In this week’s TPoI, Atlus updates and apologizes for their Persona 5 streaming ban, Nintendo announces new hardware coming this summer, and Sony releases PS4 sales numbers.
Atlus Apologizes for Streaming Restriction Ban
Atlus’ streaming guidelines around the launch of Persona 5 were heavily contested by streamers, fans and press, and this week the company has announced changes to the policy. In addition to the policy change, which allows streamers to capture and present up to the in-game date of 11/19 (when the main story gears up for the final act), the company issued a formal apology regarding the way they initially presented the guidelines. In response to the policy change, Engadget ponders whether or not the original strategy was “simply a bid to forcibly drive more sales” while The Verge poses that streaming guidelines for the game aren’t necessary, since the community has policed itself and proven themselves loyal to Atlus. GameSpot doesn’t seem to mind the streaming restriction or care for the apology, stating the game is so good everything else is hogwash.
Nintendo Announces the New 2DS XL
In a late night announcement this Thursday, Nintendo revealed a brand-new piece of hardware set to launch this summer – the New Nintendo 2DS XL. The new piece of hardware will join the now-discontinued NES Classic Edition and the Nintendo Switch also released this year. Ars Technica has taken to calling the new device, “a handheld for gamers who can’t afford a Switch.” Forbes contributor, Paul Tassi, sees the announcement a bit differently, expressing frustration over understanding Nintendo’s strategy in the hardware space. Tassi writes, “Nintendo’s commitment to producing overlapping hardware remains incredibly confusing,” noting he sees too much overlap in the product market. The Verge took a less critical position, but made mention that the common theme between all the devices Nintendo has launched this year is the constrained supply of units available to consumers.
PS4 Shipments Reach 60 Million Units Worldwide
Sony’s latest sales numbers for the PlayStation 4 are now reported at 60 million units shipped worldwide. Polygon however reports that this figure represents PS4 shipments to retailers, not necessarily sales through customers. Alongside the report of the new sales numbers, Sony states they plan on shipping 18 million PS4’s for the upcoming fiscal year. Hardcore Gamer reports that this estimation is down from the 20 million they sold this year, which tracks for a four-year old console. On the heels of the sales numbers, The Wall Street Journal quoted an analyst that suspects Sony will release its next-gen PlayStation by the second half of 2018.
For this week’s TPoI, we dive into YouTube’s latest partner program update, PETA’s dispute with Nintendo, Atlus’ debatable decision to enact a strict streaming ban, and the launch of Twitch’s very own gaming store.
YouTube Enacts Stricter Creator Monetisation
In an effort to catch suspicious channels, YouTube has changed its partner program by enacting stricter guidelines for channel monetization. The Verge reports that going forward, YouTube won’t allow monetization until a creator has reached 10,000 lifetime views on their channel. MCV speculates that the true reasoning behind the move is to lessen the chances of brands finding themselves aligned with hate speech or racist content, an issue that YouTube has been battling. Aspiring creators will undoubtedly have a harder time earning money with this new policy in place, but ArsTechnica advises that using GoogleAdSense is an option to obtain ad revenue without relying on the total view count. Furthermore, Fortune revealed that YouTube plans to add a new review process for the partner program that will monitor a video publisher’s activity to ensure the creator is adhering to the rules and regulations.
PETA Shames Nintendo For 1-2 Switch Milking Game
Milk, one of 28 mini games on Nintendo’s multiplayer party game 1-2 Switch has been deemed unrealistic according to PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk. The milking simulator portrays no cows on-screen and the farmers appear to be happy-go-lucky during the entire process. Polygon reports that Newkirk personally wrote a letter to Nintendo to address her concerns stating, “We have more than 35 years of experience investigating dairy farms where cows are exploited for their milk, and it is NEVER that pleasant for these animals. Can we have some realism here, please?” Uproxx adds that Newkirk suggests either Nintendo depicts the cruel reality of animal abuse or consider simulating a game where no animals suffer. Nintendo has yet to respond but we anticipate a thought-out and respectful rebuttal.
Atlus Threatens Gaming Community With Harsh Consequences
The long awaited Japanese RPG series Persona finally launched its fifth entry to the series Persona 5 outside of Japan on April 4. The day after its release, a report from Kotaku revealed that developer Atlus threatened to issue channel strikes and content ID claims on any streamer or YouTuber that showed footage beyond 7/7, a date in the calendar of the game. The purpose of the ban is to prevent spoilers for those who haven’t obtained or played the game, but Forbes argues that users could easily search for a playthrough of the game considering it’s been released in Japan for a whole year. Atlus’ concerns are valid, but ArsTechnica adds that in this day and age, gaming companies should view gameplay videos as a way to boost exposure not hinder it. In recent news, Polygon reports that several streamers and YouTubers are showing content past the 7/7 mark and are well aware of the potential repercussions to follow.
