TriplePoint is teaching a series of workshops on the basics of PR this summer in San Francisco. Intended for entrepreneurs and useful for anyone who wants to understand how PR works, the classes are offered in partnership with Parisoma. An incubator and coworking space, Parisoma has a great education and mentorship program that we’re proud to be part of! Continue reading Join TriplePoint for PR Workshops at Parisoma This Summer!
In the tech and digital entertainment industries, late October and early November traditionally mark a particularly busy time, with product launches left and right, and a major scramble to finalize plans and promotions in advance of the looming holiday season. This year, busy East Coasters were slammed with an additional challenge – Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm” for its agglomeration of several storms and pre-Halloween timing.
With major media coverage of the hurricane’s effects across the country, and especially New York City, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that TriplePoint NYC, with our Silicon Alley-located office (27 West 24th St) struggled to stay connected through the blackouts and other travails caused by the unexpectedly severe storm.
But the city that never sleeps earned that moniker through the dedication of its workers, and the thousands of downtown New Yorkers affected generally found ways to stay connected. Today, with fingers crossed that we won’t have to go through this again, we’d like to share a few of our own stories on Sandy and the blackout week after the storm.
Joe Ziemer, Account Director
“Surviving in Style”
Like my other colleagues living beneath 34th St., I was without power, Internet and cell service throughout Sandy and the week after. However, I wasn’t about to let that stop me from enjoying warm showers and warm meals. That meant long, but worthwhile, morning walks up to midtown to reach powered branches of the Health & Racquet Club and Smith & Wollensky, both of which featured Wi-Fi connections. Figuring that if I could only have one hot meal a day it better be a good one, I’d eat a steak and take a few conference calls before heading over to the gym’s locker room to grab a shower. I wasn’t the only New Yorker “working from bathrobe” that week, and met a number of other execs who were staying connected at the gym – it made for some interesting conversations, and great opportunities to blow off some steam with industry folks on the basketball court.
Samantha Qualls, Account Executive
I live on the fourth floor of an East Village walkup, avenues away from any water. While my building wasn’t damaged at all, like the rest of Downtown, we lost power Monday evening. With no timeframe for when the lights (and heat AND INTERNET) would be back, a close friend offered me her couch for as long as I needed – so I made my way up to Queens (getting there is a story in itself!). In comparison to Manhattan, Queens was warm, dry and bright. The restaurants were open and grocery stores stocked. The only problem was that my friend’s cable and Internet had been knocked out in the storm.
With client work on deadline and some essential international calls that needed to happen, I had to stay connected. So every morning in Queens I sought Wi-Fi (and LOTS of coffee) at a local Panera. Panera unfortunately limits Internet time (unlimited before 11, only half an hour between 11am 2pm, and unlimited again till 5pm), but, with many displaced workers all stuffed into the same shop, it wasn’t too hard to talk my way into sharing a rare hotspot.
It was amazing to see everyone band together – I will never understand the stereotype of the angry New Yorker because I only saw helping hands deliver warm food, volunteer groups cleaning up destruction and patrons flocking downtown to help bring needed money to business that were forced to close for days.
Zach Fuller, Account Executive
Living in midtown there was no real sense of crisis prior to the storm – for example, even at the peak of the bad weather, my roommates and I made an ill-advised trip outside to watch the floodwaters rise over the East Side Highway, hanging on to the fence at the top of a retaining wall while 80 mph gusts threatened to send us tumbling backwards. We sat around with pizza, beer and power, watching football like it was any other Sunday night. It was only the next day that Sandy’s toll came into better focus.
My friends that live downtown frequently chide me for living in a place as “un-hip” as midtown, but such banter was unsurprisingly absent as Monday morning dawned and the first of them came knocking at the door looking for a warm shower and the exceedingly rare powered outlet. As the week progressed and power below midtown remained an exotic commodity, the population of our little apartment swelled from its usual three to six at night, and even more throughout the day.
Each morning the sleeping bags and air mattresses were put away for the day, replaced by a tangled web of power strips stretched in every direction as our living room transformed into an impromptu little co-working space. It was crowded and not terribly comfortable, but in between bemoaning the lack of dual monitor productivity, terse calls with IT as VPN servers crashed and chuckling as Chris Christie rescheduled Halloween, we all grew a little closer. While it’s a bit sad that it takes a disaster to remind us to slow down and appreciate the incredible people in our lives, I think we made the best of it.
Stephanie Palermo, Account Executive
The Eye of the Beast had its sights set on every single part of New York – and living in a coastal town in Long Island, we were hit hard. I had to be resourceful to keep up with the rest of my team and clients. With no power, I set out each day traveling a several-mile radius hunting for any open business, questing for the coveted Holy WiFi. Store entrances were sandbagged and some still have not reopened as I write this.
