‘Mr. Robot’ Takes Over Social Media

When it made its debut last year on USA Network, Mr. Robot became a big hit with fans, telling an intriguing tale of a hacker (Rami Malek) working alongside a mysterious figure (Christian Slater) to battle corporate conglomerates. Now, just days before the premiere of its second season this week, the network has opted to take a viral approach to keep those fans happy.

During a Facebook Live Q&A last night (featuring various cast members from the show), the network “hacked” its own feed and showed off the first hour of the two-part premiere that will air this Wednesday.

Facebook was just part of Mr. Robot‘s takeover, however, as the channel also hosted special broadcasts of the first hour on Twitter, followed by Snapchat’s Buzzfeed Discover Channel and the official Mr. Robot YouTube channel, along with USA Network’s website, with each channel getting its own special premiere time—all within 15 minutes of one another.

The “leak” was the network’s latest move to promote the highly popular show, which many consider one of NBCUniversal’s key shows for the “binge-worthy” demographic. Other promotions included a huge push in advertising, including short-but-sweet TV ads giving viewers a taste of what’s to come.


So far, feedback on the surprise season premiere has been huge on social media, with many fans noting the move as surprising, and a way to get them excited for the full season premiere.


In addition to heavily promoting the show, USA Network is also giving in to the practice of providing a live feedback show, which will air after the season two premiere. No other details were provided on it just yet, but members of the cast and crew are expected to be on said show.

Rovio Exec Explains How De La Soul Flocked To ‘Angry Birds’

De La Soul has a brand new album—the group’s first in 11 years—dropping August 26. But one song that won’t be found on And the Anonymous Nobody is “Action,” which will be available exclusively in Angry Birds Action! and was composed especially for the pinball puzzle game.

The new track is part of The Big Pig Update, which unlocks 90 new levels as well as the Piggy Island area that was originally exclusive available to movie theater patrons who went to see The Angry Birds Movie. The update also brings a one-week event hosted by the hip-hop pioneers in their birdified form, granting all players unlimited energy as a special power. “Action” marks the first time De La Soul has created music specifically for a game.

Miika Tams, vice president of games at Rovio, explains why artists from Shakira to De La Soul are flocking to Angry Birds games in this exclusive interview with [a]listdaily.

How did this De La Soul opportunity come up?

The team behind the Angry Birds Action! game have been big fans of De La Soul. We were looking for a partner to fit the style of the game, and De La Soul felt like a perfect option. We reached out to them, they loved the idea and this is where the partnership started.

What type of crossover do you see between De La Soul fans and your Angry Birds Action gamers?

Both brands have gained a big loyal fan base. Also, the style of our games and the style of De La Soul’s music are a natural fit. There is the same energy and the same tongue-in-cheek attitude that makes this cooperation feel like a very natural fit.

What have you learned from music collaborations with artists like Shakira?

We find that many artists are very interested in an alternative means of distribution and promotion, and there are all kinds of possibilities within the framework of a mobile game. We try to do music collaborations that make sense for our fans and the fans of the artists, and enrich the experiences of both.

How will De La Soul be cross-promoting your game with their new album debut?

The “Action” track has been written exclusively for Angry Birds Action! and its fans. The track is not going to be featured in De La Soul’s new album, And the Anonymous Nobody

How will you be promoting their new song, “Action”?

De La Soul’s new “Action” track can be listened to in the Angry Birds Action! game and through our active channels too—Rovio’s blog and rovio.com.

What does this and the Shakira partnership open up in terms of your games as a viable platform to debut music?

We have done partnerships before De La Soul and Shakira, for example with Apocalyptica and Slash, etc. We tend to proceed on a case-by-case basis, doing things that make natural sense for fans. But game music has come a long way, especially in the mobile era when people use the same device for listening to music as for playing games. Games and music crossovers will probably become more common as long as that is the case.

What role does music play in your games?

Music plays a big role in Rovio games, and can help bring emotional depth to the story world. We have an amazing audio team who is composing fantastic music for our games. For example, Nibblers just won the Best Game Music award at the 2016 Game Music Awards.

