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Levelling Up Your PC Game Marketing to Capitalise on the MENA’s Gaming Boom



By Adam Smart, Director of Product – Gaming, AppsFlyer

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is home to the world’s fastest-growing gaming market — an estimated 377 million players, which is more than all of Europe combined (386 million) and considerably more than the US (210 million). Gamers in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) combined have topped 65 million by 2021 and this number is predicted to reach almost 86 million by 2025. MENA gaming revenue is set to reach more than US$5 billion by 2025. In the UAE, where nine in every 10 adults say they play video games, the country’s gaming market is expected to reach more than $306 million this year.

One segment that has been growing consistently is PC and console gaming. As the growth has occurred, the PC gamer has evolved. No longer exclusively the domain of World of Warcraft aficionados brandishing their “l33t” statuses in front of hordes of “noobs”, the PC market is more diverse, and therein lies the opportunity. First, we have to temper the excitement by reminding you that enthusiasm is no substitute for strategy. Paid and organic moves must combine in a journey of iteration and learning. Hype must be built patiently, in four steps.

Pick Your Genre
You start out with a dream. You want to learn. You want your game to be played. So, the first thing you will do is determine — through research on marketplaces like Steam — what your best positioning is. What genre should your game inhabit to give you the best chance of momentum? Your genre will determine your competition and revenue potential. Each genre releases different numbers of games and has different sales volumes and average revenues per user (ARPU).

Consider a less competitive genre to start with, so you can build some revenue before embarking on more ambitious projects. Consider what kind of streamers play in this genre and how your game’s art style and vibe may fit their tastes. And get to know where your audience consumes content — Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, or others.

Get to Know Steam
Steam is the largest gaming marketplace, where visibility and downloads play out a little differently to Google Play or the App Store. Standing out among 50,000 other games and drawing players from among 130 million monthly active users is a daunting goal. Make sure you pay attention to your capsule (the hero image that represents you in the store). An attractive, professional design is more likely to pique interest. Next, craft your landing page to be a polished artefact that intrigues and inspires browsing — great imagery, short trailers, and lots of gameplay footage. And tag your game to ensure discovery. Steam is known for its window shoppers, so make sure they can add your game to their wish lists. This is a great marketing tool, an effective social wedge, and a sustainable driver of sales.

Leverage UA Channels
As an indie developer, signing with a publisher can help a lot with marketing, especially if your budget is tight. You can also get the word out through alpha and beta releases. Apart from hype, this is a way to keep your most loyal players engaged. Use tools like Sullygnome, Playboard, or HYPR to find well-known gamers/streamers. Many streamers made the difference for games once they started playing them on Twitch. Also check out online festivals like GDC, PAX, Tiny Teams, and Summer Game Fest to further build awareness. And if you have the budget, look into Meta ads, Twitch ads, and YouTube ads.

Find out which platforms host your potential gamers. Engage with them wherever they are. Run your campaigns on channels with which you are familiar, such as mobile and Web. Do not rule out CTV (connected TV) ads or offline ads to capture interest at bus stops and metro stations.

Measure and Optimise
By this point, you will have built a hype train. Now, you must measure its efficiency. You need to know your most profitable campaigns and channels and to do this, you need to measure and attribute conversions accurately. This is not easy in the multichannel haze in which the modern consumer dwells. A gamer could have spotted a Tweet, then watched a CTV ad, then a mobile ad, and then been confronted with a billboard. Which drove their conversion? Today’s marketing measurement and analytics solutions, backed by the right partner, can help organisations connect these dots to the purchase of your game. These platforms even offer a real-time view of campaigns’ performances across multiple channels and devices — a critical capability for branching out to sell games on consoles.

