Epica Awards 2018 Jury

Epica Awards 2018 Jury

I am very honored, once again, to be asked to join the jury for the prestigious 2018 Epica Awards. Last year was the first time that a Virtual Reality category was added to the awards and AR/VR Magazine was asked to be on the jury.

The Epica Awards, which are often referred to as “the Golden Globes® of the communications industry,” had a lot of great participants last year and it was a tough call trying to pick the best of the best. Here are the results from last year’s winners.

https://winners.epica-awards.com/2017/winners?category=Virtual+Reality

Call For Entries

I will share more about the 2018 participants on AR/VR Magazine when all the submissions are received. If you are interested in submitting your work to be considered for the awards, click the link below to sign up.

The registration period lasts until September 30, 2018. See you there!

https://www.epica-awards.com/awards/callforentries

About the Epica Awards



Epica is the point where the creative industries (advertising, design, media, PR and digital) meet the world’s marketing and communications press.

Established in 1987, Epica is unique in the crowded awards sector as it is the only prize judged by journalists working for marketing and communications titles. More than 200 magazines and websites from around the world are on our jury.

Epica’s aim is to reward outstanding creativity and help agencies, production companies, media consultancies, photographers and design studios to develop their reputations beyond their national borders, attracting thousands of entries from more than 70 countries.

To learn more check out the website at: https://www.epica-awards.com

Wanted Killer VR

Wanted Killer VR

Today, we announced the launch of Playsnak’s latest VR game, Wanted Killer VR, available now on Steam Early Access. Based on the popular mobile game, Wanted Killer (more news on that soon) the game is an action packed VR first person shooter, which also encorporates booomVR technology in the game’s game lobby.

The game has a unique cartoon-style, cell shaded look, which makes it feel like you are inside a comic book, or an old GI Joe cartoon. It is super fun to play, very physical and so far, we have been getting a ton of great feedback and reviews. It is very exciting to finally get this game out and the guys at Playsnak did an awesome job!

Moving forward, I will be working with the publishing team to do quite a bit of marketing and promotion for this game, so expect great things!

Read the full press release below:

Wanted Killer VR Hits Steam Early Access Today

BERLIN – 23 May, 2018 – Serve up sweet revenge as old-school action and futuristic firepower collide in Wanted Killer VR – an intense arcade-style shooter available now on Steam Early Access for $9.99 or equivalent in local currency.

From Berlin-based developer Playsnak, Wanted Killer VR invites you to leap into combat and take down the evil GENETIC MINDS Corp. before their dreams of world domination become a reality. At your disposal you’ll have an arsenal of upgradeable weapons and a crew of hard-boiled heroes with unique gunslinging traits.

You’ll also have the game-changing ability to teleport from one target to the next in the heat of battle, stealing their guns and making them your own. These unique skills create a fast-paced combat experience that merges breathless action with subtle strategic possibilities. Think fast to rack up killer combos and enter a state of deadly, totally immersive bullet-time flow.

Further setting Wanted Killer VR apart from the crowd, the game has a unique visual style that truly comes to life in virtual reality. Get ready to feast your eyes on a host of spectacular settings as you stalk your prey across skyscrapers and through subway stations – all the time closing in on the awful truth behind GENETIC MINDS Corp.

You can sample Wanted Killer VR right now on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality by downloading it on Steam Early Access. You can also see more of the game in action and hear from some of the team behind it in this trailer:

Founder and CEO of Playsnak, Paha Schulz, said: “We couldn’t be happier with how Wanted Killer VR is shaping up, and we’re really excited to continue development with input from Early Access players. The team has done an amazing job of creating a world where frenetic gameplay and individual tactical choice go hand in hand, and we can’t wait to hear what people think.”Game Director on Wanted Killer VR, P.J. Esteves, said: “Our goal is put players right at the heart of white-knuckle action sequences. You really are free to find your own flow and get creative in how you put the game’s innovative weapons to work. We had the chance to show the game at gamesweekberlin this month, and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. Early Access will give an even wider audience a full-blooded taste of Wanted Killer VR, and we’ll be listening to everything they say as we keep working to make the game something really special.”

