Bespoke Custom Games for business – Works every time.

As the gaming community has known for a long time, a game is not just about winning or losing, its far more important than that. Games are increasing in complexity all the time and are now firmly rooted in our everyday lives. Recent daily news reports about the invasion of PokemonGO players to such diverse locations as The White House to Ayers Rock, causing mayhem in their wake, are proof of this. To ignore the power of games to influence people and create market share would be a mistake for business especially those involved in building their brand. The future of marketing is complex and apps and games are a very useful vehicle and tool to drive business forward. This is not surprising to us at Fierce Fun, but what does surprise us, is the amount of companies both large and small, that are completely unaware of the marketing potential a bespoke game can have to their bottom line. Not only do games have the power to influence our lives but they are a powerful force for marketing and in the area of education and learning.

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Generation Z and Social Media

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In a recent U.S. college survey by Fluent marketing and insights, conducted in March 2016, students between the ages of 17-24, (a.k.a. Gen Z)  were asked about the social media platforms they use most. The results are not surprising with Facebook getting a resounding, 67%, Snapchat at 51% and Instagram at 50%. Predictably the Snapchat phenomenon is continuing unabated with the steady rise of this platform worrying the Facebook executives.  33% of respondent stated they have increased usage of Snapchat and no major increase in the use of  Facebook.

However, it was found that Facebook retains its dominant position in the social media sphere, being the favoured platform for friends, family, and brands. But the findings indicate it needs to keep evolving if it is to keep its position as the default social media platform of choice. Snapchat and Instagram appear to be used by Gen Z for tighter close-knit friendships or groups.

The survey’s most interesting findings revealed what the platforms are being primarily used for.  

Facebook is the Daddy. Primarily being used for general digital profiles and regarded as necessary. Regarding advertising on Facebook, respondents indicated they preferred display ads as opposed to news feed ads. Despite Facebook heavily promoting  video lately, respondents still favour using specific video platforms like You Tube.

Snapchat & Instagram: The good buddy platforms. These platforms are used several times a day by the respondents and are used to communicate with close friends and their campus community. They are open to ads on these platforms if they are brief and not pretending to be content which is perceived as disingenuous.  

YouTube & Pinterest are brand central. Respondents follow brands and celebrities on all channels, but they seem to favour interaction with  brands on Youtube and Pinterest. They also like following celebrities on these platforms. Twitter is also popular for following celebs. Respondents expect  ads on these platforms, as they seem more brand oriented.  Adverts that service a need or address issues they care about are usually clicked on. The quality of visual content in Snapchat and You Tube, promote repeat visits, in contrast,  branded stories or celebrity endorsements do not engage respondent enough to buy a product.

Time is of the essence, but video is king.   Most respondents (74%) spend more than two hours a day on social media with just under half  (44%)  spending more than four hours a day. Video is popular on all platforms with You Tube, as expected being the top provider. Two-thirds of respondent watch up to two hours of video a day for entertainment, this may happen over several visits during this time. Unusually live streaming video conversation were not as popular as these figures would suggest, with in-person contact being the preferred method of communication.

 

Snapchat vs Facebook

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We all know Facebook loves your photos and family videos, for what reason, we shudder to think? They are now, yet again I may add, trying to move into the Snapchat space and create a cloned Facebook version of the popular app, we are reliably informed. This is an effort to push their 1.6 billion users to generate more images and videos. Why? Possibly for their data mining operation? The planned app will be compatible with Instagram whom facebook already own and there will also be a video app to feed to your facebook account directly.  

But I hear you say, this has all happened before, and you would be correct in saying that. 

In 2012 Facebook launched the facebook camera almost in sync with its Instagram takeover. It bombed, probably because they realised they were re-inventing the wheel i.e Instagram were already doing it and they were doing it better.

Later in 2012,  they tried Facebook Poke an unashamed copycat of Snapchat, it lacked integrity and people saw through it. It bombed in 2014.