Spotty, intermittent cell phone service allowed me to send several updates and information about my projects to a teammate who had power and was covering my responsibilities until I could get settled. But to do even that I needed a powered cell phone and that meant charging at any outlet I could get to – at the police station and even my local favorite fried chicken joint.
Finally a week later, the cup runneth over with WiFi when the library was up and running and offering residents to charge all electronics and use their WiFi. I didn’t have access to my desktop computer, so I purchased a new, emergency laptop, headed to the library, and was back in business. Commiserating with fellow neighbors at the library was certainly a highlight, as people also working hard there to catch up with work gathered ’round, chatted and were all more than willing to offer a helping hand (after business hours, of course!) by providing things for each other such as food, clothes or clean-up help to those that needed it.
TriplePoint Long Island stands strong!
Sam Dalsimer, Account Director
While many of us lost power or more in the storm, a few of us remained largely unaffected aside from the need to work from home while the office’s power was down. My neighborhood (East Harlem) sustained little damage, although the gas station near me continues to have long lines and a constant police presence sitting outside as gas rationing continues. I stocked up on canned goods, bought new flashlights, filled every pot in the house with fresh water just in case, but never needed any of it.
Those of us whose power and internet remained online hosted friends who were evacuated and helped ensure that other colleagues were able to get updates out to press and clients alike.
At the end of the storm we were left feeling somewhat guilty to be so fortunate while so many others in our city were in the dark or worse. It was a huge help to have a few of us operating from powered home bases to keep connected with our NY coworkers, West coast office, and clients around the world.
Well, it’s finally done. The team at TriplePoint SF needed a change of scenery, and though we knew it would be hard to adjust, we packed up our gear and left our office on 1st Street. All of us knew, of course, that it would be difficult to lose all of our old local favorites… our familiar haunts for lunch, coffee, and so forth. Still, the time had come to look to the future, and embrace the unknown, so we bid farewell to the old office, and made the long trek to our new digs… traveling an unthinkable distance of two city blocks.
Two blocks? Seriously? We don’t have to give up on any of our old favorites, or learn new geography, or even worry about catching different trains? Easiest move ever. I am not exaggerating when I say that, were it not for one particularly tall building outside our windows, we would be able to see our last office from here.
Still, there’s plenty of fun new stuff to experience when moving to a new location. Read on, and see it with us.
TriplePoint is bringing the heat to this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC 2012). And by heat, I mean a menagerie of clients with cool games and gear. (Obviously.) People keep asking what we’re up to, and it’s no secret, so… OK, actually, there are some secrets. If I told you everything in this preview, what would be left for next week? Let’s just call this a sneak peek and get going already.
TriplePoint’s GDC 2012 client catalog:
In alphabetical order, because we love all our clients equally…
Frima Studio is flying in all the way from Quebec City Canada to tease a variety of titles in their original IP lineup including:
- Lives & Death: A dark, adventure game in development with comic book legend Marv Wolfman for XBLA and PSN. A trailer, screenshots and concept art will be available.
- Nun Attack: A tower offense game in development for iOS that puts the player in control of an elite squad of attack nuns. Extensive screenshots and character bios will be available.
- A Space Shooter: A retro arcade style shoot em’ up available now for PSN, iOS, Android and Kindle Fire. Playable iPad demo available.
Frima’s booth will be located at Kiosk #10 inside of GDC Play. Contact zfuller (at) triplepointpr (dot) com for appointments.
Papo & Yo (PSN)
Papo & Yo, the PSN puzzle platformer already getting nods as one of 2012’s most anticipated titles, will be on the GDC show floor in Sony’s PSN section, showing a new gameplay demo. As Quico, a young boy, players travel through the surreal world of Papo & Yo with companions Lula, a robot, and Monster, a monster. Need assistance getting in on all this awesome? Contact joleary (at) triplepointpr (dot) com.
Paradox Interactive is doing 2 cool things at GDC that you should know about. THE FIRST COOL THING: Showing off four indie games at the oh-so comfortable Paradox loft on O’Farrell and Powell, not far from the Moscone. Three titles being shown are unannounced; one of them is the new project from the Magicka development team. And they are:
- A Game of Dwarves, from acclaimed independent developer Zeal Game Studio
- Project “JFK” by Arrowhead Game Studios, creators of Magicka
- Project “Revenge!” by Brazilian dev team Critical Studio
- Project “Silverado” from Zeal Game Studio
THE SECOND COOL THING: Paradox is hosting a multiplayer event on Tuesday March 6th at 4pm! The game being shown is War of the Roses (from Paradox and Fatshark). It’s basically going to be a kick ass LAN party with beverages and what not. Think: Battlefield meets medieval combat. Want more details? Need some help? Hit up dmartinez (at) triplepointpr (dot) com.
