This week’s TriplePoints of Interest features Twitch’s acquisition of Curse, Facebook and Unity are creating a gaming platform, Paragon’s open beta is playable on PS4 and PC, and Blizzard trolls “gg ez” trolls in Overwatch.
Oculus starts off the week with the highly anticipated Rift launch, Blizzard listens to its fans and pulls a controversial pose from Overwatch, and Twitch takes a gamble on mobile-MOBA Vainglory — all in this week’s TPOI! Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of March 28
Watch out Oculus – GameStop has confirmed that Sony’s PlayStation VR is coming this fall, in this week’s TPOI. Twitch also makes a big announcement as they schedule their next TwitchCon in sunny San Diego. Apple also takes a stand against a federal court order related to the San Bernardino shooter. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of February 15
Gaming is becoming more and more integrated into mainstream culture. Players and viewership are rising, and nothing can say that better than the phenomenal 2015 streaming platform Twitch had. Larger companies have taken note too as Amazon jumps into the game development sector with their newest game engine, Lumberyard. Yahoo is also joining in the fun as they start developing their own eSports vertical. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of February 8
This week Activision Blizzard got it’s wallet out, Riot Games went ham in Germany, and Twitch painted a lot of landscapes!
What is everyone spending their summer 2015 playing? I just need a reminder that it is summer since it’s gray and chilly here in San Francisco. For those of you mobile folks, who has tried to stream your gameplay? I really wonder how many people would tune in to watch birds get flappy or angry. I know I would!
The rise of streaming mobile games
Sony announced a partnership with Twitch to stream mobile games from Xperia devices. The Xperia exclusivity is due to the fact that the streaming app is developed by Sony and not Twitch, according to SiliconAngle. Writer, Eric David, asks whether there is an audience yet for mobile game streaming, seeing that PC still dominates Twitch. Twitch, on the other hand, believes that creating as many avenues as possible to stream games on a wide array of devices is necessary to serve the community properly.
Your weekly VR report from Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida
GamesIndustry International caught up with Sony Computer Entertainment president, Shuhei Yoshida, to hear his take on the state of the VR industry. He discusses Sony’s focus on VR content at E3 versus GDC’s focus on the hardware itself, emphasizing the need for swift turnaround in profits for developers creating games for the headsets. He also explains why virtually no headset maker has discussed price points yet despite most release dates being set for as early as Q1 2016.
Bet to make eSports bigger!
There is already no question that eSports is a global phenomenon. Will the age-old pastime of betting on traditional sports establish itself in the video game space as fast as competitive gaming did? VICE believes it will based on companies like Unikrn receiving large sums from investors and its ability to bridge the gap between hardcore and casual viewers of eSports.
The Early (Access) Bird gets the worm…or does it?!
DayZ’s creator, Dean Hall, presented his insights on the pros and cons of using Early Access as part of a game launch’s strategy. According to Gamasutra, Mr. Hall believes that Early Access allows developers a chance to receive authentic user feedback, but can also set wrong expectations for the game at launch. He used Kerbal Space Program as an example of a game that benefited from Early Access as it allowed the game to improve into the experience it needed to be, while delaying and launching the game as a fully finished product might not have given the game room to grow.
Photo from Digital Trends
What juicy pre-E3 news did we uncover this week? The main event was WWDC and then VR stole the show! Who’s going to be checking out some VR hardware at the show this year?!
Looking fine, iOS 9!
Now it’s Apple’s turn! WWDC made waves yet again with iOS 9 among other announcements. Miss the big reveals? The Next Web has you covered with a summary of all the splashes. Tech Times has a summary of Metal, which allows for better graphics rendering and thus smoother scrolling for users. According to writer, Lauren Keating, 2K, Blizzard, and Aspyr are among the developers using it to enhance their apps.
The Vainglorious Apple Design Awards
In other WWDC news, Apple announced the winners of this year’s Apple Design Awards. Crossy Road, Vainglory, and Mediocre Games’ (creator of Smash Hit) Does Not Commute were among the winners, says CNET.
