Nintendo Launches ‘Miitomo’ Powered ‘The Legend Of Zelda’ E3 Promotion

Nintendo has already confirmed most of its plans for next week’s E3 show, including a major emphasis on its long-awaited The Legend of Zelda game. Both Zelda and the upcoming Pokémon games will be showcased on the live Treehouse broadcast event during E3. However, the company announced a new social media campaign, which includes the highly popular mobile release, Miitomo.

Starting today, the company has launched a special Twitter campaign through its @NintendoAmerica account, where fans can tweet about The Legend of Zelda franchise and possibly earn free in-game Miitomo goodies, including “Link’s new hair wig” and a special in-app gift for all of its users. The company is shooting for 10,000 tweets for the promotion, which will likely happen right away, and also has an escalated award for 20,000 tweets, in which it will offer another “Link wig” for fans to wear in Miitomo.

That’s not all, because Nintendo will offer exclusive The Legend of Zelda goods in Miitomo next week, which gives players a chance to win pieces of Zelda gear and purchase particular items through the shop.

The company also outlined its plans for its Treehouse broadcasts from next week’s show. As expected, Zelda and Pokémon will continue to get a spotlight, but other games will be featured over the course of the broadcast on June 14 and 15, including Monster Hunter Generations, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Fans can tune in on Nintendo’s official E3 page, as well as its official YouTube and Twitch channels.

As for those that are attending the show next week, Nintendo has already promised a heightened Legend of Zelda experience at its booth, which will recreate locations from the game. Nintendo will also provide hands-on opportunities for the Wii U edition, which is scheduled to release next year. The game has also been confirmed for the NX console, which doesn’t have a release date yet.

What IoT Means For Brands

The Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as “a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.” While our computers and smart phones are connected devices, the IoT refers to a system of objects that communicates with the manufacturer, user or other objects. Imagine, if you will, an alarm clock that tells the coffee maker to start each morning or a GPS that texts your friend to say that traffic is bad and you’re running late. That’s the IoT.

Why Is IoT Becoming So Popular?

Although the term IoT is used a lot these days, the technology has actually been utilized for decades—including ATMs as early as 1974. The biggest problem brands have faced in developing IoT devices, however, is the sheer amount of data to process. Cloud storage technology has made IoT more feasible, but not without its challenges. In 2013, for example, Virgin Airlines announced a fleet of connected Boeing 787 aircraft designed to detect mechanical failures and prevent tragedies before they happen. The price of having everything from wing flaps to luggage on the network is processing half a terabyte of data each flight.

Analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. The IoT market is expected to grow to $151 billion by 2020, according to market researcher Research and Markets. That includes infrastructure, software, processors, sensors and other tech. The market is growing in part due to advances in technology, but also increasing areas of global internet accessibility.

How Brands Are Using IoT

Rolls-Royce recently partnered with Microsoft to integrate its Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite into its next generation of Rolls-Royce intelligent engines.

Farmer’s Insurance is reportedly looking into IoT technology that will alert the driver if their vehicle was hit while they weren’t around, say by a shopping cart.

UPS uses IoT sensors on its fleet to monitor mileage, optimum speed and overall engine health.

Some John Deere tractors can tell a user the best time to plant or when it’s time to irrigate the soil.

Last year, Johnnie Walker announced an upcoming line of Blue Label whisky “smart bottles” that will know when it has been opened and communicate messages to the drinker through a phone app.

Disney World uses MagicBand, a wearable wristband containing RFID tags, to track visitor movements and analyze which areas are most popular. Disney World visitors can check in to the park, buy food, and gain FastPass on rides by tapping the band on their receivers.

It seems that just about anything could be connected via the internet, even a Met Gala dress. Connecting a product to the IoT can offer both the user and manufacturer valuable feedback on how the item is used or when it’s time for an upgrade. An item that “gets” the customer is a brand, product and marketing strategy all in one. How brands utilize IoT is limited only to the imagination, data processing capabilities and, of course, security precautions.

From Google’s self-driving cars to connected Atari devices, the world, it seems, is ready for IoT.