Developers from RocketChicken are flying in from the great white north (or just Vancouver, if you prefer) to demo their new location-based ARG iPhone app at GDC next week. An ARG iOS app? Yup. It’s called CodeRunner and, in it, you get to be a badass spy. You get to interact with OTHER badass spies. You can to leave “dead drops” all around the real world (which can be physical or picture clues left via riddles). AND the game has incredible production value, from voice acting to video.
Furthermore, I think you should check this out because our content manager has been running around San Fran all week setting up geo-locations for the demos. I need him back, and you need this game. CodeRunner details are here. Contact pklugman (at) triplepointpr (dot) com for appointments.
Shadow Government (iOS)
Play the news, rule the world. That’s right, you heard me. Shadow Government is the brain child of Playmatics, one amazing development team and a heap of government data from the Millenium Institute. It’s a little hard to explain, which is why it’s great news that the game’s creators are giving a talk next week to tell YOU all about it. Meantime, read more here.
Shadow Government is a reality-based social game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and is set to enter closed beta next week. In addition to formal GDC talks by one of the Playmatics founders, Nick Fortungo, you can also catch the creators AND THE FIRST EVER PUBLIC DEMO at the Swiss Game Arcade on Tuesday evening. RSVP for that, stat. If you’re a reporter and you want to meet with the development team outside the Swissnex event, please contact kate (at) triplepointpr (dot) com.
Sketch Nation Studio (iOS)
This iPhone app is more than a game – it’s a toolkit that allows you to build your own games, then sell them for REAL MONEY on the ACTUAL APP STORE! Draw your game’s characters and scan them in, or create them using the in-app painting tools. Then create your game, whether it’s a shooter, free-runner, platformer, racing game, the sky is the limit! It’s totally free, and players can earn in-game currency by selling their hand-drawn assets in Sketch Nation Studio. For more info, please contact rjones (at) triplepointpr (dot) com.
I said SweetLabs, not sweetbreads. This company is sweet nonetheless, and they’ll be showing off their new Pokki platform next week in the Intel booth (#1024 ) during show hours. Oh but THAT’S NOT ALL, friends. SweetLabs will also be hosting a panel on Tuesday as part of the Social & Online Games Summit (with Dan Hsu as moderator and execs from EA, Digital Chocolate and Kabam). During GDC, SweetLabs will also be announcing the winners of their $50K developer challenge, honoring top original game submissions. You can schedule a chat with SweetLabs co-founders by contacting dblackwell (at) triplepointpr (dot) com.
What does Pokki do? It brings awesome apps to your desktop. That’s what.
More, you want more detail? Oh alright. Pokki’s app platform is transforming the “desktop” experience with games from the likes of Kabam, EA and Digital Chocolate, in addition to other multimedia and communications apps. That means better discovery and increased engagement for game publishers through one-click access to content via desktop apps. Pokki enables developers to create full-featured desktop apps for Windows 7 using HTML5, which currently includes apps such as EA’s Madden NFL Superstars, Kabam’s The Godfather: Five Families, Rdio, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.
Was your favorite TriplePoint client not on the list? It doesn’t mean they won’t be at GDC in some capacity next week. Maybe their stuff was simply TOO secret to talk about yet ;]
Wait just a darn minute. Did I just use “press” and “people” in the same headline? Yes, yes I did.
That’s because TriplePoint is made up of people. Actual people! Sure, we do PR, but that doesn’t make us any less human. Just like reporting on news doesn’t make reporters any less human.
So one day, we all got together and thought, “hey! What if TriplePoint had a client press release service that actually catered to press?” And then we laughed, because that was an impossible dream.
OR WAS IT?
Look, I don’t know that we’re changing the world with this new Newsroom, but I know that it will make things easier for people who have been using VerticalWire.com. They say email is dying, but not for PR and press people. And no, I won’t quit calling flacks and hacks people, because that’s what we are.
We’re (all) people who like things made simple and that’s what the TriplePoint Newsroom aims to do.
If you’re one of those people, I respectfully urge you to sign up for relevant tags now, so you’re ready for the big switch next week.
Meanwhile, we’ll be here holding hands and singing campfire tunes. Or relating to the public in some such capacity.
