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2015

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Recently four gaming industry leaders gathered in San Francisco to talk about a major trend in gaming: gamers producing and watching each other’s game videos, and the impact it’s having on their business strategies.  The panel was hosted by Newzoo CEO, Peter Warman, and inspired by Newzoo’s whitepaper:  Consumer as Producer: How Games and Video Converge to Drive Growth  sponsored by Limelight Networks.

 

Watching the 54 minute panel which featured a lively discussion, I gleaned some possible answers to challenges we posed in the initial Consumer as Producer blog.

 

1) How do you get the cooperation of creative consumers in building your game brand?

2) How do you share and protect your IP at the same time?

3) What is the role of the emerging “game audience” - viewers who love game videos and aren’t necessarily playing or buying the game?

 

The panelists included a game developer COO, an Esports team CEO,  the COO of Twitch, and CEO of Game Theorists, a video subscription channel on Youtube with over 5 million subscribers.

 

COO Kristian Segerstrale describes SuperEvil MegaCorp as a game developer, that embraces all three challenges. Videos and viewership are so important that it tracks total viewers on Twitch and Youtube as a company metric.  (The number has grown from .5M to 1.5M in less than a year).  The company actively promotes player stars on Youtube, and just embarked on its first Esports tournament for VainGlory, not worrying about the fact the prize is only $30K.  Even more revolutionary - the reality of video watching is helping to drive the design of their game.  The company wants ipad-playable VainGlory to be understandable for casual viewers after just a few minutes of watching, like basketball.  On the IP front, what happens when avid fans “borrow” game art to create a cool t-shirt or video?  You might think a team of lawyers would be dispatched, but instead engineers don them proudly and share pictures wearing them. 

 

Wouter Sleijffers is CEO of Fnatic, one of the world’s top professional gaming teams notes that video is a major means of communicating with their fans, and building the team brand.  In fact, the team encourages the fans to create and build out the brand by making their own videos. Sleijffers  commented “there is an amazing amount of demand out there for game play footage”.

 

So who’s watching all this besides avid game players?

 

Both Game Theorist, a subscription-based Youtube video company owned by Matthew Patrick, and Twitch, represented by co-founder Kevin Lin, weighed in about the reality of the “game viewing” audience which now lurks just beyond the realm of marketers, watching but not buying games.  Patrick says it’s real, and points out some games have had viewing audiences that are 3-4 times larger than their player base. Matthew’s company, Game Theorist, now has 5 million followers and 113 videos on itsYoutube channel.   He explains video is helping enable the development of lifestyle brands built on game environments and characters.  Building a brand around a game used to take 30 years - now it takes a matter of months. For Twitch also, watchers are now seen as part of the game, not just the players.

 

The existence of a larger game viewing audience opens up all kinds of growth opportunities for the industry.  It could lead to a range of monetization strategies employed by other forms of entertainment, from syndicated content to merchandise.  But profiting from it it will depend on how willing the game industry is to nurture this whole new one-to-many relationship, and perhaps, create new content just for this audience.

 

So listening to these industry leaders, I’m going to offer some possible answers:

1) How do you get the cooperation of creative consumers in building your game brand? Possible answer: treat them fairly and the rest will sort itself out.

2) How do you share and protect your IP at the same time? Possible answer: you don’t always do both.

3) What is the role of the emerging “game audience” - viewers who love game videos and aren’t necessarily playing or buying the game?  Possible answer:  first you have to recognize its there and decide what you want to create for it.  And you might consider making your game easy to understand for casual viewers a part of your strategy.

 

What do you think? Are you an industry watcher or game publisher looking at how to incorporate the gamer video phenomenon into your strategy?  We’d love to hear from you here at Limelight.  Meanwhile, to all you gamers out there, we hope you capture your next epic moment in video and

 

Stream On!

 

To watch the whole discussion, check out Casual Connect’s channel on Youtube.

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Last year, Amazon put a stake in the ground with its purchase of Twitch for $970 million. This put an eye-popping value on gamer video sharing, and highlighted a trend that many dedicated gaming fans already knew: video creation and sharing is an increasingly important part of how gamers enjoy their game.

 

A year later, two more stakes have been placed in the ground. In this blog we talk about one of them - the trend of consumers producing their own gaming videos.  This trend is examined in great detail in a recently released report from Newzoo, The Consumer as Producer: How Games and Video Converge to Drive Growth, which was sponsored by Limelight Networks. Newzoo projects revenues of $113 billion for the gaming market by 2018.  Will this number grow even bigger as a function of gamer videos? That’s not clear yet, but industry players are starting to figure out how to get in on the action.

