‘Creativerse’ CEO Explains The Strategy For Building Up Creative Adventure Game Genre

Creativerse, a Minecraft-inspired creative open world adventure game, is quickly expanding. Released in May and developed by Playful Corporation (Lucky’s Tale), the free-to-play building game has already brought in over three million downloads on the PC and Mac platforms alone. Furthermore, the game occupied both top spots on Steam’s top grossing charts for a short time after launching the Welcome Bundle, the second of two add-on packs that include design recipes and resources. The other add-on, the Pro Pack, includes several toys for users to play with, including a hang glider, more inventory slots, and other benefits.

The early success of Creativerse demonstrates how there is a strong appetite for more titles in the open world building game genre, even with the tremendous success of Minecraft. Creativerse appeals to players of all ages, especially families, with parents playing with their children. The game is almost certain to grow even further when it releases on more platforms.

Paul Bettner, CEO and founder of Playful Corporation, sat down with AListDaily to discuss the growth of the creative game genre, releasing a game in the wake of Minecraft’s success, and how to maintain long-term engagement with the audience.

Paul Bettner, CEO and founder of Playful Corporation

What do you think draws players to Creativerse?

As people come into this world, they realize that they can be the architects of it. They can shape the world itself. I think what sets these types of games apart is that, with other games, you solve challenges in ways the game presents to you. For example, you shoot things with Grand Theft Auto, and a different game might have you going on quests. Creativerse has some of those elements, including monsters to slay, but the fundamental way to solve problems is by being creative—figuring out a problem and using creativity to solve it. That includes building a wall to block off the monsters, building a house to survive the night, or building a castle for you and your friends to hang out in. The fundamental tools in the game are all about being creative.

Three million installs is quite impressive. How were you able to able to reach this size audience?

It’s pretty incredible for something that we haven’t gone out of our way yet to promote. We just kind of launched it and we’ve been building this community organically. The cool thing about this genre, which is inspired by games like Minecraft and Roblox, is that there’s such a strong community on Twitch and YouTube. I don’t think there’s any other genre that has quite the same connection between the folks watching videos and those playing the games. So, we can attribute a large part of our success to the work we’ve been doing with our community.

The Steam community for Creativerse is welcoming, friendly and nurturing. Game communities take a lot of different tones, and we’ve put a lot of work into being there for our community, listening to them, and fundamentally inviting them into the process of making the game with us. We’ve done 43 releases of the game, mostly while we were in Early Access, and tailored those releases around what our community has been asking for has shaped it into the game they wanted us to make—making that connection with the community. That connection is what reverberates onto YouTube and Twitch, creating a grassroots player base without us having to do a ton of marketing.

Have you been working with streamers to promote the game?

Yes, we’ve only started doing that on a tiny scale, but it’s been so successful. When we reached out to YouTubers to sponsor Let’s Play videos, we didn’t want them to hide the fact that it was sponsored content, but we were worried that viewers might not take to that. We’ve actually seen the opposite. When a creator announces that a video is sponsored, but they have things to give away, they get tons of thumbs up and they end up being some of the most-viewed videos on their channels.

How does a game like Creativerse make a name for itself with big games like Minecraft on the market?

The way I like to look at it is that there have been these games throughout the years that have been looked at as though they were singular events. I remember the original EverQuest. We all played it, but even at the time, we felt that there were several elements that made it hard to play and added friction to the experience. What I was feeling especially was that this game could be much more if you took the core formula and improved it by making it more accessible and easier to play with friends. That was a controversial thing to say at the time because EverQuest was doing very well and people thought it captured the peak of the market.

But I think Blizzard understood the same thing I did, and they released World of Warcraft, showing the world that the 400,000 subscribers EverQuest had was just scratching the surface of what the genre was. So, when I look at Minecraft now—which is a phenomenal game, and I’m hugely inspired by it—I still see this strange thing in the industry where people will look at it and say, “That’s it.”

That’s not how the games industry works. We invent and discover genres; then we build lots of great games for them. Imagine if first-person shooters stopped at Wolfenstein 3D. It doesn’t make any sense. I’m proud to be working on a game that expands the open world creative sandbox game genre, and there’s a lot more to contribute to it.

What do you think is the attraction to open world building games?

If you look at the toy world, what you’ll find is the most popular toy in the world is Lego. I think the reason for that is because Legos are both creative tools for self-expression and puzzles to be solved. They’re accessible puzzles too. Give someone a pile of Legos, and almost anyone can pick them up and start making something. But give them a blank canvas and a paintbrush and a lot of people will find that overwhelming.

I think that’s the magic of this genre. Everyone inherently wants to be creative, and giving people this toolset turns everyone into a potential creator. They look at the simplicity of blocks and think about how they could make a castle. I think that’s why this genre is so big and growing.

Minecraft has proven that people are willing to purchase this kind of game. Why go with a free-to-play model?

I’ve been through quite a journey in my career, from working on boxed retail games, to working on digital download games, to free-to-play online games, mobile and now Steam. Recently, especially with our work on mobile, I’ve become attached to what free-to-play does. As a family and community game, it removes that last barrier and lets people come together without having to pay an upfront charge. You get a huge community when you remove that friction, and you see that with games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone and certainly mobile games.

I also think that the industry has realized that it’s a wonderful business model. It allows for a more flexible and ongoing relationship with our customers, where we can provide increased value over time without having big singular events like expansions and sequels.

How do you convince players to pick up premium add-ons?

This is something that we’re constantly playing around with, and it gets back to us communicating with our community to build things that are valuable and things that people are excited to buy. [Monetization] is a tricky thing when it comes to free-to-play development, and I understand the psychology behind [purchases], which has a very slot machine-like mentality. I know why a lot of game studios pursue more exploitive free-to-play mechanics. But we decided not to do that with Creativerse. Our desire is to create a free-to-play game where the things that you purchase feel genuinely valuable, and we’re not taking anything away from the free core part of the game.

Think about Central Park, and how it’s a public space where people love to go and spend time together for free. But there’s all this extremely valuable real estate that borders Central Park because of the foot traffic. That’s the model we want to go for, meaning that the free core of Creativerse needs to be a wonderful experience that doesn’t feel like it’s missing anything. Then we want to build stores around it so that they can buy things to bring into the park.

What is the strategy for growing the Creativerse audience moving forward?

