Category Archives: Mobile

Are Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass Killing the Mobile Gaming Industry or Helping It?

How many times have you downloaded a super fun game only to find out you need to pump your precious time and money into it to excel? How often do you hear about a popular game on the apple store that spams its users with an endless number of ads?

Games like these are called Gacha Games. In these “Freemium” or “Pay-to-play” games, players spend virtual currency to receive game items which usually results in a competitive advantage. Spending real money to obtain this currency is a quick and easy way to acquire it. 

Some would argue that Gacha Games are ruining the mobile gaming experience, which is a reason why Apple and Google recently introduced their new mobile gaming streaming services: Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass. 

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade is a mobile gaming subscription service launched by Apple on September 19th, 2019. Apple Arcade is available on Apple iPhones, iPads, Macbook computers and even Apple TV. Subscribers pay one monthly fee for access to dozens of exclusive games with no ads or in-app purchases. Users can play online or offline with up to 6 family members. 

Google Play Pass

Google also announced a mobile gaming subscription platform called Google Play Pass as a competitor to Apple Arcade. It is similar to Apple Arcade in that it requires a subscription with a monthly fee and access to games with no ads or in-app purchases. 

The key difference is that Google Play Pass games aren’t exclusive to the subscription service, unlike Apple Arcade. Games that don’t subscribe to Google Play Pass still have the option to buy and play these games. The subscription also allows you to unlock in-app purchases and expansion packs that would normally be an additional cost to gamers. 

Let’s see how these two services stack up with each other:

Apple Arcade Google Play Pass
Content 100 Exclusive Games 251 Non-exclusive Games and Apps 
Cost $4.99/Month $4.99/Month
Compatible Devices iOS Devices Android & Google
Devices
My streaming service comparison Netflix Apple Music

Both services are $5 per month, but as you can see Google Play Pass doesn’t just offer games like Apple Arcade, it offers all different apps like health, productivity, fitness, and many others. Also, they boast 150 more content than Apple Arcade. 

Apple is taking more risks though by putting $500 Million into development and taking a risk by signing contracts with game developers and making their content exclusive to the subscription. Which Google is not doing. 

If I had to compare these to other streaming services, I would compare Apple Arcade with Netflix because it offers a plethora of exclusive games and original content like Netflix does with television and movies. 

Google Play Pass is more like Apple Music because it offers content that you can pay for separately for if you want, but it’s cheaper in a bundle. 

How does this affect the mobile gaming industry?

Developers of mobile apps and games will be impacted in several ways since Google and Apple are introducing such innovative services. These services are going to affect independent game developers negatively. Giant mobile games like “Candy Crush” and “Clash of Clans” will retain their dedicated users but the gaming industry is already a very tough market to penetrate for small developers. These developers rely on ads and in-app purchases to make their money, but when Apple and Google offer hundreds of games at the same price, it devalues premium games forcing small developers to join the service, or die. 

Now it is not all that bad for developers who do choose to join these services. Since consumers expect free games, developers have been forced to sacrifice the quality of their games by integrating ads and in-app purchases. These subscriptions now put the focus back on high-quality games that consumers don’t need to pay a premium for to excel. 

Consumers are the biggest winners with the introduction of Arcade and Play Pass. These games will remove the barrier to success that most mobile “Pay-to-Play” games have. Each of the top 50 grossing apps on the app store offers in-app purchases which usually unlocks certain features or gives gamers a competitive advantage. These streaming services eliminate all in-app purchases giving everyone a level playing field. 

This subscription also offers way more premium content at a much lower price. Lots of console games are $50 to $60 and mobile games sometimes require you to spend even more into them, these services offer you hundreds of games at a bargain rate of $5 a month. 

Do you think Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass will kill the mobile gaming industry? Or does it give consumers the content they’ve been wanting for years? Give me your opinions in the comments!

-Dylan Parker

New Technology From Apple – Is the Price Tag Worth It?

On September 12, 2018, Apple held their annual new product release and it featured three new phones and an impressive new watch. There was much anticipation to see the new upgrades from the previous year when we got the iPhone X. This year we saw a bigger jump in the price for the new products but that has been a consistent factor every year. Some people were let down with the new releases while others have been thinking Apple is starting to stray away from some markets and they are putting more focus towards others.

