Twitch Brings E3 Live To The World

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is going to be coming to a screen near you this year, as Twitch announces its broadcast schedule as the official live-streaming partner of the show. In addition to broadcasting all of the E3 2015 press conferences and being the exclusive broadcasting platform for the PC Gaming Show, more than 30 publishers and developers will be showing games on the Twitch stage at South Hall, Booth #2803. Twitch will also have broadcasting partners from several countries providing localized content from the Twitch booth, the first time they’ve done this.

Expanding the range of content available, Twitch broadcasters will be allowed to co-stream all of the Twitch E3 content on to their own channels. “By providing their own commentary on the news, this gives broadcasters the opportunity to create a more personalized, social experience for their communities,” noted Twitch.

“The Twitch community is the single most active, socially engaged group of gamers in the world,” said Jon Carnage, Live Programming Director, Twitch. “They have a voracious appetite, especially for new indie and AAA games. With every press conference on Twitch and every major publisher being featured on the Twitch stage, we’ve got the fans covered. By having the industry’s most comprehensive collection of live streamed content, this is shaping up to be our biggest E3 to date.”

Twitch’s booth includes high-performance professional audio provided by Turtle Beach, Twitch’s official audio partner. Xbox is also partnering with Twitch by presenting the Xbox ESports Celebrity Challenge & Twitch Party. At this event—which is also sponsored by AlphaDraft and Turtle Beach—500 lucky Xbox fans get a chance to mingle with top broadcasters, celebrities and industry elite on June 16.

Among this year’s guests from the publisher and developer community will be 2K, Activision, Bandai Namco Entertainment America, Blizzard, Deep Silver, Devolver, Disney Interactive, EA, Konami, Microsoft Studios, Nintendo, PlayStation, Reverb, Square Enix, Tiny Build Games, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and many more, including an array of content from the Indie Megabooth. All of the press events and booth broadcasts will be viewable from the Twitch E3 Portal.

Press Events Schedule (all PDT):

June 14
3:00 p.m. Nintendo World Championships
7:00 p.m. Bethesda
June 15:
9:30 a.m. Xbox
1:00 p.m. EA
3:00 p.m. Ubisoft
6:00 p.m. PlayStation
June 16:
9:00 a.m. Nintendo
10:00 a.m. Square Enix
5:00 p.m. PC Gaming Show (exclusively on Twitch)
Booth Schedule:
TBA on June 9th at


Take A Breath With Virtual Reality’s ‘Deep’

With both the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus set to hit the market next year, virtual reality is ready to make a triumphant entry into consumers’ hands, giving current devices released by Google and Samsung a run for their money. And with them, we’ll see a number of new developments that take advantage of virtual space, sucking users into amazing new worlds that they can explore however they see fit.

PSFK has reported on a new game that will innovate the virtual reality field in a breathtaking new way – literally. Titled Deep, the game immerses a player into a magnificent-looking world, where they can reduce anxiety and stress simply by using their breathing to control their actions.

The game, made by Owen Harris, has been showing the concept art behind his game at various events last summer, slowly putting together an experience that users will find not only tranquil, but also helpful for calming their nerves.

Throughout the game, players will see various sights from the game, including various underwater landscapes, while learning ancient breathing techniques that will help them calm down, in a meditative sense. With breathing, the environment changes with the user, as it lights up while they breathe in, and then darkens when they breathe out. Through a custom controller, diaphragm expansion is also kept track of, to make sure the player is relaxed enough.

The video below provides a demonstration of how this works:


YouTube Star-Studded ‘Expelled’ Proves A Success

AwesomenessTV presented a stellar case study for teen comedy Expelled, which they have called “the No. 1 social movie of 2014″ at the Stream Market Conference {link no longer active}. Presenting were AwesomenessTV’s president Brett Bouttier; head of development and production Shauna Phelan, CMO T.J. Marchetti, Mary McLaren, EVP & COO at Twentieth Century Fox and Alex Goyette, who wrote, directed and produced Expelled.

