Three weeks later, Pokémon GO continues to generate massive headlines! This week we’ve highlighted notable coverage about Pokémon GO’s San Diego Comic-Con takeover, Mark Zuckerberg’s love for Pokémon GO, and an recent report on Pokémon GO app downloads. Also worth a look: Twitter is streaming esports, Dota 2 adds VR spectator mode, and Doom: The Board Game is coming to a tabletop near you.
In this week’s news, Apple held its keynote event, Japanese business press spread rumors about the end of the Wii U’s line and Microsoft tries to launch a social AI which goes horribly wrong. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of March 21
The first online pseudonym I ever took for myself was “FreeK.” Yes, with the capital K at the end, and everything. My thin justification for that ‘edgy’ spelling was that if you wanted to, you could pronounce it “free-kay” like someone saying “freaky” with an accent. Don’t judge me too harshly; it was 1993, and I was 13 years old. Having discovered that Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was a magical technology where geographically disparate strangers could speak with relative anonymity, I was tasked with picking a username — much in the same way that the modern Internet denizen must select their Twitter handle. 13-year-old me had fewer concerns about the lasting impact of his nom de pépier, but admittedly that didn’t stop 30-year-old me from still being a smartass about it.
PR professionals are trusted to be caretakers of incredibly valuable brands. When we interact on behalf of a client, it’s understood that what we say and do reflects back on that client – for all intents and purposes, our words are coming out of their mouths, so we need to act responsibly. Just as often, though, we’re simply interacting as ourselves, whether it’s to swap jokes with industry contemporaries, share interesting news, or simply shout our fascinating thoughts into the ether. I’m speaking, of course, about Twitter, that marvelous social media equalizer that gives each of us the same 140 characters to act as cleverly or callously as we please.
The basics of how to behave on one’s personal Twitter account should, by now, be common knowledge in the professional world (even if one still sees occasional evidence that they’re not). I am not here to harangue anyone about the blurred lines between personal and professional personas; anybody in PR ought to understand that you need to be professional in both — especially in an industry driven by public interaction and relationships — maintaining one’s own brand takes just as much care as a client’s. My point of curiosity, instead, is this: if our online profiles are our brands, how do we come by our branding? In short, why do we pick the Twitter names that we do?
Based on my own anecdotal research, roughly 95% of us go the simple route, picking a handle that is directly derived from our real names. It’s a basic concept, of course — if we’re to establish ourselves as thought leaders, social butterflies, and other highly visible personalities, naturally we want our names out there, attached to our thoughts, standing behind our two cents whenever we chip them in. As with the rest of the world, including the likes of @tim_cook, @andersoncooper, and even @barackobama, most of my colleagues, contemporaries, and clients have Twitter handles that are simply their names (underscores or abbreviations notwithstanding). Simple, straightforward, memorable, and no explanation needed.
There are plenty of reasons not to go this route. Frequently, this is simply because one’s real-name handle is already taken. The Internet is a crowded place, and few want the stigma of imitation or “being late to the party” associated with a username like “@BobJones2.” Whatever the reason, however, picking a non-given name reflects a much more personal and conscious decision, much more in line with a brand. You’ve got just 15 characters to encapsulate some facet of yourself — so what will you pick? A favorite literary character? A frequent hobby? What is the element of your character that is so dominant that you have chosen to name yourself after it?
After doing a bit of digging, I discovered that, like myself, most of my colleagues with non-tradtional Twitter names (i.e. not their actual names) have a personal story behind their choices, typically one rooted in old real-world nicknames: names their friends and family gave them in school, or frequent pun-based alterations of their names that others have made. Branding by focus group, if you will. Like any brand, however, the double-edged sword is that once a brand becomes recognizable, you’re more or less compelled to keep using it.
My current Twitter name isn’t anything explicitly profane or offensive; I don’t profess a love of illegal drugs or antisocial behavior. It’s nothing bad, per se, but it’s questionable from a maturity standpoint. It’s irreverent at best, and that’s how I like to hope it’s interpreted — but, like so many others’, it’s “mine” now, and it’s been around long enough that several friends would blink if I were to drop it.
