November 10, 2022
GIF: Tenor; K.C. Green
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Thursday, we are exploring how entertainment companies and other brands should respond to the crisis at Twitter. Also: What’s next for OBS Studio, and what if every VR ad looked like the ones in Japan.
You know who still hasn’t commented on Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and everything that has transpired since? Chipotle.
The fast-food brand appears to have taken a bit of a Twitter break this month, and it’s not alone: Usually sassy brand accounts like Wendy’s and Panera have notably dialed down their output on the social network in recent days, apparently waiting to see what Twitter will look like once Musk’s verification and content moderation changes take effect.
How should brands respond to Twitter changing hands? It’s a good question, and one that matters a lot to media and entertainment companies as well. After all, Twitter has long been one of the spaces where brands have been able to talk directly to some of their most engaged customers. For answers, I caught up with Myles Worthington via email this week.
Memo to brands: It’s time to take a breather. Worthington’s main advice to brands right now is to pause what they’ve been doing and wait for the dust to settle.
The big question: Mastodon or Mastodon’t? Many people have discovered the federated social media network Mastodon as an alternative to Twitter in recent days. Should brands follow them, or is it too early for that?
Maybe it’s time to build your own thing. One of the big lessons of Twitter’s current struggles might just be that brands should spend more resources on building and maintaining first-party platforms.
Just don’t get too comfortable in your rental, as someone like Musk could rip up the lease agreement any day. “If you haven’t started building your own space that is owned and governed by your choices alone, that should be a big business priority for 2023,” Worthington advised.
— Janko Roettgers
As the first independent born-in-the-cloud identity provider, Okta applied its modern approach to identity and access management to IGA with Okta Identity Governance, which is now generally available. Okta Identity Governance, which is part of Okta’s broader workforce identity vision, unifies IAM and IGA to improve enterprises’ security posture.
When I first began working on a story on OBS Studio, an app that is being used by many Twitch and YouTube live streamers to power their broadcasts, I simply wanted to highlight yet another open-source project that’s been essential to a massive and growing trend in online media.
Then I talked to OBS founder Hugh “Jim” Bailey, and it became clear that OBS didn’t just change online media. “I didn't have anything, and was thinking that my life was just going to end up pretty terrible,” Bailey told me about the time before he started the project. “It just turned my life around entirely.”
You can read all about Bailey and OBS Studio on Protocol.com, but a few tidbits about the future of the broadcast tool didn’t make it into the story.
— Janko Roettgers
Netflix is eyeing sports. The streaming service doesn’t want to bid for expensive sports rights, so it is considering investing in niche sports leagues instead.
Wordle gets its very own editor. The New York Times announced this week that Tracy Bennett, an associate puzzle editor, will now be the dedicated editor of Wordle. She’ll be responsible for curating the word list and daily programming.
Pioneering streaming device Slingbox is dead. Dish Network’s Sling Media unit officially pulled the plug on existing Slingboxes this week — but there may be a work-around.
FIFA goes big on blockchain gaming. No, not the gaming franchise from EA, but the actual international footballing body. FIFA, which will split with EA next year, now plans to launch four blockchain-based games in time for the Qatar World Cup this month.
Google begins winding down its Stadia cloud gaming service. The company began issuing refunds this week to people who bought games on Stadia.
The midterms had a gaming angle. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Florida Democrat elected to the House of Representatives this week, might be the first-ever fan of Square Enix RPG series Kingdom Hearts to join Congress. He’s just 25 years old.
Disney+ added 12 million subscribers in Q3. Disney’s streaming businesses lost nearly $1.5 billion during the quarter, but company executives believe losses will decline going forward.
Lionsgate will stop streaming in seven markets. The company is shutting down its Starz/Lionsgate+ services in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, the Nordics, and Japan.
This week, Singapore-based YouTuber Lazius Kaye made waves on Twitter for posting a Japanese ad for Meta’s Quest 2 headset. “Love dem or hate dem, you can’t deny this is something that makes people feel excited about VR,” he wrote, and lots of people on Twitter agreed. “[W]e’re finally getting decent VR commercials with the energy it deserves,” one Twitter user responded, while someone else tweeted, “[I]f only Meta Connect looked more like this.”
The Quest 2 has arguably done pretty well, with analysts estimating that Meta surpassed 15 million unit sales this summer. Still, Meta’s messaging has at times been a bit … challenged. Remember those fake legs? Granted, the Japanese commercial also relies heavily on visual effects, and some Twitter users took issue with the fact that it may be overselling VR.
Then again, some pointed out that marketing has long been a challenge for VR. “[It’s] very much a ‘you have to see it to believe it’ [kind of medium], and pictures don’t do it justice,” as one Twitter user put it, only to add, “But that ad is really cool!”
— Janko Roettgers
Security tools should accelerate technology adoption. But often, the tools actually disrupt and slow down forward movement. With Okta tools, organizations have the compliance and security protection to grow while still protecting themselves from risk.
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