There are still a lot of players who may not have heard of Creativerse yet, but would probably love it. I think the key to growing is doing what we’ve been doing but at a bigger scale. One of the things we set out to do was release updates on a regular basis, which is what we discovered in mobile gaming and want to bring to PC. If we can do that right, I think it will be one of the big things that draws people back while increasing the audience and excitement for the game. Creativerse has been growing because the audience knows that if they participate in the game, talk to us, and talk to each other, they’re going to see the game continue to grow in the ways they want it to. It’s the active community that gives us content ideas, and the regular release cadence is what’s stoking the fires of growth for Creativerse. The constant stream of new stuff on both the free side and stuff to buy in the store is the key to keeping ongoing engagement.

The most successful games in this genre have the most vibrant communities and developers that are always updating the game.

Inside The NBA’s Virtual Reality Strategy

Unless you have a spare key to the Federal Reserve, the courtside NBA seat is almost always reserved for the rich and famous. Jay-Z, Drake, Rihanna, Jack Nicholson, James Goldstein and the rest of the one percent remind you of that on a nightly basis as you’re seated on a sofa.

Because most of the world is not blessed with a bounty of commas in their bank accounts, they’ll be watching the Warriors and Cavaliers battle it out for the third consecutive NBA Finals on standard, two-dimensional television, because last month’s statements say you have no other choice.

But thanks to the immersive vertical of virtual reality, basketball fans can now come within arm’s reach of Stephen Curry’s killer crossover, or the freight train that is LeBron James, simply by strapping on a headset.

The NBA has partnered with NextVR to bring a courtside perspective to fans by releasing an on-demand VR highlight video package after each Finals game. Yes, it’s not the same as being there, of course, but it’s the next best thing before pulling the trigger on seats and going bankrupt.

The announced deal is part of a season of growing firsts for the NBA as they continue to run a marketing fast break in VR. The league enjoyed a watershed moment in 2015 when they became the first major US sporting event broadcast live in VR and have been gaining momentum ever since. Before the start of the basketball calendar back in October, the NBA gifted League Pass subscribers by securing a multi-year partnership with NextVR to livestream one game per week in VR.

Jeff Marsilio, the NBA’s vice president of global media, told AListDaily that it’s all part of a marketing strategy that at its core evolves around live VR broadcasts and brings basketball experiences forward through high-value, off-the-court rich media content.

LeBron James

“We’re really impressed at how far VR has come, and the optimism and excitement about what it could do for the fan experience,” says Marsilio, who manages strategy and business development for the NBA’s domestic digital media business. “It was during last summer when we made the decision that if we’re going to continue to move the NBA experience forward in VR, we needed to make a bigger commitment. It wasn’t going to be enough to do one-off experiments as we’d been doing. We were going to need to commit to working with one partner, and commit to a schedule of games to make sure that every time we did one, the experience got better.”

The NBA is now producing the games—which total 25 broadcasts featuring all 30 teams at least once—in collaboration with NextVR, a purveyor of live and on-demand VR programming that specializes in concerts, sporting events and award shows, with their sights set on growing the game from the 215 countries and 49 languages that they’re already featured in. Of the 155 million core fans of the game around the world, less than one percent actually experience the game in an arena, so the incorporation of technology becomes even more imperative to keep fans engaged.

“What we’re doing with NextVR is really the next step toward that future, and eventually I have every reason to believe that every game will be produced in VR. I don’t think that it’s replacing TV or mobile any time soon. It will be additives—in the near term anyways,” says Marsilio. “And it’ll just be another way people can experience the game. It’ll be the most immersive way. VR will become a third option. But I do think that future is coming—and it’ll be coming pretty soon.”

After All-Star Weekend this year—for which the NBA released a 360-video experience with Oculus—the league rolled out VR to the entire world, excluding China. Marsilio says the international expansion opportunities are one of the primary reasons they planted a pole in VR to begin with, and they’re already beginning to see engagement. But it’s too early to assess the performance he says because VR is still in a nascent stage, and they knew that going into it.

NBA All-Star weekend VR Teaser

Go behind-the-scenes of the NBA All-Star Weekend in virtual reality on Oculus Rift and Gear VR! Watch the full film for free in Oculus Video. Rift: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/926562347437041/Gear VR: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/gear-vr/838122072929207/

Posted by NBA on Thursday, April 20, 2017


“The numbers are modest compared with what you would see with traditional, 2D digital content,” he says. “But it’s always improving. We follow the fan reaction directly on social media, and the response has been terrific. People are really excited about it, and happy with the direction the product is going. What we’re most focused on is how long users are engaging with the content, and how much they’re enjoying it. We use every game as an opportunity to improve the broadcast, but we’re also looking forward to the offseason where we can make more step-changes, more significant changes.”

The league will be experimenting throughout the summer with new ideas, production techniques and technology—like letting fans get up and physically walk around inside the experience—in order to reintroduce an updated product. They’ll also be looking to leverage VR with esports for the 2K League—but that’s still in an exploratory phase.

“VR’s roots are definitely in video gaming, or at least there’s a lot of video game interest and overlap with VR, and there’s a lot of overlap with video game audiences and basketball audiences. So there’s a lot of potential for cross pollination,” Marsilio says. “The sort of holy grail of VR is not only to show somebody something, but give them the ability to interact with it. We’ll be interested to see where that goes.”

House of Legends

In the meantime, the NBA has procured partnerships and content deals to further strengthen their marketing muscle in the space. Earlier this year they partnered with Google and Digital Domain to introduce House of Legends, a VR talk show that uniquely reinvents the format by giving fans a sense of presence and access in an NBA-themed loft. In March, they announced that they’ll be training referees through VR technology. Last year they partnered with Oculus to create an NBA Finals documentary.

“Brands inside and outside of VR come to us with interest in participating. That’s one of the reasons that we wanted to be a leader in VR. We felt that we could help shape the direction of industry—and certainly with our basketball experience—but really VR in its entirety,” Marsilio says. “Hopefully that would attract more interest, more inbound interest, and it really has. We’re looking at VR in a few different buckets, if you will. The first and most important to us is the live game itself. That’s what our fans clamor for, and that’s what makes the NextVR partnership so important. Storytelling in VR can be compelling. We’re also talking about doing even more storytelling experiences with Oculus going forward.”

