Bethesda Turns To Tinder To Advertise ‘Fallout’

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With Fallout Shelter doing big business on mobile and the forthcoming Fallout 4 set to be a big holiday title when it releases in November, Bethesda is preparing a big marketing push for that brand — and, in a rather peculiar move, chose to bring it to the dating app Tinder.

Kotaku reported that a profile appeared on the dating app today, featuring Vault Boy, a popular character from the Fallout brand, indicating an age of 25 and sharing special facts, like his loves for Nuka Cola and putting out fires, as well as this quote: “If love was radiation, I’d need a box of RedAways.”

Video game sites seldom appeal to dating apps or something along those lines, but it appears that’s the route Bethesda is taking with its Fallout series, even creating a special hashtag, #Dateadweller, that ties in with the campaign.

By clicking on the profile on Tinder, users can go to a link that enables them to download Fallout Shelter to their device (it’s available for Android now, along with iOS). That’s about the extent of the profiles, but it’s a campaign that appears to be taking off on social platforms.

As you can see from the pic above, the official Fallout twitter account has been promoting the hashtag with special cards, indicating that consumers can “find someone sweet and take a Nuka Cola break.” Obviously there’s no real dating involved, but it is a way to promote Fallout Shelter in rather unusual circles.

This is probably just the beginning of Fallout‘s forthcoming promotional push, which will include unprecedented online advertising, special deals with certain store chains (nothing official yet, but they’re likely to surface before the game’s release), and even TV advertising, as titles like The Evil Within and Wolfenstein: The New Order got such a push before their respective releases.

Fallout 4 arrives on November 10th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Brand Partners Launch ‘Angry Birds’ To Greatness

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Since its release earlier this month, Angry Birds 2 has managed to be a big success for Rovio, achieving over 20 million downloads in its first week. However, when it comes to its overall success, the publisher of the popular mobile brand believes there’s more to the picture.

VentureBeat recently spoke with chief commercial officer for Rovio, Alex Lambeek, about how this “second phase” of the Angry Birds franchise will go, as well as where it’s success could come from. Believe it or not, brand partners could actually play a big part.

That shouldn’t be a big surprise, as Angry Birds partnerships have a big chance of payoff, including a recent team-up with the folks at Lego and a movie due for release next year.

Of course, the games are important, too, as Lambeek explained that Angry Birds 2 is precisely the title that Rovio wanted to make when the whole thing began. “This is the game we would have wanted to create already five years ago,” he said. “This is what our vision about the game and the characters has always been like. At that time, it just wasn’t technically possible to create something like this. Nor had we enough resources back then.”

Making such a title wasn’t always an easy process, either but it was certainly a creative one. We were experimenting for a while [with] what we could do visually with the current mobile hardware, how we could improve environment and characters, but still stick to the 2D world of the original games and Toons, Lambeek stated. From a gameplay and user experience perspective, we are fans of simplicity and wanted to innovate within the frames of the very first game. Once we made those breakthroughs, we just had to make the game

But, of course, crossing over with brand partners became a fundamental part of the business, including team-ups with Star Wars and Transformers franchises, amongst others. We have managed to keep the brand fresh with diversification of game titles with very recognizable identities [Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Transformers, Angry Birds Go!, Angry Birds Epic], said Lambeek. We have also created two spin-offs: Bad Piggies and Angry Birds Stella with unique demographics. By creating these thematic updates and spin-offs, we focus on different demos. Taking AB into new genres of games and that is what inspires us and drives innovation in the company.

Not only does finding appeal with certain brands pay off, but also catering to what other countries look for in terms of mobile demand. We maintain the momentum by partnering with like-minded companies that know the markets very well, Lambeek said. One-third of our downloads come from the China market Kunlun [our success in China] truly depends on understanding consumers and working with partners like Kunlun Alibaba and Karatopia, who truly know the market for CP, media, and games.

So with partnerships with Lego, Sony and other companies, where will the true focus lie with Angry Birds from here Pleasing our fans and developing a brand that people love and trust is our core priority, said Lambeek. And we will not venture into any area where that core will be compromised.

Angry Birds 2 is available for download now.

Virtual Reality Set To Enhance Music Festivals

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Virtual reality has really come a long way over the past few years. It’s overtaken the Sundance Film Festival with ease; it’s seen immense growth when it comes to the introduction of new apps; and it’ll soon be the subject of its own conference, taking place next year. But now VR could make its way to the music scene, if Samsung and other VR-savvy companies can get the job done.

