Research Firm Enact Insight Hires Mark Orne to Head New Home Entertainment and Gaming Division

Entertainment research agency Enact Insight is launching a global home entertainment and gaming division led by managing director Mark Orne.

Mark Orne

In his new position, Orne, who brings nearly 25 years of entertainment market research experience, will provide research solutions, expert analysis, and strategic recommendations to filmmakers, game developers, and retailers.

Orne will report to Greg Durkin, founder and CEO of Enact Insight.

“Mark and I have known each other for the majority of our careers,” Durkin said in a statement. “We respect each other and complement each other well. He brings a tremendous amount of experience in the home entertainment and gaming fields and instant credibility to the division he is leading.

“We’ve tested advertisements for every major theatrical and streaming title released in the past four years, but we’ve largely focused on the first window of release. Mark is the perfect leader to help us promote the holistic success of content across all windows and platforms.”

“I’m excited to join Enact, as they already have a large global presence in all the key entertainment markets,” Orne said in a statement. “Every week Enact is in the field in at least 12 countries, gaining insights from those global audiences to advise entertainment clients on creative optimization, competitive positioning, audience targeting, and viewership estimates across multiple platforms.”

Orne joins Enact Insights after leading the cross platform group at Screen Engine/ASI for more than eight years. As EVP, he focused on IP/Franchise management, title tracking, content development, creative explorations, user experience, play testing, and business development in the home entertainment, streaming, games, and technology markets.

Before joining Screen Engine/ASI, Orne created and led the global consumer and shopper insights group at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for more than 12 years. As executive director, Orne oversaw reporting on consumer trends, advised on new technology and business development, and led all home entertainment research projects, including intent-to-purchase and creative testing, for SPHE’s DVD, Blu-ray, and digital release campaigns worldwide.

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Prior to joining Sony in 2002, Orne served as a project director at Lieberman Research Worldwide, managing domestic and international market research studies for entertainment clients.

Technovio: Gaming Market Size to Grow by $102 Billion from 2022 to 2027

The size of the gaming market is projected to grow by $102.13  billion between 2022 and 2027, according to research and consulting firm Technovio.

The gaming market is experiencing notable growth driven by the widespread acceptance of AR and VR games, according to the firm. This growth is driven by various gaming platforms, from consoles and PC gaming to mobile devices. Esports, with the advent of VR and AR gaming, is reshaping the industry landscape. Streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming facilitate this growth, while gaming merchandise, peripherals, and in-game purchases further boost the market. Game engines and specialized equipment such as gaming monitors contribute to the market shift.

The gaming market is marked by the rising prominence of cloud gaming, according to Technovio. This shift impacts online multiplayer experiences, offering seamless access across various platforms for both single-player and cross-platform gaming. Furthermore, it revitalizes retro gaming through game mods and innovative gaming software, according to the firm. Cloud gaming’s influence extends to game development and improves gaming communities.

Meanwhile, the gaming market faces a significant hurdle in the form of loot box regulation, impacting gaming publishers, developers and associated stakeholders, according to Technovio. This challenge affects gaming content creation and journalism, constraining the role of gaming influencers in promoting titles. The regulation issue also intersects with gaming accessories and hardware, influencing gaming events’ dynamics.

“Balancing consumer interests while ensuring fair practices is a complex challenge to sustain the market’s growth amid evolving regulatory landscapes,” according to Technovio.

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The market share growth by the casual gaming segment will be significant during the forecast period, according to the firm. By licensing gaming software to the final users, freelance service providers make a profit. The segment’s increasing popularity is due to its simple accessibility where games can be picked up and played from a range of devices, including mobile phones, tablets, or personal computers.

As far as regions, the Asia-Pacific market (APAC) is estimated to contribute 53% to the growth of the global market during the forecast period.

HDR10+ Technologies Announced New HDR10+ Gaming Plug-in

Industry group HDR10+ Technologies has announced a new HDR10+ Gaming plug-in for Unreal Engine.