Could I rebrand myself if I needed to? Almost certainly. But the tongue-in-cheek nature of my brand is one I try to support with wry messaging, and I find it makes a more memorable first impression than a simple @MyName selection. Besides, I’ve checked on the Twitter names with my actual name on them, and there’s at least 7 of them. So far, I’m the only one using my particular Twitternym, so I’ve got that market segment locked up.
If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter (just not at @JesseHenning ’cause that’s not me).
For those of you loyal readers who are less games-industry inclined, things got preeeetty exciting at the end of last week. Notable industry sour-puss Phil Fish, the creator of puzzle/platform game Fez, took a special kind of offense to some strong words from Marcus Beer, a journalist and commentator most known for his Annoyed Gamer segment on GameTrailers. Beer was upset that Fish and fellow indie designer Jonathan Blow had refused to comment when approached about Xbox One’s decision to allow for Indie publishing. Mean things were said, a Twitter war started, and at the end of the day Mr. Fish announced his retirement from game development, and the subsequent cancellation of his much anticipated game Fez 2.
It was a strange turn of events. Fish has long been an outspoken member of the gaming community, and has not been afraid of stepping on toes—he once declared that Japanese games, on the whole, “suck.” But despite his polarized opinions and regular flack he received for them, never before had he given an indication that he would quit the industry entirely. Journalists, commentators, and gamers are in a kind of stunned state, some siding with Fish against the very personal attacks leveled against him, others basically telling him to toughen up.
Fez 2 will not remain cancelled. Fish will return to the industry. Many commentators with more experience and understanding than I have already broken down the arguments for and against what happened. My interest in the story is not about the dramatic exit of a recognized industry figure: rather, it’s frustrating and completely predictable that attention would be given to the childish behavior of Beer and Fish, and not the actual topic that started it all.
Beer’s complaint with Fish and Blow was that they did not appreciate the two-way street of journalist-developer relations. Many journalists had worked closely with the two of them to promote their games, but when asked to give a thoughtful comment on this pressing industry issue, both had laughed in journalists’ faces—they very publically (e.g. on Twitter) stated their disdain at games journalists who dared to approach them for their thoughts and belittled the journalist trade on the whole. In short, Beer’s argument was simple: if developers don’t help journalists with commentary on industry issues, journalists should stop helping developers with reviews and coverage of their games.
The relationship between journalists and the people they write about is an interesting conversation topic that extends far beyond the realms of the games industry. The profession of PR is a testament to the complicated nature of journalist and subject, particularly in an industry defined by creativity and personal expression, such as gaming. Positive reviews make or break games: do developers “owe” journalists for positive coverage? If that’s the case, are they entitled to recompense from negative coverage? Is there a responsibility for successful people, people who define industries, to be available to discuss major movements?
Now, we’ll never know. A shining opportunity for a mature, adult discussion about the nature of gaming media and responsibilities of developers has been almost completely destroyed by the fact that some people are far too childish for the real world. Marcus had a valid point about reciprocity in the gaming industry, but he wrapped it up in name calling and cussing that completely obscured the kernel of rationality. Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow (probably) had a rational reason for refusing the opportunities—specifically, they were being asked to comment on rumors and speculation before the news actually broke—but instead of being rational adults, they tried to turn it all into a rage against the media. Names were called, and one of the industry’s most talented creators has walked away.
On the surface, this is a sad story about a fight that got out of control, and how damaging trolls are in the gaming industry. But on a deeper level, this inability to engage in conversations stops the gaming industry from growing up. It’s remarkable that this conflict occurred, but it’s not surprising. Name calling and yelling louder than the next guy have become an accepted part of gaming culture, even at the highest levels of professionalism, just like rampant sexism and racism are the norm in online gaming communities. This is not the first time a journalist and developer will fight like children in the public eye, and it will not be the last, but this is the first time that the damage these childish spats cause is clear.