Warriors star Draymond Green

In addition to the league and NextVR, companies like Intel are pushing live VR forward with Voke, which is complemented by their acquisition of the 3D technology and marketing deal with LeBron James to show off their 360-degree replay technology.

Coincidentally, the Finals participants have been at the forefront of the cutting-edge technology by leveraging VR in their marketing strategies. Did you know the use of VR played a role in helping the Warriors land Kevin Durant last year? Golden State has also given away cardboard VR viewers and an Andre Iguadala bobblehead of him wearing a VR headset as part of their promotional calendar. Warriors co-owner Peter Guber is also an investor in NextVR.

On the other hand, the Cavaliers have previously teamed up with Budweiser for a VR experience, and LeBron has leapt into the space with a 12-minute, Oculus-produced film as well as deals with Samsung VR and a 360-degree Uninterrupted original series.

“The NBA players love VR. The players that we’ve shown VR have probably been the biggest fans,” Marsilio says. “But some of us are a little more cynical as technologies come and go. So we’re just a little bit more cautious about our pronouncements about the future of VR.”

Some of the cynics Marsilio alludes to include Charles Barkley, who told AListDaily he doesn’t like VR.

“Listen man, we need to worry about our product (on the floor). I don’t want to watch it in virtual reality. I don’t want to see it. Number one, it’s weird and whacky, in my opinion. But some people might like it,” says Barkley. “I don’t use a lot of technology. It’s probably suited better for Shaq, because he uses a lot of technology. I know he doesn’t look smart, but he uses a lot of technology. . . .  I’m a part of the growth of the game that really started with the Dream Team. It’s amazing how popular some of these guys are around the world. The game is fine. The game is always going to grow, at some point. The most important thing is the product.”

Charles Barkley: NBA In Virtual Reality Is ‘Weird And Whacky’

We caught up with NBA Hall of Fame basketball player and hot take maestro Charles Barkley to see what he thinks about virtual reality.

Posted by AListDaily on Monday, February 20, 2017


Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban echoes some of the same sentiment. In an interview last year with AListDaily, the Shark Tank star, who’s also invested in the space, said “[VR] has zero chance of impacting our business. The whole ‘front-row experience’ doesn’t work, and won’t. I would rather be in the top row at a game than watching a live VR stream, and I don’t see that changing in many, many years. . . . The cameras are a long way from being able to support live [programming] in a meaningful way.”

Marsilio says there will be a critical moment when everyone either has a VR headset or knows someone who does, and therefore can try it—and that will be the beginning of the tipping point for mass adoption.

“The marketing of VR is tricky because it’s difficult to describe or show what a VR experience is without actually just giving someone a VR headset. So, it’s a little bit of a marketing and messaging challenge,” he says. “We’re all really excited about the potential—it’s just a matter of getting it right.”

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan

‘Hologrid: Monster Battle’ Brings Board Game Fun To AR And VR

HoloGrid: Monster Battle is an augmented reality, tactical strategy multiplayer game similar to Dejarik aka “Holochess in Star Wars. Just like Dejarik—which you should always let the Wookie win—the creatures in HoloGrid were designed by Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) veteran Phil Tippet. The game itself was developed by HappyGiant, a company founded by veterans of LucasArts, ILM, Hasbro and Pileated Pictures.

The game combines elements of collectible card games, board games and digital games for mobile devices. While inspired by Star WarsHoloGrid: Monster Battle is definitely a unique creature all its own. Previously launched as a physical goods AR game on iOS and Android, a new digital-only Tango AR version has just been released on Google Play.

HappyGiant CEO Michael Levine joined AListDaily to share the origins of HoloGrid: Monster Battle, the game’s inspirations and the challenges of marketing for AR.

Phil Tippett (L) and Michael Levine (R)

How did the partnership between HappyGiant and Tippett Studio come about?

I worked for LucasArts for most of the ’90s in the art department. I was often tasked with coming up with new art paths and methods to make our new games. Tech was changing so fast back then—every game had new issues to deal with. This brought me in close contact with ILM, as we were often trying to solve the same or similar problems, using new tools that were emerging. Ultimately I left LucasArts to help form Puffin Designs, a software tools company eventually sold to Pinnacle, with many of the folks from ILM I had become friends with. Some of these people now run and work at Tippett Studio. Corey Rosen and I began talking about doing something together a couple years back. We did not set out to make a game like this. We were doing photogrammetry tests, and it kind of led us to this very organically.

The similarities between Holochess in Star Wars and HoloGrid are obvious, but what other games or genres inspired this project?

I can say with certainty that the similarities [between the two games] for the most part are purely aesthetic, as having discussed this with Phil [Tippett]—there was literally no thought put into “gameplay” when they made the scene 40 years ago for Star Wars. That was one of the first things I asked Phil when we began this and when he told me there was nothing, I knew we were basically on our own on the gameplay side. So, we knew we were going to use playing cards, and we looked at collectible card games (CCGs) like Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering and others. I think the best comparison is to say its a mix of chess and CCG’s, where you can make up your teams with different abilities. We have over 2,500 possible team combos currently. So think about something like chess, which has incredible strategy and depth, but then add in the fact that the team you are playing with and against, is always changing. We find the game to have incredible depth and continue to discover new strategies.

How is marketing HoloGrid different than a traditional video game?

Honestly, it’s been tricky, as there is no substitute for seeing the game in person. There is nothing like HoloGrid out there really, so people have no context for it and watching it on a video or still does not do it justice. When we show it live at trade shows and events like the Augmented World Expo, people always freak out—in a good way. When people see it live, they love it. This has been our challenge.

How is Tango and AR/VR affecting the future of board games?

It’s already happening, and there is a lot of interest from bigger companies and brands. We welcome large brands and companies to reach out to us—as with HoloGrid, we have built a “platform” for board game experiences in AR and VR. We are the only cross-platform AR/VR title out there, and we allow cross-platform play between the two, opening up many new ways to play against your friends. Let me be clear—I don’t see AR/VR board games replacing traditional board games. Those will always exist, and we love them. But with AR/VR, it opens up new ways to play against friends, and allows these types of games to “come to life” for the first time. So the future possibilities are very exciting—not just bringing over old board games, but re-imagining them for these new platforms. All you need is a phone or tablet to play the mobile version [of HoloGrid] and most people have these devices already. The mobile AR version is the biggest one in terms of players, and it’s a lot of fun.

