Virtual Reality Gaming. Has it Arrived?

Virtual Reality was new to the market in 2016. But now has it come of age in 2017?

Virtual Reality, VR, AR, Headset, Tech, Games, Gaming,

At GDC in 2016, one, Patrick Walker peeped into the future to predict what is now occurring, see link below. He indicated the huge investment in VR of over a billion dollars in 2015/16 and this got a lot of game developers interested. But is it possible to prise the market away from the big boys? Probably not? Just look at the 2017 best selling VR games with games from Rockstar, Epic, Impulse Gear and Capcom all with big titles and new iterations of popular franchises in VR.

2016 VR hype shifts to reality thanks in no small measure to PSVR. It’s got good immersion and is now accessible widely and buy to entry is cheaper than rivals. PSVR has at the moment first to market advantage and will be an entry point for early adopters of VR.
All the big players want in and interesting to see the situation today as a gold rush. Suffice to say you need deep pockets to enter this market. Walker provides insightful market analysis on the non-VR gamers and their expectancy on the price of entry with just about 50% unwilling to pay over $350 for the kit. So unit price must drop to attract a critical mass.

Price is everything

He points to the price problem of upgrading your hardware to handle the VR. Understandably if PSVR can do this without it using a unique console it makes sense. So it transpires the players need deep pockets as well. What’s new?
He outlines the product providers with marketing stats research reviewing their ability to compete and how they are seen. These stats are from the time of his talk but are still very pertinent today.

Let’s look at a few VR providers.  HTC Vive (Steam VR) – Thought of as expensive with average content availability. Oculus Rift Considered expensive with not too many games. PSVR is cheaper with a good bank of content. Viewing the VR game charts of today ( Feb 2017) the game content for all platforms has increased considerably as developers are trying for first to market advantage, with whichever system prevails. So there is more choice on all systems.

In Nov 2016 the Walker said the market was saturated but predicted more of the same with new entrants waiting for VR to become financially viable for their brand. Again it’s a balancing act between console or PC with consoles being preferable. A disadvantage for non-console VR is that the system requirements for VR are expensive because VR requires high refresh rates pushed to two displays, it’s going to be fairly demanding.

Below are the recommended system requirements for the Oculus Rift, which are likely fairly similar to what you’ll need to support Steam VR. — NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater— Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater— 8GB+ RAM— Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output— 2x USB 3.0 ports— Windows 7 SP1 or newer.

What the players think

Reviewing VR games by existing or potential customers seem to highlight that gamers value user review as opposed to price, unlike mobile games. Logical really as the entry point into VR is so high that gamers expect to pay a premium price for a premium experience.
Other stats that were interesting is the correlation between VR user score and minutes playing which is not indicative of popularity, unlike other platforms, maybe because of the sea sick syndrome? However, retention is a good indicator and it is marked by players returning again and again. So varied metrics for VR games should be used to assess their popularity.

Walker gave some predictions regarding new entrants to the race, some of which has come to pass. He is also predicting Facebook and Apple entering the market and the technology advancing rapidly. He also sees Microsoft having an interest specifically in Augmented Reality or AR, seeing it as the preferable experience in the future.       But judging by todays parameters, he thinks mobile and social VR seem to provide the biggest potential for future growth. Walker provided a good overview of the market which is still in flux as we speak but consolidating by the day. As a marketer of games, I found it very informative and advise you to watch the virtual space.

VR talk VR focus Nov 2016 Watch it here
Patrick Walker EEDARTrack / Format Games & Entertainment Overview
http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1023900/Data-and-Insights-in-the

Responsive Games – Digital Marketing Opportunities

Most progressive marketers are aware of the value of gaming content as part of their digital marketing portfolio. With games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds, game playing is now a mass market entertainment activity, enjoyed equally by both male and female players. Generation Y and millennials have all grown up with games – they love them, especially the free ones!

However, with a proliferation of digital devices available to consumers, it can require considerable effort and cost to get your game and brand out to the mass market. Responsive games offer a solution to this problem. Using a HTML5 platform, Fierce Fun have developed a responsive gaming system that ensures your game can be played on almost any device.