Shop and Stream: The Future of Twitch
Amazon-owned Twitch has released a purchasing system for streamers and audience viewers. The Escapist disclosed that users will now be allowed to buy a game while watching a stream, with over 50 different titles released so far. Games can be downloaded and played through the Twitch launcher or on a publisher’s service, such as Uplay. Not only that, streamers will get a cut of the sales as well, with partnered streamers earning up to 5% of the sales that originate from their channel, according to The Verge. This is a smart move on Twitch’s part, as it offers revenue for both the company and streamers. Although Engadget believes this is a smart move, it worries that content creators may abuse the system and only stream games purely for financial gain. PCWorld agrees, but also argues that it’s a great way to showcase a game and see a streamer’s honest reaction and feedback.
In the last week of March, we’ve been paying attention to stories about Nintendo Switch scam, YouTube’s continued tweaking of their advertising rules and features, and the return of Club Penguin! On to April!
With the madness of GDC dying down, we here at TriplePoint thought we could sigh in relief. Little did we know…This week’s TPoI features PSVR’s success, Twitch announcing that it will sell games directly, and of course, the launch of the Nintendo Switch! What a week!
How Impressive Are Sony’s ‘Surprise’ PlayStation VR Sales, Really?
In the four short months that PlayStation VR has been available, it has already sold over 915,000 units – beating even Sony’s own projections. The New York Times reports that even the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Andrew House, had doubts regarding the PSVR and advised a slow approach towards production. Despite this, the PSVR managed to outsell both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive which moved a total of 663,000 units combined. TechCrunch provides insight into PSVR’s strong market performance, pointing out that the PSVR is cheaper than its competitors and an accessory to the already successful PlayStation 4 with over 50 million units sold. In addition, Forbes highlights that the PSVR’s purchase rate is less than 2% when considered alongside the total number of PS4s sold. Beneath all these numbers, however, is the fact that PSVR’s success is a boon to the VR industry and will help it develop faster. In an interview with UploadVR, HTC Vive China expressed this exact sentiment while congratulating their competitor on its success.
Twitch partnering with game devs, studios to sell games on site
Love to donate to your favorite streamer on Twitch? Now you might be able to get a game with that money! According to Polygon, Twitch is edging into the online marketplace for video games, but with a twist. Instead of a simple click-and-buy market, Twitch will allow its users to purchase video games right from their favorite streamer’s page. To sweeten the deal, Twitch will contribute 5% of the sale to the streamer and give the purchaser a digital Twitch Crate, which will contain a randomized item such as a chat badge or game-specific emoji that you can use on the platform. The Verge reports that Twitch’s move into the marketplace will help streamline the purchase process as many gamers watch streams before making the decision to buy or pass up a game. By allowing its users to purchase from the site and contributing a portion of the sale to the streamer, Twitch hopes to be one step closer to being the ultimate hub for gaming on the web.
Nintendo Switch Sells Out All Over The World
Finally! It’s the day that everyone has been waiting for – Nintendo Switch launch day! All the anticipation ends today as every major retailer has stocked their shelves with the new portable gaming system from Nintendo. Or does it? Chances are, if you don’t already have a Nintendo Switch in your hands, you’re going to have to wait a little bit longer. Forbes is reporting that the Nintendo Switch is sold out around the world and to expect a trickle of inventory as Switches will continue to fly off the shelves in the upcoming months. According to USA Today, some gamers lined up for more than 12 hours in order to get their hands on the highly coveted device. It’s no surprise as the Nintendo Switch launches with Breath of the Wild, which received a perfect 10 rating from GameSpot. So if you don’t have the Switch yet, keep your fingers crossed and your eyes peeled for restocks from retailers, and if you did manage to get your hands on one, happy gaming!
Conventions and the video game industry go hand-in-hand: there’s the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), Germany’s Gamescom, Comic-Cons, and more. Other than QuakeCon (and EA Play this year), it’s rare for publishers to host their own consumer-facing “mega event.” Most companies like Capcom, Ubisoft, and Nintendo share the stage and make special reveals during E3 (which is no longer open to the public) and other general gaming events.
Blizzard Entertainment is not like many companies, though as its 10th annual BlizzCon wrapped on November 4-5 celebrating all of the brand’s biggest franchises. Selling out in roughly 10 minutes, it is safe to say this annual convention is one of the most popular in the industry with no signs of slowing down!
Hosting a convention to promote your own properties and celebrate your fan base can be an extremely effective brand marketing strategy — evidenced by Blizzard. Publisher conventions can make fans feel rewarded, important,and valued. It gives attendees a chance to meet the artists and developers behind their favorite games, creating a personal connection that helps strengthen their brand affinity.