Spotify Tunes Up For Agencies And Auto Brands With New Hires

Spotify has hired two executives to work across ad agencies and automotive brands. Angela Solk will serve as global head of agencies; Craig Weingarten will serve as global head of strategic partnerships and verticals.

Bozoma Saint John, Apple Music’s head of global consumer marketing, is leaving the company to take on a new role at Uber as their chief brand officer.

FoxNext, the recently created division that works across Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox Networks Group, has hired James Finn as their vice president and head of marketing.

NBC has a new senior vice president of digital content in Steven Hein, who’ll oversee the development and production of native content across digital platforms.

Rooster Teeth Games has hired games industry veteran David Eddings as its head of game publishing. Eddings formerly was the vice president of business development for Gearbox.

Geraldine Ingham has been hired as Volkswagen UK’s head of marketing.

Former Newell Brands executive Joseph Arcuri has been named as the PGA Tour’s new chief marketing officer.

David Marine has been promoted to senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Chris Petrikin, who spent 10 years working at 20th Century Fox, was named executive VP for global communications and corporate branding at Paramount Pictures.

Bloomberg Media has hired former Havas Global CEO Andrew Bennet for the newly created role of global chief commercial officer. 

Colin Smith will join the Miami-based Motorsport Network as the company’s new CEO. Smith previously was NASCAR’s vice president of digital media.

Ed Wise, the chief revenue officer of digital media outlet Mashable, is leaving the company.

Jeff Hennion has resigned as chief marketing and e-commerce officer for health and fitness retailer GNC.

Universal Music Publishing Group announced that JW Beekman has been promoted to chief financial officer.

“JW brings deep expertise in finance, administration, and licensing, combined with more than a decade of being a key member of our executive team. All of this makes him the ideal executive to lead our financial operation globally as we seek to accelerate our growth and further UMPG’s reputation as the industry’s best home for songwriters,” said UMPG chairman and CEO Jody Gerson.

“Music publishing is evolving and ripe with exciting opportunities for growth. UMPG continues to create industry-leading models for our business, and I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the team on this inspiring journey,” said Beekman.

Macy’s announced the appointment of Yasir Anwar to the role of executive vice president and chief technology officer. Anwar will oversee all technology functions and drive the alignment of Macy’s, Inc.’s technology efforts with the company’s strategy. The retailer also named Mike Robinson as executive vice president of product management and customer experience, where he will manage all aspects of product management, portfolio and user experiences for digital, store and omnichannel systems.

“Maximizing our technology capabilities and continuing the strong growth of our digital and mobile platforms is a high priority for Macy’s, Inc. and we are restructuring our technology teams to support these efforts,” said president and CEO Jeff Gennette. “Bringing the Macy’s technology teams together under Yasir’s leadership will result in faster time to market and decision making through a streamlined IT organization that will create nimble platforms for continuous business transformation. Mike’s focus on product and customer experience will ensure that our best customer continues to be able to shop the way she lives both on-line and in-store.”

IGN Entertainment announced the appointment of Mitch Galbraith to the role of executive vice president and general manager. Galbraith most recently served as COO at Funny or Die, where he was the company’s first employee.

“I’ve been an admirer of IGN for a long time,” said Galbraith. “There are few digital publishers with IGN’s pedigree: a global brand, close to 150 million monthly users, billions of annual video views, and category-leading content distributed across the web, mobile, social, and OTT. I look forward to working with the team to further advance the brand and business.”

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, June 9. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.)

Job Vacancies 

Director, Digital Programs, Martech & Personalization Starbucks Seattle
Vice President, Marketing Wesgroup Vancouver, BC
Worldpay Atlanta, GA
Marketing Director Essendant Philadelphia, PA
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Banana Republic San Francisco, CA

Make sure to check back for updates on our Jobs Page.

Expanding The ‘AdVenture Capitalist’ Brand With ‘Communist’ Sequel

There are a handful of terms that describe idle games, including clicker/clicking games and incremental games, but they all amount the same concept. Idle games employ simple actions, usually clicking or tapping, to obtain currency. That currency is then invested in buildings and resources to help currency accrue at a faster rate until players decide to reset and rebuild their fortunes from scratch, but with some extra bonuses to help them. This simple concept has made for some incredibly addictive games, chief among them being AdVenture Capitalist.

In AdVenture Capitalist, you start with a single lemonade stand, and you grow your empire to include oil and you even get to take your business to the moon. The game, which is available on mobile, PC and console platforms, has a charming sense of humor that keeps thousands of players coming back for more. Now its developer, Hyper Hippo, and publisher Kongregate are preparing to expand the AdVenture brand with a sequel, AdVenture Communist, which is expected to launch later this year.

AListDaily sat down with Emily Greer, CEO and co-founder of Kongregate, who proudly admitted to spending long hours playing AdVenture Capitalist and stated in a press release, “I knew that AdVenture Capitalist was something special when I looked around the office and realized the entire office was playing it!” She talks about the upcoming sequel, provides insights about the appeal idle games, and describes how there’s fun to be had whether you choose to play as a Capitalist or Communist.

Emily Greer, co-founder and CEO of Kongregate

How does AdVenture Communist compare to the previous game?

It has the same theme, humor and charm, but it takes the systems and makes them more intricate. There’s more of a crafting element too, and there are more strategic decision points for resource management.

What inspired the development of a sequel, this one based on Communism?

We and the developer, Hyper Hippo, were sort of riffing on it from the launch of AdVenture Capitalist. It was such a natural idea that we both came to it separately, along with ideas like AdVenture Philanthropist and all sorts of AdVenture things. When you start thinking about different economic systems and idle games, it’s fun and easy to think of different paths you could go down. Hyper Hippo’s long-term plan is to build out the AdVenture brand and think through a series of different types of games. But Communism was such a natural foil to Capitalism that it was an easy decision for a sequel.

What keeps idle games engaging, considering their simple gameplay?

It gets to the heart of one of the reasons why we all love games, which is that sense of progress and achievement. Games sort of trick that part of our brain that makes us want to work. So, it’s this steady drip of progress, using those elements, and making it fun and rewarding. Part of the thing with idle games is that whether you come back 15 minutes, an hour or a day later, you always return to more currency and you feel a rush of progress as soon as you enter. It all makes for a very positive experience, which I think is different from a lot of games that sort of punish you for leaving and coming back a long time later.

