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Meta’s Rick Kelley on what to expect for gaming in 2022

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Rick Kelley has a unique window on gaming trends as vice president of global gaming at Meta/Facebook. And so we asked him what to expect in gaming in 2022 at our second annual GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit. And he noted that some gaming trends are being pulled back down to Earth by gravity.

I interviewed Kelley a year ago at our previous went, and now the vice president of global gaming at Meta came back to talk about the latest research Facebook Gaming has collected on gaming during COVID.

A year ago, Kelley said with some relief that millions of new gamers had come into gaming during the pandemic to play games in lieu of other activities. Those players stayed with their new gaming habit and helped mobile gaming grow to new heights. (App Annie said that mobile games grew 20% to $120 billion in 2021; Facebook’s own data will be released soon). He noted there are still about three billion people playing games.

“Compared to last year, many of those trends have really sustained,” he said. “But playing time and spending habits are two that have actually slipped back, not quite to pre pandemic levels, but certainly have retrenched since 2020,” Kelley said.

The volume of downloads are down about 10% year over year in part because people may have less disposable time than they did when they were in the initial lockdowns. A lot of games have been delayed, and perhaps some aren’t resonating with the market.

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There are three billion gamers who are more diverse than ever.

Game genres are shifting. Hypercasual is still the predominant in terms of volume of mobile game downloads. But there is more growth in immersive games, such as role-playing game, strategy, simulation games, and sports games. Hypercasual may be introducing players to more genres and that is turning those new players into more engaged players.

He noted we had huge acquisitions already with Take-Two buying Zynga for $12.7 billion and Microsoft announcing it would buy Activision Blizzard for $75 billion. That puts us ahead of the dollar value for acquisitions for all 2021 already. and it’s only January.

“How do these things create value for these companies? What new opportunities are they able to realize as a result of coming together?” Kelley said. “We’re watchingthese things come to life and it’s pretty exciting. And then you’ve got the emergence of all these new type of game monetization techniques, NFTs. What’s going to happen in that space How will they play a part in monetization efforts? And how will game design support a lot of those things? What type of games are going to really be able to leverage the NFT use and which are the ones that will try and maybe not see success in its initial stages?”

A lot of the activity around gaming, not just gameplay, but, for example, participating in gaming groups, watching gaming videos, talking about metaverse activities — those are all really growing, he said.

“VR has had a massive jump in interest,” Kelley said. “It’s been big in terms of [growth] of the installed base. We’ve had a really strong 2021, and we’re excited about what that means for [2022].”

He noted that players are more diverse than every before, with many younger players and a higher percentage of underrepresented individuals. This means that game developers should keep diversity in mind when creating game characters.

“That emphasizes the importance of authentic character representation to really build a meaningful relationship between the player and the game developer,” Kelley said. “That seems to be a trend that’s really materialized this year. You’re seeing that be a real focus of developers.”

IDFA in hindsight

Gamers are increasingly diverse.

Kelley said there was a “massive shift” in the advertiser landscape in 2021. That was because Apple prioritized privacy over targeted advertising with its new approach to the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), where it made it easier for users to opt out of being tracked. This is why the game industry saw some “choppy waters” in 2021, Kelley said.

In terms of total downloads, hypercasual games slipped a little bit from year over year, and whether that’s the impact on user acquisition from IDFA, or maybe players are now moving into the the more engaged realms of more immersive gaming experiences.

“Nobody needed a crystal ball to be able to say that it was going to be a difficult year to have to navigate the impact of iOS 14 and what App Tracking Transparency (ATT) was going to have on people’s marketing efforts,” Kelley said. “The game industry was maybe 18 months further ahead than everyone else in the way they used data and the way the measured everything. So when you take some of that data away that we’re used to, that’s a material change that a lot of people to try and navigate.”

But there could be some movement away from the dominant mobile platforms ahead. Even so, he noted Apple has said it will still charge a royalty fee on third-party transactions that take place off the app store.

“You’ve got App Store fragmentation that’s happening, away from just Apple and Google, and you’ve seen Samsung making investments there,” Kelley said.

IDFA has forced a diversification in marketing to gamers. Advertisers (in this case, game companies) have to think harder about what motivates players to play, how to connect with them, and what to communicate to them. Advertisers have to change media channels and they are building internal teams to better measure performance.

