Intel Celebrates 10 Years Of ESports

Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) celebrates its tenth season with its North American leg at SAP Center in San Jose Nov. 21-22. The event, which is run by ESL and sponsored by Intel, is the longest-running global eSports tournaments. League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro gamers will be competing for a cash prize pool of $175,000 over the weekend.

George Woo, global sponsorships manager at IntelCorporation, has been with the program since its inception. He said Intel initially got involved in eSports to create brand awareness and be relevant to the gaming communities.

Ten-plus years ago the Intel brand awareness was very low with gamers, Woo said. With Intel s continuous involvement with eSports and the entire PC gaming ecosystem, we are now one of the strongest brands with gamers.

Michal Blicharz, managing director of pro gaming at ESL, said the partnership between ESL and Intel has been like a good marriage.

There were ups and downs and we had to make lots of changes and adjustments along the way due to the ever-changing landscape of eSports, but ultimately it comes down to the insane amounts of trust we’ve built up for each other, Blicharz said. Intel has not been afraid to take the plunge with us a couple of times first when few other companies really believed in eSports, and more recently with the movement towards stadium events. We’ve had crazy ideas and Intel has supported us — sometimes blindly. And we’ve managed to eclipse my personal dreams for where eSports would be, together.

Woo has seen tremendous growth with IEM with regards to scale and reach. He said more IEM event stops in the future will be hosted in sports arenas, instead of co-locating in a trade show or event, due to the growth and popularity of eSports.

Intel has been the longest-serving supporter of eSports in the world when it comes to major corporations, Blicharz said. In its early days, the industry was build on Intel money, even before Intel partnered up with ESL for the Intel Extreme Masters in 2006. Millennials can no longer be reached via traditional marketing. They close the door on the corporate world because all of their entertainment is consumed on demand, and whenever they browse the web they’re likely running ad block. The best way to reach them is to support their hobby in a way that’s meaningful and come in invited through the front door into their lives. That’s what Intel has done.

The IEM trophy has expanded over the past decade, just as eSports has evolved. The cup has champions names from WarCraft III, Counter-Strike 1.6, QuakeLive, World of Warcraft and League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is being added this year.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich attended the San Jose IEM event last year, and this year he s participating in a celebrity League of Legends competition along with Mark Cuban and others to raise money for Cyber Smile.

One of the reasons we decided to go to San Jose, next to the fact that there are so many gamers in the Bay Area, is because we wanted to turn as many Intel employees into eSports fans, Blicharz said. The Intel CEO s involvement in the charity match this year shows how much Intel has opened itself up to eSports.

Intel has benefited from the past decade of eSports tournaments. Woo said being involved in eSports allows Intel interact with the PC gaming communities.

IEM is the global marketing platform that we use to connect with PC gamers to introduce them to our latest gaming experiences and product offerings, Woo said. IEM being the longest running global independent gaming platform provides Intel a strong and relevant PC gaming platform for the Intel Geo s to leverage and make an impact in their markets.

Blicharz said the largest IEM event so far was the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship last season, which had over 100,000 attendees and over 10 million viewers on Twitch. At the peak, around 1 million concurrent viewers were watching the event on Twitch and on Asian streaming platforms.

Our smaller events don’t reach that level of viewership yet, but as we are adding more events in arenas, that viewership is getting higher as well, Blicharz said.

The explosion of livestreaming platforms like Twitch has allowed ESL and Intel to tap into a global audience simultaneously with big eSports events.

Livestreaming is important, and will play a more significant role in Intel s marketing plans in reaching the gaming audience worldwide, Woo said.

ESL is also using IEM to experiment with virtual reality for the first time, partnering with Jaunt VR to capture highlights of the event to be viewed through 360-degree video in the near future.


Square Enix On The ‘Win an Island’ Giveaway for ‘Just Cause 3’

Just Cause players are encouraged to cause as much mayhem and destruction as possible, while creatively using a variety of tools, weapons and vehicles. Just Cause 3 intends to dial up the insanity a couple notches when it releases on December 1st, with a massive open world set on an idyllic Mediterranean Island for players to explore and blow up.

