GamesBeat 2015 features two mystery speakers

Mystery speakers are coming to GamesBeat 2015.

We’ll have somewhere around 80 speakers and moderators at GamesBeat 2015. They’re the best and the brightest of the game industry. We’ve publicized many of them below already.

But you’ll have to find out about two of them just by showing up.

We are withholding the identities of two of the speakers, by their own requests. They’re from a couple of the most interesting game startups in the industry today. Can’t say more. But please come to our event, event at the Grand Hyatt Union Square on October 12 and October 13 in San Francisco. You can sign up for it now. If you guess who both speakers will be, you’ll get a prize. We’re not sure what it is yet.


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.

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.

Our previously announced speakers include:

Image (1) graeme-devine.jpg for post 231646Graeme Devine, 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 they didn’t think were possible. Devine describes Magic Leap’s technology, Cinematic Reality, as a “rocket ship for the mind.”

Devine 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 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 has worked at places such as Delicious Monster Software, Microsoft, Ensemble Studios, id Software, Trilobyte, Virgin Games, and Mastertronic.

Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon. 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. 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.

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.

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.

Chris Fralic, partner at First Round Capital.

Above: Chris Fralic, partner at First Round Capital.

Image Credit: First Round Capital

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. 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.

Image (1) JessicaRovello.jpg for post 249014Jessica 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. Edwards represents the game developers of the world, and she has emerged as a voice 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; RockYouAppLovin, and Samsung as Gold Partners; TrialPay as Silver Partner, and PlayPhone, Fuel Powered, and Bluestacks as Event Partners.

 










EyeEm debuts new web upload tool that suggests tags to help monetize your photos

EyeEm 'EyeVision' screenshot

Photography service EyeEm has unveiled a new web upload feature which it says will help make images more searchable. Called “EyeVision,” it analyzes any photo in order to craft a set of suggested tags and categories to maximize exposure.

This announcement comes as EyeEm marks 15 million users — an increase of 2 million since March.

Beyond letting you simply snap and upload photos, EyeEm wants to help monetize your work. It’s building on the launch, earlier this year, of a marketplace that should help it further distinguish itself from the likes of Instagram, Hipstamatic, and Flickr. But if you want to get paid for your work —well, that’s going to require having the right tags, which can be difficult to determine because what tags are people really looking for?


From VentureBeat
Massive customer engagement through mobile? Yes you can. Join us for an interactive live expert Q&A — it’s free!

So what does EyeVision do exactly? It takes any image and analyzes it with its smart algorithm. It currently recognizes 20,000 objects (hat, shirt, man, sun), abstract elements (the rule of thirds, vanishing point, symmetry, negative space), and tonal elements (surrealism, sadness, alone, care-free, exciting), and is continuing to learn more. After processing the photo, the tool will produce a series of suggested tags that you can use to label your photograph within its social network and/or marketplace.

VentureBeat tested EyeVision by uploading a photo of Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella from this year’s Dreamforce conference. The end result was an aesthetic rank of “good” and tags that included “indoors,” “sitting,” “young adult,” “selective focus,” “real people,” “casual clothing,” “sofa,” and others. These tags obviously didn’t include the names of the people in the photo — it probably couldn’t because there wasn’t anything within the metadata or elsewhere in the image. But many of the tags it provided probably wouldn’t have been associated with the photo otherwise, and someone looking for these types of photos may be interested.

Example of EyeEm's 'EyeVision' tool

The tool only supports photos — don’t bother uploading videos to EyeVision, as the system can’t handle it.

With more than 60 million “authentic photos” listed in its Market, EyeEm says this tool is “adding ease to the entire photography process from shoot to sell. Image buyers find the photos they need faster and easier, and photographers save hours of time keywording countless images.”

EyeEm web upload feature screenshot

As mentioned earlier, EyeVision is a part of a new upload feature that you can use right from your web browser, and the interface looks pretty straightforward. After logging into EyeEm, you will find an upload button at the top right-hand section of the screen. The next screen is a drag-and-drop feature that will scan each photo and begin the editing process. You’ll be able to see each photo’s discovery rating, and will be presented with suggested tags.