The other thing is, I think the whole mechanic of resetting prestige is really engaging and fun because whenever you play a game, you’re always thinking about what decision to make, and sometimes you regret some of those choices. But with the reset, you get to make those choices again, but at a faster pace. You get to experiment with different strategies to see what works better. Idle games let you remake decisions and they only reward you for doing them.

Idle games are popular on multiple platforms, including PC and mobile. Why do you think so many people are attracted to them?

They are these wonderful progress engines that are easy and fun to play at any amount of time that you have to give—whether it be two minutes or two hours. But the other part is that it’s a truly new genre, so there has been a tremendous amount of experimentation and innovation there, and that’s been very engaging for players. They get to play something new and see a genre quickly evolve before their eyes. That has helped drive their popularity across different platforms. Kongregate.com is an open platform, and it’s been a great place for idle game makers to experiment, test for an audience, and iterate. We’ve seen an explosion in the number of people making idle games over the last few years. You sometimes see this sort of thing happen with genres—several years ago, it was tower defense.

Do you expect players to migrate from AdVenture Capitalist to Communist, or do you think the sequel will attract a new audience?

I think both. AdVenture Capitalist has a very large audience, so we certainly expect that a lot of them will migrate and even more may play both at the same time. But Communist is a different enough game that we expect that it could pick up an additional audience and introduce them to the AdVenture brand so that they’ll play Capitalist. It can go both ways, and any game that you play first should be engaging and fun enough to make you want to play the other one.

Will there be cross promotion between the two games? Will Capitalists get to compete against Communists?

Yes, that’s definitely part of the grand master plan between the two games. We hope to look at it as AdVenture players—having the two games combined and how they work together for individual players and as a business.

How will you be getting the word out to fans when the sequel launches?

All methods possible. A very high percentage of players are registered with Kongregate, so email and other types of contact will be big parts of it. We’ll also have elements in AdVenture Capitalist, along with all the Kongregate properties and Kongregate.com, to promote Communist. GameStop will also be supporting the game, and Hyper Hippo will be promoting from their end. That’s all in addition to mobile ads.

How would you describe the Kongregate brand of mobile games? What do you want people to imagine when a new game comes out?

I want them to think that it will be fun and broadly accessible. What we try to focus on are games that have a lot of depth and charm, but are approachable to all audiences. That includes people who play 40 hours a week on PC and consoles or more casual players. Both can look at a Kongregate game and say, “This is for me. This is fun and worth playing.”

What is the key to standing out in the crowded mobile market?

It’s a combination of things, starting with quality. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean elaborate 3D graphics. It means style, charm and attention to detail that makes for a smooth experience. Innovation also matters. Something that feels unique and interesting, which goes along with that polish, is important. Our perspective has been to take a broad look at the market and try to focus on games that are for everyone. Mobile is a mass market and we think that games with broad appeal are best suited for the medium. But niche games can also do well, and we continue to publish those. We continue to try to push into new genres and ideas. They help us stand out.

What are your thoughts on a subscription-based model for Kongregate’s library of games?

I think those are tricky for the same reason they’ve been tricky on the PC in general. They don’t necessarily align well with how people consume games. The idea of subscriptions inspired by services like Spotify and Netflix, where people are consuming a lot of different content that they would normally buy one at a time, works well for that kind of audience. But with games, what you see is that a lot of people want to play one game for a very long time. That doesn’t necessarily match with subscriptions because it can cap investment.

If you look at where subscriptions have been most successful with games, they tend to be MMOs. But even there you run into problems because there’s a pent-up demand for economies and you end up with a big grey market of currency and other things being sold, which is inefficient for game developers and problematic for everybody. On the big hobby games, I don’t see us going back from free-to-play, which I think is better suited to the nature of the game. With free-to-play being so dominant on mobile, it’s hard for paid games to compete. If people aren’t paying for games on a regular basis, then an all-you-can-eat subscription won’t work well either.

Free-to-play will continue to dominate on mobile, but ad-supported games have become much more viable over the past two years. So, you’re getting a little more variety on the types of games that can be successful by including ad revenue. That certainly has been the case for AdVenture Capitalist.

In a battle between Capitalism or Communism, which would you choose?

I was a Russian and Eastern European studies major in college, so I spent my college years examining that. As an entrepreneur, I would say Capitalism. But in gameplay, both are equal.

Twitch And T-Mobile Are Bringing An Esports Arena To E3

Twitch is bringing its own esports arena to E3 2017 and will livestream tournaments during all three days. Sponsored by T-Mobile, the free event will be open to the public and located outdoors at L.A. Live. Tournaments will feature professional players competing in Street Fighter V, Tekken 7 and Injustice 2, with a different game and player match-up each day.

“​E3 is traditionally the time of year when the world at large tunes in to see what’s happening in the world of games,” Twitch’s vice president and commercial director for esports, Kristen Salvatore told AListDaily. “While we know that esports has had a significant place in that world for years, a true esports experience hasn’t been significantly represented at E3 in the past. We’re changing that in one enormous go with a major multi-day event that’s front and center at L.A. Live.”

This year marks the first time in which E3 will be open to the general public—an event that was previously exclusive to members of the press and the video game industry but is focusing more on consumers, particularly influencers. Twitch Esports Arena aims to entertain thousands of consumers now headed to the biggest gaming event of the year.

“Though the number of esports events held each year around the world continues to grow, we know many fans have only seen an event while watching Twitch,” Salvatore said. “​Because 15,000​ ​consumer passes have been sold to E3​, it​ means ​a lot of fans will have the chance to be part of a live esports event.”

T-Mobile customers who visit the Twitch Esports Arena can get access to an exclusive, VIP seating area. All audience members regardless of seating can vote for who they think should be MVP for each tournament. Voting will take place across Twitter and in Twitch chat during the live broadcast. Audience members will vote by using the hashtag #TMobileMVP and the gamer tag of who they’d like to nominate.

“​Street Fighter V, Tekken 7 and Injustice 2 all deliver in a big way on the action that makes an esport​s​ event so incredibly exciting—and so fun to attend,” Salvatore explained. “Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Warner Bros. are all valued Twitch partners, and we’re proud to support these linchpin FGC titles, whose leagues are exclusively broadcast on Twitch.”