Billboard recently indicated that 31 percent of 18-34 year olds use mobile devices during music festivals and concerts during half of an event or even longer, if there’s something of great interest. While that has provided an open door for platforms like Snapchat and Periscope, Samsung’s vice president of strategy and creative content Matt Apfel believes that virtual reality can play a part as well, according to an interview with Forbes.

Samsung recently made it possible to be “virtually” at this year’s Lollapalooza festival, by utilizing Samsung Gear VR headsets to view the action in a “you were there” perspective. And Matt believes that’s only the beginning.

“Virtual reality is such a great technology, because it affords us the ability to transport the viewer to almost anywhere you can think of,” he explains. “Most music fans dream about being on stage, or even backstage for a performance by their favorite artist. VR allows us to give fans a truly unforgettable way to experience the music they love, from the best vantage points in the house.”

He also sees a lot of positive in virtual reality’s presence at events. “The biggest upside for VR in the festival space is the fact that most fans want the best seat in the house, AND To be in the front row for an up-close-and-personal performance from their favorite acts. VR can provide that experience from any location inside the venue.

The most common response we heard from festivalgoers who had the opportunity to experience the VR live stream at Lollapalooza was that they felt as if they had an even better view than those in the front row. That s huge for Samsung, for Lollapalooza, for artists, and best of all, for fans.”

There are challenges as well, however. “As for the challenges, we always want to make sure we provide a premium experience for fans through our technology,” said Apfel. “We are still very early in era of VR, but we, and our industry partners are innovating and improving the technology at an amazing rate and we look forward to giving fans more up-close, immersive and personal experiences through VR.”

But in the end, it’s all about transformation of the experience, which VR can easily handle. “VR provides fans the opportunity to share the biggest stages with performers, but the real-time aspect was something that hadn t been executed at this magnitude at a live music performance prior to Lollapalooza 2015. As time goes on, VR has the potential to add a whole other element to how fans expect to experience their favorite artists, bands, DJs and more Both at home, and on-site at the events themselves,” said Apfel.

“As we continue to push new boundaries in the world of virtual reality, a big focus is continuing to provide a wide array of premium content and new experiences. We are expanding the roster of top brands, entertainment companies and networks contributing dynamic virtual reality content for Samsung Gear VR, and we were thrilled to give fans the first VR experience that Lollapalooza has ever seen.”

The full interview can be found here.

Neil Young: ‘We’re All Whales In Something’

The opportunity ahead in the mobile game market is huge, according to Neil Young, CEO and co-founder of N3TWORK — we will see a mobile game generating $10 billion a year in revenue in five years’ time, according to him. But exactly how do we get to that point from where we are now What sort of games do we need to create, and perhaps even more importantly, what sort of company can create those games

Neil Young spoke with [a]listdaily on these questions and what sort of company N3TWORK is aiming to be in order to seize these massive opportunities that lie ahead.

So instead of trying to craft a game that appeals deeply to a few whales, we should be trying to craft games that appeal to a very broad audience, even if the appeal isn’t that deep?

You definitely want to create games for a broad audience of people that generate lots of money, for sure. But I think the counterpoint to that is we are all a deep fan of something. There is something in our lives we have all spent a lot of money and a lot of time on. We’re all whales, to some degree, in something. The trick, for people running a portfolio of products, is to try and figure out what those are.

Now, every single one of those games that you build, you should be trying to make it reach the broadest audience that it can reach. But everybody is not your customer — I think Seth Godin said that. You have a specific segment. Is my wife my customer? Probably not. Is my 13-year old son my customer? Maybe, but he won’t be monetizing highly. You start with the intention of building something that resonates with humans, but very quickly you get to the place where there’s an audience, and you have to fess up to that, and own up to it, and lean into it.

Then you look for ways to take what you’ve built to see if you can strongly appeal to another audience without building a new game from scratch?

Or change the way that the player sees the fantasy that they’re buying into. I think Game of War did this brilliantly with a game that’s exceptionally hard-core, and really dated structurally and graphically. The marketing campaign uses Kate Upton to basically say “It’s like Game of Thrones but with Kate Upton and there are these huge battles.” There are huge battles, but they happen in your head, they don’t happen on the screen. What that did is cast the widest net possible for people who like that kind of fantasy, and this is the opportunity for them to fulfill their fantasy. The entry point for a lot of games is “I have a fantasy I want to fulfill.” Mobile games very quickly become an activity instead of escapism. The best ones you enter because you love this universe or this thing, and then it’s an activity you’re constantly playing.