In order to understand why publishers should host conventions of their own, TriplePoint takes a look at what makes BlizzCon an impressive marketing tool, unique from other experiences, and what other companies can do to provide that same value. TriplePoint has taken all of this into account and has established five key BlizzCon 2016 brand marketing takeaways:
Surprising Announcements / Unique Information Distribution Structure
Each year, BlizzCon is home to new reveals and big surprises surrounding its IPs (World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch). Key highlights from this year’s BlizzCon included the eagerly awaited new Overwatch hero, Sombra, the Overwatch League announcement, Diablo 3’s upcoming Necromancer class, and Hearthstone’s new expansion Gadgetzan, and more. Interestingly enough this year Blizzard chose to separate its product news from esports news, with product on the first day and esports on the following day.
Blizzard’s strategy to lead its announcements with product news is because unlike product, which has more timing flexibility, esports stories need time to develop — tournaments need to be played and winners need to be determined. Having designated days for both types of stories ensures a steady flow of information for the press and consumers. Press will have enough time to cover, news will be easier to digest, and information won’t get lost — they can dominate the news cycle.
Watch the Best of the Best Play
Esports are another unique aspect of BlizzCon that is surprisingly not explored by other video game conventions.The best players from around the world gather to BlizzCon to showcase their skills and compete for huge prizes. The convention center is split into several parts where each space is devoted to specific tournaments in Blizzard’s gaming library. Having world championship tournaments during BlizzCon generates tournament results and team interview coverage, fandom, and an overall event spectacle.
Network with Industry Professionals
BlizzCon serves as a mecca, drawing in fans from all over the world and from different backgrounds. Since there is something for everyone, BlizzCon was filled with cosplayers, community managers, artists, press, developers, representatives from other games, tech companies and more. BlizzCon is a dense concentration of video game industry professionals and offers immense opportunity to connect with key industry players.
Get Up Close and Personal with Devs and Artists
One of BlizzCon’s greatest strengths is being able to generate a personal connection with fans through intimate events like Signing Areas and Q&A’s. Often times at conventions developers have little time to talk about their games, only showing cutscenes and trailers of games without being able to provide details on other aspects — not the case at BlizzCon. Not only should developers and artists interact with press, but the community itself is just as crucial. Q&A’s set time aside for the community and helps them understand where developers and artists are coming from when designing a game. Blizzard understands this and does it well.
BlizzCon had many demo stations for Blizzard’s key titles, filled with new content yet to be released to the public. This concept is not new for video game conventions, but BlizzCon has the advantage of knowing virtually all consumers will be interested in all demo stations; therefore can optimize and personalize the content for the trade show attendees (vs. a content free-for-all at an event such as PAX). BlizzCon’s demo stations allow players to take their time, experience the new changes implemented into franchises they are deeply invested in, and provide valuable feedback. Sure, companies can host events for press to test a demo, but it’s equally important for the game’s community to experience it. It brings insight from different skill levels and backgrounds as well as tests what works and doesn’t work with its most important stakeholders — the fans.
BlizzCon is a celebration of not only Blizzard’s video games but also its dedicated community they’ve cultivated for many years. Conventions can serve as an effective marketing tool, providing long-term value and building faith with your audience. In the end, players want games to succeed and to have fun. Personalized trade events such as BlizzCon are a great way to connect and celebrate with the fans.
This week in TPoI, we covered several important industry news stories outside of E3, including Gawker’s bankruptcy, Overwatch’s first major tournament, and Michael Bay’s journey into VR gaming. Additionally, if you’d like to hear about some of the top announcements at E3 this year, please check out our roundup on the TriplePoint blog, here. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of June 13
Calling all agents: Overwatch has finally launched this week — and we’re not the only ones excited about it! The game has been getting rave reviews and the hype train shows no signs of stopping. In other news, Tencent could soon be the proud owner of Clash of Clans, and the company behind Rolling Stone will be adding a new site devoted to gamers.
Following the highly anticipated release of Jonathan Blow’s The Witness, we finally dig into the outstanding first week numbers! In other major news, Glu Mobile looks to recover from a shaky 2015 financial report, while Blizzard’s Hearthstone shakes up the game with new game modes and more deck slots! Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of February 1
Bouncing back from the brief holiday break, game companies have been leaping into action for an exciting 2016 year to come. MLG has been sold to Activision Blizzard who plans on using the eSports organization to build their media empire, and Oculus Rift launches pre-orders along with a hefty price tag. Steam Spy takes a peek back at 2015 and reveals some numbers behind Valve’s Steam success. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of January 4
This week: the 2015 Game Awards releases its list of nominees and controversial list of judges, a new Heroes of the Storm character sets out to change traditional MOBA mechanics, and Valve’s SteamOS scores some bad grades.
Where do you prefer to watch the League of Legends World Championships? Twitch? Azubu? Maybe you should tune in on…BBC! This and other news from the world of games!