‘Deus Ex’ Expands Across Both Real And Virtual Worlds

In preparation for E3 next week, Eidos Montreal streamed its presentation for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided a few days ahead of time. The video included a first look at the city of Prague in the sci-fi world’s future, where an event called The Mechanical Apartheid causes governments and authorities to treat cybernetically augmented individuals as second-class citizens.

Prague’s aesthetics, vertical design, and characters (that include corrupt police officials) were shown, along with gameplay footage of navigating the city using augmentation abilities and hacking. The gameplay presentation concluded with a combat demonstration that took place in a ruined bookstore, which juxtaposed the lethal approach with a non-lethal one—appealing to the player’s sense of choice and emphasizing the open world gameplay.

Although the gameplay video was the main highlight of the presentation, Eidos Montreal announced plans to take the Deus Ex Universe to a whole new level by bringing elements from the game into the real world and presenting viewers with the future of Mankind Divided.

Expanding The Deus Ex Universe

As Jean-François Dugas, executive game director of Deus Ex franchise, explains in the introduction, part of the goal is to “bridge the gap between fiction and reality.” The studio wants the style of Deus Ex to become part of the real world. To that end, there is a prequel graphic novel titled Deus Ex Universe: Children’s Crusade that tells the story of how the main protagonist, Adam Jensen became involved with a division of Interpol called Task Force 29. Additionally, the plain prose novel Deus Ex: Black Light fills in the events that occur after the previous game, Human Revolution.

The Deus Ex Universe also has a real-world fashion line, so that fans can dress like the sci-fi characters from the game. Then fans can explore the real world using an app that scans different transmedia products to unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes content and interviews with the game developers.

Deus Ex Re-imagined

Today saw the official announcement of Deus Ex GO—a mobile game that’s set to release later this summer. Using the stylized graphics and strategic gameplay established by the hit games Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO, the newest addition distills the Deus Ex experience down to its primary roots of using cybernetic augmentation, combat and hacking so that players can navigate through challenging puzzles.

Fans will be able to take the Deus Ex GO experience even further with an editor that lets them construct their own challenges and thereby extend the life of the game by establishing a community of puzzle makers.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided — Breach Announcement

Eidos Montreal producer, Fleur Marty, referred to an April Fools’ Day video the studio produced earlier this year, where the executive art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête announced that he was sick of the black and gold look of Deus Ex. Instead, they would pursue a new art direction using almost all pink and white. As it turns out, there was a lot more truth to the video than anyone suspected. The video was actually a preview of what the new challenge mode, Breach would look like.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided — Breach is a challenge mode that will launch alongside the main Mankind Divided campaign. Players take the role of Rippers (hackers) who use virtual reality environments to infiltrate data servers and uncover information. Of course, the information is protected by aggressive defensive measures, so players will have to outfit themselves with augmentation abilities and customized weaponry to complete challenges and compete against each other for greater rewards.

The mode was announced with a commercial for the fictional data security company, Palisade Property Bank, which is hijacked by a mysterious figure who is calling for all other Rippers to take action and uncover the truth. Breach is similar in many ways to the main game, except with an arcade twist, and has its own art, story arc and characters.

Deus Ex Gets Real

The Deus Ex developers always strive for a sense of realism and believability when creating the science fiction world. However, they might have done their jobs a little too well with some of the Human Revolution promotional trailers that featured fashionable cybernetic prosthetic limbs. The studio was contacted with inquiries about where these prosthetics could be purchased, and they had to inform them that they didn’t exist in real life. At least, they didn’t until now.

In the ultimate move to bring the Deus Ex Universe into the real world, the game developer has partnered with Open Bionics to change the prosthetics industry with “affordable, functional and beautiful prosthetic devices.”

André Vu, the executive brand director for the Deus Ex Universe, outlined the inspiration for what might be the first video game-inspired prosthetic device line. Joel Gibard, CEO of Open Bionics, explained the process of turning Adam Jensen’s bionic arm into a real world piece of technology, and the video demonstrates a very impressive semi-functional prototype. The design files will be open-source, so that anyone with a 3D printer can download them and make themselves a robotic arm.

