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Mobile gaming: there’s a new entertainment player in town, Women $ #Kuuhubb $TCEHY $ATVI $CYOU

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:17 AM on Friday, March 16th, 2018

  • Research by Google found that women make up 52% of total usage time, illustrating mobile gaming’s attraction to a broad, diverse audience.

A switch to the smaller screen

It’s no secret that games consoles dating as far back as the Sega Mega Drive and Nintendo SNES have enjoyed pride of place in living rooms around the world, providing a welcome dose of entertainment and a brief escape from reality.

But, thanks to incredible advances in mobile technology – just look at the iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 – gaming on the small screen in your pocket is giving the latest consoles a run for their money. And that means big opportunities for marketers.

Mobile makes its mark

Back in 2012, people spent just over an hour a day using a mobile device online.

In the five years since, this has risen to over three hours, according to WARC. In 2017, mobile advertising spend overtook desktop for the first time, and it now stands to become a staple advertising platform – afforded the level of thought and attention currently demanded by more traditional channels like TV and cinema.

women make up 52% of total usage time

Once, mobile gaming may have been tarred with the archetypal young, male gamer brush – but this profile is long since out of date. Research by Google, for example, found that women make up 52% of total usage time, illustrating mobile gaming’s attraction to a broad, diverse audience.

That makes it a powerful branding tool, and brands are taking note. According to a report by Sensor Tower, mobile spending – driven by games – was up globally across the board in 2017.

Gaming’s huge potential for brands

The opportunity for brands lies in tapping into this huge, entertainment-seeking audience through relevant content in the context of the game being played. We are working with companies like Disney and Universal to realise the potential of mobile gaming.

But marketers need to remember, when it comes to mobile, how precious and personal our devices are to us.

Disruptive banner ads or invasive pop-ups appearing on personal devices can easily irritate consumers – especially when screens are small enough to cause accidental clicks. We need to ensure that we are only serving content that adds to the experience.

Creating branded mini-games and sponsored in-game events, carefully tailored to players’ interests, will see players develop positive affiliations with branded advertising. It’s a simple method, but one we know works.

Mobile’s growth shows no sign of slowing, and brands need to act on the unique role mobile gaming can play in the entertainment mix.


Inside the Explosive Growth of Pro Gaming on a Smartphone $ $GMBL

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:20 AM on Friday, March 9th, 2018

  • Tencent, one of the largest internet and tech companies in the world, Arena of Valor is based on one of the most downloaded apps in the world
  • Last month they announced that they’ll be hosting the Arena of Valor World Cup in Los Angeles, putting up a bold $500,000 prize-pool

Michael “FlashX” Valore discovered his love for Vainglory in rehab. After a lengthy flirtation with professional DOTA in college, he was abandoning that dream for a career in the Marine Corps – which meant that he had to deal with a nagging leg injury he sustained playing soccer. Every day, he’d set up on a stationary bike at the gym with his iPad mounted carefully in front of him. “I’d go for three to four hours a day,” says Valore. “If you spend that much time playing something, you’re gonna get really good at it.”

Tencent is one of the largest internet and tech companies in the world, Arena of Valor is based on one of the most downloaded apps in the world

This was back in 2015, when Vainglory was crawling out of its lengthy development cycle to debut on iPhone and Android. Valore was an early adopter, and easily capable of transmuting all of his PC ability to the touchscreen. It’s a classic esports origin story: he and two friends broke ground on an upstart team called Ardent Alliance, and entered one of the very first Vainglory competitive events. They expected to wash out immediately, but instead they blazed through the qualifiers and secured a trip to the finals in South Korea. Suddenly, the exclusivity of the upper echelon of pro gaming didn’t seem so opaque, and Valore found himself with a legitimate career in a game he adored. Within months, Ardent Alliance was picked up by Team SoloMid – one the largest esports organizations in America – and they were off to the races. “I quit my job. I was working in sales at the time,” says Valore. “I’ve been playing full-time ever since.”

For years, Vainglory was the only major esport in mobile games. It’s independently published and developed by the (mordantly named) Super Evil Megacorp, who themselves are made up of industry veterans with longstanding backgrounds developing on PC. The idea, says CEO Kristian Segerstrale, was to bring an “uncompromising” competitive experience to the cellphone – nurturing the belief that this platform was made for more than just polychromatic matching puzzles and catapulting birds.