Esports will be a major focus at E3 this year, with an official Esports Zone on the show floor sponsored by ESL. Nintendo is hosting its first Switch tournaments with pre-invited teams set to compete in Splatoon 2 and ARMS. Players hailing from Europe, USA, Japan, and Australia/New Zealand will compete live from Nintendo’s booth across June 13 and 14.

KFC Keeps Cooking Up Brand Relevance With Ridiculous Marketing

Kentucky Fried Chicken, colloquially called KFC, has undergone a “re-colonelization” over the last three years to reinvent its brand and regain a seat back at the quick service restaurant table. To turn its business around, the chicken chain breaded their brand back into the iconic restaurateur that started it all—Colonel Harland Sanders.

KFC kicked off of a decades-long decline after Sanders died in 1980, but now the Yum! Brands-owned company is resuscitating its image with a marketing blitz both unique and ridiculous. At the center of it all is their founder, Colonel Sanders, who’s been reincarnated through a revolving list of actors doing whacky, brand-reviving activations that embrace the brand’s heritage.

“For some time, the KFC brand had lost its way,” George Felix, KFC’S director of advertising, told AListDaily. “We embarked on a brand refresh to address the fact that KFC had lost relevance. . . . Our entire brand positioning is grounded in our founder and all of the things he did to make this brand great. The Colonel’s values come through every brand touch point from our brand voice that is a reflection of the Colonel—the ultimate chicken salesman—to the customer experience in our restaurants, to our focus on making the world’s best fried chicken the ‘hard way’—by hand in every kitchen, every day.”

Felix says that their brand revival has taken form by way of social media marketing, TV advertising, new restaurant remodels that bring the brand story and heritage to life in an updated way—and all the way to cheeky promotions like “Tender Wings of Desire”—a 92-page romance novel starring Colonel Sanders released ahead of Mother’s Day last month, the chain’s best-selling day of the year.

“It’s harder than ever to get people’s attention, which is why we believe that a steady stream of original branded content is essential to our marketing mix,” Felix says. “We know that traditional advertising vehicles like TV will still make up a large percentage of our media mix, but we also need to build KFC back into a brand that people love. We’ve learned that we need to extend our brand positioning beyond traditional advertising to really break through and make a dent in pop culture.”

In addition to the novella e-book that was available for download on Amazon, KFC has cooked up a loaded menu of whimsical marketing of late that ranges from fried chicken scented sunscreen, a Nashville Hot vinyl album recorded by Fred Armisen, a “Sando Slam” integration with WWE, an interactive video game on Instagram, playing a super-ornery DC Universe comics character, being featured in a high school year book and launching a chicken sandwich into space.

Felix says the activations are creating credibility with younger consumers and changing the way people think and feel about KFC, who just completed their eleventh-consecutive quarter of same store sales growth. They’ve also seen 45 percent increase in brand consideration among millennials over the last two years.

“We need to humanize KFC for millennials. Unlike people my age who have fond memories of eating KFC as a kid, many millennials don’t have any experiences with KFC that they can draw on,” Felix says. “We need to show them what KFC is all about and meet them on their terms, which is where digital becomes so important. Our tongue-in-cheek humor and over-the-top selling is something that has been working well for us since many millennials distrust advertising to begin with. Instead of running away from that, we run right toward it. We believe that our ability to poke fun at the conventions of typical advertising has given us credibility with millennials. We know the new brand positioning and advertising has put KFC back on the map.”

At the epicenter of every marketing touchpoint is the Colonel, and Felix indicates that the revolving cast of celebrity actors featuring the likes of Rob Lowe, Rob Riggle and Billy Zane, among others, has paid dividends for the brand.

“We knew that bringing the Colonel back into our advertising was going to be polarizing as many people remember Colonel Sanders from when he was alive and the face of the brand,” Felix says. “We also knew that one person could never replace the Colonel. We realized that having different actors portray the Colonel could be a good way to have the different aspects of the Colonel’s personality come through in each performance. We’ve really enjoyed seeing how each actor has put his own spin on the role and it has created excitement and intrigue for KFC to see who will wear the white suit next.”

Felix says the main learning from their change in brand positioning is that they needed to have a point of view. They use a variety of social listening tools to keep a pulse on the conversation related to their brand, and consumer research to help guide their strategy and evaluate how the advertising is performing.

“There are certainly people who don’t like our new advertising, but I also know that they are seeing it and noticing it,” Felix says. “Overall, we’re able to take some different types of risks on these platforms with our content, but it all still ladders up to the overall brand positioning and is another way to bring the Colonel’s voice to life for our fans.”

Rob Lowe as the newest celebrity Colonel.

Social media is an important part of their overall marketing strategy, too, and they’re always looking for new ways to engage with fans on the platforms they’re most passionate about. Ahead of the Super Bowl this year, they debuted the interactive video game “Kentucky Fried Football Challenge” on Instagram for their very own football team called the Kentucky Buckets.

“This was a great way to extend our presence in football to Instagram,” Felix says. “It was a relatively untapped use of Instagram’s native features to create a game experience like that, and based on the amount of engagement, we think the Instagram community had a lot of fun with it. Gaming in general is so popular and with the time spent on social media continuing to increase, gamification on these platforms is only going to continue to grow. As we try to find ways to break through the clutter, we will continue to look at ways that gamification can help us bring new people in to KFC.”

For now, Felix and company will continue to take KFC down a path of revival with balanced content that is meant to entertain, and one that builds on the larger TV campaigns. The end goal is simple: drive foot traffic in to their restaurants.

“No brand can be everything to everybody, so once we found our north star, everything fell into place,” says Felix. “This brand stands for real, homemade, southern cuisine brought to you by a feisty, pragmatic chicken salesman.”

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan

Intel Lays Out The Challenges Of Marketing VR

While costs for virtual reality hardware are slowly coming down, there remains the issue of wires that tether users to a PC or console. Intel and HTC used Computex to debut a brand new high fidelity, low latency Intel WiGig technology to better integrate the head-mounted display with high-computing capabilities for immersive VR experiences without any wires.

Frank Soqui, Intel’s general manager of virtual reality and gaming, told AListDaily that this is one of multiple obstacles that the VR industry faces. But these are similar challenges to what was done with touch on displays and in the early days with solid-state drives over hard drives.