Wanted Killer VR is out now on Steam Early Access and coming soon to the Oculus Store. Find out more at the game’s official website and stay in touch with all the latest news on Wanted Killer VR at facebook.com/WantedKillerVR.

About Playsnak

Founded in 2015, Playsnak is a Berlin-based, globally-connected next-generation games company. Playsnak strives to create groundbreaking experiences for the maturing VR and AR markets. For more information, please visit http://playsnak.com.

Neeon Seoul: Outrun

Neeon Seoul: Outrun

This week, I am proud to announce the launch of Neon Seoul: Outrun, a VR hoverbike racing game for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The game was developed in partnership with Playsnak and incorporates some of the technology from my other project, booomVR, to power the game’s game lobby and marketing portal. The game was launched on Oculus store with Steam and Viveport support will be coming very soon.

You can read the full press release below:

Take a White-Knuckle Ride Into The Future in Neon Seoul: Outrun – Available Now on Oculus Early Access

BERLIN – 7 December, 2017 – Get ready for the rush of VR hoverbike racing in Neon Seoul: Outrunan all-new IP from Berlin-based developer Playsnak, available now on Oculus Early Access.

Set in a sprawling cyberpunk universe, Neon Seoul: Outrun places you in the driving seat of a maxed-out hoverbike primed to clock up speeds of over 1,000km/h. You are an OutRunner—a rebel racer defying the AI overlords that control your world, and risking your life for the thrill of unfiltered, off-the-grid speed.

As you weave past rivals and seas of automated vehicles, an innovative control system invites you to lean into VR and steer your bike with intuitive body movements. No two track experiences are ever the same in Neon Seoul: Outrun, giving you endless challenges to overcome as you race to an atmospheric synthwave soundtrack featuring artists such as Isidor, Raphael Gesqua, and Noise Symphony.

The game is also the first installment in a larger cyperpunk saga from Playsnak, which will grow to include different types of VR experiences and storylines set in the same futuristic world.

Game Director on Neon Seoul: Outrun, Patrick Esteves, said: “The game really harnesses the power of VR to give an authentic sense of speed and control in a racing game. Players will enter a universe where the sights, sounds, and stories all combine to fuel the adrenalin rush of fighting for first place. We’re bringing Neon Seoul: Outrun to Early Access today so our community can make its voice heard right from the start and help us to shape not only the gameplay, but also the immersive cyberpunk world we’re building.”

Neon Seoul: Outrun is the second new IP announced by Playsnak this month, following on from news that story-driven adventure Shaman: Spirithunter will come to Oculus Rift in 2018.

Neon Seoul: Outrun is available now on Oculus Early Access and Steam Early Access (coming soon).

About Playsnak

Founded in 2015, Playsnak is a global next-generation games company with offices in Berlin, Germany and Los Angeles, USA. Playsnak strives to create groundbreaking experiences for the maturing VR and AR markets. For more information, please visit https://www.playsnak.com.

How to Win An Election With Social Media

How to Win An Election With Social Media

Update: The following is an article I wrote prior to the 2016 Presidential Elections. It discusses the state of social media momentum at that time based on each candidate. I think overall, my estimations were pretty relevant.

———

We are at a very critical time in history and the result of the upcoming US elections could have DRASTIC effects on both the future of our country and the world. The decisions in November could mean the difference between peace, security, economic prosperity or even, depending on the political climate of your particular country, life or death for you and your family. Things are that serious.

The time has come to ignore the cat pictures, the Oscars or whatever Kanye says and pay very close attention to the important topic at hand. It is time to take action and to take responsibility for your actions.

What I want to talk about here is a social strategy that will help your candidate win the election in 2016 and it’s very simple.

You do want them to win, right? Well, if so, keep reading.

Social Media is a Powerful Tool, But…

Social media is currently the primary driver for expressing, changing & manipulating public opinion on a global scale. What we do and say on social media has tremendous power and can directly effect how people share and develop opinions.

In this case, how it effects voting decisions.