HDR10+ Gaming maximizes high dynamic range display output and brightness levels without the need for manual user set-up, according to the group, which has more than 150 adopters and more than 8,000 supported devices.

The new plug-in “has been specifically designed to deliver engaging game play, with low latency and a more immersive and realistic gaming experience across a variety of consumer electronics products,” according to the group.

In contrast to SDR (standard dynamic range) games, HDR offers greater detail in dark and light image areas, along with higher contrast and wider color. However, rendering HDR onto displays can be challenging, given the different models available, according to the group. Both game developers and players require displays that are very accurate, to realize the highest quality HDR performance possible. 

The HDR10+ Gaming plug-in is available to Unreal Engine users free-of-charge and insures more seamless implementation and greater visual accuracy, from the game engine to the display, according to the group. The new plug-in’s benefits include automatic calibration; optimized dynamic HDR rendering; low latency operation; and a more simplified QA test process. All of this enables developers to save time and preserve resources, according to the group.

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“We are pleased to provide this new Unreal Engine plug-in directly to studios and developers to allow faster access to HDR10+ games on certified monitors and televisions” Bill Mandel, co-manager HDR10+ Technologies, said in a statement. “We believe this new plug-in will further expand the adoption of HDR10+ Gaming across the industry”.

The new Unreal Engine plug-in also utilizes the latest Nvidia HDR NVAPI SDK driver and conforms to the HDR10+ Gaming standard.  In addition, HDR10+ Gaming is compatible with displays from Amazon Fire TV, Hisense and Samsung. It will also be supported on the upcoming The First Descendant game developed by Nexon.

CTA Tech Trends: Gaming Growing, Services Ascendant

LAS VEGAS — Gaming is increasingly taking over leisure time for the average gamer, said Steve Koenig, VP of research at the Consumer Technology Association.

Speaking during the opening “Tech Trends to Watch” presentation Jan. 3 on the eve of the CES event, he noted that in 2019 the average gamer spent 16 hours a week gaming.

“Today it’s a full day. 24 hours. 24 hours a week,” he said.

Why are people spending so much time gaming?

It’s for escapism, entertainment and competition, but it’s also for socializing, he said.

“Increasingly, it’s about connection and socialization,” he said. “The game is really a construct for socialization.”

After the pandemic, consumers signed up for more services and “consumers really are sticking with those,” he said, showing a chart that indicated the level of video streaming services would remain stable from 2021 through an estimated 2022 and 2023.

It’s “more about services and less about the hardware itself,” he said, adding “I think the whole ad-supported business model” will help extend the entertainment streaming business.

He presented CTA research that showed that 59% of consumers planned to use video streaming more post-pandemic, with 36% planning to use it about the same and only 5% planning to use video streaming services less. As for video game services, 50% indicated they planned to use them more, 39% about the same and 10% less.

Source: CTA

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LG to Unveil New Gaming-Optimized OLED Displays at CES

LG Display will unveil its 45-inch ultra-wide OLED and 27-inch OLED displays optimized for gaming at CES 2023 in January. 

LG Display’s new gaming OLED displays boast the fastest response time of 0.03ms, making them the first-ever OLED displays for monitors to provide a refresh rate of 240Hz per second which permits the clearest picture quality and smoothest movements, even during fast-paced action, according to an LG press release. 

LG Display’s gaming OLED displays also minimize external light reflections by applying a special polarizer designed for gaming, according to the press release.

“This allows the display to achieve perfect black under any environment, adding depth to the image quality and delivering an accurate color depiction,” the press release states. “What’s more, the revolutionary gaming OLED displays bend up to 800R, or a curvature radius of 800mm, allowing gamers to experience the optimal curve for every genre of content.

“In addition, the company’s gaming OLED panels emit the lowest level of blue light in the industry compared to premium LCD displays of the same size and this allows gamers to enjoy, flicker-free gaming experiences with less eye fatigue.”

