Five things on Friday #268

Things of note for the week ending Sunday, September 23rd, 2018.

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TO THE THINGS!
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1. NEED SOMETHING

WHAT THO? Send me your suggestions.

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2. SOME THOUGHTS AND LINKS ABOUT VOICE ASSISTANTS

Some noodles, underpinned with a few links on stuff I’ve been reading on the topic lately. 

Last week I mentioned I was on the Vocal Vanguard panel at BAFTA for American Express. As well as some further digging on the topic for that specific event, I’ve also been collating evidence for marking my own homework in public when it comes to reviewing the trends/predictions Marshall Manson and I made in December last year (see: ‘the end of typing’, slide 25 onwards). 

Here are a collection of different data points I’m noodling on. 

1. Five insights on voice technology 
Thanks for this one, Marshall. It covers off exactly what it says. No real surprises but good to have it from Google Assistant’s VP of engineering. 

2. The reality behind voice shopping hype
The Information here on excellent form (if you don’t have a subscription you can read the full article here) dissecting the astonishingly low numbers re sales + voice. 

Quote: 

“The Information has learned that only about 2% of the people with devices that use Amazon’s Alexa intelligent assistant—mostly Amazon’s own Echo line of speakers—have made a purchase with their voices so far in 2018, according to two people briefed on the company’s internal figures. Amazon has sold about 50 million Alexa devices, the people said.

Of the people who did buy something using Alexa voice shopping, about 90% didn’t try it again, one of the people said.”

Pretty damning – especially if you believe voice as sales driver is the key thing here (we’ll come back to this). 

3. Consumers are embracing voice services
This one covers a recent Adobe report that surveyed 1000 US voice assistant owners and, yet again, no huge surprises in the what but the lift in frequency (71% of smart speaker owners use theirs daily) means something is catching here.  

With these reports and numbers floating around my head, something struck me during the Amex panel I mentioned that I’ve been pushing around and, with no real evidence to support it (yet), I’m going to write out a theory here for discussion. 

In spite of multiple efforts by brands (tech and consumer facing included) the ‘killer app’ of the home assistant seems to be ‘Play some music’ or ‘Set an alarm’. This much we know. 

The consumerism dream of humans searching for and purchasing products all day long via their home assistant hasn’t happened. Yes, this is an extremely nascent space. Yes, we’re probably at least 10 years away from home assistants being commonplace.

However, I theorise that with the introduction of screen-based home assistant support (be that Chromecast integration with the Home, the rumoured (read: leaked – it’s pictured above for crying out loud) Home Hub, or even the Amazon Echo Show), consumers are able to be offered visual confirmations on actions and/or purchases.

The killer app, to my mind at least, will be one that snares this combination of UI points (screen + voice) perfectly – and potentially unlock the value that seems to be hidden away in this new vertical.

We’re seeing more and more integrated offerings coming forward in the assistant space (don’t even get me started on microwaves) – I don’t think enough attention is being paid to the opportunity that the screen integration brings. 

Like I said, just a thought – a theory. 

Expect more of this from me as we move towards the next edition of #OgilvyTrends2019. 

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3. THE TRAILER SECTION

A bunch of ace trailers dropped this week. 

Ready, steady… CLICK!

  1. CAPTAIN MARVEL
  2. STAN & OLLIE
  3. MARY POPPINS

Lovely. 

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4. @LGBT_HISTORY

This is an important read.

And an Instagram account you should follow.  

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5. THE MASSIVE VIDEO GAMES SECTION (INCLUDING SOME STUFF ABOUT THE V&A EXHIBITION)

If you follow me on Twitter you may be forgiven for muting or even unfollowing given the amount of gaming stuff I’ve been putting out since returning to the platform post-summer.

A combination of a spate of great releases (looking at you, Spider-Man and Destiny 2: Forsaken) and my annual jaunt to Birmingham for the Eurogamer Expo, it’s pretty much wall-to-wall gaming.

So by way of an apology, let’s talk games some more! 

FIRST:
Last Monday I got myself along to the DESIGN PLAY DISRUPT (check) exhibition at the V&A museum in London.

And it is excellent. 