They did this by creating a stripped down MOBA; two teams of three duke it out on a single lane, with abilities and movement all controlled on the touchscreen. I have been to several Vainglory tournaments, and the way they both mirror and diverge from what you’re used to at traditional PC LAN events is surreal. The gameplay itself remains strong, tactile, and technical, but the players are extremely young, even for esports standards. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, from 14 to 16, negotiating their phones with profound native grace. There’s no starker representation of the generation gap in gaming – you and I might prefer a mouse and keyboard, but our cribs weren’t stocked with tablets.

Last month, Super Evil MegaCorp unveiled the long-gestating 5v5 mode for Vainglory, which widens the game’s scope into a more recognizable MOBA, with three lanes and heavier emphasis on team play. Segerstrale talks about the change as an obvious evolution. “We’ve been working on it since we started the company,” he tells me. “We went with 3v3 initially for two reasons. The gamer culture at the time was just Candy Crush. Going from that to a MOBA felt like a very large leap. … The second thing was the tech. We’ve been optimizing the engine to use every piece of processing power that these devices have to bring out a 5v5 experience. For us it was a really natural extension.”

He’s right. Vainglory always felt like a product that was going to evolve over time – free-to-play phone games are nothing if not extremely opportunistic. But there’s a crucial element that Segerstrale leaves out. In a shockingly short amount of time, mobile esports has become one of the most cutthroat sectors in the games industry, and for the first time ever, Vainglory’s place at the top of the mountain is under siege. Nothing captures this moment better than a GIF that rocketed to the top of the Vainglory subreddit shortly after the release of the 5v5 module. The Super Evil MegaCorp logo is embossed over the head of Mirai Nagasu, the first American figure skater to land a triple axel in competition. As she twists in the air, the edge of her pearly skate destroys the superimposed insignias of Mobile Legends, Arena of Valor, and Heroes Evolved – three other mobile MOBAs currently tearing up the app store. It’s a silly meme, of course, but it cuts to the anxiety paramount in those within the community. In 2018, cellphone software is just as divisive as the console wars. Why did Vainglory go 5v5? Because it made for a more holistic experience, because it opened more design space, because phone hardware is more powerful. That’s all true. It’s also true that the games getting dunked on in that GIF were already offering a 5v5 mode, and Super Evil Megacorp is trying to stay ahead of the pack.

“There are a lot of diehard Vainglory fans. Even when DOTA and League first came out, everyone in the DOTA community – myself included – hated League of Legends, because it was a copycat,” explains Valore. “Vainglory has been the only game in this space, but within the last six months to a year, you’ve seen other games released. We take a lot of pride in Vainglory … That’s where those memes come from, and I’m definitely guilty of making one or two myself.”

Arena of Valor

The biggest threat, (and the biggest player at the table,) is Arena of Valor. In China, Arena of Valor debuted under the name Kings of Glory on the marketplace as a faithful, rock-solid League of Legends-style MOBA back in 2015, and since then it’s emerged as the most profitable free-to-play app in the world, hosting 80 million daily players, and 200 million monthly active players according to the South China Morning Post. The game is so insanely popular that it’s actually summoned the ire of the Chinese Communist Party, which has enforced municipal play restrictions for juvenile gamers – one hour for kids under 12, two hours for kids from 12 to 18.

A lot of Arena of Valor’s success can be chalked up to its publisher. Tencent is a massive, multinational conglomerate with fingerprints all over the Chinese internet. Their biggest asset is WeChat, the instant messaging service with over 980 million users, which fills in the gap that Facebook and Google left behind after the Communist Party censored those services. Last November, Tencent was valued at over $500 billion, officially surpassing Facebook. The company’s massive reach helped make Arena of Valor so ubiquitous, and over the past two years, they’ve enacted a long campaign to bring the game to foreign markets. First to Vietnam, then Indonesia, then Europe, and just before Christmas last year, to iOS and Android in the United States.

Tencent aren’t messing around about this expansion. Last month they announced that they’ll be hosting the Arena of Valor World Cup in Los Angeles, putting up a bold $500,000 prize-pool. As the Esports Observer points out, that money laps the highest purse Super Evil Megacorp has gathered for Vainglory, which was $150,000 at the World Championship last year. Already, Arena of Valor has seduced major esports companies like Team Liquid and SK Gaming to sign rosters. That might seem premature, but Tencent’s reputation precedes them. This company is directly responsible for publishing and distributing League of Legends in China, and according to an insider who works there, their ultimate goal is for Arena of Valor to mirror that same success.