Marketing for the game is also looking for bold moves and a big score. Promotions for the game include everything from 360-degree VR videos showing the bird’s-eye view of the world as the main character, Rico Rodriguez, flies through the sky in a custom wingsuit. Taking things several thousand steps further, the Just Cause team will hold a competition where the winner gets his or her own island. That’s right. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One pre-order players that score high points in the game by creatively causing mass destruction have a chance to win a real life island.

[a]listdaily speaks to Rob Rutter, Brand & Marketing Manager at Square Enix for Just Cause 3, to talk destruction, human flight and where they found an island to give away.

Robert Rutter

What would you say it is about the Just Cause series that keeps fans coming back for more

I think the Just Cause series offers gamers something that’s actually missing in a lot of games nowadays – a real sense of fun, action and truly open-ended gameplay. The sheer size of the world, and the options to play around in it and experiment with the physics and destruction is a really appealing mix for a lot of gamers, and it’s something that offers hundreds of hours of fun.

What inspired the creation of The Wingsuit Experience VR app and panoramic video

I was discussing with the Just Cause 3 production team about trying to find a way to create something really immersive to get players into the game world and experience it first-hand before the game launched. Avalanche Studios have created this incredible Mediterranean island republic of Medici and we didn’t just want to release another series of cinematic video trailers, when we’re really selling an interactive experience. We’d recently seen some incredible 360-degree pop videos from groups like The Black Eyed Peas and Boyz Noise and we wondered if it’d be possible to create something similar in a videogame. We found Mindlight, a developer who’d made some tech demos of this type of technology and the production started from there.

How did the Just Cause 3 Win An Island Challenge come into being

The US team had this great idea to run a competition to win an actual island – we thought this sounded really cool, and then the US team ran with the idea and brought it into a great in-game competition for the launch period of Just Cause 3. We’re looking forward to seeing how much Chaos people can create once the game’s out as they try to win this!

How do you grow the Just Cause audience with each game

We don’t bring Just Cause out on an annual cycle like some other open world games, and that brings with it challenges of keeping people aware of Just Cause as a franchise. There’s an element of having to re-educate people and new gamers about what makes Just Cause such a special game. Growing the audience is about trying to build on the great foundations of the previous games, and Just Cause 2 has given us a really strong community base to reach out to and work with on YouTube and other channels to show the world why this game is so awesome.

What are some of challenges in conveying the size, scope, and wild open-world gameplay Just Cause 3 has to offer

There are a lot of things to consider when communicating the size and scope of a game like Just Cause 3, because it’s the type of game where it’s really the sum of its parts. As a player you want to see everything — the huge world, the number of vehicles, the variety of locations and gameplay. It’s really difficult to wrap this all up into an easily understandable message. This is why we brought out our “This Is Just Cause 3” trailer so early at E3. Typically, a “101-style” trailer that explains the game in detail comes very late in a campaign, and we wanted to show the core elements of the game much earlier and in a lot more detail. It’s also why we’ve been working with big YouTubers to show longer gameplay footage, which really shows people the full scope of the game in a very open way.

SteelSeries Talks eSports Partnership With Winterfox

With eSports continuing to grow at an impressive rate, it should be no surprise that SteelSeries, a company that makes high-quality headsets and peripherals, has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with the gaming team at Winterfox. The team, which specializes in the team-based shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, will train alongside the SteelSeries team in an effort to hone their skills, while spreading word about the company’s products at the same time.

Travis Hezel

“Our core product and brand values were formed as a combination of our original company DNA and years of meeting industry demands,” said Travis Hezel, SteelSeries’ Global Director of Sponsorships, in a press release earlier in the week. “The Winterfox project addresses a multitude of those values that will progress eSports as a whole, and how sponsors like Steelseries interact with customers, bringing new product developments and more personal connections with eSports athletes.”

