Apr 202011
 

Gary is representing MUVEDesign at three conferences coming up that reflect the nature of the three keys areas of the business.

  1. At the TV Show Australia next week he is presenting about Social Television now and in the near future and how Inspiring the stories of tomorrow with social mediawill make TV truly and finally interactive

    Santa Clara Convention Center

  2. In Santa Clara, CA he is opening the business track by presenting New Augmented Reality Business Models at the worlds biggest Augmented Reality Conference known as the Event
  3. And in June Gary is presenting at GameTech on Pervasive Entertainment and the exciting merging of Games, Film/TV, Geo-Caching and Social Media

Gary is also presenting at various adhoc conferences such as Creative Sydney here where he is MC’ing & presenting on various Transmedia & Multi-Platform Content sessions.

More details on each of these below and if you want to speak to us about how MUVEDesign can help you realise your projects in these areas look at our service area and contact us here.


 

‘Multi-Platform’ TV Show

Australia 2011 27-29 Apr Sydney

The TV Show is Australia’s only multiplatform TV conference. It is the first forum bringing together the value chain for multiplatform TV, with an emphasis on finding innovative ways of bringing services to the market. Content will enable decision-makers to evaluate technology, the costs involved and gain knowledge of roll outs and implementation.

  • How to be a successful new entrant in the multi-platform TV market by harnessing innovation
  • How to better understand and engage with customers across multiple devices
  • How to develop new, interesting formats that will attract viewers and advertisers
  • How to use Apps to extend the TV experience across multiple screens
  • How to launch new services and build new revenue streams through Social TV
  • How to integrate Social TV apps within the EPG
  • How to create hype and build communities around branded entertainment
Gary’s audience centric, social TV element followed by an interesting panel looking at community building around TV content.

Day 2  2.10pm Inspiring the stories of tomorrow with social media

  • Including audiences in the creation of your stories
  • Differentiating your content with social features
  • Listening to the audience to produce more compelling stories
Mr Gary Hayes, Director & Founder, MUVEdesign.com & Storylabs.us

2.40pm Panel discussion: How to distribute and market content on social networks

  • Getting the best from the social nature of TV
  • Virally distributing programming
  • Influencing conversations about your programme
  • Marketing your programme more successfully and cost effectively with social media
Mr Iain McDonald, Founder & Executive Creative Director, Amnesia Razorfish
Ms Vanessa Stoykov, Chief Executive Officer, Evolution Media Group

 


 

The Augmented Reality Event 2011

May 17-18 Santa Clara, CA, USA

The Augmented Reality Event 2011 will feature industry luminaries: Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, Will Wright, and Blaise Aguera y Arcas. ARE 2011 will include more than 100(!) speakers in 30 sessions organized into 3 tracks: business, technology & programming, and production & design.

The 2 day event will feature more than 33 hours of talks running the gamut of AR essentials in 3 tracks: Business, Technology and Production:

  1. Business – For executives of established and start-up AR companies, as well as mobile hardware companies – in search of business models and promising verticals for AR;  a venue to form partnerships, learn about latest innovations, and most importantly speak with clients.
  2. Technology – For Developers, programmers and technologists seeking the latest and greatest engines and tools for AR; learn from case studies and post mortems delivered by experienced developers from the leading companies in the space.
  3. Production – For Producers, designers, project managers (in gaming companies, agencies, marketers, brands, and artists) hungry for proven techniques to leverage augmented reality to advance your brand, attract and keep your customers, and build successful campaigns and products that will delight users.

Day One – Tuesday 17-May-2011

  • 8:15-9:00 am ARE 2011 Press Conference  Moderated by Ryan Wagner Great America XK – First Floor. Opportunity for AR companies to announce new products with major tech media
  • 9:00-9:45 am Keynote: Bruce Sterling Wired Main Theater
  • 10:00-11:00 am AR Market: Today and Tomorrow Business Track  (Great America J – First Floor)
    • Gary Hayes (MUVEDesign)- New AR Business Models
    • Laurel Papworth (Community Crew) – Building Mobile AR Social Communities for Business

 


 

GameTech

21-22 June 2011 Sydney

Video games and interactive entertainment has come of age, and it’s serious business. Games have emerged as the pinnacle of consumer entertainment. The interactive entertainment industry is now faced with unprecedented popularity, unparalleled growth and significant opportunity.

“The global video gaming market is expected to grow at a CAG Rate of 8.9% to reach $76.1bn in 2013”*

The benefits of this are not just restricted to the video game developers and publishers- all areas of the value chain and the wider industry arereaping the rewards of this growth opportunity. As users are shifting towards new platforms developers and publishers are changing their business models to wrestle for market share.

  • Gametech is a 2-day conference blitz of learning, inspiration, solutions, and networking. It is the most comprehensive event on games and interactive entertainment in the region, and will provide an unparalleled event experience.
  • Gametech is for those who wish to benefit from the explosive growth in video gaming. Whether you are part of the industry value chain or whether you are considering interactive entertainment as a tool for your business.
  • Gametech features visionary presentations, insightful case studies, lively debate and expert information on timely cutting-edge business topics of interactive entertainment and gaining from video gaming technology.

Gary’s is presenting on key areas of Merged Media and how Gamification is acritical component of all multi-platform content forms

1355 – Pervasive Entertainment – Games, Film, Music, Print & TV merging with audience networks

  • Assessing the concept of Pervasive Entertainment and how it is affecting the games industry
  • How are brands extending to transmedia?
  • Reviewing the business models behind geo-social / augmented reality games
  • Learning form relevant case studies
  • What models of media production, distribution, and consumption are implied by these future
  • visions of entertainment?