We developed the game I C Words as a demonstration of the cross-platform capabilities of our system. Play it on your PC, Mac, laptop, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet…anything with a Web browser.

Fierce Fun responsive games

Play I C Words here

For more information on the digital marketing potential of responsive games, please drop us a line …. we love to talk!

Game Development Internships / Work Experience positions

UPDATE - these positions have been filled

 

We have 2 open internships available - see below for details


Mobile Game QA/Tester – Internship (part time)

Our development team is seeking a self-motivated individual with a good work ethic and a significant attention to detail…and they need to be a hard core gamer! This role involves coordinating and testing our mobile game apps on a variety of phone/tablet devices and operating systems.

What You Will Be Doing
- Test each new game build thoroughly and comprehensively

- Writing technical test scripts
- Report and detail bugs in the tracking database
- Organise Android and IOS testing with other team members
- Ensure our testing device database is up-to-date
- Managing build uploads to Google Play and the Apps Store

Ideal requirements:
- 3rd level qualification (preferably technical) or studying for one
- Patience and focus required for mobile app testing

- Experienced game player with in-depth knowledge of PC, console and mobile games
- Significant attention to detail and problem-solving skills.
- Excellent communication & documentation skills.
- Experience with Android and iPhone/iPad phones and tablets

Terms:
Duration 3 months
Days: 2 to 3 days per week
Hours: Flexible
Note: this is a primarily a remote working position. Candidates need only attend weekly meetings onsite (1). Travel/lunch expenses will be provided.


 

Mobile Games Social Media - Internship (WE) 

This Social Media WE role is an opportunity for hands-on experience in social media and digital marketing. Fierce Fun publishes its games on the Google Play and Apple App Stores. This role is suited to someone who is a passionate gamer!.... PC, console and mobile

This WE role has the ability to learn from the development and marketing team. Some the duties will include:

•    Content Sourcing & Creation:
•    Working with the Project Manager to produce effective content for the company’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and others).
•    Writing blog posts, social media posts and other communication materials for social media;
•    Researching mobile app and game market trends
•    Review and optimization of social media content;
•    Reviewing social media content for use in other digital marketing initiatives

Ideal Qualifications:    
•    Strong interest in communications, social media marketing and/or creative writing
•    3rd level qualification or studying for one
•    Good skills in Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint
•    Strong skills in Facebook, Twitter and/or blog software
•    Very comfortable using Android or Apple phones and tablets
•    Strict attention to detail and an ability to produce quality written content each week
•    Reads/knows games review sites and game bloggers

Terms:
Duration     3 months
Hours          Flexible and based on a candidate's schedule
Location      Remote work (mainly)
Docklands Innovation Park, East Wall, Dublin 3 (team meeting and reviews). Candidates need only attend weekly meetings onsite .Travel/lunch expenses will be provided.

 

Ogie – Ireland’s Digital Sports Pundit

Ogie was inspired by the legendary local GAA commentator Eddie Moroney. During the 90s, the videotape of “Effin Eddie” was widely circulated throughout Ireland - this was before Facebook and YouTube. He is a brilliant passionate sports commentator with a great turn of phrase, as you will hear. It’s also no holds barred stuff, for real sports fans!  I licensed a sample of his audio to create a demo for our digital sports pundit Ogie.

If you are interested in exclusively licensing Ogie for brand or marketing purposes, drop us a line and tell us your story.

Fierce Fun at Dublin Comic Con 2016

Dublin Comic Con

What an event!

Colour, costumes, characters……..great fun all-round. Thanks to Pulse College for inviting us to participate in the GameDev Zone in Comic Con. It was my first time at a Comic Con and all I can say is ….wow! It is a real day out for scifi/fantasy fans and everyone else – highly recommended.

