Train2Game News Boost your App up the store

WeQ , a global mobile ad tech organisation, has announced the launch of WeQ BOOST — an innovative app ranking solution that utilizes proprietary technology for campaign management and optimization.

Additionally, it combines over 100 boost traffic sources with a deep knowledge and understanding of app store algorithms to create bespoke burst campaigns that are specifically designed to catapult apps to the rank that yields the highest ROI.

With 5.8 million apps in Google Play and Apple App Stores to date, visibility is key. Changes to both platforms have made it challenging for advertisers to use app store optimization (ASO) and user acquisition (UA) through burst campaigns effectively. New features in the iOS11 release included a new “homepage” design, new character limitations and the split categorisation of apps into “Games” and “Apps” with their own navigation tabs and pages, giving non-games the chance to be discovered more easily. Additionally, both platforms adjusted their ranking algorithms, putting more weight on the quality of the app measured by reviews and ratings. Google even added engagement as an extra variable for its algorithm to reward good quality apps that bring more added value to the users.

These changes present both a challenge and an opportunity for marketers wishing to find the best ways to boost their discoverability and increase their chances to be found by high quality users. WeQ identified four main use cases for doing burst campaigns, on which the newly launched WeQ BOOST solution is based:

  • Fast Track User Base Growth: burst campaigns are a cost efficient way to jump-start user base growth, helping advertisers to achieve critical mass.
  • Take Monetization to the Next Level: the more eyes on the app, the more chances for stronger monetization — be it through selling advertising space or increasing revenue from in-app purchases.
  • Establish Presence in a New Market: bursts can prove a catalyst to open borders.
  • Outrank Competitors: bursts are a great tool for reaching the top of the charts, getting the app noticed and outranking competitors, resulting in strong organic growth.

Stanislava Todorova, VP of New Media Solutions at WeQ, said: “WeQ BOOST is designed to empower advertisers to cut through the noise in the ever-changing ecosystem of the app stores. Launching this new solution adds another powerful element to our portfolio that enables us to create the perfect mobile marketing mix for our clients. At WeQ, we believe that the ultimate marketing strategy should be a combination of bursts and sustainable user acquisition campaigns to address different needs throughout the lifecycle of an app.”

WeQ’s proprietary technology, combined with its team of over 100 seasoned professionals with global mobile marketing expertise, is what makes our app ranking solution unique. The WeQ team develops a personalized strategy for each client based on industry intel, local knowledge and experience from more than 2000 successful burst campaigns. The carefully curated global network of publishers means a truly global reach and access to a specific geographic for the advertiser. This is further supported by the hands-on approach that the team practices, ensuring that the campaign is constantly analyzed and optimized for better ROI. Furthermore, WeQ’s dedicated team carry out traffic checks to prevent fraudulent activity using in-house anti-fraud technology.

With launching WeQ BOOST, the adtech company is hitting another milestone of their global growth and expansion plans of its solutions and services. Today’s launch falls on the heels of WeQ’s announcement in late April that it had secured more than $50 million USD in internal funds and debt capital to accelerate an ambitious global growth path. The ad tech brand plans to use the funds as it undertakes an aggressive M&A strategy. Over the next 12-24 months, WeQ plans to acquire cutting-edge technologies from innovative ventures to expand its technological footprint and services, attract international talent, and enter new international markets.

Train2Game News App store no longer using word free

AppsApple has removed the term ‘Free’ from the app download button on its App Store as it aims to comply with recent EU rules.

Previously free-to-play games had used the term ‘Free’ instead of a price like their premium counterparts. This has now been changed to the word ‘Get’.

Though no official statement has been made, the move is likely part of Apple’s plans to make it clearer that free-to-play games include in-app purchases following criticism from the European Commission in July that labelling games as free could be misleading.

Google has already made a number of changes to its service to ensure its app store is compliant with EU rules. Apps are displayed as offering in-app purchases while the download button is listed as ‘install’, rather than ‘free’.

Train2Game News Apple creating jobs

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App Store creator claims credit for half a million jobs in Europe

In a slew of new figures focused around job creation, Apple reports it has paid European app developers a total of $6.5bn since the App Store opened in 2008.

In 2014, the overall app economy is expected to generate revenues of $16.5bn to European GDP, according to figures published by Apple, with worldwide GDP contributions coming in at an estimated $86bn.

The company also claims that 497,000 jobs created in Europe since 2008 can be directly attributed to the App Store.