Apple

Apple unveiled three new smartphones at the event, the iPhone Xr, Xs and the Xs Max. The Xr is the cheaper version but still offers the OLED edge to edge screen and offers up to 5 different color choices. The Xs and Xs Max didn’t obtain too many significant changes other than an upgraded camera and faster processor chip and the Max has an impressive larger 6.5 inch screen.

Also the new Apple Watch boasts some new interesting features like an EKG sensor that can detect heart rate and has new fall detection. A new release of a dual sim and esim could be in the future iPhones and they offer consumers multiple different benefits, a few would be two numbers on one phone, significantly increased battery life, and phones with stronger and better material.

With the new iPhones released, it left customers confused why they should upgrade to the new phone. For example, users with the previous year’s iPhone X have little to no reason to upgrade unless they want a bigger screen, but the price tag might be holding them back. For certain users who don’t have the iPhone X, they could be interested in upgrading to the new phone for the new edge to edge screen and face unlock feature. But the new software update, iOs12 is claiming that older phones are working better which makes older phone users an even stronger reason not to upgrade

Apple’s new focus is on their ‘wearables’ category which includes their watch and airpods or headphones. They shared that their wearables market has grown around 50% each year and now holds an impressive $9 billion dollar industry that is around the size of a Fortune 500 company. The reason Apple boasts they’re so successful in this market is because of no real competitors. Fitbit is their greatest threat which is only a $1.4 billion dollar company and has shown signs of depression in the last year. Apple has said they want to join the market for over the ear headphones because of the market that Dr. Dre Beats currently are holding. Some of the future features they want to add to their wearable products are making them be Siri-enabled and waterproof with wireless charging. They think these key features could drag even more consumers away from other brands who don’t offer those features.

Apple currently is manufacturing their processing chips with Intel but noted that they want to eventually part ways with the company. Their goal is to make their chips in-house which would save them money in the long run and could provide bigger opportunities for improving their products.

Another big problem Apple has run into, is their artificial intelligence or AI. Smartphones with AI that can understand and interact with the consumer are going to be the future of technology and Apple is falling behind in the race. Google and Amazon have taken a lead in the AI race with Google having its pixel 2 smartphone being able to translate in real time and Amazon improving their already impressive home Alexa.

Apple has some big decisions they need to make in the next coming years if they want to stay in some markets or drop and focus heavily on others. What would you like to see from Apple in the future if you are a customer, or how do you think they should invest in the coming years?

-Jordan Stevenson

Disney Play: Yay or Nay?

Coming in 2019 is the new Disney streaming service to be known as Disney Play. Imagine Netflix or Hulu, except everything Disney. No, it won’t be completely full of Princess movies and cartoons, as it will also contain everything else that Disney owns. Movies and content from the Marvel Universe, Lucasfilms, and 21st Century Fox will all be featured on Disney Play, as well as some original content that will be sporadically produced. So whether you like it or not, say goodbye to Disney content on Netflix, and say hello to Disney content on the all new Disney Play.

Disney Play All Disney content will be removed from Netflix within the next few years. The majority will be removed in 2018, but a few films in the Marvel Universe will remain on Netflix until later in 2019. Disney is very excited about breaking into the streaming service world, where it will compete directly with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Disney already owns 60% of Hulu so some may ask why they feel the need to create their own streaming platform. The answer is that Disney felt the need to put their own brand name out there in a streaming crazed world. Although the new service will take precedence, there will still be plenty of Disney owned content that will appear on Hulu.

One of the promises that Disney CEO, Bob Iger, made to the world when announcing Disney Play was that it would be a cheaper streaming service than Netflix. The cheapest package that Netflix offers is $8. Based on Iger’s claims, expect Disney Play to be less than that. Having a cheap streaming service is obviously a great way to attract business. However, depending on how low the price actually is, some may start to question the fact that the service is so cheap and maybe raise an eyebrow at the content that is being offered.  So how cheap can Disney Play be? I guess we will find out come 2019.