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LG Display will start mass-production of the 27- and 45-inch gaming OLED displays this month and the products are set to be used in premium monitors for several global tech companies including LG Electronics, Asus and Corsair, according to the press release.

“LG Display’s gaming OLED is the ultimate display solution for gamers in terms of picture quality, response times and eye comfort”  Tai-jong Lee, head of solution customer experience Division 2 at LG Display, said in a statement. “We will continue to expand our gaming OLED panel lineup based on the needs of gamers across multiple genres to take the customer experience we provide to new heights.”

Survey: 22% of U.S. Adults Share TV/Movie Streaming Service Expenses With Parents

New data shows a little over one-fifth (22%) of U.S. adults over 18 still share TV/movie streaming service expenses with their parents.

A third (34%) share their parents’ cell phone plan, with more than half (53%) of younger adults ages 18-44 doing so, according to a WhistleOut survey of more than 1,000 adults over 18.

These adults aren’t all free-loaders. In fact, data shows the majority of them (72%) are helping to pay at least in part for the monthly phone bill, and are financially independent of their parents for a majority of their expenses (73%).

Overall, around 54% of adults over 18 in the survey still share common tech expenses with their parents, including phone plans (30%), home internet/WiFi (28%), cable TV (18%), streaming devices (17%), smart home devices (11%) and gaming subscriptions (10%).

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About a third (30%) of Americans think it’s reasonable for adults to stay on their parents’ phone plan as long as their parents will let them, while 22% say it’s only reasonable as long as adults still live with their parents. Still, 21% say adults should get their own cell phone plans as soon as they become adults.

Verizon: Streaming Video Use Up 21% During Pandemic

Consumer habits during the ongoing pandemic have altered entertainment activities in the home. New data from Verizon found that traffic on major streaming video sites is currently 21% above pre-pandemic levels — supporting the notion that the nation has a larger appetite for streaming.

In a survey conducted by Morning Consult for Verizon, about 44% of respondents said the TV and streaming content has helped them connect with friends and family during the pandemic. Among those who currently stream content, 82% anticipate that they will be spending more or the same amount of time that they are now watching content through streaming services a year from now.

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Two-in-three U.S. adults (67%) said they have been spending at least three hours per week watching live TV. More than half (59%) said the same about watching content through a streaming service.

Nearly half of adults (47%) said they have subscribed to a new streaming service since the start of the pandemic. Most say they have binge watched shows at least once or twice (70%). While there is no final verdict on American’s preference to “binge watch” versus watch episodic content, 47% of younger respondents (Gen Z) said they prefer to binge.

Most U.S. adult households (62%) currently subscribe to a cable or satellite television service. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) said they’ve cut the cord. Among millennials, more than 21% said they have never subscribed to a cable or satellite television service.

“The pandemic has forced all of us to face challenges we never considered,” chief technical officer Kyle Malady said in a statement. “A year into the pandemic, data usage on Verizon networks remains at almost 31% above pre-pandemic levels, a clear indicator that Internet consumption and the acceleration of technology adoption are major byproducts of this moment. We’ve seen the shift to digital jump ahead five to seven years.”

Meanwhile, mobile gaming has really taken off during the pandemic. Nearly 50% of respondents report that they have purchased or downloaded a mobile game at least once since the pandemic started, while 36% reported doing the same for a computer or console game.

Nearly a third of respondents (31%) said that they spend three or more hours a week playing games on their mobile devices. About one-third of adults who’ve spent time online gaming (32%) and talking to friends or family via video calls (32%) said they were spending more time doing these activities in the early months of the pandemic than they are now, while nearly half say they were spending about the same amount of time as they are now (45% and 46%, respectively).

Vizio Official HDTV and Sound Bar Partner for ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Game

Vizio announced the launch of a partnership with Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics as the official HDTV and sound bar partner for the Marvel’s Avengers video game.