[a]listdaily spoke with SteelSeries global director of sponsorships, Travis Hezel, about what made the partnership so appealing. “Well, for some companies they are taking the first step into the landscape but we’ve been here since our inception back in 2001 with the original Icemat,” he explained. “Without selling through those at CPL, we wouldn’t be here today. Since then, we’ve continued to work alongside with players and teams to create the best possible products specifically catered to in-game needs. For us, they’re the most important part of our DNA as a peripheral company.”

As for having a second team come to SteelSeries headquarters, Hezel said, “Having the Winterfox guys come in-house and train from our office was a passion project we had all discussed at-length for quite some time. Flying players to meet with our R&D team annually was always something we held in very high value, but having a team downstairs where we can get immediate feedback at the conceptual level on ideas is priceless.”

“For the players, we’re making sure they have everything they possibly could want. We’ve even put together noise-cancelling headphones for them to practice with before events so they’re absolutely prepared before heading to offline competitions. By this time next year, they’ll improve immensely and hopefully we’ll get to see some Winterfox stickers in game.”

“With the Winterfox roster in-house we’re getting the chance to build a new lineup of products from the ground up with daily input coming from them and overarching input from the rest of our teams globally. By this time next year we’ll be introducing the best products we’ve ever produced,” said Hezel, explaining where SteelSeries is benefiting from the deal.

The team is already hard at work. “Right now Winterfox is competing online in ESEA Invite, CEVO Professional, FaceIt, and Starladder. They’re all now playing full-time, so if there’s a tournament to play in, you can find them there. As for offline events, they just attended IBP Cup and RGN Playoffs in Santa Ana, CA. Hopefully they’ll continue to perform online and qualify for their next round of offline events soon. This, on top of what they’re doing with SteelSeries, should keep them busy for some time.”

When asked about the growth of eSports, Hezel is confident. “The possibilities are endless, to be honest. Having a sold out League of Legends Finals in Madison Square Garden a few weeks back is a huge milestone. Between the new ‘superleagues’ being formed [between ESL Gaming and TBS] for CS:GO, LCS for League of Legends, and the new major season for DOTA 2, things are only going to continue to get bigger in scale. We’re all excited to see how things continue to evolve.”

Image source

Netflix, Marvel’s Marriage Is The Perfect Case of Brand Synergy

There’s no question that Marvel Studios has been working hard over the past few years to work a number of its franchises into other mediums. Its movies, from Guardians of the Galaxy to its Avengers films, have been making big box-office bucks. Even Ant-Man, a franchise based on one of the comic giant’s lesser-known heroes, had no problem generating $518 million. But one other avenue that is paying off for the company is its partnership with Netflix, which dates back to late 2013. With it, other Marvel franchises would get their shot as a separate series available exclusively on the streaming network.

Daredevil, the first of the four to premiere from the deal, made its debut this April and fared well with audiences. Variety reports that based on numbers provided by the streaming service, an estimated 10.7 percent of subscribers tuned in to at least one episode in the first 11 days of its arrival. That’s bigger numbers that some of Netflix’s more popular series, including The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the award-nominated House of Cards.

With that, the second series of the deal ‘ Jessica Jones ‘  arrived to Netflix today. The series, featuring Krysten Ritter in the title role, focuses on a no-nonsense private investigator who maintains mysterious powers, and finds herself face-to-face with an evil presence (Doctor Who‘s David Tennant), who continues to torment her.

The series is arriving with a huge amount of buzz on social media, as well as mainstream advertising across both the Internet and regular television ads. Critics have also given the mature-rated series high remarks, indicating that it’s another asset in Netflix’s growing collection of original programming.

So what is the appeal behind this mega partnership between Netflix and Marvel Well, it certainly benefits both parties in certain ways.

On Netflix’s end, it has programs that appeal more to the comic book/”geek” viewer, a demographic that some networks don’t quite appeal to. ABC does have its own Marvel series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that appeals to such an audience, but one episode a week may not be enough to get their fill – which is where Netflix comes in handy for “binge” sessions.