Taking the same photo we have of Nadella, EyeEm’s upload feature pulled in results from EyeVision. Further down the screen, you have the option of adding the photo(s) to the Market. Unfortunately you won’t be able to do any edits to your work (such as applying filters or making any other corrections) —this is a big difference from the mobile app version.

Example of EyeEm web upload feature

Both of these tools will likely please the photography community, where many are still snapping creative and amazing photos using DSLR cameras instead of mobile devices. And some will prefer to use desktop photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Aperture to touch up their work before sharing it with the world.

The current workflow of getting an image on EyeEm has been pretty convoluted: Take an image, upload it to Dropbox or a cloud service, download it to your mobile device, and then upload it to EyeEm — now it’s a much simpler process. Like EyeVision, this upload feature will let photographers get right down to what they want to do — sell their photos — instead of spending needless hours tagging everything manually in an effort to maximize exposure.

With improved tagging, EyeEm’s recently refreshed Discover feed could benefit as well, showing people images that they have never seen before.

The EyeVision-powered web upload experience is available through an invite-only program. You can request access if you are eager to get started, but  EyeEm says general availability is expected later next month. Preference is being given to Market users “to help their photos get discovered.” It’s also only available on the Web, though there are plans to extend it to the company’s mobile apps.

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Lionsgate’s Peter Levin talks the intersection of movies and games at GamesBeat 2015

Peter Levin, Lionsgate's president of interactive ventures and games, has been booked as a GamesBeat 2015 speaker.

Long-time entertainment industry kingmaker Peter Levin, now president of interactive ventures and games at Lionsgate, will join the ranks of dozens of games industry notables at GamesBeat 2015. Levin will be speaking at our event, to be hosted at the Grand Hyatt Union Square on October 12 and October 13 in San Francisco. You can sign up for it now.

Peter Levin of Lionsgate

Above: Peter Levin of Lionsgate

Image Credit: Lionsgate

Levin first began his career in the Corporate Advisory Group at the Creative Artists Agency, later serving in the Corporate and Strategic Planning groups at the Walt Disney Company, where he also addition presided as senior producer over Disney Online. He also served as managing director of the venture capital firm Lynx Technologies, president and co-founder of mobile and broadband entertainment company Bellrock Media, and as an executive adviser to Yoshiomoto Kogyo, MAG Interactive, Comixology, and Rovio Entertainment. Prior to his work at Lionsgate, Levin cofounded and served as CEO at Nerdist Industries, creating a massive digital content footprint across YouTube, podcasts, and social media.

CNET News West Coast executive editor Ian Sherr will act as moderator to Levin during his speaker appearance. During his time on stage at our recent GamesBeat Summit in Sausalito, Levin emphasized the value of prioritizing quality content over technological iteration. For GamesBeat 2015, Levin will discuss the intersection of movies and games, in addition to newfound opportunities in virtual reality.


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.

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.

Our previously announced speakers include:

Graeme Devine, 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 they didn’t think were possible. Devine describes Magic Leap’s technology, Cinematic Reality, as a “rocket ship for the mind.”

Devine 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 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 has worked at places such as Delicious Monster Software, Microsoft, Ensemble Studios, id Software, Trilobyte, Virgin Games, and Mastertronic.

Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon. 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. 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.

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.

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.

Peter Levin, left, president of interactive ventures and games at Lionsgate, speaks with Chris Petrovic, head of corporate development at Kabam, at VentureBeat's 2014 GamesBeat conference.

Above: Peter Levin, left, president of interactive ventures and games at Lionsgate, speaks with Chris Petrovic, head of corporate development at Kabam, at VentureBeat’s 2014 GamesBeat conference.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

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. 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. Edwards represents the game developers of the world, and she has emerged as a voice 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; RockYouAppLovin, and Samsung as Gold Partners; TrialPay as Silver Partner, and PlayPhone, Fuel Powered, and Bluestacks as Event Partners.

 

More information:

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Blizzard announces Twitch integration with Battle.net

Heroes of the Storm

Twitch and Battle.net accounts are about to hook up.

Blizzard announced today that Twitch users can now log into their Battle.net accounts in the game-streaming service. To incentivize players to do so, Blizzard is giving anyone who watches a Heroes of the Storm regional championship while logged into a linked Twitch/Battle.net account an exclusive character portrait for Heroes of the Storm, as seen below.