Disney PlayAnother way that Disney plans on bringing in subscribers is with original content it will produce occasionally. The first movie that will be featured on Disney Play is called “Timmy Failure.” The movie will be based on the book that was written by Stephan Pastis. The movie carries a $42 million budget and will be premiered on Disney Play in 2019. Other original content that will be featured is a new Star Wars series called “The Mandalorian” that will be exclusive to Disney Play. The series is a 10-part series that carries a $100 million budget. Disney hopes that the big name series will excite Star Wars fans worldwide and bring in more subscribers. (Here is the first known picture of the new series “The Mandalorian”.)

Disney Play still has plenty of unknowns and what ifs. Details revolving around the new streaming service have been kept pretty secret since the idea was announced in 2017. I would expect more info to be released as the kickoff date approaches. There are many speculations about Disney Play but few will know until it is actually right in front of us.

I am really interested in seeing how successful Disney Play will be. With limited content compared to other streaming services, Disney Play will be up against some heavy competition in the streaming world, but that does not scare Disney chief Bob Iger. Iger seems to be very confident of what Disney can do, and he looks forward to watching Disney Play kickoff. So I ask you, what do you think? Disney Play: yay or nay?

– Christian Ellsworth

NAB 2018: A Closer Look at Booths and Exhibits

When attending a convention the size of NAB, things can feel a bit overwhelming at times. With a whopping 1700 booths and exhibitors, an even more impressive 100,000 attendees, and three multi-floored convention halls the size of multiple football fields, at times it was difficult to know exactly where to start and what to look out for. So naturally, we explored, and with exploration comes discovery. As we attempted to scour every square inch of the Las Vegas Convention center, all while of course picking up some cool “swag”, we encountered some really interesting booths showing off their latest technology advances.

NAB 2018 Cheqroom

YI Technology, pronounced like the letter “E”, was one of the companies we encountered in the central convention center. YI is a tech company based out of China that specializes in action and mirrorless cameras, but at NAB they were there to show some of their latest advancements. In 2018, YI is planning on joining the growing trend of virtual reality as they unveiled their latest cameras capable of 3D-VR, 3D 360 degree cameras, and a specialized 3D virtual reality camera.

Talking with one of their representatives, they spoke about how YI sees virtual reality as the future of video content. “Virtual reality is really just in its beginning stages at this point in time. Who knows, we might even see schools of the future being taught completely through virtual reality.” The perspective that YI has on VR was something that really intrigued us. Right now it really does feel as if virtual reality is a bit of a niche market, but with major tech companies like YI making strong advances with the technology, we really could see VR becoming more and more consumer friendly.

Another exhibitor that stood out among the masses was the Aputure booth. Aputure is a media company that specializes in lighting technology for video production and photography. Fittingly, the booth was decked out with their latest models ranging from high end, to more consumer and student friendly lighting kits. Additionally, throughout the convention Aputure brought in many different YouTubers and Social Influencers that gave presentations on how they use lighting within their content.

On our last day of the convention Aputure brought in Levi Allen, a YouTuber and filmmaker from Left Coast Media. He gave a presentation on his various lighting techniques that he uses within his business and channel, and also showed us some live demonstrations using the Aputure lights. At the end of his presentation, his words resonated with a few of us. “I want you to all go out and create something and share it with the world. What’s the point of making stuff if you’re not going to share and let people experience in it?” His words were really inspiring, and a good way to round out the convention as we finished producing some of our own media projects about the NAB show.

These were merely two of the almost 2000 booths featured at the NAB show. Some other standouts were the Avid Booth, where they showed off their much maligned (at least by some digital media students) editing software; Cheqroom, a European company specializing in equipment checkout software; and of course the “dancing” robot presented by BOLT.

The sheer number of companies and booths in attendance really showed us students how many opportunities there are in the media industry. We were able to network, get a glimpse into some new tech we may be adding to our toolkits in the near future, and of course you know we scooped up whatever free goodies we could get our hands on. Interestingly enough, most of the free “swag” we received was just different branded tote bags, but we of course were thankful nonetheless. Once our time at the convention came to an end, we headed out the doors of the Las Vegas Convention center, bags in hand, and hundreds of different company names to Google when we got home to look for job and internship opportunities. NAB 2018 was a success, to say the least.