Green Robot is on a Rampage!
App Annie reported this week that Android has surpassed iOS in growth this month, seeing a 50% rise in global consumer spending versus iOS’s 30%, says GamesIndustry International. Writer, Matthew Handrahan, credits multiplayer games as a great driver of spending, with 60% of consumer spending coming from multiplayer titles.
See you at the inaugural TwitchCon 2015!
Twitch announced their panel line up for their inaugural TwitchCon event, says GamesIndustry International. Subjects to be covered include the legality of Let’s Play videos and streams, using Twitch as a fundraising platform, and tips to building healthy communities.
ESPN is Legendary!
ESPN released a long-form piece profiling famed South Korean League of Legends player, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, and the culture of eSports in the country. Writer, Mina Kimes, visited the headquarters of his team, SK Telecom T1, in Seoul and followed him on his road to the year’s first major international tournament, Mid-Season Invitational tournament in Tallahassee, FL. According to Daily Dot, this article is set to appear in a special ESPN The Magazine issue that will dive deeper into video games, featuring NFL player, Marshawn Lynch on the front cover for his upcoming appearance in Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
The Oculus Rift is spawning soon!
The Oculus Rift in its final form was revealed yesterday with a view of its launch model and controller. WIRED has the full photo gallery, along with the release time frame of Q1 2016. Kotaku also has the list of games that will be released for the device.
Image from BGR
Welcome back to our snippet of the top news in tech and games this week! The burning question this week is, of course, who has pre-ordered an Apple Watch? Sound off in the comments!
Will the Apple Watch disrupt both the tech AND fashion world?
The Apple Watch craze is in full force clocking in at over 1 million pre-orders, according to USA Today. The Verge has already identified 3rd party accessory manufacturers creating battery life solutions for the watch without any evidence of whether or not the Apple Watch’s battery life is too short. Analysts are already examining the Apple Watch’s potential to disrupt the fashion world, according to Business Insider, warning well-known watchmakers like Fossil and Movado of the threat they may pose.
Old Spice made a game, and not the usual kind you’re thinking of
Twitch Plays Pokémon has inspired Old Spice’s latest marketing campaign, Twitch Plays Old Spice. According to Daily Dot, from April 16-18, viewers will be asked to write in the chat what they want the wilderness-stranded live-action (human) character to do and apparently, anything goes (someone just suggested “sucker punching” a bear, causing a Game Over)! It will be interesting to see how this campaign unfolds and if Twitch users will be as friendly as they were to Red in Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. This is one of many Twitch Plays Pokémon-inspired campaigns in the last year including the now-defunct Rev3Games stream, Twitch Plays Adam Sessler.
Guitar Hero is back for its 10th anniversary. Who is feeling old already?
After a years-long hiatus, Guitar Hero is back for its 10-year anniversary reissue. Engadget reports the reboot aims to make guitar playing more realistic by adding two rows of buttons at the top of the guitar and a live-action crowd that will react to the performance based on the player’s score. The game will also sport a first-person view accompanied by a live-action band on stage who will also turn and address the player, giving a feel of a real performance versus the 3rd person animated view of previous versions.
Let’s Get Digital
The ESA has revealed that retail game sales in the US are declining and digital game sales have risen 23% since 2010. According to GamesIndustry International, PC still rules the market with 62% of digital sales followed by consoles, smartphones, other wireless devices, and dedicated handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS. They also report that over 155 million Americans play games with 80% of households owning a device to play games.
It was a sad week for the Australian games industry
Australia’s last major AAA studio, 2K Australia, developer of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, has closed its doors and terminated all of its employees. Kotaku Australia reports that an attempt to move the Canberra-based studio to Melbourne in order to attract new talent led many high-level members to leave the company, which, Kotaku speculates, may have been a factor in the closure.
