FaceIt Founder Discusses $1.75 Million Investment In ESports Championship Series

The ESports Championship Series (ECS), a league founded by FaceIt and supported by Twitch, will kick off Season 2 with twenty Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams on October 7 and run through December 8. Ten CS:GO teams in North American and ten teams in Europe will battle during the season with $1.75 million in prize money and team investment.

The ECS will also host its first open qualifiers for teams interested in joining the ECS league from August 5-27. The winners from each qualifier round will join an additional four invited teams in each region’s ECS developmental league, with the top two teams in each region’s developmental league then facing off against the bottom two teams of ECS Season One in a promotion match. The two winners from each region’s promotion match will then join the eight teams from Season 1.

Michele Attisani, chief business officer and co-founder of FaceIt, explains to [a]listdaily how the ECS is expanding and what the challenges are in staying relevant in the crowded CS:GO ecosystem in this exclusive interview.

Michele Attisani
Michele Attisani, FaceIt co-founder and COO

How does the relationship between FaceIt and Twitch work with ECS from a business perspective?

We and Twitch share a very similar perspective on how to evolve the eSports industry. We’re aiming to increase its maturity and professionalism, but equally preserve its unique identity and values. That starts with providing stability and quality to the community, players and teams involved.

What type of audience numbers did you reach with the first season and for the finals?

The first season and the finals together had great numbers. For the entire season, we had over 30 million views. The finals were also distributed on linear TV in over 35 countries. The fans who attended the live finals were some of the most vocal and fun fans we have seen at an eSports event. And with our main seating full, we had the largest CS:GO crowd the UK has seen.

What did you learn from the first season?

As with all events, we have learned a huge amount. We had to start very quickly in Season 1 due to scheduling with other events, which made everything a little more complicated. One of our biggest regrets in Season 1 was not having had the time to build the development league. We have made sure that we have focused heavily on this in Season 2, creating a comprehensive development league and open qualifiers. We now have a lot more time to work on the show, the quality of the content, timings and experience, so expect a lot of improvements in the entertainment value for Season 2.

What are some changes you’re making as a result of that?

The development of existing and new players into the ECS is something that we feel very strongly about, as well as our commitment to the community. Starting in Season 2, we’ll have open qualifiers into a development league. This means players at all levels will get the chance to make it to the big leagues.

We are well known with players for making sure they have the best possible experience, and we are very proud of that fact. We are always striving to make sure we improve the overall professionalism, content, formats and the players’ and talent’s experience, while keeping to the core of what makes the ECS, CS:GO and eSports unique.

Continuous evolution and improvement are key. Standing still will make you fall behind in this fast-growing industry, and we definitely want to work more on how to bring our events to even more fans. Distribution and ticket sales were quite new to us, and we already have plenty of good ideas on how to make the whole experience better for everyone.

How has sponsor interest in this league evolved and what are some of the companies you’re working with?

Sponsorship in the industry as a whole is really starting to develop as more non-endemic sponsors realize what an amazing opportunity eSports can be for reaching a very specific and invested audience. Our endemic sponsors such as Corsair, Asus Republic of Gamers, DXRacer and TheScore eSports still form the backbone of the ECS. But this season we also added sponsorship from movie studios for Jason Bourne and X-Men: Apocalypse, which integrated well and produced great results with an audience that standard advertising has a hard time reaching.

What opportunities does your league open up for non-endemic sponsors?

We have a strong track record when working with sponsors, as well as strong statistical reporting in the manner that non-endemic sponsors expect. We are setup to easily support these sponsors and focus our marketing with them to their specific KPI’s. One of our biggest assets—and biggest opportunities for sponsors—is our community. We focus heavily on building the show that our viewers want with intelligent integration of non-intrusive sponsorships. This means that not only is it a better experience for our viewers, but sponsors also reach a more invested and dedicated community.

What impact has the popularity of CS:GO across so many different leagues, including TBS’ ELeague, had on this game? Is there enough demand for all of this programming?

There are positives and negatives to the growth we are seeing. For example, broadcasters such as Turner, with our support, have shown the levels which can be reached in broadcasting quality, as well as providing access to a wider audience and a wealth of non-endemic sponsors. This has encouraged us to also increase our own production quality. Our studio at IMG in London is one of the country’s leading facilities. And the team we put together for events is a mixture of both television and gaming veterans.

We do still see some viewer fatigue due to the high number of events, which is leading to viewers and teams making decisions on which to attend. This could be seen as damaging by some, but we feel that the long-term outcome will be positive for the development of the industry and will be the catalyst for improved scheduling and higher quality production.