“Companies are being really aggressive with trying to figure out how to be successful in this new world,” said Kelley. “People are still downloading apps, they’re still playing games, they’re still paying within games, and it’s just a matter of what type of communication strategy you use to reach them.”

Rather than fight the IDFA changes, companies have to respect users’ desire for privacy and evolve their approaches. This is happening not only in games but across e-commerce, tech, telecommunications, financial services, and more. They have less specific knowledge about a user and more aggregated data.

Facebook Gaming delivers a play platform for developers, a livestreaming platform for creators, and a discovery engine for advertisers, Kelley said. Its aim is to connect people around their favorite games. Facebook is adding crossplay capabilities that enable seamless social play on native mobile and instant cloud platforms. Its upcoming Facebook IQ report on diversity and inclusion will be out at the end of the month.

“I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing to democratize data and insights, and bringing them to the community,” said Kelley. “There’s a drumbeat of more content coming out over the next couple of months.”

The shift to Meta

Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse will let you teleport to different worlds.
Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse will let you teleport to different worlds.

Facebook’s change to Meta and the new focus on the metaverse will have big implications for Facebook Gaming itself.

“I think it certainly has validated that the entertainment and gaming is a big business and a big opportunity,” Kelley said. “And I know our team feels really proud to be at the epicenter of where the company is moving for the next 10 years. And certainly, it’s going to expand far beyond gaming and entertainment, and it’s going to have usefulness in the way that people communicate with their friends and family that they can’t be in the same physical space with. It affects the way they consume everything from live sporting events or movies to feeling like you’re at the pub.This is the evolution of social media into a 3D space.”

He said the using Horizon Workrooms for his own work really makes you feel like you’re in the same room as other people.

“You can see people’s hands moving, you can see them typing on their laptop, you can broadcast in the virtual reality room what’s on their laptop is if they’re presenting in a boardroom itself,” he said. “I mean, none of us have been in a conference room for two frickin years. And the first time I put that headset, I was like choked up. This feels so much like a conference room.”

The metaverse will have a lot more social tools and a more immersive 3D environment. Facebook Gaming will build more bridges from games to the meteverse, Kelley said.

NFTs in games

Kelley said that NFTs in games are going to go through a trial-and-error phase. He said that the early impression was that everybody was going to make a lot of money on NFTs.

“That’s probably the wrong way [to think about it],” he said. “We need to educate the audience that that’s not the purpose of this. Yes, they will have residual value. Yes, you can take it from one game to another, so that it has more lasting power. But [we have to temper] some of what everybody sees, like the first tweet being auctioned for a couple of million dollars. I think we just need to ground people that that’s probably not likely [they will get rich from NFTs], you know, in most instances, and then and then we’ll have a better conversation.”

Social impact in games

Facebook created a $10M fund for Black creators.

I asked how we can improve gaming social impact. He said that in the next few weeks, Meta will be releasing a responsible gaming white paper. The company collaborated with partners to figure out what that means.

“It tries to really express what does it mean to really look deeply at the industry that we’re in and how can we drive more diversity within some of the gaming companies that are out there and create a society that people feel safe participating in, protecting them from harm, and enabling user controls and support all types of users,” Kelley said.

He added, “We all really have got to make a commitment to prioritize inclusion, representation and accessibility. Do we have seats at the table to help us make decisions on game design and how we market those games? That’s all really, really important.”

Last year, Facebook said it was dedicating $10 million to fund the next generation of black gaming creators, and the program includes mentorship, training, early access to different features and products, and open communication between the creators and its development teams.

“We’ll weave that into different products like our tournaments and charity streams, and make sure that we’re raising awareness for important issues across the world,” Kelley said.

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Experts deliberate on technologies leading to the rise of gaming and content in India

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Technology is seeping into every aspect of the world and online gaming is no stranger to it. Over the years, online gaming and esports have been through a lot of changes and today this industry is more advanced and progressive. Technology has enabled a variety of changes which is why online gaming continues to grow in popularity.

To discuss these new-age technologies in depth and how they are changing the gaming landscape, a panel discussion was held on Playing to the fantasy: Rise of gaming & content in India at TechSparks 2022 featuring Gaurav Barman, Senior Business Development Manager, AWS; Vinayak Shrivastav Co-founder and CEO, VideoVerse; Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director – Growth, Agora; and Ratheesh Mallaya, Director of Products, Zynga.