You Just Levelled Up
PC and console gaming sales are a world apart from mobile markets. But provided you understand the target genre and make the right moves on Steam (including wish lists), you should be in the necessary visibility bracket to take your campaign to the next level. Get social, plug yourself into the channels where your target gamers can be found. Enlist a publisher, dole out alpha and beta launches, and cosy up to celebrity gamers/streamers. Be seen at online festivals, spend (if possible) on Meta Ads, Twitch, and YouTube, and consider cross-platform campaigns across mobile, CTV, offline, and Web. But most importantly, measure. And through measurement, as the gamers say, “GiT GuD”.

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Expert Speak

Mac Error Messages: How to Deal With Them?



macOS is packed with many responsive apps, functions, and features. All these components combine together to give you an excellent user experience. But similar to other digital devices, the Apple computer lineup also has to deal with different error messages.

While working on any program on Mac, if you see an error message, you need to fix it to continue working; however, fixing an error might be a challenge. No matter how familiar you are with macOS, a few errors are hard to resolve. You need some kind of help to get rid of them.

The article compiles together various error messages that you can encounter on your Mac along with the potential workaround methods.

This Mac Can’t Connect to iCloud
iCloud is a native Cloud service that Mac offers to all its users for storing up to 5 gigabytes of data – free of cost. The service works efficiently and gives the flexibility to store data and access it from anywhere on any Apple device running on the same iCloud ID.

Sometimes, iCloud stops working and one of the significant reasons is a lack of storage. For example, if you can’t share in the Notes app, check your iCloud storage. Learning how to make a shared note, delete unnecessary data from iCloud, or update the app to fix the issue.

The Application Quit Unexpectedly
One of the most commonly encountered error messages that interrupts your workflow. One moment you are working in an app, and the other moment the app disappears. Isn’t it annoying to imagine how critical the situation becomes when an app quits all of a sudden?

Normally, you are not likely to face such errors if you update apps regularly. An outdated app not only interrupts smooth functioning but poses security risks to devices and data stored within. Restart the app and try to update it. If that doesn’t help, restart your computer.

You Need to Restart Your Computer
Have you ever heard of kernel panic? It’s a situation when your MacBook shuts down repeatedly and you are not able to try any resolution. More often, the device starts automatically after shutting down while it shuts down abruptly and never boots up.

On Macs, it’s rare to see kernel panic attacks, but when it appears, resolving the error is difficult. If you encounter this error message once, there is nothing much you need to do. However, if it reappears frequently, there’s something wrong with the hardware or software.

Your Startup Disk is Almost Full

If you are a graphic designer and use Photoshop a lot for creating new designs, finding this error message on your Mac is routine. The startup disk is the hard drive where documents, movies, audio, and all other files alongside macOS are stored temporarily.

Over time, the startup disk begins to accumulate a lot of data and gets full, leading to severe performance issues. Free up space by deleting unnecessary apps, duplicate files, and other data that you no longer need. Also, clear out items from the Downloads folder and Trash.

Application Not Supported on Mac
If you have recently updated the version of macOS running on your Mac, the possibilities are some of the apps might not be working. In that case, you encounter the “You can’t open the application because it is not supported on this type of Mac” error message.

To fix the error, consider downgrading the macOS to the previous version. Now try to open the same app and check if it is accessible. If that doesn’t help, try to update the app to the latest version. Install any pending software update, if available.

A Folder with A Question Mark
Your Mac displays this error on startup when it fails to find the hard drive. You can start a Mac by connecting multiple drives such as an external drive. When you use a drive as a startup disk, but it disconnects abruptly, a folder with a question mark appears.

If there’s something wrong with your MacBook’s internal storage, the same error message would appear. To select the internal hard drive, hold down the Alt key when you attempt to start your Mac. Using the Recovery Partition option to reinstall macOS on your Mac can also help.

Error Report Display
Sometimes, your Mac works just fine, but the application you are using crashes abruptly. When the app crashes, it ends up displaying an Error Report. This error report comprises information that developers usually refer to for fixing technical glitches.