“We don’t feel that [PC esports and mobile esports] different platforms are rivals, but rather that the two complement each other. The biggest value in mobile is convenience – you can play Arena of Valor anywhere, anytime in short bursts on your phone,” he says. “With that in mind, there is great potential for mobile games as an esports platform, and the accessibility and convenience of being able to get good or ‘train’ for competition makes it easy for the general playing field to offer up new challengers as more people become confident in their skills. We feel this element of what makes Arena of Valor special will lead to a lot more people being involved at a local or regional, or even international level, who would never have otherwise considered entering a tournament.”

When I asked him how he thinks Arena of Valor stacks up against games like Vainglory, his response was short and to the point: “We strongly feel that Arena of Valor stands alone in the space of mobile MOBA gameplay and is the most polished, most fun and best-in-class offering available for a competitive game on the mobile device.”

I wouldn’t say that po-player Michael Valore feels threatened by Arena of Valor, but he does get a little prickly when that game is compared to Vainglory. The easiest parallel to understand the dynamic might be the cold war between DOTA 2 and League of Legends fans. There’s a longstanding snobby belief among Valve lifers that high-level DOTA 2 play is elementally more complex and more beautiful than high-level League. How true that is depends on your own mileage, but that’s the stance the Vainglory community has taken as other games have moved into the space. “Now that Vainglory is 5v5, I truly don’t think, objectively, people can say that those other games are better than what Vainglory brings,” says Valore.

Segerstrale, predictably, is very diplomatic when I ask him about the newly crowded field in mobile esports. “Gamers are naturally tribal. Gaming is an outlet for our hunter-gatherer homosapien brains. So we take all of this stuff as an encouraging sign that the overall expectations of mobile games is growing,” he says. “From our perspective, we go out of our way to respect every other game, and every other game community out there, because making multiplayer games is hard. We need to build this industry together. … because we have the most powerful engine in the market, and because people are passionate about our deep strategies, we hope that people gravitate to our game, but that doesn’t mean that we are the only experience around.”

Vainglory certainly does have the benefit of an ingrained, grassroots base of players, but still, you have to feel for an independent company like Super Evil Megacorp, who’s suddenly been injected into a rivalry with a real-life Super Evil Megacorp like Tencent. To say that this isn’t a fair fight would be a huge understatement. Segerstrale speaks like someone who truly isn’t concerned, but Valore is willing to be a bit more candid with some of his hangups. “They gotta get [Vainglory’s] name out there, so that people know they have choices between all the other MOBAs,” he says, when I ask him what he thinks Super Evil needs to do over the next few years. “Tencent is a huge billion dollar company, it’s very easy for them to throw money at tournaments, and throw money at advertisements. But if Super Evil spends a lot of time on their marketing and advertising so that any player interested in mobile MOBAs know they have a choice, that will do wonders.”


I haven’t detailed Mobile Legends and Heroes Evolved, the other two titles named in that triple-axel meme, mostly because they’re minor players. In fact, Mobile Legends first and only claim to fame is getting sued by Riot for copyright infringement, (and as DOT Esports writer Aaron Mickunas points out, it’s not hard to see why.) Both of those games are working the same MOBA gimmick, but they have neither the loyal bedrock of Vainglory, or the bottomless resources of Arena of Valor. I would like to pretend that the esports economy is kind, and will happily concede room for a meritocracy of enterprises, but there’s a graveyard of failed MOBAs who tried to take a bite of the League apple over the past five years. It’s hard to imagine that the same fate won’t await those buying into the mobile space.

However, there is one company that’s trying something different. Skillz is the passion project of Andrew Paradise, a man who had already made a fortune in the online commerce industry. Like Super Evil Megacorp and Tencent, the company is in the business of mobile esports, but the scope of the project is far different. Skillz isn’t trying to build another grim MOBA. Instead, they’re hosting cash tournaments for a bevy of flotsam on the app store; Candy Crush doppelgangers, index-finger billiards, public-access mahjong variants. Everything your mom loves, now with stakes.

You can consider Skillz as more of a blanket service, rather than a specific game. They partner with mobile giants like Zynga and Ilyon and port tournament software directly into their infrastructure. Now, when you go play something like Strike! Real Money Bowling on your phone, you can buy into brackets for as little as a dollar. Paradise says they’ve actually nurtured a community of professionals; imagine that, mastering the physics of touchscreen ten-pin as a full-time job – like stay-at-home dads who struck it big playing fantasy football.