The impact on the teams and players is part of the reason we’re creating a system within the ECS, where teams have a strong say in what happens as co-owners. Ensuring that decisions we make are good for the players is important. For example, we used soundproof booths at our finals because it’s something that players feel is important to play at their peak performance. But it honestly makes production a lot harder and increases the costs considerably.

How do you work with other CS:GO leagues to allow teams to compete throughout the year?

We are in communication with many of the major leagues in the CS:GO scene and we make sure that our scheduling overlaps as little as possible with theirs. For Season 2, we have given existing ECS teams over three months notice for their first matches and the schedules for 2017. It’s very important for everyone to be clear and prepared with information for teams in future years.

How will the prize pool increase from the first to second season?

The prize pool for the ECS is not our core focus. While it’s competitive, the real prize is the financial support teams and players receive for being part of the ECS with the goal of creating sustainability and support. Our focus is on the growth of the ECS as a legitimate league that promotes best practices in the eSports ecosystem and CS:GO. Because of this, all of the teams in the league receive generous fees from the ECS and share profits as the league grows. As a starting sum for Season 2, we will be putting up $1.75 million as a mixture of prize money and teams fees.

Beauty Brands Explore The Belles Of Social With Snapchat, Augmented Reality And Emoji

L’Oreal blessed the masses with Beaumoji last week, a new keyboard of beauty-themed emoji to keep the conversation going within the company’s target demographic.

Custom-tailored to the beauty enthusiast, Beaumoji features a number of icons, hairstyles and ideas surrounding pampering, hairstyles, make-up and more.

“We know the online conversation around beauty is huge and continuing to spike along with the shorthand language of emojis. We saw an opportunity to provide expressions and tools for our beauty community that reflect the daily conversations we see happening,” said Rachel Weiss, vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship at L’Oréal USA . “With Beaumoji, our goal is to provide emojis that beauty enthusiasts crave and speak to their unique passions, lifestyles and personalities.”

To celebrate the launch, L’Oreal is hosting a contest for whoever can create the best custom Beaumoji design. The winner will be flown to New York City for a one-night stay and VIP ticket to Beautycon Festival New York on October 1, where their Beaumoji will be revealed live on stage.

As the number one beauty brand in the US, L’Oreal accounts for roughly 19 percent of a America’s $56.8 billion dollar industry, according to a recent study by Statistic Brain Research Institute. Beaumoji is the latest effort in L’Oréal’s ongoing digital and technology innovation strategy.

l'oreal beaumoji
L’Oreal’s beaumoji allow users to express ideas about beauty and style. Source: L’Oreal USA

L’Oreal furthered its stronghold in the social conversation in March with an augmented reality mobile app, in partnership with ModiFace. Although the Style My Hair did not have the worldwide phenomenon of say, Pokémon Go, they allowed customers to virtually try hairstyles and hair colors before they visit a salon, which is still a sizable leap, and it’s all part of a marketing strategy that’s aiming at reaching consumers in new way.

Style My Hair, available on US Android and iOS devices, allows potential customers to explore new looks and share them on social; it was downloaded nearly 500,000 times in the immediate weeks after the launch. As for cosmetics, L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius virtual makeup app ,and the My UV Patch skin sensor app, launched at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. Makeup Genius now has 6.3 million downloads.

ModiFace has also developed an augmented reality app with L’Oreal brand Urban Decay. The Vice Lipstick app allows users to try on more than a hundred lipstick shades by overlaying colors atop self-facing camera images. Users can then swipe left or right to choose different shades to try on, create a scrap book of various lipstick looks, and of course, share on social. The Vice Lipstick line was also featured as a Snapchat filter in May, allowing users to experiment with the new color palette.

Maybe She’s Born With It—Maybe It’s Augmented Reality

Cover Girl's BeautyU app simulates makeup styles. Source: Cover Girl
Covergirl’s BeautyU app simulates makeup styles. Source: Covergirl

According to a Demandware study, 72 percent of US beauty brands are testing a form of “guided selling” to push sales, like Snapchat lenses and augmented reality, and L’Oreal isn’t the only beauty brand to embrace an age of social media.

In May, Benefit Cosmetics released the Brow Genie, a digital tool that virtually transforms users’ eyebrows, then demonstrates how to recreate the shape.

Elizabeth Arden teamed with the app YouCam, which has 100 million users, to let customers virtually try on and order products.

Rimmel also partnered with ModiFace for a hairstyle simulation app called “Get The Look” that was unveiled at the end of June. In addition to simulating hairstyles, the app also recommends cuts based on a user’s face shape and features, while also sharing daily hair inspirations and latest trends.

Sephora hosts a “Virtual Artist” tool within its product app to help customers test products using AR technology.

