Amazon's GameOn Service Could Be Game Changing

TNL Take: Developers want to concentrate on one thing: making good games. However a slew of services need to be incorporated to make really great games. This could be anything from multiplayer functionality, leaderboards and tournaments to rewarding the top players - anything that drives game engagement and retention.

Amazon announced on Monday, Amazon GameOn, a cross-platform, competitive gaming service for developers. With GameOn, developers can easily integrate competitions natively into their games on mobile, PC, and console through a set of flexible APIs which is built on AWS cloud infrastructure. 

Here's what stands out about GameOn:

01/SERVICES

Survival_Arena_Leaderboard.jpg

GameOn currently supports leaderboards, leagues, and multi-round competitions - but most importantly gives developers - or anyone really -  the flexibility to create custom events. These tournaments can also be geo-targeted to allow for specific groups of players to take part. This could anywhere from countries and states to just your local McDonald's, which opens up a multitude of brand opportunities.

Developers can also enable players and streamers to create their own user-generated competitions and invite participants. Just imagine Twitch phenom Ninja running a Fortnite tournament for his massive viewing audience while doling out prizes to the winners - more on that shortly.

Further, all of these components are integral to creating a great esports experience outside the core component of the game itself.

Currently, Amazon GameOn is being used by 13 developers including nWay, Game Insight, Millennial Esports’ Eden Games and others.

 

02/PRIZING

Survival_Arena_Redeem_Prize.png

his is where it gets really interesting. In game rewards as well as watch-to-earn rewards have been around for a while and implemented in almost every mobile game. However implementing real-world rewards is a challenge. During my time at Kiip, one of the companies that pioneered rewards for games, we needed to collect email addresses in order to achieve fulfillment.

With Amazon GameOn, you simply sign into your Amazon account - and at this point who doesn't have one in the US - and the item is automatically shipped to you with no additional work for the developer or the customer. 

Another scenario: you're playing a geo-located tournament in Madden Mobile and the Top 10 winners all receive the team's jersey for placing. The cost of the jerseys could either be looked as a marketing expense or even better - have them brought to you by a brand.

 

03/COST

What's this all cost? Developers can use GameOn APIs for free until May 1, 2018. After that date, the first 35,000 plays per month are free for a limited time, then developers will pay $0.003 per play. 

Running simple math, if your game is doing 1M plays per day, that's almost $100,000 per month which may become cost prohibitive unless the ROI is there for developers that don't have any of the services integrated.

Esports Week In Review | Amazon and the NFL, NBA 2K League Branding, Rocket League Ratings Score

ESPORTS WEEK IN REVIEW | AMAZON AND THE NFL, NBA 2K LEAGUE BRANDING, ROCKET LEAGUE'S RATINGS SCORE

Esports Week In Review

Esports Week In Review

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Have a great weekend!

Amazon + NFL + Twitch + Esports = The Opportunity

AMAZON + NFL + TWITCH + ESPORTS = THE OPPORTUNITY

Last Week The NFL Thursday Game Was On Twitch (Photo: EA Sports)

Last Week The NFL Thursday Game Was On Twitch (Photo: EA Sports)

TNL Take: If you follow me on Twitter you can easily see my Amazon obsession. In the ever changing retail and digital landscape, either you're with Amazon or good luck.

This past Thursday saw a unique collaboration between the NFL and Amazon owned Twitch - not the NFL Amazon Video Thursday night deal but the ability to watch the Falcons vs. Saints game on Twitch for free.

Before we get into the performance, a quick recap of what's been covered already:

-Amazon's Twitch Prime Move Is Genius

-EA Madden, NFL, Amazon, Mobile And ESports

-Amazon + Ticketing + ESports = Opportunity

 

So what's this all mean?

 

Here are a few ways it ties together:

 

/01 IN GAME CONTENT

Twitch Prime In Game Content (Photo: Amazon)

Twitch Prime In Game Content (Photo: Amazon)

One of the genius elements of Twitch Prime is getting exclusive in game content like Madden card packs on a weekly basis. However as this is based on Amazon Video's deal there isn't the true in game content integration that Twitch has.

Until now.

I'd be surprised if Amazon would move their NFL content tied to Amazon Video off the platform onto Twitch for free but it does give a peek into what could work for future seasons.

 

/02 TICKETING

Ticket Fairy Powers TwitchCon 2017 Tickets (Photo: Twitch)

Ticket Fairy Powers TwitchCon 2017 Tickets (Photo: Twitch)

I still believe that Amazon will make a move into the ticketing vertical as it's another area ripe for disruption. In fact, as called out previously, Twitch did use the Ticket Fairy for TwitchCon 2017 tickets.

Purchase an NFL Ticket and get Prime for 6 months for free?

Buy an NFL Ticket and get exclusive in game content?

NFL Ticket purchase via Amazon gives you NFL Thursday night access for Free?

There are many ways this can play out.

 

/03 MERCHANDISING

NFL Merchandise On Amazon (Photo: Amazon)

NFL Merchandise On Amazon (Photo: Amazon)

Amazon is the #1 US online retailer and Top 10 overall retailer in the world. 1-hour Amazon Prime delivery is magic. Now combine this with the points above. 

Buy Amazon NFL Merchandise for exclusive in game content?

Purchase Amazon NFL Merchandise and then receive discount on NFL tickets?

Many more opportunities here as well.

 

/04 ESPORTS

All of this can be tied together for esports as well. While the examples above can drive engagement for Madden competitive gaming, this could easily translate to other titles and genre's.