The data that developers collect is utilized to detect general technical and functional issues. This information won’t help identify any specific problem. If the problem reappears try removing the app’s preferences and then reinstall the app.

These are some of the most common error messages that you see on your Mac computer. Though resolving these errors by yourself is simple, contact Apple Support if you find difficulty dealing with these errors.

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Expert Speak

How Can We Make Screen Time Less Harmful?



Written by Alexander Malienko, Business Unit Director Middle East and Africa, Dynabook Europe GmbH

Blue light is a natural part of life and has a definite positive effect on humans. For example, it wakes us up in the morning and improves our mood and cognitive functions, which allow us to perceive the world, respond adequately to stimuli, and manage various tasks. In a natural environment, we have just enough of it to serve us well.

On the other hand, people have never been exposed to as much blue light as they are today because electronic displays are also a significant source of blue light. According to one study from 2020, people now spend an average of an almost unbelievable 13 hours in front of their monitor, phone, and TV screens.

On a typical day, that means we’re only three to four hours without intense blue light exposure during the day. The pandemic and the associated quarantines and lockdowns have no doubt contributed to this state of affairs. All this also entails a potentially significant threat to our eyesight, as the human eye cannot cope with blue light and too much of it damages the eyes.

Children and young people are the most vulnerable
Compared to UV radiation, which the cornea and lens of the eye can filter out with almost 100% efficiency, up to about 65% of the blue light reaching the retina of children reaches the eyes. In older people, this is less. Excessive exposure to blue light causes, for example, drying and consequently itchy and painful eyes, but also, for example, sleep disturbances, headaches, or blurred vision. Children are the most vulnerable, as their developing eyes have the lowest ability to filter blue light, and they tend to hold devices closer to their eyes, increasing the amount of danger.

The heaviest workload is in the office, employers can help
As people working in offices are exposed to blue light during working hours, employers also have a certain amount of responsibility in this respect. IT and HR managers should consider whether it is a good time to equip employees with some of the possible eye protection devices. In addition to health considerations, the above-mentioned effects of blue light exposure can cause fatigue and reduce employee efficiency.

The part technology can play in the solution, not the problem
While tech brands may not be able to influence usage patterns and needs, we do have a certain shared responsibility to work towards developing solutions within the products themselves that counteract the negative effects of blue light, whether this is via a special display, filter, or software solution.  Here are some examples of solutions that have been created today:

  1. Special display with blue light filtration: From the user’s point of view, the simplest and most effective way to filter blue light is a display that can reduce the intensity of high-energy blue light automatically without negatively impacting the colour rendering of the image. Devices equipped with a special IPS Eyesafe-certified display solve blue light filtering automatically without the user having to think about it, making viewing more eye-friendly and enjoyable.
  2. Filter: the vast majority of displays sold today cannot suppress blue light, however for them, a special filter is available. Desktop monitors, laptops, and phones can be equipped with separately sold films that reduce glare while limiting the amount of blue light that passes through. Most of these filters, which can be found for a particular display diagonal or phone model, are designed to be applied directly to the display once, and for mobile phones, these filters can also act as a protective device to reduce the risk of the display breaking if dropped.
  3. Glasses: Special glasses, often sold as “computer glasses”, can also perform a similar function of suppressing the amount of blue light passing through. When purchasing these, it is a good idea to check the parameters for the presence of a blue light filter.
  4. Software solutions: Blue light can also be eliminated by software, but this method brings with it a colour change that is usually neither desirable nor pleasant.
  5. Overall: From a health point of view, it is a good idea to set the brightness level of the display only to the level needed (not the maximum) and not to watch a display emitting blue light in the dark. It is better to at least turn on a lamp when working with your computer or phone in the evening.

Never have people been exposed to blue light to such a large extent as in recent times. Better than dealing with irreversible consequences is to focus on prevention.

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Expert Speak

Gaming: How Much is Too Much for Our Children?



