Posts tagged Games

If You’re Good At These 3 Games, You’re Probably Good At SEO – Forbes

If You're Good At These 3 Games, You're Probably Good At SEO
Forbes
SEO is not dead or dying, despite some critics claiming otherwise. You may have heard, for example, about SEO Jill Whalen moving on after a successful 20-year career in the field. Her reason? In her opinion, since Google Google released its Penguin and …

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Google Dorking: It’s All Fun & Games Until The Hackers Show Up

For anyone not in the know, Google Dorking is the practice of using advanced search techniques – more specifically, specialized search parameters – to locate hard-to-find web pages and information. As innocent as it sounds, Google Dorking has a dark side – so dark, federal…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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How Twitch And YouTube Are Making Video Games A Big Business

Mark this moment: Watching people play video games has become a big business, with Amazon, Google, Disney, and others vying for a piece of the action.

Call it livestream gaming: Top players record themselves playing popular titles and delivering commentary—or compete against each other in big, live, arena-style events. 

By turning video games from a solitary living-room obsession into shared events, livestream gaming is letting advertisers tap into a hard-to-reach demographic of mostly young men.

The Game Is Afoot

That means a huge influx of money into the video-game world: It’s changing from a hardware-and-software business into a Hollywood-like media operation, complete with its own celebrities, agents, studios, and networks.

The big event in livestream gaming was Amazon.com’s announcement that it will acquire Twitch, a site which specializes in livestream gaming videos, for a cool $970 million, after rumors that Google’s YouTube might be interested in buying it, too.

Gaming as a spectator sport has already attracted audiences of millions of online users, most of whom watch it on gaming-dedicated YouTube channels or on Twitch. It’s no longer an online subculture: For many teens, it is their mass media.  

And the wars to capitalize on livestream gaming and its personalities is underway. Maker Studios, a Disney-owned Web network that operates like a talent agency for popular YouTube stars, has just partnered with one of YouTube’s top gaming channels, The Diamond Minecart.

The Diamond Minecart joins two other Maker-represented gaming channels, PewDiePie and Stampylonghead. That means Maker Studios now has the top three most-subscribed gaming channels on YouTube. And it means Disney and Google have partnered up against Amazon and Twitch. It’s on like Donkey Kong!

Gamers at Insomnia 52, the UK’s biggest gaming festival.

Livestream gaming grew along with YouTube. Video-game streams were just one more genre of YouTube’s early bedroom-webcam confessionals. What else would teens talk into the camera about?

But as passionate and engaged fan communities blossomed into subcriber bases that numbered in the millions, then big businesses began to take notice.

Swede Idea

PewDiePie trying Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality gadget.

While Twitch specializes in gaming, the topic is no stranger to YouTube. PewDiePie, YouTube’s most-subscribed channel, is the online-video home of Felix Kjellberg, a 24-year-old Swede. He has 19 million subscribers, but he’s just at the apex of a community of gamers on YouTube who garner massive fan followings by uploading videos of themselves playing games. 

Some advertisers are already tapping into their popularity.

Kjellberg recently agreed to appear in a promotion for Hollywood horror movie As Above, So Below. The film’s marketers sent Kjellberg to Paris to record himself looking for missing keys within a haunted catacomb, complete with zombies and live cockroaches. It works particularly well because of the similarities to the horror-themed video games he often plays.

Video-game publisher Ubisoft partnered with popular YouTube comedy duo Smosh to create a song in 2012 for the release of Assassin’s Creed 3. The accompanying music video now has a total of 54 million views.

In 2012, first person shooter video game Halo released Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, a science fiction action show, on YouTube channel Machinima Prime. The show has since been added onto Netflix’s roster of content.

Entering The Arena

Livestream gaming was born on the Internet—but it’s jumping into the physical world. 

Where livestream gaming involves posting videos, esports—short for “electronic sports”—involves quasi-athletic video-game competitions, often staged in big venues before live audiences and, increasingly, broadcast on television.