Fans with two arms can also enjoy use of the robotic limb, thanks to a third partnership—this one with Razer and its Stargazer camera, which uses Intel RealSense depth-sensing motion tracking technology. As Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan explains, the Stargazer captures in real-time, enabling “one-to-one mirroring between the user’s hand and the bionic hand.”

With that, Deus Ex gives fans a look at how the franchise is shaping both fiction and reality.

Ultimate Media Ventures Founder Details ULT ESports Clothing Line

It’s likely that during E3, attendees will be wearing Golden State Warriors jerseys or shirts, while NFL, MLB, NHL, and soccer teams will likely be represented in some fashion at the show. However, that’s not yet the case with eSports in the mainstream, especially with jerseys.

Ultimate Media Ventures (UMV) hopes to change that. UMV is using the global audience of E3 to debut its new ULT line of eSports clothing. The Kills Collection line, which will range in price from $28-$78, will be available exclusively on on June 13.

It’s the first of a new push into clothing, which will expand to include jerseys for pro gaming teams and a line of suits for casters.

Nate Eckman, co-founder of UMV and lead designer for ULT has been designing custom products for publishers for years, and he explains how his inspiration for the new ULT line is of a more personal nature in this exclusive interview.

What is Ultimate Media Ventures?

UMV is a VC-backed gaming and eSports innovation company. We have initiatives that are designed to enhance and advance the eSports community in the areas of content, products, and experiences.

Why did you decide to launch an eSports clothing line?

We decided to create ULT, the eSports lifestyle apparel brand, to offer modern design sensibilities and premium aesthetics to the eSports clothing ecosystem because we saw a desperate need for it. We intend to elevate the quality of the items designed for fans to purchase in support of their favorite teams, as well as the technical garments worn by the players.

What separates your clothing line from anything else in eSports?

We bring a contemporary art and design aesthetic with a uniquely modern LA streetwear influence to ULT products. Our first collection is called “Kills” and we separate our line through a modern minimalist design philosophy, extreme attention to detail in custom sewn elements, woven labels, and subtle nuance in how we approach the clothing. We offer something premium and limited edition. We design and print locally in small quantities where we apply hand-touched custom elements. We are the opposite of the mass-produced and poor quality items often seen in the arenas.

What was your inspiration for ULT?

I stopped an eSports fan from wearing his favorite team jersey, an all-over printed nylon baby blue shirt. He said he would be embarrassed to wear it at school or out with his friends. That sucks. With ULT we want to change that feeling through modern and minimal design, with streetwear sensibilities. We want the fans and players who wear our line to look and feel awesome because the eSports community is amazing and that is what we deserve.

What are you unveiling at E3?

We are unveiling our ULT eSports lifestyle apparel line called the “Kills Collection.” This line includes everyday wearables like short- and long-sleeve tees, hats, hoodies, and jackets. The line is designed for the eSports community to feel badass in the ULT gear and never embarrassed.

What professional teams are you working with and when will we see them wearing the clothes?

We are not revealing information about specific teams at this time.

Who is your target audience for these clothes?

We are targeting the great eSports community of fans. We are targeting the players who train, stream and compete at the highest level. We are also able to have our premium designed items cross over into the streetwear boutique shop culture through artist collaborations.

What kind of impact will lifestyle clothes have on the broader eSports demographic we’re seeing with ESPN and TBS television coverage?

Overall, lifestyle clothing will have a huge impact on the growing eSports demographic as ESPN and TBS enable more mainstream awareness and exposure. The work we do with the ULT brand will also serve to elevate the perception of eSports from the apparel standpoint. With ULT, we will show the greater community that their “gaming” apparel doesn’t have to be “nerdy” and overly niche. We have evolved past that point, and now appreciate premium design and modern applications for our garments. This demographic does not have to compromise; they deserve better products.

How are you marketing these clothes?

Our marketing strategy touches on collaborations with other established designers and premium product brands. At our E3 showcase private reception for ULT, you will see collaborations and promotions with The Seventh Letter, as well as Astro Gaming. Also, we are very engaged in digital marketing and how we seed product to streamers around the world. Influencer marketing across the eSports industry is important tactically in how we embrace not only the fans and players, but also the developers and publishers with custom product.