“Nothing really conveys the value and the use of VR like trying it out,” Soqui said. “The challenge is how to get to scale to be able to touch end users and to give them a voice to influence others. Venues like retail iCafes make ideal locations. Online capabilities will help users get a better understanding of what it could mean to be in VR. Social media, where end users that have tried the experience, will be the trusted advisers to those who have yet to try it.”

While TPCast is readying a tetherless Vive upgrade kit option, Soqui said Intel WiGig is unique in that the silicon used in the technology is based on 802.11ad standard. It works solely in the interference-free 60GHz band, and enables high throughput and low latency connection between the HMD and PC.

“As a result, the video quality enabled is pristine and the incremental latency is seamless in any environment, supporting multiple users sharing the same space natively,” Soqui said. “It supports Quality of Service (QoS) standard, meaning tracking information is being delivered faster to the image, and the image is delivered faster than HMD camera feeds, assuring a smooth experience in changing wireless conditions.”

While there’s no date for the rollout of the Intel WiGig device, Soqui said Intel and HTC are working together to perfect the technology. The companies will market this new technology to consumers, many of whom are already familiar with the “Intel Inside” messaging.

“This new VR accessory recognizes the need to better integrate HMD capabilities with high-computing capabilities, creating an untethered user experience for HTC Vive customers,” Soqui explained. “It will benefit player versus player and team competition. It means being able to turn around 360, cross paths with other players without getting tangled or having to have someone manage your cables during game play.”

Intel has invested heavily in esports through the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM). The recent IEM Finals in Katowice, Poland featured multiple VR games that could cross over to esports. Tetherless technology will be key for pro gamers to excel inside VR arenas in the near future.

Beyond gaming, removing the wires and increasing the visual fidelity will also impact non-gaming endeavors.

“We see applicability in commercial and enterprise, especially where you need to be in collaborative situations where you want to move between a workspace side by side with others, and then move into a virtual space to interact with each other on virtual objects,” Soqui said. “Having wires removed allows for a better and seamless transition.”

Soqui believes Intel WiGig will give HTC a new marketing message to help further VR’s reach.

“Fundamentally, VR is about taking you to and putting you in an interactive experience. Using WiGig enabled HMD and then showing usages in VR where wires get in the way is an example of an interactive experience in VR,” Soqui said. “You can use VR to show your movement with and without wires and what the impact/consequence of that experience will be.”

Goldman Sachs forecasts that the total VR market is expected to reach $80 billion by 2020 and $569 billion by 2025, and that the PC will be the main revenue driver for VR. “We believe that highly sensory and immersive experiences are required to drive consumer adoption, led by best-in-class VR technology,” Soqui said.

Ultimately, for VR to become mainstream, Soqui believes users must have six degrees in freedom of movement which is not limited to the length of a cord. “We see this wireless barrier allowing for a more natural experience which allows users to move and behave as they would in the real world,” Soqui said. “That means 360 degrees of movement.”

Soqui said Intel used Computex to get the Intel WiGig marketing message rolling because it’s a venue where industry leaders can be in the same place at the same time.

“Being able to see partners and potential partners without having to make independent travel can save a lot of expense,” Soqui said. “It is also a great place to demonstrate to the industry where we are heading and how we want to enlist the industry. It is a place where press, analysts, business and partners can influence and be influenced.”

Attendees Become Weightless At ‘The Mummy Zero Gravity Stunt VR Experience’

Add virtual reality as one more reason to visit 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City this week, because The Mummy Zero Gravity Stunt VR Experience is being shown at The Shop at NBC Studios. Developed by NBCUniversal in partnership with technology company Positron, the VR experience is designed to promote The Mummy, which premieres on June 9 and stars Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys) and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service; Star Trek: Beyond).

The pop-up experience, which runs from May 27 to June 11, is free and open to the public. In addition to getting up-close looks at some of the movie props, including a 10-foot sarcophagus (one of six) used in the movie and Princess Ahmanet’s (Sofia Boutella) dagger made to look like it’s made from a human spine, attendees are treated to a VR experience unlike any other.

Specifically, they are treated to a 360-degree behind-the-scenes look at how the iconic scene, where Tom Cruise and actress Annabelle Wallis are tumbling weightlessly inside a falling airplane, was shot. The scene was actually filmed inside a zero gravity airplane, so the actors and crew had to learn to perform while floating weightless in mid-air.

That feeling of weightlessness is conveyed to attendees using the Positron Voyager VR platform seats, which are essentially covered gyroscopic chairs. As the ten minute VR film progresses and gravity shifts for the actors, the chairs pivot to create a sense of weightlessness while built-in haptics simulate the steady rumble of an aircraft. The experience made its debut at SXSW earlier this year, where the theater was decorated to look like the inside of a cargo plane, complete with a replica sarcophagus among the Voyager seats.

AListDaily spoke with Thomas Cornillow, who manages over The Mummy Zero Gravity Stunt VR Experience, at the pop-up in Rockefeller Plaza. He explained that the experience was meant to give consumers and avid moviegoers a glimpse into the future of movie viewing, and that the best way to do that was to open the experience to the public.

“The New York experience is the first one to be free and open to the public,” said Cornillow. “The only other places this experience has been shown were at SXSW in Austin, Texas and CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Nevada.” Both showings were badge holder events that attendees had to pre-register and pay for. The CinemaCon showing, in particular, was attended mostly by studio execs, VR owners and technology enthusiasts. Cornillow emphasized how this activation was a way for the public to not only get a taste of VR, but experience it in a new and exciting way.

“With the success at SXSW and CinemaCon,” Cornillow continued, “we thought it would be a very selfish move to not open the experience up to the public. The reception was so great that it was almost a no-brainer to open this up and let everyone experience it.”

NBCUniversal may have planned for a VR promotion during filming, but it couldn’t have thought of using the Positron Voyager chairs to enhance it. Mehul JD, a senior systems engineer at Positron, was on hand to explain how the Voyager VR platform came to be included in the experience. “NBCUniversal was looking for a platform to showcase its behind-the-scenes experience, and we happened to have shown them our platform a few months back,” said JD. “It turned out to really complement their content, since the whole scene was shot on a zero gravity plane.”