With many children spending a little too much time playing video games, learn to spot the signs things may be spinning out of control, writes Phil Muncaster, guest writer at ESET

Across Europe, half of the population aged 6-64 plays video games, according to the industry body ISFE. The number rises significantly for 6-10-year-olds (68%), and those aged 11-14 (79%) and 15-24 (72%). According to some research, teenagers may spend as many as three hours per day gaming. That’s not necessarily a problem, as long as they still have time to spend on other activities.<

But for some, what started as a healthy interest – perhaps during the latest holiday season – can eventually tip into an obsession, even addiction. Concerned parents need to know what the warning signs are, and what they can do to address problems before they spiral out of control.

Top signs your kids may be gaming too much
Parents who didn’t grow up with digital technologies and on-demand gaming are sometimes prone to overreact about their children spending time glued to a screen. But there are legitimate concerns: about the people their kids might be talking to online; the impact on their sleep, mood, and behaviour; and even their physical health.

So how can you tell if your child may be addicted to gaming?

They may start to get immersed in the digital world to the point where they stop paying attention to things happening in real life. That might include:

  • Not paying attention to personal hygiene or eating
  • Avoiding face-to-face contact with their friends
  • They appear irritable and restless when not playing their favorite games
  • They appear to be excessively tired or get headaches or hand/eye pain from playing for long periods
  • They refuse to go to school, in order to play more
  • They have trouble getting to sleep
  • They lie about how much time they spend playing
  • Any attempt to restrict their screen time leads to major confrontations/outbursts of anger

The challenge for parents is that if their kids are experiencing any of these symptoms it may not be because they have a gaming addiction. Conversely, many gaming addicts don’t display all of these symptoms. The best way forward is to talk about your concerns with them, and if that fails, share these concerns with your child’s teachers.

How can you cut down your children’s gaming time?
If you’re concerned about the amount of time your child spends gaming each week, consider the following steps as a good place to start:

  • Communicate: Whatever happens, keep talking. Your kids need guidance, but they also need an open, non-judgmental arena in which to share their own concerns and feelings. Ditch the blame game and try to understand each other more.
  • Build trust: Part of this communication process is about establishing confidence and trust in each other. Simply telling your kids what to do will only force negative behavior underground. Be as open and empathetic as possible about the experiences your kids are going through as they grow up.
  • Work out limits together: Just as you should try to avoid dictating orders to your children, also resist the urge to confiscate their devices or consoles. Instead, sit down together to work out a plan for reducing screen time, perhaps by uninstalling gaming apps on specific devices. This may have to be done in stages. Work out a daily time limit for gaming, perhaps, or a cut-off time for use of the home Wi-Fi. Doing this together means you stand a greater chance of success.
  • Plan digital breaks: In a similar way to the above, consider sitting down with your kids to plan short breaks away from their devices/consoles. It could be a trip away for a few hours or even a weekend. Try and do something engaging that you’ll both enjoy, and keep the encouragement/motivation levels as high as possible.
  • Consider a parental control app: Specialised software can block access to specific gaming apps and/or restrict their usage by time limits. If you’re concerned that your children aren’t keeping their side of the bargain, it might be a useful way to minimize harm. However, always explain why you’re using such tools.
  • Safety first: Aside from concerns around the overuse of gaming sites, many parents are also worried about who their kids are interacting with online and the type of content they’re exposed to. Parental control apps can manage the second concern. But parents should also be prepared to sit down with their kids to ensure they know about the possible dangers facing them in the digital world. As digital natives, it’s easy to believe that children are more internet savvy than in fact they are. Make sure they understand the risks of oversharing personal information, and of online predators. They should be able to tell you anything without judgment.

Parents can sometimes forget how stressful it was growing up. In that context, gaming can be a wonderful respite from all the drama and emotion, whilst also helping kids to develop some underrated skills such as hand-eye coordination and problem-solving. But it’s also important to keep them safe and healthy – by stepping in as soon as possible if things begin to get out of hand.

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