How do you see this line expanding this year and beyond?

ULT will continue to collaborate with some of the most influential contemporary artists and streetwear brands in the culture today. We will continue to expand our ULT line to offer technical gear for players to train and compete and look awesome at the same time. We will strategically align with select teams from each region. We will support the streamers and publishers who love eSports as much as we do.

We are also very excited about the partnerships around our “Caster Couture” collection. These limited edition premium items include custom suits, ties, and accessories for shoutcasters and team owners. ULT will also continue to offer new lifestyle collections for each season, featuring collaborations with emerging and established teams.

Zappar Brings Augmented Reality To Brands

Zappar’s business model is simple, yet innovative and very much in demand from forward-thinking brands: to create snackable and immersive augmented and virtual reality content experiences on mobile.

The content-creating company’s strategy boils down to working closely with brands, license partners and retailers across the world to produce innovative, customizable market-leading solutions as bite-sized entertainment. Their modus operandi has already yielded deals with an impressive list of brands that include Coca-Cola, Visa, Warner Bros, Rovio and SEGA—just to name a few.

Now the United Kingdom-based startup is putting the tools they’ve been using over the last five years into the hands of the everyman content creator by introducing a comprehensive set of AR and VR creation tools called ZapWorks. It was officially released at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California.

“It’s a rich, interactive experience that offers a different way of thinking about advertising on mobile devices. To our knowledge, there isn’t another platform that could deliver the depth of experience and with the ease of application at an affordable price point on the market,” Caspar Thykier, co-founder and CEO of Zappar, told [a]listdaily. “What we’re excited about is that five years ago, we set out to properly democratize this technology. Now that this is live, it just takes us to a completely different space. That’s hugely exciting—to put the tool in the hands of creators.”

Thykier and company are also still enjoying their AR activation for The Angry Birds Movie that featured over a billion “BirdCodes” distributed through partners such as Lego, H&M, McDonald’s and Pez. Each code introduced an AR experience.

ZapWorks was used to create the AR experiences on Pez’s dispensers tied to the Angry Birds Action! game. Gabriele Hofinger, head of marketing for Pez International, said: “We pride ourselves on being the pioneer of interactive candy, so it’s a natural next step to move into AR and add another layer of interactivity for our customers. What Zappar is doing with these tools will really bring this tech to bear in the marketplace.”

Thykier joined [a]listdaily to talk about how he’s re-imagining what’s possible on the mobile canvas.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 2.44.12 PM

ZapWorks offers fully vertically integrated tools that provide a single user interface for creating and distributing content and gathering analytics. Can you further explain the platform?

It’s only been at this point probably where we wanted to have a direct and proper dialogue with agencies, and make sure the tools were ready and fit for purpose for all developers. I think with the launch of ZapWorks, we’re at that point. We’ve had the studio piece in beta for the last nine months. We had 3,000 downloads, and learned what that community wants. I think we’re at a point now where we’re confident in the tools external people have accessed, and that it’s the same as that we’re using. Our job now is to keep that quality threshold high and really teach this new audience of digital creators how to go about building things of a similar standard. That now becomes our job, really.

What’s your take on AR or VR brand activations? Does one work better than the other in terms of marketing?

It’s a very interesting question. This year, more than any other year, you go to events and conferences, you have AR and VR pitted against each other like a weird celebrity death match like ‘who’s going to win?’ And I’m not sure if that’s fair, really. They offer different context, and they both have equal merit. Our view on it is ‘how do we make sure any of these experiences are available to as many people as possible.’ But brands need to make sure it conforms to the right context for the end user, and have it makes sense for that specific occasion. ‘What’s the business problem you’re trying to solve? What is the challenge? And what’s the best way to approach it?’ I definitely don’t subscribe to ‘which one’s better’ because they’re different experiences.

How was the partnership with Rovio formed for The Angry Birds Movie activation?

