APNewsBreak: Egg group scrambled over eggless mayo maker

The American Egg Board, which is responsible for the "Incredible, Edible Egg" slogan, waged a campaign to counter the emergence of Hampton Creek's Just Mayo spread, and even tried to prevent its sale at Whole Foods grocery stores, according to documents provided to The Associated Press. The documents offer a sometimes comic glimpse into the alarm the egg group felt about the startup and its CEO, Josh Tetrick, who has said he wants to make the food system more environmentally friendly by replacing the eggs in an array of foods with plant-based alternatives.

Epic’s Unreal Engine virtual reality demo hits Oculus Rift, PS4’s Morpheus, and Vive

Epic's Showdown VR demo is available now to hype up Unreal's capabilities with the next gen of gaming.

Virtual reality is one of the oncoming technical innovations that has the gaming community excited about the future, and game developer and tool creator Epic Games wants to play a big role in that future.

Epic Games released its Showdown VR tech demonstration for free online today for the Oculus Rift development kit, Sony’s PlayStation Morpheus, and the HTC’s and Valve’s Vive. Showdown is a non-interactive cinematic video experience featuring a futuristic gunfight between police officers and a robotic walking tank. This is the same demo that Epic has showed off repeatedly at trade shows like the Game Developer Conference. Analysts are predicting the virtual- and augmented-reality market could grow into a $150-billion business by 2020, and Epic’s Unreal could capture a piece of that by getting studios excited for its technology.

Check Epic’s Unreal blog for more information about how to download the Showdown demo — or you can watch a direct-feed, non-VR video below:

If you’re wondering why Epic is releasing a VR demonstration for a development kit and two unreleased head-mounted displays, the answer is that this isn’t for you. The Vive is still two or three months off (maybe even more than that) and the Morpheus isn’t coming until sometime in the first half of next year. But Epic is releasing Showdown specifically for developers who may already have the tool kits for those devices.

Epic wants VR developers to see what Unreal Engine is capable of. The company wants this demo to convince those studios to choose Unreal when they go to make their first commercial VR releases. And Unreal will need that help as it faces stiff competition from alternative engines like Unity.

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Adobe announces newly integrated mobile analytics tools

mobile marketing

Adobe says its mobile marketing platform is combining some of its parts, namely the analytics and personalization tools Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target, to help app developers and marketers better understand, attract, and retain users.

Adobe’s mobile vice president Matt Asay told VentureBeat the new integration will provide marketers with a deeper level of data. For example, a marketer may now bring together, in real time, personalization data from a customer relationship management system with in-app behavior data to create a better, stickier experience for a mobile user.

Asay said Redbox has been benefiting from the new data integration. Redbox, remember, serves movies from thousands of physical kiosks, controlled by a mobile app. “They have driven great results, bridging their physical and digital spaces,” Asay said.

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Coinbase Expands To Singapore

Brian Armstrong (Coinbase),-1 Coinbase has added Singapore to the list of countries where you can buy and sell bitcoin using their platform. This is Coinbase’s first foray into Asia and it will allow users with Singapore Dollars to buy bitcoin. “Regulators have taken a fairly progressive stance toward the technology, and appetite for use cases like remittances and cross-border payments bodes well for… Read More

FTC settles with Machinima for paying YouTube influencers to endorsing Xbox One

Machinima app on Victorious

The Federal Trade Commission has settled charges with Machinima, which had been accused of deceptive advertising by paying “influencers” to post YouTube videos that endorsed Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console.

The FTC charged that the influencers failed to adequately disclose that they were being paid for seemingly objective opinions. The case is a wakeup call for the use of social media to endorse products, as many people trust online video producers and streamers similarly to how they’ve trusted traditional media.

Under the proposed settlement, Machinima is prohibited from similar deceptive conduct in the future, and the company is required to ensure its influencers clearly disclose when they have been compensated in exchange for their endorsements, the FTC said.

From VentureBeat
Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015 event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we’ll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.

“When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they’re looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “That’s true whether the endorsement appears in a video or any other media.”

According to the FTC’s complaint, Machinima and its influencers were part of an Xbox One marketing campaign managed by Microsoft’s advertising agency, Starcom MediaVest Group. Machinima guaranteed Starcom that the influencer videos would be viewed at least 19 million times.

