1. Mobile VideoGames for NBC shows
A thesis submitted in partial
fulﬁllment of the requirements for the
Master of Science Media Management Program
THE NEW SCHOOL
(November 8th, 2016)
2. Table of Contents
Executive Summary ……………………………………………………..…………………… 3
Mobile Video Games ……………………………………………………………………….. 5
Mobile Features vs Mobile Video Games ……………………………………..…………… 8
Educational - Lifestyle - Health-improvement Mobile Video Games ……….………….. 10
Jane McGonigal: Life Improvement Game Designer ……………….………………..….. 10
Mobile Video Games in Numbers ………………..……………………………..…….……. 12
Video Games from TV shows ………………………………………………………….…… 15
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment …………………………………………………… 19
Implementation ………………………………………………………..……………………. 20
Features of Mobile Video Games for TV shows ……………………………….….….……20
The Ellen DeGeneres Show Example ……..……………………………………………… 21
International Sales …………………………………………………………………………… 22
References ..……………………………………..……..…………………………………… 23
3. Executive Summary
This project consists in creating Mobile Video Games for the most important shows
of NBC and open up a new line of business that brings important proﬁts to the company.
This idea is based on developing a specialized team with unique technology that will
place NBC in the top of the Media and Mobiles Video Games.
The future of the Media Industry is becoming more complex and full of adversities,
this is why the best investment would be towards the technological areas, opening new
routes for content production and expanding the platforms on which NBC is available for
its audience. Video games are a universal language of entertainment that has worked
with all generations since its creation, and economically is a very proﬁtable business
that has grown steadily.
The project seeks to connect the audience with special features that make the player
having to sit down and watch the programming of NBC in order to continue advancing
within the levels of the game through hidden codes in the screen, and then compete at
state and nationals championships dedicated just for its players. In this way, also this
interactivity between the On-Air programming and mobile video games seeks to
increase the ratings, create more opportunities for advertisers and collect audience
Through Mobile Video Games, NBC can generate more engagement not just from
Millennials, if not for all generations, since the scope and use of video games is
signiﬁcantly wide. Market research worldwide have shown that video games are not just
for kids, and even the largest group of players is between the ages of 18 and 35. But
however, video games are popular in all ages and genres.
4. In the same way, video games are not only specialized in themes like action, puzzles
and battle shooting, there are also a wide range of video games with social,
educational, environmental and medical themes that have been successfully dedicated
to give positive contributions to its players. For many years it has become a great
contributor to people with certain diseases like depression, anxiety, addictions, etc, and
also, it is a tool that works very well to develop skills of artfulness, strategies and
concentration in children and adults.
A whole world and business behind this Industry waiting for NBC to take advantage of it!
5. Mobile Video Games
The video games industry has been very successful worldwide and has become a
billion dollar business that has continued to show growth year after year. First, with the
big consoles (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) and then with smartphones and social
networks, better known as mobiles and social games.
The ﬁrst mobile video game known was a variation of Tetris in the earliest mobile
phones, but was until 1997 when Nokia 6110 launched Snake, a video game that
became very popular since it was part of their more than 350 million phones sold
around the world. But the big step in this industry, called “Gold Rush” happened in 2008
when App Store was releases and users were able to download video games of their
choice on their mobile phones.
"As mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) continue to grow, the mobile game
category will show the biggest growth due to the entertainment value provided by
games compared with other app categories," said Brian Blau, research director at
Gartner. "This growth is fueled by healthy premium mobile device sales globally and a
desire by consumers to play games on these multifunction devices that are capable of
displaying increasingly sophisticated game content.”1
The video game content on Youtube has reached the highest levels of popularity, and
channels like PewDiePie top the list. Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, said:
“Gaming is so big now. We’re doing billions of hours of watch-time a month, with
hundreds of millions of users. It’s astonishing.”2
6. According to a market research from Newzoo, around 145 million Americans played3
video games in 2011. The interesting thing is that video games are a form of
entertainment for all ages. Statistics shows that the widest range of players are from 18
to 35 years old, and the second larger group is under 18 year old.
Like all markets, digital revenue from video games is the one having the highest
growth since 2009 after the release of the “App Store” which facilitated, along with the
technological advances of the smartphones , the entire business. According to
Statista.com the mobile games in United States will have an estimated revenue growth4
of 31.7 percent in 2016 in mobile downloads and in-app.
8. Mobile Features vs Mobile Video Games
The advances in smartphones have led the development of new tools for video
games. And even several of these tools have been created especially to support certain
softwares and video games.
When mobile phones began to have cameras, companies like Nanco and Panasonic
in 2013 took advantaged of this technology to develop innovative ideas for mobile video
Games. For example Nanco released a battle video game where users had to take
pictures of their self, then, the software granted "powers" to the character based on the
proﬁle photo. Panasonic meanwhile, pulled out a pet video game where users had to
take pictures of food to feed their ﬁctitious pets.
