Signups for Dark Souls III’s network test are now open

Dark Souls III needs to sharpen a few blades before it runs them through your gut.

Publisher Bandai Namco needs your help before it kills you.

The company has opened the signup process for the Dark Souls III “network stress test” that it plans to run in mid-October. If you register, you’ll have the chance to download a version of the difficult role-playing sequel to try out on your PlayStation 4. Bandai Namco and developer From Software are doing this to see how its servers hold up under extreme load. This should increase the odds that Dark Souls III has a smooth launch without connectivity problems. It also means that the publisher will want a lot of people playing, so Bandai Namco likely has a ton of codes to give out.

“We will run a large-scale network load test to check up on all the technologies running the online system,” reads the signup page for the test. “This network stress, meant to help improve the quality of the product, is free of charge to testers. We look forward to your help as we try to make Dark Souls III the best game we can.”

Specifically, From and Bandai Namco want to test obvious things like the load on the server, but it goes beyond that as well. The companies note that they will also check to see how players respond to multiplayer gameplay and how balanced the action is.

If Bandai Namco and From select you for the beta test, they will notify you on October 12 and October 13 via email. If they pick you, you’ll get a link to the a selection-results page that will give you a product code you can enter on PlayStation Network.

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Local supply, global demand: Monetizing apps in emerging markets

texting asia

This sponsored post is produced by Smaato

Global connectivity has reached the point where a kid can develop a mobile game in his garage in Kansas, release that game into the various app stores of the world, and have downloads from Portugal to the Philippines by the end of his evening.

This capacity to “go global” from day one stems from a combination of powerful, low-cost Android smartphones and advanced mobile networks in the developing world. There are now more mobile devices than people, and rapid technological advancement has in turn created a rapid upgrade cycle from feature phones to smartphones. The result is an unceasing, and altogether necessary evolution in both the app universe and the mobile adtech ecosystem.

If our hypothetical Kansan app developer is looking to monetize his game through advertising, then he’ll need to make sure he reaches these new global users with highly targeted, relevant ads. With nearly three million apps across the App Store and Google Play, his game could easily get buried under an avalanche of similar apps, no matter how innovative or groundbreaking it might be.

So how do you break through the noise? How do you deliver ads that resonate with a diverse, large, and international community? How do you effectively monetize via in-app advertising? These are questions that face every app publisher today, whether they’re a solo coder in a garage or a well-known corporation.

With 3.7 billion unique mobile subscribers in the world today, roughly 73 percent of the world’s population is using a mobile phone. 70 percent of this group lives in emerging economies — not in the brand-soaked regions of the United States and Europe. For many of these users, their smartphone is their primary connected device. Moreover, growth in emerging economies is also fueling an unprecedented expansion of the middle class. This, in turn, facilitates soaring consumer spending on goods and services. These trends represent huge opportunities for any aspiring app developer, no matter where they happen to be developing.

Mobile adtech that’s fluent in any language

Most users within emerging markets are discovering the exciting universe of mobile apps and games for the first time. When marketed to at all, they want to receive marketing messages from brands in languages they understand, with offers they can easily act upon with a click. Customers in Venezuela and Vietnam will each want to see highly targeted, language-specific display, native and video ads that are relevant to them.

Delivering localized ads at scale is a tall order, but a necessary one for any developer that hopes to gain headway outside of their home market. It requires working with a mobile ad platform that allows the developer to easily pull from demand sources in markets around the world, without having to spend too much time configuring that demand within the inner workings of the platform itself.

Ease of use is paramount in order to even have the time to figure out what will be effective, relevant, and targeted — market-to-market. Too often app developers and publishers rely on a multitude of cobbled-together demand stacks, each with their own unique interfaces, and the complexity of trying to fine-tune each of them for all of the unique markets and languages of the world is daunting, to say the least.

I’m certain most developers would prefer to be spending time on the next iteration of their apps or games, rather than attempting to architect ten different demand-side platforms who may or may not even have inventory for the emerging markets now heating up smartphone sales around the globe.

We’re clearly starting to see “real” money spent specifically mobile-first.  Advertising budgets are beginning to consider mobile as a (or the) primary channel. The next Flappy Birds — the one so popular that a developer actually removes it from app stores — is continuously around the corner. The only way to keep up with the rising tide is with global, independent, mobile-first integrated platforms that easily connect these local publishers to the seemingly endless global budgets that are frantically trying to find them.

Jay Hinman is the VP of Marketing at Smaato.

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