What’s can fans look forward to in the first Angry Birds Action! update?

The Big Pig Update adds 90 completely new levels and unlocks Piggy Island for all players. Previously, the Piggy Island area in the game could only be unlocked by going to see The Angry Birds Movie in theaters. The update also brings a one-week event hosted by hip-hop pioneers De La Soul in their “birdified” form, granting all players unlimited energy as a special power.

How have you seen the success of The Angry Birds Movie impact Action! and the other Angry Birds games?

The Angry Birds Movie reached No. 1 at the box office in 52 countries and we are very happy about that. We’ve seen a very positive impact on our games, too. The Angry Birds brand is now even stronger.

How does having all of The Angry Birds and Movie licensed products help the brand connect with mainstream consumers?

Consumers love collecting the plush toys, for example, and we are also very strong in a variety of toy and clothing categories for kids. The aim of our licensing program is always to strengthen the brand with high quality products and great storytelling. Partnerships with world-class companies like Lego and H&M are part of our strategy to develop Angry Birds as an evergreen brand that can help sustain all our businesses, from games to animation.

ESL Uses Traditional And Digital Broadcasts For Max Viewership

ESL One Cologne is underway, hosting sixteen of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) teams, competing for the top honor and a $1 million prize pool. The eSports competition, hosted inside Germany’s largest indoor arena broke audience and viewership records last year, and ESL hopes to break them again by broadcasting over numerous online and offline platforms.

Global television broadcasts include those in Brazil (Globo), Bulgaria (Novo Sport), the Czech Republic (PrimaCool), Finland (YLE), Germany (ProSieben Maxx) and numerous Nordic/Baltic countries (eSports TV). Various online livestreams are being hosted on Twitch, HitBox, Azubu and Yahoo with second screen content available on Snapchat, Facebook Live, Twitter and Instagram. Naturally, fans can also watch directly on ESL’s live platform, which offers highlights, in-game statistics, match schedules and more.

“The way people consume media is constantly evolving. Some are fans of more traditional broadcasts on television, others follow solely on their preferred streaming site whilst a growing number immerse themselves in an array of social media,” said Chris Müller, managing director at ESL TV in a press release. “We try to ensure that our events cater to all types of eSports fans, and so are always working to expand our broadcast horizons. Viewership is on the rise—and that is in part thanks to the evolution of the viewing experience.”

Fnatic celebrates their victory at the 2015 ESL Cologne competition. Source: ESL
Fnatic celebrates their victory at the 2015 ESL Cologne competition. Source: ESL

ESL is already the biggest organizer when it comes to supplying CS:GO eSports content on Twitch, with almost 85 million hours in the past 10 months (as of May 2016). ESL’s sister company, Dreamhack, is number two. Combined, they broadcast over half of all CS:GO eSports viewing hours on Twitch, according to Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo.

The eSports giant recently launched eSports TV, a 24/7 network in Nordic and Baltic countries that will likely spread into the West. “This is something we’re very enthusiastic about,” Nik Adams, senior vice president of sales for ESL told [a]listdaily in an April interview. “We’re working on several ideas that will enable an easy, more natural viewer interaction. Things like second screen applications, for example, could be put into a great use at eSports TV. ESL is a company that’s constantly looking for new ways to connect with its core audience, so things like that are definitely on our radar.”

How ‘PewDiePie: Legend Of The Brofist’ Utilized The Power Of Influencers

Sometimes, all it takes for a small studio to find big success is that little spark—that push that gives just the right amount of energy to build up speed in the marketplace. For Outerminds, that came with a little help from one of the biggest influencers on YouTube, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg.

The Montreal game studio Outerminds got its start back in 2014, with a three-person team trying their luck in a Game Jolt-sponsored “game jam” session, where developers submit game ideas in the hopes of being selected. One big difference that Outerminds made with its effort was reaching out to PewDiePie to create a game featuring him.