Awesomeness TV revealed that the movie topped the iTunes Charts for four straight weeks, generated 15 billion social impressions and trended on Twitter 23 times.

So what made the film resonate so well with teen audiences Part of the success is attributed to the power of bringing social media stars to the big screen, both in front and behind the camera.

A YouTube star himself, Alex Goyette was mostly known for his prank videos on YouTube. For Expelled, he had the opportunity to cast many of his peers into their first acting experience on the big screen.

“YouTube was my film school,” said Alex Goyette.

The marketing campaign from the movie also took its inspiration from what works on YouTube.

“I came from Disney where I previously worked with Frozen. This was a very different animal. These social media stars have different followings on different platforms. Sure, we did press days and all of the usual promotion, but heart of it was YouTube-y short online videos directed toward their followers,” said T.J. Marchetti, CMO of AwesomenessTV.

“This was a totally new thing for us. How do we use these YouTube stars this way in a movie We all talked about what a great test this would be, ” said Mary McLaren, EVP & COO at Twentieth Century Fox. “Will their audiences actually pay for it There were no comps we could pull for this. Our finance folks projected really low numbers and we were very positively surprised how well it did.”

“There is a lot we can learn from this. I think we’ll start to see a shift of things as we go forward and an increased interest in these kind of films.”

Showtime Joins The Shift To Stand-Alone Service

When HBO Now launched exclusively for Apple devices in April, it introduced an extraordinary business plan for the premium channel, enabling consumers to watch favorite shows like Game of Thrones and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver without the need for a cable connection. Now, Showtime, its main competitor, wants to get in on the act.

Per Adweek, Les Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., confirmed that the premium channel would be launching its own premium service, simply called Showtime, next month. It’ll be available for Apple devices, like HBO Now, but there’s a major difference – it’ll be four dollars cheaper than HBO Now, going for $10.99 a month.

This service will allow consumers to watch films and original TV shows, including Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and the eerie Penny Dreadful.

“Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers,” said Moonves. “Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology. This works best when you have outstanding premium content – like we do at Showtime – and when you have a terrific partner like Apple – which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base.”

Matthew Blank, chairman and CEO for Showtime Networks, added, “At Showtime, we’re excited to offer consumers the opportunity to subscribe in new ways, by simply having an Internet connection. Our intent is to make Showtime available to viewers via every manner possible, giving them an enormous amount of choice in accessing our programming.”

Not only is this is a big deal for Showtime – especially with a lower price that could be a bigger draw for consumers looking to save a few dollars – but it’s also a big deal for Apple, landing another exclusivity window with a premium service. Showtime will eventually be introduced on other services, but, for now, it remains exclusive with the company.

Meanwhile, Showtime hopes to reach out to a different audience type with the app – millennials. “We do know that there’s maybe 12 million homes that have high-speed Internet, who are not subscribers to any video packages,” said Showtime Networks president David Nevins, speaking with AdWeek. “And there’s another, say, 75 million homes that have video packages but don’t subscribe to Showtime. So we feel like there’s definitely opportunities in new distribution.”

With shows like the titles mentioned above, it should certainly get there. Check out a trailer for the service below.


Will Instagram Stay True To Its Mission With Ads?

In an attempt to open up a new revenue cycle for its site — and take advantage of its huge 300 million user base — Instagram has launched a new campaign that enables the ability to buy items through the site, using a “Shop Now” set-up.

Adweek is reporting that the popular photo-sharing app will launch the ads within its service, featuring the “Shop Now” buttons as well as other messages that provide links to outside sites, so users can shop around for particular items while sifting through their photo feeds. In addition, the site also introduced a new API software platform that allows marketing partners to set up their own automated advertising process.

With the API, these companies can manage, track and measure marketing campaigns with ease, using technology originally supplied by parent company Facebook.

“We have benefitted greatly from being a part of Facebook,” said James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development. “It would have taken us years to build this tech stack for ourselves. So, we’re fortunate to be able to take select pieces of Facebook’s tech stack.”

