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Marketing Featured Global

WPP ties with Epic Games to scale metaverse capabilities

Singapore – Global creative transformation company WPP has partnered with Epic Games, the interactive entertainment company and Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer, to help agencies within WPP deliver a new era of digital experiences for brands in the metaverse. 

The partnership will include a new training program to upskill WPP creatives and technologists, consisting of three separate tracks for executives, creative practitioners, and media experts and strategists. It will see WPP teams working closely with experts at Epic Games to learn how to build next-generation interactive experiences leveraging Unreal Engine, an advanced real-time 3D creation tool used across a range of industries including games, film, architecture, fashion, and automotive, as well as music and live events. 

Moreover, WPP teams will be able to take advantage of training and tools to create new experiences in Fortnite, where creators can build imaginative worlds for brands inside of one of the most globally popular online games. 

WPP will also work with SuperAwesome, an Epic Games company, to deepen its understanding of online safety and privacy to help its campaigns engage younger audiences safely.

Nilufar Fowler, WPP’s executive vice president of strategic partnerships, commented, “We think of WPP as the creative transformation company, one that embraces new environments like the metaverse and sees the potential for clients. Epic’s technology is world-class, and we are delighted to partner with it to raise the bar for social experiences in virtual worlds on behalf of our clients.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Henick, Epic Games’ vice president of metaverse development, shared that the collaboration between Epic, WPP, its clients, and the creator community will accelerate the building of diverse social entertainment experiences that players across the world will love. 

“This partnership with WPP bolsters our mission to educate more trailblazing brands and creators on how Epic’s tools across Fortnite, Unreal Engine, and 3D marketplaces like ArtStation and Sketchfab can be used to bring their metaverse visions to life,” said Henick.

WPP said that this partnership follows its recent announcement of The Metaverse Foundry, a new global metaverse offering through Hogarth, its specialist creative content production company.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

MediaMonks India, Epic Games’ partnership to fuel investment for new office, talents

New Delhi, India – The Indian arm of digital production company MediaMonks, through a new partnership with video game company Epic Games, has sought in investing for a new office in New Delhi, India, which will help to attract new talents for the company.

The envisioned new office will be a new 8000 square feet studio, with three smaller studios featuring state of the art equipment and facilities to allow COVID-safe shoots. The studio will also have features including a full sensor camera, live tracking devices, and LED Panels for filmmaking with Unreal Engine, Epic Games’ developed game engine.

“We are planning to be at the forefront of the APAC region for high-end shoots as well as shoots using Unreal Engine,” said Robert Godinho, managing partner at MediaMonks.

Through Unreal Engine, MediaMonks’ artists can digitally swap out assets, change backgrounds, color schemes instantaneously creating multiple versions of the same product in a revolutionary turnaround time, without needing to shoot the physical assets. 

According to Tim Dillon, SVP for growth at MediaMonks, the game engine utilization is in response to the increased demand from their clients and partners to explore innovative solutions that enable real-time interactive 3D production using technology like Unreal Engine.

“As our pipeline expands globally, we’re upskilling and scaling our teams around the world to meet client demand in this rapidly expanding category, from product virtualization to virtual production,” Dillon stated.

In line with MediaMonks’ promise of harnessing the power of data and technology to fuel and inform creative content, the global team is reinventing the use of this gaming software to bring real-time filmmaking, visual effects, previsualization, virtual production, and CG animation together. 

Godinho also stated that part of their utilization of the Unreal Engine from Epic Games’ grant is its implementation across clients for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.

“The aim is to take these learnings and apply them to an end-to-end product shoot for a real product with a side-by-side comparison of a virtual production versus a live production. The side-by-side comparison will determine best use cases, ease-of-use/integration on set, visual equality and flexibility; the financial efficiencies; and, most importantly, the final image outputs,” Godinho concluded.

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Platforms Featured Global

Anzu.io’s US$9M funding to fuel in-game ad platform globally

Tel Aviv, Israel – In-game advertising platform Anzu.io has announced the conclusion of its funding series, successfully raising US$9M to aid the company’s global expansion of its in-game advertising platform, with the help of venture capital groups BITKRAFT Ventures and HBSE Ventures, as well as marketing services organization WPP and Sony Innovation Fund, the corporate venture capital arm of multinational conglomerate Sony.