Here are some of the key highlights from the discussion:

Tech enabling the growth of esports in India

The panel discussion started with understanding the rise of esports gaming in India. Despite being around for more than a decade, it’s only recently seen a boom in popularity. The current size of the Indian esports industry is Rs 250 crore and the forecast for the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to be 46 percent in the next four years. The esports industry is expected to see a growth of four-folds estimated to be Rs 1,100 crore by 2025.

Technology is a major propelling force that’s driving this rise. Gaurav of AWS shed more light by discussing a few of the technologies that AWS provides that help in building more interactive engagement for esports and gaming platforms.

Esports companies in India can build engagement, which is much more interactive by offering players the ability to communicate with each other beyond linguistic or geographical boundaries. This can be done by providing multilingual, real-time, translation across geographies. Companies can also build real-time recommendation systems in terms of feed that the user sees, said Gaurav.

Vinayak of VideoVerse spoke about how technology that aids in the production of short-form content is going to play a key role in driving the popularity of esports.I think what’s important for all of us to see is that e-gaming as an entire market is just continuously changing. It’s going to continuously keep evolving over the next couple of years, he said. In such a scenario, Vinayak believes that the services that VideoVerse provides with their flagship product Magnifi will play an important role in amplifying the entire ecosystem.

Magnifi uses state-of-the-art AI and ML technology to auto-produce key moments and highlights from live matches within seconds. Such kind of short-form content is what Vinayak feels is the need of the hour and will drive the growth of the esports market as well.

Hits and misses in the industry

The panelists further deliberated what has been working well for the gaming industry and what has tanked completely. Ranga of Agora spoke in detail about real-time engagement and how greatly it has benefited the gaming landscape.

What we’ve seen is that apps and games which have embedded technologies that are truly real-time tend to be able to monetise much better and significantly more, as compared to games that either don’t have real-time engagement, or they have laggy real-time engagement. Games that have real-time engagement also tend to be more active with better user retention, he remarked.

He further explained that it doesn’t just stop at real-time engagement, but the ability for gaming companies to analyse what’s happening in that real-time engagement is what is working in their favour.

While it’s important to know what is working for the esports landscape, it’s even more important to understand what’s not. Ratheesh shared some pearls of wisdom from some of the failures that Zynga has faced.

When you’re looking to build local, there is definitely a big opportunity out there. But that has to be on top of a really strong core that is fun and engaging for the users. We launched a game around the time of Independence Day in India based on a match game, but it did not turn out the way we wanted it to because of this reason,he said.

Ratheesh highlighted that there is a great scope for games with Indian IP and in fact, according to a recent report, about 60 percent of the audience that doesn’t play games have said they will play if there is an Indian IP. But just building a game on something vernacular or Indian IP will not work out. He also pointed out how games that are currently top-grossing like Garena Free Fire, Coinmaster, and Candy Crush all have great visuals and quality and that’s what is enticing users to stay hooked on the game.

Talking about other hits, Gaurav emphasised how Web3 technologies and blockchain will hugely benefit the industry. Gaming companies are now looking at making digital assets interoperable and with the advent of the Metaverse, an entire make-believe world is possible where players can socialise, connect, and share content beyond the scope of gaming.

From my perspective, technology is going to play a pivotal role in the evolution of this industry. Be it blockchain, NFT, or metaverse, all of that will come together as a platform where interoperability is enabled through underlying technology and used to build these solutions at this point in time, he said.

Along with Web3 technologies, Vinayak shared how cloud-based video editing and streaming solutions will become pivotal for the overall growth of the ecosystem as they’ll make broadcasting, editing, and collaborating with peers in the industry much easier.

Microtransactions in the gaming industry

The panel ended by discussing microtransactions in the gaming industry where Ratheesh shared some useful insights on how transactions and in-app purchases have to be tailored according to the genre of the game. There are different monetisation strategies like subscription-based model, battle pass kind of monetisation strategy or an impulse buy. Those are all options available to you. But what strategy you deploy depends completely on the genre of the game, he shared. He also suggested that microtransactions on gaming apps must be personalised to the users’ needs and that they must be pivotal in framing up the monetisation strategy for any gaming app.