It was actually one of those brilliant bits of new business developments. It couldn’t have been better. We actually started with a small interactive-annual publication in the UK called Pedigree Publishing. They work with licensed products, one of which was Rovio. We had created a range of augmentations that had appeared in Pedigree, and it caught Rovio’s attention. Unbeknownst to us, they’d obviously been in the background trying to understand what their strategy would be around connecting the physical world of things to digital devices, and how that would play around the movie launch. After that, they approached us. They’re a great company to work with. They have a clear understanding of the digital world, because that’s where they come from. They’re willing to take it to its furthest level in terms of properly integrating things in their product and promotions. It’s a perfect example of where we got in, right in the ground floor with their thinking, and how they were going to activate this entire program.

Angry Birds McDonald's - combined

Can you dive a little deeper in the activation? How did it work?

We created a custom code, based on our Zap code scheme, and more than a billion bird codes were released around the world. We worked with them to identify a range of experiences that can then be applied to different partners like McDonald’s and Pez on how to create rich and immersive AR experiences that are easy to execute on a global scale. That’s where the beauty of things like a custom code come in because it alleviates a lot of the difficulty of activating and implementing these things for huge multinationals. We gave them a light, six-to-seven megabyte embed component. When you first open the app, it’s a really easy thing to get into. The scanning code is always readily available. With Pez, we made a specific mini-game that used their candy as a way to make an experience that was related to the game, but also gave them branding within it. We had to make the user interfaces work all around the world. We wanted to have different partners have completely different experiences that were exclusive to them. And that’s important for different markets for Rovio to construct those partnerships with different retailers and brands.

You’ve worked with a slew of diverse brands. Which sectors work better than others for bite-sized experiences?

The clients we work with tend to be the thought leaders in their market. If they’re not No. 1, they’re No. 2—people who have innovation as part of their DNA and culture. Rovio epitomizes this. There’s only certain ones we’ve begun to identify that are doing loads of more work. From a sector perspective, we’ve certainly been doing activations with entertainment studios like Warner Bros., book publishing, education, pharmaceuticals, consumer packaging, and events. There are a number of verticals which AR provides a specific solution. Once someone does it, it kind of gives others permission to do it, too, because they don’t have to be the ‘fall-guy.’ It’s about identifying the business need, and creating repeatable business around it. We learned there was traction of AR in the retail environment. We learned through doing.

What are the keys to a successful AR campaign? How do you formulate a strategy?

It boils down to the four C’s to success that we talk about a lot: context, call to action, content and commitment. Context is at the apex. It has to be the right occasion. Consumers have to have an interest in what they’re looking at to give it the time and attention it needs. Plus, there are other elements like light, audio, and if there are people walking in front of you. The CTA is as important as the technology. You clearly have to tell people what they’re going to do. There is no way around it, or else people won’t engage. If everything is aligned, you have great levels of engagement. It will work.

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan

6 Magical ‘Now You See Me 2’ Promotions

“The closer you look, the less you see.”

That’s the famous tagline for the 2013’s Now You See Me, a movie featuring a group of magician Robin Hood-style thieves called The Four Horsemen as they execute elaborate international heists while in front of a live audience half a world away. The sequel, Now You See Me 2, stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Dave Franco, and Mark Ruffalo hits US theaters on June 10, with Daniel Radcliffe making his first appearance in the movie series. Set three years after the events of the last film, The Four Horsemen come together once again to perform amazing feats of magic and illusion while pulling off their most impossible heist yet.

But the magic isn’t limited to the film. The movie’s promotional efforts pull off plenty of magical illusions of their own, to get fans rushing to theaters for more.

Take A Closer Look

The #LookCloser campaign is perhaps the biggest promotion the movie has to offer. In it, The Eye (the movie’s magical secret society) has hidden riddles and clues throughout the film’s promotional materials as part of a recruitment effort. Fans need to look closely at posters, trailers and social media posts to spot clues. Once a clue has been solved, the answer can be entered on the campaign’s website to unlock exclusive content like cast shout-outs and behind-the-scenes 360-degree videos. Perceptive and clever participants were also entered into a sweepstakes to win a BMW F800R motorcycle, just like the one in the movie.