Of these, 132,000 are directly or indirectly supported by Apple, and 116,000 were created at other companies as a result of Apple’s growth.

“This job growth for coders, developers, entrepreneurs, and others would not have existed without Apple’s innovations and technology,” the firm wrote.

“With more than 1.2m apps and over 75bn downloads, the App Store has created an entirely new industry: iOS app design and development.”

Source: Develop

Train2Game News: Play to help beat Cancer

Play to cureA new iOS and Android game allows players to help Cancer Research UK scientists fight cancer in real life.

Play To Cure: Genes In Space is a free game in which the player has to collect a fictional substance dubbed Element Alpha. This represents genetic cancer data, which might underpin certain types of cancer.

By playing the game and collecting Element Alpha, players are actually helping analyse significant amounts of genetic data, which would take Cancer Research scientists hours to do.

The game is actually a cleverly disguised data analysis tool, so by mapping a route through an asteroid field and then collecting the Element Alpha in it (while dodging and shooting asteroids), players are actually sending back data analysis to the Cancer Research labs.

Play To Cure: Genes In Space can be downloaded free on the iOS App Store and the Google Play store.

You can enjoy the trailer for Play To Cure: Genes In Space below.

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 30.08.13

unity-logoIt’s the end of the week so it’s time for the games industry news round up.

Unity Technologies unveiled new 2D tools and workflow for the Unity engine and editor to meet increased demand for features designed to address the specific challenges of creating 2D games. Now in beta, the first iteration of the 2D tools, many of which are included in the free version of Unity, will be released with the Unity 4.3 update this fall. The charge to improve workflow begins with the introduction of a dedicated scene view, which includes specialized 2D scene manipulation tools. Scene view can be toggled between the traditional view or set as the default when creating a project. Importing, manipulating, and working with 2D assets are made easier with the addition of a new sprite texture importer type, automated atlasing, and dedicated 2D renderer component. Adding 2D art to a scene is as easy as dragging a sprite from the asset library into the scene where Unity will then automatically create an object. If you are a fan of 2D games and work with Unity you now have no excuses to get a game out there!

Wizards of the Coast announced that the Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers Expansion will release on September 18, 2013. Adding depth to the latest installment of the wildly popular Duels of the Planeswalkers franchise, the Magic 2014 Expansion will give players the opportunity to explore new planes, fight new enemies and face new challenges. Just like the full game the expansion will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PC via Steam, PlayStation Network, iPad, and Android via Google Play and the Amazon App Store. The new expansions includes; five new decks, new campaign levels, five new challenges and more persona portraits.

Activision Publishing, Inc., in association with Nickelodeon and developer Red Fly Studio, announced, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – a new, team-based, third-person action-brawler debuting on the Xbox Live online entertainment network from Microsoft for Xbox 360 as a part of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade 2013, and on Windows PC via Steam. Starring Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows puts the focus on combat, characters, and co-op. Its swift and tactile fighting system affords players dynamic choices on the battlefield, rewarding successful combo flourishes, expert counterattacks, and brutal takedowns. The Turtles’ full range of personalities are on display throughout this original story in the TMNT universe, bringing humour and attitude to the unfolding narrative and influencing each character’s unique fighting style. The game will be released on September 25.

NEXON Europe had the pleasure to announce that global pop sensation, media personality and all-round gentleman, PSY, is appearing in the enormously successful online free-to-play games MapleStory and Combat Arms. PSY took the world by storm with his hit single Gangnam Style, inspiring everyone from news readers to the UN Secretary General to join in with his unique brand of K-pop humour. Over a billion YouTube views and global chart domination is not enough for the dance phenomenon however; starting this month and following another huge hit single, Gentleman, PSY will be bringing his outrageous personality to NEXON Europe’s most popular titles.

Steve Ballmer is to retire as Microsoft CEO within the next year, the company revealed, adding credence to the rumours of a management reshuffle which accompanied Don Mattrick’s departure earlier this year. Ballmer will oversee the choice of his successor before taking retirement and remain as CEO during that process. The Microsoft board has appointed a special committee chaired by lead independent director John Thompson and including chairman of the Board Bill Gates, chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. Microsoft has said that it will be looking both internally and externally for candidates.

Train2Game News: Google Play downloads surpass App Store

Google PlayThe number of downloads on Google Play was ten per cent higher than on iOS during the last quarter, according to research.

Stats from analytics firm App Annie claimed that India, Russia and Brazil were helping drive increased downloads on Android devices.