Try and solve this week’s Trends with Benefits, the weekly brainteaser from your friends at TriplePoint! TWB appears every week in our news round-up, Points of Interest, and offers terrific prizes to readers who can puzzle their way through the challenge du jour. First crack at the prizes go to Points of Interest subscribers when the newsletter goes out on Fridays, but we’ll be sharing each week’s challenge here on our website, as well.
This week’s challenge is for Cell Bound, the new iOS action-puzzler from TriplePoint client, Hothead Games! Read on and see if you can work this one out!
The TriplePoint team enjoyed a night at the Oracle Arena with some friends and clients, enjoying the action from on high, perched in a lovely suite. From there, we has a great view of a great, closely-fought game, right up until the 4th quarter when the Golden State Warriors decided it would be rude not to let their guests from Boston score over and over again.
A good time was still had by all! Read on for a few photos from the event…
I had the opportunity to give an updated version of my ‘PR for iPhone Games‘ talk to the New York Gaming Meetup on Tuesday. Focusing on indie development publicity for multiple platforms, the presentation walks viewers through the What, Why and How of doing PR – whether budgets are shoestring and you’re running the show yourself, or whether you seek outside help from a company like TriplePoint.
We took a video of the talk – view it below! View it in HD and full-screen if you’d like to have a look at the the slides from the updated presentation.
View the notes-oriented version of the presentation on SlideShare below:
Some Fun Facts:
- Los Angeles is comprised of 5 counties and 20 million residents – Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties.
- When founded in 1781, Los Angeles was originally known to its 44 residents as “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula” (Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angeles of the Small Portion).
- Los Angeles receives an annual rainfall of only 15 inches (38 cm). This year, thanks to El Nino, LA has already received over 9 inches to date. Who says it never rains in Southern California!
- Its residents are often referred to as “Angelenos” (rhymes with casinos).
- Some common nicknames include L.A., City of Angels, Southland and Lalaland.
- The Los Angeles area is home to many well known digital lifestyle companies, including Activision, EA, THQ, Naughty Dog, Image Metrics, Hands-On, and many others.
- Santa Monica is now home to TriplePoint’s LA office!
Welcome to 530 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 203, in sunny Santa Monica!
It’s not uncommon to get a journalist’s perspective – after all, they’re paid to write down their thoughts, feelings and opinions. In the case of most game journalists, their primary task is to let the game-loving public know which titles are worth playing, in what boils down to a glorified “Buy It, Rent It, Skip It” rating scale. But last night on the NYU campus, a few prominent game journalists discussed their craft itself as part of the Game Center lecture series. Stephen Totilo of Kotaku, Leigh Alexander of Gamasutra and Jamin Brophy-Warren of Kill Screen (a new gaming print publication, gasp!) gave their take on a variety of highbrow video game topics like gender, violence and the death of print.
The three industry vets spent a good deal of time discussing the difficult nature of writing for such a niche audience. As Totilo pointed out, games are experienced quite differently than movies, and are thus a lot trickier to cover. Because modern games are both expensive and expansive, a journalist can’t assume readers have a “high gaming literacy.” That is to say, even with an extremely popular game like Modern Warfare 2, a writer can’t take for granted that players have beaten the single player campaign or that they’ve shared the same overall experience. This makes games journalism far more nebulous than film criticism, a field where it’s safe to assume that everyone has viewed the same movie in essentially the same way. It may take a player a few days to beat a game, or that quest may be stretched out over a year. Plus, as gaming becomes increasingly popular, the sheer number of must-play games can overwhelm even a dedicated nerd’s gaming time. Case in point – Totilo Beat 30 games last year, but played over 100. This abundance of games is one of the biggest hurdles for the PR industry.
Another hot topic was the divide between mainstream and enthusiast games press, which has increased steadily in the past years. But as the writers were quick to point out, some the most compelling pieces of prose stem from outlets like the New York Times, who approach their rare game coverage as a Times’ piece first and a gaming piece second. In short, the range of games coverage is as diverse as the quality of the games themselves.
From a PR perspective, the takeaway here is a bit muddy. At TriplePoint our goal is to connect with journalists and secure coverage in a wide variety of outlets, spanning the gap between the fanatically enthusiast and the widest-reaching mainstream press, preferably through a mix of print, web and televised content. We have our work cut out for us, just as these three journalists have a difficult task before them. By keeping the communication lines as open as possible, all parties stand to benefit. But with so many games and just one Leigh Alexander, for instance, it’s vital to stay in tune with her thoughts and opinions via persistent reading and social media monitoring. Because when the day comes when we’re working with an amazing new JRPG, I want her to be the first to know. As Jamin Brophy-Warren, points out, “When it comes to movies I just sit there and watch, but in games I’m the one making things happen.” That’s a very powerful experience – the glue that holds our industry together.