It seems like the best games need to get you quickly hooked in with some simple game loop, and then eventually see how you can play the game better by doing some other activity.

Help them build equity in the game. Help them feel like they have an ownership stake in the journey they’re going on, or the characters they’re investing in, or the team they’re building, or the space they’re investing in. The games that are most successful are the ones that help you build the most equity.

With N3TWORK, are you building a team to create your own games to do the things you’ve talked about, or are you planning to bring in other people’s games and publish them?

The answer is C, all of the above. We’re building a new type of developer/publisher/operator/marketer of these mobile games, and that means we’re going to have games built by our first-party teams, we’re going to have games that we create in partnership with third parties, and then we’ll have partners where we have no part in creating the game but we can bring something to help them succeed — either technology, or expertise, or capital.

We think of our company as two big pieces to its puzzle. It sits on a platform that is a business and technology platform that allows these products to be published and operated very effectively. Then there are the products that we are creating that sit on top of that platform. Ultimately we hope that platform can be shared with other people, but initially our focus is on our own stuff.

I think the next great publishing company is more a platform than it is a traditional kind of publisher. So if you aspire to do that, you need to eat your own dog food along the way. We sometimes enjoy it and sometimes don’t — and if we can’t enjoy it, we know no one else is going to enjoy it.

With all of the challenges of today’s market, and all of the challenges in creating what you’ve described, you still feel the opportunity is big, don’t you?

The key is you have to be building high-LTV games. If you are not building high-LTV games, the only way you’re going to create a hit is because you got lucky. And by lucky I mean you created a great game that lots of other people liked. You’re probably leaving lots of money on the table if you’re not thinking about high LTV even in that case, too. My sense is high LTV solves a problem for the industry, which is that of discovery.

PlayStation Experience Returns With Bigger Opportunities

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Sony isn’t afraid to give its PlayStation fans some love when it’s needed the most. It demonstrated this last year with the PlayStation Experience event, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada. It turned out to be a huge success, giving Sony the stage time it needed to show off its line-up of upcoming games, while allowing third parties and independent developers the chance to announce their own PlayStation releases.

So, to no one’s surprise, Sony will be doing it again this year. The company announced via a post on the PlayStation Blog that the PlayStation Experience will be happening again this year. This time, however, it’ll be taking place in San Francisco, on December 6 and 7. The trailer for the announcement is below.

Like last year’s event, the Experience will provide opportunities for Sony and other companies to unveil upcoming games for the PlayStation 4, especially with 2016 right around the corner. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which is expected to release in spring 2016, will get plenty of exposure at the event, and other titles are expected to be announced as well.So what makes the PlayStation Experience such an effective marketing tool Well, first of all, it allows Sony and third party companies to focus on a particular platform, without any sort of competition getting in the way, like Microsoft and Nintendo did with its presentations at E3. (That said, Sony still gained major exposure with announcements of games like Final Fantasy VII Remake and the Kickstarter-funded Shenmue III.)

Secondly, it enables Sony to connect directly with its audience, whether they’re attending in-person or watching online through Twitch. (It’s likely that the company will live stream its main presentation and several panels at the event, just as it did last year.) With panels and presentations, it can tell users why they should be excited about games like Uncharted 4 or No Man’s Sky, and provide proof with video clips and exclusive promotions that could lead to bigger sales.

Finally, December seems like the perfect time for these announcements to come around. The holiday market will be calming down around that time, with only Square Enix’s Just Cause 3 and Hitman games set to hit shelves that month (for now, anyway). With these announcements, players will have reason to be excited for the forthcoming year (if they’re not already), and Sony could also introduce holiday goodies to get people to sign up for its PlayStation Plus and cloud-streaming PlayStation Now services ideal Christmas gifts for those that don’t have subscriptions.

Through video presentations and hands-on demonstrations (most of the time with developers in tow to answer questions), the PlayStation Experience one again presents a unique opportunity for Sony to “cash in” on the PlayStation 4’s success, and continue pushing it with innovative new games and promotions. It’ll be quite the event when it takes place this December, where greatness awaits.