 

The whitepaper leaves no doubt that the phenomenon is big. Here are some examples from the data: Minecraft-based videos alone garnered 4.1 Billion (yes, billion) views in one month while League of Legends fans watched 81 million hours of game play videos on Twitch in May alone.

 

What’s also discussed is that multiple monetization strategies are in play.  With Twitch and YouTube providing free sharing services for gamers, game publishers; new platform providers such as Azubu and Kamcord are looking for creative ways to create revenue streams.  Esports events are particularly attractive given their ability to concentrate talent, money and time, while also controlling access to content. They offer a clearer path to monetization than many other strategies which is why the paper devotes a whole page to the topic of Esports and video.

 

Like a lot of cool things in gaming, this trend started with gamers themselves, and they are still at the heart of the action.  Limelight’s own research showed 22% of gamers post videos of themselves and 36% watch a second screen, usually featuring other gamers playing, while they game.   See: Consumer Gaming Trends, 2014

 

Players are learning how to become personalities, opinion leaders and franchises unto themselves. As the co-founder of Twitch pointed out during a panel discussion on the whitepaper (see my blog on industry reaction to the paper) “We’re helping gamers become entertainers”.

 

From a business strategy perspective, the most important things this trend tees up for the gaming industry are:

 

1) Brand efforts to benefit from all this creativity will have to be undertaken with the cooperation of the consumer.  What are the best practices for building this cooperation, and what are the technology requirements behind those practices?

 

2) What new approaches to owning, licensing, and sharing game creative content will provide the most productive relationships with consumers?  How can technology help game content creators protect and share their creativity at the same time?

 

3) What is the nature of the now discovered “game audience” - a growing set of viewers who don’t play or buy a game, but nevertheless enjoy game videos. And what role will this group play in the monetization of this trend?

 

Read our second blog on this topic to explore these questions further, and see industry reaction to the whitepaper.    Meanwhile, what’s the 2nd stake in the ground? Last week, Youtube went live with Youtube Gaming - a new dedicated platform for sharing all videos gaming. How the new platform really differs from its predecessor remains to be explored, but it is a direct assault on the enviable position Twitch has carved out for itself.

 

So consumers are becoming producers, and as a leader in providing video streaming services, Limelight is proud to be an enabler of this trend - with flexible and scalable solutions to help our gaming customers address this development right here, right now.

 

For a free download of the Newzoo whitepaper just click here:

Consumer as Producer: How Games and Video Converge to Drive Growth

 

Stream On!

Today we announced that eDreams Odigeo, the world’s largest online travel company in the flight sector and the largest publicly traded European e-commerce company, has selected the Limelight OrchestrateTM Delivery service to deliver its e-commerce web sites. eDreams, based in Barcelona, Spain has more than 16 million customers across 44 countries and more than 325 million views on their website per month.

 

To completely globalize their services, they needed a global content delivery provider that could deliver content to any device, especially tablets and phones.

“Our customers are well educated, savvy users of online travel agencies and don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes booking their travel. We reached a point where we needed to diversify our platform and give our users an improved experience when booking their travel. We chose Limelight’s CDN so we could give our users around the globe an exceptional experience. Limelight had the best performance in our tests, as well as the best support.” - Aranzazu Del Rio, procurement manager at eDreams Odigeo.

 

A copy of the press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

Limelight has been nominated in The 2015 Streaming Media Reader’s Choice Awards!  There are three categories we are in the running for: Best Content Delivery Network, Live Video Platform and Media & Entertainment Video Platform!  We would be honored to have your vote.  To learn more and vote click here.

 

Note: Limelight Employees can't vote, however they can spread the word.

We are thrilled to tell you Limelight's Orchestrate for Media & Broadcasters has been selected as a Stevie® Awards People's Choice Award finalist! 

 

The Stevie Awards are the world's premier business awards and were created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide. 

 

Here's where you can help.  Please cast your vote and spread the word to customers, family or friends.  Every vote counts. 

 

Click here for the voting website and then click on the Content-Other Solutions category and select the Limelight solution. [Screen shots are below.]

 

Voting closes at midnight ET this Friday, August 7th.

 

Thank you for supporting Limelight and helping us beat out the competition!

 

Screen Shots:

  1. Link to voting: https://peopleschoice.stevieawards.com/default.cfm?sitetype=P
  2. Select ‘Content: Other Solutions’

 

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