In the first phase of the marketing campaign, a small group of influencers were given access to pre-release versions of the Xbox One console and video games in order to produce and upload two endorsement videos each. According to the FTC, Machinima paid two of these endorsers $15,000 and $30,000 for producing You Tube videos that garnered 250,000 and 730,000 views, respectively.

After that, Machinima promised to pay a larger group of influencers $1 for every 1,000 video views, up to a total of $25,000. Machinima did not require any of the influencers to disclose they were being paid for their endorsement.

The order settling the FTC’s charges prohibits Machinima from misrepresenting in any influencer campaign that the endorser is an independent user of the product or service being promoted.

Among other things, it also requires the company to prominently disclose any material connection between the endorser and the advertiser, and prohibits Machinima from compensating any influencer who has not made the required disclosures. In addition, it requires the company to follow up within 90 days of the start of a campaign to ensure the disclosures are still being made.

FTC staff sent a letter to Microsoft and Starcom closing its investigation into the two companies in this case. According to the letter, while Microsoft and Starcom both were responsible for the influencers’ failure to disclose their material connection to the companies, Commission staff considered the fact that these appeared to be isolated incidents that occurred in spite of, and not in the absence of, policies and procedures designed to prevent such lapses. The companies also quickly required Machinima to remedy the situation after they learned that Machinima was paying influencers without making the necessary disclosures.

The commission’s vote on the proposed consent order was 5-0.

Hulu wants to charge you an extra $4 per month to remove ads, but it doesn’t even work for all shows


Today Hulu launched a $12 monthly tier that offers ad-free streaming similar to what Netflix and Amazon Prime offered all along. Finally.

Previously, subscribers only had the option to pay $8 per month for full content access accompanied by “limited ads.” That plan, which frustrated many users, continues to exist.

Of course, there’s always a caveat: “Due to streaming rights,” Hulu’s new plan isn’t totally ad-free. That’s right, some shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, New Girl, and Scandal, will still display ads “before and after each episode,” Hulu explains.

Here’s the breakdown now:

  • Totally free: Limited access to content, plus about three 30-second ads every half-hour
  • $7.99: Full access to content, plus about two 30-second ads every half-hour
  • $11.99: Full access to content, no ads, with the exception of the following shows “due to streaming rights” — “Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon A Time, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal, New Girl, Grimm and How To Get Away With Murder” — during which Hulu says it will “play with a short commercial before and after each episode.”

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GamesBeat 2015 adds Nexon’s chief Owen Mahoney as a speaker

Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon.

Our latest GamesBeat 2015 speaker is Owen Mahoney, the president and chief executive of Nexon, the Asian online gaming giant that has created titles such as Dungeon Fighter and Dirty Bomb. He’s one more among the cast of characters from gaming who will talk at our GamesBeat 2015 conference at the Grand Hyatt Union Square on October 12 and October 13 in San Francisco. You can sign up for it now.

We’d love for you to come, because winter is coming. Gaming has many kingdoms: mobile, console, PC online, geographic, and more. In each of these powerful realms, companies are fighting to grow fast, to come out on top — and to cross boundaries to rule more than one empire. Playing the competitive game, making alliances, prepping for new platforms like augmented and virtual reality, and surviving the incredibly fast change in gaming right now is more difficult than ever. It’s more complex than the fantasy world of Westeros in HBO’s Game of Thrones … and it’s happening right in front of us all. At GamesBeat 2015, we’ll dissect how these kings and queens are battling for gaming supremacy and growth. We’ll find out who’s leading and how they are winning.

We’re screening our speakers for bold ideas, transparency, global strategies, creativity, and diversity. Our speakers show that gaming has become a global and diverse business with many intricacies and strategies. This year, we’ll have as many as 80 speakers and many well-known moderators over the course of two days.

Mahoney became the head of Nexon in March 2014. He joined Nexon in 2010 and served as chief financial officer and chief administrative officer until 2014, responsible for managing the Company’s finances, global operations, investments and strategic alliances. Under his leadership, Nexon successfully completed its $1.2 billion initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and formed strategic partnerships with high-profile developers and publishers around the world.

Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors

Above: Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors

Image Credit: Magid Advisors

Previously, Mahoney was senior vice president of corporate development at Electronic Arts from 2000 to 2009, where he was responsible for worldwide mergers and acquisitions and business development, and led all acquisitions and equity investments. Prior to that, Mahoney held executive positions at online and software companies in the U.S. and Asia, including PointCast, Claris Japan and Radius.

At Nexon, Mahoney has overseen an expansion to the West and a move into mobile games. Mahoney has signed up famous Western developers such as Brian Reynolds, Tim Train, Cliff Bleszinski, John Schappert, and Mike Borras.

From VentureBeat
Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015 event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we’ll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.

Mahoney will be interviewed on stage at GamesBeat 2015 in a fireside chat by Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, which provides merger, acquisition, strategy, and investment advice for operating companies, investment funds, private equity firms, and venture capital firms.

Our previously announced speakers include:

Graeme Device, chief creative officer and vice president of games at Magic Leap. Devine has had a storied career in games over decades. At Magic Leap in Florida, he is helping to launch new games that work with the company’s augmented-reality glasses, which can overlay virtual animations on top of what you see in the real world. Luminaries such as Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, say that Magic Leap is doing things that he didn’t think were possible. Devine describes Magic Lea’s technology, Cinematic Reality, as a “rocket ship for the mind.”

Device has worked on, programmed, and designed games such as The 7th Guest, 11th Hour, Quake 3, Doom 3, Age of Empires 3, various ports of Pole Position, Ballblazer, and many others. He also worked at Apple during the rise of the iPhone as one of the company’s iPhone gaming technologists. He is head of GRL Games, and worked at places such as Delicious Monster Software, Microsoft, Ensemble Studios, id Software, Trilobyte, Virgin Games, and Mastertronic.

Michael Pachter, research analyst at Wedbush Securities. He is an oft-quoted video game, social media, digital media, and electronics analyst with Wedbush Securities. He is also the head of research for the Private Shares Group, a Wedbush division which focuses on companies that have not yet gone public, such as Facebook (pre-IPO) and Twitter. He is regularly cited by national publications in the United States, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Pachter was the emcee at our GamesBeat 2014 event last year, and he was able to step in as a substitute speaker to talk about the state of the video game business. You can never catch him off guard when it comes to talking about the game industry.

Phil Sanderson, managing director at IDG Ventures. Sanderson is a lifelong gamer, and he has been involved in game finance for 20 years. He focuses on investments in gaming, music technology, ecommerce, search, and adtech. Phil started his investment career at Goldman Sachs and Robertson Stephens. His team has invested in game companies such as Funzio and Telltale Games.

Sunny Dhillon, partner at Signia Venture Partners. Dhillon is a game investor who joined the Signia team in 2012 after launching his own location-based mobile startup named Barstool and investing in early-stage technology companies for New World Ventures in LA and Chicago. He was previously an M&A analyst in technology investment banking at Rothschild in London. He serves on the board of Kihon Games and as a board observer with Signia’s investments in Super Evil Megacorp, Phoenix Labs, and Artillery. His focus these days includes investments in virtual reality startups.

Jason Rubin, head of Worldwide Studios at Oculus VR division of Facebook. Rubin has made some legendary games in his two decades in video games. His credits include the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter series, and his games have sold more than 35 million copies and have generated more than $1 billion in revenue.

He cofounded the Naughty Dog game studio, and in 2001, he sold it to Sony Computer Entertainment America. He left in 2004, creating the startup Morgan Rose to pursue various entertainment ventures. He also started online mashup tool startup Flektor in 2006 and sold it to Fox Interactive Media. He joined THQ as president in May 2012.

Shintaro Asako, the CEO of DeNA West. Asako runs the Western business of DeNA, a global developer and publisher of mobile games. He leads the company’s operations and corporate strategy in North America, Europe, and the rest of the West. Headquartered in Tokyo, DeNA has offices and studios in 12 cities across eight countries with over 2,000 employees and has delivered nearly a dozen titles that hit the top-30 grossing charts on the U.S. App Store and U.S. Google Play. In addition to launching hits such as Blood Brothers and Rage of Bahamut, DeNA currently develops and publishes mobile games for popular entertainment franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel, Transformers, and Final Fantasy. DeNA reported revenue of $1.8 billion dollars and operating profit of $524 million dollars in the fiscal year ending March 2014. It recently announced that it will help make mobile games based on Nintendo franchises.