The dark side of social media and politics is that what we say on social media is analyzed by government organizations, financial institutions, PR firms, corporations and most importantly, political parties to identify patterns of opportunity using software algorithms and analytics tools. Based on what they discover, they use either teams of people or automated software (bots) to manipulate social momentum on a mass level to promote their business or political agendas.

Despite the powerlessness we can feel by such a massive, corporate-political machine, social media still offers us a great advantage. What I am talking about here is the basic human interactions and opinions with which we can share between friends, family and social connections.

It’s the power of persuasion with people you have personal connections with and who trust your opinions.

Think, Before You Share!

I would encourage everyone to think very seriously about what you post on social media right now regarding politics and how it could potentially impact election results.

One simple post may not seem like much to you, but on a mass, collective level, it has a lot of power.

Unfortunately, WHAT you post, regardless of your intentions, also might have powerful reverse effects.

Why?

Conditioning, Conditioning, Conditioning!

Another factor which effects public opinion, especially in the media, is a process called Classical Conditioning, aka the old Pavlov’s Dog effect.

It begins with a simple process of repetition, where the brain begins rewiring itself to release certain chemicals based on a seeing or hearing repeated phrases, actions or stimulus. We see this in marketing with brands such as the red color of Coca Cola, aligning a perfume with sexual imagery, an annoying catchy melody in a terrible pop song, or in this case, political names and slogans.

Conditioning is a core tactic in hypnosis, brainwashing & propaganda, which over time, physically changes the brain chemistry so that it builds patterns of alignment & dependency to whatever has been repeated, even if the subject of the repetition is negative.

It is the first step in building an addiction.

In regards to politics, simply by repeating a candidate’s name, political slogan or sharing a MEME, even if it is negative and you oppose them, causes a conditioned response that gives leverage to that candidate

Sometimes negative MEMEs are even intentionally created to generate exposure to a brand because just by repeatedly seeing a name or image, creates subconscious patterns in people’s brains in connection with that brand or candidate.

The reason is that even a strong connection to a repeated “negative” creates a stronger bond than a non repeated “positive.” The result is that the brain becomes more comfortable by the chemicals it creates by being surrounded by the negative than the confusing, discomfort it feels when faced with the unfamiliar positive.

These patterns of alignment create herd mentality, which then becomes a social norm, which leads to people accepting, or at least living with the idea of a candidate that they don’t support.

We are literally building and spreading a chemical addiction to them on a mass scale, even if we hate them.

The Numbers

Here’s a simple example of how much conditioning is happening per candidate as of the time of this post. Despite political opinion, the numbers make it pretty clear who is in the lead, just by sheer volume.

Google Trends
googletrends_election2016

Twitter
election_tweets

Facebook
facebook_election2016

Take Control

Not happy with those results? Then you have to change the momentum. Here’s how:

The point here is to understand what is happening and don’t fall for the oldest trick in the book. Resist the urge to participate in the addictive skinner box mentality of sharing every little political “ha ha” moment on social media. Use it as an advantage, not as a virus, not as your controller.

Here’s how to apply this to social media and politics:

  • If you want your candidate to win, then don’t contribute to building patterns of momentum for the opposition.
  • Stop posting the names of the opposition and reposting their negative material. Let people know the name of the winner.
  • Build strong patterns by focussing only on who you want to win and only post positive info on them.
  • Fear is a stronger motivator than pleasure. (Sucks but it’s true.) Don’t focus on how bad the opposition is. Instead focus on the benefits of how your candidate will protect from the bad.
  • Create your own posts, MEMEs and hashtags and share them instead of reposting others. If you don’t do it, the bots will and they sometimes have an alternative agenda.
  • Follow your candidate. Unfollow the opposition. Post about them often. Numbers count.
  • Use every social platform at your disposal. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, pinterest, forums, chats and messengers, dating sites, etc. Any place where you can potentially reach a lot of people. If it is on a personal and emotional level, even better.
  • Make #hastags that promote your candidate, not the opposition.
  • Spread your message globally. Some countries dont use or have access to the same social platforms we use in the west. China uses WeChat and Weibo for everything. In Japan, Line is popular. Global opinions matter.

Don’t contribute to the problem, contribute to the solution. Generate positive patterns that build strong chemical bonds which align to your chosen candidate. In a world where we feel powerless to determine world affairs, we still hold the power of our connections and our ability to influence them.

Thats how you win with technology and thats how you win elections.

Retweet this Post

If you like this post, then please share it or retweet it using the hashtag #howtowin2016

Let’s see what happens and best of luck in the elections.

Thoughts on The Future – #1 The Internet of Everything

Thoughts on The Future – #1 The Internet of Everything

According to a recent article on Singularity Hub, the CTO of Cisco recently quoted that the upcoming Internet of Everything (IoE) will be a $1.9 Trillion opportunity over the next decade.

At CES 2015 Keynote speech, Samsung announced that by 2020, all of their products will be Internet of Things (IOT) capable. Since they currently manufacture around 20 products per second, that means in 5 years (or sooner) there will be millions of IOT devices, all connected and gathering data about us.


And Samsung is just one of many…

TVs, mobile devices, toothbrushes, refrigerators, thermostats, lightbulbs, electrical outlets, vibrators, the clothes we wear, the vehicles that will drive us, the vehicles that will deliver our stuff, the lamp posts, the public utilities, the paint on the walls, our pets, our plants, our kids, and even the invisible wifi spectrum that floats around us, all will be gathering data.

Most of them already are.

Every aspect of our lives is being recorded and analyzed. Our needs, our desires, our health, where we go, how we feel, who we like, who we don’t like, what we do, what we say, what we buy, what we don’t buy, all will be analyzed by systems that will process our data and attempt to deliver targeted & contextual experiences back to us.

Privacy is a thing of the past. There will be no secrets. Everyone will be naked on someone’s TV. Lying will be impossible.

The Internet Will Come to You

With so much context gathering tech surrounding our daily lives, the role of a website as a destination will no longer be relevant. Arguably, it already has.

In the future, we won’t need to search Google because contextually relevant content will come to us. The internet will fade into the background as an omnipotent, invisible layer, just as electricity or running water did in the past.

For a while, we can assume that it will be insanely spammy. Combined with augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D holograms, things will start to become an overwhelming hallucination of multimedia ads and notifications injected into all aspects of our lives.

Media will be projected everywhere. 3D avatars and monsters will jump out of your burger, follow you down the street, be your companions and/or sell you insurance.

(This video below of a 7D cinema experience in Dubai might give you some idea of what that world could look like.)

Quiet Filters & Digital Prozac

The need for filters will become necessary for survival. Simple, daily tasks like walking down a busy street will become overwhelming. We will need Digital Prozac.

Luxury services will appear that filter only the “organic” healthy data to protect us from the “junk food” data that will fly out from all directions. We will pay a premium for the silence we currently take for granted.

Pop culture fashion & lifestyle choices will be based on which data filter you pick.

Over time, the systems will evolve and be so dialed in, that every action we take will have the most desired contextual reaction delivered to us. The systems will become so smart that they will predict things that we didn’t know yet. We will allow the system to have more and more control because without automation, we could lose our ability to function.

Our brain chemistry will permanently be rewired for constant distraction and constant entertainment. (it already is…) Turning it off will create withdrawals similar to quitting smoking or kicking heroin.

Getting hacked could make you insane or physically harm you. We will pay higher insurance premiums to insure we stay normal, healthy and alive, not just as a means to get paid when something happens.

Autonomous Vehicles, Transportation & Shipping

Autonomous driving will become a huge opportunity for relaxing and hands free media consumption.  As we sit back in these robot cars and consume content, (rolling movie theaters, offices, hotels, restaurants, brothels) the drones will take us to work, remind us of tasks, deliver our food, watch our children, clean our streets, care for the sick and injured and hunt down criminals.

They will make life or death decisions based on who pays the highest insurance. Drivers licenses, traffic accidents & parking violations will become a thing of the past.

Swarms of autonomous vehicles run by a central, corporate transit system will chain together like freight trains or break off into small personal taxis.

Automotive manufacturers as well as the transportation, travel, postal and shipping industries (any industry involving robot cars, trains, airplanes cargo ships, tractors, trucks, buses, etc) will at some point all be disrupted and forced to merge to become one, giant, autonomous shipping industry, focussing on transporting people and things.