That Magic App

If you want to impress your friends and family with a few illusions of your own, then you can start with the free Now You See Me 2 Mobile Magic app. Fun tricks include “Magic Money,” an augmented reality illusion that scans any $1, $5, $20 or $100 bill and can make it float, transform and multiply in your hands. Similarly, “Mind Reading Sugar Packet” picks out your friend’s favorite number and uses augmented reality to have it float out in the air from any regular sugar packet.

Non-augmented reality tricks include detailed instructions on how to flick and catch playing cards like a pro, predict which cards will be picked from a shuffled deck, and a 3-Card Monte game that challenges players to keep track of the queen. Lastly, the app allows you to access an online scavenger hunt.


Hall Of Mirrors

The movie is supported by an interactive website that pulls you into a world of online illusion when you scroll down the page. Magical effects include a funhouse mirror sequence that features characters from the movie. The mirrors rotate as viewers scroll the mouse wheel. Next is the London rain scene, as seen in the trailer, where thousands of 3D water droplets suddenly freeze in place, then start “falling up” as users continue to scroll. The experience concludes in a Chinese magic shop (which is probably a location from the movie), where old-time-style magic posters featuring the main actors float in mid-air.

Now You See Me 2

A Magical Trip To China

Magic doesn’t have to be limited to what’s on the screen. Actor Mark Ruffalo is an activist with Water Defense, a non-profit organization that’s out to protect drinking water and raise awareness of water contamination issues around the world. Ruffalo held a fundraising contest, where a lucky winner (and a friend) who donated to the cause could win a chance to fly to Beijing and attend the red carpet Now You See Me 2 premiere with him. Also included in the package was three-night hotel stay, car service, and a livestream with Mark Ruffalo. The premiere was yesterday, and whether or not the winner also got to hang out with attendees like magician David Copperfield is unknown.

Fun With Fans

Regal Cinemas decided to have a little fun of its own by offering unsuspecting customers a trick Now You See Me 2 bag of popcorn. The bag, which is supposedly empty, fills with popcorn after customers say the name of the movie and the magician shakes it. If only fans really could pick up an endless bag of popcorn.

Now You See The Sale

In a recent partnership with Steam, Lionsgate Entertainment offers its movies for purchase on the digital gaming platform. There’s no better way to get in the mood for the sequel than to watch the original Now You See Me, which can be picked up for a steal. The movie is also on sale across other digital platforms, but (presumably) few of them will allow you to watch the movie in a giant virtual movie theater using the HTC Vive VR headset.

EA Play Plans Revealed

It wasn’t too long ago that Electronic Arts announced that it would not take part in this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event, and instead opted to host its own independent events in Los Angeles and London, titled EA Play. However, the events were shrouded in a great deal of mystery until today, when it revealed what’s store for attendees.

The publisher begins by confirming that it will be hosting a press conference on Sunday, June 12 at 1:00 PM PDT, where it should reveal details about upcoming releases, including Madden NFL 17, Mass Effect: Andromeda and more. There could also be a few surprises in store, such as new details on one of the numerous Star Wars projects the publisher has in development across a variety of studios.

Following the press conference, the company will host a special multiplayer livestream of Battlefield 1, in which 64 players will make up Battlefield Squads and go up against one another. These include a number of YouTube and Twitch streaming celebrities such as Zedd, Wiz Khalifa and Marshawn Lynch.

EA then listed some the games that will be on hand for EA Play, as well as various events that will take place over the course of the three-day event.

Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, Madden NFL 17, NHL 17 and FIFA 17 will be available for play, along with mobile releases such as Bejeweled Stars and Madden NFL Mobile. Additionally, special activities will engage attendees, including the ability to create special Battlefield 1 dog tags; the chance to collect a Titanfall 2 poster designed by Todd McFarlane (who will be on hand for autographs); and being able to watch live competitive gaming events, including the Madden Championship—an ideal opportunity for eSports fans.

One of the biggest draws is expected to be Battlefield 1, which has become YouTube’s most popular game trailer for the spring 2016 season, accumulating more than 37 million views and 1.8 million likes since it debuted on May 6.

The Los Angeles event will take place from Sunday, June 12 through Tuesday June 14 in the Novo, across the street from the convention center in L.A. Live. Meanwhile, the London event will host its own one-day event on Sunday evening.