Gary Hayes, Director MUVEDesign & Founder StoryLabs

ROUNDTABLE 15.10 - Unleash the Power of Interactive Entertainment – Diversifying Your Product Offering with Video Games

  • How has the appeal of video games widened to new audiences?
  • Underlying the process of developing games to compliment existing products
  • Is there a limit as to the nature of business capable of benefiting from games
  • Finding the right monetization model to support a standalone games product
  • Key ingredients for successful games for social media platforms
  • How can games and interactive entertainment incorporate features such as user-generated content, sharing, rewards and referral programs?
  • Key steps to monetize new social gaming environments?

Sam Doust Creative Director, Strategic Development
 ABC

David Peattie Managing Director
 Hasbro

Hugh Baldwin Director of Television and Content Acquisitions 
Nickelodeon, MTV

Gary Hayes Director MUVEDesign & Founder 
StoryLabs


Oct 252010
 

Gary is presenting on an Ad:Tech Augmented Reality panel later this week in Tokyo going beyond simple AR business models (see this post from over a year ago) and current delivery, real world possibilities, and talking about a near term futures and opportunities, especially in the area of branded location based augmented reality games and services. There will also be discussions related to barriers to adoption and how to open up the market – similar to topics Gary addressed in this recent presentation to the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association Mobile board…but here is the Ad:Tech Tokyo panel (sadly Zugara had to pull out of the panel but Gary will show some of their work)

Augmented Reality – A Showcase What The Marketers Need To Know – October 28th 5:40pm – 6:30pm

“Is AR just like a lift-the-flap book?”
What value can AR offer for people and enterprises?
The session outlines various definitions of AR such as location based platform or image recognition platform and how the technology provides valuable insight for marketing. Exploring various case studies, we will discuss the current situations and issues for AR as well as its future.

Gary Hayes CCO, MUVEDesign & StoryLabs

Akihiko Tokuhisa CTO, Digital Advertising Consortium Inc. Moderator

Masataka Hosogane Executive Creative Director, Mobile Communication Development Department, Communication Design Center, DENTSU Inc.

Gary will be showing several of his Augmented Reality branding overview videos such as the recent Recognition – Business Opportunities but also one of three Location Based Augmented Reality Story developments in this space  called ‘Time Treasure” – a rudimentary, story rich LBARG (location based AR game?!) that MUVEDesign are currently story designing & coding for Android tablets. A hort 2 minute taster video embedded below…

Without giving the plot away, the structure of this game is quite straightforward. There are ten layers of time from 2050 back to 5000BC that you slowly penetrate following stories, clues and trails all based at POIs (points of interest, precise locations) around your city. The traditional MMOG talking-head quest and story givers are a unique part of this as well as a range of capture & loot quests that require you in some cases to do a little ‘real world’ grinding… ok not too much 🙂 For me the challenge as always is about creating strong ‘call to actions’ and constructing a narrative backbone to make it worth your while walking and in some cases running around town! I will do a post when this reaches a full working pilot.

We will keep you updated in the next months of progress on this and the branded client games also in progress.

Oct 092010
 


This is a brief description and support page for the October 2010 released iPad app Social Media Counts one of several non-client commissioned MUVEDesign smartphone apps.

Get it via the iTunes App store now or go to the Apple App preview page

1.0 RELEASE VERSION 1.0 – Description and screen shot

Social Media Counts is an amazing and hypnotic real time display of eighty four user, content and business metrics across social media, games, mobile and traditional or heritage media. The data is based on actual reported numbers which are listed in the embedded info panel and this rolling ‘count-up counter’ is a projection forward in time based on these real numbers. With over 40 million impressions already of the embeddable flash version across the web this counter gives real insight into the tsunami of content, proliferation of devices and the money being made from a range of entertainment and services.

Features

include the ability to switch in real time between the social. mobile, games and heritage lists as well as step forward in increments of day, week, month and a fixed view of a year ahead. You can also reset the counter at any point using the ‘begin’ button. An info screen contains a list of most of the data sources used in the counter and a web link takes you to a web page with these listed and links to the sources pages also.

Please Note: The application is intentionally not highly interactive as it is meant to be used as a display in portrait mode only, making it readable at presentations and demonstrations to others in small meeting environments as it allows easy visibility of the amazingly large growing numbers.

The app will be updated regularly – approx once a month with updated statistics where available and suggestions are always welcomed for new, remarkable figures (make sure you have a reliable per day, month or year figure though!)

For reference here are the current list of real time counter metrics being displayed:

Social Media Tab

new blog posts, members added on Facebook, US dollars spent on virtual goods globally, tweets sent on Twitter, videos watched on YouTube, iPhone apps downloaded, US dollars spent on Facebook gifts, hours uploaded onto YouTube, new Twitter accounts, text messages inside Second Life, US dollars made from global messaging & data, iPads sold, new members on LinkedIn, pieces of music bought on iTunes, searches made on Google, emails sent globally, US dollars made in ad revenue on Facebook, sms’s sent worldwide, photos uploaded to Facebook, images uploaded to Flickr, new internet users globally

Mobile Media Tab

new mobile phones shipped, US dollars generated from mobile games, sms’ sent worldwide, new phones GPS enabled, US dollars made by global mobile data, WiFi and 3G iPads sold globally, iPhones sold, GBs sent across all mobile devices, hours of mobile video watched in USA, US dollars made from all mobile services globally, new users of mobile social networks, US dollars spent on mobile advertising worldwide, new mobile subscribers globally, new portable pcs / laptops shipped, mms messages in the US, iPhones unlocked, US dollars made from mobile music, people using location mobile services logged onto the web using mobile, made from mobile video, new mobile 3G subscribers globally

