Among Us - the phenomenon

Published Oct 25th, 2020 with Sonal Chokshi

The online multiplayer game Among Us has had a tipping point of late -- including the news that a major politician livestream-played it earlier this week -- so why now? who? how? Since the premise of this show is to tease apart what's hype/what's real, we dig beyond the obvious pandemic effect and social & streaming trends, to analyze the phenomenon in less than 16 minutes.

Snapchat & Bitmoji: Mobile, Social, Cloud Gaming, & Identity

Published June 21st, 2020 with Andrew Green & Sonal Chokshi

At last week's Snap Partner Summit, a number of announcements -- including a navigation redesign and Bitmoji for Games -- have broader implications for the gaming industry and beyond. Especially when such messaging games, built on HTML5 and "mini programs" or apps-within-apps (as discussed by Connie Chan in context of WeChat and more), merge the key trends of mobile, social, and cloud gaming; in fact, they:

  • could be a serious contender in the "cloud gaming" wars, but coming at it from the low end of the market (as in classic disruption theory);

  • have inherent multiplayer virality, thanks to the original social network/ social graph of one's phone book;

  • are not only built social-first (e.g., not as an afterthought to gameplay), but can incorporate personal expression through avatars and identity across games; and

  • could layer on maps as social networks and AR filters (and marketplaces) as other ways to extend gaming and monetization.

Gaming and Livestreaming: Connecting while Social Distancing

Published on April 2nd, 2020 with Lauren Murrow

Since social distancing measures were first put in place, time spent gaming has gone up—way up. According to a recent report by Verizon, video game usage in the U.S. has risen 75 percent during peak hours. The "stay at home" movement has given way to an upswell of new and returning gamers—as well as new challenges, as online platforms struggle to keep up with the surge.

Next-Gen Social: Come for the Games, Stay for the Party

Published on Nov 2nd, 2019 with Andrew Chen & Lauren Murrow

The games industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift. Powered by trends like platform convergence, games-as-a-service, and user-generated content, modern video games—what we call next-generation games—are unlike anything we’ve seen before. In the past decade, gaming has grown from a niche hobby into a massive, culture-defining phenomenon.

Not only are the games themselves becoming increasingly immersive, the way we develop and discover them has fundamentally changed. In contrast to the hits-driven business model of the past, now games are shaped in real time by player feedback. And thanks to the rise of influencer gamers, the experience of finding new games has become organic and social.

Star Wars in Fortnite

Published on Dec 20th, 2019 with Sonal Chokshi

Star Wars trailer premieres in… Fortnite? What’s the significance of the latest Star Wars trailer debuting inside a video game over a movie theater or TV or even YouTube and Facebook? It has to do with the bigger picture of games, social networks, and virtual worlds; so what are the implications for marketers, game developers, and how we will live/work/play?