As for Marvel, it allows for expansion of franchises that would have difficulty finding a venue elsewhere. For example, making a movie based on Daredevil might be a risky endeavor, especially considering 20th Century Fox released one years before, featuring Ben Affleck in the title role. (It received lukewarm response as a result, and also from its PG-13 rating.) Trying to maintain the maturity of that franchise on the big screen would result in an R-rating, shutting out potential box office as a result. Meanwhile, on Netflix, the series seems like a perfect fit, with no restraints as far as content is concerned.

Jessica Jones fits a similar mold, as the main “hero”, so to speak, does a lot of drinking and other violent acts, as part of her character. That’s not to say that’s unlikable, though – the comic book version had a similar nature, and with its deal with Netflix, Marvel and its producers can present a “no holds barred” approach to these characters, giving them the kind of gusto needed to appeal to die-hard comic book fans, as well as potential viewers tired of the same old kiddie fare.

Surprisingly enough, more mature-themed shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones are highly marketable. The content may not be for all ages, but the approach Netflix has taken to advertising them is, whether it’s online, through television or other promotional means.

This will certainly benefit both partners as the deal goes on, since two more series – Luke Cage and a rumored Iron Fist series (though that may change), all of which will tie together into a mini-series titled The Defenders, which will air exclusively on Netflix once completed. There’s also potential of new characters being introduced as well, such as The Punisher, a gun-toting vigilante who will be the key focus for Season Two of Daredevil, which is already in production and set to premiere sometime next year.

This partnership with Netflix is allowing Marvel to expand in ways it couldn’t have imagined just a few years back, and it’s also benefitting fans by giving them more of an outlet aside from the big-screen efforts, allowing smaller characters within its sprawling universe to steal the spotlight. There’s no question Netflix is benefitting as well, gaining viewers that show heavy interest in seeing said programs, even if it is on a “binge” basis.

Here’s hoping it continues to endure for years to come – it’ll be interesting to see where Jessica Jones and company go from here.

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Image courtesy of Netflix

‘Innovation Marketing’ is a Growing Trend at L.A. Auto Show

The L.A. Auto Show will open its doors to car enthusiasts Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, marking the start of this season s U.S. auto shows. Around 50 vehicles will debut at the L.A. show this year in the performance, midsize crossover, electric and high-technology categories. Car companies like Ford, Volkswagen and Chevrolet spent over $100 million this year in advertising, and to reach the masses, these budgets are likely to remain the same through 2016.

However, over and above the traditional, well-proven ways of marketing cars through advertising, PR and product placement, we re also seeing a clear trend toward innovation marketing. What is innovation marketing  We picked three prime examples of how car manufacturers took advantage of the spotlight to highlight their vision for the future rather than the traditional route of highlighting the features of their current products.


The U.S.-spec 2017 Hyundai Elantra sedan made its debut at the L.A. auto show, too. However, it s the Korean automaker s new smart phone app that stole the show in terms of PR. The company shows that it knows its customers well, and that almost no one ever looks at paper manuals anymore. So they announced its new augmented-reality digital owner’s manual. The Hyundai Car Care app for Android or iOS will be receiving the new augmented-reality features in an update coming soon.

The way it works is after the customer downloads the app and indicates what model Hyundai car they own and what options they’ve chosen (such as Tech package, Sport package), owners will be able to point their phone or tablet’s digital camera at the car and, after a few moments, have the app recognize the vehicle and overlay clickable information points onto the image of the car.

The augmented-reality points appear over the front and rear of the vehicle, in the engine bay, over the seat controls and on the dashboard. Considering millennials today spend hours every day glued to their screens, a car app like this doesn t just save paper and space in the glove compartment, but it s also indicative of what is to come in terms of marketing as the industry is thinking about how they can innovate in unexpected areas.


While the German premium brand has two performance vehicles making North American debuts the 2016 S8 Plus and 2017 R8 V10 Plus, and the 2016 RS7 making its world debut the company spent most of their time talking about something else: Electric cars.

