‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’ Launches New Expansion

The Star Wars franchise is heading for a terrific year, with the return of the storied movie series coming this December 18th. Electronic Arts is taking full advantage of the resurgence in the franchise with the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront. But that’s not all the Star Wars excitement EA is preparing there’s a new expansion heading this way for EA’s MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Knights of the Fallen Empire is the largest expansion ever for BioWare’s MMORPG, and it introduces an episodic storytelling that should provide plenty of excitement for Star Wars fans.

The Star Wars: The Old Republic marketing team gave some insight to [a]listdaily about the marketing for this new expansion.

With all of the excitement being generated over the new Star Wars movie, you must expect that it will help Star Wars: The Old Republic. How will you capitalize on this surge in Star Wars fandom?

The primary benefit we see from the convergence of the surge in Star Wars fandom is that it offers a unique opportunity to introduce more gamers and Star Wars fans to this amazing BioWare roleplaying game that offers players the chance to literally step into a Star Wars world and become a part of it.

In this game, your character becomes the Outlander, a veteran of the Great Galactic War, and an iconic Star Wars hero. For the team, this expansion was inspired by their love of Star Wars. Sharing that nostalgia with our fans is honestly a big part of what motivates us and we are excited to be releasing this expansion this year! Our opportunity is to offer players an experience they cannot get anywhere else, a BioWare style RPG set in a galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars: Battlefront is one of the most highly anticipated games this fall. Will you be doing any cross-marketing with that game for Star Wars: The Old Republic?

We have been working together with the Star Wars Battlefront marketing team quite a bit. We actively look for opportunities to work together. We want to make sure fans realize that EA is working hard to deliver an impressive most impressive experience.

Partnering around events is something we have been doing since the beginning of the year. Both teams have been heavily invested in events where we can meet our fans and give them a chance to get their hands on the games. At Star Wars Celebration and again during San Diego Comic-Con we co-promoted both games presence at the show. We also have a very cool offer for fans in the Star Wars Battlefront PC packs that offers players that purchase Star Wars Battlefront the ability to get their own Tauntaun mount and Thermal Retention Suit in Star Wars: The Old Republic; inspired by Battlefront s Hoth-themed pack.

My guess is that over the next few months we will find more opportunities to partner; if we are not too busy playing each other s games!

What can Star Wars: The Old Republic fans look forward to over the next year — what new material do you have planned?

Fans of Star Wars: The Old Republic have a lot to look forward to in the coming year as one of the most exciting features of the game is that we are delivering an episodic story that continues to evolve. Knights of the Fallen Empire releases with the first nine chapters of an episodic storyline and new chapter releases commence early in the New Year and then continue on an ongoing basis. Each chapter will introduce an expanding cast of new characters, including companions that players can recruit into their alliance. Many of the chapters feature unexpected twists and cliff-hanger moments. The story is deep and personal and delivers on the BioWare style story-telling experience that puts players in control of how their story unfolds by making choices along the way that have significant impact sometimes even life and death.

This story has all the hallmarks that BioWare is known for: it introduces dozens of new characters, many of whom are potential companions that you can recruit into your Alliance, as well as three new planets to explore that have never been seen before in Star Wars. Not to mention a cast of deadly adversaries who may just turn out to be the most dangerous family in Star Wars! There are a lot of great moments coming and we cannot wait to see the choices that players make as each new chapter is released.

There’s plenty of new Star Wars material coming out in the future, but it will be covering a variety of time periods and characters. How do you connect that interest to Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is a time period apart from the new movies?

Star Wars: The Old Republic relates to and exists thanks to Lucasfilm and the world they created in Star Wars. Although our game is set thousands of years in advance of the movies, the world resonates closely and our characters and themes are all inspired by the types of characters and stories you see in Star Wars. From the minute you log in to our game there is no doubt that you are in the Star Wars universe from the species, character classes like Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunter and more you are surrounded the iconic imagery of the Star Wars galaxy. There is no other roleplaying game out today that offers the rich tapestry and deep story that puts you in the center of your own Star Wars story. And, the stories are what we all love about Star Wars!