This is the first time EA is hosting a public event instead of presenting on the E3 show floor, but if it sees strong attendance, there will surely be more EA Play events in the years to come.

Over Half Of Twitter Users Are Gamers

E3 2016 is just around the corner, and Twitter is seeing tremendous buzz about the show. The reason for that is, as it turns out, a good portion of its audience are gamers.

Twitter recently posted on its blog discussing how big its gaming demographic is and explained that nearly 84 million tweets last year were focused on video games, which is approximately 230,000 a day.

“In fact, gaming’s popularity is anything but a game, as 65 percent of Twitter users say they play video games, and 55 percent of those users say they regularly play console games,” wrote Gleana Albritton, industry marketing lead for media & entertainment, who co-authored the blog entry.

The true high point for game conversation came with the E3 2015 show, in which there were 740,000 tweets a day, reacting to the big reveals and announcements. Most reveals come in the form of trailers, and Twitter users love trailers. The chart below shows the spike in traffic between a game release and a trailer drop. The game launch day is the biggest highlight, but reactions to trailers closely match, and there’s plenty of activity in the days leading to its release and during the days that follow.


Twitter also noted that popularity of games on its social site actually translates very well to game sales, as 85 percent of users are likely to spend money on video games, versus 76 percent of non-Twitter gamers.

Twitter 2

The chart also points out that Twitter gamers are 1.25 times more likely to spend over $100 on video games per year, compared to non-Twitter gamers. A different breakdown also said about the same for consoles, with gamers 1.2 times more likely to buy video games for consoles over non-Twitter gamers.

Twitter 3

“Gaming audiences like to stay up-to-date on all the latest equipment as well, “Albritton noted. “A whopping 78 percent of them researched a game or console as a result of following a gaming handle. Of these followers, 81 percent own a console and 53 percent bought one in the past 12 months. Nearly 40 percent of them intend to buy a gaming console in the next year.”

So, between huge gaming buzz during trade shows, release of games, and general chatter about what’s been announced and what’s coming, video games are getting a ton of traction on Twitter. All the more reason for Twitter to have a devoted gaming channel.

VR Could Grow To Profitability Faster Than ESports

Virtual reality was a big theme at this year’s Game Developer’s Conference, and it will get a strong focus next week at E3, but Wedbush Securities’ analyst Michael Pachter believes it’ll be a while for the technology to be fully adopted by the public. Nevertheless, it will eventually become quite profitable to game publishers–perhaps even more so than eSports, he stated in an interview with GamesIndustry International.

“We expect VR HMDs to sell fewer than 5 million units in 2016, and expect to see that sales figure double in 2017 and to double again in 2018. Once the installed base of HMDs has reached 20 million or so, it is possible that one or more of our covered publishers will begin to monetize its IP and to generate profits from virtual reality,” Pachter explained. He feels that VR will take about three to five years to get up to speed on success, according to the report.

“ESports is also a 2016 event, but the path to revenue and profitability is probably farther off than it is for virtual reality,” he noted. “We expect the publishers to take baby steps with eSports, investing modest sums sponsoring and promoting tournaments, as each endeavors to find the right balance of opportunity. Over the next 5-10 years, we think that eSports can generate eyeballs and revenues that are on par with established sports such as NBA basketball or Major League Baseball.” He did make note, that the eSports angle is only for particular publishers, and that it continues to be a strong revenue generator worldwide.

However, the fascinating thing about eSports, according to Pachter, is the different approaches by publishers. The most prominent example is Activision acquiring Major League Gaming, while EA is looking “at eSports as an opportunity to drive interest in its games, similar to the way that AYSO soccer drivers purchases of athletic shoes and uniforms.

“On balance, we favor EA’s approach, as we believe it is a more realistic, albeit less lucrative, near-term opportunity. We think that by sponsoring tournaments, EA can create a pyramid of different skill levels, with entry-level players at the bottom of the pyramid and professional players at the top. This is analogous to soccer, with hundreds of millions playing in youth soccer leagues and only several hundred players playing professionally. As players progress to higher levels in the pyramid, EA is making a bet that they will be more active players of the underlying eSports game, and will spend ever-increasing amounts for the game itself, on downloadable content for the game, and on microtransactions that will enhance their gaming experience,” Pachter added.