We got great feedback on our upcoming games – always good to get feedback when a game is in development. Vanessa took some amazing pictures on the day – enjoy! We did…

Full Comic Con photo album here

 

 

Dublin Comic Con

Big Data and Gaming

Big data gaming

As the gaming industry continues to grow, it is no wonder that commentators see Big Data analytics as the perfect development tool in this progression. The phenomenal growth of gaming worldwide with an estimated two billion gamers creates a convenient data flow, which if managed correctly can drive user engagement to an even more intuitive experience. Looking at gaming in the USA it is incredible to think that it is bigger than the movie industry, which annually has a figure of $8 billion spent on ticketsales. Compare this with $20 billion in revenue for the gaming industry in the US and you begin to see the possibilities for Big Data in this scenario. The possibilities are immense, Big Data can be used to drive advertising in games and radically increase the player involvement and interaction with the game itself.

Tailored Marketing and the Game

Game players online and offline are constantly leaving behind masses of data which if collected and managed correctly can lead to a more personal experience for the participant. Much like a personalised shopping experience on the likes of Amazon, where you are offered, what may appeal to you, as indicated by your previous shopping pattern, gaming can now provide this individual choice. It is possible using Big Data analytics to develop a marketing strategy built around the individual player or players. This will allow the Game Developers improve segmentation, optimisation and targeting of the different types of players they attract.

The gamer because of their data stream footprint, leave clues to what type of things appeal to them. All the Big Data now has to do, is create an appealing and bespoke collection of options for that player based on the information gathered. A marketing analytics framework can be built upon data received about players and used as an inducement for potential advertisers. Data is streaming from the moment we interact and play with a game, whether that be on social media, PSP, Xbox or on your Smartphone with a mobile App. Data gives the who, what, where, when, and how we play, and with whom. This allows game makers to selectively approach the players with a variety of offerings which may appeal to that individual. The advertising potential is obvious, but other enhanced options for playing may also be offered, maybe linked to the geographical location of the player or players.

User Experience

The competitive among us may require little motivation but with the use of Big Data it is possible to provide real time feedback for all types of gaming scenarios allowing player improve, if they so desire. This could be a logical step for quiz or trivia type games which value improvement as a key factor of the game. A game which encourages you to get the Highest score or be an online champion needs real time data and Big Data could enhance this capability.
Imagine the potential for trivia and quiz games if the player was continually challenged to learn and display evidence of learning as they played. This is bordering on the space of educational free apps which are designed for such tasks. But most quiz fans will recognise the need to learn and increase their knowledge for the next quiz online whether it be in music trivia, sports trivia or just fun trivia questions the pursuit of excellence in knowledge terms is absolute. We all want to enter the trivia quizmaster Hall of Fame.

Big Data and Developers

Obviously more Data crunching gives you more of a work load but with the right analytics onboard this need not be the case. It is possible to use open source licensing models which is an accepted data management activity. Apache Hadoop is an open-source data-processing platform and has been used by such names as Yahoo and Facebook. There are a raft of options available using the cloud or not. All the big players are there including IBM, Microsoft and Google.

The ability for game developers to receive feedback from the players can be immensely useful pointing to bugs in the software or highlighting if the architecture of the game itself is capable of being improved upon. Monitoring and performing analysis on millions of gamers playing your game can provide invaluable insights into which parts of your game are popular and which parts are not. Using Big Data analysis will allow individually styled enhanced versions of a game that appeals to a certain group of players or maybe even an individual.

There is also the predictive possibilities of using Big Data, such as when a game is launched and at peak time of play when the service can either slow down or crash as has happened in the past. This can be anticipated and the capacity can be increased to allow for these peak times, which in turn will improve the gaming experience for all types of players on all types of devices, social, Xbox, PSP, mobile smartphones.
The game now is for developers to keep up with the opportunities open to them using this wealth of information. Big Data creates new opportunities for developers to increase revenue with improved market segmentation and improving player experience, which in turn adds to the bottom line.

Contact us for more details on how we are using Big Data in gaming.

