Apple Live Event Recap & Reaction

Today’s event was all about Apple’s focus on new services. Normally these events discuss Hardware & Software, but today was all about new forms of subscriptions that allow consumers more control while showcasing Apple’s strategy to not only provide access /navigation/curation of entertainment but also serve as an end destination with new original content for gaming & entertainment.

Apple also provided a shock to the financial services system with the launch of Apple Card. With an interface and features yet to be seen by traditional banks, Apple is making a bold move towards controlling multiple facets of the consumer journey, all without advertising and an emphasis on privacy.

Here is the full recap:

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Celebrating 500 BlackFin Posts

This post is number 500 for the BlackFin360.com/blog. Starting this blog was one of the best decisions I have made professionally. It provided me with a platform to share original thoughts, cover industry trends and serve as a repository for speaking and media coverage.

It has evolved significantly from the early beginnings in 2007. The blog was originally under the domain TheBlackFin.com. Now that domain is simply a redirect to BlackFin360.com. “BlackFin” was a nickname given to me by a co-worker at the time and the blog name came directly from my Xbox Gamertag “TheBlackFin“.

Here is a screenshot of the original look for the blog from 2007-2009. Why green for a blog named the “black” fin is something I still wonder about to this day.

Over the years the look and feel of the blog has changed but the core content focus on marketing, emerging technology, and gaming has remained to this day.

I officially moved the blog from theblackfin.com to blackfin360.com in 2009. By 2011 at least there were black/techie elements in the look and feel.

Now in 2018, the blog continues to serve as the primary entry point for speaking engagements, advisor opportunities, university lecturing, media coverage and over the past year it has shifted to more of a Vlog.

The look of the site will continue to evolve in 2018 and beyond.

Whether this is your first time here or you have been a subscriber since the beginning, I sincerely want to thank anyone who has stopped by and spent time with my content. I am incredibly grateful for this platform and I would highly recommend to anyone to find their industry voice and build their personal brand in addition to their professional.

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Webinar: Using AI to Conquest New Markets

Looking forward to taking part in the upcoming webinar: Using AI to conquest new markets on February 28, 2018, at 12pm CST. Be sure to register today!

Today’s marketers have access to an incredible volume of consumer information, but most are simply not equipped to make sense of it all. With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, we can quickly sift through all this varied, scattered input and identify invaluable, consistent consumer trends and actionable insights, something that would nearly impossible to accomplish manually.

Savvy marketers can use these insights to conquest new markets by understanding the audience affinities for various segments within their new market. Join the CEO of AI software company Oculus360, John Dubois, and Tom Edwards, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer of Epsilon’s agency business, in a dynamic discussion about how brands are using innovative machine learning technology to identify, target, and succeed in new markets. Ian Beacraft, Vice President, Digital Strategy at Epsilon will host and moderate the discussion about:

  • How to use AI/machine learning to identify opportunities for brand extension and expansion
  • How audience affinity models can be applied to identify the products and brands most closely aligned with different customer segments
  • A real-world example of these strategies in action

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Xbox One X Project Scorpio Early Unboxing

I received a nice surprise as there was a special package waiting for me in my office. It was an early release version of the Xbox One X Project Scorpio edition.

The Xbox One X officially launches on the 7th of November. I captured the full unboxing, setup, and discuss what’s included and the features of the console including a look at the system after start-up.

A special thank you to Brent at Xbox and Chris from TripleClix for the great surprise.

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Epsilon Agency & TripleClix eSports eBook

Tom Edwards, Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer and Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon previews an eSports eBook collaboration between Epsilon Agency & TripleClix.

eSports is “athletics of the mind” and it’s popularity is skyrocketing past traditional sports leagues. It’s a way for younger millennials & gen Z to compete and to create and share experiences and it’s shifting entertainment and lifestyle behaviors dramatically.

This eBook provides insight into 5 use cases for brand marketers to build an eSports strategy beyond simple sponsorship. We also highlight Epsilon Agency’s proprietary data assets that map psychographic insights through machine learning tied to various segments of gamers to uncover key personality markers.

We  preview how this information can highlight lifestyle and affinity connections with gaming audiences for brand marketers through an eSports brand index that allows for seamless connections between brands and gamers with eSports playing a key role in binding the two.

Download the eBook here.

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Trends To Watch in 2017

Technology is now essential to our daily lives. Accessibility and empowerment has transformed how we connect and communicate. This has led to new forms of user interaction that will usher in the business models of the future.

2017 will be comprised of new types of conversational experiences to connect with consumers. It will see the continued evolution of artificial intelligence and connected systems as well as the rapid rise of third-party ecosystems supporting virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

The following trend deck outlines the evolution of marketing in 2017 through the consumer centric filters of connection, cognition and immersion and is now available for download.

Screenshot 2016-12-02 15.00.44.png

  • CONNECTION – Trends that reimagine how we connect, enable and empower consumers.
    • Examples include: Simplified Conversational Experiences, Pervasive Voice-Based Interfaces, Search and Retrieval to 1:1 Prediction, Affective Datasets and eSports

screenshot-2016-12-02-14-47-49

  • COGNITION – Trends where machine based intelligence will disrupt and redefine data assets and how we work.
    • Examples include: Machine Learning as a Service, Centaur Intelligence, Blockchain & AI

Screenshot 2016-12-02 14.52.09.png

  • IMMERSION – Trends that align technology and presence to evoke emotion, entertain and power commerce.
    • Examples include: Democratization of VR, VR Commerce, Social VR, (Re)Mixed Reality

Screenshot 2016-12-02 14.57.24.png

  • ZONE OF CONVERGENCE – Trends that align elements of connection, cognition and immersion that will redefine consumer engagement.
    • Examples include: Cars as the next Mobile Platform, Holographic Computing, Ambient Computing.

screenshot-2016-12-02-14-55-53

How we consume and interact via digital channels is about to be absorbed and redefined. We believe that 2017 will begin the convergence of connection, cognition and immersion toward an ambient computing future built on new data types that will simplify complex tasks and predict need states vs reacting.

Download the 2017 Trend Predictions Today!

epsilon-top-trends-for-2017

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Pokemon Go: 15 Vital Marketing Insights

Pokemon Go mania has hit the US. The near perfect storm of timing, relevance, and word-of-mouth has momentarily captured the media spotlight and Pokemon fans new and old.