A thoughtful and well-curated look at what video games are today, Design/Play/Disrupt is recommended to you for all kinds of reasons. 

Looking, as the name suggests, what it means to design a game, what the societal disruptive forces are at play (covering gamergate, inclusion, the use of non-english language, and more), and of course play itself.

There are nuggets to be found here. From understanding the impact of representation in gaming (see: Mafia III) through to a BRILLIANTLY presented set of short films on the SIZE of the gaming world.

It has the original notebooks of Neil Druckman, creative lead for THE LAST OF US, to some of the weirdest games you’ve ever seen/played – #DesignPlayDisrupt is worth a couple of hours of your time (and you can see my photos here).

It’s on until February next year and tickets are £18. We did it in two hours and saw everything – your mileage may vary. But GO. It is great. 

NEXT:
As I mentioned, I’ve been at EGX this weekend (got back this afternoon). I saw my friends, hung out in town, drank a bit, ate infrequently but overall I played A LOT of games.

Here’s a quick overview of that (in no particular order): 

  1. The Division II. Surprisingly enjoyable. 
  2. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. If you played and liked Origins, you’ll like this. I didn’t get a huge amount of time on it but I’m sure it’ll be great. I’ll probably get it next year when it drops in price. 
  3. Metro Exodus. Very Fallout. Not for me. 
  4. Destiny 2: Forsaken. I have this game but wanted to play it with a few friends that hadn’t touched it before. They enjoyed it, you might too. Bonus: I went to the panel with the game designers on the Friday and that was fantastic as well. Happy to nerd out at any point on any of this. 
  5. Nintendo LaboOH MY GOD WHAT FUN (that’s me in the video). You can’t see in the video but I was laughing and grinning like a mad person throughout. This is definitely something I’ll be doing with the children at some point next year. 
  6. Figment. Utterly charming little indie game – out now on Steam/Switch (it’s about £13 too) definitely worth a look, I was smiling at the joy it brought. 
  7. Untitled Goose Game. Yes, that’s it actual name. Your job is to be a total dick to a farmer and it made me laugh – a lot. This will be huge. 
  8. Beat Saber is coming to PSVR. These guys were insane at it
  9. Starlink. Really interesting concept tying toy/model ships that interact with your controller (see this link for a selection of photos + a video that shows how it works). Fun. Probably a money pit, mind. 
  10. Call of Duty 4. The new battle royale one. I hated it. Blergh. 

Notable absences: didn’t play Tomb Raider. Didn’t get on with the last one so will give this one a pass.  For some reason, RED DEAD II wasn’t there. No idea why. 

And of course, in the evening it was the annual MLGX fundraiser and much fun was had. See peak nerdery on the #MLGX hashtag – no, I’m not linking it. If you want to see, I’m making you search for it. 

OH AND THE LAST THING:

PlayStation has followed the crowd and announced it’s own mini-retro console, The PS One Classic. If you know someone who will want one at Christmas, I strongly recommend pre-ordering now. This thing will sell out FAST. 

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THE ESSENTIALS: 

If you’re new here, the section known as THE ESSENTIALS is about highlighting the stories that continue to come to light in regards to the #MeToo movement. It’s been here since it began and will remain so until it ends. 

Only one this week and it is simply: #WhyDidntIreport
(sorry: two – ‘Everything I can remember‘)

These should come with trigger warnings by the way. Just, FYI. 

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THE BONUS LINK SECTION OF BONUS BONUS LINKS

THESE LINKS ARE YOUR BONUS. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. 

  1. Video Game Skies are lovely.
  2. Americans are changing how they eat. Interesting read.
  3. We lost Dennis Nordon; this obituary from the BBC is excellent.
  4. If you’ve not read about the prisoner who painted Golf courses, you should.
  5. MDMA + OCTOPUS + ? 
  6. A great thread on Chas from Chas + Dave (who we also lost).
  7. Christine and the Queens (Again) in GQ. READ IT!
  8. I’m here for Joaquin Phoenix as Joker.
  9. Looking for something on Netflix? Try MANIAC.
  10. Big fan of the Wolf Alice Mercury Music Prize acceptance speech.

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Until next time.

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