Two gaming experts had the chance to have a real conversation to improve the gaming industry, but they were too busy calling each other “tosspots” and f***faces to realize it.
Can a room full of experienced VC’s learn some new tricks about digital marketing, from the perspective of video game PR? That was my hope today as I represented TriplePoint during the 7th annual TiE CON in Boston.
It’s a conference that brings together both established and startup entrepreneurs in Technology, Life Sciences, Education, and Cleantech. I lead a boot camp with help from two other marketers, on the topic of New Marketing for the Socially Digital Age. The panel touched upon everything from Facebook and YouTube to email blasts, lead-generation, and timing for advertising campaigns.
“Gamification” is everyone’s favorite buzzword these days. It’s so hot, that we still use quotes to write it out — “gamification.” Yes, it’s that fresh.
To put it simply, “gamification” is applying game-design thinking to non-game applications in order to make them more fun and engaging. Think Foursquare; you earn points for checking into locations, competing with your network of friends that also use the app for the most points earned through check-ins over a specific period of time.
Outside my role as media maven and gaming publicist, I’m a sweat enthusiast. Yoga, cycling, hiking, I do it all, but my true love is and will always be running. However, sticking to something like an 18-week marathon training program requires a lot of motivation. Enter the “gamification” of running.
I’m an avid Nike+ user. In fact, I’ve been using it for years, long before “gamification” became a part of our daily media consumption. Nike+ uses a sensor to track running distances. The information is then synced online and shared with the Nike+ community and through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Users can also set up personal goals for time, distance, or frequency of runs. Additionally, Nike+ has built-in achievement milestones to hit through the program based on total miles run. These levels are broken down by color, going from light to dark. I still get excited each time a legendary runner like Paula Radcliffe congratulates me on hitting a new level.
There are a multitude of similar applications and communities that now serve the same purpose — RunKeeper, MapMyRUN, and TriplePoint’s very own client, Fitocracy. They all help keep runners motivated by providing fun and entertaining ways to keep progressing, whether it’s by hitting achievements, earning points, or sharing completed runs through social networks.
The “gamification” of running. Did you hear that? That was the sound of my worlds colliding.
In Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story (Random House, 2010), the schlubby protagonist clings to his old-world ways, doing his best to resist the overabundance of technology and information that barrages him in a not-too-distant-future version of New York City. He is starkly contrasted by his love interest, a younger woman who has grown up with these perpetual streams of stimulus and embraces them without question. The book tells a cautionary tale of personal connections and human relationships gone awry, replaced almost entirely by digital communication and instant, unlimited access to data. While I’m tempted to shrug off this dystopian future, a startling amount of this tech exists already and is gaining popularity. In this way, Shteyngart’s novel feels uncomfortably akin to nonfiction.
Highlight & Glancee were recently deemed the kings of South By Southwest (SXSW 2012), while peripheral nods were given to their competitors like Banjo & Sonar. These apps show you information about those around you. More specifically, they display location-based Facebook interests and Facebook friends-of-friends of people who are physically near you, in the same bar or on the same street. The impetus to browse search results, judge potential connections and act upon them is up to each individual user, but these apps provide opportunity. For more information, Robert Scoble gives a stellar rundown on The Next Web.
Info and images, social networks and video chat, newsfeeds and live-streaming, and above all the shopping, Shopping, SHOPPING – all of this is beamed to äppärät users in real-time, a userbase that includes basically everyone on Earth, minus the destitute and the elderly. While specifics are never given, the äppärät is described as a futuristic iPhone where a haze of holograms replaces the touchscreen and display real-time information on and around the user. The latest äppärät is a small pebble-like device worn like a trendy necklace, a cell phone immune to the battery woes of today. Nothing in the book is so futuristic that I can’t imagine it becoming commonplace in the next year or two.
