A few weeks ago Vertigo had the honor of sponsoring our first ever Pinewood Derby Car race through our office up in Portland, OR. The event, Stumptown 40, was held in conjunction with the 2013 WebVisions conference and was a benefit for Schoolhouse Supplies.
One of our Senior Software Engineers, Andrew Hay, with the help of a buddy from Postano, built a cool little Web App to visualize the tournament bracket. You can check out a snap of the app below along with the Game of Thrones (GOT) inspired derby car.
For details on the app, here are some notes from Andrew:
Come see if the app I wrote with my buddy to visualize the tournament brackets will hold up; here’s what we used
- ASP.Net MVC 4 on Windows Azure
- GitHub (gotta keep track of that CSS & JS in a team build)
- SignalR (communication between admin and kiosk pages)
- Knockout.js (data binding)
- Sammy.js (hash tag navigation)
- Postano (social media/images)
- Instagram (because you need photo filters)
- ifttt.com (everybody loves a little Rube Goldberg in their app)
- Dropbox (racecar image repository)
- jQuery (because you have to)
- Handlebars (because we can)
TwitchTV is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers and is now available directly from your Xbox 360® video game and entertainment console from Microsoft. You can download it on the Xbox Live® U.S. Marketplace. Vertigo worked with Twitch to design and develop the application which allows you to watch a diverse array of live streaming content right from your living room.
Gaming is serious business these days as well as a serious competitive sport. And just like with any popular sport, there is a huge audience. Twitch’s audience now exceeds 34 million unique viewers per month. I don’t know a stadium in the world large enough to hold a crowd like that. This expansion onto the Xbox 360 reflects the core company goal of being everywhere gamers are.
Users can browse by channel, game, or look through a the list of dedicated featured content. So when you finish your game-time on Xbox Live, continue the experience by watching the world play on the top 300 live channels Twitch has to offer.
Hi all – just a quick travel note from Vertigo conference services. We’ll be across the Bay in SF this week, today through Friday attending Google I/0 2013. Stay tuned for more news out of the conference and if you have any Android/Google questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at hello [at] vertigo.com. If you’d like to meet up with us at the conference drop me a note – kurt [at] vertigo.com. Thanks!
Congrats to UX upstarts Ian Birnam, Lingmiao Wang, and Zach Houser! This student team from Cal’s Berkeley Innovation Group http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~binnov/ just completed a two-semester project sponsored by Tony Sokolowski, our VP of Design. The goal: to solve gnarly design challenges in a real-world context.
Back in Fall 2012, the group chose to focus on a redesign of Tempus, Vertigo’s beloved but battle-worn internal HR application. This application offered a real business problem (the application is over 10 years old), with real users (us!), and a chance to make a real difference in our day-to-day working lives.
With Tony as their mentor, Ling, Ian, and Zach moved through classic user research, interaction design, and information visualization phases to achieve a totally re-envisioned app. With only introductory-level UX knowledge at the start of the project, this group embraced modern design problem solving techniques and tools throughout the process.
Their final presentation to Vertigo stakeholders and their colleagues at UC Berkeley were both huge successes. The group blew us away with their dedication, courage, and spectactular results. Nice job guys!
Our weekly (ok so we try for weekly!) look at links and stories that circulate around the Vertigo offices.
Only about one more month to go! As you may have noticed over the past 12 months the Xbox ecosystem has become a major part of Vertigo’s business with the introduction of video apps on the Xbox 360 platform. Just like everyone else we are excited to learn more about how that part of our business can grow with a refresh of the platform. The event is scheduled for May 21 at 10a PT and can be seen on xbox.com
Netflix recently released their earnings showing that they are a powerhouse in the “Internet TV Network” landscape. With their earnings they released a 12 page .pdf sharing their long term view. There have been a few interpretations and summaries of the report but I would encourage you to give it a read.
With Silverlight in the rear view mirror for many companies it was big news to hear that Netflix will be pushing into HTML5 video delivery via HTML5 Premium Video Extensions. Netflix was one of the largest properties to still support Silverlight streaming.
“Win money playing video games”—just a few words from the Virgin Gaming website say it all.
Virgin Gaming teamed up with Microsoft Corporation to create a new gamer tournament application for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. “Xbox Tournaments” is a Microsoft branded application powered by Virgin Gaming, and designed and developed by Vertigo.
Virgin Gaming has a vast online tournament gaming community of over 2 million gamers. The “Xbox Tournaments” application now offers members of Xbox LIVE® access to tournaments directly from their Xbox 360 console.
Gamers can participate in a variety of games and challenges for prize money. The platform supports several top games so it’s likely you can win prizes playing games that you already know and love. If your game isn’t there yet, no worries, more will be added in the future.
