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

Game Development Services

Game Development Services

Fierce Fun offers comprehensive Web and mobile games development service for digital publisher and advertisers. In our games library, we have 4 different games types:
 - Rebranding Complete Games
 - Prototype Games
 - Custom Games
 - Premium Mobile Games

Rebranding: Complete Games
A complete game is a finished game, normally in a Web format.
Standard Rebranding:
•    Name change
•    Logo change
•    Links change
•    Text change
•    Game license (non-exclusive)

Prototype Games
A prototype game is a concept game that has been designed, with initial graphics and basic interactivity. As such, they can be customised within the existing design.
Custom Prototype Game:
•    Game branding
•    Level completion
•    Game license
•    HTML5 (in most cases)

Custom Games
•    Game concept (in consultation with the client)
•    Game design and documentation
•    Interactive prototype
•    Content assets (graphics, animations, audio, text)
•    Level design and production
•    QA and user testing
•    Delivery and deployment
•    HTML5, mobile Web optimised

Premium Mobile Games
•    Game concept
•    Game design and documentation
•    Interactive prototype
•    Content assets (graphics, animations, audio, text)
•    Level design and production
•    QA and user testing
•    Delivery and deployment
•    Designed for the Google and Apple top 20 app charts
•    50 to 80+ levels
•    Multiple characters, backgrounds and game worlds
•    High quality, detailed UI, animations and characters animations
•    Fully developed storyline and game scripts
•    Significant original IP development
•    4 to 6+ hours of game play
•    Cross Platform (IOS, Android, Web, Windows, Steam, Yahoo)
•    Integrated social media features
•    Cross promotional ad service
•    Highscore and player registration systems

 

 

Fierce Fun at CoderDojo Coolest Project Dublin 2016

CoderDojo Coolest Projects 2016 was so special! Our games Terminus and QuizTimeTrivia were a big success with the little Ninjas CoderDojos!

They were playing and giving us their feedback all the time!

We are working on Terminus game so keep up with us for more news and the free preview version!

But the most popular with the adults was Quiz Time Trivia, it is a generational thing. Check it out freeplayhttp://fiercefun.com/quiz-time-trivia/

Here are a few more snaps of the CoderDojo Coolest Projects in Dublin: see the full album here

CoderDojo Fierce Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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QuizTime Trivia has landed – Try it free on Android now


Fierce Fun Apps

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.quiztimetrivia&hl=en

Download URL  http://fiercefun.com/quiztime_download/download.html

Video  https://youtu.be/qD3wZNSuUo8

QuizTime Trivia Rapid Fire Fast Paced Quiz

Quizzes, like University Challenge, Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, have been tricking us with trivia, puzzling us with puzzles and probing our knowledge on the most obscure topics you can find, and we never grow tired of it. The fact is we love it. But why?  Quizzes are not new, they are the age old test of acquired knowledge. Well here at Fierce Fun we want to offer something new to the genre, with our new generation trivia sensation, QuizTime Trivia. It offers the player endless trivia quiz fun and is the fastest game online to test your trivia knowledge. If you are a fan of trivia quiz games and want to test your knowledge? Then look no further and try this, it never gets dull.

The Quiz reflects the highest form of human achievement.

So why is the quiz, such an essential part of the human condition?  People are natural exhibitionists and posers when it comes to what they know (or think they know) and seek the validation of their intellect by their peers. This is our basic competitive nature and is one of our unique human traits. I see the quiz and quizzes in general as the zenith of human development and it is a key ingredient in what separates us from the animals.

Some say that our ability to manage fire, speak, develop agriculture, write, and cooperate are the benchmarks for human evolution. These are indeed great achievements. But I say the quiz is our greatest. One of the most important human achievements is the pursuit of knowledge and the retrieval of it when needed. This along with our imagination, which we may use to create scenarios for our challenges is unique to humans, and has allowed us to make sense of our world and find answers to all the problems that assail us as a species.

 Origins of the Quiz

So what is the origin of the Quiz? Testing of ability has always been a feature of human society. The testing of knowledge, was common in early civilisations as far apart as Ancient Egypt in the Mediterranean to the Han dynasty in China.Most ancient societies offered education to certain members of the populace and passing tests of knowledge was a way of advancing yourself in society, just as it is today. Testing and examination through the ages came under a variety of names but the term quiz is relatively new. The use of the word Quiz for an intelligence test was first recorded in mid 19th century, when first used as a verb for interrogate. Later in that century it came to mean what it does today, i.e. an entertainment based on a testing of someone’s knowledge.