Games
join a ‘social’ game from Zynga, US dollars made from MMOG players China, quests completed by WoW players, US dollars revenue from games sold in US, user2user tranactions Second Life, transactions in Eve Online, game units sold worldwide, US dollars spent on virtual goods globally, new global MMORPG subscribers, US dollars generated from Virtual World ads, logged into Fantasy Westward Journey, virtual goods created in Second Life, US dollars invested in Virtual World companies, new US kids (3-11) subscribing to VWs, messages between Second Life users, players transactions in Eve Online, US dollars net revenue made World of Warcraft, portable game units sold, user hours by Chinese online gamers, messages posted on Gaia forums, user hours by Second Life users

Heritage Media
US dollars made at the US box office, US dollars lost to US economy due to movie piracy, read a newspaper in the US, Dollars TV revenue generated globally, single music tracks downloaded, attend a US orchestral concert, US dollars made from global print ads, US dollars total spend making Australian films, US dollars total spend on making UK films, US dollars wages for jobs in US movie industry, US dollarshardcover books sold worldwide, kindle books sold just by Amazon, people in US tuning into radio, US dollars made from music concerts worldwide, US dollars made from DVD & Blu-ray in US, US dollars lost by pirated music & movies Spain, US dollars made from all music worldwide, hours of TV watched by all UK viewers, movie tickets sold US EU China Japan,US dollars spent on new TV sets in the US, printed press page views

Jun 292010
 

Personalizemedia.com just posted a detailed look at a video entitled Augmented Worlds Video Part One – Recognition. The focus is looking specifically at the business model implications of the widespread use of a large tablet AR device and super fast, always on tagged/recognisable content. There are other videos in the series covering education, games & stories as well as utility near futures – but though it would be cool to cross post the video here too! Enjoy and read more about the video on the link above

AUGMENTED WORLDS Pt.1 - Business Opportunities: RECOGNITION.

An ‘iPad 4.0 – like prototype’ stroll around an augmented Sydney. Video, music devised & created by GARY HAYES of MUVEDesign.com – there are some key assumptions with this video detailed here –

ASSUMPTIONS WITH THIS CONCEPT

OK this tablet device with camera is running on a very fast connection, instant video and image so we are assuming city wide wifi or 4G type service connection. Also some elements pop up immediately so we can assume the user in the video (me) has setup some preferences or it has learned what type of service I like so it gives instant fulfilment vs dropping into endless menus (more on the interface next). Also the device is extremely aware of its location to a few inches, so we can assume that some of the ‘recognition’ elements are speeded up, being tied into precisely where the user is stood/orientated ‘combined’ with recognition – this will speed up the overall process vs using only Kooaba like Smart Visuals Recognition which puts a lot of pressure on server-side processing.

Notice on the  of the interface I have put the words “CONNECTED TO: Sydney CBD People and Places cached data” which is basically pointing out that the speed of recognition to data display is super accelerated when all information is pre-cached, and the way intelligent caching works means the more popular the ‘target’ the faster the response. Privacy – there are a few sequences here and in the longer video that show people being ‘recognised’. Obviously a real concern at the moment, so the concept video assumes the users being targeted have given their consent to outdoor recognition…I know this is a post in itself (see one of mine recently) but lets assume like TagWhat and FourSquare like services, users are allowing their ‘trusted’ friends and companies (for benefits) assess to being recognised – at least for the purposes of this concept!

Oct 232009
 

A cross-post from Gary Hayes’s Personalizemedia Site (with permission!) … As promised a more specific ‘commercial’ follow up to my previous post on this topic which was more ‘story’ centric. I am developing and producing a range of Augmented Reality (or if you prefer AR, ‘blended or layered media’) applications at the moment. I have also been asked to present at a few conferences and create a detailed white paper on the implications of AR for government & business looking at privacy, legal, copyright & crime issues. As readers of this blog will know I also lecture, run workshops and work with creative teams to come up with future ‘social entertainment’ based around virtual worlds and augmented reality.

But the purpose of this short post is to simply list and try to categorise the many types of business Augmented Reality apps appearing in the market. The first manifestations of AR appeared in the late 60s, became real in the 70s and by the 90s were already being used by major companies. Now portable computing is finally powerful enough to deliver AR to anyone who has a smart phone or latest generation PC or console. But first my simple definition of Augmented Reality.
Information, 3D models or live action blended with or overlaid onto the physical world in real time. A camera & attached screen is used to view the combination of reality & real time virtuality. Devices or systems commonly used for AR include

But the purpose of this pretty detailed post is to simply list and try to categorise the many types of business Augmented Reality apps appearing in the market and to try to identify opportunities.

Augmented Dollar

Augmented Reality Business by Gary Hayes

Continue reading »

Oct 182009
 

Because who used to be our audience are now co-creators and spending time across a sea of media and devices. This counter from MUVEDesign’s Gary Hayes gives a brief insight into the torrent of social and anti-social content that only the best professional transmedia properties will be heard above the noise. Contact MUVEDesign for a consultation!

Aug 052009
 

MUVEDesign are now developing a range of augmented reality apps, particularly aimed at the new iPhone 3Gs and are happy to accept enquiries from interested parties. For those unfamiliar with AR there are some videos below that give a sense of the area. Simply put AR is the physical, real world seen through a live often mobile ‘camera’ (web cam, iPhone etc) then in real time, digital content is layered over the top – locked & linked to locations, people and other visible real world elements.