What’s the most exciting thing about the new Star Wars expansion?

The Story!

ESL CEO Ralf Reichert On ESports’ Hot Button Issues

Turtle Entertainment s ESL is the largest eSports league in the world today. Following its second successful event at Madison Square Garden, the company is expanding its focus on global stadium events through ESL One and increasing its U.S. footprint as it tries to keep up with the demands.

Flush with an $87 million investment for a 74 percent majority stake from Swedish media company Modern Times Group, Turtle Entertainment is focusing on its own growth as fans clamor for more eSports titles. Ralf Reichert Managing Director and CEO of Turtle Entertainment and ESL, addresses hot button issues that eSports faces as it evolves into a real sport in this exclusive interview.

How do you see the number of eSports titles expanding?

We have six or seven pro leagues for games like Halo, CS:GO, Dota 2, and Mortal Kombat and we re working with publisher partners to expand dramatically with new games like Guild Wars 2, which has had early success. We ve had success with PAX Prime and other game fairs. The demand in the U.S. is extremely high and we have trouble keeping up with that.

What are your thoughts on the large prize pools we’re seeing grab headlines like The International’s $18 million?

First and foremost, prize pools are one of the key pillars in eSports. People come to the stadium because we do a great show and great marketing around it, but it s because of the players. For them to make a living out of eSports and see this as a lucrative and engaging job is important. The big discussion is whether an $18 million prize pool is ten times more valuable than an $8 million prize pool. We re trying to build prize pools as fast as we can in the economy that we can afford it. We have the largest prize pools for Dota 2 outside of The International with $250,000, and with CS:GO we have a league with $500,000 and events with $250,000 prize pools. We want to be at the top of the league prize pools. While publishers like Valve can use in-game micro-transactions, we don t have that luxury. More generally, prize pools are a motivation for the players.

Can you talk about the revenue players earn outside of actual ESL One prize money?

Not only is there a prize pool for ESL One, every player gets a revenue share based on team logos sold as in-game autographs. At Katowice $1.5 million went to players, teams and organizers, and at Cologne over $2 million was paid out around that event.

How do you feel this type of revenue sharing will offset players forming a union?

There s always vying for shares in every major sport. That s part of eSports as well. But the way revenue is distributed is different, like the prize money and the sale of stickers. It s still something that we always need to keep an eye on, as organizers, to make sure is done fairly. A union will happen in eSports to some extent as well, but that s okay, it s part of every sport.

How do you see the drug testing policy evolving?

It will certainly become the standard in ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters events, but we haven’t thought about the national championships yet. It s undeniable that eventually it will come down to all events, it s just how quickly we will do it.

What have you learned from traditional sports drug testing?

We have a couple of advantages. Drug testing is a science/process that has been developed over the last 20 or 30 years. In eSports you have to be very adaptable. We really embrace this flexibility. Other more traditional sports organizations are usually run by older people. We have younger people who can adapt fast. We ve seen other organizations really go down with this. We know the risk it has if doping is perceived as being okay by an organization, or even worse if the organization, itself, somehow tries to cover it up. We want to have a very transparent fast and aggressive approach so it never becomes a problem before it spreads.

What s the reaction been like from game publishers and other leagues?

From the publisher side, there s been a lot of support for doing this. From other organizations, I’d assume they re working on their own programs.

We just work with the official agencies. We look at it as a general sport-wide approach to drug testing.

Are you surprised by the amount of mainstream testing the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Adderall story received?

We re surprised by the amount of feedback. For us, doping is a negative story because it s something that shouldn t happen. But when we started going to stadiums, we had a lot of press around finally saying, Oh, this seems to be a sport. The doping stuff had a negative effect, but as we dealt with it in a transparent way, those same people are saying, Now it s really a sport. It s been extremely well received across the board, and it s good for the sport that we attempted to address the issue before it became a problem.

What are your thoughts on Unikrn and betting in eSports?