Earlier uses of the word conveyed that of an odd or eccentric person, as used by the English novelist, Fanny Burney  in a diary entry by her in 1782. The most interesting origin theory of the word is a Dublin tall tale, whereby the Impresario Richard Daly, bet he could introduce an unknown and nonsensical word to the English language and let the public decide its meaning within 48 hours. He had people graffiti the word all over the city and in two days it was the talk of the town and entered the English language. Whether or not the meaning was agreed upon by the Dubliners of the day is unclear but the meaning eventually evolved into the Quiz, we understand today.

Change of use.

How has the quiz changed over the years. Initially a parlor games for the middle classes it eventually gained respectability, when it was used as the basis for the IQ test. Intelligence Quotient or IQ as we more commonly know it, was devised to measure the ratio of the mental age of a person to their actual age. This was carried out by what came to be known as Mensa. Also known as the international high IQ society, Mensa, provide a forum for people of high intelligence, as judged by their quiz or test, to become members and to show off to each other, seriously, they do.

So the quiz had attracted the super brainy people. Mensa was set up in 1946 and was advertised as a club for those with high IQ’s, no dummies need apply. It was was set up by a British psychologist named Cyril Burt. The problem with Burt was that he was a eugenicist, meaning he believed intelligence was hereditary and that society could enhance the human race by allowing the brightest and best to breed. Eugenics had it roots in the selective breeding movements, popular at the time in Germany and Sweden. So is that why he set up this social club? For the intelligentsia to copulate? Possibly, but the interbreeding of the ruling Royal families of Europe over centuries, never produced one Einstein. So the evidence suggests it is codswallop. Mensa now say they are a social club of intelligent friends.

So dont worry if you cannot get into Mensa, all intelligence can be learned and help is at hand with QuizTime Trivia. This quiz is ready to take your brain on a rapidly moving roller coaster ride of unparallelled dimensions. You will be examined on your knowledge of, news, sports, music ,films, history, science, celebrities and much more. There are 150 levels of ultra fast rapid fire rounds. You will have to react with speed dexterity and wit, and every level you climb will get just a little bit more difficult. QuizTime Trivia takes no prisoners. Survive this and a Mensa test will be a walk in the park. Now you too can show off, take on the Bag Man in QuizTime Trivia.

When you reach the top level in QuizTime Trivia you too will believe, the Quiz is the highest form of human achievement.

 

The Olympic Gamers and E-sports

The Olympic Gamers

2016_summer_olympics

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.

Fierce Fun at the New Frontiers Showcase

DIT, in association with Enterprise Ireland and IADT run the New Frontiers programme, which is designed to help incubate and grow new Irish businesses. Several companies have come through the programme and gone on to bigger and better things. As a way of sharing these success stories, passing down advice, and arranging some good old fashioned business networking, they organise an annual showcase event.

Last Friday, on the 5th of December, Fierce Fun was able to take part in this event, demonstrate some of our products, and speak with other businesses in the “Hothouse” programme. Peter Lynch and Jackie Jeter attended the showcase and were both very impressed with what they saw and heard.

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There were five alumni of the programme, including Alison Stroh, from Dr. Coy’s Healthfoods, and Adrian Walsh of Checkventory in attendance. Both businesses have been quite successful in recent years, and fostered partnerships with more established firms. Dr. Coy’s products, for example, are available in stores like Brown Thomas or Avoca. Sean Mitchell, the CEO of Movidius gave a fantastic keynote address on adjusting to meet market needs and cracking into potential markets. Movidius, after graduating from the programme went on to achieve great success in the US markets over the last few years. For a digital company like Fierce Fun, which offers a product which is instantly available in all markets around the world, Movidius provides a great example for adapting our marketing plans and how to break into international markets.

The event gave us a great opportunity to showcase our company to potential investors, as well as getting some cheeky free beta testing done. Peter brought along his phone and demonstrated the Big Bad Quiz to a number of people. All of the reactions to the game were positive, and of course, since the game is designed to be a challenge, not many of the testers got past the first few rounds. For us, who have spent the last few months designing, writing and creating the game, this was a great thing to see.