(At least anything organic that can’t yet be 3D printed on location.)

Branded Neighborhoods & Cities

In the short term, there will be a chaotic mess of aggregating devices and software that all attempt to capture the data and compete for who owns the core experience. There will be a lot of broken, fragmented experiences, hype and a lot of money will be spent and wasted.

As the systems evolve, the big player data platforms (GAFA – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) will buy up the most successful companies, and continue to evolve into mega, lifestyle based, entities that will eventually control entire communities, economies and could influence political structures.

Based on copyrights and digital rights management, your neighborhoods and cities will be determined by your choice of Apple or Google. They will own the homes, the devices, the transportation, the entertainment and the utilities. All will be reliant on being logged in to some larger platform and system, all controlled by GAFA.

Because of DRM, you will own nothing. Nobody will need to (or be able to) own a car or a home, only rent it.  Your whole life will be one big subscription plan.

With so much monopolization and automation of every aspect of culture & civilization, the only areas left for control will be real estate, both in the wifi / communication spectrum as well as physical land and natural resources.

Jobs & Business of the Future

Since many of our jobs will be replaced with automation, our earning potential will be based on our ability to do creative or humanist tasks that can’t easily be replicated with artificial intelligence or robots. Our activity will generate both income and energy that can be sold or traded back into the system.

Everything we do will have the potential to be gamified and income earned from these gamified actions will replace our salaries. Every action we take will be collecting points that can be exchanged for goods and services, both physical and digital, in sub layers of micro economic marketplaces, where modern paper currency is replaced with a multitude of virtual currencies.

Where do we go from here?

For now I am going to stop and use this point as a launching pad for later discussions on more specific topics.

I can honestly say that, based on all that I have seen and experienced, the future looks both exciting and incredibly bleak. Many major disruptive changes will occur in the next few years that could change life as we know it for better and worse. Lots of opportunities, lots of unknowns. In many ways, we are on the verge of a major evolutionary shift.

In contrast to the present, admittedly, the future does seem overwhelmingly negative. I also think that there will be plenty of amazing & positive things on the horizon as well, so I also plan to touch on these things too.

I’ll share more as it comes to me. In the meantime, please comment and let me know your thoughts. If you have suggestions on particular topics related to the future that you would like me to touch on, I would love to hear them.

See you in the future.

Thoughts on The Future – The Series

Thoughts on The Future – The Series

As a consultant, I am frequently asked to share my opinions on the future of technology & innovation. Typically, this is on a micro level, in context to the needs of a particular client, project, industry or use case.

As is the way with consultants, many of these ideas end up buried in a Powerpoint or research document, never to see the light of day again, once the project is over. 

What I feel has been lacking is a larger overview of my thoughts. Some way to get a bigger picture, based on all of the various projects, clients and industries I have been involved with over the course of my career. Some place to document & reference should ideas become reality, or should things change.

I had considered writing book about the future (I still have a lot of books planned) but like most tech related nonfiction books, they take time to write and once published, their information can quickly become dated or irrelevant. A book about the future becomes the present, then the past, very quickly…

The Goal:

My goal is to write a multi-part series of interconnected blog posts about the future, where I touch on  different topics. Some lengthy, some short. I’m just going to wing it and see where it goes.

If it eventually turns into a book, so be it. If not, the important thing is that I share ideas in small bursts when I think of them, as opposed to letting them ferment in the back of my mind, useless to the world.

The hope with this series is to both keep these ideas fresh, to inspire new ideas and discussion. At the very least, it will serve as a reference point to look back on and reflect.

Admittedly, this will include a lot of free flowing ideas that might stray off into sci-fi at times, however I feel that based on a lot of current events, a lot of what I write will happen. I’m usually right on a lot of things…

With that being said, I will list all entries below and eventually collect them all on their own page. I will definitely be asking for opinions, so PLEASE feel free to leave comments, share feedback and let me know your thoughts.

Enjoy & see you in the future. (See Below for all the latest posts!)

Thoughts On The Future:

Thoughts on The Future – #1 The Internet of Everything
More coming soon…