I recently provided iMedia with 15 Vital Marketing Insights that marketers should consider when building high engagement digital to physical programs.

Home 2016-07-17 21-45-02

Community, Common Cause, Competition, Gamification, Word of Mouth, Game Mechanics, Scarcity, Nostalgia and Mixing Reality are all elements that contributed to the run away success of Pokemon Go.

Photo Jul 15, 12 59 06 PM

There are many lessons to be learned by marketers. By aligning existing strengths of the brand with the passion of community and a compelling experience, it is possible to create a highly engaging consumer experience with similar attributes that make Pokemon Go a success.

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Connecting Gaming & Brands through Advergaming & Edutainment

Two of my passions are gaming and marketing. Whenever I have the opportunity for the two to intersect I am overjoyed. Previously, I have written on the topic of advergaming (imedia) and brand integrations (IEG). This article will highlight case studies of advergaming as well as introduce edutainment case studies.

Gaming is big business. According to Gartner, the projected worldwide video game market size in 2014 will surpass $100 billion dollars. In 2014, 58% of Americans have played a video game and 68% of gamers are 18 or older. With the fragmentation and shifts in media consumption, gaming provides significant dwell times with a hyper connected audience. Brands that create authentic and relevant value that empowers gamers will “unlock” value beyond impressions.

Let’s start with a terminology refresher. An Advergame is an electronic game – often low-cost or free – designed to promote a brand or product.

advergaming

ADVERGAMING – Advergaming is closely associated with above the line, through the line and below the line integration where the advertisements or brand integrations are either explicit and may be an integral part of the game or products are embedded seamlessly into the existing gameplay.

ABOVE THE LINE EXAMPLES

Burger King – Xbox 360 Licensed Games

Advergame - Burger King

Coca-Cola –  Mini Me

Coca-Cola Mini Me

Taco Bell – The Waiting Game

Taco Bell - The Waiting Game

Kellogg’s – Coco Pops

Advergame - Kelloggs

Skittles – Darkened Skye

Advergame - Skittles

Key points to consider are ATL executions are normally executed with the brand primarily in creative control of the project. As a start up or independent developer, this is where there is an opportunity to license your product to be distributed through the brands channels. This type of execution would take a brand partner willing to make a significant investment to cover development, distribution, promotional and non-development fees.

THROUGH THE LINE – Through the line examples are more commonly tied to alternate realty games (ARGs). This is when consumers interact with links, websites and promotional material outside the game. I have written about ARG integrations such as the Hanso Foundation ARG tied to the LOST television show. Other examples are:

The Dark Knight ARG

HALO – ilovebees

BELOW THE LINE – Authenticity and relevance are the keys to successfully executing below the line integrations. For additional insight and behind the scenes access to how partnerships are actually executed I turned to the reigning king of below the line integrations, Chris Erb. Formerly of Electronic Arts, Legendary Pictures and co-founder of the gaming agency TripleClix. Chris and I have served on boards together and have spent time over the years discussing this topic.

Chris is the architect of some of the most successful and authentic below the line integrations over the past few years. His partnerships with Coca-cola and Frito-Lay redefined how brand integrations can not only provide access to new audiences, but also drive business results such as aligning traditional CPG products into new areas within the retail setting.

According to Chris, “A number of prominent brands have or want to get into the gaming space. The issue is that publishers and brands don’t always speak the same language. It is less about selling ads in games and more about seamlessly connecting the brand and the game in an authentic way.”

Chris’ statement also align with existing consumer behavior. When I recently conducted primary research on motivations tied to consumer pre-order behavior, two key elements were consistent. Gamers want exclusive content or early access. Everything else was of secondary consideration. The goal of a brand integration should be to empower the gamers.

EA – Coca Cola = FIFA

Advergaming - Coca-Cola FIFA

EA – Doritos = 3D

Advergame - Doritos - Madden 3D

Rolls Royce – Forza

Advergame - Forza - Rolls Royce

By empowering gamers and creating opportunities for brands to seamlessly integrate into the gaming experience, brands that choose to implement below the line programs in an authentic way have the opportunity to increase brand perception as well as reach a highly coveted audience.

EDUTAINMENT – Edutainment is any content that is designed to educate as well as entertain. This is an example of consumers playing an ordinary game and product promotions are embedded into the game. There has been a rise of educational content that is also meant to entertain. There is also an opportunity for brands looking to extend the reach of an altruistic cause through education and awareness through the lens of branded entertainment.

Here are examples of edutainment:

Telefonica – Sponsored initiative to boost youth literacy in Brazil

Advergame - Telefonica

Limbs Alive – 3D game designed to aid recovering stroke victims

Advergame - Limbs Alive

SMARTeacher – One of my favorite examples, this is an educational game that uses biofeedback to enhance the experience

Edutainment - Prodigy

Here is a short video outlining the Prodigy Experience

Consumers will continue to seek gaming experiences across devices. There is a significant opportunity to break through to a highly engaged audience. This goes beyond simply running display ads in games. The key is to enhance the experience of the consumers in a very authentic and contextual way. It is also important that the essence of the brand aligns with the potential gaming properties. The brands that can leverage publisher partnerships to truly collaborate on enhancing the experience will reap the rewards of empowering gamers.

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Hero 5 Final

$500 Million and Destiny

Since the day Destiny hints were first discovered in HALO 3: ODST years ago, then sprinkled throughout numerous Bungie presentations, to the first public leaks in late 2012 I was hooked. The concept of a persistent open-world shooter by the makers of Halo was a dream come true. Having played both the Alpha & Beta versions and on the eve of the official release I wanted to take a look at the marketing efforts leading up to the worldwide release.

Destiny easter egg hidden in Halo 3: ODST highlighting the “traveler”

Destiny + ODST

Certain outlets are claiming there will be up to 10 million players day one and I will definitely be one. Every gamer I have talked to recently knows of the impending release. Over 4.5 million of us played the beta and there have been discussions about which of the 3 character classes they will align with, who has the best pre-order incents (Hint: It’s GameStop) and which gamemodes are going to occupy our time.

Screenshot 2014-09-08 15.05.43

One of the key areas of growth in gamer numbers is the fact that Destiny is rated T for Teen vs. M for Mature. This opens up the market and for parents like myself who are hesitant to let their kids play M rated titles, Activision will get double the revenue from my household this time around.