Covergirl’s BeautyU app uses facial scanning and tracking to identify skin tones and apply makeup looks in real-time using the front-facing camera.

One needs to only stroll down the drug store cosmetics aisle to understand the recent push to virtual “testing.” Until now, consumers had to buy sealed makeup and hope for the best, but AR gives at least some sort of idea of an end result, with varied realism across mobile apps. 

Isn’t technology beautiful?

TwitchCon Industry Track Focuses On Business Of Streaming

The team at Twitch continues to ramp up excitement for its second annual TwitchCon convention, taking place September 30 through October 2 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Along with announcing over 70 panels presenting at the event—as well as musical talent Darude (an all-time favorite among Twitch streamers), who will be headlining at the annual TwitchCon party—the company is also looking to establish a stronger presence with the business side of things with the introduction of a new industry track.

“TwitchCon 2016 is expanding its focus to include an industry track related to the business and development of video games and livestreaming,” the company noted in an announcement. “This track brings together Twitch broadcasters and staff members to share insights on building a compelling game for Twitch broadcasting and doing business on the Twitch platform.

“Panel topics include creating compelling stream-friendly content for a game, the art of a successful marketing campaign, intro to the Twitch API, building an eSports game, and how to work with broadcasters.”

Various Twitch talents will be hosting these presentations, including Ellohime and OMGitsFirefoxx, among others.

Twitch has already proven that business partnerships can work wonders with channels such as Old Spice’s Nature Adventure (where users commanded a live person to perform actions in the game) and an eSports partnership with Coca-Cola. And the network has diversified its content, which includes airing classic episodes of Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting and Julia Child’s The French Chef, which drew thousands of viewers to its channels.

Amy Brady, Twitch’s director of global events, explained to [a]listdaily why an industry track is being featured at this year’s TwitchCon. “After last year’s TwitchCon, we discovered that a lot of members from the games industry were in attendance, many of which had questions about how to better understand working with our community,” said Brady. “To help facilitate that dialogue, we tapped key influencers, brands and staff to introduce an industry track at TwitchCon 2016 where we will be taking a deeper dive into the topics that surfaced the most.”

How Brands Are Catching Players With ‘Pokémon GO’

Pokémon GO has become a mobile juggernaut this past week, attracting over 7.5 million players and gaining higher in daily active users than Twitter—and closing in on other social apps such as Facebook, Tinder and Snapchat.

With that, brands are taking advantage of the Pokémon hoopla in their own ways, with supportive tweets to attract fans to their products, as well as special promotions to get them on board. Here’s a round-up of how some companies are taking advantage of the Pokémon craze:


In an effort to engage players with stories about their Pokémon GO experiences, Snapchat has introduced a new live story called “Catch Those Pokémon!,” in which players can share their captures and the locations of gyms to fellow players within their guilds.


Long before Pokémon GO was released, Spotify already had a number of soundtracks from the series making the rounds. But the company recently put out a press release, explaining that global streaming of the Pokémon theme, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All,” has increased by more than 360 percent since the mobile game’s release. In addition, streaming of these soundtracks, in general, has tripled and custom playlists have increased immensely. There are currently over 190,000 using the keyword “Pokémon” and 53,000 featuring “Pikachu,” one of the most popular creatures in the game, with more likely to come.

The top five songs on Pokémon playlists are as follows:

  1. Pokémon Theme
  2. Pokérap
  3. Pokémon Johto
  4. Go Pokémon Go
  5. I Want to Be a Hero


This company, known for its cinnamon bun-related delectable goodies, hopped onto Twitter for Pokémon GO this week, offering to retweet pictures of players who caught creatures at one of its locations. So far, it’s trending pretty well, with dozens of consumers showcasing their recent snares.


This fast-food chain has been on a major social kick lately, picking up on popular trends like Overwatch and Star Wars with food-related tweets. Pokémon GO is no exception, as the company tweeted out the below image of a Team Valor emblem (cut from cardboard) from the game—although some fans from other guilds may be less than pleased with its decision, and gave humorous jabs over the team.


World Wrestling Entertainment has hopped on board the Pokémon GO train with a recent video post featuring wrestler Sasha Banks excitedly pointing out that there was a Jigglypuff in the ring to be captured. The company also made note that its Stamford headquarters was doubling as a gym within the game.

The Smithsonian

The national museum group, also known as “the nation’s attic,” got on on the fun by making a joke about how the game quickly consumes batteries. It posted a humorous tweet that links to a showcase of historic batteries that can be found at the National Museum of American History. However, there’s probably little chance they’ll power an iPhone.

