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Will Virtual Reality Entertainment Ever Reach Mainstream?

July 11, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By Valentina Ferrari, Consultant, Executive Search

Based on the reports of several intelligence forecasts, the virtual reality (VR) industry is growing strong and is only likely to become stronger in the future. For instance, according to Greenlight Insights – the global leader in virtual reality and augmented reality market intelligence – by the end of 2017, global VR revenues will reach over $7 billion and, by the year 2021, revenues will skyrocket to a total of nearly $75 billion.

This is a very bold prediction and one that not everyone is buying into. According to an article by Todd Spangler on Variety, Spangler – a NY Digital Editor – is highly skeptical that VR will ever hit mainstream because he believes that for most regular non-tech and non “bleeding-edge creative” people (the vast majority of us), while virtual reality is fun and enjoyable, it simply isn’t a must-have product the average person needs or wants in their home.

The Roadblocks of VR Mainstream Success

In addition to Spangler’s belief that most people aren’t likely to make VR a part of their staple entertainment diet, he also points out that Millennial and Gen Z consumers (the demographics most likely to jump on the VR bandwagon) have short attention spans. This could be a problem, considering – at the moment – immersive VR entertainment experiences require the user to wear a VR headset, demanding their full and undivided attention.

Why might this be problematic? Spangler points out that according to Deloitte’s 2017 “Digital Democracy Survey”, 99% of Millenial and Gen Z viewers take part in an average of four additional activities (e.g. texting, social media, shopping, etc.) while watching TV.

With roadblocks such as these, Spangler doesn’t see how virtual reality could “deliver enough bang for the buck to ever become a mass consumer market.”

Several Industries are embracing VR

Although the NY Digital Editor has made some valid points, the fact remains that there are several industries rushing to embrace VR. In addition to gaming, some of these include: Retail, Advertising, News, Music, Hollywood Films, Adult Entertainment, Travel, Space Travel, and Health Care.

Even the gambling industry is seeing the “casino connection” between gaming and VR, noting the many ways that it can make use of the tech to enhance the experience of customers in the land-based gambling arena. More specifically, VR may benefit the rise of skill-based gaming and the inclusion of VR booths could entice non-casino gamers into the casino.

Moreover, it’s not just the land-based casino market that’s latching on to the idea of an immersive gambling experience. An in-depth look at VR casino games, reveals that virtual reality and gambling is a growing trend among casino operators (e.g. SlotsMillion) and software developers (e.g. NetEnt, Microgaming and Lucky VR) alike.

Huge investments are being made in Virtual Reality

It’s no secret that giant corporations like Facebook, Samsung and Google (each of which have their own VR headsets) are making massive investments in the industry to evolve their own products and customer base. In fact, earlier this year, Co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, said that Facebook plans to invest more than $3 billion over the next 10 years in VR to bring the experience to hundreds of millions of users.

With so many diverse industries taking a step in the VR world, experts in these sectors clearly feel that the possibilities virtual reality has to offer are worth the risk of exploration and investment. Such a broad interest says something positive about the future adoption of this tech.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is due to the fact that virtual reality entertainment is still in its very early stages, it is impossible for anyone to know if it will one day garner mainstream success. Still, positive predictions about the industry, huge corporations investing billions into the VR market, and more industries embracing virtual reality, could be a sign that there’s more to VR than it being a hyped-up short-lived fad.

BusinessDevelopmentExclusive InterviewsPR & Marketing

Matthieu Burleraux: PlayLab in His Pocket

May 14, 2017 — by David Radd

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Matthieu Burleraux is the Business Development Director at Pocket PlayLab. The company is helping to provide mentorship on different matters to developer Cupcake, which the company invested $1 million into.

“We are helping them understand how to work around game KPIs, including in user acquisition, using these KPIs to optimize the game as well as their marketing campaign,” said Matthieu. “For example, we are focusing a lot on the daily cohorts, the LTV45 associated to them, the CPI, retention numbers, etc. We are also starting to help them on producing visual assets for UA and provide mentorship regarding developing the game on new platforms.”

 

“Before making the decision to work with Cupcake, we looked at the basic KPIs (ARPU, ARPPU, retention, virality, DAU, etc.) and their evolution over time, but we also looking into UA KPIs such as the CPI they had, ROI on UA, etc.” Matthieu continued. “The goal was for you to see if the game was sustainable and if we could grow it.”

EventsIndustry

GREE CEO to Speak on Industry Change at Casual Connect Europe

January 23, 2017 — by Gamesauce Staff

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Andrew Sheppard has had a productive career – playing key roles at companies like Kabam, hi5, Electronic Arts and Outspark. Now, as the newly appointed CEO of GREE International Entertainment, Inc., he will share his expertise and insights with the audience at Casual Connect Europe in Berlin, Germany, as its keynote speaker on February 7.

So what type of experience does Andrew bring to the conference and what can developers and other games industry professionals hope to learn? Here is a quick look back at Andrew’s career and what to look forward to at Casual Connect Europe.

EventsIndustryNews

Get Your Funding On Track at Casual Connect Tel Aviv

October 28, 2016 — by David Radd

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funding-iconFunding is a vastly important part of starting a new studio, and M&A is vital for large companies to infuse themselves with new talent and fresh IPs. Casual Connect Tel Aviv has got both covered in the Funding and M&A track, where various partners will be on hand to talk about effective ways to expand.

