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What is the Kinect?

We are asked this all the time.

Kinect is a motion sensing device by Microsoft for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It enables users to control and interact with their video games without the need of a video controller. Xbox One has an updated version of Kinect which has greater accuracy.  Kinect claims to bring games and entertainment to life letting the user manipulate the game themselves.  With a wave of your hand the sensor is activated.

Kinect offers:

Full Body Gaming
Controller free gaming means you are the controller. Kinect responds to motion so if you kick, the character you are on screen kicks as well.

Personalization
Once you activate the sensor, it recognizes who you are and accesses your avatar.

Voice recognition
Kinect recognizes your voice so if you say “Xbox” you can use voice commands instead of the motion sensors.  So you can switch what you are watching or reading by a mere voice command.  This means never having to get off the couch.

If you are interested in a demo of Kinect for games and immersive event experiences contact us to see some samples or to schedule a demo: info@gamepill.com

 

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Kids and Mobile Device Use Fast Facts

Kids’ use of mobile devices has grown exponentially over the last few years. Since teachers, parents, health providers, and child development experts all agree that media can have a profound effect on learning, social development and behaviour of children,  it is important to know when and how children are using these mobile devices.

According to a new study conducted by Common Sense Media, 72% of children aged 8 and under have used a mobile device for some type of media activity such as playing games, watching videos, or using apps, up from 38% in 2011.

This study also showed that use of mobile devices starts at a young age as 38% of children under 2 have used a mobile device, among 2 to 4 year olds the rate is 80% and for 5 to 8 year olds 83% have used a mobile device.

Among these children aged 0 to 8, 50% have used a mobile app.  The most frequently used apps are educational games as 43% use this type, 42% play games that are just for fun and 38% use creative apps for drawing or making music.

Now more than ever people own tablets and smartphones accounting for this rise in the use of such devices.  It is important to keep up with the growing need for more kid friendly apps and games so that the opportunity to aid in learning, and development is not lost.

For more statistics and information on Children and Mobile device use contact us.

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Mobile Marketing Terms

Every new communication technology comes with its own unique terms and mobile marketing is no exception. If you are new to mobile marketing this mobile glossary will help:

Mobile device: An umbrella term for any internet-connected mobile computing device, such as smartphones and tablet computers. Some marketers include non-internet connected cell phones when using this term.

Mobile website: Any website that has been optimized for use on mobile devices.

QR code: A two-dimensional barcode first used in manufacturing, but now widely used as a marketing tool. QR codes can be scanned by any mobile device equipped with a camera and QR code scanning software. Marketers can use QR codes to initiate many different actions, including sending customers to a mobile webpage, opening a new email message, importing contact information, or dialing a pre-set phone number.

QR code marketing: Any form of marketing that uses QR codes to drive customers to take action. QR codes provide a bridge between offline and online marketing activities, transporting customers from a QR code placed on a physical medium like a poster or flyer into the digital realm of mobile websites, mobile surveys and mobile video.

Mobile marketing: A broad term for marketing activities aimed at customers using mobile devices, for example, QR code marketing, advergame, branded app, etc.

Mobile advertising: Any form of paid advertising aimed at mobile customers or delivered on a mobile platform. Examples include SMS advertising, mobile display advertising and local search marketing.

Optimized mobile design: A mobile web design strategy in which a dedicated website is created to serve customers on mobile devices. This strategy is often the easiest and most cost-effective for small businesses.

Responsive mobile design: A mobile web design strategy in which a single website is dynamically adjusted to match the technical aspects of a customer’s browser and display resolution.

SMS message: Also called text messaging, it is a message format used for communication between mobile phones, usually limited to 140 characters of text.

SMS marketing: Marketing programs that use the SMS message format to send communications to customers. This should be done in compliance with permission-based communications programs in keeping with local laws.

Permission-based marketing: Any form of outbound customer communication program that relies on gaining permission from each individual to send messages in a given format. E.g. email, SMS, etc.

Text message marketing: Synonymous with SMS marketing.

Mobile survey: Any online survey that is designed to be completed on a mobile device.

Mobile video: Any online video that has been optimized to be viewed from a mobile device. Usually this involves compressing the video to a smaller file size.

Mobile analytics: A broad term for the measurement and analysis of mobile marketing data, sometimes used interchangeably to refer to the data points themselves. E.g. mobile webpage views, items being collected in a game, QR code scans, mobile survey completions.

Tablet Computer: A small, handheld computer format that relies on a touchscreen as the primary means of user interaction. E.g. Apple iPad, Samsung GALAXY tablet.