In a challenging year for Audi and VW coming off the diesel emissions matters, Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America, focused on the future when addressing reporters. For Keogh, 2016 will be the year when electric cars finally become mainstream, and in addition to debuting its deeper jump into the hybrid category with the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. Keogh also said that in 10 years, one out of four Audi cars sold in America will be fully electric.

How will this be achieved What’s key is Audi s e-tron quattro concept, an all-electric luxury-class SUV that will go into general production in early 2018. Another big goal in marketing going forward is educating consumers to change their perception about electric vehicles. This will do two things for Audi: show that the company is, in fact, a good company serious about the health of our planet, while showing their brand is innovative.


The Scandinavian-turned-Chinese car company has always been at the forefront of safety, but this year it’s focusing on the self-driving car. Like Hyundai, Volvo has done a smart life hack here. According to Volvo’s research, the average American spends 26 minutes driving to work. So it s not an accident (pun intended) that Volvo chose to reveal its vision for how American s could better spend that time.

Volvo research indicates that most people will use autonomous drive on their way to work, during the boring parts of the commute like stop-and-go traffic on the highway. So they’re working on a self-driving car concept to take back that time stuck in a traffic jam. But this “time machine” won’t have a flux capacitor, but an auto-pilot that can be turned on-and-off just like your cruise control.

Without thoroughly detailing how it’s going to work, it’s safe to say that it’s still far away from becoming mainstream reality. The vision of what drivers will do when they don’t have to focus on driving will most likely be watched more than anything related to products and features currently on the market.

Unikrn CEO Explains Why Female Pro Gamers Are Important For ESports

ESports bookmaker company Unikrn hopes to expand the world of eSports with its investment in an all-female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) team. Team Unikrn is comprised of Melania “Gina” Mylioti (Greece), Julia “Julie” Strunkowski (Germany), Perrine “Lalit ” Allesiardo (France), Sophia “Kim” Benfakir (France) and Camilla “Parmaviolet” (UK). The newly formed team is currently training and has been fully funded by Unikrn, in conjunction with Luxbet.

rahul sood

Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn

Rahul Sood, CEO of Unikrn, explains why it’s important for companies to invest in female pro gamers today, and discusses the opportunities these pros open up to growing the eSports fan base and marketing opportunities, in this exclusive interview.

Unikrn is the first eSports Betting Company to fully own and support a professional women’s CS:GO Team.  We’re partnering with Luxbet, one of our key partners, to make this happen. What this industry needs is more companies supporting a competitive environment that invites both men and women to compete with and against each other in these games. That’s ultimately what makes the future and potential of eSports so cool. Oxent has been supporting female CS:GO eSports for 13 years through stand-alone events. How do you see your support opening up more opportunities for female pros  

How big is the female pro gaming scene for CS:GO

It’s a growing space, there are a number of really great teams – it’s nowhere near as big as the male teams, but I think with more support it’ll only get bigger. As I tell people, I remember when Dana White was quoted as saying, “There will never be a woman in the UFC,” and now their most watched and talked about fighter is a woman. The ladies we hired are amazing at CS:GO, they’re very competitive and they pretty much play all games. CS:GO is their career, so they primarily focus on developing those skills.

How did you go about choosing who to sponsor in this new initiative

One of Unikrn’s staff was the co-founder of MouseSports, a professional CS:GO team based in Germany. He knows a bunch of people in the industry and we had him spend some time scouting for a team so we could make the investment.

Why did you form a new team versus sponsoring an existing one

We currently sponsor MouseSports and we love those guys. We have also sponsored other teams in the past. While we have no problems sponsoring teams, we were actively looking for a way to support women in eSports. Unikrn has the means to create an environment where an all-female team could compete together using the best equipment and the best support. My business partner, Karl, and I are pretty excited about owning a team.