Globally, there are very different legislations around betting. In the UK it s socially accepted, but in the U.S. and Germany it s the opposite — it s close to being criminalized. Other sports work with large betting data companies for fraud detection and finding out if match fixing is happening. From a beta approach, we re looking into that. As far as partnering, if we did a UK event locally, that would be a natural piece of companies we work with on a sponsorship and business to business perspective. But in Germany or the U.S., that s not something that would happen. When it comes to a fraud detection system, we have a global approach we need to take care of.

How has ESL approached Fantasy ESports?

For the non-paid fantasy scene, ESL has a product (Fantasy.eslgaming.com) there which is fairly successful. It engages more users and creates an additional story line to a tournament. In the U.S. paid fantasy is huge around the NBA and NFL and we re working with all of the providers to offer a good product to our consumers. In other markets like Germany, paid fantasy is not an accepted sport. We don t have an interest in paid fantasy; we partner with others there.

Immortals Taking the Gaming Stage

With eSports continuing to grow heavily in popularity on all fronts streaming, television and live tournaments it shouldn’t be a surprise that new ventures are getting introduced. Now, the world should prepare itself for the Immortals.

The new eSports organization was introduced earlier this week, with a number of media, gaming and tech investors announcing the acquisition and rebranding of Team 8 eSports. As a result, it’s set to shake up the eSports team, especially with placement in the North American League of Legends Championship Series, which is watched by millions of fans around the world.

The CEO of Immortals, Noah Whinston, talked about what the organization has in mind for success. “Immortals is starting with a League of Legends team, but expect to see us expanding rapidly into other top eSports like Counter-Strike and DOTA 2. We recognize that the best way to grow the Immortals franchise is to work in conjunction with other team owners across every title to help the entire eSports ecosystem expand in a healthy way. We look forward to industry-wide conversations about sustainable business practices, competitive regulation, and player treatment and representation.”

The organization has a number of reputable investors, including president of Lionsgate Interactive Ventures and Games, Peter Levin; co-owner and Chairman of the Memphis Grizzlies, Steve Kaplan; and Machine Shop Ventures, which works in conjunction with popular rock band Linkin Park. AMD will also play a major part with Immortals, as its marketing and technology partner.

“eSports and its legions of fans are a key audience for AMD, which makes our partnership with Immortals both important and exciting,” said Roy Talor, corporate vice president of Alliances and Content for Radeon Technologies Group, AMD, regarding the partnership. “As a leading designer of graphics processing units and essential technologies for eSports gamers of all levels, we are looking forward to future endeavors with the Immortals franchise.”

The roster for Immortals hasn’t been shaped up yet, but it’s expected to be released in the near future, in time for future League of Legends tournaments and other eSports events.

This is a pretty big deal for the eSports world, as a number of highly considered investors are taking part, looking to shake up the competitive gaming scene. Let’s see what kind of impact they make in the months ahead.

Study Shows Facebook Video Ads See Better ROI Than YouTube

We’ve talked at great length about the success of Facebook video, and while it still has yet to reach its true potential (it is less than two years old, after all), a new study suggests that it’s becoming more well-received in terms of video ads than its main competitor, YouTube.

As reported by Ad Age, the study, conducted by RBC Capital Markets, polled 1,000 advertising professionals. Out of those surveyed, 11 percent believe that Facebook video ads are “significantly” better than YouTube’s in terms of return investment. However, another 25% stated that its video ads were “somewhat better,” indicating that a majority does prefer how they’re set up.

Only six percent of those polled stated that YouTube’s ads were “significantly” better, while 15% indicated they were “somewhat better.”

Based on numbers compared from last year, fewer marketers indicated that they were going to “significantly” or “modestly” increase spending on YouTube ads, according to the report.

That’s a pretty big deal, especially considering that digital video ads will receive a tremendous amount of spending, to the tune of $7.77 billion, according to eMarketer.

The study also suggests that marketers will pick up their online advertising spend through the next few years, with interest in different platforms, including Instagram (leading with 72%), Pinterest (41%), SnapChat (36%) and Amazon (34%).

There’s still room for Facebook to grow, though. The study indicates that its overall ad dollar penetration still has room to expand, with 61% of marketers stating that they will increase ad spending with the social site. Instagram, owned by Facebook, could attract additional revenue as well.