As a result, PewDiePie’s Paradise Island was born, and even though it didn’t win the game jam session, it was inspired enough for Kjellberg to come back to the team and work on a new mobile. Just one year later, Outerminds released its first major mobile title, PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist.

PewDiePie’s star power by itself was enough to push the title, but Kjellberg also pushed it on his own channel, which has over 46 million subscribers. As a result, the game became a massive hit, becoming the biggest app across 50 countries during that time frame.

But while the game has plenty of PewDiePie star power to go around, Outerminds learned from the early going that YouTube influencers in general had a good amount of reach with the game. “At one point PewDiePie said, ‘Is it OK if my friends join in?’ And we said, ‘Hey, you can bring as many 10-million-subscriber people as you want,’” said Outerminds community manager Ghislain de Pessemier, speaking with Chartboost. As a result, several of Kjellberg’s pals took part in the game providing voiceovers.

While the game concentrated on making the gameplay fun for both PewDiePie fans and casual players, de Pessemier pointed out that the game also needed to look fun to draw in others. “Even a bad game can be fun to play, fun to watch,” said de Pessemier.

However, continuing coverage of said game can significantly contribute to longevity. “Every time we’re releasing an update, PewDiePie’s playing it on his channel, and we get a huge spike in sales,” said Pessemier. “We didn’t invest a penny in advertising. PewDiePie is the advertisement.”

As a result of the success of Brofist, Outerminds has had to expand its team to eight people, and now has over 20,000 Twitter followers. It’s also getting bombarded with tons of suggestions. “People were so creative, but there were 30,000 suggestions,” noted de Pessemier. “I had to ask one of the coders to do an algorithm to sort all the nouns.”

The bottom line is that the power of influencers continues to be as strong as ever, particularly PewDiePie, who’s already hard at work on a second game with Outerminds. Whether it will be as epic as Legend of the Brofist has yet to be seen. But, with Kjellberg on board and the team devoted to crazy, good-looking games, it’s sure to be interesting.

‘Final Fantasy’ Symphony Returns With New Melodies

Video game-themed concerts, including Video Games Live, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses and Pokémon Symphonic Evolution celebrates the music and legacy of their respective games while keeping the franchises relevant. That said, Square Enix has its own special showcase, paying tribute to its ongoing Final Fantasy series.

The publisher recently announced the return of the Final Symphony, a show that has been a success with sell-out shows across both Europe and Japan, and also led to the release of a best-selling album that has become a downloadable hit across the globe. And there’s no better place for the tour to make its return than at the San Diego Comic-Con, which kicks off in a few weeks.

The show, which features music from a number of Final Fantasy games, will begin its tour on July 21 at the Copley Symphony Hall at the Jacobs Music Center. Fans won’t just hear melodies from the main games from the franchise, but also “Symphonic Fantasies” selections from other Square Enix titles, such as Kingdom Hearts, Secret of Mana and Chrono Cross/Trigger.

In addition, to help further promote the legacy of Final Fantasy, Square has brought back producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, the man responsible for many of the earlier titles in the series. He will serve as a host for a special pre-concert presentation that’s free for all those that attend the show.

Final Symphony doesn’t just indulge fans by evoking memories of the game world and the accompanying excitement. Instead, we created a concert to celebrate the sounds of the Final Fantasy series by delivering a definitive piece of pure orchestral music—a true Final Symphony,” said Final Fantasy composer Masashi Hamauzu about the tour.

The Final Symphony tour is expected to make several stops this year, including Baltimore, Auckland, San Francisco and London. This, coinciding with the forthcoming A New World: Final Fantasy tour, should assure that the series’ legacy will continue to be celebrated in all the right way.

The tour comes at the right point in time when it comes to promotion, as Square Enix will give the Final Fantasy series a huge push leading up to this fall’s release of Final Fantasy XV, which is expected to arrive on September 30th for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The company promoted the game heavily at E3, and hosted a special 3-hour Uncovered event a few months ago, with a number of reveals for the game.