Other business opportunities have also emerged. Gizmodo recently reported that some drivers are offering an Uber-style ride to Pokémon GO players so they can capture creatures without the risk of driving on their own while playing the game—something a number of states have discouraged with signs such as, “Get your head out of your App.”

Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon GO, is certainly aware of these opportunities and is looking into offering “sponsored locations” using restaurants and other commercial establishments, which will be announced in the future.

Image Source

Unity Discusses The Future Of VR Entertainment

Unity is one of the most widely used development tool for a multitude of platforms that include PC, consoles and mobile. With the launch of head-mounted displays such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR this year, Unity has become the top choice for developers looking to create incredible virtual reality experiences. This has led to some high-profile projects, with one of the most recent being The Void’s Ghostbusters: Dimension hyper-reality experience. In it, attendees put on custom designed VR gear and walk through an attraction at Madame Tussauds New York to experience what it’s like to be a Ghostbuster.

At this early stage of the technology, it’s difficult to tell what direction virtual reality will go. Will consumers take to home experiences—especially when the PlayStation VR releases in the fall—or is the future in location-based VR arcades such as the one at Madame Tussauds and special IMAX theaters developed in partnership with Starbreeze? Or, with Google’s Android-based Daydream platform launching this fall, VR could find its wings with mobile devices.

Marcos Sanchez, head of global communications at Unity Technologies, talks to [a]listdaily about location-based experiences compared the adoption of at-home ones, and what might be in store for virtual reality entertainment.

Marcos Sanchez
Marcos Sanchez, Unity Technologies head of global communications

What would do you think makes Unity the ideal platform for a location-based experience like Ghostbusters: Dimension?

Ghostbusters: Dimension is a truly unique “hyper-reality” experience, and we were impressed by what The Void has accomplished. Combining an untethered VR experience with multisensory sensations—smells, temperature changes, haptic vests—is incredible and wholly immersive. What Unity brings to the table is a 3D engine and development platform that allows creators to focus on bringing their vision to life without lots of coding. Any VR experience requires a great 3D engine, and development environment, and with our extensive experience in gaming, we have many of the features from lighting to physics that are critical to a great experience.

It’s worth noting too that The Void layered a VR experience over physical space where virtual walls map to real walls and players can touch everything—it’s actually there. This presents a really complex scenario where movements and visual prompts and physical sensations must align, and The Void had to test and tweak constantly. Unity’s ability to quickly iterate on builds let them develop and deploy really fast, which is a huge advantage.

How does developing a location-based experience differ from some of the experiences that can be had with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift?

The Void experience had to deliver the best immersion possible, meaning syncing the real and virtual worlds. It’s essential that a player forgets they have a headset on, a computer on their back, a controller in hand. If you are going to be a Ghostbuster, that proton pack and gun need to feel “real.” Everything else has to fall away and become an extension of the person.

Current VR setups are limited to a small room or your chair, with a PC tower never too far away. The Void set out to tackle a big space with physical attributes they wanted to incorporate, so naturally, their workflow will be much more complex. Using a proprietary solution, they’ve been able to put the power of a VR PC on your back, without it being uncomfortable or too heavy, and that accomplishment alone can’t be ignored.

The logistics involved in getting players through a 30×30 foot space while engaged in multiplayer dynamics required intricate programming. Unity’s editor helped by allowing fast and multiple iterations, which is particularly important when you have to take the experience out of the editor and into this massive room, with multiple people to optimize and fine tune. That’s where Unity’s ability to get builds out quickly really makes a difference.

How integral do you think VR will become to promoting movies such as Ghostbusters?

Ghostbusters really lends itself perfectly to a full hyper-real experience. It’s a much-loved brand that feels out of this world with a heavy dose of the fantastical. Though The Void runs on its own hardware and software, Ghostbusters: Dimension emulates game shooting mechanics. In other words, the proton pack fires how you’d expect. So, there were a lot of elements that made this a good first-of-its-kind demonstration. And, if the early reception is any indication, it’s something audiences are excited to experience.

Of course, we expect other brands and franchises will want to jump at the chance to bring their worlds to life in a totally immersive way. It won’t be just movies, but you could see how comic books, novels and TV shows could all try to emulate an experience like this—the sky’s really the limit. And, brands can scale differently; not everything will need to take place in a massive, developed physical environment. You could see how stepping into the seat of a car, plane or space shuttle, for example, would make sense in a contained space. It’s always about creating wow moments for consumers, and VR certainly does that.

Do you think audiences will prefer location-based experiences to adopting home ones? Or do you believe that location experiences will help home VR grow?