Amazon recently snapped up the rights to the US Open in the UK and further adds fuel to the speculation that they will be bidding for English Premier League rights as well. FIFA esports anyone?

While there's no league affiliation, the integration of in game content, merchandising and events could translate to Amazon's suite of games to be released from their game studios.

So how did the first NFL game on Twitch perform? 

Not so well with ~10K Average Concurrent Viewership for the game.

For perspective, the Madden NFL Club Championship with the Miami Dolphins drew about 1/3 of that viewership...for esports. More than likely it had to with little promotion or marketing vs. the potential lack of audience.

 

While it may seem that the whole is greater than sum of its parts, this will still require the blessing of any sports league for full integration.

Hopefully that won't be an obstacle.

Disruptive Technologies For eSports: 3D Printing

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR ESPORTS:  3D PRINTING

3D Printer (Photo: KaboomPics)

3D Printer (Photo: KaboomPics)

TNL Industry Guest Post 007: Over the past 13 years, Anton Ferraro has helped develop numerous esports focused properties including tournament broadcasts, television programs, streaming platforms, branded campaigns, digital products & live event activations.

Anton began his career in 2004 by organizing and playing at local Halo events and shortly thereafter joined Major League Gaming to assist their media efforts. After 8 years with the company Anton transitioned to the West Coast and helped build the Azubu streaming platform as Director of Content.

Anton currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and pug. Too much of his time is spent playing Overwatch. You can view his work at www.AntonFerraro.com


TNL Take:  In the last post I explored the potential impact of the Ethereum Blockchain across a few different verticals and will have a follow up post shortly.  Today we’ll examine opportunities 3D printing can provide within eSports.

 

A CASE STUDY IN STREAMING

In the late 00’s a group of entrepreneurs saw that the cost of delivering a video stream over a network was falling exponentially. At the same time, the proliferation of high speed internet and Moore's Law were allowing an increasing number of hobbyists to engage in the activity.

After a few years of hard work, a few pivots and the ever-needed bit of luck, Twitch sold to Amazon for ~$1B and currently sits as one of the top websites in the world.

3D printing is an industry which mirrors that of streaming.

The technology for printing is becoming exponentially better while the cost to participate is falling. This is allowing an increasing amount of hobbyists to create increasingly more impressive offerings. Digital hubs like MyMiniFactory and support networks like Patreon are allowing some of these hobbyists to generate revenue.

The decentralized nature of the activity will provide opportunities for content creators while challenging IP owners.

The situation parallels the early days of YouTube when video creators utilized IP’s belonging to publishers to create their own content. Heavy handed reproaches by the IP owners were not effective for a multitude of reasons and it took years for the platforms, creators, and IP owners to find a balance all three parties could accept.

Ultimately the IP owners aka Game Publishers realized that free content was an ongoing advertising campaign they could use to greatly increase revenue [Edit: Read this line again and again]

Publishers shifted their product development cycles and created DLC (Downloadable Content) and the GAAS (Games As A Service) business model started padding their bottom lines.

Early movers like TSM and OpTic Gaming built highly engaged followings off the video niche and are still reaping the rewards of that effort. While I expect it will take a few years for the 3D printing vertical to mature, as always early movers may score similar gains.

 

THE IMPLICATIONS OF 3D PRINTING

3D printing will impact eSports by improving the product design and distribution aspects of merchandising. The current merchandising model imposes limits on experimentation and requires long turn around periods for heavily customized gear.

eSports owners are frequently limited by the options offered by their suppliers which has caused a glut of similar items such as the same t-shirts, hats, keychains, hats, and posters.

 

PRODUCT DESIGN

Adding a 3D printing capabilities will allow eSports teams to capitalize on time sensitive tentpole events. Having a subject matter expert designing the gear in house will both shorten the design cycle and increase the authenticity of the item:

  • Custom bobble heads for new roster additions
  • Commemorative medals based on tournament victories
  • Supporting merchandise for viral content

The latest generation of 3D printers are also capable of printing complex electronic components. Once this tech hits the prosumer level it will be possible to create merchandise that can interface with digital libraries to provide additional value to the customer. [Edit: Hi Amazon and the NFL]

http://tnl.media/esportsnews/2017/8/22/ea-madden-nfl-amazon-mobile

http://tnl.media/esportsnews/2017/8/22/ea-madden-nfl-amazon-mobile

DISTRIBUTION

The current model is a pipeline of injection mold design, mass production, and distribution via international shipping.

Injection molds are expensive to produce.

Only after selling a specified amount of merchandise does the designer hit a break even point that pays for the injection mold.

The 3D printing model does not require injection molds and eliminates the risks associated with minimum product and the need to accurately forecast demand. This makes it economically viable to profit from small batches of items and scale up if and when a greater demand materializes.

3D printing is already seeing factories and prosumer level printers offering their services in many areas around the globe. This moves the responsibility of distribution costs and logistics away from designers and allows them to focus on the product.

 

CHALLENGES

Would You? (Photo: Someone On The Internet)

Would You? (Photo: Someone On The Internet)

As with any disruptive technology there are legal and hardware hurdles that need need to be overcome:

  • 3D printing is the perfect storm of patent, IP and privacy law
  • Printers need to get faster & cheaper
  • The technology needs to be more consumer friendly

 

Despite these challenges I believe the momentum of the 3D printing industry will force the existing status-quo to be transformed as it was with eSports video and live streaming.