Study: In-App Spending Varies By Platform, Geography And Category

It’s probably no surprise that in-app spending is expected to increase over the next few years. From beating a level with the help of game add-ons to booking that adorable bed and breakfast, the app market continues to expand into emerging demographics across the world.

It might come as a surprise, however, to learn that geography, operating systems and app category all impact in-app spending in different ways. For example, iOS users spend two-and-a-half times more than Android users per month because they tend to be less price-sensitive, according to a new report from AppsFlyer. Android users, meanwhile, spend five times more than iOS users on utility apps like anti-virus and memory boosters because of the open Android OS platform.

The report, titled The State of In-App Spending, measures over $300 million of in-app purchases by more than 100 million users from April to May 2016. The results may vary considerably, but don’t fall into that pit of marketing despair just yet—it’s all about knowing your audience.

Asian Users Spend The Most Per App

According to the report, these users spend $0.70 per month per app as opposed to the average global user, who spends $0.50 a month per app. Gaming apps are especially popular in the Asian market, with users spending 75 percent more on in-app purchases than users in other regions. According to IDC’s new Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide, enterprise and consumer spending on mobile devices and related software and services in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of three percent from $514 billion in 2015 to $578 billion by 2019, making it the largest region in the world in terms of mobile spend.

“Mobility has had a significant influence in Asia, creating unique markets and business models that cater to a new generation of consumers embracing a mobile-first world,” said Avinash K. Sundaram, research manager for enterprise mobility at IDC Asia/Pacific. “A great example of this trend is WeChat in China, which started as a messaging app rival to WhatsApp but has now transformed itself into a social commerce platform where consumers find and pay for services ranging from food to movies and even transportation.”

app spending by region

North Americans Love To Shop

The average North American shopper spends $43 per in-app purchase, compared with the average Asian shopper who spends the equivalent of $11. In fact, North American retail app users outspend all regions in this category—the average European retail app user by two-and-a-half times, and the average Asian shopper by more than three times.

According to a June survey conducted by global polling firm, Penn Schoen Berland, around 60 percent of parents are planning to buy at least one thing on a mobile device and 30 percent plan to do at least a quarter of their shopping on mobile. (Based on 1,500 individuals surveyed)

Gamers And Shoppers Have Very Different App Spending Habits

Only about 3 percent of gamers make in-app purchases, while 12 percent of those using shopping apps pull out their credit cards. These figures are attributed to intent (presumably you would download a shopping app with the intent to purchase), as well as the vastly different costs of virtual versus physical goods ($7 versus $36.54 average purchase amount).

The Whales Of Latin America

AppsFlyer data shows that gamers who do make in-app purchases tend to spend significantly more than the average gamer—30 percent more, in fact. This is known as the “whale” phenomenon, and these users become the main source of income for free-to-play games. There are many such “whales” in Latin America, it turns out, who are spending 48 times more on in-app purchases than the average Latin American user. Although Latin American app users spend an average of about half of users in other markets, those who do spend big.

Madame Tussauds New York Discusses ‘Ghostbusters’ Partnership

With the new movie starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones hitting theaters next week, this is the opportune time to head over to Madame Tussauds New York and check out the new Ghostbusters-themed exhibit that opened last week. As the first cross-promotion of its kind, the wax museum is currently featuring two attractions. The first, called The Ghostbusters Experience, takes attendees through different sets inspired by the new movie and features holographic ghosts and wax statues of the characters. Those who want to take their experience to the next level can check out the Ghostbusters: Dimension hyper-reality experience, developed by The Void, where attendees can put on headsets and proton packs to bust ghosts in virtual reality. Both attractions are built in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment to ensure authenticity.

Eric Fluet, head of marketing and sales at Madame Tussauds New York, talks to [a]listdaily about this incredible partnership with Sony Pictures and The Void to create a location-based attraction that also promotes the upcoming movie. The new Ghostbusters movie releases on July 15, but fans can get an early, immersive, preview by visiting Madame Tussauds New York now.

How did the Ghostbusters Experience come to Madame Tussauds?