We have come a long way since cardboard cutout VRML back in the 90s. It is interesting to watch a revolution take place at the moment in Mixed & Augmented Reality and one particular subset, augmented reality. Gary produced a compilation in 2008 of various AR and MR area in this short video (at the bottom of this post you will find a transcript)

Another exciting area of AR is emergent game play. This example from a Japanese company called Geisha Tokyo Entertainment is your very own augmented reality Geisha Girl. It is interesting watching a story develop so imagine the potential now for story tellers or performers who can give their ‘participant’ audience the tools to bring the storyworld out into their personal space. I think in advance of the oft mentioned ’surround-o-film’ (yes holograms of Bond jumping around you in your front room, god help us!) this is a simple and elegant solution – given we all have webcams built into laptops, games consoles, mobiles etc etc: With this particular package you get two cubes and two sticks but imagine a cube for a range of characters or sets for your latest film or kids TV show, perhaps available as a premium.

Finally the combination of Augmented Reality and Social Media is probably the most obvious and compelling near term offering. Being able to layer the rich social web over the top of the real world adds real value. This video speaks for itself.

Below is the slightly futuristic transcript from my video compilation above, for those who can’t hear the narration. :) (BTW a better audio version available as a 50MB download here). Attribution for most clips appear in this post.

Is this reality? Is this fantasy? In 2008 the great transition truly began. Whereas a decade earlier we used to ‘log in’ to cyberspace, now we began to semi-permanently inhabit virtual space and the digital world started to leak out into everyday life. It began to infiltrate our shopping malls and became integrated with our everyday lives. Humanity started the relentless journey towards the natural future where virtuality became a greater reality,  and where digital fantasy and organic reality were inextricably intertwined.

Through the early 2000s pervasive wearable computing started to break down the walls that used to separate our virtual existence from our physical one. This same technology also allowed us to embed ourselves seamlessly into virtual worlds which is where we could truly experiment with future forms of entertainment, art, education and business.

augmented_realityIn these new places we became the real time, living celebrity. Many of us became avatar stars, pixel gods – exalted as those linear film and TV icons. This became the only place for many. By 2007 hardcore gamers were already spending fifty five hours per week ‘inside’ these shared worlds and learned to forgot about the real world. This became the place where their most meaningful hours were spent. Everyone began to blend the two domains, combining them in new ways, driven by an invisible urge. Thus started the global meshing, of today’s mixed reality.

But in 2009 questions were asked. As in the many films that hinted at our transhumanist future, would the physical embodied self ever become redundant? Would we truly evolve as self contained, digital entities? May we as well be slumped in a chair with a cable plugged into our heads? Regardless, as the real world became inhospitable we all started to crave for the immersion and began moving our physical selves into these spaces. Even more than that we wanted our peers our un-virtual audiences to be able to share our experiences there. It became a contagious as the most poignant moments and memories were the ones in virtual space.

But we needed to look beyond these screens and into our own souls. Find the truth written along the ‘thin white line’ that separates analog from digital, person from avatar. This was the beginning. It always was. As far as the meshing or blending of reality and virtuality, in 2009 they were the equivalent of grainy black and white movies seventy years earlier. Our experiences were simultaneously part real, part virtual but it didn’t matter which was which anymore. Both were valid and they depended on each other. Those early parallel existences of twenty years ago started to move humanity forward, released our imaginations and we coexisted with our precious and ultimately fragile, physical selves. The great crossing had begun.

Mar 112009
 

Below are my introduction slides from ad:tech 2009 earlier this week. It is such a short time (each panel is given 50 minutes) to cover such a vast area and myself, Jeff (habbo.com.au) and Mitch (SmallWorlds.com) were all struggling to impart tons of great info/examples and have enough time to get interactive. I hogged the first 15 minutes by giving a broad overview and some examples I have been involved in that fitted the brief of the talk.

Below are my slides, a little descriptive text below that and at the bottom of this post some deeper insight into SmallWorlds (given most of my readers probably know Habbo already? – If not, Why Not!? ). I included one slide from Jeff Brookes set looking at Hitwise’s stats on browser worlds and other sites in terms of session length which will no doubt raise a few eyebrows!

Virtual Worlds & Business: What’s The ROI?

Virtual worlds are maturing at a rapid rate and brands are realising there are valuable business opportunities within them. Whether the objective is engagement, research or brand presence, virtual worlds are proving to be a legitimate marketing channel. In this session our panel will look to provide insights into the business benefits of working within a virtual world.

Presenters

  • Gary Hayes, Director, Laboratory for Advanced Media Production, AFTRS & CEO MUVEDesign (Australia’s leading SL developer!)
  • Jeff Brookes, Regional Director – Asia Pacific, Sulake Corporation (habbo.com.au)
  • Mitch Olson, Co-Founder, SmallWorlds.com

There were several important messages in my introduction. Firstly making sure we all understand the different platforms social virtual worlds are operating on so I briefly described

  1. Layered or Parallel worlds – cute 2D type avatars that move over the top of 2D web
  2. Browser Worlds – walled garden that run inside web browsers, often as isometric views as flash or shockwave
  3. Client Worlds – anything from 20MB to 3GB downloads of data and the world is obviously much richer than browser worlds but do need higher spec computers
  4. Console Worlds – a relatively new kid on the block, social spaces that exist on games consoles. All the rendering grunt is there and the avatars are often linked to the PS3, Wii or XBox360 real life account. PS3 Home is the easiest way to match to worlds like Habbo or There.com
  5. Note there are hybrids of the above and I would put ExitReality down as a hybrid of 1 and 3 as it turns a web page into a client style world

Here are the images of the above part of the presentation

worlds_platforms

I decided that a good ‘spine’ to hang the introduction on was the sort of negative questions floating around from those who don’t really understand what’s happening with web 3.0, the live virtual world space. This includes the paranoid printed press, a few out-of-touch businesses, and digital media companies/consultants more interested in iPhone/mobile games or Facebook widgets which is something they can truly explain (read: make money off).