Smartphone: A general term used to describe an internet-connected mobile phone with greater computing power than traditional cell phones. E.g. Samsung Galaxy, Blackberry, Apple iPhone.

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10 reasons we believe in mobile web gaming & HTML5

We love native games.

But we also strongly believe that the mobile web is going to be a major future platform in gaming.  We believe the two distribution methods will co-exist peacefully.

Here are 10 reasons we believe in mobile web gaming and these are also the same reasons this form of gaming should not be overlooked:

1) There are over 2 billion smartphones and tablets in the market today and every one has a built-in browser

2) The mobile devices, browsers and operating systems are getting more and more powerful and improving HTML5 support;

3) The Flash Game portal audiences are moving from desktop to mobile. Mobile web game portals (new ones and extensions of online portals) are starting to spring up everywhere to capture this migration

4) Messenger apps are launching HTML5 game platforms and have massive audiences eager for game play.

5) Major media companies like Viacom, Disney, and NBCU have started investing in mobile web games to support the move of their audience from desktop to smartphones and tablets.

6) Mobile web games are not locked within the app store economies and rules – they have multiple options for discovery and distribution, none of which require a large marketing budget.

7) Mobile web games can be updated more quickly than a native game. A build, test, iterate approach is possible.

8) Mobile web games can be shared directly through existing social platforms like Twitter and Facebook within their mobile app or on their mobile sites (no download required – just a click of a link).

9) Brands, unhappy with the ROI on their native game initiatives, are now looking to mobile web gaming as a way to engage their users on mobile.

10) On mobile, convenience wins.  Take away the download requirement and suddenly mobile games can become as social and viral as Facebook games on desktop.

That said there are still a few negatives:

  1. An internet connection is required to play a mobile web game
  2. HTML5 is amazing but is still not as powerful as native

Does your brand need a mobile web game? Want to discuss HTML5?  If so contact us at 416 857 4821

 

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Augmented Reality Technology using Vuforia & Metaio

We have been doing multiple tests lately using Qualcomm Vuforia technology.

Vuforia is an Augmented Reality Software Development Kit (SDK) for mobile devices that enables the creation of Augmented Reality applications. It uses Computer Vision technology to recognize and track planar images and simple 3D objects, such as boxes, in real-time. This image registration capability enables developers to position and orient virtual objects, such as 3D models and other media, in relation to real world images when these are viewed through the camera of a mobile device. The virtual object then tracks the position and orientation of the image in real-time so that the viewer’s perspective on the object corresponds with their perspective on the Image Target, so that it appears that the virtual object is a part of the real world scene.

The Vuforia SDK supports a variety of 2D and 3D target types including Image Targets, 3D Multi-Target configurations, and a form of addressable Marker known as a Frame Marker. Additional features of the SDK include runtime image target selection, and the ability to create and reconfigure target sets programmatically at runtime.

Here are a few of our test videos:

What does this mean in plain language? And why should you care about augmented reality?

Well if you are a manufacturer of consumer goods you can create games and apps that allow your customers to point their mobile device at your product packaging and the image on the box will be recognized and can respond in any given way.

Some of the more interesting ideas or examples of what is possible with AR:

1) Branded experiences with packaging, for example characters from your favorite cereal box coming alive with 3d animation
2) Children in classrooms using textbooks to see diagrams from the pages of their book projected into 3d space
3) Toy and card game manufacturers offering the ability to unlock virtual items with a physical product or card
4) Allowing book and magazine publishers to offer more rich content such as video or interactive experiences with readers
5) Learning about a product by pointing your device at it, for example learn the features or what goes into that can of soup at the grocery  store

Contact us for ideas to improve your product! It is what we are good at!

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Gamification. Advergaming. Transmedia. Our guide to game marketing terms.

Seems that terms for games and marketing are being used in an interchangeable way leading to some confusion. Here is a quick overview of common game marketing terms:

What is gamification?

Gamification is about using game-like mechanics to improve a business process, customer experience, or profits.

It is about encouraging and rewarding users for doing the things that you want them to do.

A loyalty scheme where you are rewarded air-miles for taking more flights is an example of gamification. A website which gives users badges and achievements for providing helpful responses is also an example of gamification.

Gamifiers are tasked with taking many of the lessons that game-makers have learned – showing users what to do, offering rewards, using psychology to encourage specified behaviours – and applying them to business processes via a website, sales software, etc.

In one example of Gamification that Game Pill was consulting on we were tasked with making recommendations to enhance and gamify a sales software tool used by company sales-reps. We make recommendations that included leaderboards, badges and more in order to encourage sales reps and offer a better customer experience as well as sell more product at retail.

What is advergaming?

Advergaming is when a brand and a game developer partner to make a game.