“In 2015, the top electronic bowler on their phone was the fifth highest earning bowler in the world – both online and offline,” says Paradise. “They’re doing stuff we didn’t anticipate, like dripping candle wax onto their phone and scraping it off with a razor blade to better their grip.”

The ethos of Skillz is similar to Vainglory and Arena of Valor, but Paradise is going a step further. He’s betting that someday everyone, literally everyone, will participate in esports – not just stubbly 18-year olds in snapbacks and springy black gaming chairs. I have no reason to doubt him. Phones are changing the ways we think about the games industry at an unprecedented clip, who’s to say that won’t touch esports? Who’s to say the culture isn’t changing right below our feet?

“We are competitive by nature. It’s so fundamental to being human. Whether you’re the world’s best Candy Crush player or the world’s best Vainglory player, the ability to show that skillset and compete with your peers across the world [is valuable,]” says Paradise. “The question is who’s gonna crack the code for games like Candy Crush? Who’s going to create a player competitive experience and a spectator experience? Whether it’s one kind of content or another kind of content, that just changes the kind of audience that’s engaging in it.”

Frankly, the most radical thinking in esports is happening in the mobile industry. For they’re the only ones imagining a future where everyone with a phone and a few minutes on the train can be training for the big leagues. Imagine that, competitive gaming as easy as breathing, free at last from the feeding frenzy, whether you’re matching three or chasing down a pentakill.


Respect the Moca: #Mobile Casual #Gamers Are 200 Million Strong but Largely Ignored $

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 12:12 PM on Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Game apps have grown 50% in 3 years. Are marketers noticing?

  • 203 million Americans will play mobile games regularly in 2018
  • Industry data proves that people of every age, demographic and household income play mobile games
  • While 60 percent of women in another study said they play mobile games daily, 72 percent of women do not consider themselves gamers, even though 59 percent of them play at least 10 times per week.

Perception is reality when it comes to marketing, and perception is challenging to alter once it is formed. For example, even though 203 million Americans will play mobile games regularly in 2018, most Americans do not identify themselves as gamers. Industry data proves that people of every age, demographic and household income play mobile games. Interestingly, over 20 percent of gamers in a recent study were older than 55. While 60 percent of women in another study said they play mobile games daily, 72 percent of women do not consider themselves gamers, even though 59 percent of them play at least 10 times per week.

Let’s face it, the popular concept of a gamer (read: a teenager blowing up zombies in his parents’ basement) is antiquated. Many advertisers have at least partially held back exploring mobile games as an advertising medium because the gamer image turns them off. However, in 2018, the majority of mobile games played are actually casual games: puzzles, word games, quiz games, brain teasers, etc. In other words, brand-safe and family-friendly. Mobile games are so successful that they now eclipse Hollywood’s global box office revenue at $50 billion versus $40 billion.

Additionally, monster hits such as Pokémon Go, Words With Friends, HQ and others have begun to change perceptions. The industry is also remarketing itself to brands, coining the term “moca”—a combination of “mobile” and “casual”—to better represent a person who casually plays mobile games. The term originated from Jun Group as a way to rebrand mobile games for the new generation.

Mobile games are so successful that they now eclipse Hollywood’s global box office revenue at $50 billion versus $40 billion.

Pulling back the curtain on mobile games reveals an environment ideal for brand advertising. For example, the popular coloring book app Recolor surfaced with millions of daily active players who spend 10 minutes a session on average and generate over 68 million app sessions per month. Over 60 percent of Recolor players earn a household income of over $75,000, according to Facebook Analytics.

The success of casual game apps explains why they were predicted to be a more than 50 percent increase (to $655 million) in brand ad spend on mobile games over the past three years. Ninety-three percent of that spend went to video ads, and as brands continue to pull their video spend from unsavory sites and sites with uncontrollable content, they are beginning to see games as a safe and immersive way to reach their customers.

Despite this recent uptick, spend in the category still pales in comparison to the billions of dollars spent on social networks. Leading industry organizations like the Mobile Marketing Association are working to change that. A recent white paper on mobile games illustrates the opportunities in-game ads present for brands. The reality is that 25 percent of all apps downloaded from iTunes and Google Play are games, making games by far the number one app category. Mobile games typically represent 20-40 percent of the most popular apps in iTunes and the Google Play store. Mobile games are so popular that people spend on average three times more time with them than they do chat apps, as reported by comScore.

