Archive for the ‘Gaming/Entertainment’ Category


Mobile augmented reality apps are on a rapid rise, according to the latest report from Juniper Research, which reveals that the increased interest will lead to nearly 1.4 billion worldwide downloads by 2015.

Mobile Marketer reported in February on Juniper’s research that global revenues in the space will reach $1.5 billion by 2015. Paired with the download data, the overall findings suggest that augmented reality is gearing up to have a solid place in the mobile sphere.

“Over the past 12 months the number of handsets that have the [mobile augmented reality] enabling technologies has risen from about 8 million to just over 100 million,” said Windsor Holden, principal analyst at Juniper Research, Basingstoke, England. “So there’s a significantly bigger potential audience for application developers to aim at.” (check out the rest of the story)


What’s been hiding under the wrapping paper at your house this holiday season: Android or iPhone? BlackBerry or Windows Phone 7?

Last week, we conducted a poll (poll) asking our readers what they planned to buy — or hoped to receive — as holiday gifts this year.

From the end user’s perspective, it’s a decision that’s often based on marketing and emotions, but from the manufacturers’ and networks’ point of view,

holiday shopping is a huge part of Q4 sales. And sales for some of these platforms could use a nice end-of-year boost.

While Apple and Google (Google) are enjoying an increasingly brisk tug-of-war for consumer dollars, selling millions upon millions of devices during 2010, Microsoft is refusing to report on initial Windows Phone 7 sales. And BlackBerry devices, though still a huge part of the mobile landscape, are definitely on the decline.

If our readers are any indication of things to come, Q4 is going to look exceptionally bright for sellers of Android (Android) devices.

Out of our 1,368 respondents, 41.2% said they were buying or receiving an Android device as a gift this year. Just 30.6% said the same for iOS devices, including iPhones and iPads. Around 12% said they’d be buying or receiving a Windows Phone 7 device, and just 4.1% were planning to give or get a BlackBerry. (get the rest of the story)

Disney merges offline, online with Google Goggles Disney is ramping up its marketing efforts to promote its “Tron Legacy” film

Google is working with five brands—Disney, Buick, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Airlines—to extend some of their offline marketing to the mobile Web via its image recognition application.

About a year ago, the search giant launched Google Goggles, an Android application that lets consumers search the Web for information by taking pictures of paintings, landmarks or products with their mobile devices. As part of a Google Goggles marketing experiment, the five participating brands have “Goggles-enabled” some of their print ads, movie posters and other media.

“This is something new and exciting we’re trying out for the first time—this is uncharted territory,” said Aaron Stein, New York-based spokesman for Google. “The goal was really to Goggles-enable ads that are not online and use Goggles to make it possible for consumers to interact with those brands online.

“Consumers can scan a Buick ad and learn more about the brand through this experiment,” he said. “I think it’s too early to speculate as to what this will turn into, but we’re really excited about this announcement and this is the just the tip of the iceberg.

“The purpose of Google Goggles is to expand the ways you can search from your mobile phone—you can get information in different ways with your phone, input text queries, voice search and with Google Goggles you can do an image search, and this is really just an extension of that.” (see more of this story)

Facebook CheckinCheck-in to places on Facebook

Facebook’s announcement of its mobile deal platform is a game-changer because it will likely encourage the adoption of check-in activities, providing opportunities for mobile marketers.

The new Android 1.4 update includes the launch of Places and Groups. With the launch of Places, people can now check-in to their favorite restaurant, museum, business or any other location from an Android phone.

“Since it launched two months ago, consumers have tested Facebook Places’ functionality, but there’s been little benefit to consumers for participating,” said Augie Ray, social media analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA.

“Facebook is now poised to spark a wave of location-based behavior that will extend beyond the relatively small set of early adopters who currently use services such as Foursquare and Gowalla,” he said.

Last month, Facebook reached a major milestone: 200 million people around the world are now actively using Facebook from a phone, more than triple the number just one year ago.

Single sign-on
As part of Wednesday’s announcements, Facebook made major updates to both its Android and iPhone applications.