Games offer individual users a personalised experience. It is this experience that gives users a high level of engagement and powerful recall that many brands desire.

Whether the game is a flash game on a site like Miniclip or Addictinggames, a branded iPhone or Android game, an HTML5 game on a brands website, or a Facebook social game, brands and game developers must have a strategy to drive traffic to the game.

A good game designer can keep gamers highly engaged and coming back regularly. And a good game studio or digital agency can help to promote and seed the game to a large audience.

What is transmedia?

Transmedia is taking a media property and extending it into a different medium.

An author of a novel who commissions a PlayStation 3 game based on that novel is taking part in transmedia.

A childrens television production company which releases a TV series, a comic, and a toy is also taking part in transmedia.

Transmedia is about brand extension. It is about taking what is unique about different media (film, books, comics, games) and showcasing the intellectual property in the best possible way. It is about giving the biggest fans more. Harry Potter is a great example of a Transmedia approach.

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Proud to be a member of the Producers Guild of America

pga_logo
We are happy and excited to be admitted into the Producers Guild of America and the New Media Council.

The Producers Guild of America is community that has made it their mission to represent, protect, and promote the interests of the producing team.

We have been working ever more closely with Television Producers, Broadcasters, and Film Producers helping and partnering on Digital Strategy and we look forward to contributing our expertise in game and digital media development to the community and learning from fellow members.

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Spin Master Ltd. Launches Tenkai Knights Gaming App for iOS & Android

Tenkai Knights Battle for Quarton Available February 27th, 2014

Toronto, ON – February 27, 2014 – Spin Master Ltd., Canada’s largest children’s toy and entertainment company, is proud to announce the release “Tenkai Knights Battle for Quarton,” a free mobile gaming app based on the hit kids’ TV-series, Tenkai Knights. The new game-based app will be available for download to iOS devices in the App Store.

In the “Tenkai Knights Battle for Quarton” app, players help their favorite Tenkai warriors to defeat the evil Vilius and his corrupted army to save the planet Quarton. Players must master the Tenkai energy to defeat Vilius’ henchmen, and can fight as Bravenwolf, Tributon, Lydendor and Valorn to save the planet from the clutches of evil. Tap and swipe to battle through waves of Vilius’ armies to reach the final battle and help the Tenkai Knights to defeat Vilius in the epic last stand for Quarton.

“We are incredibly excited to bring the Tenkai Knights story to life in a virtual gaming app,” said James Knight, VP Global Construction for Spin Master Ltd. “This is the first game-based app for Tenkai Knights and we’re sure that fans of the show will love being able to play as their favorite characters and take the battle for Quraton into their own hands.”

Developed by Game Pill, the app features all four Tenkai Knights as they race through 4 different levels, allowing players to enjoy hours of engaging game play. The app follows the release of a story- and reading-based Tenkai Knights app which included three narration options and real images and animations from the show.

Play the game: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tenkai-knights-battle-for/id765092172?mt=8

About Spin Master Ltd.:
A multi-category children’s entertainment company, Spin Master has been designing, developing, manufacturing, and marketing consumer products for children around the world since 1994 and is recognized as a global growth leader within the toy industry. Spin Master is best known for such popular brands as boy’s action phenomena and 2009-2010 Boy’s Toy of the Year winner Bakugan Battle Brawlers™, and award-winning brands Air Hogs®, Aquadoodle™, Flutterbye™, Spin Master Games™ including 2014 Game of the Year, Boom Boom Balloon ™ and the popular Hedbanz™, SpyGear™, Tech Deck™, and 2014 Innovative Toy of the Year Zoomer™. The company has also marked an entry into children’s media with the launch of Spin Master Entertainment, a subsidiary focusing on the design, development and production of television and other media properties. Spin Master employs over 900 people with offices in Toronto, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Munich, and Milan. For additional information please visit: www.spinmaster.com.

About Game Pill:
Game Pill is a studio of imaginative art directors, programmers and animators, specializing in game development and interactive marketing. Game Pill creates digital entertainment for multiple platforms and devices, working enthusiastically with brands to bring their high profile properties to new mediums. Game Pill also has its own stable of unique games that have enjoyed well over 20 million plays. For more information, please visit www.gamepill.com.

For more information please contact:
Rachel H. Griffin
Director of Global Communications
Spin Master Ltd.
RachelG@spinmaster.com
310-871-3919

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List of my favorite things at Toy Fair

Here are a few of our favorite things from Toyfair 2014.

Check out Wikibear a talking bear that interacts with an app:

No need to flush this smart fish down the toilet:

An amazing doll with a positive message:

They brought back Simon:

Stay tuned for more…..

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