Epic Opens Digital Store with Favorable Split for Publishers

For 10+ years, video game developers have given up 30 percent of their revenue from digital stores run by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony and Valve, which also take a percentage of in-game purchases via a revenue-sharing model that has become the industry standard. Now, Epic Games founder/chief executive Tim Sweeney, whose company put out the immensely popular “Fortnite,” opened a digital store that collects only 12 percent of sales. Sensor Tower reports that an average of $114.5 million was spent between the combined top game publishers in Android and Apple stores last quarter. Continue reading Epic Opens Digital Store with Favorable Split for Publishers

IGTV Shifts Model From Exclusively Offering Vertical Video

Instagram launched IGTV last year with plans to exclusively offer long-form vertical videos for mobile devices. Landscape video uploads would not be included. However, enthusiasm on the part of video creators failed to gain traction, and now IGTV is changing its vertical video policy. As of last week, users can upload horizontal landscape videos that can easily be viewed full-screen by turning a mobile device on its side. “Ultimately, our vision is to make IGTV a destination for great content no matter how it’s shot so creators can express themselves how they want,” the company explained. Continue reading IGTV Shifts Model From Exclusively Offering Vertical Video

WWDC: Apple to Unveil Apps, Software, Development Tools

When Apple’s 5-day Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off June 3 in San Jose, the company is reportedly planning to introduce an array of new apps, software features and development tools. According to those familiar with the plans, Apple is expected to introduce operating system updates for its Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone and Mac computers. The new iOS 13, codenamed “Yukon,” will offer new and updated features — while iOS14, codenamed “Azul,” will launch next year to support 5G wireless and new AR functions. Continue reading WWDC: Apple to Unveil Apps, Software, Development Tools

Apple Facing Criticism for Restricting Parental Control Apps

“Can you really trust that Apple wants people to spend less time on their phones?” asked Fred Stutzman, founder and chief executive of Freedom, an app designed to limit screen time. Freedom had 770,000 downloads before Apple removed it from the App Store in August, and other app makers have similar stories. According to analysis from The New York Times and app-data firm Sensor Tower, Apple removed or restricted at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen time and parental-control apps as well as clamping down on similar but lesser known apps.

Continue reading Apple Facing Criticism for Restricting Parental Control Apps

NBCUniversal Debuts Its ‘Series’ Interactive Storytelling App

NBCUniversal became the latest media outlet to dip a toe into interactive storytelling, with “Series: Your Story Universe,” a mobile game produced by Universal Games and Digital Platforms with Endless Entertainment. The team picked IPs not easily adapted for mobile games that allow users to interact with stories based on favorite TV shows and movies, including “Vanderpump Rules,” “Saved by the Bell,” “Law & Order,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Bridesmaids,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Xena: Warrior Princess.” Continue reading NBCUniversal Debuts Its ‘Series’ Interactive Storytelling App

Spotify Brings Beef Against Apple to European Commission

Spotify filed a complaint with European regulators accusing Apple of violating antitrust laws by crushing companies that compete with its services, including Apple Music. Apple charges a fee of up to 30 percent on anything sold in its App Store. Spotify reported to the European Commission that Apple’s policies are a “tax” that violate competition laws, and chief executive Daniel Ek complained that Apple gives itself “an unfair advantage at every turn.” It is uncertain if the complaint will lead to a formal EC investigation. Continue reading Spotify Brings Beef Against Apple to European Commission

Facebook Expands Watch Party, Playlist Makes Music Social

Facebook is expanding its Watch Party feature globally, to all Pages and all users. The company debuted the feature to all Groups in July 2018; in the following months, users streamed more than 12 million Watch Parties, which allow remote viewers to watch and comment together in real time. According to Facebook, these Watch Parties have resulted in eight times as many comments as the number generated by non-live videos in Groups, which the company regards as a “key metric” that the feature does indeed encourage engagement. Meanwhile, a new app named Playlist is bringing similar social interaction to music. Continue reading Facebook Expands Watch Party, Playlist Makes Music Social

SVOD Apps and Virtual MVPDs Continue to Gain Momentum

Leading subscription video apps such as Netflix and Hulu generated a total of $781 million last year as streaming video continues its rise. According to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, U.S. consumers spent about $329 million during Q3 2018 on the top 10 SVOD apps available via Google Play and Apple’s App Store. That figure represents a 15 percent jump over Q1. While Netflix and Hulu continue their growth, live-streaming TV services are also gaining traction. Online video analytics firm Conviva reports that virtual MVPDs including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu with Live TV have experienced a 212 percent increase in viewing hours over the past year in the U.S. Continue reading SVOD Apps and Virtual MVPDs Continue to Gain Momentum