-Tristan Bennett

NAB 2017: Mobile Video & Second Screening

We have returned from Las Vegas with heads swimming with new information and experiences! Our topics of mobile video advertising and streaming were not covered as explicitly as we had hoped for, but “second screening” was a big success for us. We learned extremely engaging information from one session in particular, and you can hear Zildjian talk about this in the our video below.

Mobile VideoThe session was titled “2nd Screening as the Key to Effective TV Experience Enhancement & Audience Engagement.” Topics discussed included: how to use second screens effectively, how to enhance customer value, and how to generate overall involvement with the media.

Another session, “The Mobile App-Driven Video Revolution is Here,” addressed a wide variety of topics from AR (augmented reality) and its future with television, to the distribution issue that consumers will face trying to get the content they want. Olivia discusses the most important takeaways from this session in our video:


Overall at NAB, our production team learned a great deal about what the future of TV will look like, both through the use of apps and second screens. It is not enough to just have those components available; they have to be engaging for the audience to truly be effective. Only time will tell if these trends change our TV reality.

-Zildjian Bartels, Piper Davis, Olivia Guns & Madison Steffen

NAB 2017- Virtual Reality is Sick!* (*Caution, may cause nausea)

We’re back from Las Vegas, and we are telling the whole world about what happened there, or at least our handful of internet followers! We went to the 2017 National Association of Broadcasters Show to explore existing and future Virtual Reality technologies and uses. The NAB Show gave us an extensive look at solutions industry professionals are implementing in order to push VR technologies into the media market and into our society.

Virtual Reality

We previously mentioned concerns with nausea, and we immediately discussed these issues with Edwin Rogers, owner of VR Video. Rogers, featured in our video below, said that the industry is combating some of these issues with body stabilization and other production techniques.

The newest rage in VR is 4K resolution. 4K creates beautifully immersive footage, but also requires massive files. As we know, this presents various issues for those with slow bandwidth and little storage. Currently there isn’t much of a solution for these massive files, just a suggestion to “throw money at bandwidth” via Google. The point is, we are somewhat ahead of ourselves, and the industry needs to catch up on viable options for file sharing.

Our final area of investigation involved our curiosity about consumer adoption. Sure, VR is a great tool for filmmakers and entertainers, but how can it be integrated into society? Augmented reality provides a look at existing environments that are able to be altered in order to create plans, such as realtors providing frames for future construction, or the plans of a building for a firefighter entering a dangerous area never explored previously. The point is, virtual reality is here and bigger than ever, and you might find yourself using this technology in your own field regardless of your affiliation to video production.

Here is the short video we created about our VR Adventure!

You can also check out a more personal documentation of our journey, thanks to our team member Josh Berendes, through his Daily Doc’s featured on his YouTube! (Like and subscribe, which we have to say for the sake of shutting up Josh.)

The benefits of traveling to Las Vegas as students were staggering. To be able to witness the media industry from production to distribution, including cinematography, directing, engineering, etc. gave us a one-of-a-kind opportunity to really decide what we want to pursue in this industry. It isn’t often that a university program is able to fund students to attend this sort of event. We are truly thankful to UNI Digital Media Leadership for the opportunity. It was a once in a lifetime experience!

– Josh Berendes, Marielle Gaiser, Tom Randolph & Kyle Stoutenberg

NAB Pre-Report: The Future of Virtual Reality

As virtual reality becomes more accessible to consumers we are beginning to see the true potential of this new method of media consumption. From short films to video games, Virtual Reality is the next step in media technology. However, many people have also raised questions and concerns in regards to the distribution of the content being produced. Some of the major problems with the distribution of VR content include: bandwidth needed for VR content and the transcoding of said content. At the 2017 NAB Show we plan to discover what these problems are and what some companies are doing to combat these issues.

Virtual RealityNot only does virtual reality provide impressive 360 visuals, but it also provides new environments for storytelling. We are interested on how these industry professionals plan on using these new territories. With the freedom of completely new realities, stories will begin to incorporate new elements into pre-existing mediums that we haven’t been able to capture before.