The company also announced a single sign-on, meant to be a hassle-free way to log-in to mobile applications.

“Facebook’s ability to become a de facto single signon for all mobile apps will depend a great deal on how developers adopt this functionality, but also will hinge on the level of trust that consumers have in Facebook,” Mr. Ray said. (get the rest of the story)

Note to Hollywood: Multiple monitors does not a supercomputer make.

Think how awesome it was the first time you saw a lightsaber in action. Or how your mind was officially shredded when Neo mastered the Matrix. Technology in movies is cool. When artfully filmed, gadgets, gizmos, robots, and computers can captivate and amaze audiences.

But for every thrilling example of cool-ass tech, Hollywood seems to produce a tired, dated cliche. There’s the obligatory no-cell-phone-service scene in horror flicks. There are robots with ATTITUDE in science fiction. There are impossible user interfaces in action films. The list goes on and on.

Here, then, are the Top 10 tech tricks that are officially played out.

10. Zoom in! (aka enhance!)
You know the scene I’m talking about. Someone (usually a detective) loads a fuzzy photo or video into some sort of software that can manipulate images in implausible ways. Pan left! Zoom in! Bam! There’s the clue we were looking for, now clearly visible. This scene was cool in “Blade Runner.” Anything after 1982? Not so much. BoingBoing alerted us to this smart montage showing just how cliche this image-mapping tech trick is.

Read more:

When Facebook launched its version of location check-ins called “Places,” it seemed to put Foursquare, with its endearing badges and mayorships, in its sights. But Foursquare’s founder and CEO, Dennis Crowley, thinks his location-based game app will survive “Places” and thrive as more people get accustomed to sharing their locations.

So far, he’s right: Foursquare has had its biggest surge in users since the “Places” launch, no doubt from people curious about the little start-up Facebook was alleged to be “killing.” At a little over a year old, Foursquare is readying version 2.0 of its service, including new mobile apps and, potentially, some changes to the mechanics of the game itself.

In addition, the company is working on self-serve tools for local establishments to claim their locations and for brands to interact with users. At nearly 3 million users and 1.5 million check-ins a day, competition for the elusive “mayorships” on the service has become cutthroat. Even Mr. Crowley has trouble hanging on to the few symbolic crowns he has left. We talked to him about it in the video below. (check out the rest and the video)

With Teasers, Live-Action Spots, Web Films, Pepsi Partnership, Can Microsoft Top Franchise’s Past Success?

NEW YORK ( — Three-hundred-million dollars in first-week sales, two Cannes Grand Prix and “advertising” that took the form of a traveling museum exhibit. That’s what Microsoft’s Xbox got for its last marketing blowout for the “Halo” video-game franchise. With the latest installment out in September, how in the extraterrestrial world is it going to beat that?

After teaser shots, the marketing for “Halo: Reach,” the fourth release in the franchise, will ramp up this week. It will be the biggest game campaign from Microsoft in the marketer’s history, said Michael Stout, global product manager for Xbox. There will also be a robot.

More than 34 million 'Halo' games have been sold since 2001.
More than 34 million ‘Halo’ games have been sold since 2001.

Xbox is launching a website today through which users can manipulate a real-life robot in an undisclosed San Francisco warehouse to build a monument out of lasers for this game’s protagonist Noble Team.

Independent digital agency AKQA handled the interactive component, while Interpublic Group of Cos.’ AgencyTwoFifteen handled strategy and video. Both agencies were involved with the previous “Halo 3” campaign, which swept 2008 ad awards shows, including two top prizes at the Cannes Adverting Festival. (get the rest of the story)

Shared links have a longer shelf life on Facebook than Twitter, and Buzzfeed sends more traffic through re-shares than direct clicks. That’s two of the things my agency learned when we launched a stealth social-media experiment through a site we created called Jerzify Yourself.