League of Legends World Championships

In October 2013, video-game publisher Riot Games held its League of Legends World Championships at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The arena was sold out, and 32 million gaming fans watched the competition online.

In July, ESPN, the Disney-owned cable network, broadcast The International, a tournament which featured an online battle-arena-style game called DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) 2, with an $11 million prize. 

League of Legends gamers.

So what can we expect for the future of livestream gaming? We’re already seeing Disney, Google, and Amazon getting into the mix, putting down eye-popping amounts of money into acquisitions and poaching top YouTube gamers.

Google and Disney’s interests are obvious, since they are big sellers of advertising with a keen interest in teenage audiences. Amazon’s interest in Twitch came as a surprise to many—but it, too, has an increasing interest in video games, thanks to its Kindle tablets and its in-house game studios, as well as in online advertising, where it hopes to challenge Google.

Others are likely to pile into the market now. The big winners may be anyone who loves video games. Heck, you don’t even have to play them anymore. You can just lean back and watch.

Lead image by Madeleine Weiss, images courtesy of Riot Games, Tubefilter, PewDiePieThe Diamond Minecart, Flickr user artubr

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LinkedIn’s Hunger Games: Will You Volunteer As Tribute?

Get ready to feel really awkward on LinkedIn. The professional social network introduced a new feature Wednesday that turns logging on to LinkedIn into a game-like experience by showing you how you stack up against other people in your network. 

If you’re familiar with the universe of The Hunger Games, LinkedIn, once a safe place to share news articles and network, has turned into some kind of digital Panem, and we are all now volunteering as tribute.

Called How You Rank, the feature is a new part of Who’s Viewed Your Profile, the statistics dashboard on your account that shows you which people are looking at your LinkedIn page. How You Rank lets users see how popular their profiles are in relationship to other people in their network.

For instance, I rank 120 out of 604, and I’m in the top 20% of profile views among my connections.

LinkedIn’s new popularity contest will no doubt encourage people to scramble around to get more views on their profile, which will no doubt increase the social network’s page views—a metric closely watched by analysts on Wall Street, where the company faces its own kind of ruthless ranking against other Internet companies. 

The How You Rank page shows you what percentile you rank for profile views among your connections, which connections have been viewed the most, and how much those numbers have increased in the last two weeks. The right hand side of the How You Rank dashboard features personalized suggestions on how to get more people to look at your profile, like updating your summary, joining targeted groups, or adding a specific skill.

By following LinkedIn’s tips, you’ll spend more time perfecting your profile and competing with professionals you might not know personally—as if there wasn’t enough competition in the workplace already.

May the stats be ever in your favor.

Image courtesy of Coletivo Mambembe on Flickr

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See Atari’s Buried Treasure: E.T. Among 30 Retro Games Unearthed In The Desert

Just as the desert winds kicked up to 35 m.p.h., with prematurely disappointed onlookers already streaming away from the dusty hole in the ground, the team tasked with digging up Atari’s long-rumored burial ground struck gold—a copy of 1982’s Atari 2600 epic flop, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, flattened but intact. 

But it wasn’t all Atari’s infamous E.T. adaptation. According to Raiford Guins, Associate Professor of Culture and Technology at SUNY Stony Brook and on-site Atari historian, the game that started (or ended) it all is actually outnumbered: “E.T. is the face of this dig … but there are a lot of corpses.” 

The real jackpot: a sprawling, colorful patch of early 1980s Atari cartridges, unboxed games, promo materials, booklets and comics, all preserved by a lack of water and oxygen under thirty years and 28 feet of trash.

Scattered among the early 80s artifacts, the dig team unearthed copies of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Yars’ Revenge—two far more successful titles created by E.T.’s designer, Howard Scott Warshaw. 

