How Long Before VR Becomes Mainstream?

With the launch of headsets like Sony’s PlayStation VR, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive just over the horizon, 2016 will be a landmark year for virtual reality. We can expect to see a huge push for VR, as more companies look to take advantage of the emerging technology, but the big question is whether it’s better to jump in or wait.

HTC’s chief content officer Phil Chen spoke during a TechCrunch Beijing summit panel, alongside Dillon Seo, co-founder of Oculus. He addressed what kind of future the virtual reality market holds, and it might not be the overnight success as some may think it will be.

“It will take some time for it to go to the masses,” said Chen, talking about how the equipment will need to be refined to get the most performance out of it, and content needs to be produced. However, he remained optimistic about the market, and expects a billion virtual reality headset devices to be sold over the next seven to eight years.

Chen also expressed how the devices should be marketed. Most companies will push them as game devices (especially the PlayStation VR), but HTC is being “bullish” when it comes to pushing the technology towards other markets, such as education or health care, in addition to interactive storytelling.

There’s also a question of price. So far, none of the companies, including HTC, have revealed how much the consumer version of the VR headset will be, although there have been hints that they will be somewhere in the $400 range. The price point could turn out to be a major barrier to mass adoption, so that content needs to make the cost worthwhile. Global reach is of vital importance, according to Chen, and finding potential content partners is key to this success. “Japan and China are very pro-VR and we are starting to talk to everyone you can imagine who is in gaming or animation,” he said.

Popular movies may also provide an ideal gateway for the technology. Lionsgate’s popular The Hunger Games movie series recently got a push into the virtual realm, and familiar games could find a new perspective, like Minecraft, which will also debut on virtual reality down the road.

However, some companies relish the challenge VR presents. Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, speaking with IGN, is excited for it. “I think it’s going to be (the) most revolutionary change that’s happened in the history of computing.”

Sweeney also expresses a similar sentiment to Chen’s. It will take time, as we’ll see the start of the first five years of virtual reality go through “utter churn and chaos. And it’s gonna be awesome, with the quality of the hardware doubling every year, you’re gonna want a new headset every year if you’re a serious early adopter.”

He continued, “By the time this hardware is able to reach a quarter billion users, at that point we’ll be on a more reasonable upgrade cycle. You might buy a new device every two or three years like a smartphone and not at the frenetic rate we’re at right now.”

However, don’t expect everything to go the way of VR. “You can’t just take a game like Unreal Tournament, where you’re running around the world at 30 miles an hour, and stick it in VR,” said Sweeney. “You barf really quickly.” Thus, the need for optimization and games that would make a difference with the technology (like Minecraft, for instance).

Sweeney concluded, “I think we are years away from the point where you’re going to build a AAA, hundred million dollar budget game for VR. But every year the market is going to more than double in size and the budgets will more than double, and I think everyone’s going to be working their hardest to keep up with what’s possible.”

As with adopting any new technology, there are high risks, challenges, and rewards to taking advantage of virtual reality as it grows and develops.

Glu Mobile Talks About Jason Statham Starring in New Mobile Game

Glu Mobile is famous for developing games that are cross-branded with hit licenses, like James Bond: World of Espionage, or partnered with celebrities like Kim Kardashian in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. A recent report compared Glu Mobile to a number of high profile mobile games publishers including King, EA and Gameloft. Although Glu Mobile is the smallest of the five companies mentioned, its games managed to maintain consistent audience engagement with excellent monetization statistics.

The recently released Sniper X with Jason Statham marks the first time the mobile games company has worked with a male celebrity – action movie star Jason Statham. His name and voice are featured in the game, and Glu is banking that Statham’s popularity will help make the game another success.

Jason Statham has starred in over 40 blockbuster action movies, including The Transporter, The Expendables, and the recently released Furious 7. His voice is featured in the game as a mentor figure. Sniper X with Jason Statham is a free-to-play game available now on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

When asked about how Jason Statham became involved with the game, Chris Akhavan, President of Publishing at Glu Mobile said, “Glu identified Jason Statham as the perfect fit for the type of game the company wanted to create. We reached out to him with the concept.”