Jerzify Yourself was created in January of this year, a week after the season one finale of the popular MTV show “Jersey Shore” that attracted an audience of 4.8 million. The site, written in a few days in Flash, allows users to upload their headshot onto a stylized body and morph themselves into a Jersey Shore “Guido” or “Guidette.” Or as New York’s Village Voice put it: “The gist is Snooki-grade simple: upload a medium-size jpg, scale the image to fit, choose your spray-tan shade, pick your pose — and holy Freckles McGee, you’re magically recast as a human meatball.”

Why did we do this? To evaluate the power of social media and spreadable content. As an experiment, Jerzify Yourself was highly successful in adding the much needed texture to our knowledge of how content gets passed along online. One obvious caveat here is that the observations below are based on a single experiment, so please treat them as such and not as some kind of immutable laws. That said, we hope our findings will add a new angle to the collective thinking behind online content dissemination.

Here are five social-media learnings that grabbed our attention:

1. The Invisible Impact. If you find yourself measuring the value of referral sources for your campaign, consider their total impact via re-shares in addition to the direct traffic they send your way. Counting only the direct clicks from any site is likely to underestimate the site’s total value; five out of six sites on our top referrers list sent almost as much traffic through re-shares as through direct clicks. It would make for an interesting follow-up experiment to see if this difference holds up for paid campaigns as well as for “organic” content. If it does, and this difference is measured, it would have important implications on how we plan media buys.

2. If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Half-dead. Dr. Henry Jenkins once made this now-famous remark about the destiny of content in the age of social media: “If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead.” Having looked at the data, we can now say with a degree of confidence that you’ll still get viewers if your link gets picked up by major online publications, but content that’s designed to be spreadable can nearly double the referred traffic through re-shares. (get the other three here)

Location-based social networks Foursquare and Gowalla are accumulating users (and headlines) with impressive momentum. While both companies have been vocal about reaching major milestones, we wanted to take a closer look at the data behind these accomplishments.  Based on our estimates, Foursquare is not only bigger in terms of both users and venues, but it also is growing at a faster clip than Gowalla.

For the past four weeks, we’ve been monitoring the Foursquare and Gowalla APIs to track growth rates, as well as to sample users and venues. This data was loaded into an RJMetrics Dashboard, which provided the results found here with just a few clicks. We will keep these estimates up-to-date with fresh data and you can view them any time at our Startup Data page.

Here are a few highlights from our findings:

  • As of today, Foursquare has just over 1.9 Million users. Gowalla has around 340,000.
  • At its current pace, Foursquare will surpass 2 Million users within a week.
  • Foursquare is adding almost 10x as many new users per day as Gowalla and, despite a significantly larger base, has a daily percentage growth rate that is 75% higher than Gowalla’s.
  • Currently, Foursquare has about 5.6 Million venues and Gowalla has 1.4 Million venues.
  • 1 in 3 venues on Foursquare have been checked into only once or never. That number is 1 in 4 on Gowalla.
  • The most popular venue name is “Home,” followed by national fast food chains like “McDonald’s” and “Burger King”
  • On Foursquare, men outnumber women almost 2-to-1. Exact gender breakouts are not available for Gowalla, but the most popular first names suggest a similar distribution.

(check out the stats and graphs)

Brands, publishers reap  rewards as mobile traffic
Adidas, one of the official sponsors of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has turned to mobile advertising

The biggest brands in the world are taking advantage of the huge surge in mobile traffic driven by soccer fanatics seeking coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Across all digital platforms—online, mobile, social media, fantasy, games and digital audio—ESPN is dedicating a full month of 24/7 news, analysis, commentary and interactivity around the world’s biggest sporting event. ESPN sold out its entire mobile inventory before the first World Cup match had even been played, with brands such as Anheuser-Busch, adidas, Sony, EA, Cisco, Hyundai and AT&T targeting soccer fans across ESPN’s mobile Web site, applications, SMS alerts and mobile television.

“You can’t overstate how big of an event the World Cup is on a global basis, and ESPN set this as a priority last June—it’s been a real focus of the company along with mobile,” said John Zehr, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at ESPN, Bristol, CT.

(get the rest of the story)