I think that they will feed each other, though I believe that mobile will be a huge driver of mass consumer adoption. It’s a numbers game really, with 3 billion mobile devices in 2016, many of which are VR capable or will be soon, the volume is there. It’s largely a content game, and location-based experiences present some amazing content. To me, it will be symbiotic with both feeding into each other. Marry content with price drops in headsets with smaller CPU/GPU (to the point of being housed in the headset), and adoption of VR and mixed reality (MR) will go through the roof, but that will take some time.

Will Unity work to bridge location-based and home experiences?

Our goal is to maintain a flexible, accessible platform to make sure developers can create amazing games and experiences, whether it be stationary VR, location-based VR or AR or MR. We’ll continue investing in platform support for a variety of hardware, whether they’re in a huge warehouse or your living room.

How do you think Google’s Daydream VR initiative will impact the adoption of VR, and how close do you think we are to having high-quality VR experiences on mobile?

As I mentioned before, with an installed base of around 3 billion in 2016, mobile devices are already dwarfing the 1.5 billion PCs (of which only a small portion are VR capable). That makes Daydream interesting from a mass market perspective, and we will continue to be the platform that allows any developer to create once and publish everywhere, mobile included. We’ve announced Daydream support.

It’s true; we’ve seen a slower than expected start to VR adoption/content this year—it’s duct tape and twine, and we’re just figuring things out. That said, Daydream, as well as other platforms like Samsung’s Gear VR, are going to help drive what we ultimately think will be the massive global adoption of VR on the scale of billions of people 10-13 years out. That’s no small number, and we believe it will be that big.

In terms of mobile having high-quality experiences, for now, that’s likely several years away. That’s not to say there aren’t high-quality 360-degree videos or great experiences and games that will come soon, but to drive life-like game experiences requires CPU/GPU not available today on mobile, and while I think it will come, it will take some time.

If you could choose, what movie world would you want to visit in VR?

Hands-down, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s stunning and beautifully shot. Imagine being able to feel like you’re leaping from rooftop to rooftop while pursuing someone who stole the Green Destiny sword!

The Evolving Relationship Between Video Games And Movies

Movies and video games have had close ties for a long time, despite how audiences often criticize how some properties have a hard time crossing over into different media, such as with the Warcraft movie that released last month. However, there will always be an allure associated with popular franchises crossing into different media. Deep down, video game fans would love to see quality movies made from beloved franchises, as demonstrated by The Angry Birds Movie. At the same time, moviegoers want a chance to delve deeper into the worlds they enjoy on the big screen.

But it looks like both movie studios and game developers have learned from the past and are on the right path. Instead of developing games that are entirely based on movies, as has been done so often in the past, studios are increasingly moving toward creating distinct experiences that complement each other instead of repeating them, which grows the franchise as a whole.

One major example of this direction is how Sony surprised Spider-Man fans last month by announcing that a new exclusive PlayStation 4 game featuring the web-slinging wall-crawler would be developed by Ratchet & Clank creator Insomniac Games instead of relying on its longtime game development partner Activision. Moreover, even though the game will feature an original story, it’s almost bound to promote the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is expected to release next year.

In a recent interview, Marvel Games head Jay Ong spoke about how Spider-Man was only the beginning of a new brand strategy, stating “I think it’s part of our strategy to have a relatively diversified portfolio that meets different kinds of audience and gamers’ tastes.”

The Actions Of Angry Birds

Rovio has practically turned using a video game movie promotions into an art form with the incredible release of the Angry Birds Action! mobile game. Action turns out to be both an Angry Birds-themed pinball game and augmented reality experience. Audiences were encouraged to go to theaters and watch the movies to catch a special audio watermark during the credits to unlock extra content. That’s in addition to how Rovio partnered with a long list of companies, which include McDonald’s, Walmart and Toy R’ Us, to support BirdCodes—product codes that can be scanned by the mobile game to unlock special power-ups and mini-games. That way, the Angry Birds brand continues to be popular even after the movie leaves theaters.

It seems other studios had similar ideas when it came to movie and game crossovers. Zynga’s new match-3 mobile game, Ice Age: Arctic Blast was developed in partnership with 20th Century Fox and Regal Entertainment to promote the movie Ice Age: Collision Course with two exclusive movie clips. Furthermore, players will be able to purchase tickets to see the film at Regal Cinemas theaters. Similarly, Regal Theaters partnered with Storm8 for a special promotion where Dream City: Metropolis players can not only build an authentic Regal Cinema in their virtual town, but gain bonuses when watching branded movie content such as trailers.