This campaign utilizes customizable commercial content that blends into photo feeds without disrupting them, similar in pattern to Facebook’s ads appearing on a user’s page, but without getting too much in the way of their daily social feeds with friends. It already has several big names on board, including Disney, Electronic Arts, Ben and Jerry’s and Taco Bells, with a combination of magazine-style photos, 15-second videos and animated GIF’s.

This does bring an interesting change to the site, however, linking people to other sites outside of it for the first time. “It’s an ideal platform to shop on as it’s so visual and fashion oriented,” said Old Navy media director Michele Schuh, speaking with Adweek. “We’re thrilled that Instagram is now offering users the ability to click directly through to a product, creating instant gratification without any cumbersome steps.”

That said, some were wondering as to why Instagram would take so longer to embrace such a program, with CEO Kevin Systrom and his company figuring out the right way to approach such tactics. “It wasn’t a question of whether or not they’d do it; we’re surprised that they held out so long,” said Siobham O’Neill, vice president of social strategy for Ayzenberg. “It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Instagram can stay true to its mission, which is that beautiful visual experience they’re known for. The click-to-buy within the platform is something a lot of users — particularly in fashion — have wanted for a long time, so this is a win for them.

“But if Instagram stops being thoughtful and starts cluttering up the feed with intrusive ads that don’t add to the experience, then they’re going to irritate their core audience and — most importantly — its most vibrant creators. In my view, Facebook hasn’t historically done a great job of managing its ads’ impact on the user experience, despite their best efforts to collect data via self-reported features, so it’ll be interesting to see how Instagram approaches this. Of note, I also think that this means that the Instagram influencer is more vital and important than ever — brands and advertisers will have to develop creative partnerships with credible, authentic voices, which are not nice-to-haves, but must-haves, in the medium.”

Only time will tell if the program will be a success, but considering that Facebook has two million advertisers that could easily work their way into the program, it’s certainly worth the opportunity. “Its not enough to just inspire; you want people to be able to take action,” added Jason Stein, CEO of Laundry Service, which operates with a number of brands, such as Beats by Dre and Jordan, through Instagram campaigns. “I can’t tell you how many people are saying on big brands’ posts, ‘How do I buy this ‘ There is a demand that people want to take action.”

‘Skylander’s Hits The Road With ‘Superchargers’

The interactive toy/video game market has become quite a boon over the past few years, and leading the charge is Activision which first introduced the medium back in 2011 with the original Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. Since that time, the franchise has been a tremendous seller for the company, with over 250 million toys sold and $3 billion in revenue.

So what’s next With competitors like Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars and Lego Dimensions set for arrival this fall, Activision needed to come up with a new game that would keep the Skylanders series fresh, just as it’s done in the past with Trap Team (featuring talking Portals). Indeed, it’s done just that, introducing a new entry in the series that focuses on vehicles.

The Skylanders will literally take the wheel this fall with Superchargers, a game where users will be able to use their Skylanders figurines – from older games and with new purchases – to fight off the evil forces of the villainous Kaos, both on foot and, for the first time in the game, in a horsepower-driven vehicle.

These vehicles will be able to travel over sky, land and sea, enabling a much wider range of exploration for hidden goodies, as well as bigger levels than ever before. That should please fans of the series, providing some twists to a formula that’s run fairly strong for four years.

The game will come with an all-new Portal (though older portals will still work with the digital version of the game) in a Superchargers Starter Pack, which will also include two Skylanders figurines, one souped-up car, and the game. Over 20 different vehicles and figures will also be available for separate purchase, expanding upon the field of play.

“We created the toys-to-life category and have continued to lead it by bringing new innovations and new magic to the genre with each and every game. First we brought action figures to life, and now we’re bringing vehicles to life with Skylanders SuperChargers,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. “We love making these games because in order to do it well, you have to constantly tap into your inner kid. What kid hasn’t imagined epic vehicles with amazing powers and dreamed about the adventures they could have with them Skylanders SuperChargers makes those dreams real.”