Press hyperbole or myths?

  • Virtual Worlds are on the decline?
  • There’s no one in them?
  • & people don’t spend long there?
  • They are for kids or social ‘games’ not business?
  • There are no marketing models?

But I then addressed each question in turn showing real world stats and examples. Obviously in recession investment in new tech/services are going to be hit and recent reports do suggest a consolidation of investment into kids worlds, hinting at a lowering of VC in the ones I highlighted in my presentation, but this whole area is still something education & business are advised to R&D and understand fully – as a minimum. As we know it will be new ways of doing business, more immersive and efficient ways to collaborate and alternate forms of entertainment that will be partly what will bring us out of recession.

I finished the talk with a quick overview of the main models that virtual worlds (and most online games) can be monetized. Items 1, 3 and 4 were picked up in a talk on the 2nd day of ad:tech looking at how Nike engaged with console ingame campaign experts Massive across a few platforms.

  1. Static Advertising
  2. Promotions & Sponsored events
  3. Virtual Goods & Product Placement
  4. Dynamic InWorld Advertising
  5. Branded Spaces
  6. AdverWorlds & AdverGames

After my talk some great examples from Jeff Brookes from Habbo followed by Mitch from Smallworlds. I am always fascinated by the methods Habbo engages with its loyal and large community and was equally fascinated by Small worlds thinking too and how they are ‘integrating’ themselves with the existing 2D social networked web. This video by the infamous Robert Scoble features Mitch Olsen and Ted of SmallWorlds

They talk about the main traditional world features but then go onto the interesting areas of embeddable worlds (the Google Lively Killer app – not exploited), API integration with almost anything (twitter feeds, YouTube vids, FB updates on walls anyone) and the most interesting ‘missions’. You are encouraged to explore, meet folk, shop and basically get involved – Mitch says this is like the LinkedIn profile thinking, until your profile is 100% filled in you feel like you are missing out. I likened it much more like World of Warcraft, set players tasks, set them group tasks, give them rewards. This to me could be SmallWorlds real killer applet. At the moment they have around 400 000 users and that looks set to take off in the next months.

Tony Fendall blogged about a particularly cute feature that allows (his words) –

One important thing which was missed is that they didn’t have time to talk about all the cool micropayment features (which Ted alludes near the end) such as Gambit, OfferPal and Zong. Gambit and OfferPal are both services which allow users to earn SmallWorlds currency by completing tasks. These tasks include things such as answering surveys and give amounts of currency proportional to the amount of effort put in. This is a great way for players (who may not have a credit card) to still be able to earn a premium SmallWorlds experience. Zong is a simple cell phone payment service, where by users can pay for a premium SmallWorlds experience using their mobile phone. For an excellent look at how we have integrated Zong into SmallWorlds, check out this YouTube video created by the developers at Zong:

Note a cross post from Gary’s other main blog personalizemedia

Feb 232009
 

What may save TV may also truly grow Social Virtual Worlds. As online audiences continue to ignore TV and vanilla/social virtual worlds suffer from a lack of direction, perhaps the marriage of the two will save both from irrelevancy? A report by Gary Hazlitt in various TV branded virtual world spaces. (original post on personalizemedia)

twinityspiritThere have been several forays by TV properties (gradually losing their audience and associated ad revenues) into social virtual worlds over the past two years. I don’t just mean branded one-off events but actually setting up shop, building a familiar and representive space for the ‘users’ to play in. These forays range from at one end, simple branded spaces pushing episodes on screens through to actually running variants of the TV format to be played out by participant avatars in a detailed build -with many points in-between. But before the meat of the post (a couple of new entrants) here is a quick list to give you an idea of some of the shows and channels that have tried, had some success or failed. As I have been involved in a few of them and visited all, I have listed ones I think have had most impact (engagement) through to those who didn’t quite get it (reversioning).

  1. NBC’s Gossip Girl
  2. MTV’s – Laguna Beach on There.com (also Hills, PimpMyRide etc)
  3. Big Brother – PersonalizeMedia detailed report & at launch
  4. Showtimes The L Word
  5. CBS – CSI:New York and from TechCrunch
  6. Weather Channel – Info, simulations and Extreme Sports area
  7. Australia’s ABC TV Island – Channel & some programmes (eg: Librarians)
  8. NBC Universal Media Island – Channel & concerts & events
  9. London Live – the first music show to appear on the cyberchannel: Virtual Life.TV
  10. SkyNews Island – News Set role play
  11. The Money Programme BBC screening
  12. Channel 4 – Radio Station
  13. Sundance Channel – Virtual screening room
  14. Inhabited TV 1997! – BBC, BT, Illuminations and others
  15. many more…0ver to you and comments!

twinityspirit01There is a rule of thumb regarding TV execs and virtual worlds or serious games initiatives – do not let the TV folk take control as they have too much ingrained baggage around non-participatory media and the resultant compromise is often of no use to anyone – get people who understand game play (and be aware that often excludes traditional game developers) and social media involved or face the consequences. The ones above that really worked allowed the participant audience to really ‘live’ in the shoes of the characters either by having activities similar to the protagonists, meeting the ‘fictional characters’, a social space that resonated with the shows aesthetic or a great set with game-like elements. I have talked a lot about Mixed Reality Entertainment in the past and how one of the most innovative uses of virtual space is to extend the TV or Film property into a 24/7, participatory environment. The main reason for doing this is to drive traffic to the TV but also to keep existing followers loyal to the branded property. As an example there is more detail about the reasoning on my post on Big Brother (good and bad) in Second Life (Witnessing the Birth of an Entertainment Form) as well as posts nearby on CSI in Second Life and many of MTVs properties in There.com (TV Property Branded Virtual Worlds – The Beginning). There are moves around the world including BBC and many European broadcasters who are creating worlds alongside and in some cases in front of the TV episodics and this is the important point. Promoting films with games or virtual world spaces has a very limited life span, forging a strong link between virtual world events and TV episodics is to me a virtuous circle – especially considering the 200 plus worlds populated by the youth audience who are typically turning off TV – teens and tweens. Earlier there were many experiments of TV/World hybrids and I was involved, as mentioned before, in the Mirror. Here is John Wyver (then Illuminations) talking about that (remember this is circa 1997!).