With these new apps, the data used for comparing and ranking your nearby peers is pretty mundane: movies and bands you like, your favorite cuisine, perhaps the schools you attended. These are things that any Facebook friend could learn about you, but when this info is automatically sent to strangers in text-message-like pings, it changes from passive to active data. You are broadcasting information about yourself to anyone who has downloaded a free app – I can wait while you go update your Facebook “likes.”
The data being sent around by apps like Highlight is rather innocuous – it’s strictly qualitative stuff. But Super Sad True Love Story takes data-sharing to the extreme, where anyone with an äppärät can see quantitative data like your credit rating, your cholesterol level and even your annual salary. In this novel, not only is privacy dead, it’s been long-forgotten.
Before apps like Highlight can gain widespread adoption, they’ll need a filter system (such as a minimum number of friends in common) to weed out the surge of false-positives. For instance, you’d be more inclined to chat up someone with 6 common Facebook friends than someone with only one third-degree connection. Similarly, you might not shy away from approaching a stranger if you had a very specific interest in common; millions of people like Radiohead, but as a New York City resident, I’d happily chat with another fan of Portland, Oregon’s DJ Copy.
In the not-too-distant-future, speaking to another person… out loud… face to face will be so uncommon that it gives rise to the term “verbal-ing.” In the novel, everyone is surrounded by three-dimensional clouds of information, images, advertisements and videos. Even today, it’s too easy to get sucked in by the distractions of a smartphone and miss the real world around you. But apps like Highlight are not as ominous as they may initially sound. By encouraging people to socialize and meet new friends, these apps turn a few common interests into the potential for a friendship, as it was in the pre-smartphone era.
For more info, check out a video interview with Shteyngart on the äppärät via TechCrunch.
It’s no secret that, when it comes to home entertainment, we’re in the midst of a distribution revolution. Content once tied to broadcast airwaves is now being ravenously consumed on the internet via computers, video game consoles and set top devices.
TriplePoint has the privilege of working with some of these new media startups. PlayOn (which recently made the jump to iPhone; CNET link) streams Hulu and other web video onto PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, without the need for a costly Hulu+ account. For those without a video game console, Softkinetic is providing a Microsoft Kinect-like experience to a massive install base via their set top box gesture recognition system.
With two cameras and a powerful microphone, Kinect knows who’s in front of the TV. For games like Dance Central, the technology will track all the poppin’ and lockin’ you can throw at it. But as an entertainment hub, a Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 will change the way that marketers convey their messages. Advertising is the backbone of media, providing the funding for programming and keeping content free for the viewer.
Softkinetic and Microsoft face a major challenge with these user-recognizing innovations. The product must find the right combination of allure, cost and ease-of-use, or at least hit two sides of this triangle. Kinect is rumored to cost $150, putting it well above the $99 impulse-buy sweet spot and closer to the price of a new game console. Softkinetic, on the other hand, will have less features but will also enjoy wider adoption, since the system will piggyback onto cable boxes and not require additional equipment.
As these devices become a fixture of the entertainment centers in dens and rec rooms around the world, ultra-targeted advertising will be commonplace. In order to frame this in a positive light, marketers will highlight the family-friendly aspects of these targeted ad systems. For instance, “No R-rated movie previews if children are detected,” or, similarly “no beer commercials until the registered account holder turns 21.” Of course, there are many aspects of these targeted ads that appeal to advertisers, too. For instance, gender-specific commercials can now be tied to the actual gender of the viewers, rather than the network making educated guesses about the viewing audience based on the channel, program and time of day
Interactive ads are not far behind. Many of today’s preroll web video ads ask if you’d prefer to interrupt your show with 3 traditional thirty-second commercials, or watch a 90 second long-form ad before the show begins. By giving the viewer a choice, marketers engage the audience and have a better change of holding their attention.