Also in 2014, came Bolt, designed by the Instagram boffins in their secret hideaway lab (probably located under some obscure mountain range). A  secret weapon perhaps? No! It bombed as well,  a year later.

Then came Slingshot another Snapchat clone, a stand alone app requiring no Facebook affiliation at all. It bombed in 2015.

Last but not least, they gave us Riff devised in the bowels of the innovative but not defunct Creative Labs at FB, a remix and editing app, which also bombed like the team that built it.

So we are sad to say the track record does not inspire confidence for Facebook’s attempt to take the Snapchat space. Some would ask, why can’t they leave other successful apps alone? What’s with this megalomaniacal attitude of destroying all potential competition?

Earth to Facebook, competition is good, it drives innovation and just throwing wads of cash at something does not buy success. Hunger drives success that’s where Snapchat came from, that’s where Facebook came from for pity’s sake.

 

How to make Dublin the start-up capital of Europe

Many of the components are already in place to make Dublin the start-up capital of Europe. We believe Dublin (and Ireland) has real identifiable strengths in software development, rather than hardware. Owing to their nature, software businesses require less resources to start and, in general, grow faster. With the right focus and structures, Dublin has the potential to become the focal point for European start-ups looking to target the US and international markets.

We believe the following action points as important to further increase Dublin’s potential as a leading start-up hub:

  • Form a focus group of start-up CEOs to work with the various state bodies and give quick feedback on proposed initiatives
  • Create a virtual start-up package in partnership with Irish multinationals including Microsoft (Azure), Google (App Engine), Amazon (AWS) and Facebook (social platform).
  • Provide a ‘pitching platform’ to increase the number of start-up proposals reaching Irish and international funders and VCs.
  • Create a large open office space area for qualifying startups. If you ask most start-ups, office space is more important than funding during the very early stages. Even with virtual offices, physical teams work faster and more efficiently.

In Ireland and particularly Dublin, there are multiple stakeholders involved in the start-up ecosystem including incubators, banks, VCs, universities, multinationals and government enterprise agencies. Some of these organisations work well together. Others either overlap or do not communicate. This is a key area where the we need to ensure a more efficient start-up ecosystem.

The Olympic Gamers and E-sports

The Olympic Gamers

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The Olympics games for gamers is near at hand my friends. Not a separate Olympic Games but the actual one. Remember you heard it first here at FierceFun.Com. While Game developers like us at Fierce Fun have tried to emulate the excitement of live sports with our ground breaking animations and technology, check out our Rugby Rampage game, by the way. We never thought that the games themselves could become a sporting competition. But then when one thinks of it. Why not? Many seemingly strange pursuits have become Olympics sports over the years of its existence. I was surprised to see the following being regarded as feats of herculean effort.

Walking, I mean come on almost everyone, fortunate enough to have full use of their legs can walk, how is that a sport? Trampoline jumping, that’s just fun, so very dubious in my eyes. Synchronised swimming, hard yes, but a sport? I don’t think so. Roller Hockey, like ice hockey, but on wheels. Sounds a bit contrived. Live Pigeon Shooting, now that’s just wrong, at least us gamers only shoot at pixels. And what about this extended list which I will try not to pick apart as their combined silliness speaks for itself, Obstacle swimming, Tug of War, Le Canne (cane fencing), Club swinging, and Beach Volleyball. Oh sorry my mistake Beach Volleyball is actually very acceptable in my eyes.

Ok so anything can potentially become an Olympic sport with the right amount of money and pressure, I imagine. So next thing we need to do is explore the concept of the Gamer as an Athlete. Athletes are normally ultra-healthy. They need perseverance, fitness, stamina, single mindedness and determination. In fact athletes seem to be the complete opposite of gamers. Are not gamers anaemic, obese, house bound nerds that cannot even get up to make food, hence the need for copious amounts of take outs, which compounds the problem with regard to fitness. Well not necessarily. Gamers come in all shapes and sizes these days. The demographic has changed. “People of all ages play video games. There is no longer a ‘stereotype game player,’ but instead a game player could be your grandparent, your boss, or even your professor.” —Jason Allaire, Ph.D., Psychology, North Carolina State University and co-director of the Gains through Gaming Lab. In fact research has shown there is nearly an equal split in gender terms with today’s gamers. Yes guys the fairer sex likes gaming just like you do.