When I fire up my Xbox One I will think back to my beta experience and prepare for what lies ahead across uncharted planets. This is an exciting moment in next gen gaming as not since TitanFall launched in March of this year has there been a true AAA shooter release that was developed specifically to push the next gen hardware.

Ready to take the experience from beta to full release

Photo Jul 27, 5 18 29 PM

One of the key elements beyond word of mouth and the reputation of bungie has been the persistent presence of Destiny through the whopping $500 million in marketing spend that Activision had earmarked for the promotion of the game. This rivals the biggest of Hollywood blockbusters as game launches have taken on AAA treatment.

From the “Sharing” spot that launched around the time of the Titanfall launch


To the most recent live-action commercial shot by TRON: Legacy & Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski which has already garnered almost 6 million views at the time of this post.


The game is receiving a boost to attract mainstream and hard core fans alike with traditional and socially centric activations including a first of it’s kind collaboration with Google which allowed for Google Street view maps of the worlds in Destiny.


Destiny has also received a special collectors edition of Newsweek to celebrate the launch

Newsweek Destiny

Destiny is already trending on Twitter and tomorrow the hype will turn into action and I am predicting Destiny will break the previous sales records for a new franchise launch. And if any team can pull it off it’s Activision & their partner Step 3 PR.

Screenshot 2014-09-08 15.23.27

The last Call of Duty Black hit $1 billion in one day sales and at the time was the largest entertainment launch in history. I fully expect Destiny to break new franchise records ($500 Million) and foresee a healthy return for Activision on their 10 year relationship with Bungie.

Tomorrow it will be time to #Becomelegend. You will find me roaming the Xbox One galaxy as TheBlackFin.

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Next Gen & Twitch.TV

With last weeks launch of the PS4 selling more than a million in the first 24 hours as well as the launch of the Xbox One this week we are being ushered into the next generation of consoles with a bang! Having pre-ordered an Xbox One months ago I am ready to make the transition.

xbox one

Ready to carry over my gamerscore to the new platform!

Tom TheBlackFin Edwards 111813

One consistent element across both consoles is the integration of Twitch.TV into the experience. For the PS4 it is directly tied to the share button on the controller. What is Twitch.TV? Why does the average user spend 90 minutes on the site daily? And why as a brand would I care about extending my reach to this audience?

PS4

I was recently briefed by the Twitch.TV team and here is a brief overview before getting into how to leverage their community. Twitch.TV is a live video platform and community for gamers with more than 44 million unique viewers per month. Twitch.TV connects gamers globally by allowing them to broadcast, watch, and chat from everywhere they play.

home

In addition to 44 million unique viewers per month, the Twitch.TV community is highly engaged with the average user watching an hour and a half of live stream content per day. Twitch is available as a mobile app that supports both iOS & Android and as I mentioned above will be integrated into both of the next generation consoles.

Twitch-Mobile

For brands interested in publishing, Twitch has a partner program with over 4,000 members and is build on an ad revenue share model with top content producers such as Machinima, Electronic Arts, Mojang, Major League Gaming.

For brands interested in reaching this audience there are three primary ways to engage & activate the Twitch.TV community.

1) Publishing – The Twitch.TV platform is predicated on live streaming content and the option exists to create a branded Twitch channel. This option represents the largest barrier of entry as the best practices for a channel call for unique & relevant content in addition to a broadcast programming guide and would require resources and time to build an audience, create compelling content & invest in media to further drive discovery of the content. Note that this is a Live Streaming platform so content curation is not an option.

Machinima

2) Advertising – Twitch offers multiple advertising opportunities in the form of traditional video (pre-roll) and display, event based advertising. custom event programming. This is the more traditional method of reaching the Twitch.TV community. When I spoke recently with the Twitch team there is a strong desire to create unique & compelling programs that can drive value for for brands beyond simply advertising.

Advertise on Twitch — Twitch Media Group - Ad Types

3) Custom Programs – The Twitch.TV team is very motivated to partner with brands to create unique and compelling programs. This can come in the form of “never been done” types of executions that incorporate both online & offline elements.

Twitch Media Group

With 44 million uniques and a 90 minute dwell time there is definite value to Twitch.TV as a media platform and the ability to create custom programs in partnership with Twitch.TV opens up unique possibilities to connect beyond traditional ad types. Be sure to keep an eye on the monthly uniques as I am projecting growth with the direct integration with the next gen consoles.

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Mobile Gamings Potential For Brand Engagement via P4RC

Reaching mobile consumers is on the thoughts and minds of brand managers heading into 2012 and beyond. The challenge is to drive meaningful engagement across a highly fragmented landscape while providing a positive & relevant experience to the consumer.

Mobile gaming appears to be an ideal target for brand engagement as 70-80% of all mobile downloads are games with the average iPhone user spending 14.7 hours a month playing those games. Currently, 64.5 million people in the US played mobile casual games at least once a month. This will rise to 94.9 million in the US by 2014. Translation people are gaming via mobile.

Has anyone not played Angry Birds?

The issue at this point in time is that the current landscape is highly scattered with over 72,000 games in the Apple App store from thousands of developers and in-app advertising leaving many brands frustrated with their mobile engagement rates.

One newly launched service is looking to change the game by promising higher user engagement rates combined with positive brand associations. P4RC, Inc. is a new service that connects consumer brands to mobile users with a platform that converts user engagement in their favorite gaming apps into P4RC points, which can be redeemed for real-world rewards.

The basic premise is that players play games they are already playing and earn gift cards from top retailers just for playing.

The key for P4RC brand programs is the ability for brands to reach across multiple games and reward behaviors that users are already engaged in.

P4RC’s brand programs include sponsoring their “Race to Win” segments, which call for users to play and earn P4RC points within a period of time to redeem brand rewards as well as offers directly from brands.

Example of Race to Win

Example of Brand Offer

By sponsoring our Race 2 Win competitions, brands can be inserted into the mobile gaming experience in a manner that is actually relevant to that experience.  This makes the brand part of the fun rather than an unwanted intrusion, which is often the case with other forms of mobile advertising” said Jason Seldon, Founder & CEO of P4RC.

By integrating the achievement network completely within the game, the barrier of leaving the app for a mobile web experience is removed. The user is free to review current Race’s 2 win, redeem rewards and view their account all within the current app they are playing.

In the first week of launch, players have already redeemed their P4RC points for over $1,000 in rewards from brands such as Starbucks & Best Buy.