With mics and 3D cameras in place, these ads will evolve into mini-games – how many on-screen Pepsi bubbles can you “pop” by waving your hands, before the time runs out? Sponsored gameshow-style quizzes are also possible, since the systems can detect multiple voices in the room. First one to finish this jingle gets 10 points on their gamerscore! “Plop plop, fizz fizz…”
Social media integration is already built into modern game consoles. In the future, before the new Top Chef episode streams, you’ll be prompted to invite other online friends who ‘like’ that show on Facebook to join you and watch together, virtually.
During the show, ads will feature music by artists from your Last.fm account that you’ve “favorited.” Local advertisements will pinpoint your self-identified exact location and give you offers that are relevant to your tastes. For instance, the Italian restaurant below your apartment is offering double-pepperoni for the price of cheese, and they’ll be open for another 45 minutes. Since your credit card is on file with your Xbox Live or PSN account, you can literally say the word and have hot pizza at your door before Padma calls the chef’testants to the judge’s table. Are you watching solo, or did you invite the whole gang over? Accordingly, you’ll get promotions ranging from personal-pan pizza to the ultra-jumbo feast.
There’s a great deal riding on the success of these gesture- and user- recognition systems. Their main strength is in eliminating the “input middleman,” giving users greater control over their own entertainment. They also give marketers new ways to reach consumers. While this new technology is exciting on many levels, it will also present unseen obstacles and take years before adoption is truly mainstream. Only time will tell if the universal remote can survive this Minority Report future.
With every move you make, a chemical called dopamine sends a message to your brain to tell your muscles to function. When the dopamine supply is seriously depleted, messages cannot be transmitted efficiently, and the body cannot respond as easily. Imagine having your supply of dopamine cut down by eighty percent. That’s Parkinson’s disease (PD). With a bevy of medications available to deal with both physical and cognitive symptoms, the real challenge is finding non-pharmaceutical forms of relief.
Fortunately, good doctors prescribe exercise as seriously as they do drugs. A study at the University of Pittsburgh found that an exercise regimen slowed down the degeneration of nerve cells in rats with PD. Research is now occurring to find concrete evidence that this benefit also applies to humans.
Recently, a forward-thinking man named Dr. Ben Herz garnered a $45,000 grant from the National Parkinson’s Foundation to perform a study of his own. At the Medical College of Georgia, Dr. Herz determined that the Nintendo Wii may help treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including impaired motor skills and depression. Dr. Herz, director of the School of Allied Health Sciences Department of Occupational Therapy, presented his preliminary findings at the 2009 Games for Health Conference in Boston.
He theorized that the Wii, which simulates sports and activities, could aid in improving coordination, reflexes and fine motor-skills. Patients can use Wii as an occupational therapy tool on their own, administering a sense of autonomy and control.
In the eight-week pilot study, twenty Parkinson’s patients spent an hour playing the Wii three times a week for a month. These patients played two games each of bowling and tennis, as well as a game of boxing. These games were chosen because they require balance, a quick pace, and exercise.
Participants showed notable improvements in rigidity, movement, fine motor skills, energy and depression. Since depression afflicts an estimated forty-five percent of patients, this aspect of the study is particularly inspiring. Studies show that both video games and exercise can enhance the brain’s ability to produce dopamine. Dr. Herz believes that is why the Wii’s exercise aspect has such a positive effect on patients.
Although Dr. Herz doesn’t claim to have found an alternative to medicine, he is certain that game systems are truly the future of rehabilitation. It seems fairly obvious that these effects should be explored further – for PD as well as other neurological and degenerative disorders.
British physiotherapist Rebecca Redmond has created a website (wiihabilitation.co.uk) and online community for people who use the Wii as a form of rehabilitation. The site has a place for both professionals and the public to learn and discuss the benefits of Wii. Redmond also posts articles and findings on her Twitter feed: @Wii_Hab.
After the Wii study concluded, about sixty percent of the participants chose to purchase their own consoles. As with any ailment, finding a remedy that offers relief is a welcome gift. Parkinson’s disease is on the forefront of stem cell research, with a cure truly possible in the near future. Until then, therapies like Wii should be used in conjunction with pharmaceutical drugs to slow the disease’s progression and enhance a patient’s quality of life.