Fast Track to China

One of the major elements of both funding and M&A is China, both going into and going out of the country. There will be multiple sessions dealing with this in China and Asia in general, including Doing Business in China: The Perspective of an Entrepreneur Who Did It given by Reinaldo Normand, Investment Partner at GameFounders and Entering Asia by Sean Lee, Chief Corporate Development Officer at Wargaming Group.

For those looking to be acquired by a Chinese company, there’s a lot to consider. It can be hard to reach out to such companies or even know what they’re looking for. Corum Group Executive Vice President, Jim Perkins, has dealt with several M&A’s in the region, including the sale of Digital Extremes to Leyou Technologies and will address the subject in the session Is Your Company’s Buyer In Asia?

Large Purchases, Big Deals

The panels for Funding and M&A also have a focus on the Chinese region. With companies like Supercell, Playtika, Smaato and Media.net being subjects of M&A activity and China, it’s important to know what’s causing these deals and what happens to the companies. In the panel M&A in China – What is Driving Acquisitions by Chinese Firms?, Perfect World Head of Global Investment Bill Wang, CV Capital Adviser Jim Ying, and Youzu Interactive Vice President of Corporate BD Yuli Zhao will be moderated by Jim Perkins, Corum Group Executive Vice President and will talk about all qualities of these acquisitions from both sides.

While there have been some of the largest purchases in the mobile/casual industry instigated by Chinese companies, some think the investments from Chinese companies into Western markets has only begun. Bill Wang, Head of Global Investment at Perfect World, Ringo Zhu, Director Business Development for North America at CMGE, and Reinaldo Normand, Investment partner at GameFounders, will discuss in the panel Jumping the Great Wall – Funding Insights for China moderated by Jason Della Rocca, Co-Founder and Indie Evangelist at Execution Labs will talk about what Western studios can expect when exploring investment from China.

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Casual Connect Tel Aviv 2015: Charles Bronfman Auditiorium

How to Pitch Your Company

The panels continue to talk about innovations that will drive investment, with voices coming from all around the world. Jim Ying, Adviser at CV Capital and Guy Bendov, CEO of SIDEKICK Games will participate in a the panel What’s the Next Big Innovation Opportunity in Games? moderated by Xiang Lin, Partner at Troodo Mobile.

Regardless of innovations, it can be hard to pitch an idea to investors. Jason Della Rocca, co-founder and Indie Evangelist at Execution Labs, will give tips in this session: Pitching Pro: 10 Non-Obvious Red Flags to Avoid When Seeking Investment. Sebastian Storfner, Director of Corporate Development at GREE International Entertainment, will also address the subject during the session The Changing Investment and M&A Scene in Mobile Gaming: Opportunities for Developers.

Seize the Opportunities

Whether you’re looking for investments or hoping to invest, there will be plenty of customers at Casual Connect Tel Aviv on November 1-3. Look to network during the formal events that will be offered, in addition to between the various sessions and panels. Find out more about the Funding And M&A track and more at TelAviv.CasualConnect.org.

 

EventsNews

Reaching Asia at Casual Connect Tel Aviv

October 2, 2016 — by David Radd

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The importance of the Asian market can’t be undersold, even to software companies in Europe and the Middle East. That is why Casual Connect Tel Aviv has several sessions dealing with China, Korea, Japan and the rest of the Asian region across multiple tracks. It will all get kicked off with Baris Ozistek, CEO of Netmarble EMEA, providing the keynote session titled Asia: Insights & Strategies for Mobile Game Developers.

East and West Transfers

asia-map-colorful-asian-regions-united-nations-geoscheme-31401299One of the largest misconceptions about Asia is how diverse the whole region is. There are many differences between Korea, China and Japan, and they should be taken into account before any developer brings their game to any of those countries.

Of course, it’s not just games from other regions coming into China; increasingly, Chinese games are being exported to Western markets. There’s plenty to learn from this wave of Chinese games, including things that Chinese developers should keep in mind from Western game developers. Tong Xu, CEO of Narvalous, foresees a Chinese game becoming the top grossing title on the iOS store, and will talk about that and recent trends in their session: Chinese VR Games and Their Affect on the Global VR Landscape.

EditorialIndustryNews

Supercell Purchase by Tencent Shows Mobile’s Unequaled Equity

June 21, 2016 — by David Radd

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Tencent has made huge waves, officially announcing the rumored purchase of Supercell. The deal will be for $8.6 billion U.S. dollars, and the Chinese internet company will own an 84 percent stake.

The Deal Detailed

A majority of these shares are being purchased from the Japanese telecom company SoftBank, which bought a majority share in 2013 for $1.5 billion U.S. dollars. SoftBank makes out well with this deal, having already cashed out $1.1 billion U.S. dollars in dividends and now selling for upwards of five times what they purchased it for.

The move was a final one by SoftBank president Nikesh Arora, who stepped down from his position. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son will remain in his role, which Arora wanted, so Arora will move on instead.

The news, however, was primarily about Supercell and what will change (and won’t) as Tencent continues its rise as the owner of some of gaming’s most important companies.

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