At launch, P4RC’s achievement network is currently tied to “Stop Those Fish“, which is currently featured by Apple as a New & Noteworthy app in the Apple App Store and announced a partnership with Eye Interactive to include the new P4RC rewards network in all Eye Interactive games.

P4RC is also forming key partnerships with mobile developers. “By adding the P4RC rewards network to their games, game developers benefit from a powerful marketing & customer retention engine that drives user engagement, resulting in an increase in game downloads and longer duration of game play.”

Services such as P4RC provide compelling incentives for brands and users alike by rewarding existing behaviors, socially enabling the experience and lowering the barrier of entry to participate across apps.

An Android friendly version of P4RC will be launching this Summer.

Thanks to Jason Seldon, Founder & CEO of P4RC for data included in this post.

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15 Examples of Gamification & Brands

Outside of the recent flurry associated with Google+, the one term that has been top of mind throughout the digital space recently is gamification. Gamification is a term used to describe organizations using game mechanics to drive engagement in traditionally non-gaming products. There are examples of gamification everywhere in our daily lives and many brands are integrating game mechanics in unique and compelling ways all with the purpose of driving user engagement.

Below are 15 examples of Gamification and how brands are capitalizing on the trend.

Xbox Live | Achievements, Leaderboards | Microsoft struck a chord with traditional gamers when they first rolled out achievement points. Users can earn a certain amount of gamerscore by completing specific tasks or actions in game.  This simple addition had a profound impact on the space as nothing to date had motivated behavior to play titles beyond ones taste for specific genres while also creating an aggregate & visible record of your gaming prowess. Brands took note of the trend and the loyalty that users developed in their pursuit of gamerscore & bragging rights. I attribute the current craze of achievement based gamification to the success of Xbox Live & achievement points.

E.g. Gamertag

Foursquare | Rewards, Badges | Location based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla & Facebook Places have redefined game mechanics in non-gaming products. Users and brands alike have taken notice and Foursquare stands out with 10 million users on a platform that was built around solid game mechanics. Users can claim mayorships, unlock badges, receive special offers & rewards such as discounts to specific retailers while also tracking against friends via a leaderboard.

Examples of Foursquare Badges

Example of Foursquare/NFL Super Bowl Rewards

Example of Foursquare/Pepsi Reward from SXSW 2011

Foursquare leaderboard sponsored by Pepsi

Gowalla | Virtual Goods, Badges, Rewards | Like Foursquare, Gowalla has had an impact on brands by incenting location based check-ins while incorporating virtual item reward programs that then translate into physical goods.

Example of Gowalla badges/pins

Example of Virtual Goods/Physical Goods

GetGlue | Badging, Rewards | The gamification of entertainment has been growing significantly over the past year. Similar to how individuals check into physical locations with services such as Foursquare & Gowalla, now it is possible to check into entertainment destinations such as your favorite TV Show, Movie, Music, Video Games, etc… With players such as GetGlue, Miso, Philo and Tunerfish all vying for your entertainment check-in, each platform offers different mechanics but each is built on the foundation of game mechanics such as badging & rewards through various brand partners.

Example of GetGlue Sticker tied to TRON

Example of a GetGlue Reward that offered 40% off of Mad Men on Blu-Ray or DVD

Linkedin |Progress Bar | Linkedin offers a small example of gamification by incenting users towards 100% profile completeness with a progress bar that is visible while on the edit profile page. By providing a visual representation of your profile completeness Linkedin hopes to trigger behavior that drives us towards completeness.

Example of Profile completeness

SalesForce | Leaderboard, Achievements, Leveling | Salesforce has taken gamification to another level with this addition to the popular CRM platform. With Engage, Salesforce users activities within the system are tied to various game mechanics and offers direct competition with other users within their organization. By incorporating this level of competitive visibility organizations can capitalize on surfacing different behaviors and hopefully drive additional engagement with their systems.

Example of SalesForce’s New Gamification Dashboard

Mint | Achievements, Progress Bar | As discussed on Mashable, Mint is offering a Financial Fitness Score that is based on core game mechanics associated with task completion, progression & achievements. By taking an ordinary exercise and creating a casual gaming experience, mint is creating an opportunity to drive new user acquisition in a creative way.

Example of Mint Gamification

Example of Mint Point Acquisition

CheckPoints | Virtual Currency, Rewards | CheckPoints incents users to engage in retail settings via compelling game mechanics. Users are incented to scan specific products in exchange for CheckPoints which can then be exchanged as a virtual currency for rewards such as gift cards. Brands can create compelling programs with CheckPoints to drive retail activation and product engagement all based on gamification of the shopping experience.

Example of CheckPoints Scan for Tyson Chicken

Example of CheckPoints Rewards

Shopkick | Virtual Currency, Rewards, Contests | Similar to CheckPoints, ShopKick also offers incentives and game mechanics for users to engage with specific products. By incenting users with specific offers prior to entering a retail location, ShopKick users can then interact with those products in store and earn points which translate to virtual currency. ShopKick also incorporates a hyper geo-targeted approach to driving engagement as shown below. By rewarding behavior by simply entering a participating retailer, ShopKick can influence behavior via a game mechanic.

Example Geo-Targeted Gamification associated with Target

Example of ShopKick Rewards

Hallmark | Facebook Credits, Virtual Goods, Gifting, Sharing | Facebook credits have become the default currency tied to Facebook’s ever popular social games. Beyond the social game mechanics brands are leveraging Facebook credits to incent users to interact with specific content. Hallmark incorporates many game mechanics into it’s Facebook application the Hallmark Social Calendar.

Example Hallmark Social Calendar and Facebook Credits

Example of Hallmark Social Calendar Gifting

Example of Incenting engagement via Points

Starbucks | Leveling, Rewards | Starbucks has incorporated game mechanics into it’s popular loyalty program. By incorporating multiple levels and associated rewards & perks per level with a progression tracker, users are incented to continually engage with the brand.

Example of MyStarbucks Rewards

Nike | Achievements, Badges, Challenges, Rewards | Nike has redefined running with Nike Plus. The ability to track, share, challenge and interact with like minded friends & runners across the world has been wildly successful. By incorporating game mechanics throughout the program Nike is able to create an engaging experience that transcends the real world activity.

Example of Nike Plus Goals & Challenges

Example of Nike Plus Progress bar & Leveling

Buffalo Wild Wings | Trivia, Challenges | Buffalo Wild Wings has been adept at carving out their place in the social ecosystem. By leveraging powerful platforms like Vitrue and partnering with Scvngr, they have created an engaging social persona that has served them well with over 5 million fans on Facebook. In terms of gamification they incorporate trivia regularly into their wall posts as well as incorporating online challenges tied to rewards.

Example of a Buffalo Wild Wings program that incorporates Scvngr

Microsoft | Achievements, Contests | Ribbon Hero is a creative game mechanic driven tutorial now in Microsoft Office. By completing specfic tasks and challenges you can then integrate Ribbon Hero with your Facebook account to compare how adept you are vs. your friends.

Example Ribbon Hero

Image via Geek.com

American Airlines | Progression Bar | A simple game mechanic is used by American Airlines to visually represent your current elite status qualification.

Example of American Airlines mobile app

As you can see many brands are capitalizing on the trend of integrating game mechanics into their non-gaming product offerings to drive engagement. What are some other examples of gamification by other brands?

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Largest Social Network on TV

I write a lot about social media, digital strategy & emerging technology. One of my favorite past times is console gaming via my Xbox 360.

With the recent release of Halo Reach and personally surpassing 100,000 gamerscore on Xbox Live, I wanted to write about how digital marketers can leverage the largest social network on TV to further enhance digital engagement.

TheBlackFin

With over 23 million users and an average of 4 million engaged daily Xbox Live is an incredible platform to execute digital strategies and tactics.

From branded avatar collections, product tie-in’s, promotions and sponsorships there are many opportunities for brands to leverage the sticky experience that Xbox Live provides.

This also goes beyond typical in-game advertising.  Having a truly engaged, socially connected fanbase that also associates closely with brands is a key factor when evaluating the platform.

This is one of the only times I apply my personal insight into a platform. When I am on Xbox Live I pay attention to brand promotions here moreso than any other medium. The reason being is that upon start up of the console I am presented with compelling content blocks that I choose how I interact.

I have found that I enter most if not all of the branded sweepstakes and I pay attention to when new branded avatar items are presented. And with more traffic than ESPN.com this is an ideal way to drive brand engagement.

Being a fan of the platform and a daily user, You don’t get to 100,000 gamerscore by not engaging almost daily, I have experienced the benefits and opportunities first hand.

So the next time you are looking for an ideal channel beyond traditional media and digital outlets don’t forget about the largest social network on TV.

If you are a brand manager interested in leveraging Xbox Live please contact me as I have a long standing relationship with various Xbox Live teams.
From branded avatar collections, promotions, advertising etc…

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EA Skate 2 & Skate Reel

Of all of the projects I have been involved with over the past 3 years Electronic Arts O.G. Skate Reel initiative was by far one of my favorites. It was our first really large initiative with EA and it was very ambitious.

From the start there were a number of different variables that came into play. In-game video then sprayed to the web that enabled community members to rate each others creations across gaming platforms.

With a lot of teamwork between EA (Strategy & Content), our team and Blast Radius (Creative & UI) Skate Reel hit the web prior to the release of Skate.

As with all great things you knew a sequel was coming. Skate 2 hit stores on the 21st (Be sure to pick up your copy!!!!) but the new & improved Skate Reel for Skate 2 was pushed out early this morning.

This time around the UI has been tweaked, the transitions even smoother and I am once again blown away by the work of our team.

Here is the Skate 2 Team… Left to Right (w/ gamertags except for John Balod & MJ) … Deryl “Moonboy Dallas” DorsettJohn “I need a 360” Balod, Jon “BROOMdoom” Broom, Elijah “Prairie Racer” Hardin and me Tom “TheBlackFin” Edwards. Not pictured are Rich “RichMercer” Mercer and Mike “MJ” Johnson.

Skate2---Telligent-Blog

As for Skate Reel…. The site speaks for itself.

skate2-web

Major Nelson ROI

I have known Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb for a few years now. Larry is the Director of Programming for Xbox Live. He has become the Face of the Xbox 360 and his blog is the first stop for avid gamers looking for the latest info on upcoming titles, Xbox Live updates and of course Larry’s blog cast’s. Larry has held this position since 2004 and the growth that both the Xbox Live network and Larry’s blog has seen over the past few years is impressive to say the least.

When Larry was evaluating platforms he was looking for a scalable blogging platform that would provide him with a direct line of communication with the consumer and put a face to the Xbox brand.  The explosive growth with Xbox Live has coincided with the traffic loads tied to Larry’s blog. He is now the de-facto reference for gamers looking for the latest information and the amount of traffic and comments that Larry receives is staggering for a single blog. No other gaming publisher or hardware manufacturer has the visibility or reach via a single employee that Microsoft and the Xbox Live Brand has with Larry.

One of the key ROI takeaways from Larry’s blog is that it is a powerful tool for optimizing SEO of user-generated content. According to eMarketer, annual spending on search advertising in the US is expected to decrease YOY until 2012 (when compared to 2007). The built-in SEO functionality of Larry’s platform helped grow visitors and members (17 million as of last week) by both direct and referred search. The other takeaway is the cost savings that are available to an organization or a brand by significantly decreasing the amount of spend on search advertising.

Gears of War 2 Today

I cannot tell you how excited I am that today is the day for Gears of War 2. I will be taking a break from my Fallout 3 side quests to get in some social gaming. I have my Special Edition copy in hand and will be firing it up later this evening. The enhancements to the Unreal Engine look outstanding. Be sure to pick up your copy today.

On a side note… one recent observation is the sheer size of some of the latest strategy guides tied to the new releases. The Fallout 3 special edition strat guide was 350+ pages and the GOW2 guide is 303 pages. Seriously I am all for occassionally referencing a secret location but let’s get these into wiki’s or some format that allows for quick searching of relevant items. E.g. I want to know the location of COG tag “X”… quick search through a strat wiki would net me what I need. Yes you can spend a lot of time searching online, etc… but I want info from the source in a similar format to the guide. Just a thought.

For more info on Gears of War 2 here is an early review I wrote a few months back.

See you online!!!

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New Xbox Experience Preview

Today the New Xbox Experience Preview (The Xbox Live Fall Update) was released to a small group of users to provide feedback on the upcoming NXE release on the 19th of November.

Thanks again to Major Nelson for adding me to the queue to review the NXE.

The Update prompts like any other and your system will cycle. Then it took another 12 minutes to download and for the update to process.

Process just ended…. now greeted with a “Welcome to the New Xbox Experience” message. The Xbox logo fades and an animated sequence executes. Then I am prompted to login with my user profile.

Now it is on to avatar creation. The system gives you a base set of options to customize your likeness. It is a fairly simple system and it looks like it will be built around micro-transactions moving forward. My Avatar is now complete with fin… (See Below)

NXE - Avatar

The rest of the experience is a nice addition to Live. The UI is slick and very easy to navigate. The Marketplace has been overhauled with some nice additions such as box shots for arcade titles and a more appealing flow than the previous lists upon lists of text.

My previous themes are still applicable and the gamerpic is still relevant as you have the option to use your avatar to post as your gamerpic.

The Video marketplace is where a big improvement was made. One of the big recent announcements is the support for NetFlix and HD movie content through Live. This will be a nice addition and allow for instant streaming of the latest HD movies.

The Friends area also received a nice treatment. You can view your friends avatars an get a nice boxshot of the games they are currently playing. You can also invite friends into an 8 person “party” session.

So far I do like the change. I was not sure how I would feel going to an avatar based system. But after giving it a go I have to say I am pleasantly surprised!

This is definitely a change for the better!

Pic of the NXE

NXE - Home

Game Review – Dead Space

Dead_Space-ishimuraOverview: When we first started talking to Electronic Arts (EA) about our platform powering the Dead Space pre-launch site I was hooked on the concept. Born from a rouge EA team, DeadSpace is a bold step forward for EA. It is a brand new IP and it is a true survival/horror title which has an M rating. When gameplay videos and art work were posted I knew this would be a game worth the price of admission.

Set in the distant future, Dead Space revolves around Isaac Clarke, a space engineer who works for the Concordance Extraction Corporation (C.E.C.), a company that operates giant mining ships throughout the galaxy. When the C.E.C. receives a distress call from the USG Ishimura (a “Planet Cracker”-class ship that destroys planets in order to extract valuable ore), Isaac and four other C.E.C. employees set out on the USG Kellion to rendezvous with the Ishimura in orbit above Aegis 7. Their assumption is that a mechanical failure is the only problem. At the beginning of the game, Isaac is seen repeatedly watching a video sent to him by his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Brennan, who is currently onboard the Ishimura.

Shortly after crash landing on the Ishimura flight deck, the crew of USG Kellion is attacked by hostile creatures called Necromorphs. These creatures reproduce by infecting deceased human bodies, violently mutating them into one of their own. Isaac escapes down an elevator and kills a Necromorph by trapping it in the elevator doors, but is separated from the rest of the team. At this point, Isaac, Kendra Daniels, and Zach Hammond are the only surviving members.

I really enjoy titles that I can become immersed in the back-story. DeadSpace offers those that want to go beyond the game to understand what led to the events on the Ishimura and the planet they were sent to crack. There is a DVD, Graphic Novel and the http://Noknownsurvivors.com micro site that will allow you to take your experience beyond your console.

Gameplay: The real hook for this title is around how you engage the necromorphs. The traditional “fill’em full of led” mindset just does not work and there is not enough ammo to go around so you have to strategically target the various, and I do mean various, limbs of the necromorphs. This is where the interface again is extremely efficient. You have laser guided targeting (Think Predator) that combined with Stasis can lead to quickly dispatching your would be attackers. And yes there is an achievement for using stasis 50 times on an enemy.

With this being a 3rd person shooter (Think Gears of War & Resident Evil) I cannot reiterate how smooth the interface is. The in-game assets (video, text, and audio logs) are managed through a holographic interface that moves with you so you are not slowed down. There is essentially not an onscreen HUD. Your health and stasis are built into the back of the main character’s RIG. This is one of the best titles I have played in recent memory. The graphics (Both PS3 & Xbox version) are simply amazing.

The environment also plays a significant role in the gameplay. As you creep down a dark corridor, lights flickering, sounds and moans emanating from the background, you can hardly see in front of you and then….. is just the norm in this title. It is an eerie sight to see a slow moving necromorph wandering in the distance then before you know it they are on you. There were a few times where I literally lost my head while walking into an area without being overly cautious. I recommend saving often (especially on the harder game modes). Similar to a vitachamber from BioShock, when you do happen to get decapitated, over-run, roasted, or lost in space due to a bad jump you will start from a pre-determined checkpoint close to a save point.

The gameplay is smooth, the game itself is all about objectives. From starting a Tram system to fixing communication relays, Isaac is an engineer after all be prepared for a large number of scavenger hunts. luckily one of the best features in the game is an objective marker. Simply hit R3, and you will often, and you will be on your way to your next objective.

There are many points in the game where you will encounter Zero Gravity and be forced to complete objectives while being attacked and trying to maintain some semblance of orientation. This leads to a very interesting element of gameplay as it becomes a 360 degree event. You will also reach decompressed areas of the ship which trigger your backup O2. I recommend upgrading your air capacity with your RIG as this is just as important as health in some areas.

The Boss Battles are not epic, although one is in Zero-G which makes it quite interesting but otherwise they are nothing out of the ordinary. What is frustrating are the times you will assume the ships cannons to stop asteroids and aliens. The controls are sluggish and the cannon tends to overheat quickly. Good luck pursuing the 50% hull integrity achievements x2.

Online: There is not an online mode available

Weapons: For mining tools they sure come in handy for taking out necromorphs. There are seven weapons in the game: Plasma Cutter, Pulse Rifle, Flamethrower, Line Gun, Ripper, Force Gun and the Contact Beam. Each is ideal for different scenarios. Use the flamethrower on small, fast enemies. For the big guys the line or force guns are good to have. The Ripper is my favorite weapon in the game by far… It launches a saw blade that you control to make quick work of your alien attackers. The Plasma Cutter is definitely a weapon that you can use in almost every situation. It has range, but is very efficient in close quarters. When it comes to upgrading your arsenal start with the plasma cutter. You will not be disappointed. In fact there is an achievement for completing the game with only the Plasma Cutter (40 points).

Similar to BioShock you do have some telekinetic abilities. Stasis allows you to freeze or slow down fast moving objects and enemies and you have Kinesis to grab and move objects. As the game progresses this is a core element to complete some of the puzzle elements of the game.

You have the ability to upgrade your RIG, weapons and kinesis throughout the game. This is done through Power Nodes which are found throughout the game or purchased through the store. The upgrades follow a Too Human approach of various node paths that you select to optimize your weapon to your liking. I always focused on Damage and Capacity while trying to max out one weapon at a time.

During gameplay you will more than likely locate a number of different schematics. They allow for increased armor, ammunition and health to be purchased through the various stores. Some of the schematics associated with your armor allow you to increase health and inventory slots which is very helpful. So far I have upgraded through to a level 6 military suit that looks like the captain from the Valor. This was awarded for completing the game and cost $99,000 in the store but it was well worth the price. (See images below)

Achievements: From an achievement standpoint you can collect anywhere from 500-700 points on your first play through. My first play through took 9 hours 38 minutes. I cleared 37 of 48 Xbox 360 achievements for 665 points and 22 trophies on PS3. The achievements follow a finish the chapter get points and kill x number of enemies with all weapons, etc…. It took roughly 5 days (9 hours to finish). There are also a number of secret achievements tied to boss battles and other interesting ways to engage with the environment and enemies.

Downloadable Content: I enjoy DLC that allows me to change the skin of my player. Especially with 3rd person based games. The DLC for Dead Space offers 2 new level 5 suits. The first was an exclusive Xbox Elite suit which offered a lighter gray & green visor combo. The second was the Scorpion Suit (one of my favorites outside of the military skin). This level 5 suit cost 200 Microsoft points and is red of course with a scorpion insignia on the back of Isaacs helmet.

Pros:

  • One of the best HUD experiences I have ever experienced
  • Stunning Visuals
  • Great environment (sound, lighting, ambiance) this a great game to play late at night with the lights off
  • Visually one of the best 360/PS3 titles to date
  • Objective Marker – As in Army of Two it is very helpful to know where you need to go
  • Zero Gravity – The zero gravity elements are executed to perfection
  • In-Game Assets – Takes the BioShock asset management and interface to another level with movable holograms
  • The Ripper… I love this weapon
  • One Button Health – Instead of pulling up the inventory, press X or Square (PS3) to use your lowest available health module
  • Strategic Striking – Instead of emptying your magazine into an enemy it is faster to dismember them
  • DLC – New Isaac Skins (Elite,  Scorpion)

Cons:

  • Errand Boy – It is a constant get this, go here, blow this up, hit this switch type of experience but that still does not detract from how well executed this game is
  • Melee Attacks are lacking.. by lacking I mean slow
  • Boss battles are average (Minus a certain battle in Zero-G)
  • Asteroids – This can be one of the most frustrating elements of the game. You will know it when you get there
  • Monologues – Certain characters like to “monologue” at certain points of the game. I would like to option to fast forward to the action

Rating:

Xbox 360 – 9
PS3 – 9.5

This is one of the best games that I have played on the PS3 to date. For the 360 this is one of my top 10 Xbox 360 titles. It is challenging (Especially on Impossible Mode), visually stunning and at some points will seriously surprise you. I would highly recommend it. You don’t need to be a fan of the horror genre to appreciate this title. Biowhat???

Level 6 Suit – Front

DeadSpace_Level6

Level 6 Suit – Back

DeadSpace_Level6back

Dead Space Pre-Release Copy Part 2

I have now finished the first 5 missions of the much anticipated EA survival/horror title and all I can say is WOW.

I cannot reiterate how smooth the interface is. From the video, text, and audio logs similar to Bioshock, to the zero-G sections. There is essentially not an onscreen HUD. Your health and stasis are built into the back of the main character’s RIG. This is one of the best titles I have played in recent memory. The graphics (PS3 version) are simply amazing.

I have upgraded my suit to level 3 (Pictured below) out of I belive 4 and I have collected all of the available weapons. One thing that is not completely apparent is that anything with a white/green light on it you can open in some form or fashion. Also, inventory management and power node hunting are things to keep in mind. What I have found is that any opportunity to use a power node to open a door is well worth the cost as you can purchase additional nodes for 10,000 credits.

Also, engaging an enemy is different each time. Different weapons work for different scenarios. Use the flamethrower on small, fast enemies. For the big guys the line or force guns are good to have. The Ripper is my favorite weapon in the game by far… It launches a sawblade that you control to make quick work of your alien attackers…

I cannot wait to get through the final 7 levels. It takes about an hour to an hour and half if you are covering every area to clear a level. I cannot wait to get through the final 7 levels. One thing is for certain. I would be completely lost without the R3 button on this title. Similar to Army of Two, it is tied to the current objective and if you get turned around you will be able to find your way.

I highly, highly recommend picking up this title when it releases!!!

Dead Space – Pre-Release Copy

Today I received a copy of Dead Space from our friends at EA Redwood Shores (Thanks MJ & JA). And all I can say is WOW it was worth the wait!!! Oh and did I mention that it was a PS3 copy and not a 360 copy? Shocking I know!?!

I have been eagerly anticipating this title since we first became involved with it. It is definitely worth the wait. Dead Space is different than any other EA title I have ever played. I am also a fan of any series that expands beyond the default medium. With Dead Space if you really want to immerse yourself in the story an animated DVD will launch on the same date the game releases and there is already a series of comics dedicated to the pre-story of Dead Space.

Regarding the actual game… the graphics are outstanding! It took a minute to adjust to the camera controls but it becomes very natural after a few minutes. The interface is extremely clean with the health meter built into the main character Isaac’s suit. The inventory system, mission objectives, and targeting systems are all very clean and flow very well together.

I played through the first of twelve missions and I cannot express how impressed I was. Think Bioshock fear factor multiplied by 100. This is the type of game that definitely gets your attention and fast. If you close your eyes and just listen to the background noise while progressing through the level and you will think you stepped into your worst nightmare as you hear chains rattling, and odd rustling coming from all directions.

The in-game assets, credits, audio logs, and  other collectibles are easy to identify as everything pops up as a hologram. The Plasma Cutter is a fun weapon as it is well known that the main premise of the game is dismembering your alien attackers and the PC delivers. Also, you have a stasis component to your weapon that allows you to significantly slow down a fast moving enemy which is very helpful.

I look forward to playing through the rest of the game but this is a definite pickup as the official street release date is October 14th on both Xbox 360 and the PS3.