That said, Google isn’t out of the running yet, as a number of marketers are pleased with the results that YouTube produce. 14% of those polled stated that 51% (or more) of their online marketing budgets go towards the site, while only seven percent said they won’t be pouring any more money into YouTube-based campaigns.

A good amount of digital advertising dollars seem to be coming from print and television, according to the study.

The same eMarketer report, which was published earlier this year, does suggest that the change in video spending will increase over the next few years, reaching $14.3 billion by 2019. With that, YouTube is expected to make a big chunk ($1.99 billion by 2017), and Facebook will likely see similar shares as it continues going head-to-head with its video competitor.

The video ad market is about to get more interesting, depending on what moves Facebook and YouTube make next

Is Instagram Going Pay to Play?

Instagram’s advertising has certainly picked up over the past few months, including mobile game ads that have managed to gain attention across a number of genres. However, according to a new study from Locowise, the recent drop in organic engagement could mean a significant change for the site, moving over to a “pay-to-play” platform.

Originally reported by SocialTimes, the report suggests that, even though Instagram ads are now open to whichever companies want to take part, they could be the only way for them to reach users on the site.

Looking across over 2,500 brand profiles, Locowise came up with the following results from the study, which are also pointed out in the chart below.

  • Follower growth for the month was 0.25%.
  • Engagement per post was 1.76% of the post’s audience.
  • Profiles posted a daily average of 2.62 posts.
  • 93% of posts were photos, and 7% were videos.
  • Photos drew an engagement rate of 1.85%, while the average engagement rate for videos was less than one percent (specifically, 0.9%).
  • Likes represented 98.12% of all interactions, and comments just 1.88%.


These numbers look like stark differences in the chart above, with organic growth and engagement both dropping off. But does this mean that the site will go “pay-to-play” with brands to try and pick things up

Regarding the results, Locowise stated, “The ads platform leverages all of the best aspects and features from Facebook’s ads, so if you’re already doing ads on Facebook, you will be very familiar with ads on Instagram, too. Instagram has announced that it is seeing ‘significant demand’ for ads, particularly in e-commerce, travel entertainment and retail.

“Some early numbers from a selected number of partners shows that the click-through rate on Instagram is 1.5 percent, compared with 0.84 percent on Facebook. The average CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is reported everywhere from $3 to $6.29. Videos costs as little as $.02 per view. A view counts when the video has been seen for at least three seconds, exactly the same on Facebook.”

At the moment, it’s unknown if Instagram looks to change its status quo when it comes to ads, but considering its current status with organic engagement, a change to its program could be instituted sooner rather than later.

Dean Takahashi: “Growing a Profitable Game Company Has Never Been Tougher”

Another GamesBeat is just around the corner and Dean Takahashi, veteran games journalist and lead writer for VentureBeat’s gaming-focused section has been hard at work organizing the annual industry event. Dean took time to answer a few burning questions we had about the event and its Game of Thrones theme and what trends will have the biggest impact on the industry this year.

GamesBeat is now in its seventh year and in that relatively short span of time in the scheme of things, the games industry has gone through so many changes. How has GamesBeat as an event evolved to stay on the crest of these changes?

When we started in 2009, social gaming on Facebook was hot, and many of our speakers reflected that. The heat shifted to mobile gaming on the iPhone, and our next conferences also followed that. Social casino games became hot. So did the next-generation consoles and League of Legends. Now it’s eSports and virtual reality. Each year, we try to anticipate the trends and the newsmakers, and we begin talking with potential speakers early. We know what’s hot because we write about that news every day. We see lots of fundings and acquisitions happen in China, and it’s not hard to detect the big wave of interest in that market. We also use an advisory board from the industry to tell us what’s going to be the next issue or theme to focus on. Our topic is always gaming, but covering what is at the leading edge of gaming keeps changing.

The focus this time is on gaming’s international explosion in and on sustainability in the business. What was behind the decision to focus on these key subjects?

We’re going where the game industry is going and much of the news in the past year has focused on these topics. Gaming’s opportunity has never been bigger as mobile and online games find audiences all around the globe. At the same time, the competition has never been tougher. So even as opportunity abounds, the challenge of growing a profitable game company has never been tougher.