What impact do you feel this first sponsored team will open up to the CS:GO community as a whole

First, I want to say I’m really glad the community has been super supportive of Team Unikrn so far. We’ve been involved in a couple of tournaments to get things going and the reception has been awesome. I hope our initiative gets other large team owners to take on more women and create an even higher level competition. I hope it inspires more girls to get into gaming and technology.

Oxent had dozens of female teams interested in the ESWC League of Legends event during Paris Games Week. What opportunities do you see for sponsoring women pros in other games

I can only hope the opportunities increase. We’re making a big investment here, but it’s totally the right thing to do.

What challenges remain in this post GamerGate environment for female pro gamers

I’ve played a ton of online games with my daughter. I’ve seen how some people behave in the community and it can be horrendous. With that said, most gamers are really cool, and the more anti-bullying sentiment that gets out there, the better the community gets. Toxic communities are the absolute worst – but that usually happens when left unchecked and unregulated. I’m confident things will only get better for female pro gamers.

Given that all eSports tournaments are open to men and women, why are there so few women pro gamers represented today

There is a lot of debate on this. People in the community will tell you that we spent months looking at this space. Some people say there aren’t enough women games because of a “lack of skill,” but I simply don’t buy it. Unikrn and Luxbet decided to create a professional CS:GO team with the same level of investment, coaching and support that male teams have today. This is a big deal, and it’s just a matter of time before more women pro gamers are represented.

How do you see this evolving in the coming years

Ideally, gaming communities will continue to be accepting of all kinds of people, online bullying will wane away as the industry matures, and we’ll see both men and women competing with and against each other in the highest levels of competitions. I would *love* to see big publishers open their doors to this and maybe create undercard events. Team Unikrn will be the first to sign up!

What do female pro gamers open up for sponsors and marketers interested in eSports

If marketers are looking to get in front of Millennials, we’ve got the answer. There are ample opportunities to reach males and females between the ages of 12-34 (and expanding both ways) through all the activities we put together.

How do you see female pro gamers impacting the growth of female (and male) fans

Well, first of all, there are a lot of female fans of eSports out there. Unfortunately, there are just not enough female professional gamers. I see what we’re doing as an opportunity to open it up. Right now, the total fan base for eSports is about the same size as the fan base for NHL hockey. It’s primarily male, but there are a growing number of females in the audience. By 2017, the fan base will be about as big as the NFL, and I can only imagine a great number of them will be female.

Pepsi Takes Brand Integration to New Levels with ‘Empire’

Pepsi has been a mainstay advertiser in music, often working with big-name acts Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, and the before them, Michael Jackson. Now, it’s taking a twist as subtle as opening one of their soft drink bottles by using a fictional character that’ll be featured in the TV series Empire, AdAge reports.

Pepsi will go beyond product placement by playing a focal part in a three-episode arc that began with last night’s episode and will conclude with the mid-season finale on Dec. 2.

The show involves turmoil and struggle with a powerful record company called Empire Entertainment and an up-and-coming musician named Jamal Lyon (who happens to be the son of CEO Lucious). In this story arc, Jamal competes with other musicians to become the new face for the Pepsi brand. Eventually, he’ll win the spot by recording the original ad song “Ready To Go.”

The ad itself, a 60-second commercial directed by Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, will debut on Dec. 2 as well during an awards nomination ceremony. But there’s a clever twist: Instead of simply featuring it in the program, Fox will cut away for commercial time, air the ad, and then return back to the show. There’s also potential for the ad to run elsewhere, but Jussie Smollett (the actor who plays Jamal) will be featured as himself instead of his on-screen persona.

Interestingly, Pepsi was the one pitched for the integration, instead of the other way around, according to Toby Byrne, president of ad sales for Fox Networks Group. It must have felt like an ideal fit, seeing as how celebrities are often asked to do endorsements. “The integration works because it works for the show,” he explained. “The storyline is true to the show. We made a great effort to make sure this particular storyline is natural and not overly commercial.”

Emily Silver, vice president of marketing for PepsiCo’s North American division, feels that it’s a “truly authentic integration of life imitating art,” which is “a breakthrough for us and for the industry.”