Here’s a full list of the Atari games pulled out of the Alamogordo landfill that I’ve documented so far, culled from my own photos, conversation with the dig’s archaeological lead, Andrew Reinhard, and a little time spent digging through a small sample of the findings with my own two hands:

  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (roughly 70 copies present in the archaeology team’s collection, a very rough working estimate of 700 copies total were found during the excavation, which in total remains a very small sample—possibly 2% of Atari’s total “buried treasure” in the landfill)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Yars’ Revenge
  • Pele’s Soccer 
  • Superman 
  • Human Cannonball
  • Circus Atari
  • Night Driver
  • Adventure
  • Haunted House
  • Combat-CX-2601
  • Defender (Atari 2600)
  • Defender (Atari 5200)
  • Space Invaders
  • Air-Sea Battle 
  • Missile Command
  • Pac-Man
  • Ms. Pac-Man
  • Warlords 
  • Swordquest: Fireworld
  • Vanguard
  • Star Raiders
  • Real Sports: Football
  • Qix
  • Phoenix
  • Asteroids
  • Berzerk
  • Centipede
  • Breakout
  • Super Breakout

Burning Man Meets A Gaming Expo 

The event, a literal excavation of one of gaming’s most enduring legends, cobbled together an unlikely, gleeful crowd at a yet-more-unlikely location. Yet here we were, on the Eastern edge of the White Sands desert, just a hundred miles from Roswell, N.M., at a landfill situated behind a McDonald’s parking lot.

At the site—a pop-up gaming convention cross-bred with Burning Man—a blockbuster production team joined retro gamers, curious locals, Xbox executives, a small, gleeful archaeological team and even a local garbage guru who’d tracked the truth—and all of its permutations—for more than three decades.

If that sounds crazy on paper, it was twenty times crazier in person. With trash literally swirling around us, the crowd looked on as a 40-ton Caterpillar brought up load after load of dusty garbage.

“I was getting nervous … [the tractor] was 30 feet down, almost the length of how far you can extend down” said Joe Lewandowski, the dig’s de facto historian, who owned a competing garbage company back when Atari sent nine semi-trucks to Alamogordo in 1983.

“At one point I said, okay, better hit it soon. As soon as I said that, two buckets later, then they came out with it; there was Space Invaders and Asteroids and right on top was E.T.”


 

For higher resolution images from the dig, refer to my Flickr album (a work in progress!).

All photos by Taylor Hatmaker for ReadWrite

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Bioshock Maker Irrational Games To Shut Down

Irrational Games, the 17-year-old development arm behind the successful games Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite, will be reshaped into a new team within Take Two Interactive, according to Ken Levine, the company’s creative director and co-founder:

While I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished together, my passion has turned to making a different kind of game than we’ve done before. To meet the challenge ahead, I need to refocus my energy on a smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers.  In many ways, it will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience.

Levine said Irrational Games will release the final downloadable module for Bioshock Infinite, entitled “Burial At Sea,” but Levine will part ways with all of the roughly 15 members of the Irrational Games team. Those laid off from Irrational Games will have a chance to discuss other opportunities within Take-Two Interactive, and Levine will also help departing Irrational staff get jobs at third-party studios and publishers by hosting a formal “recruiting day.”

To learn more about what will happen to Irrational Games and Levine’s next project, check out Levine’s blog post on Irrational Games’ website.

Lead image by nez on Flickr

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SEO Computer Games: Madoogle & Donkey Cutts – Search Engine Roundtable


Search Engine Roundtable
SEO Computer Games: Madoogle & Donkey Cutts
Search Engine Roundtable
(1) Donkey Cutts – a play on Donkey Kong, but the characters switched to be personalities in the SEO space. Including Matt Cutts, Pandas, Penguins, links, social, and much more. (2) Madoogle – a play on Angry Birds, but the birds change to the faces of
Madoogle SEO Game: Angry Birds As SEOsSearch Engine Land

all 2 news articles »

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Google Gay Rights Doodle Kicks Off 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games

Google’s home page today celebrates the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics and also protests Russia’s stance on gay rights in the form of a Doodle. Abandoning its usual primary colors, Google’s logo adopts rainbow colors symbolic of gay pride.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

With NaturalMotion, Zynga Is Ready To Make Real Games Now

Zynga appears to have turned a new leaf. The oft-maligned casual game maker is known more for its skill as a master imitator than for its own games, many of which are ad-stuffed knock-offs of already successful franchises (Scrabble, anyone?).