Okay, after discounting the stereotype view of gamers, let us look at the facts – Gamers do possess stamina as anyone who has done a 24 hour marathon session of gaming would know. In my case it was, GTA followed by HALO 4 then a few hours of Assassin's Creed. Gamers are dedicated for the same reason as athletes. They have determination to win at all odds, they are definitely single minded and with regard to fitness they may possess a unique dexterity and hand to eye coordination that is unique to their game playing. In other words they are very fit for performing in the gamer’s world or fit for purpose.

E-sports – As far back as 2015 E-sport has been sowing the seeds for its inclusion at some level in the Olympics games of the future. Initially a South Korean idea, this was an initiative brought about by their highly evolved E-sports network, the South Korean International e-Sports Federation (IeSF). But the critical event that points to E-sports becoming more mainstream is that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has agreed to look at the idea of competitive e gaming as a sporting activity. This is monumental, we all know how EA and other developers use the world of sports as a template for their games, but now the games themselves will be the sport.

So this is the playing field at the moment, excuse the pun, there is some interest by some reputable sporting bodies in providing a competitive sporting platform for E-sports. But the IOC , International Olympic Committee, are still some way away from allowing us gamers into those hallowed halls of Olympic respectability. But favourably, the gaming community has shown, they can host massive events and run them in a fair and professional manner such as the World Cyber Games (WCG) an international E-sport event in South Korea which attracted pro gamers from across the planet. Soon pro gamers will become the new elite sports men and women of this E-sports world. And just as pro athletes inspire amateurs in their chosen field. Pro gamers, will inspire ordinary gamers to go pro.

BOOT CAMP FOR THE BRAIN

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‘It’s a boot camp for the brain, well that’s the way I like to look at it’ said my good friend Donal as we both played the pre-release version of the Big Bad Quiz. He is right about that if you like questions about trivia and a good cerebral work out take up the challenge and register now for the free apps trivia download or sign up on our facebook page Big Bad Quiz.

As part of the Fierce Fun family of games this free trivia app promises to raise the bar of mobile trivia games worldwide. Big Bad Quiz gives you questions and answers, so whether you have been a fan of quizzes such trivial pursuit,  jeopardy, mastermind or an egg head or even a university challenger there are questions here to test your knowledge and to suit all tastes. The random selection of  competitive trivia questions is a challenge to test all ranks of quiz masters and remember this is a free apps trivia game.        

So what are the defining and differentiating characteristics of this fascinating new trivia quiz game?  It is not just The Bag Man with his razor sharp repartee. Other trivia games may have that. It is not the fact that he will guide you and encourage you if you deserve it. Or that if you don’t deserve it he will cut you down to size. It is not even the quiz itself extending over a fuller range of topics than most others including celebs trivia, sports trivia,  history trivia, movie trivia  places trivia, tech trivia, to name a few.

The main differentiating characteristic of this trivia game is – None of the above, this game is different because of the heightened level of competition, it revels in it. Or should I say The Bag Man revels in it. He has thrown down the gauntlet to quiz masters around the globe. Are you clued in or clued out?  Find out! Vindicate yourself, we insist upon it.

Take on the Bag Man and stand out as a quiz master with no fear. But do not unduly fear the Bag Man, it is true, he does not suffer fools lightly, but he has his heart in the right place. You will live to fight another day, with more questions for you to answer, more risks to take and more trivia quiz magic to enjoy. See how high can you go? Can you hit the high score table, will you be a global ranked numero uno? Can you handle the boot camp for the brain?