“With his credit list in action movies, Jason Statham was a natural fit for the type of game we wanted to make. This is a gritty action-adventure game which suits the types of roles Jason Statham is known for.”

This isn’t the first time Glu Mobile has developed and promoted an action game based on an action movie franchise or star. For example, James Bond: World of Espionage is currently the only video game tied-in with Spectre, the upcoming Bond movie set to release on November 6th, and likely the last time Daniel Craig (whose likeness is featured in the game) will assume the role of the super spy. However, Sniper X is the first time a male actor became directly involved with one of Glu’s projects.

We asked Akhavan how important it was to feature the name, likeness and voice of a well known actor like Jason Statham and learned that, “Having someone of Jason Statham caliber integrated so deeply into the game really brings it to life. We saw this as a natural extension to the game with the goal of having players feel like they re not just watching a Jason Statham movie; they re in one. Players will get a wide spectrum of responses from Jason based on how well they do and what s happening in the game.”

“Jason Statham serves as the player s coach and mentor,” giving them a chance to become their own action movie experience right from their smartphones or tablets.

Infographic: Consumers Actually Don’t Mind Advertising

Advertising to consumers can be a tricky business, especially with a new venture that doesn’t know how to reach out to them. But according to a new statistics from marketing research firm MarketingSherpa, they have a good idea of what they want from advertising, and companies should take notice.

AdWeek compiled the marketing data into an infographic that indicates that people don’t really hate advertising as much as companies think. The report shows that only eight percent of respondents didn’t want to receive any sort of marketing, while more than one-third of those polled indicate that they prefer emails from brands through their smartphones when it comes to getting offers.

“This may be somewhat surprising to some, as when mobile marketing is talked about, email is sometimes not included,” said Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content for MarketingSherpa. “Buzzier topics like location-based marketing — iOS iBeacon, for example — and apps tend to get the most attention.”

The full infographic can be found below, but here are a few facts taken from it to sum up the report.

When it comes to preferred ways of receiving updates and promotions from companies:

  • 54 percent of those polled prefer to receive emails they can access on their smartphones.
  • 49 percent would subscribe to receive emails at a preset frequency.
  • 38 percent would be open to visiting the company’s website for updates and promotions.
  • 20 percent don’t mind following certain brands on social media for specials.

On the lower end of the spectrum:

  • 9 percent would attend local events held by  companies
  • 17 percent would be open to getting text messages
  • 15 percent stated they would download a mobile app offered by a company.

When it comes to discovering new products:

  • 59 percent of those polled said that they would stick with in-store browsing,
  • 57 percent would rely on word-of-mouth from friends, family and colleagues.
  • 47 percent rely on search engines and offline advertising.
  • 34 percent prefer offline advertising.

On the lower end, talking with a customer service representative at an eCommerce site (6 percent) and automated personalized product recommendations (10 percent) were less recommended.

When it comes to preferred methods of communication when away from a desktop/laptop computer:

  • 47 percent preferred print ads.
  • 37 percent said they liked emails through their smartphones.
  • 24 percent listening to radio ads.
  • Only 6 percent wanted a push notification from a company’s app.
  • A mere 5 percent liked transit ads.

Info 112

Game Revenues Jump To $28 Billion For Early 2015

The gaming market continues to thrive, especially when it comes to the top 25 public companies.

A new report from Newzoo provided these numbers today, indicating revenues for the top 25 game companies have grown to $28.7 billion dollars for the first half of 2015. That’s a 16 percent ($4 billion) year-over-year increase from 2014’s numbers.