What should attendees expect from this year’s event?

They’ll hear plenty of thought-provoking talks from the leaders of the industry, across categories such as finance, monetization, virtual reality, augmented reality, game development, eSports, mobile gaming and consoles. We’ve also got more women speaking than ever before, and we’ll be probing into the uncomfortable topics related to Internet hate and the lack of diversity. We also have hopeful talks about the future of gaming technology, brands in games, creativity and user-generated content.

In your mind, what are the most important trends in gaming that will have the biggest impact on the industry?

I would say that the wheels of diversity have finally started rolling, and that will play out in many ways. We’ll have new focus in diversity of skills, ideas, game characters and audiences. We’re also just at the beginning stages of figuring out what is a true global gaming company.

The theme this year looks at gaming s many kingdoms or realms from mobile and console to PC and so forth. Is this comparison of the industry to Game of Thrones apt?

We chose Game of Thrones as our theme because the competition is cutthroat, particularly in mobile where the market has consolidated around a handful of winners, after a very Darwinian process that started out with great hopes for indie game makers. Game companies have to constantly adapt, and some are doing it by increasing their budgets for mobile game development and user acquisition. Others are adapting by moving into new markets such as virtual reality, or making sure that their games are eSports-friendly. We’ve also see that the U.S. and Japanese game makers are no longer dominant. With mobile, we’ve finally reached a true global market, and companies from Helsinki to China are now the potential leaders.

How The BAND Connects 40 Million Gamers

Savvy game marketers understand that the long-term health of their business rests on the audience of game players, and helping them become a community rather than just a large number of people with no connections. Yet this is a difficult task, especially for mobile games. While game companies have created and maintained forums on PCs for years, that structure doesn’t lend itself to the way people are connecting today. Today’s gamers are connecting via smartphones, which make it hard to use traditional forums with lengthy text posts.

Moreover, the fast-paced world of gaming demands equally quick development of communications, where groups can form rapidly when games engage them. This is the situation that Camp Mobile’s BAND has stepped into. This mobile forum community app now reaches over 40 million people to help them communicate with other players. The CEO of Camp Mobile, Manho Won, spoke with [a]listdaily to explain how BAND is bringing gamers together.

Manho WonManho Won

What was the driving force that led you to create BAND?

We realized that gamers did not really have a place where they could go and meet other gamers to play together. A lot of players were using web based forums like Reddit to post their ideas and content, or using messenger apps like LINE and Facebook Messenger. But, they are not the right solution. The main strength of BAND is its flexibility and the mobile accessibility. On BAND, you can make your own private guild or clan group and also public groups to talk with other random players. You have to use your single real profile photo and name on the messenger apps or Facebook, but on BAND you can use multiple profiles or your IGN on different groups. We wanted a place where people could go and find other like-minded people and freely share their thoughts on any kinds of topics.

How does BAND help moderate community chat for gamers on a mobile platform?

When streamers are broadcasting, often they are too focused on playing the game, so questions and comments from their audience tend to get left unanswered and buried in the stream chat services. With BAND, viewers can post their questions onto the board or use the chatroom to communicate with the streamer and other players. Streamers can easily leave comments and chat with their viewers on the go anytime 24/7 with their mobile devices, so they won’t be restricted to chatting just on PC.

Does BAND replace the functions that forums serve on web sites to bring communities together, or does it supplement those forums?

The game publishers provide their forum under the official web site. Players can get the official information like how to play, new updates and server maintenance notice from there. But, gamers use BAND to talk with others more frequently and intimately, to recruit new guild members or to easily set up the play dates by polling. If you search “Clash” on BAND, you can find out over 600 small or mid-size communities which look for other players publicly. BAND gives gamers the value that they cannot get from the web-based forum service.

How are streamers using BAND to help create, maintain, and grow their audiences?