The Next Level Of Experience

Tying a mobile game experience with upcoming movies is an ingenious move, but it’s not the only one 20th Century Fox is experimenting with. We’re slowly entering into an era where video games may act as a bridge between movie releases. Kabam, the studio behind super powered mobile games such as Marvel Contest of Champions recently announced that it is working on an epic-sized multiplayer mobile game based on James Cameron’s Avatar movie universe. With four sequels in the works, the mobile game will act as a bridge to maintain audience interest between films, and it may continue to be active after the final movie comes out in 2023.

Starbreeze is also at work on John Wick: The Impossible Task, which releases later this year for VR platforms. The game will immerse players in the world of assassins, and while bridging events between the original 2014 movie and the sequel that’s expected to hit theaters next year. This is quite a step up from how different movie studios used mobile VR apps last year to bring viewers a 360-degree view of the fictional movie worlds, and is an evolution of how the Paranormal Activity VR demo scared horror fans at select AMC Theaters last fall and at both GDC and SXSW in March. It will be exciting to see what promotions are in store for the Assassin’s Creed movie, which is also expected to have a VR experience.

Of course, the biggest step toward creating a cross-media promotion comes from the Ghostbusters: Dimension hyper-reality experience, developed by The Void in partnership with Sony Pictures and Madame Tussauds, where attendees have a chance to become Ghostbusters and become excited for the new movie. When asked about what the location-based hyper-reality experience meant for future movie promotions, Jake Zim, senior vice president of virtual reality for Sony Pictures, told [a]listdaily “yes, we are thinking about what the VR thing is from the inception of any production moment or even the concept. A filmmaker comes to us and pitches an idea, and we’re thinking at the beginning of the process about the VR component of it. But generally speaking, we’re trying to build on and extend the world, instead of overlap or layer into the world too much.”

Taking To The Small Screen

Last fall, when Activision Blizzard Studios was announced, the studio’s co-president Nick Van Dyk stated that the goal was to bring popular franchises to new mediums. Activision Blizzard has fan bases that rival or surpass many movie IPs, and Van Dyk underscored this by stating, “Our library spans more than 30 years of global entertainment culture and, in the last 12 months alone, fans of Activision Blizzard properties have played and watched our games online for more than 13 billion hours. This gives us a huge, passionate and deeply engaged audience that is hungry for more great content built from the universes they already know and love—and which are extremely broad in their appeal.”

Skylanders Academy, a TV show based on the popular toys-to-life franchise, is the first project to come from Activision Blizzard Studios, and it will be broadcast on Netflix. The games and the show will work to promote each other. Meanwhile, a Call of Duty movie is in the works and is expected to release in 2018 or 2019.

Electronic Arts also recently announced that it was following a similar path by adapting the incredibly popular Battlefield franchise into a television show. Although there aren’t many details about the show, it’s likely to have a unique plot inspired by the game series instead of copying it.

When all taken together, it’s clear that having a variety of experiences available to audiences helps to promote the brand. Instead of trying to copy each other, the video game, movie and television mediums have learned to focus on what they’re best at so that audiences are happy now matter how they experience a franchise. The best partnerships bring fans together so that they can enjoy IPs across all different media with experience that extend past the movie or television screen.

Hasbro On The Importance Of Influencer Storytelling

As brands in the digitoral era, social media influencers drive audience interaction like never before. There is no better place to connect with these influencers than VidCon, an annual gathering of internet celebrities and those aspiring for influencer greatness. Hasbro, the company responsible for brands like Transformers and My Little Pony, understands the importance of these internet superstars.

“What we’re seeing in marketing in general right now is, brands used to tell consumers what brands are—now consumers are telling consumers,” Victor Lee, Hasbro’s senior vice president of digital marketing, told [a]listdaily in an interview. “Influencers have such an incredible relationship with their fan base and that’s important. We’d like to have and we do have that authentic relationship with our fan base.

“When you take a look at all of our gaming brands, some [of which] span 80 years, that’s the relationship that we’ve had with our product and our fans. The relationship that influencers have with their fans . . . we’re on the same side. So that’s how we kind of measure we who and how and what we do with influencers.”

Like a story told around the campfire, products can become modern-day legends if the right influencer shares the tale. The story itself, Lee explains, is not up to the brand, but the consumers themselves and it’s important to listen. “Consumers will use or play your brand in a way that naturally gives the story,” said Lee.

The company’s Hasbro Gaming initiative introduces brands that parents grew up on to a new generation, from board games to hit TV shows. From deciding who gets to be the hat in Monopoly to which Autobot is their favorite, families and friends are able to share memories and create new ones together with the same brands, generation after generation.

“A lot of people would think of us as a manufacturer,” Lee says. “We’re not—we’re storytellers.”