We had been working with Sony Pictures and the Ghost Corps to create the all-new Ghostbusters Experience. And the Sony execs said, “Hey, we’re working with this company on a virtual reality project. Why don’t you talk to this company called The Void?” So we sat down with The Void, and they started talking us through their concept. We thought it was amazing technology that ties very well back to the Ghostbusters project we were already working on. It has created this perfect environment where you have three really strong parties coming together at Madame Tussauds, which has been operating attractions for over 200 years with a prime location in the heart of Times Square.

Sony Pictures and Ghost Corps, with this iconic brand—Ghostbusters—has been an American pop culture staple for 30 years. And The Void, with this brand new technology, to bring it to life. When guests come to Madame Tussauds this summer, they’re going to get to walk into the movie. [After] You see the movie (or getting ready for the movie), you come to Madame Tussauds, and you’ll actually step into multiple sets from the movie in the Ghostbusters Experience, which is included in your admission. Then you can upgrade to the Ghostbusters: Dimension hyper-reality experience and actually be a Ghostbuster.

How meaningful is it that Madame Tussauds is offering this experience at the launch of the new Ghostbusters movie?

We’re thrilled to be doing it. For us, Madame Tussauds is a brand we’re trying to evolve and become more immersive. Virtual reality is going to be hot this summer—we’re seeing it pop up all over the place. Hyper-reality is the next evolution of virtual reality and is taking it that step further. To be able to offer the world’s first look at it is an incredible opportunity and we’re thrilled to be part of the project, and we’re thrilled to offer it to our guests at our Times Square location.

Will there be any cross-promotion between Sony Pictures and Madame Tussauds to get the word out about the experience?

Sure, there are all sorts of things going on. As a matter of fact, it started back in May, when we announced our partnership with Sony and The Void. We’ve been working in lockstep from a PR perspective. We’ve been synced up with the announcement, the hard hat tour, and the full press event. We have Sony execs here who are participating in it, we’ve got Sony’s publicity team, Madame Tussauds’ publicity team, and The Void’s owners and founders here—all available so we can show our products and share our message together.

As we move forward, working together with our marketing pieces to make sure we’re promoting this event in its totality, we’ve got other things in the works. Whether it’s bringing our figures out to other locations, where the actors may be, for stunts the Sony PR team is looking to do; or TV commercials that we’re putting together where we work with Sony to get some footage from the movie to include in it. I could go on for days about all the different things we’re doing together, but it’s really important—with the popularity of the new Ghostbusters movie this summer, what’s going to be the popularity of the Ghostbusters Experience at Madame Tussauds, and the world’s first hyper-reality experience—that all of those things dovetail together.

The Ghostbusters brand goes back 30 years, but the Ghostbusters Experience only features the new movie. Has there been any thought given to including the classic movies?

We had a lot of thought and dialogue about it when we first started this project. It was really important to be aligned with Sony in bringing this new movie to life. This is what’s going to be top-of-mind this summer. The Sony team is really pushing the new Ghostbusters, and we wanted to make sure we were supporting that as best we could. Rather than trying to mix the two together, I think it was best to stick with the one. The new 2016 film is the right way to go for us to make sure we could bring it to life in the truest, most authentic way possible.


How has it been to partner with The Void for a location-based VR experience?

I think one of the beauties of partnering with The Void is that Madame Tussauds brings operation—high volume, consumer-facing operation. The Void is a company that’s great at technology, but hasn’t done any consumer-facing mass market type of operation. By partnering, we can help each other through that. They can learn the operation from us. As a matter of fact, Madame Tussauds is operating it [Ghostbusters: Dimension] here at the attraction, so it’s a great thing for us to work together as this comes to market for the first time.

What were some of your first thoughts when you tried out Ghostbusters: Dimension?