Popular Game ‘Fortnite’ Racks Up 100 Million iOS Downloads

According to Apptopia, Epic Games’ free game “Fortnite” can now count 100 million downloads on the Apple iOS platform in 138 days, or less than five months, earning $160 million in iOS in-app purchases. Counting versions for the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, “Fortnite” has posted $1 billion in revenue since its “Battle Royale” version was introduced in September 2017. That compares with “Super Mario Run” (100 million downloads in 68 days) and “Pokémon Go” (100 million iOS downloads in 71 days). Continue reading Popular Game ‘Fortnite’ Racks Up 100 Million iOS Downloads

Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

According to NPD Group, Epic Games’ survival shooter game “Fortnite” and other PlayStation, Xbox and PC multiplayer games are driving sales of headsets to gamers who like to talk to other gamers while they play. NPD, which tracks the $36 billion U.S. videogame industry, added that sales of game accessories and gift cards have now risen to $372 million. This record-breaking sales number is due to the popularity of multiplayer games, said NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, who pointed to “Fortnite,” which has become a smash hit. Continue reading Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

iPhone Users Spending More on Games, Streaming Services

Sensor Tower has found that iPhone users in the U.S. increased in-app purchase spending by 23 percent last year over 2016. Active users spent an average of $58 in 2017 using Apple’s in-app purchase or subscription options. The figures do not reflect e-commerce spending via sites like Amazon or payments for services such as Lyft or Uber. At roughly 62 percent of average spending, mobile gaming leads the charge in this sector. Subscription-based streaming services, and music, dating and lifestyle apps also contributed to the rise in spending. Continue reading iPhone Users Spending More on Games, Streaming Services

Netflix Takes #1 Ranking for Top Non-Game App By Revenue

Sensor Tower lists Netflix as the top-earning app for 2017 (not counting mobile games). According to TechCrunch: “The service saw gross subscriber revenue of approximately $510 million — a 138 percent increase over last year. That’s about 2.4 times the $215 million users spent in the Netflix app in 2016.” In previous years, the #1 ranking was earned by Spotify and LINE. The annual report ranks apps and publishers available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Top earners on Google Play included Tinder, Google Drive, LINE, Pandora, and HBO Now. Continue reading Netflix Takes #1 Ranking for Top Non-Game App By Revenue

Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

According to analytics firms App Annie and Sensor Tower, about 2 million consumers have already installed the YouTube TV app, even though it is not yet available in all regions of the U.S. Installs for Google’s new live TV service were evenly split between Android and iOS devices, reports TechCrunch. While download numbers do not necessarily mirror subscription numbers, early consumer interest should draw the attention of competitors, including telcos. YouTube TV is joining a crowded market of companies offering live TV over the Internet. Others include Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, and Comcast’s upcoming Xfinity Instant TV. Continue reading Google’s New YouTube TV App Clocks 2 Million Downloads

Major Jump in Mobile Revenue for Top-Grossing Netflix App

As Netflix continues its subscriber growth (it added 5.2 million subscribers the last quarter), the streaming service’s app has also taken the top spot in revenue earnings. Analytics firm Sensor Tower reports a 233 percent revenue growth to $153 million year-over-year for Q2. “That’s up from the $46 million seen at this same time last year, across both top app store platforms, and on the iOS App Store alone,” notes TechCrunch. “This level of growth puts Netflix far ahead of the average revenue growth across both app stores, which is currently at 56 percent.” Continue reading Major Jump in Mobile Revenue for Top-Grossing Netflix App

Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

The growth of Snapchat’s audience, now at about 166 million daily users, appears to be slowing, and analysts and stockholders have taken note. On its May 10 quarterly report, the first since its March IPO, chief executive Evan Spiegel offered up the idea that his company’s AR Lenses present users with a creative tool they can’t find elsewhere, even though the Lenses have now been copied by Facebook. A new report shows that Snap’s trouble drawing in new users got serious at the start of Q2, even as rival Instagram pulls ahead. Continue reading Snap Debuts Sponsored AR Lenses, User Growth Is Slowing

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