Continuing our efforts to engage in real discussions with the leading members of the gaming industry and beyond, TriplePoint recently had the opportunity to chat with IGN’s on-camera host and staff writer, Jessica Chobot. Since 2005, Jessica has become a key influencer within the gaming community and we were fortunate to talk with Jessica on her quick rise at IGN, social media, and oh yeah, the infamous PSP photo.
TP: How did you find yourself in your current roles at IGN and Maxim?
JC: How I got my spot here at IGN is a long and intricate story, so I’ll give you the semi-quick version. I was going through a quarter-life crisis and working as a model for quick pocket money and at EB Games for discounts. I had pre-ordered a PSP and the day it was released was the same day I had a photo shoot. On the way to the shoot, I stopped by EB to pick up the PSP, took it with me to the studio and during a break, showed it off to everyone and was screwing around and taking goofy pictures. One ended up being the “PSP lick” picture.
Shortly after getting a copy of the photos, I showed them to a friend who informed me I should send them to Kotaku to see if they’ll post it. I thought, ‘Sure. Why not?’ Sent them over to Brian Crecente and figured that was my fun 15 minutes of fame.
And then, things blew up! Brian IM’ed me and told me how everyone was asking who I was. G4 asked me for an interview on Attack of The Show. IGN hit me up to be a part of their Babes channel interviews (now called Stars) and I started freelancing for Brian’s personal site and FHM UK.
From there, I hounded daily until they offered me a job freelancing for their IGN Insider section which eventually led me to being hired full time as their main on-camera host for our shows (IGN Strategize and The Daily Fix) and event coverage (E3, GDC, Tokyo Game Show, etc…).
As for my spot with Maxim, that was more of a ‘guest appearance’ type of thing. Nothing permanent.
TP: You’ve transcended games journalism and have established yourself as a unique brand. Define the Jessica Chobot brand.
JC: I like to try and think of myself and my brand as the non-shameful female nerd. I say non-shameful because I feel that a lot of women out there are still a little intimidated by tech and gaming or, if they aren’t, are refusing to come out from their boyfriend’s shadow and step into their own limelight. Also, for the ones that are brave enough to stick their necks out, they’re often put into such a competitive position within their gaming/nerd careers; they find themselves attacked from all sides and end up becoming overly agro and defensive. And still another theme is for women to take the easy way out, show some tits and cash in on the nerd trend without offering anything of real substance or talent.
I find nothing wrong with any of these approaches…to a point. That point is usually reached when someone gets involved in the industry without any real passion for it. Or takes whatever shtick their going with and only half-asses it or attempts to be something they aren’t.
My motto: Do whatever you want. But if you’re gonna’ do it, then do it well.
TP: How have you used social media applications such as Twitter to connect with your fanbase and extend this personal brand?
JC: I use Twitter, Facebook and Modlife to tell people what I’ve got coming up, things I find cool that they might want to check out and sometimes just to shoot the shit. Lately, I’ve been using my Twitter account to sound off on the REAL AWESOME *sarcasm* United States airlines and the TSA. It’s a well-oiled machine and the TSA treats people with SO much respect that it makes me proud to think they’re the first people visitors to our country get to interact with. (Hahahahaha! Oh, I crack myself up sometimes!)
TP: What is the craziest PR request you have ever been sent?
JC: Honestly, nothing too bad. Wacky PR requests usually get dissolved before they even hit my office inbox.
Typically they revolve around the common denominator stance of: attractive girl in some sort of bikini or sexy get-up or some play off the whole PSP licking thing. I’ve gotten a little irritated by that at times because it just shows a complete lack of creativity. Nowadays though, the PR stuff I see come across my desk is a lot more funny and cool. I’ll admit it; I have no problem showing off a little skin if the concept is good. I just don’t like it when it’s the default and offered up with nothing else.
TP: What is the best way to pitch you?