I’ve been involved with the project for months, and I’ve been out to The Void’s studio in Salt Lake City, and I did some of their other versions from the TED conference and some of the stuff they had on the floor. The technology The Void brings is cool—it’s hyper-reality—but when I did the Ghostbusters: Dimension, it really blew my mind. I was familiar with the story, script, stage and flow, but actually being in it… it’s hard to articulate how amazing it was. I can’t wait for not only gamers and VR enthusiasts to come check this out, because this is going to blow their minds, but then you have the mass market. It’s a great opportunity to bring to live, general market consumers—who may not have been involved or interested in virtual reality—a chance to do this. It’s going to blow people’s minds. It’s amazing.

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Bento Box Entertainment Founder Discusses Hollywood VR Strategy

Emmy Award-winning Hollywood studio, Bento Box Entertainment, has connected with the 18-34-year-old demographic through shows such as Bob’s Burgers, Bordertown, and Legends of Chamberlin Heights. The company recently launched Bento Box Digital Studios, which is overseeing entertainment across multiple platforms including virtual reality.

Bento has partnered with the Disney-backed VR studio Littlstar to deliver virtual reality content to early adopters who have invested in mobile and PC-based head-mounted displays. A Bob’s Burgers VR experience offers a first taste of the type of content the studio is developing for virtual reality.

Joel Kuwahara, co-founder and principal at Bento Box Entertainment, talks to [a]listdaily about the approach his company is taking in exploring virtual reality in this exclusive interview.

How is Bento Box selecting which properties to bring to virtual reality?

Our goal is to focus on creating VR content for properties with the most exposure and brand awareness. Properties such as Bob’s Burgers or our new Comedy Central series, Legends of Chamberlain Heights. People know Bob’s, they know the characters, and are more likely to click and view the video as a result. Getting fans to engage and explore these new VR experiences right off the bat is important. We are also focusing on properties that live in worlds and environments that have the potential for this type of exploration.

How are you working with the creatives behind each project in exploring VR?

Since VR is so new, the first thing we have to do is to make our creative people aware of what is possible, what works, what doesn’t work, and then encourage them to come up with new ideas that will work inside of the framework and humor of the show. We created the Bob’s VR piece to show people what we could do in an environment with which they are already familiar. The restaurant from Bob’s isn’t a foreign place. This is only a first step, but it allows us to show other creators what is possible and then discuss with them how VR can play a role in their shows.

What does VR open up creatively to TV show creators?

VR is really getting people to think outside of the box. No longer are you pinned to a flat 2D animation experience; you now have the ability to have multiple things going on at once, and to really feel like you are a part of the story. There is no front of the camera, we are forced to think on multiple layers, play with things in front of or behind the camera, and create visual or audio triggers that get the viewer to look where you want them to look. It is a much more non-linear experience.

Of course, this is still a bit of a puzzle. We are challenged to anticipate what the viewer will do, figure out what they want to see, focus on, and explore. There are no limits to what we can try, and unlike typical television, there isn’t necessarily an end, but rather an ongoing experience. One of the first things we need to accomplish is to get the viewers comfortable with this experience, and then—when the time is right—give them a good story. Right now we are giving them a taste and then following up with more, once their interest has piqued.

What were your goals in exploring VR with Bob’s Burgers?

One of our goals with Bob’s is to find something that is in the spirit of the show and is different from what other people are doing in VR. I hate to say it, but the majority of what I see in VR is not that different or interesting. Bob’s has a unique voice that we are keeping intact, with the characters being the same ones you see on TV. However, they all have points of view that we can now dive into through a VR experience.

How much interactivity are you incorporating into this VR experience?

As we graduate from dipping our toe into VR, as we did with the dancing Bob’s piece, the long play is to have more interactivity. As of now, we have an immersive experience and walk around, but what I would like to do is actually have interactivity with the whole family. A lot of this is tech driven, so we are working in tandem with new developments to make sure the content and the technology play off of each other symbiotically.

How does humor play in VR?

I think humor is a big part of the experience, but there is a place for all genres in VR. Everyone has a place to play.

What are the current challenges of steering people through a VR experience?