Streamers on BAND can get the benefit of keeping close connections with their audience and getting the information and the event easily organized. The calendar event feature allows streamers to post and notify their viewers that when they are about to stream and when they do some giveaways event and community local meetups. The polling feature allows for anyone in the community to create a poll to ask questions to other players and to get some tips from them. Also, streamers can post their favorite videos and pictures to share with their communities. Streamers can communicate 24/7 with their viewers using BAND’s chatroom features, so there is always close contact with viewers. All of BAND’s features allow for streamers to keep a tight bond with their communities and help maintain and grow their audiences.


How does BAND work with game publishers Or is all the activity through BAND driven by the users?

Most of communities are generated by users. But, BAND can be very useful for game publishers too. We saw that some publishers set up the game community on BAND to get feedbacks and bug reports about their beta version from their test gamers. With BAND, game publishers can keep a close relationship with heavy and loyal gamers. The way BAND works with publishers now is to get feedback about the beta version, but we would like to eventually have game publishers create official BAND’s for their games.

Example: Kill Strain from Playstation Studio



What does the future hold for BAND?

BAND reached 40 million users globally and most of them are gamers. The future is looking bright for BAND because everything will be more fun if they play together. Also, there is no perfect solution for gamers to build a fun community. We eventually want to build the communication platform where anyone from game publishers, game streamers and game players can build their own community to enjoy games more.

‘Rock Band’ Returns To the Stage

It’s been five years since the video game market has seen a new retail Rock Band game, enabling players to “jam out” to a number of their favorite tunes using a microphone or a number of plastic instruments. But this week, the party has returned with the release of Rock Band 4 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

As with previous entries in the series, the game has a Band-In-a-Box bundle where newbies can pick up a drum set and guitar with the game. However, Rock Band 4 is also backwards compatible not only with some older songs from previous releases, but also older instruments though a special adapter is needed to play with them.

The game has been getting a tremendous social push since its release, including a live stream on Rooster Teeth that drew thousands of fans and a number of media posts from fans and artists alike. Some hardcore players have even been posting their playthrough videos, including several from Ciji “StarSlay3r” Thornton (amongst other players).

To get an idea of what went into the return of Rock Band 4, we chatted with both Nick Chester, the PR and communications lead for the developers at Harmonix, and Alex Verrey, global PR and communications director for the game’s publisher Mad Catz.

First off, Chester explained that it was all about finding the right time to return. “For us, it was about taking some time to creatively energize ourselves with other projects before returning to the franchise that we love so much. We were able to use that creative energy and distance from the series to help us focus on the things that were most important to players, and to innovative in areas where we saw opportunities. Taking time off, we were able to come back and objectively see that, yes, the game was incredibly fun, but also lacking in some areas. One of those areas was creativity and self-expression, and the Freestyle Guitar Solo gameplay addresses that and is a hell of a lot of fun!

“We re also in a good time in the console cycle, where enough folks have these boxes in their homes, and there s really no experience like this that was available,” he continued. “We think Rock Band is important, we think the cooperative feeling of playing and making music with friends and family is powerful, and we re excited we can finally deliver that.”

New hardware also played a big part in Rock Band’s revival, according to Verrey. “We made the conscious decision to make the new hardware look near enough identical to the previous generation of controllers. We didn t want to alienate fans that had spent thousands of hours getting to know their Rock Band hardware. That said, nothing could be further from the truth, and in fact, all of the hardware for Rock Band 4 has been completely re-built from the ground up.

“We re proud of the new hardware and we think fans will notice the improvements immediately.”

Then, of course, there’s the marketing side of things, and reviving a brand that’s been somewhat dormant for five years certainly isn’t an easy task. However, thanks to the game’s avid fanbase, Chester explained that it worked out pretty well. “We already had an audience that was still there,” he said. “Hundreds of thousands of players were still logging in and playing Rock Band per month, which is nothing to sneeze at. For us, first and foremost, it was making sure that the core group knew we were coming back and that we were doing everything we could to bring them they game they wanted on new-gen platforms.

“Next, it was about tapping into the audience of lapses players who, for whatever reason, haven t had the Rock Band experience in a while, but had amazing memories. There is certainly a bit of nostalgia that we played into, and what we found is that by getting the game in people s hands again, they were instantly transported back to the place they were five or six years ago, and the magic was still there.