The other key element that contributed to the success of The Mirror, much as in real life, was the provision of regular “hosts” for the space. These needed to be frequent visitors who spent a significant amount of their time in the world, and whom users could have some reasonable expectation of encountering when they logged on. These hosts would greet new entrants, introduce people to each other, point out activities and generally help people around. More than this, however, over time they became the core of the community of the world, encouraging people to return and beginning to develop the particular language and culture of The Mirror. Needless to say, they were the saddest to see it turned off after seven weeks – although a number of relationships begun virtually have continued in the real world – including at least one marriage and one recently born child.

Recent company start-ups or collaborations also suggest that there are moves afoot. Icarus studios are squarely aiming at the TV/VirtualWorld hybrid and about 18 months ago Endemol & EA teamed up to create Virtual World TV formats (VirtualMe) based on Deal or No Deal and Big Brother. Also there have been a plethora of immersive film launches (play-in-the-set-type builds) across the metaverse and I Legend, Digital Hollywood, Iron Man, Quantum of Solace and Transformers spring to mind as I write – but as I said this post is more to do with a continuous, what happens on TV resonantes into the virtual world and what happens there is reflected into the TV episodics. (I regularly consult on this specific area so won’t go into any more detail!)…

habbo_heroes_image2

So, it is interesting to see this trend continuing as new world Twinity starts to do more experiential ‘film’ property marketing and even more ‘demographically focussed’ the current series of Heroes being extended into Habbo

The agreement was brokered by the William Morris Agency and marks the first time ‘Heroes’ has partnered with a virtual world.

..but not in the usual way. As reported by LA Times “‘Heroes’ hops on to Habbo’s virtual world” they will be introducing a virtual-only character Syn Anders who will act as a bridge or guide to the TV series. NBC themselves give more detail here.

While following directions from a mysterious virtual messenger, the new character will take the audience on an adventure as she discovers the history of ‘Heroes’ through a journey that travels back and forth between Habbo.com and the ‘Heroes’ Evolutions site. “We’re excited to work with Habbo to introduce a new character that will extend the enormously popular and Emmy® Award winning ‘Heroes’ interactive story beyond the official Web site on NBC.com,” said Stephen Andrade, senior vice president, Digital Development and General Manager, NBC.com. On Habbo.com, fans of the show will be able to interact with the new virtual hero through a variety of in-game activities. Habbos participating in a weeklong quest will discover their own special powers and will be recruited as new heroes. Those who successfully complete the mission will be awarded various virtual prizes. On the ‘Heroes’ Evolutions site, the new virtual hero will be woven into several of the in-universe, interactive extensions of the on-air show, including a character profile, the Primatech Paper Assignment Tracker and new chapters of the ‘Heroes’ graphic novels.

This is a great use of virtual worlds and it also shows that you don’t need richly rendered environments to be able to engage with participants in these spaces. Also in terms of the ‘linking’ paradigm, it is close to ‘my’ level 3 wikipedia cross-media definition

Excerpt “Cross-media 3.0 – Bridges. – The truest form of cross-media where the story or service structure is specifically authored to drive the audience using strong Call-To-Actions, across media devices to continue the journey. The content placed on the other platform is critical to staying in touch with the experience and the narrative bridges tease you towards investigating or moving to another media form/platform. Obvious examples include a TV show that ends suddenly and gives you a URL to explore more. It may be an SMS that teases and points you towards a live concert in a city square which then leads you to a TV show, then to a podcast then to subscription emails. The trigger, or bridge, is the critical component of this in motivating the cross-media action.”

twinityspirit02Onto Twinity and the images here and above are me playing around in the pre-build set of the recently released and not universally praised film The Spirit. Although it grossed $10 million in the first 4 days it was pulled up for being unemotional and 2D. Well part of the problem generally with many big features now is that audiences have changed and want something more experiential – especially with ‘comic-noir’ films – why not let them ‘live’ in the story environment (my wikipedia item)? Twinity though have teamed up with Will Eisner studios to do this event (not in any way my ideal episodic but potentially a way for the Twinity user base to ‘create episodic, comic-noir’ machinima on-going?

CineStar Spirits you Away to Another World – CineStar’s CUBIX cinema in virtual Berlin is the premiere address for all movie-related events in Twinity. The cinema is currently showing the trailer and other exciting movie material from the upcoming premiere of The Spirit, a movie based on Will Eisner’s cult 1940s comic book series, which will be coming to a cinema screen near you from 5 February. Fans of the movie can get their hands on exclusive Spirit merchandising: including posters, standees, and an incredible Spirit mask that lets you see special visual effects inworld. Find more information here. Save the date and come to the opening party!
Date: Monday, 2 February
Time: 17:00 Berlin, 11am NYC, 00:00 Singapore
Where: CineStar CUBIX

twinityspirit03Twinity (by Metaversum, the German created virtual world) are a long ways from a mature stable platform, hence being in beta for the past 12 months or so, but are already exhibiting the best ‘world-led’ event-based, user activation. This in my mind is high on the list of reasons for likely success over many of the areas that over-hyped Second Life suffered from in the early days. OK the world is quite big and empty and many ‘social’ tools are not yet available inworld but the kind of activity quoted below (calling for videos, images, stories etc: attached to some well know brands) is great first step community building and more importantly getting a growing community to market for you. Even I had a go at one a few months ago – video embedded below 🙂 BTW Metaversum you really need to improve the video tools (detached camera please!).