Try and see, believe it or not it is actually free.

http://apps.facebook.com/bigbadquizgame/

Hashtag Love

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Hashtag Love

The obsession is growing and shows no signs of abating whether it be for promotion of a business, a life hack, creating a global conversation or attempts to break the internet (don’t hashtag that by the way), the humble and previously unloved hash symbol, now called hashtag is here to stay… (for the present, anyway). After looking at the hash symbol for years on my keyboard and never having occasion to use it, I was amazed when it was reworked as the metadata tag of choice in the late noughties initially and primarily for Twitter, but now also used by Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.

We at Fierce Fun

We at #FierceFun like all game developers are reliant on them increasingly for marketing, and the phrase “where would we be be without them” springs to mind. Our new game #Big Bad Quiz will use a lot of pertinent hashtags to our enterprise, such as #MobileTrivia #BagMan to name a few. Our hashtags are intended to identify chat and interaction on the social media channels which may be pertinent to our business here at Fierce Fun. The hashtag allows us target the right people more accurately than previously on microblogging sites and so get our product out there. The Fierce Fun marketing content would ideally reach those interested in free online apps, quizzes, trivia games, trivia questions, for their smartphones. We would hope to reach them as seamlessly and easily as possible using the trusty hashtag.

Do no harm (to yourself)

Of course with the popularity of the hash tag comes responsibility, there are many ways to mess up the message, as millions of people everyday create new hashtags any one of which could be in some tenuous way relate to you or your product, service or cause. Hashtags cannot be copyrighted they are in the public domain and anything can happen. In business the more generic hashtags cannot really reflect or affect a brand’s identity. When a brand establishes a hashtag for itself, they may be using a campaign competition or promotion, but this can easily come back and bite them in the backside as it may be used as a vehicle for disgruntled employees or customers in the Twittersphere. Despite your best intentions many businesses do not anticipate the negative spin that could be put on a promoted hashtag.

A Little Misunderstanding

There is a great example of an international hashtag misunderstanding, which I credit to an article entitled  Hastagology 101, by Jonathon Crossfield of Content Marketing Institute, but in fact it went viral at the time. It refers to the death of ex United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A hashtag soon rang out with the announcement #nowthatchersdead. Across North America this hashtag was taken to mean Now that Chers dead. Same language different meaning. This is happening all the time and regional appropriations of terms, names or perceived celebrities is going to increase with the increased use of the hashtag. In the bible of the English language, (as perceived by those of us living close the source),  the Oxford English Dictionary, they give this following definition –  Hashtag – A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites such as Twitter to identify messages on a specific topic. But what about certain hashtag with acronyms which can be easily misunderstood or misinterpreted. One popular one is #FTW which is often taken to mean F*** the world, but in fact, I am led to believe, actually means For The Win taken from the US game show Hollywood Squares which would translate as a huuh haah moment as you throw your fist in the air triumphantly.  

And now the List – Top Ten Hashtags 2015

Of course the list depends on your favourite hashtags and it is a matter of taste and choice. But remember it is always hard not to look what’s trending as it blinks at you from the left hand corner of your screen. Because everyone loves a list, here are my top ten hashtags 2015 – I have collated these myself and they are an amalgamate of  top ten lists, and from a limited amount of research. The top ten lists vary greatly from Twitter to Instagram and to other channels. But I think the hashtags below are worth a mention, in no particular order they are regularly listed among all channels top ten – #Selfie #friends #Family #style #FridayFeeling #Food #Quiz #100HappyDays #LoveWins #FromWhereIStand

Brief Summary

Briefly to sum it all up, the hash tag is a tool like any other it can be used for good or for bad. It has many great business capabilities especially in the  marketing area and used wisely can provide, not only contact with those whom you want to reach, but also can provide precious feedback, which can be invaluable as we plan future campaigns. In #Fierce Fun we employ our hashtags when appropriate, for example when promoting our new games like #BigBadQuiz and we find it a very useful for our marketing efforts. This once lonely button on my keyboard is now starting to wear away from overuse. What a plaudit for the little character or symbol that is following in the footsteps of its bigger brother the @ symbol.