Challenges include anticipating what adventure the viewer will choose to explore, and the psychology behind the viewers’ experience. How do you keep them motivated to stay in the world? A lot of the VR that I have personally experienced to date has only been able to hold my interest for a minute or two. So whether you are creating a documentary or an entertainment piece, keeping people engaged through characters and strong storylines is a must.

How do video games and that type of thinking influence VR at this early stage?

Video games may be the perfect genre for VR. Why wouldn’t you want to be able to look all around you as you explore a game? People are creating tech to support those needs and wants, and gaming is raising the bar and driving this experience.

What are you learning about the length of time people want to watch content in VR and what are you shooting for with Bob’s Burgers?

For now, we are seeing that people are watching two to three minutes of VR content, but it is still very early.

What does the Littlstar platform open up for this content, especially given Disney’s investment in the company?

The great thing about Littlstar is that it gives people an opportunity to create their own VR experience. Littlstar also provides a platform that is perfect for mobile, of course, which is so important today.

What role do you see this Animation Channel on Littlstar playing in connecting with early adopters?

We are curating and identifying the best VR animation content on Littlstar. I am hopeful that this will inspire and motivate both a new generation of content creators as well as established ones. This is a new sandbox to play in and only time will tell what succeeds and what doesn’t. But until then, we plan on having fun building a lot of sand castles.

The Possibilities Of Augmented Reality Storytelling

Editor’s Note: [a]listdaily is the editorial arm of Ayzenberg Group.

Noah Eichen and Matt Bretz, both of whom are creative directors at Ayzenberg, sat down to discuss the potential behind augmented reality.

The two started right away by discussing “mixed reality,” grouping both AR and VR together. Talking about the experience from the Halo demo at E3 last month, Eichen explained, “I would say the sensation is like grabbing a person out of the world . . . moving them where you want, finding the right plane where they look like they’re standing in front of you, and then having their action play out. You’re just sort of witnessing that through this headset.”

“[Microsoft HoloLens] is the one device on the market that’s completely untethered,” explained Bretz. “So you don’t have to have it connected to a phone or a PC and you can be in the real world, mixed with the things that you’re adding as holograms, so that you can continue to be working on your PC or talking to someone.”

Filmmaking was also talked about, as Eichen explained the challenge of the tech: “When I first tried it, what I started thinking about was . . . if I could imagine in a couple of years, when we want to make a commercial with CG characters or real-life actors . . . and they’re placing actors and timing out shots, and everyone can visualize . . . we can all see the holographic world they’re building. And to me, that’s really an interesting way of looking at it.”

NetEase’s Head Of Games Discusses Creating Globally-Appealing Games And VR

When Newzoo released their latest rankings of the Top 25 Companies By Game Revenues, China-based NetEase got the attention of the games industry by flying into the top 10 with 76 percent year-over-year growth and the accomplishment of being the second fastest-growing company on the list.

Before all of this, NetEase was chiefly known as a key player in China’s internet service industry, operating web portals, media channels and email services, drawing comparisons to Yahoo. Since then, the company’s focus on games has quickly become a core aspect of its business. You may know NetEase from their longstanding partnership with Blizzard, operating games like World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Hearthstone and more in China in addition to creating and operating their own successful games like Fantasy Westward Journey.

At E3 this past June, the company made it abundantly clear that they were setting their sights westward, too. They premiered a full slate of new games developed with the intent to reach global audiences. NetEase’s head of games, Riten Huang, showcased Tianxia, EvercraftFlying Daggers and sci-fi title Spark of Space as well as teasing development of a game for Google’s Daydream VR platform. During the presentation, Huang related his philosophy on localization to how Kung fu movies in the United States are lost in translation and how difficult it is to emulate a style if you are not intimately familiar with it, emphasizing that this is why he looks to locals to develop games for local audiences.

Today, the company announced that they are showing no signs of stopping their growth—stocks are up 46 percent so far this year thanks in part to the positive reception of these games and their direction. We caught up with Huang (video above) to discuss how NetEase is looking to data to inform their global approach and how important VR is to NetEase and the industry at large.