Zynga announced Thursday that it would pay $527 million to acquire NaturalMotion, a company with a real gaming pedigree—and a harbinger of major change at Zynga, whose biggest innovation to date might be its dogged pursuit of virtual gambling in the U.S.

Along with news of the acquisition, Zynga announced further job cuts, saying it will trim its workforce by 15%—the latest in a series of layoffs and cost reductions that began under former CEO Mark Pincus. With Microsoft’s former head of its Xbox division now at the helm of Zynga, it’s no surprise that the company is looking to improve its gaming portfolio. New CEO Don Mattrick took over at Zynga just months after he personally unveiled the Xbox One at Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters.

Zynga will get a serious boost to its gaming cred thanks to its new half billion dollar baby. NaturalMotion, helmed by motion animation whiz Torsten Reil, might not be an everyday name, but its intelligent graphics engine “Euphoria” has hummed under the hood of the last two Grand Theft Auto games and other hits from Red Dead Redemption to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

More recently, NaturalMotion has thrown its weight toward mobile with its iOS hit Clumsy Ninja, a charming physics-based game that lets the company’s dynamic graphics engine shine.

Natural Motion and Zynga couldn’t be more complementary—or more opposite. Zynga has honed the formula of casual, social gaming to disturbingly addictive perfection. Meanwhile, NaturalMotion creates games from the bottom up—building out its technology into games that serve as proofs of concept.

I recently spoke to Reil, and he made a great case for why mobile is the most compelling platform for the biomechanical and neuromechanical underpinnings of NaturalMotion’s technology, which I thought seemed more at home on the two powerful new consoles rather than 4” touchscreens.

At Zynga, NaturalMotion will have a big social platform for showing off its deep technology. With NaturalMotion, Zynga will bring true innovation on board—a first for the notorious copycat, and an interesting new shared direction for two companies that couldn’t have less in common.

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Nintendo Says It Loves Mobile—It Just Won’t Release Games For Smartphones

Looks like Nintendo games won’t be showing up on your smartphone anytime soon after all.

Fans and investors have long urged the struggling videogame maker to embrace smartphone and tablet gaming by porting some of its oldest and most beloved games to iOS and Android. And a week ago, Nintendo said it was considering “a big shift” in strategy after forecasting a third straight annual loss, which led many believe that Nintendo’s mobile transition might finally happen. 

But Nintendo now says it has no plans to offer such “mini games” for smartphone platforms. “Nintendo’s intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer mini-games on smartphone devices,” the company said in a statement to Engadget.

According to a report two days ago in the Nikkei, Japan’s leading financial daily, Nintendo may still try to bolster its presence on today’s mobile devices. Too bad its reported ideas so far mostly consist of an upcoming smartphone app for marketing—one designed to spread news about the company’s other gaming platforms and upcoming releases.

The Nikkei reported that Nintendo might also offer playable demo previews of games for smartphones, although Nintendo might well just have denied that, too. (Depends on whether you consider a playable demo a “mini-game.”) Plus, it’s hard to see a company like Nintendo expending the effort to code playable iOS and Android game demos if it doesn’t ever plan to actually release full games on those platforms.

So Nintendo’s first steps into today’s mobile market—setting aside its own line of DS handhelds—will almost certainly be baby steps. Which is too bad, because the company needs way more of a strategy than a new “marketing app.”

Nintendo’s latest earnings were dismal—its already meager profits dropped another 30%, and the company forecast a third consecutive annual loss for its full fiscal year. (It originally projected $974 million in profit, but now expects an operating loss of about $336 million.) Nintendo’s president has offered to take a drastic pay cut as a result.

Nintendo has always managed to do a lot with just a little—the list of bestselling video games of all-time includes many of Nintendo’s own titles—so there’s still hope for the company. In fact, two new game titles from the company’s biggest franchises—Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.—will be arriving this spring, which should help Nintendo promote its underselling year-old console, the Wii U.

Lead image via Nintendo

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