BBC: the next big thing in eSports
ESPN, TBS, and now BBC! Game Informer reports that BBC Three will be streaming the League of Legends World Championships starting on October 15, including all four days of the quarterfinals and other supplemental programs. Commentators will be broadcasting live from London’s Wembley Stadium, adding BBC to the list of mainstream channels broadcasting eSports tournaments.
Spend to meet your Destiny
Bungie announced they will be adding microtransactions to Destiny on October 13. GamesIndustry International reports that Bungie added this feature to “bolster the service provided by the live team for another full year, as they grow and create more robust and engaging events that we’ll announce later this year.” Bungie will be introducing silver as the Destiny’s in-game currency.
Everything you need to know about Rock Band, you learn from GameSpot
Purchased Rock Band 4 and have a lot of burning questions? GameSpot has you covered with their “everything you need to know” guide that includes how to import old songs from previous installments–including on-disc tracks, which old instruments will work on the new system, and where to buy new gear.
Ads can be games too!
Zynga is experimenting with a brand new type of ads. Called SponsoredPLAY, the advertisements are delivered in the form of mini-games. Gamasutra explored an example using Progressive’s iconic character, Flo, who appears in one of the Farmville games as part of an ad. Zynga has since reported a double-digit increase in user ad engagement.
You might not be reading this if you’re standing in line for a new iPhone 6S. Nonetheless, here is a fun tidbit about the craze around the latest iPhone, plus other fun news from the games industry and beyond.
Are you the biggest Apple fan?
Does anyone else want the new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus more than you? The Verge reports that Australian Lucy Kelly might take the crown for most dedicated iOS user by placing an iPad powered by a robot to hold her spot in line at Sydney’s flagship Apple store. Mashable reports that Ms. Kelly intends to purchase her iPhone through her robot, therefore not requiring her to be present at the register when she receives her new product (keeping in mind it is cold and rainy in Sydney now).
Keep your iPhones safe!
Apple has removed 300 apps from the App Store believed to be infected with malware. According to WIRED, several security companies have pointed out that infected apps can help attackers create a direct line to individual devices and steal information including passwords. MacRumors has the list of the top 25 apps affected by the attack.
More TV stations will broadcast eSports!
Building on the efforts of eSports to go mainstream, TBS will be broadcasting 20 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive live events starting in 2016. VICE Motherboard points out that this production is put on by WME/IMG, a sports events company, and Turner Broadcasting, without the help from an existing eSports organization like ESL, showing traditional sports media’s commitment to the genre.
Half-Life 3… Now I have your attention!
Fans just can’t get enough of Half-Life 3 rumors and teases. One of Valve’s main writers, Chet Faliszek, responded with a firm “no” when an audience member at EGX Birmingham asked if the game will have VR support. PCGamesN speculates that Mr. Faliszek’s response suggests that Valve is backhandedly confirming Half-Life 3’s impending release.
TwitchCon kicks off today!
Watch the keynote and all the action, and learn about the future of broadcasting on the official Twitch streaming channel!
Who’s looking forward to getting that new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus? This week, we read opinions on iOS 9 and take a look at the biggest news out of Tokyo Game Show! Also, who misses the days of going to the arcade to meet your friends? One company wants to bring that experience to today’s kids.
iOS over 9,000!
Apple rolled out iOS 9 this week in advance of its upcoming iPhone 6S and 6S Plus launch. Fortune has rounded up reviews on the software from top sites like Wall Street Journal who praised it for fixing a long-standing issue of smartphone users: battery life. CNBC reported some users had difficulties downloading the software, but Fortune’s roundup reveals sentiments among press were mostly positive.
Persona 5 is so close yet so far
Tokyo Game Show kicked off this week and Polygon has a roundup of the biggest stories coming out of the event. Probably the most hard-hitting piece of news making ripples stateside is the announcement that Persona 5 is delayed, coupled with a beautiful new trailer as a consolation prize.
Video game arcades are back in movie theaters, but not how you’d envision it!
Remember the days when gamers used to congregate at arcades to not only beat the neighborhood kids at their favorite game, but also spend time with friends? COO of Super League Gaming, Brett Morris, noticed that today’s kids don’t have that thanks to online gaming giving kids getting less face time. According to Variety, Mr. Morris started Super League Gaming in order to convert today’s movie theaters into arenas for competitive gaming leagues. Super League Gaming will invite kids to bring their laptops to Cinemark theaters at over 30 locations nationwide starting October 5, turning the traditional movie theater into a modern-day video game arcade.
PC Gamer goes Pro
PC Gamer announced a new section of the site, PC Gamer Pro, which will be a dedicated section for eSports and competitive gaming. Chris Thursten, PC Gamer’s Deputy Editor of the UK magazine, will head the editorial department for this new domain.