Byrne added, “This is taking a brand integration to a new, progressive execution. It shows what is possible when you engage the best creative minds and bring them all together.”

As for why Empire was a decisive choice, the answer was clear, according to Silver, since it is the “hottest show on TV, attractive to all demographics and music-focused, which is a very important plank for Pepsi.”

In an age where more companies try to find a way around ad-blocking services and “fast-forwarding” through commercials, it appears that Pepsi has found a way to feature its product in a natural and unobtrusive way. Don’t be surprised if other brands follow suit.

Mobile Messaging Apps Set To See Big Revenue

Mobile messaging apps continue to be popular, with an estimated 1.4 billion people worldwide expected to use one this year. By 2018, the number of consumers using mobile messaging apps will rise to two billion, thanks to better access to mobile Internet, and cheaper rates than SMS, MMS and voice call services. That’s why an eMarketer report shows that it’s about to see a major revenue boost.

The report, titled “Mobile Messaging Apps: Global User Forecast, Leaderboard and Outlook on Monetization,” estimates that by year’s end, 75 percent of smartphone users will have some form of over-the-top (OTT) mobile messaging app for use once per month.

The chart breaks down the numbers behind mobile phone messaging app users and worldwide penetration with devices over the next few years. It’s easy to see that a growth is in place, starting with 1.07 billion app users in 2014, and quickly picking up to 1.40 this year. That number will show a significant rise, increasing to 2.19 billion by 2019, making messaging apps one of the more popular methods of communication.

Chart 1119

Out of those users, 51.7 percent account for the numbers in 2014, but that number will slowly rise to 68.2 percent by 2019. Meanwhile, the change numbers seem to show a bit of decline, but with a growth in audience, messaging apps will continue to show effectiveness.

A side report from Juniper Research conducted in July shows that instant messages will see a tremendous spike, with more than 94 trillion sent worldwide this year. This includes all formats, however, including messaging apps, social media and MMS/SMS. Email continues to be the dominant format for communication for the time being, but instant messaging could easily take over as soon as next year, if estimates from the research firm stay on course.

Companies like Line will benefit the most from the boost in mobile messaging, with revenues expected to increase from $1.4 billion this year to $3.8 billion in 2020. It will also see a rise in users, going from 238 million for this year to 417 million. Revenues, per MAU, will also show a pick-me-up, going from $5.90 for this year to $9.10.

Others on the rise are KakaoTalk, which will see an estimated $250 million increase over the next five years, and WeChat, which is expecting an increase from $1.2 billion this year to $5.8 billion. Facebook Messenger, which currently has no reported revenue, will increase to $4.2 billion, as well as a $3.00 revenue per MAU and double the monthly active users (from 700 million to 1.4 billion).

Both WeChat and Line have benefited greatly from utilizing digital content sales in its apps, including game-related content such as sticker and emoji packs. This creates opportunity through “branded stickers” for users.

eMarketer concluded that while digital content and advertising will continue to be big revenue makers for these apps, creating a shopping hub for commerce and services, is an effective option. WeChat currently uses that business model, and is benefiting nicely.

When it comes to the popularity of messaging with mobile devices, and the potential for advertisers and partners to find programs that reach out to the millions that use them, the message is quite clear.

Image source

How Nvidia Will Bring VR to 130 Million PCs

With the consumer versions of headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive launching next year, this is a pivotal time for virtual reality technology. With that in mind, Nvidia is poised to help pave the way into the VR era with high-end GeForce graphics cards and software tools like GameWorks VR (which has been incorporated into Unreal Engine 4) to power the immersive experiences and games.

However, there are still some significant obstacles to overcome. For example, virtual reality experiences demand 7x the performance of a typical PC game running at 1080p.

