October. The leaves are turning, you’ve got that back-to-school feeling and it’s the start of a bunch of fresh new television series. So we thought this would also be the perfect time to introduce you to a brand new Advance Gaming Update. One year older and wiser, we’ve given her a little makeover and a new task - to bridge the gap between gaming and advertising. email@example.com Advance_Gaming Advance Blog
ADVANCE TALENT: CHRISTIAN FABER
It’s a well-kept secret in the Copenhagen advertising scene, but between the walls of our agency, a bunch of self-made game developers live happily together with gaming-industry veterans. They feel at home here, and they have always been a great inspiration for Advance_Gaming.
One of those self-made developers is creative director Christian Faber. His Revinyl music quiz app is finding more and more traction with music lovers around the world. We asked him about his story on a sunny Copenhagen afternoon.
It all started at a music store in Santa Monica, California, back in 2004. In the spirit of good old mix-tapes, the shop where Christian was browsing offered a service to put together a CD with your favorite songs. ”I had no inspiration that day and I had a hard time thinking of good songs I wanted on there” says Christian. ”When I saw the different record covers, it struck me that it would be nice to use album art to discover or rediscover music. Music quizzes are fun and popular, so why not combine the two?”
Revinyl became exactly that. A music quiz where you have to match songs with the right album art. These songs can come from your own collection or straight from the iTunes store. With a slider function, you can easily set the perfect mix between your own songs or yet to be discovered iTunes songs. From then on, it is all about speed, good eyes and a set of well-trained ears. With every correct match, bonus points can be won by naming the artist, album or song. As the game progresses, more album covers are thrown into the mix, turning Revinyl into the most challenging music quiz you’ve ever played.
But the idea started off a bit differently back in 2004. After Christian’s visit to the Santa Monica music store, the initial idea started taking form as an online board game. A horizontal screen for table tops was even considered, but then came the iPhone. The little device changed everything. Suddenly the idea took a big step forward and new skills were needed to develop a top-selling iPhone app. From then on Christian started educating himself on the in and outs of app development. ”It became something like a hobby.”
Together with digital agency, Spoiled Milk the first version was released last summer after a month and a half of full-time programming. But before the team could sell even one game, the app had to pass through Apple’s application process. ”To be honest, at first I thought we would have to meet with the Apple people” Christian jokes. ”In the end it was much more simple than that. We just had to enroll as developers and send off our game. The approval process normally takes seven days and you can follow everything online.” When the quiz finally hit the iTunes store, the work still wasn’t over. With so many apps competing for attention, Revinyl had to find a way to get the word out. By appearing on Cult of Mac, a popular blog about all things Apple, Revinyl got a head start. The website named it ”the best looking music quiz around”. Other blogs followed fast and by making the app free the first days, it reached the 'What’s Hot' list on iTunes and went on to sell 4000 copies in the first 24 hours. Not bad for a first app.
But Christian and his team didn’t rest after this initial success. A new version is already on the way. It will have a sharing option, a multiplayer mode for up to four people, and you will be able to buy the iTunes songs you just discovered through the app. Revinyl is a great way to test your knowledge or discover a brand new playlist together or just to rediscover those good old songs you lost track of a long time ago. "You'll bump into songs you'd otherwise never would have found" Christian promises. We have to agree with him.
GAMING FOR SCIENCE
We've had it all, gaming for charity, gaming for profit and gaming just for fun. But scientists at the University of Washington have now found a whole new reason-to-be for gaming: solving difficult scientific questions. After years of failed attempts to understand the protein structure of an enzyme that is partly responsible for the growth and survival of the AIDS virus, gamers solved the problem in less than three weeks. Until now, even computers weren't able to do the job.
The specially-designed multiplayer game Foldit used the three-dimensional problem-solving skills of normal human beings to interact with the protein structure. Players had to collaborate in teams to manipulate the enzyme, step-by-step into the lowest-energy model possible. These new models were then turned into proof-of-concepts by scientists who then fed them back into the game to create a next 'level'. With some positive rivalry involved, all levels were solved after only three weeks. A little bit of competition never hurts, we just never realized that it could also solve some of the world’s most serious problems.
Most of the players had little or no background in biochemistry. Maybe the perfect excuse for the economics department to develop a 'Financial Crisis' game to play on our Xbox's or Wii's. Surely we'll find a real solution ahead of our politicians and bankers. www.fold.it
MORE FLASH, MORE FUN
Multimedia platform Flash, which is used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages is about to get a lot more impressive. Apart from improving its 2D graphics, the Flash guys are bringing full hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the stage.
But what's in it for me? Well, you’ll be able to pull off some console-style gaming on your browser or even on your smartphone. It will also make those social games you play on Facebook a whole lot cooler. But that's not all! The new Flash will also support HD video with 7.1 surround sound. Feels like a party in my browser!
Developers can start playing around with it sometime in October. VIDEO www.adobe.com
BYE BYE SUBSCRIPTIONS
Hey you there! Are you still paying your monthly subscription fee for World of Warcraft? Of course you are, after all there is no other way to experience the game in all its glory. But in the not-so-distant future, you will think back on the WoW subscription model and say "oh boy, those were ancient times".