Despite getting more downloads however, the iOS App Store was generating over twice as much revenue as its Google Play counterpart. Games were said to dominate revenue share for both app stores, representing 75 per cent of revenue on iOS, and 80 per cent on Google Play.

The UK, along with the USA and Japan, were ranked as the top countries by revenue on iOS during Q2 2013. Japan, South Korea and the USA meanwhile drove revenue on Google Play, accounting for 70 per cent of total spend. The UK ranked fifth behind Germany.

This information may help influence a mobile game any Train2Game student studio is currently creating. It also does show that the games industry is still constantly growing and has taken over the mobile market.

Train2Game News: Games Industry News- 05.07.13

Xbox360 DashboardIt’s Friday so it is time for the end of the week games industry news round up!

Microsoft has begun inviting Xbox Live members worldwide to participate in the public beta for its 2013 Xbox Live Update for Xbox 360. The update will include improvements to overall performance and the ability to conduct transactions with local currency, as Microsoft Points will be retired later this year. To join, interested 360 owners should look for the Xbox Beta Program tile on the home hub of the Xbox Dashboard and once the places are filled the beta will be closed to the public. You will be required to sign an NDA for security reasons.

In celebration of summer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announces that all its mobile games in the App Store are priced at £0.69 this week including Man of Steel, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, Batman Arkham City Lockdown, Scribblenauts Remix, LEGO Batman DC Superheroes, Midway Arcade and Bastion. Man of Steel, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown and Scribblenauts Remix are also available on Google Play at the same low price.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced the Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition is available for PC from Steam and other digital download portals. Originally developed by NetherRealm Studios, led by Mortal Kombat co-creator and creative director Ed Boon it has been adapted for PC by High Voltage Software. If you have always wanted to try your hand in Mortal Kombat, now is the time.

2K unveiled the WWE 2K14 cover art featuring WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The official reveal, which took place during an episode of Monday Night Raw, showcased cover artwork designed in partnership with “The People’s Champion.” The cover art reflects The Rock’s physicality and signature in-ring pose. To further celebrate, 2K recently launched a consumer contest for the opportunity to create alternate cover artwork to be included with WWE 2K14 retail copies. “I am exceptionally grateful to be chosen for the cover of WWE 2K14 and serve as the first cover Superstar under 2K’s leadership,” said The Rock.

Square Enix has released a new Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII trailer dubbed “The Divine Task”. The latest video reveals more about the game’s story, including the appearance of supporting character Hope. Lightning Returns was revealed at the Final Fantasy 25th anniversary event in 2012 and is billed as the last entry in the “Lightning saga”. The Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII’s release date has been confirmed as February 11, 2014 in North America and February 14 Europe on Xbox 360 and PS3. You can enjoy the trailer, here.

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 05.04.13

lucasartsIt is Friday so it is time for another Train2Game game industry news round up.

The saddest bit of news this week was that the new owners of LucasArts, Disney, has shut down the company. LucasArts were responsible for making many of the Star Wars licensed games as well as other games such as Monkey Island. A LucasFilm representative suggested that properties such as 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault could still find a home via a third party.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment announced that the Injustice: Gods Among Us game is now available on the App Store. Developed from the ground up by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, this free-to-play mobile game delivers stunning graphics and a completely unique fighting gameplay experience. The mobile game features a collectible card mechanic and engages players in 3-on-3 tag team combat that pits many of DC Comics most popular icons such as Batman, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Aquaman and more against one another. Fans who also own the forthcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 versions will be able to unlock content in the console versions that will be available in the mobile game, and vice versa, by registering for a Warner Bros. ID (WBID) account and playing the game.

Perfect World Entertainment Inc. and Cryptic Studios are pleased to announce that on April 30, 2013, the free-to-play action MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter is heading into Open Beta, allowing millions of players unrestricted access to the game world. Neverwinter is Cryptic and Perfect World’s proof that Western free-to-play games, when built from the ground up, can compete with even the biggest boxed subscription titles. On April 30, the companies invite all gamers to put that claim to the test. There will be no character wipes or restricted access after the start of Open Beta. Players can still become Founders through Neverwinter’s Founder’s Pack Program. Benefits include exclusive access to Beta Weekend 4, permanent in-game items that are unique to Founders, early access to Open Beta, and VIP perks. To take advantage of these benefits and to gain exclusive access to Neverwinter’s Beta Weekend 4, players may visit: http://nw.perfectworld.com/founderspack/

