Posts filed under ‘gaming’

Games For Lunch

Sanchayeeta (MindShare, Delhi) writes: 

The GamesForLunch blog () seems to be a good ready reckoner of games with interesting and highly usable reviews from an avid gamer.

The blog is maintained by Kyle Orland who has been writing about games since 1997, when he started Super Mario Bros. HQ at the age of 14.  Since then he’s written for a variety of outlets including Electronic Gaming Monthly, Paste Magazine, Joystiq, Gamestop, GameDaily and Gamasutra. He’s the co-author of The Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual.

Games for Lunch is a playlog. Every day Kyle plays one game for an hour and blogs about his experience. At the end, he reviews the game based on the only real criteria that matters to him: Does he want to keep playing?

And while playing a game for just an hour really isn’t fair to the game as a whole. Still, Kyle feels that with the vast majority of games, you’ve seen most of what the game has to offer after an hour. And, if you don’t want to play a game after just an hour, you can pretty safely say it’s a bad game. If you do want to keep playing, you can pretty safely say it’s at least decent.

The blog seems to be functioning for both gamers (to get a sneak preview) and for companies (for game review).

July 16, 2007 at 6:35 am 5 comments

36 (Asian) Youth Facts in 159 Seconds

Ju (MindShare, Regional Team) writes:

The threebillion project put together a fascinating video on behalf of MTV Asia for the Music Matters Conference in Hong Kong late May ’07. The video features 36 facts dedicated to Asian youth in 159 seconds.

From threebillion: Whether it be teenage marriage in India, mobile phone usage in Japan, Filipino TV watching or Saudi Arabian Bluetooth porn, each market is rich it’s own brand of youth culture. This video is dedicated to the best thirty six facts we could find.

For those still waiting for the day the internet is free from censorship, here are all the facts and some screen captures of the video, courtesy of Global Nerdy.

youth-facts3.jpg

  • There are 3 billion people under 25 on this planet
  • 61% of them live in Asia
  • 67% of young Asians have downloaded music in the last month
  • Only 27% paid for it
  • Hong Kong youth spend the most time online per day (4.7 hours)
  • Indonesian youth spend the least (0.9 hours)
  • Young Filipinos watch the most TV per day (6.2 hours)
  • Young Chinese watch the least (3.2 hours)
  • There are 37.5 million gamers in China
  • 90% play online games
  • Weekly, Korean teenagers will spend
    • 14 hours on the computer…
    • .12.8 hours watching TV
    • 0.7 hours reading newspapers
  • Taiwan has the highest teenage birthrate in Asia
  • South Korea has the lowest
  • 45% of young Japanese women said they were in love
  • Only 30% of young Japanese men said the same
  • 82% of Japanese teen males said they used contraception the first time they had sex
  • Only 12% of Japanese 20-year-olds use the home PC to access the internet — the same level as 50-year-olds — they’re using their mobile phones instead
  • 26% of all youth deaths in China are from suicide
  • In India, 50% of girls will be married before they are 18
  • In Nepal, the rate is 60%
  • 85% of Korean teenagers own a cell phone
  • They send an average of 60 messages per day
  • 46% of students send messages in class
  • “Our children are seriously addicted to cell phones” — Parent’s Union Spokesperson
  • Chinese people spend 10x more money on the internet than people in the west
  • It represents 10% of their monthly income
  • Who prefers a laid-back hassle-free lifestyle?
    • 14% of Chinese teens
    • 22% of South Korean teens
    • 43% of Japanese teens
  • 99% of Saudi teens use Bluetooth
  • 99% said that the device had broken social taboos
  • 85% said it was safe for communication with the opposite sex
  • 69% of messages exchanged by Saudi teens were pornographic

June 18, 2007 at 1:31 pm 4 comments

84% of Second Life residents live outside US

James (MindShare Asia-Pacific) writes:

We all know that Second Life is popular, growing fast, and that all forms of innovative media and branding experiments are taking place there. What I didn’t know, is just how international the community is, and how Euro-centric it has become. A comScore press release from last week breaks the geographical regions out, and indicates that Asia currently stands at 13%. With local virtual worlds popping up now in China and Japan, especially, it will be interesting to see if this figure rises…

n March, 61 percent of active Second Life residents were from Europe, compared to 19 percent from North America, and 13 percent from Asia Pacific.  In addition, 61 percent of residents were male while 39 percent were female. 

Geographical Location of Second Life Residents Who Logged-in During January and March 2007

Unique People, Age 15+

Total Worldwide Audience – Home and Work Locations*

Source: comScore World Metrix 

Mar-07

(000)

Percent of Total Active Residents

Increase In Active Residents

Mar-07 vs. Jan-07

Worldwide

1,283**

100%**

46%

Europe

777

61%

32%

    Germany

209

16%

70%

    France

104

8%

53%

    UK

72

6%

24%

North America

243

19%

103%

    USA

207

16%

92%

Asia Pacific

167

13%

N/A***

Latin America

77

6%

26%

Middle East & Africa

20

2%

N/A***

*Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

** Sum of components may equal more than total due to rounding

*** N/A – Residents in January below minimum reporting standard

May 7, 2007 at 5:16 am 4 comments

Porn video glasses from Taiwan – a coming trend

 vid-glasses-guy.jpg 

James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes: 

At first I laughed at this Digital Journal article Watch porn in public with new video glasses. It’s well-known that the porn industry often pioneers new technology – VHS, internet payment, broadband video sites.

But it wasn’t until I just listened to Ross Dawson’s excellent podcast interview where he discussed video glasses and fold-out screens, that I grasped the underlying importance of this technology, especially for our business… 

First the news: 

Visitors at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo held this week were asked by Victor Quitoriano to try out a new technology that allows for intimate video viewing session complete with audio through an ear piece.

The model was shown at the Sands Exposition Center just a day earlier.“Our technology crosses over,” Quitoriano told AFP. “The videos we showed there weren’t porn, because we didn’t want to offend anybody. Here, it’s different. Imagine you can take your porn all over the place; in a plane or a train, but not in the car unless you are the passenger.

The new glasses are made in Taiwan and sold by Quitoriano’s California based company Body Care and connect to all the latest video playing devices including Xbox 360 and PS3 game consoles as well as iPods and Zune mp3 players. The new models being shown cost about $349.00 but were discounted for show-goers. 

I’ve never heard of video glasses before, but a quick google search revealed a number of new products in the market, such as this review for a brand called iTheater. Here’s some highlights of that product and a photo:

  • weighs 3 ounces.
  • video is at a 230,000 pixel resolution
  • audio is surround sound.
  • hook up your game consoles, DVD players, computers, iPod (video), or other video playing players.
  • Like playing games or watching your DVDs on a 50 inch screen.

itheater-glasses.jpgSo what’s the significance? Very soon our mobile phones, video iPods and other devices will be capable of storing many hours of content. Online gaming can be played. TV can be streamed to devices. Already in Korea millions are watching TV on their mobile devices.

One of the main arguments against adoption of mobile TV has been the uncomfortable experience of ‘staring at a small screen’. With video glasses, and roll-out or fold-out screens, that potential adoption barrier will also be removed.

 To understand more of the implications of consuming content on the go, and especially mobile social networking, you should read Ross Dawson’s blog entry and listen to the podcast.

January 25, 2007 at 3:26 pm 2 comments

Why give FIFA 07 away for free in Korea

  James (MindShare regional, Singapore) writes: 

Eric Pfanner at IHT just wrote an excellent, well-researched article Internet pushes the concept of ‘free’ content, supported by advertising.

I recommend you to read the full article, which explores the overall trend towards giving content and other media and services away for free, and the huge burden companies are putting on advertising to provide the long-term business model. We see the same trend in (free) newspapers, music, mobile services and other areas. 

