Fri, Dec

Gaming is a mature industry within the United States, in that it’s treated as another form of media similar to cinema or radio. Albeit, positive or negative connotations, gaming is a cultural force. On the contrary, gaming has a anachronistic connotation outside of the standard major markets, but that sentiment is slowly changing. 

At GDC, I had the opportunity to chat with game developers from across the world, and spent an hour or so with the Brazilian and Italian game industry. The first thing I noticed was the scale of their games. Unlike America, where the market is split between AAA blockbusters and independent developers, the majority of these game studios were no more than a small business.

Ossic is a technology company based in San Francisco that develops the Ossic X, 3D audio headphones. The headphones calibrate to the user and detect head motions to produce accurate spatial audio. I tried a demo, it works as intended. 


Jason Riggs, CEO of Ossic, said on February 28th in private that the Ossic X sold 13,000 units. The Ossic X is listed at roughly $300 pre-order and $500 MSRP. The headphones are used in addition to VR headsets for gaming, but can be used independently for 3D audio. Ossic is working on a plugin that will allow its 3D audio technology to be inlaid into other devices. 

Ossic X is a luxury headphones built with 3D capabilities. 3D audio is gaining ground in the entertainment and education industries, because it makes the experience more enjoyable. 

Last week I got to talk with Christopher Farm with Tenjin. Tenjin provides a full-stack marketing analytics platform that combines attribution, ad network aggregation, and analytics. In other words, they help mobile marketers find their ROI on campaigns.

Attribution in marketing is the process of attributing sales to the source of marketing that brought in the user. Most companies use a variety of digital marketing platform and it’s hard to define which channel attributed to the final user acquisition. 

Shares of Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat, continues to rise on its second day of trading. Snapchat’s IPO on Thursday saw a 44% increase in price amid heavy volume. On Friday, NBC announced that they invested $500 million into the young Los Angeles startup. Snapchat provides a social network based on ephemeral messaging services. Pictures and texts shared through Snapchat disappear after 24 hours. 

Snapchat's 'Stories' feature allows users to share video clips and pictures to everyone in their network: ephemeral Facebook with the levity of Twitter. It's popular among young professionals who want to share fun moments among friends, and sometimes family. Unlike Facebook, there aren’t 'likes' or comments to a post. Snapchat’s popularity and its “newsfeed-equivalent” interface allows fitting advertising placements, which has yet to experience significant prominence. 

Last week, I spoke with Ben Chen and Emily McInerney of Tapjoy. Tapjoy provides a platform that serves rewarded video advertisements for mobile applications. The advertising platform is used by the world’s largest game makers and is the de facto leader in the rewarded video market space.

The software is implemented at certain checkpoints within a game, and serves an advertisement, usually full screen video, in exchange for some form of user progression, often in-game currency. Tapjoy is “additive to their current revenue stream, but does not cannibalize their in app purchases,” said Chen.

The ultraportable market has evolved significantly since Apple launched the original 2008 Macbook Air. In fact, most laptops today would be considered "ultraportable" only 5 years ago.

Laptops with desktop quad-core processors like the Macbook Pro and Dell XPS 9550 are only 0.6" (1.5cm) thick and weigh 3-4lbs (1.3-1.7kg). Only hardcore gaming or budget bin laptops are considerably larger. 

Save HXC gaming laptops, there are three classes of notebooks: cheap ultraportables with slower but reasonable performance and long battery life, ultraportables with powerful performance and battery life, and laptops with desktop CPUs and dedicated GPUs.