Even with the stiff competition from Disney and WB Games, retailers are confident that Superchargers will be a big seller. “Since first partnering with Activision to bring the original Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure to our stores, we have believed whole-heartedly in the magic and innovation of this brand, as well as the company’s ability to reimagine and redefine play experiences with the toys-to-life concept,” said Richard Barry, Global Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys ‘R Us, Inc. “With each new introduction, Activision never disappoints its highly loyal fans of the franchise, and we are thrilled to continue to offer the broadest assortment of all Skylanders merchandise, including the newly introduced Skylanders SuperChargers.”

We’ll find out how the game fares when it arrives on September 30th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii and Nintendo 3DS. The debut trailer is below.


‘Clash of Clans’ Rules Digital Advertising

SupercellSupercell is no stranger to “going for it” with its lucrative ad campaign. Along with animated ads featuring games like Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, the company took a $9 million gamble earlier this year with a Super Bowl ad featuring Taken actor Liam Neeson, swearing revenge on a random player who destroyed his village.

The move paid off, becoming one of the most popular ads during the big game and opening up interest in a whole new audience for the game – and business hasn’t slowed down since then, either.

Per Adweek, a recent report from highlighted the ten most-engaging TV ads for the week, as ranked by digital share of voice. And Clash of Clans‘ latest ad, “Ride of the Hog Riders: Call In the Cavalry” is at the top of the list, becoming a popular favorite during both the NHL and NBA playoffs.

According to the report, the NBA playoffs showed an SOV figure of over 68 percent, while the NHL showed almost 20. That seems like a stark difference between the two, but the bottom line is that the ad is quite popular on both fronts.

That said, not all the numbers are positive. Overall digital share of voice fell from over four percent the previous week to 1.78 percent this week, and online views dropped from over seven million to just over two million, indicating slight signs of fatigue. Social actions also dropped, going down from 22,000 to 12,000. Other ads for Supercell games, including Clans and Boom Beach, fell off the top ten entirely.

Meanwhile, going back to the top ten, Mazda’s “A Driver’s Life: Driving Matters” ad gained huge popularity, moving from seventh (last week) to second place, with a .99 percent increase in SOV online to 1.3 million, and 6,000 in general social actions.

Newer ads also debuted on the list, including KFC’s new campaign, featuring Saturday Night Live actor Darrell Hammond impersonating company spokesperson Colonel Sanders, and a new Batman: Arkham Knight game spot, telling players that they could “Be the Batman”. Other companies, like Apple Watch and FIAT, rounded out the top ten.

While the slight fatigue in Clash of Clans‘ ads may be a bit alarming for some, Supercell is likely planning some new campaign to keep interest going. Who knows, it may just call upon Liam Neeson again. It worked the first time…


Radio Stations Embracing Video Ads

Radio stations, in the past, have used more traditional means for advertisements in-between top 40 plays and other content devoted to their message. However, in the face of rising popularity with video advertising, it appears that the times, they are a-changing.

Inside Radio reports that more traditional radio stations are starting to accept the idea of utilizing digital video for advertising. Findings from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (or IAB for short) indicate that more than two-thirds of marketers and agency executives (68 percent, to be precise) will see their digital video ad budgets increase over the next 12 months.

The report also says that the same number of people indicate that their broadcast and cable TV budgets will either stay the same or shrink down as a result, indicating a “changing of the guard” when it comes to their approach in advertising. And it’s a method where advertisers can see where their dollars go, with proof that their products are being seen by a larger audience – and one that, hopefully, keeps growing.

That said, the IAB did state that most of those stations surveyed believe that bigger ad budgets will be what drives overall digital video ad growth, through a number of different categories. These include categories like automotive, packaged goods, financial services, retail and telecom.

These findings are based on data put together from talking with over 300 buy-side executives through Advertiser Perceptions.

Association of National Advertisers CEO Bob Liodice said that there are “technical challenges” to accepting the new advertising medium, and that the digital ad community has to find a way for marketers to pay for only what ends up being viewed.