Newzoo 2015 Top 25 Public Companies by Game Revenues

In addition, the company had individual stats to report as well, including the following:

  • Tencent, one of the world’s largest game companies, increased revenues by 23 percent to earn $4.2 billion on its own for the first half of 2015. This is mainly due to its library of popular smartphone titles, and monetization from its core PC audience.
  • Sony saw strong revenues, increasing 12 percent from the previous year to $2.4 billion. This enabled the company to overtake EA and find a place in the top three best sellers, very close to Microsoft. This is mainly due to the success of the PlayStation 4, and the popularity of the PlayStation Plus program, which offers free games on a monthly basis to subscribers.
  • Apple continued to see a rise in its own game sales, by 28 percent over the first half of the year. This is mainly attributed to the popularity of its products in China.
  • Google also saw a boost in Android device sales around the world, moving to a seventh place on the top 25 chart.
  • Out of the top 25 companies listed in Newzoo’s report, only six saw decreasing revenues for the year, mainly in the mobile market. These companies include King (which is still in the top 10) and GungHo, which rely on popular titles like Candy Crush Soda Saga and Puzzle & Dragons, respectively.
  • DeNA, which is currently developing Nintendo’s first mobile game, also saw an 18 percent drop.
  • Asian companies saw a total of 48 percent of all revenues in the top 25, which is a one percent increase from the previous year.
  • NetEase has fared very well with its mobile and PC games, including titles like Fantasy Westward Journey. The company made a total of $1.1 billion for the year, an increase of 55 percent over the previous year.
  • Take Two Interactive saw a great year, moving to number 15 on the list with a 79 percent increase over the previous year. This is mainly attributed to hit games like Grand Theft Auto Online (part of the multi-million selling Grand Theft Auto V) and very successful sports like NBA 2K16. The strong growth should continue well into 2016 with the upcoming action game Battleborn.
  • Mixi debuted at #13 with the success of its mobile game Monster Strike, making $754 million for the first half of the year. That’s a 586 percent increase from the previous year, and marks earnings for the company with each successive quarter since late 2013.
  • Meanwhile, Warner Bros. jumped straight to the the top 10, thanks to the success of such games as Batman: Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat X.

Not every company saw a hefty increase. Ubisoft, famed publisher of games like Assassin’s Creed, saw a 60 percent decrease, down to $267 million. GREE, likewise, also saw a 27 percent drop, down to $351 million for the first half of the year.

Here are the top 25, as listed by Newzoo:

  1. Tencent
  2. Microsoft
  3. Sony
  4. EA
  5. Activision Blizzard
  6. Apple
  7. Google
  8. NetEase
  9. Warner Bros.
  10. King
  11. Nexon
  12. Nintendo
  13. Mixi Inc.
  14. GungHo Entertainment
  15. Take Two Interactive
  16. DeNA
  17. Square Enix
  18. Disney
  19. Facebook
  20. Konami
  21. Changyou
  22. Zynga
  23. Bandai Namco
  24. NCSoft
  25. Sega

The full report, complete with specific numbers for each of the top 25, can be found here.

How ‘Rainbow Six Siege’ Will Strike Hard and Fast This Holiday

Debuting in 1998, the popular Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series involves an international team of anti-terrorists that goes head-to-head against terrorist forces. However, (not counting the 2011 mobile game) the series seemed dormant after its last game, of Rainbow Six Vegas 2, released in 2008. However, the franchise is looking to make a big comeback with Rainbow Six Siege, which is set to release this winter and offers a fresh take on the intense gameplay.

Rainbow Six Siege recently completed a closed beta, where new players could try out some of the game’s features and gameplay before it officially launches. Although betas are primarily held so that developers can spot problems and make adjustments, they are also great for promoting the game and spreading excitement.

[a]listdaily speaks to Dominic DiSanti, Public Relations Manager at Ubisoft, to gain more insight about how betas impact a game’s promotion, and what other plans might be in store for the upcoming game.

How have the Rainbow Six Siege betas helped to spread interest in the game

We’ve held two major test phases in the lead up to December’s launch, the Closed Alpha on PC back in March, and the Closed Beta on all platforms in September. Most recently with the Closed Beta, the main objective was to test the online infrastructure and matchmaking with the largest number of players we’ve had in the game to date. Testing these areas was a major help so we know exactly what needs to be fixed in order to provide the best possible experience when the game is released on December 1.

While the goals of the Closed Alpha and Closed Beta were first and foremost technical in nature, we’ve also seen a spike in interest for Rainbow Six Siege following both test phases, especially with the Closed Beta as players, press and online content creators were eager to share their gameplay footage in the form of Twitch streams and YouTube videos. It was quite infectious for all of us on the production and marketing teams to see the fun and genuine excitement that players had while playing the Beta. We even decided to extend the Closed Beta a few extra days in order to give more people added time to play it along with their friends.