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Tattoo Removal Studio Will Remove Tats From Regretful Kanye West Fans for Free

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

After Kanye West, A.K.A. Ye, made antisemitic statements and false claims about George Floyd’s killing, a London-based tattoo parlor announced on Instagram that it would remove West-related tattoos for free.



ViktoriiaNovokhatska | Getty Images

Naama Tattoo parlor said its offer to remove tattoos of the controversial rapper was a “natural extension” of its “second chances” project, which offers free tattoo laser removal to people seeking to rid themselves of certain types of ink — gang tats or an ex’s name. The procedure, which can cost roughly $2,400 elsewhere, has prompted several customers to contact Naama about having their Ye tattoos lasered off.

The Washington Post reports:

“We understand that tattoos can be triggering for some people and not everyone can afford to remove their tattoos,” the company told The Washington Post in an email Thursday. It noted that one of the people who took them up on the offer said she was being trolled for her Ye-inspired tattoo.

The store said several people have contacted it in recent weeks to have their Ye tattoos lasered off — a procedure that can cost up to 2,000 pounds (about $2,400).

Ye was dropped by brands including Adidas and Gap and locked out of his Twitter and Instagram accounts over his past comments and posts. On Thursday, he appeared on Alex Jones’s Infowars clad in a full-head balaclava. He doubled down on his past statements, telling Jones, “I like Hitler,” and, “Every human being has value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”

Naama told the Post that “there are a few former fans with tattoo regret,” stating that three clients are already in the middle of the tattoo removal process, and ten more are ready for consultations. Following Ye’s comments on Infowars, that number seems likely to rise.

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Here’s how technology and innovation are driving the growth of Arista Vault, India’s first smart luggage brand

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It was a crisp winter evening in October 2017 when Purvi Roy, an ace designer who studied at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan, presented her high fashion fall winter collection – Warriors Alley- at India Runway Week. The collection was powerful and the show was a great success. At the after-party, she crossed paths with Colonel Krishan Kumar Singh and finance expert Atul Gupta.

After a brief conversation with Purvi, the Colonel suggested that maybe it was time for her to do something for the regular masses which would serve a larger purpose. They began brainstorming and after much deliberation, hard work, and perseverance Arista Vault was born.

Arista Vault is an innovative tech company creating concept-based products to make human life easy, simple, and safe. The company is headquartered in Delhi with offices in Gurugram, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Goa. One of their first offerings was a smart wallet with inbuilt anti-theft and anti-loss features, that would keep your most valuable belongings safe and protected while travelling.

“Arista is a Sanskrit word that means ‘unhurt’ or safest, and vault is a safe. We particularly chose a Sanskrit word for the name because while we go global it will always depict the roots which are Indian; so Arista Vault is a proud Made in India brand,” reveals Purvi.

As a D2C brand, it is also India’s first smart luggage company having filed six patents with one of them being an internationally published patent. The company is the perfect amalgamation of indigenous technology and in-house design that attempts to make customers feel the luxury as well as the safety of carrying a smart wallet.

Backed by Purvi’s years of knowledge and experience as a designer, the wallet while being the best at technology also has the slimmest silhouette which gives it a very luxurious look, making it a great gifting product. Purvi always wanted to make sure that the aesthetics of the product felt opulent, hence it has a jewel packaging with a matte-finished box.

The logo which is a power button inside a hexagon has a touch of gold to it, symbolic of a sense of pride and luxury. So you have a plush feeling when you own an Arista Vault smart wallet along with complete security of your wallet and its belongings.

Making traveller’s life hassle-free

If you had a penny for every time your heart skipped a beat while you frantically searched your pockets thinking you had lost your wallet, you’d probably beat Elon Musk’s wealth!

While that is a far-fetched reality, safeguarding your wallet is not. Arista’s Smart Wallet, with its many features, offers customers the relief to travel hassle-free even in crowded areas like trains and buses. The wallet has a power button which when pressed activates its features.

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Its main USP is the anti-loss and anti-theft features. It comes with an abundance of technologies such as an anti-theft alarm, built-in power bank, two-way tracker, remote selfie feature, RFID protection. The wallet also has a 20-meter separation alarm with two-way connectivity to your mobile phone. This way the phone can ring the wallet and vice versa. This feature especially comes in handy if your phone is either lost or stolen.