The Storm Watcher.

Above: The Storm Watcher.

Image Credit: Blizzard

A post on Blizzard’s site details how Twitch users can integrate their Battle.net accounts.

Esports are a big business now, and Blizzard obviously has a huge stake in it with popular competitive games like StarCraft II, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. Twitch is the most popular site for streaming live gameplay, including tournaments, so this partnership benefits both parties.

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How the right content strategy will fill your sales funnel from top to bottom

data funnel

This sponsored post is produced in association with Citrix GoToWebinar. 

The power of online connectivity has empowered a new generation of marketers to evolve beyond their old fire-and-forget roles and become the MVPs of business growth. Today, marketers are creating invaluable support systems for their sales colleagues by promoting stage-specific content for sales funnels.

No question: Useful and relevant content is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of your sales team. Therefore, you need to develop a strategic approach to content to help qualify, nurture, and convert leads into loyal customers.

How important has it become? A 2014 Regalix Research survey showed that ‘understanding the customer buying journey’ is a priority for 87 percent of marketers, followed by ‘educating and influencing purchase by mapping the right content to key stages in the customer buying journey’ (76 percent), and ‘attributing and measuring performance of channels used by customers in their buying journey’ is a priority for 57 percent.

Understanding the 3 key stages in a sales funnel

Before you attempt to make your customer’s journey look as effortless as gravity working on a falling apple from a tree, you need to have a clear idea of what the content marketing funnel looks like.

Once you get familiar with the mindset of a prospect at each stage of your sales funnel, it becomes a lot easier to map out your content plan. For the sake of simplicity, here’s a short and sweet breakdown of the three stages in a content marketing driven sales funnel

Funnel chart
As you can see, marketers formulate different content for different needs in the customer’s journey to organically automate business growth. IDC defines sales enablement as “delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place.” 

It’s all about matching content with context and distributing it to the right channel, at the right time in the buyer’s journey. Any content you create or repurpose for your sales funnel should build on previous interactions to ensure everyone in your team adds their own unique form of value proposition to entice customers further.

The payoff is already well-documented. According to the 2014 DemandGen study, 82 percent of B2B buyers viewed five or more pieces of content, and 61 percent of B2B buyers agreed that the winning vendor delivered a better mix of content for each stage of the purchase process.

Any content you create or repurpose for your sales funnel should build on previous interactions to ensure everyone in your team adds their own unique spice of value proposition to entice customers further.

According to the 2014 DemandGen study, 82 percent of B2B buyers viewed 5 or more pieces of content, and 61 percent of B2B buyers agreed that the winning vendor delivered a better mix of content for each stage of the purchase process.

Creating your sales funnel content template

Before you get started with mapping out your content to superpower your sales funnel, it’s critical to have a good idea of the rational pathway a lead would take when they dive deep into your sales funnel. In order to identify your buyer’s journey route, you need to first ask the right questions to determine their content consumption patterns, such as:

  • What pages did your audience visit and in what order did they do so?
  • What type of content does your audience prefer and how much time do they spend consuming it?
  • Which offers led to the maximum conversions and which ones failed?
  • What emails did they click through?

In all probability, you will find quite a few logical conversion routes. But on closer examination, you can easily pick out the most common, shortest, and most profitable routes to optimize your sales funnel content further.

Here is a basic content marketing top-to-bottom sales funnel conversion route commonly used and repurposed by thousands of businesses worldwide:

Visit company blog >> Activate ebook call-to-action >> Click through to page with ebook nurturing your product/service offer >> Navigate to product pages >> Click through to page with webinar registration and free case study download link >> Receive webinar streaming link and free product trial email >> Watch webinar and download free trial >> Receive exclusive offers >> Product purchase.

Webinars in particular, offer a dynamic way to deliver top-of-funnel content. They give new prospects a chance to get an undiluted taste of your corporate personality. Through live informative interactions, you can really solidify your status as a thought leader in their view in a way no whitepaper can hope to offer.

With key details like company size, role in company, professional requirements, and above all else, a direct webinar interaction in your hand, you can instantly tap into a stream of qualified leads and prospects who may offer higher conversions.