Submit Your Artwork and Win! – Take part in The Spirit Screenshot and Machinima Contest and win an exclusive film poster signed by cult film director Frank Miller or The Spirit action figures.
Things Are Looking A Little Different Around Here…
Wear the mask and see Twinity through the eyes of the Spirit! – Use Twinity’s screenshot and recording tools to create incredible Spirit- inspired images! To be eligible to win the contest, screenshots must be created while wearing the Spirit Mask and its ‘visual effects’ must be demonstrated in your machinima. Screenshots may be submitted in jpg, png or gif formats.
Sensational Prizes – You have the chance to win sensational The Spirit prizes! Three prizes will be given out to the lucky winners of the Screenshot and Machinima Contest:
* 1st prize: The Spirit action figure and film poster signed by Frank Miller
* 2nd prize: The Spirit film poster signed by Frank Miller
* 3rd prize: The Spirit action figure
To take part in the contest, all you have to do is:

  • Submit your screenshots together with your Twinity name to quest@twinity.com or
  • Upload your movie to a video sharing website, for example “YouTube”, then submit the link to your uploaded video together with your Twinity name to quest@twinity.com
  • Competition deadline: 28 February 2009

We’ll celebrate the winning entries with a Winner’s Gallery party in the CineStar Event Hall! Artwork will be displayed in the CUBIX cinema during The Spirit promotion. Keep an eye on Twinity’s Event Calendar for further details!

Of course I would encourage all TV producers to think about their current audience and whether they want to reach them this way. More importantly you need to think of the appropriateness of creating inworld characters or environments for them to exist in – serious games (from documentaries) and childrens episodics are hot ones at the moment . The real effort is more about having great characters that are persistant in the space but beware of bots or NPC’s (non player characters) pretending to be real, this can have a strong counter productive effect. More later.

Jan 292009
 

I have talked a lot about Mixed Reality Entertainment on my media blog personalizemedia and how one of the most innovative uses of virtual space is to extend the TV or Film property into a 24/7, participatory environment.  The reason for doing this is to drive traffic to the TV or Film but also to keep existing followers loyal to the branded property. There is more detail about the reasoning on my posts on Big Brother in Second Life (Witnessing the Birth of an Entertainment Form) as well as posts nearby on CSI in Second Life and many of MTVs properties in There.com. There are moves around the world including BBC and many European broadcasters who are creating worlds alongside and in some cases in front of the TV episodics. So it is great to see this trend continuing as the current series of Heroes being extended into Habbo

The agreement was brokered by the William Morris Agency and marks the first time ‘Heroes’ has partnered with a virtual world.

..but not in the usual way. As reported by LA Times “‘Heroes’ hops on to Habbo’s virtual world” they will be introducing a virtual-only character Syn Anders who will act as a bridge or guide to the TV series. NBC themselves give more detail here.

While following directions from a mysterious virtual messenger, the new character will take the audience on an adventure as she discovers the history of ‘Heroes’ through a journey that travels back and forth between Habbo.com and the ‘Heroes’ Evolutions site.  “We’re excited to work with Habbo to introduce a new character that will extend the enormously popular and Emmy® Award winning ‘Heroes’ interactive story beyond the official Web site on NBC.com,” said Stephen Andrade, senior vice president, Digital Development and General Manager, NBC.com.  On Habbo.com, fans of the show will be able to interact with the new virtual hero through a variety of in-game activities. Habbos participating in a weeklong quest will discover their own special powers and will be recruited as new heroes. Those who successfully complete the mission will be awarded various virtual prizes.  On the ‘Heroes’ Evolutions site, the new virtual hero will be woven into several of the in-universe, interactive extensions of the on-air show, including a character profile, the Primatech Paper Assignment Tracker and new chapters of the ‘Heroes’ graphic novels.

This is a great use of virtual worlds and it also shows that you don’t need richly rendered environments to be able to engage with participants in these spaces. Also in terms of the ‘linking’ paradigm,  it is close to my level 3 wikipedia cross-media definition

Excerpt “Cross-media 3.0 – Bridges. – The truest form of cross-media where the story or service structure is specifically authored to drive the audience using strong Call-To-Actions, across media devices to continue the journey. The content placed on the other platform is critical to staying in touch with the experience and the narrative bridges tease you towards investigating or moving to another media form/platform. Obvious examples include a TV show that ends suddenly and gives you a URL to explore more. It may be an SMS that teases and points you towards a live concert in a city square which then leads you to a TV show, then to a podcast then to subscription emails. The trigger, or bridge, is the critical component of this in motivating the cross-media action.”

Of course I would encourage all TV producers to think about their current audience and whether they want to reach them this way. More importantly you need to think of the appropriateness of creating inworld characters or environments for them to exist in – serious games (from documentaries) and childrens episodics are hot ones at the moment . The real effort is more about having great characters that are persistant in the space but beware of bots or NPC’s (non player characters) pretending to be real, this can have a strong counter productive effect. More later.