How Brands Are Successfully Telling Stories Through Snapchat’s Lens

Snapchat is a unique animal. When a photo or video self-destructs in ten seconds or less, brands are met with the challenge of making every moment count. The proven key to success is to be casual and relatable, showing users how easy it is to bring a product or idea into their lives. That said, this highly lucrative platform is highly visual, so marketing teams are finding new ways to “show, not tell.”


Snapchat filters are a simple, yet highly effective tool for promotion, and are surprisingly flexible in terms of how extreme brands can go. Beauty brands are finding a natural home with Snapchat filters. In June, Urban Decay launched its 100-piece Vice lipstick collection with a filter that allowed Snapchat users to virtually test out every shade of lipstick. L’Oréal Paris launched a successful one-day filter last month that superimposed beauty make-up onto users’ faces.

20th Century Fox staged the first-ever, compete filter takeover in May for X-Men: Apocalypse. Designed to boost opening weekend ticket sales, the filter allowed users to “become” X-Men characters by combining photos with virtual costumes. In a hilariously disturbing promotion, Taco Bell used the filter to transform users into living tacos for Cinco de Mayo, which proved to be a big hit.

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For online underwear brand, MeUndies, demonstrating their products in funny, “brief” ways has proved incredibly effective. In a video ad called “Lounge Off,” two members of the team modeled the brand’s new tie-dyed lounge pants in some seemingly uncomfortable places like on top of tables and in the street. Using a call-to-action with vanity URLs, the company saw a conversion rate of 16 percent on Snapchat traffic in June.

“For us, user engagement on Snapchat is higher than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I think how people consume Snapchat now is like how they used to watch TV,” Dan King, head of marketing for MeUndies, told Digiday. “We’ve been hiring writers, comedians and actors to create delightful content on Snapchat, which has done well for us.”


Time Limits Make For Great Teasers

The ten-second time limit on Snapchat is naturally conducive to unveiling teaser content. In May, Volvo teased a new model on the app, using emoticons and captions such as “not your daddy’s Volvo.” Also in May, Musicians, DJ Snake and Skrillex teased their unreleased collaboration with a behind-the-scenes look. Bravo took to Snapchat with a teaser for The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Activision had fans clamoring for more information when teasers surfaced on the platform for Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

You might say that Snapchat is #adulting—the popular, self-destructing photo and video app made popular by millennials has evolved into a serious marketing tool for brands. From behind the scenes looks to contests, exclusive offers and filter takeovers, Snapchat provides a unique platform with which to interact with audiences.

‘Battlefield’ Franchise Blasting Its Way To Television

Where most video game studios are focusing their efforts on the big screen—like Ubisoft with Assassin’s Creed and Activision with Call of Duty—Electronic Arts is taking a different approach with its Battlefield franchise.

The publisher, alongside the development team at DICE, has optioned the rights for the hit series to be made into a television show, with Paramount Television and Anonymous Content heading up production, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Michael Sugar and Ashley Zalta will serve as executive producers on the show.

Although details haven’t been provided as to what the focus of Battlefield will be, considering how each release in the long-standing game series is set in a different time period ranging from historic settings to the near future. In fact, the upcoming Battlefield 1 takes place in World War I. However, the show is expected to be action-packed on the same visceral level as the games.

“Paramount TV actively seeks smart content from all sectors that will resonate with audiences and translate to compelling programming,” Paramount TV president Amy Powell said. “EA’s Battlefield has an incredibly dynamic narrative, coupled with a loyal fan base, which will allow us to bring this exciting and unique property to the small screen. We look forward to working with EA and Anonymous Content and thank Michael Sugar for his tenacity in bringing us this exciting project.”

As a result of the deal, Paramount will extend its relationship with Anonymous Content, and options such as broadcast, premium cable and streaming are being shopped around regarding interest in the Battlefield franchise.

Battlefield has a tremendous built-in, engaged fan base, making it a highly coveted piece of IP primed for long-form adaptation,” Anonymous Content partner Michael Sugar said. “Together with EA and Paramount TV, we’ll develop the Battlefield TV series with the same commitment to robust storytelling that has made the game such a runaway success for nearly 15 years.”

Battlefield is the latest video game series to be adapted for television, as Activision announced last month that it would bring Skylanders Academy, based on its best-selling toys-to-life franchise, to Netflix this fall.

While some industry critics may be skeptical of the success of a video game property in another medium, Battlefield is thriving on its popularity. The Battlefield 1 trailer that premiered back in May has become YouTube’s most popular video game trailer to date, with nearly two million likes. And the game got huge reception last month at EA’s Play event in Los Angeles, with its 64-player multiplayer feature on full display.