Asako joined DeNA West in 2011, serving as chief financial officer before moving to the role of CEO in 2013. Previously, Asako was CFO at MediciNova, Inc., from 2005 to 2011. Prior to MediciNova, Asako worked at KPMG and Arthur Anderson. Michael Metzger of Mesa Global will interview him onstage.

Matt Wolf, global head of gaming at Coca-Cola. He is responsible for the company’s gaming strategy, partnerships, and initiatives across all brands. In this role, Wolf identifies opportunities to authentically integrate the company’s brands into gaming culture, sharing value to the gaming community while driving brand loyalty and building company business.

He has over two decades of video game industry experience to lead the company into all forms of gaming including esports, mobile, social, and console. As a video game industry veteran, entrepreneur, and Primetime Emmy Award winner, he has helped shape the way consumers play by contributing through key roles in creative development, marketing, and business/content strategy.

Chris Fralic, partner at First Round Capital. Chris Fralic is an investor in tech and game companies. He joined First Round Capital in 2006 and is based in its New York office. He has focused on a number of First Round’s investments in gaming, including Roblox and Mobcrush. Chris has over 25 years of technology industry experience, including significant Internet sales and business development roles since 1996. Most recently, he was VP of business development for Delicious and spent six years at eBay in sales and business development. He’ll be speaking on a panel on investing in games.

Niccolo De Masi, CEO of Glu Mobile. De Masi has been in the spotlight ever since the meteoric success of the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game. His company is also working on games based on celebrities Britney Spears and Katy Perry. Is this the path to mobile dominance?

Brianna Wu, head of development at Giant Spacekat. Her team created the mobile game Revolution 60 last year, but Wu gained more notoriety as a vocal opponent of Gamergate, the gamer-rage movement that targets women such as Wu with a lot of Internet hatred (including attacking a number of game developers while claiming it was about “ethics in journalism.”) She has since become a major figure in the feminist movement to make gaming more accepting of women and female game characters.

Emily Greer, head of Kongregate. Greer cofounded Kongregate with her brother, Jim, as an online site for indie games. They sold the business to game retail giant GameStop, and Greer is now taking Kongregate into mobile.

Rajesh Rao, CEO of GameTantra and Dhruva InteractiveRao founded Dhruva Interactive as India’s first major game company in 1997. He developed the business over the years with work-for-hire on titles such as Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport. More recently, he started the GameTantra incubator for Indian game companies.

Jessica Rovello, CEO of Arkadium. Rovello cofounded Arkadium as a casual-game company back in 2001. It bootstrapped the business into a major online casual-game maker and expanded into Windows mobile. But the Russia-Ukraine crisis caught the studio in Crimea by surprise. Arkadium had to shut down the office and relocate it, and Rovello and her husband, Kenny Rosenblatt, swapped the top job earlier this year, making Rovello one of the few top executives in gaming who’s a woman. And she was responsible for salvaging the company’s fortunes in Eastern Europe.

Ian Sherr, executive editor of Cnet. Sherr has covered games and tech news at places such as Cnet and the Wall Street Journal. We’ll have him ask astute questions of our speakers as a moderator. He previously moderated sessions with Kabam’s Kent Wakeford and the Entertainment Software Association’s Mike Gallagher.

Mike Gallagher, president and CEO of the ESA. The game industry’s trade association is back at GamesBeat’s big event as well. Gallagher is the spokesman for the game industry, and he always has something to say about its direction and growth.

Kate Edwards, executive director at the International Game Developers Association. Edward represents the game developers of the world, and she has emerged as a voice of for diversity, creativity, and fairness in what has been a wild and raucous business.

Our GamesBeat 2015 advisory board includes:

  • Ophir Lupu, head of video games at United Talent Agency
  • Jay Eum, managing director at TransLink Capital
  • Phil Sanderson, managing director at IDG Ventures
  • Sunny Dhillon, partner at Signia Venture Partners
  • Reinout te Brake, CEO of GetSocial
  • Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors

Thanks to the following industry leaders for supporting GamesBeat 2015: Game Insight as Featured Partner; Microsoft as Platinum Partner; RockYou and AppLovin as Gold Partners; TrialPay as Silver Partner, and PlayPhone, Fuel Powered, and Bluestacks as Event Partners.

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