. But we’ve built a solid reputation on how much we make available to people without ever having to pay a dime. One of Wargaming’s core values is to ensure that our games are “Free-to-Win,” meaning that whether you enjoy for free or choose to spend, you can never purchase an in battle advantage over your opponents. We develop our games and monetize with a great deal of integrity. As we expand to Xbox One, Free-to-Play is definitely more commonly understood than it was a couple years ago and we expect console audiences in general to be more interested in titles that are entering that space. We’re excited to continue to deliver AAA gameplay for free.

You’ve cross-connected the Xbox 360 audience with the Xbox One audience — how important do you think this feature is, and why?

World of Tanks was very successful on Xbox 360 and we felt it was paramount that we made sure to bring those tankers with us as we expanded to the One. We knew we wanted all progress and content to be shared across both Xbox 360 and Xbox One through our player’s Xbox Live accounts and we knew that Xbox 360 and Xbox One tankers needed to share the battlefield.

How does the Xbox One version compare to the PC version of the game, and do you expect any audience crossover?

One of the most interesting aspects of World of Tanks releasing across PC, iOS and Android, Xbox 360 and Xbox One is the way that it is reconstructed for each platform. These are not hard ports; instead we take into account player experience and expectation and change the games accordingly. As time goes on, these different development studios are simultaneously influencing each other and diverging off in their own direction. PC, console and mobile gamers may all have different wants and needs, so it is really important that we continue to listen to all of these communities and continue to evolve the game for the platform it’s on. We know from Xbox 360 there is some audience cross over and we’ll see that continue as we’ve expanded onto Xbox One, but the console version and the PC version each have their own flavor and for the most part attract different audiences.


What’s the marketing plan to get the word out about World of Tanks on Xbox One What sort of promotions or advertising or other marketing efforts do you plan to generate awareness?

You will definitely be seeing advertising for World of Tanks’ Xbox One release, but what might stand out to Xbox One users are the promotions they’ll see as they browse through the Xbox One dashboard.

Do you foresee putting World of Warplanes or World of Warships on consoles at some future point?

Currently, we’re very focused on our recent Xbox One launch for World of Tanks. Our games are more of a service than a product in the sense that release is just the beginning. We’re already working hard to introduce new tanks, new game modes, and new features that will make our World of Tanks experience even more amazing! World of Warships is currently in Open Beta and we’re looking to release on PC before the end of the year.

Lionsgate & Starbreeze Partner With WEVR On ‘John Wick’ VR Game

Virtual reality platform WEVR may not be as well-mentioned as more popular competitors as Sony’s Project Morpheus and Facebook’s Oculus Rift, but it’s certainly going places with a couple of new deals.

First up, HTC, a company already hard at work on its own Vive virtual reality headset, has opted to build its VR ecosystem with a nearly $10 million investment in WEVR, equating to a 15 percent stake in the company, according to TechCrunch. In return, HTC expects to see more content from the company for Vive, in the hopes of attracting a bigger potential audience.

This will also enable WEVR to offer more projects on an independent front, as its OnWEVR grant program awards various producers anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on what they’re working on.

This could also be beneficial on the HTC front, as the company has been struggling to keep up in business with its smartphone line.

HTC isn’t the only big name to be teaming up with WEVR. Lionsgate and Starbreeze have partnered with the virtual reality innovator to create a virtual reality game based on its hit action film John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves.

The report, from Global News Wire, indicates that the game will be a first-person shooter game, placing players in the shoes of Wick as he takes on various enemies, through an immersive virtual reality experience. The game will be centered on the Continental Hotel, a location that’s prominently used in the first film.

The game will be available this month as part of an HTC Vive World Tour that’s working its way through the United States and Europe. It will be a “teaser” experience, with the full game expected to be released for VR headsets sometime in early 2016.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the best of the best in VR and game development with Starbreeze, WEVR and Grab, who are collaborating with the movie’s producers to ensure an exciting, immersive and authentic virtual experience,” said Lionsgate President of Interactive Ventures & Games Peter Levin. “John Wick is the perfect cross-platform property to extend into the fast-growing gaming world, and we believe that a cutting edge VR game will deepen fan engagement and accelerate John Wick’s evolution into one of our next big action franchises.”