Jan 212009
 

We are well into 2009 and there is a lot of news popping about the likely growth of social virtual worlds and their adoption. As a tangent game based virtual worlds are also still in relative growth as covered in SMH’s post Video games thrash movies and DVD, referring to the shift in Australia and reflected in the rest of the world, of more money spent on interactive vs passive entertainment ” video games industry is now double the size of the box office and more than 40 per cent larger than the movie disc industry in Australia”.

But back to social virtual worlds and I have quickly mapped some dates and SVW events (most are recent) onto a slightly modified Gartner ‘hype cycle’ curve. For the uninitiated here is a brief wikipedia definition.

Since 1995, Gartner has used hype cycles to characterize the over-enthusiasm or “hype” and subsequent disappointment that typically happens with the introduction of new technologies. Hype cycles also show how and when technologies move beyond the hype, offer practical benefits and become widely accepted.

Gartner Hype Cycle SVW

Of course in reality we have really been through a sine wave quite a few times since 1987 through 2005 but since the relative maturity of services like Second Life, There and others true and robust applications are emerging, beyond the traditional ‘gamer/entertainment’ use. MUVED created a post a few weeks ago showing widespread investment in a range of niche virtual worlds and this trend is seemingly continuuing apace. Raymond de Villiers, CEO of Wisdom Games is very bullish about the use of these worlds for business communication in a post entitled Growth of Virtual Environment Expected in 2009…

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Jan 192009
 

A presentation I gave last month at the Online Networking and Business Collaboration conference. This is one of twenty or so I did on a similar topic (engaging with virtual world inhabitants and game players) through 2008. The presentation broadly looks at 4 key areas

  1. The Actual Audience – who they are, what their demo and psychographics are
  2. The Market – dominant players, investment, in world currency and evident holes in the marketplace
  3. Some key case studies – what has worked, how things could be improved and
  4. A little bit about branded entertainment futures and how Virtual worlds will be more ‘merged’ with TV, film and the 2D social web.

virtual_world_shopping_hayesCase studies included Best Buy, McDonalds, Nivea (Splinter Cell), MTV There, STA Travel, Fosters, Accenture, ABC, Intel, Jeep, Dodge, Habbo, Big Brother, Kelly Services, Gossip Girl, L Word, Football Superstars, Webkinz, Barbie Girls, Stardolls, BBC, blast theory,virtual office, club penguin, vside, little big planet, weblin, rocketon, imvu, ps3 home, second life (various including The Pond)
There are more presentations under the LAMP & Project Factory umbrella across social media, new form entertainment and virtual worlds at Gary’s slideshare account.

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Jan 162009
 

The Metaverse… the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of  Search Engine, Meta-mole. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly google where no search engine has gone before.

metamole

OK the folks at University of Teeside will probably not be calling to get me to write their taglines yet what they are doing with Meta-Mole is pretty adventurous and most importantly critical at the moment to glue the discontinuous metaverse. The Meta-Mole in simple terms from their press release is:

The Meta-Mole, created by the Centre for Design in the Digital Economy (D-LAB) based within the University’s Institute of Digital Innovation, will ultimately be a dedicated searchable online resource for the 350 plus virtual worlds currently existing on the Internet.
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Jan 152009
 

Senor Hontar: “We must work in the world. The world is thus.”
Father Altamirano: “No Senor Hontar…thus have we made the world. Thus have I made it”
Final lines of the film ‘The Mission’

As well as the increase in venture capital investment across all virtual worlds, the time spent in them, measured in user hours, is growing too. While this is partly due to existing users spending longer it is often the about the typical new user who after the initial log-in hurdles becomes highly engaged for 3-18 months or longer with a particular personally resonant virtual world service. Virtual worlds that offer something beyond mall-like activities (PS3Home springs to mind) or just a glorified chat channel (there are quite a few in this category) will obviously increase engagement. The personalization factor, to make the virtual space YourSpace either by customising other community members work or by creating it from scratch yourself, naturally increases your personal investment. Second Life has always been about Your World and one of the major driving factors is aspirational lifestyle and peer appraisal.

We partly escape, we are often out to impress, we love the control but most importantly we like to co-create and communicate with those we like on our terms and in areas we make.

Increase in User Engagement Second Life

Linden Lab who run Second Life have just published figures looking at 2008 and as in several presentations I have been giving around the world, it shows that SL and other worlds are far more ‘sticky’ than traditional 2D social networks such as Facebook and MySpace. From the Linden Lab (second life creators) Blog:

Second Life Residents logged nearly 400 million hours in 2008, growing 61% over 2007
Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 12:33 PM by: Zee Linden

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Nov 122008
 

Gary Hayes Builds

Social Media and Web 2.0 is a lot about providing the tools and therefore the means for everyone to create content, that they believe others may want to see. I have personally created a lot of corporate, professional entertainment and music films over the years using high end equipment but now, like many millions around the world, find it a fun and satisfying process to be able to create films and stories in virtual worlds, aka machinima. (Quite a few are over on my personal virtual blog justvirtual)

There are literally millions of machinimas emanating from the likes of World of Warcraft, Sims, Movies, Halo, Second Life, Half Life and many more. Most are done for the love vs the money and some make it onto the big screen. For the creators it is about expressing ‘their’ world and experiences to each other but of course there is something else as important here.

Laurel Papworth talked recently about a machinima I did in Twinity and the ‘free advertising’ it offers for the brand or platform. For me it is also about creating an environment where simple tools encourage large numbers of people to come together remotely and do real-time, collaborative content creation for extended periods. It makes the world very, very sticky when they have shared creative goals and purpose – not just pre-constructed game play. Some may say game quests are social too and I believe when the players get ‘creative’ with the mechanic and ‘bend the rule’ together it certainly is.

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