“Finally, there s an entire audience that really has never played these games before, and it was about not only giving them something unique like with this Freestyle Guitar Solos but also enabling those first two groups to become evangelists for the game, and bring in new players. Rock Band is a social game, and playing on that certainly helps expand our audience.”

The game will have ample support with songs as well, old and new alike, according to Chester. “We moved our massive catalog of over 1700 songs to new-gen platforms at launch, but also released more than a dozen completely new songs. Music is the backbone of the franchise and the gameplay, so we ll continue to bring people great content well beyond release.”

As far as the future of the series and the promotional push that will come behind it Chester concluded, “We re floored by the response so far, and it bodes well for what we can and want to do for the series. Rock Band 4 is a platform that we ll build on with new content over the years; not just music, but with significant features. We already have our first feature update planned for early December, and it brings with it a host of new social and competitive features, and other surprises that we think fans are going to love. And we can listen to our fans, too. We re already getting feedback that is shaping what that update will include, so we love to hear from our players. We re really excited to deliver this content to our fans for free this holiday.”

For those who wish to rock out, Rock Band 4 is available now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

More and More Time Is Spent On Mobile Devices

The daily time spent by consumers on smartphones and tablets continues to increase, although the growth of that increase is slowing down.

eMarketer reports that non-voice time spent on tablets and mobile phones alike will grow 11.3% for this year, to 2 hours and 54 minutes. That percentage may look pretty significant, but the growth rate is beginning to level out as less time is being spent with other media.


“As the data shows, a large majority of American adults are already using mobile devices,” said Monica Peart, forecasting director for eMarketer. “That means there will be fewer new smartphone and tablet users added each year. Also, the number of activities currently possible on mobile devices limits the amount of time a user can spend per day. For these reasons, growth in the amount of time spent on mobile devices will slow down significantly.”

The utilization of apps, however, continues to grow as opposed to web browsing. This time is expected to increase by ten minutes in 2016, while the use of mobile browsers will continue to be around 51 minutes. The chart below breaks this down more specifically.

Chart 2

But even with the drop-off, mobile is still showing progress in daily usage while traditional television is stumbling a little bit. The report indicates that traditional TV viewing has dropped 4.1 percent over the past year, down to four hours and 11 minutes. That number is expected to drop another 3.1% next year, to just over four hours.

Chart 3

This third chart shows the average time spent per day with digital video, and as you can see, there are stark differences between mobile, desktop and other devices.

Radio also plays a part in this report, as traditional radio will decline by just about a half hour between this year and the next, while digital radio will see an increase to 54 minutes by next year.

Digital consumer behavior has changed in other areas as well, based on this report from Digital Context Next that breaks down comScore’s recent 2015 U.S. Digital Future in Focus report. There are a number of takeaways from this report, including the following:

  • While most of the growth in digital media consumption over the past four years has occurred on smartphones (up 394%) and tablets (up 1,721%), these mobile platforms are not eating into aggregate time spent on desktop, which has still grown 37% over this time period. The digital media pie continues to get bigger and Americans engage with screens during more occasions throughout the day than ever before.
  • Across every age demographic, there is a substantially higher percentage of multi-platform and mobile-only internet users than the previous year. More than 3/4ths of all digital consumers (age 18+) are now using both desktop and mobile platforms to access the internet, up from 68% a year ago. Mobile-only internet usage is also becoming more prevalent, driven largely by the 21% of millennials who are no longer using desktop computers to go online. Meanwhile, the 55-years-and-older consumer segment is actually the fastest growing faction of mobile users, increasing its combined multi-platform and mobile-only share of audience from 60% to 74% in the past year.
  • Because people prefer different devices depending on the online activity or task, the desktop vs. mobile skews by content category can vary widely. Categories such as Photos and Maps are more often than not used on the go, lending themselves to heavy mobile usage, while the Portals and Business/Finance categories comparatively index much higher on desktop devices. Although Portals function as an accessible hub of information on desktop, the mobile environment is markedly different where apps have taken on the role as the gateway to the web.

The full report can be found here.