“Lionsgate is a leader in producing and delivering the kind of provocative, original and engaging storytelling that you need to launch an exhilarating and marketable game,” said Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson Klint. “The John Wick characters and universe really resonated with our Payday fans last year when we first incorporated them into our game, so we’re thrilled to partner with the studio and the John Wick creative team to create a new standalone game enhanced by the state of the art in virtual reality.”

“Lionsgate has been a great partner on John Wick because the studio not only believes in traditional storytelling but also recognizes the value of extending its movies beyond the screen and involving fans in new ways to explore the characters and stories,” said producer and Thunder Road Pictures CEO Iwanyk. “Working with accomplished gaming companies like Starbreeze, WEVR and Grab is a terrific opportunity to bring the world of John Wick into an exciting new dimension.”

The game will tie in with the forthcoming release of John Wick 2, which should debut sometime later next year. Reeves has already confirmed he will return for the role.

Zynga Wins Big With Mobile Slots Games

Zynga’s latest quarterly earnings report beat expectations, largely due to the outstanding success of its slots games. The company has narrowed its losses considerably since last year as it continues to transform itself into a mobile-centric gaming company.

According to a report from VentureBeat, the company’s reported second-quarter and bookings have seen an increase, with an increase of 274 percent on slots games like Hit It Rich! Slots and Wizard of Oz Slots. Other games like Empires & Allies and FarmVille: Harvest Swap have seen positive attention as well.

Zynga’s numbers have improved since Mark Pincus resumed his role as chief executive earlier this year. There’s still a ways to go before profitability, and sunsetting some of its web games led to an audience drop-off of 23 percent from the previous year. On the positive side, ad revenues were up by 15 percent for the quarter, and the company now derives two-thirds of its revenue from mobile games, up 30 percent from last year. The company reported a non-GAAP net loss of $7.6 million, or one cent a share, on bookings of $174 million. Analysts had expected a non-GAAP net loss of 2 cents a share on bookings of $157 million. There’s still a way to go before returning to the profit side of the ledger.

Still, Pincus, speaking with GamesBeat, remained positive. “We think we can have success executing in other categories, too,” he said. “We re-entered the action-strategy category with Empires & Allies. It’s off to a strong start. It’s a proven team with a terrific engine that they are continuing to tune. They’re launching updates like leagues. We think that is a terrific category that we can make more social and accessible. We can bring a unique ‘special sauce’ to it.”

Web games did see a 15% drop off from the previous quarter as well, including Words With Friends and a Looney Tunes-licensed endless runner game. But, again, Pincus pointed out the plus side. “The story that hasn’t come out enough is our advertising team has been a great growth engine. Our ad business is up 44 percent in the year, and it grew 15 percent in the quarter. It is now a quarter of all bookings. The ad margins are higher because you don’t have payment fees to the platforms. We are bullish on the mobile ad business.”

As far as specific numbers go, Pincus added, “Bing [Gordon, a Zynga board member] reminds me [that] stock price is a trailing indicator of success, not a leading indicator. Profits are a victory lap we get after we deliver results, not before. We want to have empowered entrepreneurs inside our company. Half the battle is to get out of the way, point to the right hill and get out of the way. It’s less about my confidence in my ability to get us there and more about the team. If we create the conditions for success for our teams, empower them, arm them, and point them at the right hill, they are going to do the rest.”

On top of that, the company continues to make certain changes to its staff, recently adding former head of EA Mobile Frank Gibeau to the team of its board of directors.

As for what’s next, Zynga has plenty of games on the horizon, including Dawn of Titans and CSR Racing 2, as well as a slots game based on the popular Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – another tie-in with Warner Bros. following The Wizard of Oz.

More information on the report can be found here.