Tom Cruise narrates the VR experience, providing insight with each sequence, and states at the beginning that it was his idea to have the scene shot inside a falling plane for more realistic effects and a greater edge-of-their-seat experience for moviegoers. With that in mind, we asked Cornillow if he thought the actor was involved with the development of the VR experience. “If you’re familiar with Cruise’s work, then you know that he likes to have his hands in everything,” he replied. “He does his own stunts, he’s very insistent on his co-stars doing their own stunts, so there’s a very strong possibility that he had a hand in creating the VR experience—at least in approving parts of it.”

Although there is a VR video game called The Mummy Prodigium Strike currently in development by Starbreeze (which also made John Wick Chronicles) based on The Mummy, the game will have no connection to this experience. Going behind-the-scenes with the film is heavily tied in with the Voyager, and when Cornillow was asked if the film might be released onto the market as a straightforward VR experience, he replied, “Absolutely not. The chair makes the experience. You wouldn’t get the sense of zero gravity, movement or the haptic feedback. It all comes together as one with the chair and VR gear.”

While this experience could go a long way to turning up excitement for The Mummy when it launches this summer, Cornillow explained how it was just the start for a bigger Voyager-enhanced movie-going experience. “We like the general excitement of seeing people as they step off the experience, especially when they’ve never experienced it (VR) before,” said Cornillow. “But what I’m really excited for is the next step—the Positron Voyager VR Theater. It would be great to watch a Star Wars, Jurassic Park, or Fast & The Furious movie in VR. The technology would encourage multiple viewings for movies, and the possibilities are endless.”

Voyager-enhanced VR movie theaters may be close at hand. Positron is partnering to open VR theaters, and its first installation will be at the AMC CityWalk IMAX theater in Los Angeles. The theater will only feature a few chairs, but there may be more added in the future. The Positron Voyager can be upgraded with additional sensory experiences, such as fans (for the sensation of wind) and even scents, making for a truly immersive entertainment experience.

How quickly these VR theaters will grow throughout the year is still a matter of speculation. “The problem isn’t the technology; it’s the content availability,” JD explained. “There are big studios making content right now, and as soon as we have big VR films from studios like NBCUniversal, we will see theaters come up. We (Positron) want to enable the first VR cinema experience.”





Marketing Measurement, Suspicious Teens And TV Still Reigns Supreme

Mary Meeker’s annual internet report, released Wednesday, is arguably one of the most significant studies of the year for marketers—but it doesn’t end there. This week in marketing statistics, teens aren’t sure whether to trust ads, world leaders prefer Twitter and Americans still love their TV.

Measuring Success, Real Or Not

Measuring the effectiveness of a campaign is half the battle, and 80 percent of marketers realize that this area must be improved, according to a study by Brand Innovators and Origami Logic. Of the 252 digital marketers surveyed, only five percent consider themselves innovators in marketing measurement, and another five percent call themselves leaders.

The largest percentage—49 percent—say they are on par and 24 percent are doing the bare minimum of what we should be doing. Three percent of respondents are doing nothing to measure their marketing efforts, but 50 percent of those surveyed are committed to making improvements to their measurement infrastructure in the coming year.

Fraudulent impressions wreak havoc on marketing measurement, but a majority of such activity originates from a small percentage of offenders. Fraudlogix, which monitors ad traffic, found that 68 percent of fake impressions came from three percent of publishers. The study analyzed 1.3 billion impressions from more than 59,000 sources over a 30-day period. Sites with more than 90 percent fraudulent impressions accounted for just 0.9 percent of publishers but contributed 10.9 percent of the market’s impressions.

TV Is Still Tops

Global consumer spending on media content and technology grew 8.1 percent to $1.7 trillion in 2016 and is on pace to expand another 7.5 percent this year, according to PQ Media. Digital media content and tech captured nearly 70 percent of overall global consumer spending on both traditional and digital media content and technology least year. Growth drivers include demand for digital media content and lower price hikes for new mobile devices, according to the company’s report.

A new insights analysis from Nielsen’s Q4 2016 Comparable Metrics Report found that over 92 percent of all viewing among US adults aged 18 and older happens on the TV screen. Televisions continue to be the top technology device in the US, according to research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Ninety-six percent of homes in the US have a TV set, followed by smartphones at 80 percent. Smartphones surpassed DVD/Blu-ray players in 2016—devices which had ranked second for several years but dropped to 70 percent of households.

Media viewing with mobile devices will continue to rise, according to Zenith’s Media Consumption Forecasts. Mobile internet consumption increased at an average rate of 44 percent a year between 2010 and 2016, Zenith reported, predicting that 71 percent of all internet consumption will be mobile in 2017. Mobile internet will account for 26 percent of global media consumption in 2019, up from 19 percent last year.

Social Politics

Twitter lets users speak their mind, and that goes for world leaders, too. The social network is used by 276 heads of state and government and foreign ministers in 178 countries, representing 92 percent of all United Nations member states. Pope Francis is the most followed world leader on Twitter, with a combined total of over 33 million followers on his nine language accounts, followed by President Donald Trump with 30 million followers and Indian Prime Minister Narendra (also 30 million), according to Burson-Marsteller’s Twiplomacy study, an annual global survey of how world leaders, governments and international organizations use social media.

But leave the politics to politicians, consumers say. A consumer study fielded by SSRS found that 58 percent dislike when brands get political and are more likely to avoid brands that take a position contrary to their beliefs—for example, brands perceived to be racist, anti-LGBTQ or sexist.

Sixty-seven percent of agency professionals surveyed also believe that changing American values are causing brands to become more interested in corporate responsibility and values-based marketing. Thirty-three percent of agency respondents believe brands are more afraid to take a political stance than a social one (14 percent). Likewise, brands are more compelled to take a social stance (26 percent) than a political one (7 percent).

Block Or Believe?

An AdBlock Plus survey of over 1,000 US internet users revealed that 40 percent had used an ad blocker in the previous month. A majority of them said ad blocking took place on laptops and desktop computers, while 22 percent were doing so on mobile devices. The survey shows that avoiding advertising altogether is a priority for those surveyed—47 percent of the smartphone owners in the survey agreed with the statement, “I would prefer to block all ads completely on my mobile device.”

Teenagers are split on whether or not to trust the advertisements they see, but admit to be influenced by them, according to new data from YouGov. While 47 percent of US internet users ages 13-to-17 found ads to be at least somewhat trustworthy, 46 percent felt the opposite way and six percent had not formed an opinion on the matter. Despite these concerns, 58 percent of American teens agree that advertising helps guide their desires and purchase decisions.