Read together, two recent works on white collar living would suggest there’s been a bifurcation of the white collar class, geographically and demographically. Richard Florida’s Who’s Your City takes as its archetype of economic drive the bourgeois boheman, or “bobo” (a term coined somewhat sardonically by David Brooks’ 2001′ Bobos in Paradise.) The Bobo sips lattes, went to an elite school, and really doesn’t want to live much outside of cities like San Francisco or New York. Peter Kilborn’s Next Stop, Reloville surveys the managerial class. They embody Patio Guy — mostly suburban men who drink beer, good excel and watch a lot of college football after graduating from often their state universities and are willing to regularly relocate in order to advance up the Fortune 500 food chain.
The iTunes App Store is a booming marketplace, full of opportunity for independent developers. At an Apple press conference earlier this month, Steve Jobs said that over 30 million iPhones and 20 million iPod Touch devices have been sold to date. There are over 100 million customers on iTunes, and they’ve been busy – downloading over 1.8 billion apps since the App Store launched in July 2008. But with over 75,000 apps and counting (more than 21,000 in the game category alone), it’s a sink or swim space. The unique iPhone platform is luring talented designers from top names in the traditional video game development industry – ambitious artists, code-monkeys and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes looking to try their hand at a new medium, and take on whatever responsibility necessary – including new shoes they’ll learn to fill along the way.
There are already more than 100,000 third-parties in the iPhone Developer Program, and the App Store marketplace has created a community mindset among many of these smaller independent companies, who are willing to share some of their “secrets” and learn from their competitors to further their cause and to coexist symbiotically, if you will. One such indie developer is Rock Ridge Games. I had a chance to pick the brains of Rock Ridge’s president and VP, Mike Mann and P.J. Snavely, on what it takes to make the transition from licensed, big-budget console game development to the DIY world of iPhone app development – here’s what they had to say…
Can you give us a little background on Rock Ridge Games and your experience in game development?
Rock Ridge Games was started in April of this year with the goal of developing interesting and fun original games for the incredible new smartphones hitting the market. There are only two of us (Mike Mann and PJ Snavely) but we’ve got almost 30 years of combined experience in game development, having come from the console side of development. We’ve worked on everything from multi-million dollar licensed sports games to small independent titles for XBLA. The iPhone is our new frontier.
Last week, the social media world was taken hostage by Kanye West. Yes, the Chicago-native rapper, music producer, and singer managed to not only become the topic of conversation around water coolers everywhere, but more importantly, Mr. West seized complete control over social networks, and in particular, Twitter.
Whether or not you tuned in to the MTV Video Music Awards (we all know he did), many of you are familiar with the media-sensationalized Kanye tirade in which “The College Dropout” interrupted pop singer Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for “Best Female Video.” What you may not be familiar with is social media explosion that subsequently occurred as a result of Mr. West’s profession of love for Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video.
I, along with the rest of the TriplePoint team, have spent a good deal of time figuring out the best way to utilize social media to spread client and industry news. In order to adapt to the changing landscape of media, we “PR folk” are constantly seeking the best methods for distributing such news and having it reach the masses. Over the last year, Twitter has emerged as a leading source of news information, and the @TriplePoint feed continues to deliver the latest news on not only our clients, but the gaming industry on the whole, as well as other social media trends, insights, etc. From my observations, the opportunity to reach audiences on Twitter was greatly inhibited last week by the eloquent phrase, “I’ma let you finish, but…”
Last week we were joined by Dan Hsu, former Editor in Chief of EGM and Co-Founder of the recently launched, Bitmob. Dan spoke with us about his extensive experience in game magazine publishing, the challenge of incorporating casual game coverage with a hardcore voice, the role he feels community has in the editorial process, what he believes the future of video game reporting will be, and much more. Please enjoy the video, and be sure to check out the unique community features Dan is developing at his new site, Bitmob.
The trailer for Stalin vs Martians by Mezmer Games debuted on March 6th debut on Kotaku (“The Only Game With Techno-Dancing Joseph Stalin“) and has become a viral sensation ever since, receiving over 150,000 views on YouTube across the various versions of the video available and a stream of posts on Twitter. The indie title has received coverage across the web, from traditional gaming outlets such as IGN, 1UP, Destructoid, Joystiq, The Escapist, Offworld, and Rock Paper Shotgun, to non-gaming outlets such as Boing Boing and even ForeignPolicy.com.
Explaining the wide appeal of Stalin vs Martians, Mezmer Games executive producer Tom Söderlund puts it best: “One contributing factor to the success could be the high level of historical accuracy, that is completely missing from the game.”
Stalin vs Martians will be available on April 20th through all major digital games retailers.