The funding series has also seen the participation of venture capitals Alumni Ventures Group and Goal Ventures, as well as angel investors Marc Merrill, co-founder, co-chairman, and former co-CEO of Riot Games, and Dylan Collins, co-founder and CEO of SuperAwesome, a kid-safe ad platform recently acquired by Epic Games.

Anzu.io’s funding series coincides with the increasing popularity and market ‘boom’ of the gaming industry. Statistics from market intelligence group Mordor Intelligence estimate that the gaming industry’s value is expected to be around US$257B by 2025.

“Gaming is one activity that has exploded over the past year and increasingly an important advertising channel. In partnership with Anzu, together with our agencies, we can make it simpler for them to reach the growing audience in the esports and gaming space,” said Mark Read, CEO of WPP.

Through the accumulated funding, Anzu.io will be pushing its presence globally starting with the United States, followed by Singapore and China, and other core locations to be announced. With partner brands including game publishers Ubisoft, Lion Castle, and Nacon and global brands Pepsico, Samsung, American Eagle, and Vodafone, Anzu.io will feature advertisements of partner brands through programmatic technology blending of real-world ads into video games, esports tournaments, and live streams, enhancing games’ realism and transforming game objects into valuable advertising opportunities.

“Anzu has been delivering the technology they promised and growing their industry footprint. We are excited to join this funding round and support Anzu, entering a new phase of growth in in-game advertising. The company’s gamer-first attitude will enable developers to access new business models and bring advertisers closer to gamer audiences without disturbing gameplay,” says Gen Tsuchikawa, CEO and chief investment officer at Innovation Growth Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund.

Meanwhile, Itamar Benedy, co-founder and CEO at Anzu commented, “We are proud to have global leaders in advertising, entertainment, gaming, esports, and venture capital invest in Anzu’s next stage of growth. These trailblazers are the perfect combination of strategic partners to help us maintain our dominating position as we enter 2021.”

For Jens Hilgers, founding general partner at BITKRAFT, their recent participation at Anzu.io’s funding series means redefining the aspect of modern in-game advertising.

“Since our initial investment, the Anzu team has built the most sophisticated platform to deliver blended in-game advertising at scale in the higher-end games segment. The impressive line up of game integrations combined with brands executing unique campaigns on the platform has validated Anzu’s market position and technology,” Hilgers commented.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

Epic Games sees partnership with Aussie football leagues to bring the sport to ‘Fortnite’

Sydney, Australia – Video game company Epic Games has announced that three of Australia’s known football leagues have teamed with the company in bringing the sport to life in the battle royale game ‘Fortnite’, alongside other 20 football teams around the world.

Melbourne City FC, Sydney FC, and Western Sydney Wanderers are the three Australian-based football teams participating in this endeavor, united under the A-League.

The partnership will see an upcoming feature on Fortnite, where players can choose from 10 different variants of new ‘Kickoff Set’ outfits to represent their favorite club in-game. The newest addition to the game include outfits based on the participating 23 global football teams, and game emotes, including a ‘Fancy Footwork’ dribbling emote and the iconic ‘Pel’és Air Punch’ based off the Brazilian footballer Pelé.

“The partnership between the A-League and Epic Games is an incredible opportunity to promote our clubs and League to millions of Fortnite players in Australia and around the world. It will put the A-League alongside some of the biggest international clubs such as Man City in the English Premier League, Santos in the Brasileirão and the MLS’ Seattle Sounders,” said Danny Townsend, commercial lead for the Australian Professional Leagues and CEO of Sydney FC.

He added, “There is a significant demographic overlap between the youth audience who love football and those who play Fortnite – this partnership takes us to where our fans are and create new opportunities to engage with the global game.”

Players can now join also in the upcoming Pelé Cup in Fortnite, where players can earn rewards, visit the Creative Hub for an immersive football experience throughout the week, and join select clubs around the world in hosted Fortnite tournaments.

“Football is consistently one of the top sports that our players tell us they want to see and experience in Fortnite. We’re excited to partner with Melbourne City FC, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers to bring ‘the beautiful game ’to Fortnite fans around the world as they face off in competitive tournaments, experience new creative modes of gameplay, and celebrate global football,” the head of global partnerships at Epic Games Nate Nanzer said. 

The feature will be available on Sunday, January 24 as the A-League will also host its own Fortnite tournament on January 27 with a mix of A-League players, fans, and Fortnite creators battling for exclusive Fortnite and A-League prize packs.