From the new line of IQ 4K HDR processors to Vizio’s ProGaming Engine, every new Vizio 4K TV is designed to optimize the gaming experience, according to Vizio.

The Vizio 2021 collection has started hitting retail shelves over the past four weeks and will continue to roll out through the fall.

“Today’s gamers want to enhance their playing experience,” Bill Baxter, chief technology officer at Vizio, said in a statement. “When they combine a new Vizio 4K TV and new 5.1 sound bar they increase their ability to win and raise their gaming position. We have created an entirely new lineup of 4K TVs with a dedicated gaming engine and immersive 5.1 sound bars that offer a best-in-class gaming experience. We’re excited to be the official HDTV and Sound Bar partner for the new Marvel’s Avengers game and to give gamers every advantage as they play the highly anticipated game upon its release.”

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“Video games are our passion,” Karl Stewart, head of worldwide strategic partnerships at Square Enix, said in a statement. “Now more than ever they are essential to bringing friends and family together. That’s why we are truly excited to work with Vizio and give gamers the perfect way to experience our game with Vizio as the official HDTV and sound bar for Marvel’s Avengers when it launches on Sept. 4.”

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Vizio delivers Quantum Color, Full Array LED with up to 3,000 nits of peak brightness, according to the company. The company is further enhancing its 4K TVs with next-gen gaming performance. Vizio V-Series 4K TVs include the new V-Gaming Engine, which utilizes Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Auto Game Mode to optimize performance upon identifying the game signal. Step-up models such as the M-Series, P-Series Quantum, P-Series Quantum X, and all new OLED include a ProGaming Engine, which offers support for variable refresh rate (VRR) and support for 4K at 120fps. Utilizing 64-bit image processing and offering HDMI 2.1 connectivity along with eARC passthrough, utilizing Vizio’s IQ Ultra and IQ Active processors adjust contrast at the level of individual pixels. The 1GHz CPU smooths contours and gradients in real time for more natural-looking graphics while accurately upscaling HD content to 4K resolution, according to Vizio. The Elevate Sound Bar features DTS:X and rotating speakers that blast sound overhead.

“We want Marvel’s Avengers to be a completely immersive gaming experience and VIZIO’s high performance takes everything to an entirely different level,” Crystal Dynamics creative director Shaun Escayg said in a statement. “The all-new Vizio ProGaming Engine in their TVs will make you feel like you’re a superhero.”

Marvel’s Avengers is a third-person action-adventure game combining a single-player campaign with online co-op action. Players must reassemble, rebuild, and customize their heroes’ roster to play an original Avengers single-player campaign, then enter the Avengers Initiative to battle solo or online alongside friends and continue the expanding story around the globe. They can also customize Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and master their unique powers to defend the world from escalating threats for years to come.

Marvel’s Avengers will bow for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC on Sept. 4, and will be available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X when the consoles launch in holiday 2020. The game is currently rated ‘T’ (Teen) by the ESRB.

ESA Report: More Than 200 Million Americans Play Video Games

Three-quarters of Americans have at least one gamer in their household and 214 million Americans play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association’s (ESA) “2020 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry” report.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) and 70% of those under 18 regularly play video games.

Almost three-quarters (73%) in the survey own a game console, 43% own a hand-held system, 29% own a virtual reality device and 25% own a mobile VR device.

About two-thirds (65%) of video gamers play with others, according to the report, and the average age of a gamer is 35 to 44 years old. Still, many players over 65 years old (46% of men and 63% of women over 65) have been playing video games for 10 years or less.

More than half of parents (55%) say they play games with their children at least once a week, and 92% pay attention to the games their child plays.

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Game playing is good for health, according to the report, with 79% of gamers saying games provide relaxation and stress relief, and 87% of male gamers ages 55 to 64 and 82% of women gamers ages 55 to 64 believing games provide mental stimulation.