Also of interest to advertisers is the fact that people report feeling more engaged, relaxed, focused and happy with mobile games as compared to with social media. And people who are in an upbeat and positive mood are 40 percent more receptive to digital ads. Conversely, the mood of a social media goer may be less savory. Studies have revealed feelings of depression and anxiety, especially among millennial audiences—likely not the most receptive of moods for brand messaging.

So, while adopting a new term like moca to describe people who casually play mobile games is not a silver bullet for everything that ails digital advertising, it does go a long way to help change advertisers’ perception of the space. It helps to refocus the conversation on an exciting source of brand-safe and high-performing ad inventory. Moca gaming reflects a growing pastime for hundreds of millions of Americans from all walks of life. Expect to see more people identify themselves as mocas in 2018—and look for advertisers to scale their spending accordingly.


Kuuhubb $ Signs Term Sheet to Acquire Full Global Rights and Revenue to My Hospital Game #Apps #Mobile

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 10:27 AM on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Kuihub large

  • Signed a non-binding term sheet to acquire the full global rights and revenue to the My Hospital game
  • Purchase price of 2.6 million Euros would be paid in monthly installments between May 2019 and June 2021.  
  • Additionally, after Kuuhubb has recouped the entire purchase price, Cherrypick Games would be entitled to 25% net profit share

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2018 – Kuuhubb Inc. (“Kuuhubb” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:KUU) announces that it has signed a non-binding term sheet to acquire the full global rights and revenue to the My Hospital game.

“We are very satisfied with the growth of My Hospital during the past months.  To maximize the overall profitability for Kuuhubb, we are in discussions to expand our cooperation with Cherrypick Games on My Hospital.  The proposed deal structure is expected to provide Kuuhubb with cash flow and profitability as well as create long-term value through our expanding product portfolio globally,” commented Jouni Keränen, CEO of Kuuhubb.

Based on the terms of the non-binding term sheet, the current distribution agreement, which ends June 2019, would be changed to a purchase agreement for My Hospital full global rights.  The purchase price of 2.6 million Euros would be paid in monthly installments between May 2019 and June 2021.  Additionally, after Kuuhubb has recouped the entire purchase price, Cherrypick Games would be entitled to 25% net profit share.  Cherrypick Games would continue the current game development and update efforts until June 2021.

The proposed My Hospital acquisition is subject to the execution of the definitive documentation in respect of such acquisition and receipt of any required TSX Venture Exchange acceptance.

About Kuuhubb
Kuuhubb is a company active in the digital space that focuses mainly on lifestyle and mobile video game applications. Its strategy is to create sustainable shareholder value through acquisitions of proven, yet underappreciated, assets with robust long-term growth potential. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, the Company has a global presence with a strong focus on developing U.S. brand collaborations and Asian partnerships.

Cautionary Note Concerning Forward-Looking Information
This press release contains forward-looking information.  All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future (including, without limitation, statements relating to the completion of the proposed My Hospital acquisition, the development and growth plans for My Hospital, future cash flow and profitability, growth of the Company’s business and expected benefits from the proposed My Hospital acquisition) are forward-looking information.  This forward-looking information reflects the current expectations or beliefs of the Company based on information currently available to the Company.  Forward-looking information is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking information, and even if such actual results are realized or substantially realized, there can be no assurance that they will have the expected consequences to, or effects on the Company.  Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations include, among other things, failure to execute the definitive documentation in respect of, or complete, the proposed My Hospital acquisition, risks related to the growth strategy of the Company, the possibility that results from the proposed My Hospital acquisition will not be consistent with the Company’s expectations, the early stage of the Company’s development, competition from companies in a number of industries, the ability of the Company to manage expansion, future business development of the Company and the other risks disclosed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s annual information form dated October 30, 2017 filed on SEDAR at  Forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is provided and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise.  Although the Company believes that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking information are reasonable, forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such information due to the inherent uncertainty therein.  

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

For further information, please contact:

Kuuhubb Inc.
Jouni Keränen – CEO
[email protected]
Office: +358 40 590 0919

Bill Mitoulas
Investor Relations
[email protected]
Office:  +1 (416) 479-9547