This technology gave way to the location-based mobile game, where the game's
story interacts with the user's position and even interacts with the geographical positions
of several users simultaneously. Also known as "Urban gaming" and "street game" and
the most popular right now is Pokemon Go, but there are many on the market, such as
geocaching and BotFighters.
Fingerprint technology has evolved the security of smartphones and has
accommodated security mechanisms for many apps, such as banking apps. First it was
a tool that contained only the Iphone phones, but then the Android also acquired it.
9. Virtual Reality
It is the new technology that is predicted to be the future of all video games,
communications, entertainment, educational tools, medical studies and many other
uses. Although the range speed has not been as fast and popular as expected, each
quarter VR shows more penetration in the market.
“In the next 5 years the only thing people will be talking about will be Virtual Reality.
The advances and its ability are really impressive” by Emmanuel Rodriguez, former
student of Illustration at Ringling University in Sarasota, Florida.
10. Educational - Lifestyle - Health-improvement Mobile Games
The scope of mobile video games in favor to improving the quality of life of the
society is very positive and with inﬁnite possibilities. Its ability to be in cell phones allows
many people to use them in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and anywhere away from a
TV room and the big consoles like Wii, Xbox, Playstation, etc.
Games like Rehaboo have being helping many children in hospitals during their
Jane McGonigal: Game Designer
Jane McGonical is one of the most inﬂuential game designers dedicated to create
video games that seek to help people and solve real problems. She is a PhD in
Performing Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Works as a Director of
Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, and is the author of the
bestselling “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change
the Word” (Penguin Press, 2011.)
11. McGonical created SuperBetter, a video game that helped almost half a million
people to combat personal problems as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, traumatic
brain injury, etc. But , before helping so many people, this video game was the only
“medicine” that helped her come out of depression and overcome severe headaches
that she had as a result of an accident that kept her in bed for a long period of time.
Their most inﬂuential video games are EVOKE, Superstruct, World Without Oil, Cruel
2 B Kind, Find the Future, and The Lost Ring. All these games have a purpose that
serves as a positive and strong example on how to use this technology, alongside NBC
shows and its tremendous audience, to help communities.
12. Mobile Video Games in Numbers
Facts shows that video games in general have been a thriving business since its
inception, especially in leading countries in the Industry like Japan, France, the United
Kingdom and the United States. The best dates for major video game companies and
consoles (Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony) are between November and December, due to
According to a 2013 report of Newzoo, women and men play almost the same
percentage in the US. But men spend more money on mobile video games than
13. A 2011 Nielsen study shows how mobile video games lead in the use of mobile apps.
Taking into account that for that year App Store only had 3 years of launching and was
just beginning the technology of the video games in the smartphones.
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Karen Barroeta, Senior VP Programming & On Air for NBCU International Networks
Latam said that in the Latin American market, where the programming of NBC and its
subsidiaries is successfully sold, there are several challenges with respect to internet
connectivity. “Millennial in Latam follows the trends in USA however connectivity has
been challenging not allowing CDE audiences to engage as much as those in North
15. Video Games from TV shows
The idea of developing video games from TV shows, movies, animated ﬁlms, short
ﬁlms and even books is nothing new. It can be said that the ﬁrst video game that was
based on a story from those media was in 1961 when 3 employees of Harvard and MIT
created the game Spacewar! that came from a book of science ﬁction.
Currently the most popular TV series and animated ﬁlms had their own mobile video
games. These are some of the most popular in US:
The Walking Dead (AMC)
Developed and published by Telltale Games and with more than 28 million units sold.
It is available in almost all platforms in mobile, consoles and PC and it won Game of the
Year from several gaming publications.
The concept of this video game has nothing to do with solving problems, but rather is
based on the development of the story and characters designed by the player itself. And
every decision the player makes in the game affects the next levels.
16. Breaking Bad (AMC - Netﬂix)
The famous TV series that won 16 Emmy Awards has its own Mobile Video Game
since November 2015 and it was last updated on October 2016. In this game the user
must build their own empire, recruiting characters from the show, amid sophisticated
musical and visual effects.
Narcos (Netﬂix - Univision)
This is a very popular series about Pablo Escobar and his cartel of drugs. Goumont
Television which produces the series for Netﬂix had an association with FTX Games to
launch the mobile video game on September 2016. This mobile game its free to
download, but offer in-app purchases when the players had to team up with others in
order to earn proﬁt, respect and territory.
17. “’Narcos’ is about a lot more than violence, money and power,” said Aaron Berndtson,
FTX Games’ head of business development on an interview for Variety.com. “We really
wanted to explore the moral ambiguity from the show, where right and wrong are
subjective. We’re very excited to put these choices into the player’s hands.”