You don’t need to be a hard-core gamer to enjoy the platform either. Virgin Gaming has something for every skill level; even free tournaments if you’re not yet up to accepting a paid challenge. And if you’re not interested in a tournament, the app offers “Head to Head” matches, where players challenge each other to a game with a mutually agreed upon jackpot and rules. In addition, the application has deep integration with Xbox LIVE friends to make it easy to see what your friends are playing and then compete against them. After you win, share it with the world through in-app Facebook sharing.
Since your money is on the line, the application offers extensive information about gamers’ reputations, win/loss history, and feedback. Virgin Gaming also supports you through match support, instructional videos, and FAQs. You can also monitor your complete transaction history and make deposits directly into your gaming account via your Xbox LIVE account.
Most Xbox 360 LIVE applications are media applications but Virgin Gaming broke new ground by building a feature rich Xbox gaming application with sophisticated workflows and payment system.
Virgin Gaming chose Vertigo as their development partner due to Vertigo’s extensive experience with Xbox LIVE applications, including the creation of the original Xbox reference application. For this project, Vertigo’s design seamlessly integrates the Virgin Gaming workflows and complex business rules into an intuitive Xbox user interface, allowing gamers to easily find tournaments and opponents.
Xbox Tournaments is like no other application you’ll find on the Xbox 360 console today. Go now, and win money playing video games.
Vertigo is in Las Vegas this week for the 2013 NAB Show. I will be visiting with many of our media and entertainment clients and checking out the latest in the digital video distribution space. If you want to reach out to us while here in Las Vegas just drop me an email kurt[at]vertigo.com.
During the week there seems to be a view topics that make their way around the office that influence and affect our business. In addition we sometimes have employees share technical insights on their personal blogs. Let’s see if we can bring some of that together in a weekly series, Vertigo Links.
MediaRoom for Sale?
There is constant movement in the IPTV and OTT video space and the rumor of Microsoft selling off their MediaRoom product is interesting. As Microsoft moves forward with their living room strategy, a move away from MediaRoom would indicate a potential consolidated effort around the Xbox as the single Microsoft outpost in the living room. The reality is that now video and entertainment distribution is everywhere from your pocket all the way up to a large screen in a living room. If you believe Microsoft the idea of devices may eventually go away and we will live in a world of just screens:
Streaming Time – Stats
A new week means there is a new set of stats about video distribution. This week we turn to Nielsen for the latest stats on gameplay v. streaming time on the various consoles. Overall looks like the consoles are strong media boxes and I wonder how that will affect the marketing and design of the next gen consoles. Will they go after the Roku’s and AppleTV’s or stay in their lane a bit and focus on the gamers. It should be a interesting next few months in this space as we hear more about the PS4 and maybe more about the next gen Xbox.
We’re over across the bridge today in SF attending W3Conf (http://www.w3.org/conf/). I’ll be here Thursday and Friday taking in all the goodness of the modern web and listening to some great talks from some of the top professionals in the space. It looks like they have a great streaming set up so follow along at the live stream: http://www.w3.org/conf/live.html or if you happen to be at the conference come say hello!
During the week there seems to be a view topics that make their way around the office that influence and affect our business. In addition we sometimes have employees share technical insights on their personal blogs. Let’s see if we can bring some of that together in a weekly series, Vertigo Links. Comcast buys remaining NBC Universal stake from GE
Anytime there is movement with the broadcasters our ears perk up. We do a lot of work in media and keeping track of who owns who is something we try to keep our eye on. Though a very large business it’s amazing what a small world exists on the business end. Knowing the relationships of all the media companies is valuable to Vertigo’s business.
With our continued push into modern web development there has been a lot of talk around the office about best practices, machine set up, tools, etc. Scott even had a page set up for sharing some of his tips for getting a brand new mac set up (link). Looks like someone has made it even easier with the github project: Boxen
Xbox Media Push
At the D:Dive into Media conference this past week Nancy Tellem and Yusuf Mehdi from the Xbox team shared a peak into the future of Xbox. Vertigo has been very involved in the Xbox entertainment platform over the past 2 years working on both the base platform and many of the consumerexperiences currently out in the market. We were excited to hear about continued focused on media and content creation on the platform. Check out some of the coverage from the event below.
Originally popping up internally as an “Xbox Rant” there is some great insight in Nat Brown’s post. While the posts above highlight Xbox and the push into media and entertainment Nat calls out the fact that the core experience of gaming on the Xbox is stealthy under attack from the likes of Apple, Google and other mobile/casual game mediums. In his opinion Xbox is not open enough to encourage independent and mass game development to happen on the platform which may eventually lead to cannibalization of their market share.