To enable such a high level of technology in a product as simple as a wallet would mean a dedicated amount of research and development.

“We are backed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and were incubated at the Electropreneur park and IIITD. We work in two world-class labs – Power lab and Fab Lab, which have state-of-the-art technology where the design, research, and technology integration are done. We also have a dedicated tannery and product design manufacturing unit where the integration of technology is done into the product after three layers of quality control,” Purvi says.

Along with technology and design, the co-founders were clear on maintaining the highest level of safety for the smart wallets. Hence all wallets are ISO certified with their privacy policy in compliance with the IT Act of the Government. As of the last quarter of this year, 6,000 smart wallets were sold amounting to Rs 2.6 crore.

Challenges along the way

It’s the trailblazing technology that makes the smart wallets of Arista Vault stand out. But this technology was not easy to develop. Purvi says that it took over a year of R&D to develop a prototype finally, but by this time all the seed fund had been exhausted.

“We knew we had a great product but for further research, innovation and product marketing more capital was needed. So all the three founders decided to put their savings and I supported the company with the earnings of my fashion venture that had initially incubated Arista Vault,” Purvi adds.

The company ran a pilot of their wallets on Amazon Launchpad and those were all sold out within three days. They used all the feedback received to further improve the product. The turning point in their entrepreneurial journey came in 2019 when the company got funding and support from the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology under Electronics System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM), with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) & Electropreneur Park.

Using this support, Arista Vault was able to scale their venture sustainably to build world-class smart wallets that eventually got them recognition from Amazon with the Viewer’s Choice award as an Emerging Brand in 2019. In 2021, the company received the prestigious Star award for Most Innovative Brand Year. They were also able to enter the international market by exporting their products to Germany, Chile, Dubai, and other gulf countries and finally to the USA.

This year the company achieved a major milestone in its journey when it became one of the few smart luggage brands in India to raise funding from Germany-based MainStage Angel Network and UK-based Pontaq VC.

Establishing itself in a new segment

Purvi says that while the funding was a great boost both financially and morally, the true journey of the company has begun now. The capital raised is being used to scale the business and establish itself as a market leader in a fairly new segment of smart luggage.

To do this, the company has grown its distribution model and channel partners to cover various cities across the country where Arista Vault products are being sold in a brick-and-mortar model. They have forged partnerships with relevant stakeholders like the Goa government to enter the travel and tourism sector as well, with their smart products.

In October when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 5G services in India, Arista Vault was one of the few tech companies to exhibit their smart products. They are also coming up with a series of 5G-implemented products.

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Going ahead, the company wishes to build a strong presence in the smart luggage market in a B2B model. For that, they recently launched their Switch2Smart range which has a variety of smart business bags, business trolleys, laptop bags and file holders. These bags have features like GPS live and lost location which makes it almost impossible for them to be lost or stolen. They also have other features like smart charging for mobile phones, geofencing and anti-skimming.

“Nowadays from our homes to watches, everything is smart. So why should our bags be left behind? The Switch2Smart range of Arista Vault will give travellers the luxury to be free and not worry about their luggage,” Purvi says. The company has already started generating sales with B2B orders displayed in DIW 2022 Gift Expo.

In FY 2020-2021, the company generated revenue of Rs 3.59 crore and now they are well on their way to achieving Rs 12-15 crore in this financial year showing more than 4X growth in business.

Along with the sales generated on Amazon, Flipkart and their own website, this festive season Arista Vault also got into corporate gifting for occasions like Diwali and has completed bulk orders from companies such as Bharati Cement, Mitsubishi, etc. They also recently started with Amazon.com in the US and UAE.

“Going forward, both B2B and B2C have their specific areas to serve. Our products are innovative and new and require consumer awareness which is possible primarily through B2C. However at a certain level to reach a wider audience, B2B is a preferred mode of business,” Purvi adds.

Arista Vault aims to establish itself as a market leader in the smart luggage category by bringing revolutionary technology to wallets, business bags, travel backpacks and much more. In the coming year, they wish to strengthen their brand presence in India as well as abroad by launching another 15 product categories worldwide.


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