“If an ad is not viewable, then the marketer should not bear the obligation to pay for it,” he said, speaking at the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference in Phoenix this week. He also noted that doing this would put digital ad buying on a “comparable foundation” compared to other forms of media buying.

We’ll just have to see how radio stations will “tune in” to this new strategy, just to see how well it works.

U.S. Game Industry Will Get Even Bigger

The U.S. video game industry couldn’t be stronger right now, as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 continue to be big sellers, while the eSports community continues to grow at a rapid pace. In fact, if numbers are any indication, it’s likely to get even bigger.

VentureBeat has reported that the industry will grow 30 percent from $15 billion this past year all the way to $19.6 billion by 2019, based on numbers reported by accounting firm PwC. That shows an overall annual growth rate of 5.5 percent.

This includes not only the traditional console games market (for both digital and physical releases) but also the PC market, which has been thriving again thanks to a number of new products on Steam and other services. These numbers also include browser-based games, apps and game advertising, which play a tremendous part in the market right now.

That said, there is a slight waning in interest. In overall media and entertainment market numbers, it’s managed to drop .4 percent over the last five years, from 2.9 percent to 2.5 percent. However, that’s not nearly as big of a drop as filmed entertainment, which went from 6.3 percent to 4.6 percent in that same time frame.

But as you can see from the chart above, games aren’t going anywhere soon. A slow but steady growth in millions of dollars is expected over the next few years, fueled by a number of popular franchises. Social/casual games (both app and browser based), PC games and others intend to pick up in numbers as well.

Granted, some factors aren’t being considered in the report, like hardware sales of gaming PC’s, consoles and other devices that run games. However, based on these measurements, the software’s the thing, and with the introduction of new and familiar franchises alike, business is likely to continue booming.

That business will reach critical heights in just a couple of weeks at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, where game makers from around the world will showcase its upcoming products for the next year and beyond. There are already many waves from revealed projects that will be at the show, including Bethesda’s Fallout 4, which was unveiled this morning. Since the trailer’s debut, it’s become a huge success in social media, indicating that it’ll be another best seller for the company. The trailer is below.


‘Minions’ Take Over Amazon In New Promotion

It’s official – the Minions are trying to take over the world.

With the success of the Despicable Me films ($1.5 billion worldwide and rising), Universal has put a lot of work into making the gibberish-speaking minions from the film superstars. And it’ll test their mettle on July 10th with the forthcoming film Minions, a prequel that tells their side of the story as they team up with a new supervillain, voiced by Sandra Bullock.

But now the Minions are taking over Amazon, as a new partnership between the mega-retailer, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment has been announced. Per TechCrunch, the deal enables customers’ orders through the site to ship in bright yellow delivery boxes, featuring characters from the Minions film. This marks the first time ever that Amazon has changed its packaging specifically through a marketing deal.

The Minions have already left a huge mark in the retail world, with a number of products ranging from dolls to figurines selling well for Universal, and other products like board games, video games and other toys being introduced in time for the film’s debut next month.

Minions packaging not only includes labeling of specific characters from the film (to go with the bright yellow coloring), but also promotion for the movie itself, including the release date and a special Amazon URL where shoppers can purchase even more products featuring the adorable anti-heroes. The company will carry a full line of these toys, with more being added as they’re introduced.

Amazon was teasing the team-up for some time, through a variety of tweets and Facebook posts last month, saying that the three different minions – Stuart, Bob and Kevin – would be arriving on consumers’ doorsteps “soon.” Shipments are taking place now and will run through July 10th, leaving plenty of room for people to take part in the promotion.

So far, the deal is a big success for the company, with some people even ordering from the company just to get hold of one of the collector’s boxes.

There’s no word yet if Amazon is doing this with any other partners in the future, but the company is certainly open to the idea.

Let’s just hope it’s not going to ship out any lipstick tasers with those minions.

The trailer for the film can be found below.