In Asia of course, where piracy is rampant, and consumers are far less willing to pay for content in general, this trend is likely to be accelerated. Here are the two Asian examples from the article:

“FIFA 07,” a video game for soccer fans, costs around €50 in
Europe. In South Korea, five million players have downloaded the online version free — yet Electronic Arts, the publisher, is cheering them on. Realizing that it was impossible to sell “FIFA Online” in a country where piracy is rampant, Electronic Arts started giving away the game last spring. Once the players were hooked, the company offered for sale ways to gain an edge on opponents; extending the career of a star player, for instance, costs less than $1. Since May, Electronic Arts has sold 700,000 of these enhancements.

Even in China, where piracy is widespread, EMI Music agreed this week to make its music available for a free, ad- supported service run by Baidu, the country’s largest search engine.

I’ve also pulled out some other juicy facts/examples from the article:

  • At least 28 million free newspapers are distributed every day around the world, 19 million of them in Europe, where the total has doubled over the past three years.
  • After several years of heavy promotion, digital sales made up only 10 percent of total music industry revenue in 2006
  • AOL, formerly a subscription service, has opened its Internet portals in the United States and Europe to all Internet users, free of charge, in the hope of appealing to more advertisers that way.
  • According to a survey of 130 media executives from around the world, conducted recently by Accenture, 31 percent forecast that subscription models would be the dominant business model in five years’ time, with 25 percent opting for so-called pay-per-play funding. But 37 percent said advertiser financing would be the predominant business model in five years’ time.
  • Worldwide, media spending by consumers and business users still handily outstrips advertising, by $944 billion to $385 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers

January 19, 2007 at 5:36 pm 1 comment

5 year-old Big Switchers

David (MindShare, Thailand) writes: 

The nerderati may be getting their virtual knickers in a twist about the iPhone, but preadolescent girls are far more concerned with Tamagotchi’s latest offering, the V4 Connections model.

tomagotchi.jpg

The little virtual pet doesn’t just talk to other Tamagotchis these days. By playing console or online games, owners can win codes to unlock secrets on their pets. They can go to school get a job, get married and procreate. The website <http://www.tamatown.com/> hosts a burgeoning online community. While marketers and agencies prattle on about convergence, our 5 year-old daughters are getting on with it courtesy of Bandai, the makers of all things Tama.. The only upside to the tyrannical hold this little beeping monster has over my daughter is the fact that it has finally given her parents some bargaining power in the form of “no chores = no Tamagotchi”. And I know how to turn off the sound effects.

January 18, 2007 at 9:46 am 2 comments

IBM stages Australian Open in Second Life

James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes:

I just found this via Andrew (MindShare Melbourne) at his great blog Under the Rotunda  . Above is a rather crude demo video, but the plan is to recreate live matches. It seems quite ambitious. There’s a great write-up at The Age:

 IBM, which provides the IT services and technology backbone for Tennis Australia’s Grand Slam tournament, has built a three dimensional facsimile of the Melbourne Tennis Centre complex inside a virtual world called Second Life.

Over the duration of the two week tournament, data will be fed from games in the real Rod Laver Arena into the unreal one, nano seconds after happens.

The feed will come from game-tracking technologies such as the line-calling system HawkEye, PointTracker which plots shots and ball trajectories and Speed Serve which clocks the players’ serves.

Computers then crunch the numbers to recreate the positioning of the ball inside the virtual stadium. And avatars, 3-D characters representing the players, can simulate strokes made by Roger Federer or Alicia Molik – or whoever is playing at the time.

Interestingly, IBM has made it an exclusive experience:

The bad news is that tickets to the virtual centre court may be harder to come by than ones to the real thing. Mr Kasell says that, at least for the duration of the tournament, IBM is keeping this an invitation-only affair.

January 16, 2007 at 1:17 am 4 comments

In-game advertising fails to engage

gaze plot of a driving game

Mark (MindShare Shanghai) writes: I saw this story about new research into the  (lack of) effectiveness of in-game advertising and product placement. The key highlights of the story are:

  • The survey was conducted by a UK research agency called Bunnyfoot
  • 120 game players participated in the study, all aged 18 or above.
  • Players were assigned to a particular title spread across 8 sports. Titles included Gran Turismo 3, NBA Live and Project Gotham Racing 3.
  • The results demonstrated a significantly poor level of engagement with consumers and exposed an apparent weakness within games to efficiently capture consumer attention.
  • Highest scores were found with NBA Live and Smackdown Vs Raw; however, recall and recognition figures were surprisingly low; a pattern evident across all titles.
  • PGR3 elicited no consumer engagement at all, resulting in 0% on all scores.