The latest set of downloadable content for Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II has been confirmed for an April 16th launch on Xbox Live. The pack will include four new maps as well as a new zombie mode, available for 1200 Microsoft points or free to existing season pass holders. The four new maps are: Magma, a modern Japanese village featuring volcanic eruptions; Encore, taking place in the aftermath of a London music festival; Vertigo, a futuristic high rise building in India and Studio, a Hollywood movie back lot which describes itself as a “contemporary remake of Firing Range” which was found in the original Black Ops. By far the most intriguing addition to the newest DLC is the new Mob of the Dead mode, which sounds interesting enough to breathe life into the unspectacular collection of zombie content available currently. In it you play as a prohibition-era mobster locked up in Alcatraz whose attempts to escape are “foiled by the rise of the undead.”

Finally, creators of the hit game Castle Crashers, have released a new game. Blocks, Cats, Hats, Betrayal! This is how The Behemoth have described their new game, Battleblock Theatre. This newly released game, that is currently only for XBLA, is all about platforming, a “story of geometric proportions”, several modes of online gameplay and a massive amount of replayability. It has over 450 levels, hundreds of unlockables to find, over 300 prisoners to free and The Behemoth is calling it their largest game to date. The Behemoth said they are considering future ports, just like they did with Castle Crashers, but since they are a small studio it would take them quite some time to port if they do decide to bring the game to PC or PS3.

Train2Game News: Apple paying compensation over in-app purchases

Apple LogoApple have proposed to pay compensation to several parents for not making some of it’s in-app purchases more secure after minors had charged costs to their parents accounts. A judge will consider the proposal on 1 March.

The legal action dates back to April 2011 and allegations made by a California-based man that his youngest daughter had racked up a series of charges without his knowledge. Garen Meguerian said his nine-year-old’s actions had cost him approximately $200 after she bought game currencies within apps including Zombie Cafe, Treasury Story and City Story.

His lawyer noted that some titles in Apple’s store allowed children to buy more than $100 worth of items in a single click without entering a password. Apple took a cut of each in-app sale. The case was later combined with other parents making similar claims.

The issue has since been address with Apple now ensuring that a password is entered before each and every in-app purchase.

Apple acknowledged it would need to tell more than 23 million iTunes account holders they might qualify. Affected users would receive an email offering at least $5 (£3.20) in credit if they confirmed a minor had charged their account without permission, and that they had not already had the fee deleted after making a complaint.

Apple’s proposal suggests affected parties can:

  • Email in their details to qualify for a $5 iTunes credit
  •  Request the $5 in cash if they no longer have an iTunes account
  • Provide full details of each in-app purchase to be reimbursed in full in credit or cash, for totals of at least $30

Apple indicates it will give claimants 180 days to submit their requests and will also award Mr Meguerian and four other named plaintiffs an additional $1,500 service award.

The plaintiffs have accepted the proposal and it is now set to be signed off by a judge in San Jose’s courthouse on Friday.

Apple declined to comment when asked whether it might consider offering a similar deal to users outside the US.

Train2Game News: Make Something Unreal Live winners game comes to app store

Warlock of Firetop MountainTrain2Game Student studio and Make Something Unreal Live 2012 winners, Commando Kiwi, have released their first game on to the app store.

The game, Warlock of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters, was created by the students in their spare time for last years Make Something Unreal Live contest, held by Epic. The game was created using the UDK software and is based on the very first Fighting Fantasy novel, Warlock of Firetop Mountain which was written by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

The studio, which consists of Cat Forsyth, Martyn Whittel, Tom Chipchase, Jonny Robinson, Ashley Taylor, Adam Sherratt, Aaron Reeve, Andrew Smallwood, Tom Constable and Ezekiel Morris, have been working on the game since the beginning of 2012.

The students won the competition after demonstrating their game to a number of industry professionals, including Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski and Jon Hare. The final descision was that of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson who decided Commando Kiwi’s game best captured the essence of Fighting Fantasy.

The game is a third person action game which puts you in the shoes of the adventurer who is travelling through the deadly Firetop Mountain in search of the fabled treasure of the all-powerful Warlock. The game features enemies and locations from the classic book with a battle system based on the system from the book its self. The unique combat system based uses skill and luck combinations made famous by the series of novels in an intuitive Active Time Battle System.

The game is available for free to download now from the app store.

You can re-live the Commando Kiwi story in the video below: