Archive for the 'Gaming' Category

Microsoft’s HoloLens Brings the Digital World Off the Screen

February 9, 2016

In June of 2015, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Microsoft presented a demo (below) of what it is like to play Minecraft using HoloLens. The audience was amazed as the digitized world came off the screen and became an overlay on the real world.

Unlike the completely immersive experience of virtual reality, a la Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the HoloLens allows users to combine the physical world with an immersive virtual experience. Google Glass and other augmented reality efforts provide small “windows” on the real world while Microsoft is using holograms to create complete 3D virtual images. The HoloLens also runs all other Windows applications, allowing users not to have to rely on a screen.

Use cases for HoloLens go beyond gaming, as the technology finds a seamless space for the virtual and real worlds to meet, interact, and collaborate. As our BRITE ’16 speaker Scott Erickson, Senior Director of HoloLens, explains in an interview with The Verge, HoloLens provides users with “the ability to walk around, to overlay holographic information and make it contextual to physical objects that are in the [same] space.”


A very interesting aspect of the experience is precisely the capability to interact with others around you, both those who are using a holographic computer and those who aren’t. Cliff Kuang from Fast Company, explains that “Microsoft has already conducted hundreds of hours of user testing to figure out just how we might interact in this new hybrid reality. They’ve already come up with some very clever interactions, like making your gaze function as a mouse pointer.”

The only reported downside to HoloLens is that the field of vision for where holograms can appear is still limited.


In early 2016, Microsoft opened up applications for the HoloLens Development Edition, which will ship by the end of the first quarter of the year. With a price tag of $3000 for the kit, it is still unknown what the price of the consumer model will be.

In the meantime, Microsoft is using its Flagship store in NYC to allow developers and a few lucky curious to test the HoloLens.

Join us on March 7-8 for BRITE ’16 and see Microsoft’s Scott Erickson talk about HoloLens and the possibilities of a mixed reality world. Plus, when you register, you will have a chance to sign-up and visit the flagship store to experience the HoloLens yourself.



Gamification and the Future of Mobile Payments

February 26, 2013

Michael HaganGeo-gaming platform SCVNGR launched LevelUp in 2010 in response to a dual opportunity to change the payment landscape for retail brands. For retail customers, LevelUp means unlocking discounts or freebies at cafes, restaurants, workout studios around the country — similar to how Groupon, Lifebooker, Scoutmob and other online deals companies work. However, it is LevelUp’s value-add for the merchant – i.e., small business owners – that sets them apart from the pack.

Chief Operating Officer (or “Chief Rockstar” in the company’s terminology) Michael Hagan explains the concept of LevelUp as “the check-in, the challenge and the reward…in one bite” and underlines two major benefits of their app. One, LevelUp provides an option to avoid costly credit card processing fees that can end up taking a hefty percentage of small business owners’ profits daily. On top of that, LevelUp helps merchants build and strengthen their brand relationships by facilitating mini marketing campaigns which impact each patron individually. Driven by game features which customers play to unlock deals, these campaigns provide merchants a greater opportunity to capture new customers and actively change habit via incrementally better bargains upon each visit.

In a recent op-ed for Fast Company, LevelUp CEO (a.k.a. “Chief Ninja”) Seth Priebatsch attributes the growth of innovative mobile services not to forward-looking companies, but to tech-savvy consumers who place great value on efficiency – whether they realize it or not. These consumers, according to Priebatsch, are the ones dictating market disruption through casual demands, such as more convenient payment methods, security, accessibility to higher education and the ability to personalize online content. Given that viewpoint, it will be interesting to see how LevelUp and SCVNGR continue to respond to this “revolution of consumer choice.”

See Michael Hagan speak about gamification and its effects on the future of mobile payments at our BRITE ’13 Conference (March 4-5, NYC).


Case Study: The Scrap Over Scrabulous

January 12, 2011

Scrabulous on FacebookAs Facebook grew dramatically over 2007-08, there was one dominant gaming application growing with it: Scrabulous. Users were having fun, connecting with their friends around the world, and, well, wasting a little time, playing an adaptation of the Scrabble board game developed by two brother’s in India, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla.

Columbia Professor Rajiv Kohli spoke at BRITE ’10 about his development of a case study on the challenges faced by the major players—Hasbro and Mattel (the rights holders of Scrabble), the Agarwalla brothers, and Facebook—in what was to become a legal, financial and networking battle.

Scrabulous on Facebook details the backstory leading up to the challenge that was about to take place in 2008 over the existence of the Scrabulous application. The case covers Hasbro’s video game strategy, financial details of the online gaming industry, software piracy figures (an estimated $48B lost globally by 2008), and the growth of the Facebook network.

Click here to request copies of the case.

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