VRX Keynote Final3 Page 03[a]listdaily spoke to Jason Paul, Nvidia’s General Manager for GeForce Experience, Shield portable, and virtual reality about the company plan to grow “the installed base of GeForce VR Ready PCs to grow from 5 million today, to over 130 million by 2020.” He compares the task to climbing Mount Everest, which coincidentally, is exactly what users will be able to do from the comfort of their homes with the Everest VR experience, powered by Nvidia technology.

jason paul 249x273VR technology is very impressive, but requires a hefty hardware investment right now. How long do you think it will take for VR to become more accessible

Put me down for $100 on 2 years, 8 months, and 18 days.

Seriously though… while prices will certainly come down over time, VR will be in reach for many next year. VR ready PCs have already been announced for under $1,000, and there are tens of millions of customers who can become VR-ready simply by upgrading their graphics card.

Can you go into detail about how Nvidia plans to grow the number of VR Ready PCs to “130 million by 2020”

Two parts. First, is Moore’s law — Nvidia GPUs will get faster and faster with VR class performance coming to increasingly mainstream price points.

Second, Nvidia is developing software technologies such as GameWorks VR that delivers substantial performance improvements, enabling even more GeForce PCs to meet the VR performance bar. The net effect of GameWorks VR is a doubling of the VR ready PC installed base in 2016, and an additional 30 million PCs in 2020.

How will Nvidia help promote VR technology when there are currently so few opportunities for consumers to try it out

Nvidia has been on the road, bringing VR demos to each corner of the globe from Brazil, to Korea, to Germany to Seattle. But physical events will only reach so many people. So, we are helping developers build amazing VR experiences like Solfar’s Everest VR or Epic Games and Weta Digital’s Thief in the Shadows, and evangelizing them online to our network of 200 million GeForce customers.

How will Gameworks VR technology help encourage more widespread adoption of VR

In VR, there is no middle ground. The experience is either amazing or nauseating. GameWorks VR delivers tangible improvements in performance and latency that help make VR amazing. Nvidia encourages adoption by ensuring VR experiences are good experiences.

How important are experience projects like Everest VR compared to video games in helping to promote virtual reality technology

Most people understand the concept of video games in virtual reality: 3D world, digital characters. It makes sense.

Virtual reality experiences like Everest VR help expand people’s imaginations to the potential of VR. It can be an educational tool. A creative medium. A way to travel.

It helps expand the addressable market and build excitement for VR beyond us core gamers, which I believe is fundamental for VR’s widespread adoption.

Those who still don’t know much about VR may be apprehensive about the emerging technology. What would you say to help to get them comfortable with adopting virtual reality

Give it a try! I’ve had the opportunity to take a lot of people through their first VR experience, and the responses are simply awesome. One Twitch broadcaster recently told me after a demo “this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life!” But not all VR is created equal. Try an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset, powered by a GeForce GTX GPU, for the best experience.

Social Media Users Favor Sponsored Posts on Periscope, Snapchat

A new survey based on numbers provided in July 2015 on eMarketer, indicates that social media users favor sponsored messages on some platforms than others, citing them as “most effective.” It may surprise you that at the very top of this list, respondents said that Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram were most effective, above TV commercials, search and more.

According to the results, nine out of the top ten most effective marketing tactics consisted of sponsored social messages, varying across several platforms. eMarketer‘s graph more detailed results from the top 25 most effective marketing tactics according to social media users in the United States.

Chart 1118

Twitter and Facebook, platforms that most Fortune 500 marketers have adopted are far below mobile-centric platforms. Users seem to prefer mobile ad formats.

As for usage and effectiveness of paid advertising methods (based on numbers provided by B2C content marketers in North America), search engine marketing saw an increase across both usage and effectiveness. Usage picked up from 63 percent to 76 percent over the past year, while effectiveness increased from 57 to 64 percent. Other methods, like promoted posts, social ads, print and other offline promotion, also saw growth in usage, but only the prior two showed increase in effectiveness, while print remained about even. Website banner ads seem to score the lowest in both regards.

An October 2015 survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), in conjunction with Marketing Profs and TrackMaven, points out that 61 percent of these marketers feel that promoted posts make an impact, with an increase in effectiveness over their usage last year.