On the home-front, we are officially a three (next-gen) console household. We have a few Xbox 360’s, a Playstation 3 and a Wii. After I hit my point goal of 50,000K on the 360 I feel comfortable playing the occasional PS3 title without fear of losing achievement points. I am really looking forward to Little Big Planet and Metal Gear Solid 4. No worries though… while I am impressed with the PS3 from a hardware perspective (Integrated wireless, browser capabilities, etc..) the only issue I have is that the Xbox 360 HDMI cable would not work with the PS3. Regardless of this fact I will always be an Xbox 360 guy for this generation of consoles.

dead_space

50,000 Gamerscore

aunlockedSince April 23rd, 2007 I have been on a collision course with this goal. I wanted to pass the 50,000 gamerscore plateau. I don’t know why this became a goal but it did. It took a year and 5 months but I finally completed my quest. It took 135 days to go from 40,000K to 50,000K with an average gain of 74 points per day. So I thought I would take a moment and archive some fun facts from the beginning and this latest and final points quest. I look forward to finally playing only games I am interested in playing and spending more time on other hobbies (Running, etc….).

1) Longest Consecutive Days Played Streak – 72
2) Retail Titles Completed – 14
3) World Gamerscore Ranking – 2501 (As of September 30th – 360voice.com)
4) Achievements Gained since the beginning – 1879 (Avg. 27 points per achievement)
5) Completion Percentage (0 score games removed) – 48%
8) Total Games Retail (118)/Arcade (44) Owned – 162

Here is a breakdown of the games played between 40,000 & 50,000 and the gamerscore earned within this span of time.

Madden 09 1000
Bionicle Heroes 960
LEGO Indiana Jones 960
Ninja Gaiden 840
Too Human 790
NCAA 09 Football 775
Surfs Up 750
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 540
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith 535
NBA 2K8 505
Soul Calibur IV 445
CSI-Hard Evidence 400
DBZ: Burst Limit 345
LEGO Batman 275
NHL 2K8 225
Wall-E 195
Castle Crashers 170
NHL 2K9 135
Kung Fu Panda 130
Rock Band 110
1942: Joint Strike 108
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 80
NHL08 75
WOTB: Commando 3 72
Gun 60
Call of Duty 2 50
Devil May Cry 4 20
Unreal Tournament 3 20
The Orange Box 15

I will still play the titles that interest me but I am no longer just playing for score.

Hockey Anyone?

NHL2K9This is in some ways the best time of the year. Football is back (Go Sooners!!!), fall is in the air, the latest iteration of the NHL 2K hockey franchise (NHL2K9) is now available.

We have been playing the NHL 2K hockey franchise since 2006. We have gone through 2006, 2007 and 2008. For the record the team of Rob Howard and myself hold the lifetime edge on the team of Dockendorf & Cunningham.

So the initial foray into NHL 2K9 began today. And it began as the 2K8 season ended… With Team Howard/Edwards soundly defeating team Dockendorf/Cunningham.

Oh and by the way…. game one a 5-0 shutout. Welcome to 2K9 gentlemen.

 

Episodes of a Dad – Part 3 – Pikachu

pikachu-imageI knew it was a matter of time until this day would come. I just did not think it would come this soon.

I consider myself a decent gamer, 45,000+ gamerscore, but on this day my 6 year old son absolutely obliterated me on Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii.

It is not just today either. The domination started a few days ago and the competition has been building.

He has mastered the little yellow powerhouse known as Pikachu. Who would have known that a 1’4″, 13 pound furry fantasy animal would cause me such grief.

You may or may not know about Pikachu. It is a character from the insanely popular Pokemon series. Yes they are still around and we buy the cards regularly. They are for my son, really.

His record is now 12-2 against me with the little yellow fuzz ball. I am frustrated but very proud at the same time.

I will hear pika-pika-pikachu in my sleep. The baton has officially been passed.

RROD Update

I posted earlier about the Red Ring of Death. Less than 24 hours after the issues started I have a brand new Xbox Elite back up and running.

I had purchased the additional 2 year warranty from Best Buy when I originally bought the console. This has turned out to be a very good investment.

I went to Best Buy today and took just the power brick and the console sans hard drive. I was very happy with the results as I wanted to keep my current hard drive and not bother with the possible data transfer. Also my HDMI cable was installed behind the wall due to my wall-mounted TV so I did not want to bother with the rest.

Best Buy was very accommodating with the exchange thanks to the extended warranty. The rep said a few times that the people that did not purchase the warranty are out of luck if they want to exchange for a new system. I basically picked up a new console and power brick and was on my way again (3 kiddos in tow).

So I am happy to say I will not suffer any prolonged downtime. If you are in the market for a 360 I would highly recommend purchasing from Best Buy or any store that offers an extended warranty. Yes Microsoft will repair the unit as well but you will more than likely get a refurbished unit and have to wait 2-4 weeks. Whereas with the extended warranty I was in and out of the store in under 30 minutes and the home setup was less than 5 minutes.

The assault for 50,000 gamerpoints continues…

RROD

Well once again I am a victim of the dreaded Red Ring of Death. For those of you unfamiliar with the term it basically means that my Xbox 360 has fried…. again.

This time my beloved Elite system froze in the middle of a Soul Calibur 4 session. Yoda was dominating for what it’s worth… Then I restarted with the same result. After a few more cycles I cleared the cache and by the 4th title it would freeze upon initial boot. Then I started to hear the familiar pre-RROD grinding sound start to occur. Then a few minutes later… The Red Ring of Death.

This may sound odd, but I am very in tune with the console when it comes to understanding optimal performance vs. potential issues. Similar to how you know when your car may not be handling quite right. I have felt for a week or so that this could be a possibility as some of the inner sounds began to slowly raise a red flag.

So when this happened I immediately go into troubleshooting mode, unplug everything wait 5 minutes, that allowed for the reboot to occur properly but this is just masking a larger issue.

So now it is off to Best Buy for my 3rd Xbox in the past 2 years. I did get the extended 2 year warranty and that has basically paid for itself a few times over. Granted I do put a lot of “miles” on my consoles. If it were a car it would probably be equivalent to 250,000 miles a year. So this is not a total surprise.

This in no way hinders my loyalty to the Xbox 360 console. It is a minor setback. With the amount I have invested in the 360 in terms of time and money it would not make sense to transition to the PS3 for my full time gaming.

I do have to give Microsoft alot of credit. They are standing behind their systems as the repair process is very streamlined as I sent one of my previous systems through the standard process.

While imperfect the Xbox 360 is still the ideal overall gaming experience on the market today if you consider online experience, library and adoption.

RROD