How do you handle the risk of revealing a game’s developmental warts during a beta

Showing a game before it is complete is always a risk from a perception standpoint. Aspects of the game that aren’t totally finished or polished may not always work as intended, and there is a chance that players may think that the incomplete state of an Alpha or Beta is representative of the final quality of the game when in fact it is not.

However, we’ve found that the core consumer audience tends to understand the purpose of these pre-launch test periods and are willing to excuse some of the rough edges since they realize that their feedback will enable us to create a much better final product. Ultimately, allowing the public to play a key slice of the game and collect their feedback allows us to tweak and balance the game to create a much better experience for players at launch, an effort that will continue well after the game’s initial release.

Will there be any interest in promoting Rainbow Six Siege as an eSport after it launches If so, how do you intend to take on long established games like Counter-Strike

We’ve developed a game that we believe has the proper foundation to allow for eSports competition. This includes the choice to run at 60 FPS in PVP multiplayer and the creation of a spectating tool, the Spectator Camera. In the end, it will be up to the community, players and organizations whether to make it into an eSport title or not. If there is a desire for eSport tools and support from the production side, we will be more than happy to provide it.

Has the Rainbow Six name made marketing Siege easier, or does nostalgia clash with the new game style

The Rainbow Six video game franchise certainly has a rich brand legacy. Many players consider it to be the godfather of tactical shooters and fondly remember their experiences playing previous Rainbow Six games, from the exhilaration of planning and executing a successful breach with their squad, to the thrill of teaming up with their friends to take down an entire team of enemies in a Terrorist Hunt match.

From the start of the project, we wanted to tap into the core elements of what made the Rainbow Six brand so special for long-time fans — high lethality, tactics, team play, and intense action — while also introducing the innovative new aspects of Siege, the asymmetrical confrontation of destruction versus fortification, and procedural destruction that allows players unprecedented freedom to destroy environments in realistic and meaningful ways. Rainbow Six fans have long been eager for a new entry in the series and we’re absolutely thrilled to deliver Siege to them and newcomers to the series this December.

How do you ensure that Rainbow Six Siege remains in the forefront of people’s minds amid rival competitive shooters like Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

This is undoubtedly one of the most crowded holiday seasons in recent memory with the slew of AAA shooters that are set to be released. We feel good about how the core elements of Rainbow Six Siege — the high lethality, tactical destruction, team play, and tension — differentiate the game from the competition and offer shooter fans a breath of fresh air. We’ve also seen this sentiment reflected time and time again in press coverage, from when it first won the Game Critics Award for Best PC Game at E3 2014, to the most recent round of previews.

We’ve specifically designed several marketing tactics to keep Rainbow Six Siege top of mind amid the crowded FPS marketplace. This summer, we held a competitive tour called The Siege Games at major gaming events around the United States including San Diego Comic-Con and PAX Prime where thousands of gamers formed teams and battled for the highest score in Rainbow Six Siege. Winners from each of The Siege Games events will assemble in Los Angeles on November 23 to show off their skills at our big launch celebration, Siege Day, which will be live streamed on

At our E3 2015 press conference, we revealed that Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Bassett will take on the role of Six, the commander of Team Rainbow, in Siege. Mrs. Bassett’s involvement added a level of artistic credibility to the game and generated a tremendous amount of attention from both mainstream and endemic media during the game’s second E3 showing to ensure that it remained firmly entrenched on everyone’s collective radar.

Additionally, our partnership with Extra Life, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraising program, had a total impact of over $80,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout North America in 2015. Anyone who donated $6 or more to Extra Life received a code for guaranteed access to the Closed Beta. Donations help sick and injured kids in local communities and fund medical research and training, purchase life-saving equipment and pay for uncompensated patient care. It was a great way to channel the passion of the Rainbow Six fans for a great cause.

We also have other surprises in store that will be sure to grab consumer’s attention in the lead up to launch on December 1.

R6 Beta Infographic V2 225087