What makes a good trivia game?

Making a good trivia game can be a tricky thing to do. First, you have to actually create a lot of interesting trivia questions, then you have to present them in an interesting way. We have seen many simple trivia games come and go without creating much of a following, while game-shows like Jeopardy and Family Feud are still going strong after decades. Why? well, the answer is two-fold.

First of all, they have a host. The host is a vital part of a game, whether they are making friends, sharing jokes, grilling contestants with tough questions, or just declaring them the “weakest link”, the host brings something unique and fun to the show. Second, each game-show has a theme, and just like the host, they can vary from unforgiving questions, to light-hearted fun. When it came to creating the Big Bad Quiz, we here at Fierce Fun took that information on-board.

 bigbadquiz_triviaquestions

Thus, the Bag Man was born. He is our answer to hosts like Bob Barker or Anne Robinson, and his style of hosting is reminiscent of the “You Don’t Know Jack” series of quiz games. The Bag Man is sarcastic, insulting, but always encourages you to try a bit harder, to get the extra bonus points, or just to wipe the smile off his bag.

When making a game, especially  mobile game, you need to consider the time constraint that people will be under. Consumers can’t devote an entire hour to a single session on a game. You need to be able to make a game that is engaging enough that it can be played during a quick-five minute break, or while commuting to or from the office. At the same time however, there needs to be a facility in place to keep people’s attention span over longer periods of time. Again, we looked at game-shows for the answer.

Rapid fire rounds were the best solution we found. You could quickly fly through a round or two while waiting for the bus, save your progress, answer a few texts, then come back to the game a little while later and pick up where you left off. Each round takes about ninety seconds to complete, which makes it perfect for “burst players”. In a survey of gamers in the United States, 44% of respondents said that they played on their phones for less than 30 minutes a day. Since the rounds are paced so well, and there is no limit on the number of rounds you can complete, the game can last however long or short you want it to. The biggest games these days, like Candy Crush, or Flappy Bird, also subscribe to this idea of rapid-fire gameplay.

 Finally, we added some really tricky questions to the mix to liven things up, especially as you get further and further into the game. The rounds might go by quickly, but they won’t all be easy to finish. Adding that to the fact that there are almost two thousand questions, and they all appear in a random order each time you play, means that the game will be fresh, and tough every time you open it up.

So that’s our opinion, a good trivia game needs to have a unique host, the ability to be played for short or long periods and above all, needs to be fresh every time you play it, in order to keep players interested.

 

Tax Incentives to attract Game Development Companies to Ireland

taxThis issue has come back into focus again as the UK government is now granting tax breaks to computer game development companies. Qualifying companies can get up to 25% relief on their development costs. Others countries such as France and Canada has also successfully introduced tax incentives for video game development companies.

Why are they doing this and what is the implications for the Irish games industry?

Currently the global games industry is worth over $80 billion. It is now the largest entertainment industry sector. As computer games are essentially software products, they can be developed in any country in the world. Forward looking governments realise the significance of this industry and are doing everything they can to attract game development talent and investment.

Ireland should be doing the same. We have a small (but growing) number of indigenous game start-ups and some high profile multinational game support companies. The IDA has done well to attract these multinationals to locate in Ireland but in general, they are here for the same reasons as most other multinationals. They are not here for game development talent – most don’t do game development in Ireland.

Typically countries offer a 25 to 40% tax incentive to game developers. To compete, Ireland should offer a flat 50% tax relief rate against qualifying development costs and only for the creation of original IP (intellectual property). With these stipulations, this tax break would ensure that only high value jobs are created. Within a very short period, we will get international game development companies locating their R&D teams here. Like the music business, the games industry is a hits driven industry. 1 in 5 games breaks even, 1 in 10 makes a profit. The top 10% makes the majority of the significant profits. So for a country to have a successful games development industry, you need a critical mass of developers. We don’t have the numbers yet in Ireland.

An attractive focused tax incentive would be a good start. As the UK has recently introduced their games tax incentive, Ireland should introduce one in the next budget. It is a competitive global marketplace for games development talent, we need to act quickly.