Game of Thrones (HBO)
This famous series has inspired 4 video games and has more than 9 million players.
Its successful partnership with Facebook made it the most played game in 2013,
besides being the ﬁrst social network game ever developed. It contains advanced
special effects that perfectly simulate the locations and characters from the series, and
has an interactive encyclopedia for players to consult as they play.
18. Pokemon (TV Tokyo)
The Pokemon Company is a successful enterprise that has sold its products as a
television series, movies, short ﬁlms, video games, comics, music and many others. The
success of its technology in mobile video games is due to the advanced geographical
interaction, camera integration and ability to join multiple players. It has been the most
successful video game worldwide so far.
19. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
It is a division of Warner Bros Inc. dedicated exclusively to gaming in all the
platforms: console, handheld, mobile and PC. Since 1995 has had several hit games
like Lego, Batman, Mortal Combat, Looney Tunes, The Matrix, Justice League, Hanna-
Barbera and many others that have been extremely successful.
This model created by Warner Bros more than 20 years ago, is an example of
diversiﬁcation and market vision that although it covers other aspects of this project,
represents a strategy to analyze and to learn of its successes, since it constitutes one of
the most important and innovative companies in the publishing, licensing, development
and distribution of video games.
Undoubtedly, the implementation of this project requires a team specialized in the
design of video games and technological innovation. As well as advanced equipment to
carry out all these goals. The Mobile Video Game team has the task to develop an
original product based on the content and the stories of the most popular shows of the
company, making use of the cast, scripts, music, graphics, locations and sets design.
A common strategy in this industry is the association or purchase of companies
specialized in the development and distribution of video games. And at the other
extreme is the Warner Bros model that created its own dedicated video games division,
but which was also formed by the acquisition of several small and large video game
The business plan for the creation and development of a team specialized in mobile
video games for NBC programming is a more detailed and in depth study that deserve
another broader approach. But below is described the main innovative features
contained in this project within the different stages of the business.
Features of Mobile Video Games for NBC shows
- Free download
- Product integration and no traditional ads
- Virtual Reality
- Multiple players interactivity
- Codes on air that help gamers advance to other levels
- State and National NBC Video Games Championship
- Recognition of best players in NBC shows
21. The Ellen DeGeneres Show
This is an example of how a traditional show can be transformed in a mobile video
game and succeed. The idea is to create a mobile video game where the users will play
the role of “Ellen” and their main goal is to decode certain puzzles related to the daily
theme of the show. And during the broadcast by NBC the audience/players will ﬁnd
clues in order to win the game. It's a fun interaction that will engage the audience while
watching the show on TV.
Interactive Product Integration
The innovative strategy for these mobile video games would be to offer a free
download, and instead of in-app purchases this model would be based on "Product
Placements" with interaction between the story and the characters.
22. In the example of the video game of “Ellen DeGeneres” the possibilities are endless,
because the daily goals for the game could imply the use of products as a “props” inside
the video game. For example, “Ellen” (the user) playing “Heads Up” with an animated
version of Zac Efron using a Samsung Galaxy phone. In this example, the game would
be with multiple players using the video game (one plays Ellen and another plays Zac
A market possibility is to include the sale of video games in countries where NBC
programming and its afﬁliates are sold. In this way, international clients can have more
tools to promote the content they buy. “Producing additional content to the one airing on
free TV/cable always has the potential to create more engagement, specially with
audiences already interested in our content.” Karen Barroeta, Senior VP Programming
& On Air for NBCU International Networks Latam.
- Farber, Madeline (August 30, 2016) PewDiePie’s New Game Makes It So Anyone Can Be a
- Dredge, Stuart. (August 26, 2015) Google launches YouTube Gaming to challenge Amazon-
- Spangler, Todd (July 26, 2016) ‘Narcos’ Mobile Game Based on Netﬂix Show Will Let You Run
Your Own Drug Cartel (EXCLUSIVE)
- Webber, Jordan and Brewster, Kat (July 21, 2016) 11 video game trends that will change the
future of the industry.
- Wingﬁeld, Nick (July 11, 2016) Pokémon Go Brings Augmented Reality to a Mass Audience
- Axe, David (April 16, 2016)Space War Game Wasted U.S. Satellites
- Dredge, Stuart. (September 28, 2015) YouTube v Twitch: battling for viewers, but both can
24. - Stamford, Conn. (October 29, 2013) Gartner Says Worldwide Video Game Market to Total $93
Billion in 2013
- Murphy, Conor (May 13, 2013) How to Make a Video Game Out of a TV Show
- Statistics and facts about the Video Game Industry
- McDufee, Jennifer Gaming. The next big healthcare trend?
- TED Talk (February, 2010) Gaming can make a better world
- Jane McGonigal website
- Games of Thrones Website
- Warner Bro Website