What everyone has been noticing for a while has now been backed up by cold hard numbers: subscriber revenues for PC MMO's and multiplayer online games are going down, both in the U.S. and Europe. According to Screen Digest, subscription revenue went down five percent between 2009 and 2010, from $1.66 billion to $1.58 billion. Luckily the two previous years were extremely strong for subscription-based models. Time moves fast.
But does this really mean that players are shying away from MMO's and multiplayer online games? On the contrary. While subscriptions slipped, microtransactions went up 24.2 percent in 2010, totalling $1.13 billion, resulting in an overall (mass) multiplayer online market of $2.7 billion in 2010. That is 5.3 percent more than in 2009.
Microtransactions are the engine of the new multiplayer economy, and it looks like they will be continue to do more and more over the coming years. Screen Digest predicts that in 2015, $1.8 billion of a $3.13 billion business will come from micotransactions. Both 'future' and 'free to play' start with an F, no? www.screendigest.com 3D'S FAILING COMEBACK
Are you sitting on your sofa every night with a pair of bulky 3D glasses on your nose? Chances are you aren't, just like most of your fellow media consumers. Let's be honest, that one movie you saw at the cinema was quite the experience in 3D, but like a visit to Disneyland, you don't really need that much craziness in your everyday life.
No, 3D in the old form (with glasses) was never destined to make it to the living room. It feels like a step backwards. Gaming companies are now realizing what a lot of gamers could have told them a year ago. 3D gaming just isn't taking off.
In the words of EA's CEO John Riccitiello: "We have not seen a big uptake for 3D gaming. We have not seen a big uptake in 3D TV's in the home. We are not here trying to drive a market. We are here to react to what consumers want."
You only have to look at the recent price drop for the Nintendo 3DS to know something’s not working. Let's see how much 3D we will see at next year's top gaming conferences. Wanna make a bet?
TRAILER OF THE MONTH BATTLEFIELD 3 – 99 PROBLEMS
COCA COLA ZERO GAMING
When one or two branded mini-games a year aren't enough for your brand, it’s time to start your very own gaming platform. At least that’s what Coca-Cola Zero is doing in Europe. The full-blown platform, where you can find everything from reviews to gaming cheats, is a co-operation with Sony and is available in 9 European countries though MSN.
According to a Coca-Cola spokesman, MSN is the ideal medium to connect with consumers through an activity that they already like to do. "The fact that we can do this in so many countries makes this a large initiative. We're proud of our privileged position. The natural link of gaming to our business motto ('making the impossible possible') makes this a perfect platform for Coke Zero. The Coke Zero Gaming Zone gives us and MSN the possibility to reach out to our public in the best way we can."
To get some word-of-mouth going, a Gaming Experiential Tour will travel around Europe where you can try out the latest PlayStation 3 games. If you are one of the lucky ones, you might even win one of the PlayStation 3 packages that are given away until the end of November. If not, we're pretty sure you can at least grab a free Coke Zero somewhere along the line.
THERE’S A NEW PLAYER IN SOCIAL TOWN
Actually you already know her. What’s more, you know her as being very social. Yes, the immensely popular game 'The Sims' has arrived in Facebook town. And what an entrance! 36 million players signed up in a just over a month (1.7 million new users signed up on September 19th alone).
With this user base, the EA game has nestled itself comfortably between the top Facebook players, only surpassed by Zynga's Empires & Allies, CityVille and Texas HoldEm. With such a strong brand appeal and the memory of countless hours of fun with the offline version, this title is bound to take over the social gaming space. In fact, EA games is making bold moves into social gaming. After buying out PopCap games, the EA boys and girls already seem to have their first social hit.
Check the updates of your Facebook friends for proof. VIDEO www.ea.com/the-sims-social LET'S PLAY TOGETHER
The next big hardware leap everyone is looking forward to is the PlayStation Vita, Sony's answer to the Nintendo 3DS and maybe even the iPhone. One of Vita's killer features? Its compatibility with the mothership, the PlayStation 3.
We already knew that the two devices will allow us to share saves across compatible games and that you’ll be able to share some inter-operable games between the two devices. But Sony Europe's R&D manager Phil Rogers let us in on some more compatibility at this year's Develop conference. "PS3 can send data down to Vita and Vita can display it. You could use the unique features of Vita like the gyroscope and the touch sensitive front and back as a control device for a PS3 game."
Sounds like pure compatibility joy to us! And on top of that, Vita will also have Remote Play, a feature coming from the PSP, which allows video to be streamed from a PS3 to the handheld device. Lot's of gadgetry to look forward when Vita launches at the end of the year. www.psvita.com
MUCH MORE GAMES
If you don't quite feel “gamed-out” enough after playing Sims Social on Facebook, Angry Birds on your iPhone and Sudoko with your grandma, there is a new home for games coming to a screen near you. It might be a little bit late in the race, but Google's brand new social network, Google+, is hopping on the gaming wagon.
Can we expect lots of annoying gaming status updates from our friends? And wasn't that kind of gaming clutter exactly why we considered moving from Facebook to Google+ in the first place? According to the boys and girls at Google, we won't have to worry about that. You’ll be given control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences. Even your scores will only be shown to people who are interested in gaming themselves. We really hope so!
Google+ games will include Zynga Poker, Angry Birds and Bejeweled Blitz among many others. VIDEO www.plus.google.com/games
WE LOVE THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE
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