It’s interesting to see what appears to be some properly conducted and robust research into the actual effects on gamers of media placement in the games.   That the engagement levels were very low doesn’t really surprise me.  Consider that for years we have been referring to different media environments as a variation on the themes of lean forward/lean back; expansive/reductive; different enjoyment/interest levels.   

It’s fairly safe to assume that most gamers will be highly involved and ‘lean forward’, but at the same time, they are interacting, which means their brain processing is focusing on how to escape the flesh eating alien that’s chasing them, how to get their virtual Ferrari past the virtual Porsche in front or how to tackle Cristiano Ronaldo as he runs towards their goal.  I doubt there is too much brain time or capacity left to actively notice (let alone engage with) periphery product placement.  I’m sure that simple brand and logo exposure must have some effect – one would imagine especially if it copies a real world situation (eg. Nike perimeter boards at the real Old Trafford and in the virtual game), but this article does suggest that in game exposure may not be quite so lucrative as some people (and vendors) claim it to be. From a planning point of view my advice is to try out the medium if you have the opportunity and believe it is right for your brand, the message and the target audience.  However, do a thorough evaluation beforehand to set benchmarks and push to do some evaluation, so you really understand the value of the contribution afterwards.

January 15, 2007 at 9:20 am 1 comment

Japanese Cosplay takes off in Asia and beyond

finalfantasy7-cloud.jpgcloud_strife_ffac_by_sleepar.jpg

Ju (MindShare regional team, Bangkok) writes:

You’ve heard this before – the vast amount of rich, multimedia information flowing rapidly and fluidly through the Internet and other digital means is re-arranging social network structures and creating new ones – globally. From a marketing viewpoint, this calls for a reassessment of the data sets that are used to define user profiles for consumer segmentation . In other words, ‘The Big Switch’ is favoring ways to redefine your customer segments for even more effective targeting.

One powerful youth culture nurtured, thriving, and spreading through these digital means is “Cosplay”, described by Wikipedia as: “a contraction … of the English words “costume” and “play”, is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from manga, anime, tokusatsu, and video games, and, less commonly, Japanese live action television, shows, fantasy movies, or Japanese pop music bands. However, in some circles, “cosplay” has been expanded to mean simply wearing a costume.”

The cosplay community is united by their costumed appearance and unconstrained by national boundaries. The blog Cosplay.com, self-described as the internet’s premier cosplay community, already has more than 50,000 registered members, and links to sub-blogs from 22 countries, ranging from Canada to Chile, and from Asia, includes Thailand, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan. The World Cosplay Summit is now onto its fourth year and its website features links to smaller national competitions in places from Singapore to Brazil.

It is rapidly entering the mainstream in the Philippines, where cosplay events are often held within an anime, manga, gaming, or sci-fi convention (source: wikipedia). In fact, the Filipino has their own established cosplay online community, Pinoy Cosplay, with at least 2,900 members, a bookstore, a shop, and forums discussing topics ranging from cosplay celebrities, costume-making tips, and cosplay-related products.

The cosplay society even has their own themed hangouts: pubs, restaurants, or cafes where staff dresses in cosplay, elegant maids, or butlers, and treat everyone like “Masters”. These so-called ‘maid cafes’ have already popped up in Thailand, Singapore, and Korea.

Brands have begun to attach themselves to this subculture: see Garnier’s Manga Head styling gel in the UK and Nike ID in Japan.

How can a brand capitalize on these passion-based youth communities, that are bubbling up virtally and coming together physically? I think this quote inspires many ideas: “It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.” (Jean Luc Godard).

January 9, 2007 at 12:09 pm 10 comments


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