JC: Pitch me something that is creative, pushes the boundaries, funny and proves that you have some familiarity with our demographic. Not knowing who our audience is a MAJOR turn off. It just screams volumes about how you don’t care and are making no effort to do your job.
TP: Any current games you are unbeatable in?
JC: LOL! No. I’m beatable in everything. I love gaming but I don’t think I’d be defined as a “good gamer” in competitive gaming terms.
TP: Any last words?
JC: When I go home tonight, I’m going balls deep into some Bioshock 2.
A recent tweet:
@madluv4iPhn Dear iPhone – I’ve met someone new named the Nexus One. I’m strangely attracted to her and need a few days to figure this all out.
I initiated a conversation with @madluv4iPhn to understand his reasons for leaving his iPhone. The first reason he provided is that the Nexus One serves as a much better telephone than the iPhone. Inconsistent coverage has been a general gripe of the iPhone user population. The Nexus One provides more consistent service with improved sound quality and fewer dropped calls. To be fair, iPhone’s AT&T service is greatly responsible for the frustrating inconsistency of their calls. Interestingly enough, T Mobile has served the Nexus One very well so far, despite its general criticism for inconsistent coverage.
Another captivating feature is the Nexus One’s ability to sync flawlessly with Google applications. Granted, it is a Google phone, but these applications are seamless in comparison to their counterparts on the iPhone. On the Gmail client, one can even sync contacts with Facebook contacts to include profile pictures and status updates.
Google has realized that, despite anti-texting/talking cell phone laws, people will continue to use their phones on the road. The Nexus One has taken the initiative to create voice command functionalities that make driving while talking or texting a safer endeavor. The “talk to text” function allows you to dictate text messages and has surprisingly accurate results. The GPS navigation system can announce the directions aloud while you drive.
In addition to the aforementioned capabilities, the Nexus One’s processing speed is incredibly fast, vastly enhancing the internet browsing experience. The 5.0 megapixel camera, trumps the iPhone’s and is complete with an LED flash. The Nexus One is an unlocked device, allowing you to choose your own provider.
The Nexus One’s multitasking capabilities add another level of convenience for the ever-busy smart phone user. Any notifications appear in their own section that you can view without interrupting other running applications. Unlike the iPhone, Pandora can play music in the background amidst other running applications.
When asked what he misses about iPhone, @madluv4iPhn noted the ease of iTunes, the apps, and gaming capacity that the iPhone possesses. The Nexus One’s media player is ugly compared to iTunes. The iPhone is simply a better gaming device and the App Store offers better apps. The Nexus One has hardly enough space to store games and the Android Market’s 20,000 apps leave something to be desired.
While there are in a bevy of perks that the Nexus One has to offer, the ultimate choice comes down to personal preference. The iPhone is a beautiful, simple device that even children can use with ease. The Nexus One, however, boasts the forefront in smartphone technology. Admittedly, leaving the iPhone behind was bittersweet for @madluv4iPhn. Even so, the Nexus One is his soulmate. You just can’t argue with fate.
Some of the most forward-thinking leaders within the entertainment industry attended the Future of Media conference today at the Stanford Graduate School of Business to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the media industry. The discussion panels covered topics including the future of interactive entertainment, television and film, social media and news, music, and entrepreneurship within the media landscape. It seems that while the future is uncertain, business leaders and innovators within the space see a shift toward more interactive entertainment as the long-standing distinctions between creators of content and distributors of information are expected to break down.
Terry Semel shared his views and predictions for the future of the industry as the keynote speaker. Currently the Chariman and CEO of Windsor Media, Semel was previously the Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! from 2001 through 2007. Before heading Yahoo!, Semel was Chairman and co-CEO of successful entertainment giant, Warner Bros. Semel predicted that the stereotypes of “Hollywood” as the home of content creation and “Silicon Valley” as the strictly high-tech hub will break down and become irrelevant. Semel believes that these two worlds are colliding as technology companies are interacting more with media companies and vice versa. Studios are no longer in complete control since user-generated content is becoming more prevalent online along with the rapid growth of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. At the same time, great technology needs compelling content that people will pay for in order to survive as people begin to interact with media on portable gadgets. Semel noted that traditionally straight technology companies, such as Sony or Microsoft, will provide other services because they want to expand into the media business.