Asia has the key to the next level
Warner Bros. Interactive’s Senior Vice President of Digital Games, Greg Ballard, told GamesIndustry International about the importance of Asia and every company’s need to enter that space in order to stay competitive. He cites major Asian companies like Tencent and Nexon running major operations in the US and credits Riot Games’ success, in part, to Tencent helping League of Legends become successful in Asia. App Annie’s report showing China overtaking the US in iOS app downloads backs Mr. Ballard’s claims.
Digital games go anti-social?
Research firm, Superdata, revealed US digital game sales rose 2% to $1.01 billion in March, but social games fell 10%. GamesIndustry International reports that the firm is seeing overall interest in social games waning with more focus being put on tablets and smartphones. Superdata also advised developers to focus on building a stronger presence in Japan, where mobile revenue per paying user is three times higher than in China.
That’s all for this week! Now what will you all be playing this weekend?
Banner photo from Mashable
Digital media is changing the process of selling and buying in almost every industry. With reviews, peer ratings, articles, social media, special deals and more, there is a growing wealth of content for consumers to peruse before making a purchase. Video games are no different, and across the board we’re finding that video content has a rising stake in the process, boasting the most engaged and influential audience compared to other media.
In the past two or three years, we’ve seen explosive growth in a number of video content providers for video games, and it makes sense. The best way to decide if you want to play a game is not to read a review about it, but to watch someone play it, and importantly, to be entertained along the way. Sure, I could read a few reviews, average the scores, take some journalists’ opinions into account, but at the end of the day I want to see if Contrast is fun before picking up the PS4 copy.
The explosion of Twitch.tv is one example of the rise in appetites for showcasing games with video content. The game streaming website’s unique monthly viewership doubled from about 929,000 in October 2012 to more than 2 million today (via data from Compete.com).
The movers and shakers in the gaming industry are acknowledging how important it is to give gamers a place to share and watch their experiences. PlayStation 4 launched with seamless Twitch streaming as a major selling point, and though Xbox One missed the feature at launch, it will come with a software update soon. Not only are traditional gaming media outlets taking advantage of this feature, journalists are building their own individual audiences to compete with seriously popular Twitch channels like NorthernLion and Cry.
The number, quality, and fans of gaming YouTubers are also on the rise. When I was at PAX this year chatting with a YouTuber, fan after fan kept coming up to him to tell him how much they loved his show and to take a picture. More so, Microsoft’s Xbox One launch event debacle with controversial YouTuber KSI, shows just how much influence these guys and gals have to shape news from the industry. It’s a new world. TotalBiscuit can have just as much sway as top gaming writers.
Beyond the views, engagement numbers are insane on many of these YouTube videos. For example, PewDiePie’s hilarious playthrough of Outlast, an indie horror game by TriplePoint client Red Barrels, has racked up more than 7 million views, 200,000 likes and 63,000 comments. For comparison, IGN has just over 5 million unique visitors a month according to Compete.com, and its highly anticipated PlayStation 4 review has 9,706 comments. Consumers are often going directly to YouTubers for gaming entertainment and news, or linking to them from the increasingly important gaming sub-Reddit. As a result, developers and PR agencies are paying more attention to these folks. TriplePoint client Spearhead Games even named an achievement in upcoming PS4 game Tiny Brains after half-uber fan, half-YouTube star The Completionist.
My emphasis on the rising influence of video content makers is not to say traditional gaming websites are losing their importance. They still cater to folks that buy lots of games, and they are amping up their own video offerings with video reviews and regularly programmed Twitch channels. Perhaps more importantly, these respected publications’ editorial decisions drive YouTube content, as YouTubers likely choose what games to play and feature based on what’s being talked about on IGN, Kotaku, GameSpot, Polygon and the like. After all, direct outreach from game makers to YouTubers is still relatively limited.
Whether the gaming media can beat YouTubers and Twitch prodigies at entertaining and informative video content is yet to be seen, but it’s clear that the medium is hard to surpass when evaluating games. Watching a video playthrough is by far the closest experience to playing a game itself. As such, the reach and adoption of Twitch and YouTube will only continue to grow – begging the next challenge for studios and marketers: how to address fragmented video audiences.