Here is a sample sales funnel conversion route that is webinar-driven commonly used by marketers as a more direct approach to attract qualified leads:

Pre-announce optimized landing page >> Capture registration details >> Send reminder mail >> Run webinar >> Send follow-up mail with limited period product trial or some exclusive offers >> Product purchase.

You can also use webinars to double down on customer retention and squeeze some more juice out of your sales funnel by making more upsells once users have purchased your product. For instance, you can follow up with another webinar series shedding more light on how to use your product to its fullest potential and preview some more products that your customers would like.

The webinar content format is good at enabling marketers to organically promote their products as an extension of their services and promote relevant value offers to your customers without taking them on a ride through your entire sales funnel again.

It all boils down to how well you can stir up buyer interest through well-placed content by connecting with customers’ needs. If you get this right, you can effortlessly ramp up the returns generated through your sales funnel.

It all can be summed up in two succinct points:

In the first stage of your sales funnel, ensure you educate your lead based not on your solution, but on their need.

And in the evaluation and purchase stages, use the aura of authority you have created by being a generous problem solver to smoothly shepherd your customers all the way to purchasing your product.


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New Chromecast Rumored For Later This Month

Chromecast_cast_button_icon.svg Hot on the heels of Apple’s newly announced, more powerful Apple TV and Amazon’s just launched 4K-ready Fire TV (and Fire TV gaming edition), Google is also prepping the release of the next version of its streaming media stick, Chromecast. At least, that’s the latest report emerging from blog site 9to5Google, which got its hands on leaked documents which describe an… Read More

Townhall Media Selects OpenX for Patent-Pending Header Bidding Solution

businesswire-4

News organization sees 57 percent lift in revenue across mobile and web

LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 18, 2015–

OpenX, a leader in creating programmatic advertising marketplaces, and Townhall Media (Townhall), a Salem Media Group company, today announced an expanded relationship, with Townhall selecting OpenX as its primary partner for header bidding. Header bidding, also known as a tagless solution, allows publishers to offer inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously before making calls to their ad servers, thereby increasing competition and ultimately publisher yield.

Townhall integrated OpenX Bidder, the industry’s first header bidding solution, as part of its digital advertising strategy across mobile and web to boost programmatic revenues. The OpenX Bidder integration resulted in a 57 percent increase in revenue for Townhall, a conservative news organization that attracts more than 17 million monthly unique visitors and reaches the largest and most engaged conservative audience online.

“Exceptional results and proactive client service are the traits we look for in partners, and OpenX delivers on both,” Conor Beck, Director of Ad Operations at Townhall Media said. “The OpenX team has worked with us to help deliver on our programmatic revenue targets. We’ve already exceeded our programmatic goals by 50 percent primarily due to OpenX’s bidder product.”

Qasim Saifee, SVP of Monetization at OpenX, said, “We deployed OpenX Bidder in the market a full 18 months before the competition. Working with our publisher partners using bidder to maximize their ad revenue for the last year and a half has given us a unique depth of experience that allows us to deliver consistently better results than any other tagless solution in the market.”

About Townhall Media

Townhall Media, a Salem Media Group company, is a conservative news organization leading national discussion with political commentary and analysis. Our unique collection of web properties includes Townhall, HotAirRedStateTwitchyBearingArms,and HumanEvents. The Townhall Media platforms reach more than 17 million unique visitors each month with over 100 million monthly page views, and our top editors contribute daily to major cable news networks.

About OpenX

OpenX exists to help publishers grow their businesses by monetizing great content. We do this by creating highly efficient, high quality programmatic advertising marketplaces that deliver optimal value to all buyers and sellers of digital advertising.

Today, OpenX operates one of the largest, most efficient and highest quality programmatic markets in the world. Our single stack system also encompasses a complete supply side platform powered by the unique OpenX Demand Fusion technology that merges network and Real-Time Bidding, and a comprehensive ad server.

At OpenX we have built a team that is uniquely experienced in designing and operating high-scale programmatic ad marketplaces. We are constantly looking for thoughtful, creative executors who are as fascinated as we are about finding new ways to apply a blend of market design, technical innovation, operational excellence, and empathetic partner service to the frontiers of digital advertising.
http://www.openx.com @openx

OpenX
Tiffany Collins, 212.933.9080 x3034
or
Brianna Gays, 212.933.9080 x3032
[email protected]


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TapInfluence launches a fully automated platform that could turn influencer marketing into mass media

Some of TapInfluence's influencers

Influencer marketing firm TapInfluence is today announcing a new platform that lets brands connect with social influencers in a kind of eBay marketplace.