One question that kept reoccurring throughout the day was how content will be monetized in the future. Semel had a simple solution for this. He declared that companies are foolish to give away quality content for free and believes that ads should definitely be used to monetize media. He pointed out that people aren’t so averse to advertisements that contain humor, exemplified by the tradition of households across the nation tuning into the Super Bowl, in part, to be entertained by amusing ads. Semel explained that social websites such as Facebook don’t have to necessarily charge their audience for access to their platform, but they can easily earn revenue from companies that want to reach those millions of valuable eyeballs. Despite the rapidly evolving media industry, businesses are still operating to turn profits and everyone seemed to agree that content will not continue to be free forever.
The entertainment industry has become increasingly interactive as people take more control of the media they consume. Since the emergence of reality television, entertainment has become less passive with viewers playing an active role in the experience. As shows become readily available on the Internet, viewers have more power and more choice. Execs in the entertainment world are still tackling how to keep up with the evolving media space. Although the issue of monetization is yet to be resolved, developing an interactive and engaging experience to keep viewers’ attention will be essential.
The explosion of reality television contributed to the deepening level of engagement that has become expected among viewers. Several reality shows, which are profitable for studios since they tend to be significantly cheaper to produce than scripted series, captivate audiences as they take average people and launch them to stardom. Shows like “Real World” and “Survivor” grabbed audience attention by selecting everyday people to be cast members and contestants. Furthermore, reality shows have evolved to include direct participation among the masses. For example, the phenomenally popular show, “American Idol,” encouraged involvement by allowing viewers to choose the winner through actively voting via phone or text message every week. Audience members were no longer mindless viewers but were asked to take part in the decision-making process during a specific time window every week.
Consumers are becoming accustomed to taking more control of the entertainment they choose to enjoy. TiVo offers greater flexibility as people choose what television shows they want to watch and when. Additionally, the Internet is revolutionizing the entertainment industry. People can watch their favorite shows at their own convenience while also becoming involved in conversations about what they saw. David Carr recently pointed out on The Media Equation that consumers are turning to the Internet and social networks to get a daily dose of entertainment, news and commentary. Carr notes that particularly with talk shows and reality series there’s no longer a need to watch a full episode because it’s easy to find highlights and must-see moments on Facebook and Twitter.
Social media allow deeper levels of engagement as consumers can comment on shows, share news instantly and even interact with their favorite celebrities. No more sending fan letters confessing love via snail mail—Twitter lets users engage in a personal “conversation” with favorite movie and TV stars, music artists and sports heroes while following their thoughts and random musings online. People are no longer passive viewers and in some cases, consumers are becoming producers, creating their own media on YouTube and sharing it across a vast network of blogs and social communities.
Entertainment is not dead, it’s just evolving. Ultimately, it has become increasingly important for the entertainment industry to invent more advanced and original ways to extend an entertainment experience across multiple channels, while allowing for greater user participation.
With all the buzz of 3D TV emerging out of last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including ESPN and The Discovery Channel announcing plans to introduce two channels with 3D content, a veteran network was making plenty of headlines of its own. By canceling Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. prime time talk show, a failed experiment that generated low ratings, NBC has found itself in a bit of a late night quagmire.
According to a CNN report, “The Jay Leno Show” ultimately had the plug pulled due to issues with affiliates, who had complained of terrible lead-in numbers for local news broadcasts. Now, NBC must figure out a way to incorporate its current set of late-night hosts (Conan O’ Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and the returning Leno) into the limited block of time that makes up its late night programming schedule. Rumors have circulated that Leno will move to 11:35 p.m., O’Brien to 12:05 a.m., and Fallon to 1:05 a.m., but nothing has been finalized and the parties involved do not seem pleased.