“Activision’s approach, on the other hand, appears to rely upon its ability to generate fan and viewing interest in tournaments based on its popular Call of Duty, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and recently released Overwatch brands. We think that the company’s desire to be ‘the ESPN of eSports’ is misguided; in our view, if anyone will be the ESPN of eSports, it’s likely to be ESPN itself. It is important to note that neither FIFA nor the NFL, owners of the two most watched televised sports in existence, generate significant revenues from their proprietary broadcasts of their respective sports on their own television networks. Instead, the sports leagues generate the bulk of their television revenues from licensing the rights to broadcast to the various broadcast networks.”

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UploadVR Academy Is Kicking VR Content Creation Into High Gear

The rapid growth of virtual reality (VR) has naturally led to a strong demand for developers, preferably those with knowledge of VR development. With the industry being so new, very few people have experience working with VR. What’s a company to do? Fortunately, there’s at least one answer emerging. UploadVR has teamed with Make School to create the UploadVR Academy, an intense 10-week boot camp-like course for advanced developers to learn how to build desktop and mobile VR games using Unity.

It’s important for marketers to understand VR development issues around VR content, because these can affect promotional efforts. Asking for changes in VR content may or may not be a minor thing depending on what you’re asking for, so more knowledge about what goes into creating VR content can help avoid problems.

Beyond working with the development team more effectively, marketers can use VR development knowledge as part of marketing content. As VR is so new, stories about VR development can be fascinating both within the industry and to the greater audience.

Taylor Freeman, CEO at UploadVR, spoke with [a]listdaily about the UploadVR Academy and how it will get developers on the fast-track for creating more content to support VR hardware.

Taylor Freeman

Why did you decide to create the UploadVR Academy?

Upload exists to accelerate the VR industry and support the VR ecosystem. As the VR industry expands, more developers will be needed to create exciting VR content. Upload created the academy to fill this need and facilitate a developer recruitment pipeline into top VR companies.

With VR still so early in its development as an industry, was it difficult to find experienced instructors?

There are definitely not too many people out there right now who could teach a course of this caliber! We have a pretty extensive network and knowledge of the industry, so it wasn’t too difficult to find instructors. We were happy to be able to secure Sky Nite, author of Virtual Reality Insider, and Ben Taylor, Unity Expert, to lead the course.

What will participants learn about VR in this boot camp, and what jobs will they be ready to fill when they complete the course?

Participants will learn how to build VR games and experiences in the Unity 3D engine. Development for VR requires a diverse range of skill sets, including coding, 3D manipulation, rational architecture, and more. In addition to this technical knowledge, students will learn in an interdisciplinary approach in all areas relevant to being a knowledgeable VR professional, such as Futurology, Information Theory, Industry Trends, Project Management, Design, etc.

When they complete the course, they will be ready to immediately fill a job looking for a Unity VR Developer (the most popular development engine by far), and will be able to transfer their knowledge to other engines and roles in a short amount of time.

Will the coursework cover mobile VR as well as high-end VR creation?

The course curriculum will focus on the high-end, VR creation for HTC Vive.

How will you market the UploadVR Academy, and what is the profile of the students you expect to enroll?

We are marketing the VR Academy through the Upload Global Network and social media channels. Our typical VR Summer Academy student will be a computer science undergraduate or graduate student, a software engineer, or a game developer. They’ve had 2+ years of programming experience. They are passionate about building things and have a portfolio of software projects to show us.

What’s the future look like for VR, and what role does the UploadVR Academy play in that future?

The future of AR/VR is the digitization of reality itself, the merger of the digital and physical worlds. In order for this future to come to fruition, we need to get people excited and engaging with VR at its early stage. The best way to get people excited about VR today is through compelling VR content, which developers need to build.

The VR Academy creates a consistent pipeline of quality developers that top VR companies can rely on for recruitment and expansion of their development teams. This will accelerate the VR industry and wide-scale adoption of immersive technology.