There’s no premiere date for the series yet, but Battlefield fans will be able to fill the time by playing Battlefield 1 when it releases Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC in October.

Understanding The ‘Pokémon GO’ Phenomenon

Since its release on mobile last week, Pokémon GO, the new free-to-play augmented reality game featuring the best-selling creature-capturing franchise, has taken over the market. So far, over 7.5 million people have downloaded the game across both iOS and Android, and the AR-enabled game is ready to surpass Twitter in daily active users on Android, reaching 3 percent and coming incredibly close to Twitter’s steady 3.5 percent.

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As a result, Nintendo’s stock value has risen immensely, jumping to 718 billion yen ($7.1 billion) since the release of the mobile app.

Local businesses have also thrived thanks to Pokémon GO, advertising special discounts and meet-ups for groups looking to find more Pokémon characters. Local businesses showcase playing the game while enjoying food with others.

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As the game continues to overtake social media and prepares to launch in other regions, including Europe and Japan, [a]listdaily spoke with SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen about the game’s success, along with how Nintendo and Niantic might continue its momentum.

First, he explained why Pokémon GO’s tremendous success shouldn’t really be a surprise, considering how much the franchise has thrived over the past few years. “Pokémon GO doing so well initially should not be a surprise: it is one of the most enduring and widely popular game franchises in the world,” he explained. “It has produced no fewer than 18 full feature films, a cartoon series, trading card games, and a slew of swag.

“With an existing fan base like this, the game has managed to quickly become a favorite among mobile gamers, and looks like it’s gone viral. Among livestreaming channels, Pokémon GO is now among the top 35 titles, with almost 200,000 hours of content streamed since launch, placing it well above other Nintendo franchises like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Mario Kart 7. More broadly, the mobile games market, which is starting to show declining revenue growth and is currently in a seasonal lull, is going to rely increasingly on franchises and brands to reach audiences.”

The game’s biggest appealing factor, van Dreunen pointed out, is its ease of use with augmented reality. “The mechanic of looking for and catching Pokémon is traditionally integral to the game, and the use of AR takes that to the next level,” he said. “It shows the power of the device that many of us have in our pockets already, and in many ways is one of the first great adaptations of augmented reality technology. Earlier efforts to integrate AR into mobile gameplay, like with Ingress, initially met a large appetite from users, but quickly dropped in rankings and revenue. What set Pokémon GO apart is the strength of the license.”Pokemon 3

While initial microtransaction sales of the game have been very good, van Dreunen noted that the development team at Niantic needs to find new content to keep players from waning. “Initial gross revenue is not necessarily an indicator of sustained financial success. If you recall a game like Fallout Shelter, which had a huge launch week in terms of reach and revenue, it quickly dropped to bottom of the top 50. For Pokémon GO to break the bank, it will have to continue to offer its audience new content, like tournaments, and keep people excited.

Pokémon has a long history of organizing activities around its game, so I have no doubt there will be more coming. Mobile gamer audiences have gotten to expect a prolonged effort from publishers, with regular special events and other incentives to log back on. This is an area where Pokémon can do really well for itself.”

These events and activities are sure to be vital when it comes to Pokémon GO’s future success. “The game has clearly tapped into something and has managed to bypass the usual suspects when it comes to earnings on mobile. But remember that games like Mobile Strike, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans have literally been making millions of dollars a day for years. Certainly Pokémon GO has a the pedigree in terms of license and offers novel game play, but its quest for dominance of the mobile games market has only just begun.”

Van Dreunen then added even more details, discussing Pokemon GO‘s success. “Early estimates indicate that Pokémon GO has so far managed to generate $14.04 million across mobile platforms since its release, putting it ahead of other titles using the franchise, including Pokémon Shuffle Mobile which has earned an estimated $14.03 million since its release in August, 2015.” That makes GO the highest ranked Pokémon mobile release to date.

He also made note of the impact of the game on the VR/AR market. “As the games industry continues to ramp up its efforts behind both AR and VR, the consumer market ultimately requires a ‘killer app’ that will allow mainstream audiences to familiarize themselves with new technology and its applications,” said van Dreunen. “When the iPhone was first introduced, it was games like Angry Birds that taught consumer audiences how to swipe and use a touch screen, which was a novelty at the time. Augmented has been available for some years, and with the popularity of the new Pokémon game seems to have found a suitable application with the ability to both motivate and educate audiences on its uses. Mobile devices are the first point of contact for mainstream consumer audiences with augmented reality, but in the long term companies like Microsoft have devices like the Hololens in development. For 2020E we forecast the total AR market (hardware and software) to reach $4.3 billion in worldwide revenues.”