Currently smartphones dominate the VR industry, however, due to thermal issues on some headsets, most overheat after about half an hour. For widespread consumer use, these headsets need to be optimized for frequent and maintained use.

Virtual RealityNew technology often fascinates people who are inclined to pay attention to the ever-changing industry, but what about the general public? Sure there are Google cardboard headsets, but are people going to accept this new media as a popular attraction? We are heading to NAB with the intentions of securing a more substantial answer about where this media can take us in the future.

With virtual reality making waves and stealing the show at the NAB show last year, we look forward to seeing where VR finds itself in the Industry moving forward as the tools needed become more accessible to consumers and content creators alike. With glaring issues such as vertigo and nausea plaguing much of the early releases of VR now being addressed and ensuring far more practical usage, the content coming from the session planned at the 2017 NAB show hold much more potential for the future of VR.

Though virtual reality has much at stake with their progress we will be seeing at the 2017 NAB show this year, there lies much potential for augmented reality to have a chance to make waves as one of the most interesting pieces of emerging technology at the show this year in much of the same way VR did last year.

On last week’s episode of No Film School’s podcast, they announced a secret project that VR specialist 360 Designs has been working on; a 6k livestreaming VR drone. Sounds crazy right? That’s because it is. This drone is able to be operated by a single person and has the ability to send wireless signals over five miles. This is something we are excited to witness as it paves another milestone in video production!

Josh Berendes, Marielle Gonzalez-Gaiser, Tom Randolph & Kyle Stoutenberg

Is GoPro Dead?

When you think of GoPro advertisements, the first thing that might pop into your mind is an ad with footage of someone on a vacation or hiking in the mountains, right? What you may not know is that GoPro didn’t make these advertisements themselves. What’s unique about GoPro is that they use their consumer’s videos for their campaigns. The question is, does user generated content effectively advertise the product and make it successful?

GoProWhen purchasing something relatively expensive we are going to want to see reviews on the product. With GoPro, you can see the quality of the camera based on the videos created with them. People may assume that since GoPro advertises with user-generated content that the videos will be low quality and shaky, but this isn’t the case. Knowing that GoPro uses user-generated content makes their advertisements seem more genuine. Consumers are able to create high quality videos and are even advertising the product themselves by sharing it online. In fact, the company more than doubled their income by saving money with user generated content. Instead of spending advertising money on video equipment, a director, and a cast they have one person do take their product, create content, and share it online.

GoProThen the company thought, since consumers are basically advertising for us, why not reward them for their work? So, they introduced GoPro Awards. Every week they would pick photographs from three different categories and the winners would receive $500.They also gave awards for video content in two different categories: $1,000 for unedited footage and $5,000 for edited footage. They created these categories so that amateurs would have a chance at winning money too. The winners of these awards have a chance at making even more money. If GoPro liked their content a lot and wanted to license it to ad agencies, the creator would receive some of that licensing money.

However, in November 2016, it was released that GoPro’s income dropped by 330% compared to the year before. They lost $84 million in three months and their stock dropped 15%. This, obviously, made a lot of their investors angry. Their CEO, Nick Woodman says the reason behind this wasn’t because they weren’t effectively advertising the product, it was because they were behind in production and couldn’t make enough GoPros to meet the demands of the consumers. See link below for more details.

After their large drop in income, GoPro created their first ever scripted TV ad. The purpose of this ad was to show people that with a GoPro you can be more “in the moment” on your adventures. We can all find ourselves hidden behind our phones while on vacations or hanging out with friends, and GoPro can help you to capture what is going on while enjoying it at the same time. But, it’s interesting that they tried to tell people to stop taking videos while taking a video. If the demand really was still high, why would they need to create this new scripted ad? See below for the ad.

I believe that user generated content effectively advertised this product at first. It was cool and exciting so see what you could all do yourself, but this soon wore off. I think that the main reason there was a downfall in 2016 was because there are many different products out there now that are cheaper and do the same thing. It seems that almost everyone has some kind of camera nowadays, so the novelty of a GoPro has worn off. Do you think that GoPro will be seeing any more success in their future, or has their time passed?

Zildjian Bartels