Called TapFusion, this completely automated platform allows a brand to post a new campaign — along with requirements, images, time frame, specs for influencers, and other factors — that sifts the approximately 25,000 registered social media influencers for the most appropriate purveyors.

The registrants are non-exclusive to TapInfluence, and could be participating in campaigns for other influencer marketing agencies.


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In influencer marketing, a brand typically connects with people who have large numbers of followers on social networks. The idea is for the influencers to tell their followers in a video or a posted comment about how much they love a new kind of toothpaste or a new smartphone, and then link to the product maker’s site.

Once a campaign is posted on TapInfluence, the new platform then shows all the influencers who meet the qualifications, such as a minimum number of followers or a special interest. Each influencer’s profile contains their special things, as well as their standard rate.

The brand selects the influencers it wants, sets conditions like whether it needs to see a draft of the post or an edit of the video before it goes live, and the campaign begins. The platform then automatically tracks and reports on the campaign’s success or lack thereof.

TapInfluence reports that the average campaign reaches about 50,000 people, and some can reach millions. By the end of October, it expects to have 400 campaigns going. About 200 brands and agencies currently use the platform, and TapInfluence claims an 85 percent acceptance rate by influencers of brand proposals.

A screen in the new TapInfluence platform

Above: A screen in the new TapInfluence platform

Image Credit: TapInfluence

One campaign, for an unnamed Fortune 500 “consumer storage company,” reportedly used 39 influencers, reached 50,000 people, generated nearly 300,000 shares, comments, and likes, and sold about $225,000 of the product before the item sold out. TapInfluence estimates the value of the campaign was about $1.2 million if the same result had been generated using banner ads. It cost $21,000.

The new end-to-end automated platform replaces the various online tools the company had been using since its founding in 2009, during which it had also provided services that cofounder and chief product officer Rustin Banks told me “still held the customer’s hand.”

Banks pointed to agencies and brands “doing it themselves” as TapInfluence’s biggest competitors, except that now some of those agencies and brands are
using this platform. He said one frequently encountered competitor is Izea, which blends agency services with automation. But the biggest differentiator now, he said, is that TapInfluence’s new platform is an end-to-to-end solution.

In many ways, the platform is not unlike others out there, such as NeoReach’s or Themidgame’s. But it scales the matchmaking to its next step, completely removing TapInfluence from providing any go-between services. Brands and social influencers can buy and sell as easily as they can buy and sell used books on eBay.

For the Boulder, Colorado-based TapInfluence, the business model is volume-based. It makes money primarily from its monthly subscription fee for brands and agencies to use the platform, which starts at $3500 and increases with the number of influencers and campaigns.

It also takes a small cut of the influencer’s fee to cover management of the brand’s payments, issuing of contractor tax forms for the influencers, and other tasks. CEO Promise Phelon told me TapInfluence pays the influencer immediately after the campaign, often before the brand has paid.

Is this you?

But if the 25,000 registered influencers do not offer what a brand wants, TapInfluence will also tap into influencer directories that offer tens of thousands more. And, in a move that could point to influencer marketing’s next phase, TapInfluence can even tap into hundreds of millions of social profiles, where anyone with an interest or a following on a social network could be approached.

“It could be someone with ten friends,” Phelon told me. “We’re growing influencers.”

With a fully automated platform and the entire social networking world as possible participants, it’s not hard to imagine that influencer marketing in the next few years could become a kind of targeted mass marketing.

In other words, if your profile says you love Wookiees, you might be approached automatically through this or another such platform to post a comment or a video about your enthusiasm for a new Star Wars sequel.

As brands come to understand that advertising in a fully interactive world is an option many choose to ignore, this kind of trusted endorsement not only grows in value, but could become commonplace.

It raises the question of whether the key value on which influencer marketing is built — trust between friends, or between a star and followers — is an infinite resource.

Or whether, when most of your friends and your idols pitch their purported enthusiasms, you will feel the need to ask:

Is this you … or a campaign?

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