Advergaming, Branded Games and Marketing Games

Games Irish Digital Marketing

Advergaming, branded games, marketing games as part of the marketing mix are increasingly making their presence known world wide. This kind of marketing connects with the consumer in a fun but casual way, on all types of devices, but primarily on mobile devices. It seeks to provide positive experiences for the players or players, this in turn reflects on the specific brand or product connected to the game. Consumers are introduced to the brand or product in a positive and exciting way using this medium. They will learn about the brand and have a pleasant recollection of the experience via the games.

The usual array of internet marketing options like banners, pop ups, have their place; however they can be easily blocked by savvy consumers. Advergaming provides an effective and more interactive method way to engage with consumers. People increasingly use the mobile phone as their primary touch point with the internet. We feel its inevitable that marketing through these devices will become crucial to the successful placement of products or brands. Gaming has expanded its reach to beyond the traditional male audience. It is now a popular entertainment activity with the general public, with games now played equally by male and female players. Increasingly your customers as casual users can connect to play games on their mobile devices or phones.

Advergaming is not considered intrusive and can lead to positive social and viral marketing of your product. One great innovation in the online gaming area is the use of web gaming and HTML5. This allows cross platform game activity, working on all devices. You can play anywhere and even use devices interchangeably. Imagine starting the game on the train to work and finishing it on your PC in work (at lunchtime of course).

At Fierce Fun we provide full advergaming, branded and marketing gaming solutions. We can create a complete branded games solution for your business. Because the process includes building a storyboard visual,  you are fully involved in designing your own game. Also our developers and animators create a digital emulation using critical data on potential user flow. This will ensure you get a highly effective marketing solution, in addition to a great game. This approach can transform your brand and move your products to a new audience. So if you want to take advantage of the marketing potential of online gaming in the Irish, UK or European markets, please contact us.

ADVERGAMING

http://www.warc.com/News/Default.aspx?ID=34948

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_in_video_games

 

 

 

 

 

Unity Game Engine

Fierce Fun is moving some of our client code over to the Unity game engine. We have been working with it for a while now and are impressed by its game dev specific feature list. It’s component approach to programming takes a bit of getting used to and we miss running the main game loop ourselves. However our main reason for using Unity is its scene Editor. It really allows for  fast level editing and tweaking - crucial for balanced gameplay.

unitygameengine

https://unity3d.com/

Unity Game Engine
The Unity engine grants the user the ability to create a wide variety of games, ranging from the most basic puzzle solver to highly complex and immersive action adventures. Unity allows for the development of games in both 2D and 3D. The particle system in Unity is highly customizable, easy to use and to provides stunning visual effects. Unity’s ability to provide the user with efficient control over in-game physics is one of the primary reasons it's chosen by indie developers today. Another key reason to develop in Unity is the access to Unity's online community and its asset store. The asset store provides free and paid assets. These assets can be extremely useful and have the potential to save valuable time at the beginning, and even during, development.

Fierce Fun Unity Game Engine

 

AgriKids Mobile Game

AgriKids needed a mobile game developed to highlight farm safety for young children. The mobile game is designed to complement their full range of safety products including books and clothing. For full coverage of potential mobile users, the game had to work on Android and Apple phones and tablets. The beautiful graphics were supplied by AgriKids, with Fierce Fun providing game design and programming services. Fierce Fun is also providing mobile marketing services and advice. The first Android version is available on Google Play. It was launched to coincide with the National Ploughing Championships.

Get the app here on Google Play

For excellent farm safety information and products, visit AgriKids

Mobile game Agrikids farm safe

Mobile game Agrikids farm safe Mobile game Agrikids farm safe Mobile game AgriKids farm safe Mobile game AgriKids farm safe Mobile game AgriKids farm safe

Interactive Banner Ad Game

The online sales team at Independent News & Media required an interactive game that would fit their banner ad format. The game needed to work seamlessly on both desktop and mobile devices. Using our HTML5 game software, Fierce Fun created the banner ad game in a very short period as it was needed as part of an overall digital marketing campaign.

For Irish brands, INM provide a comprehensive range of digital advertising solutions – highly recommended.
Independent News & Media

 

Banner Ad Game

Banner Ad Game

Banner Ad Game

Banner Ad Game