Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Perhaps they need NTN Buzztime at Chuck E Cheese

I've noticed something about the NTN Buzztime games clientele before, and it really hit home when I read this post:

We all gather at Kirk's birthstone, take some pics, makes some cheesy jokes and decide to hit the road in search of our next campground. On our way there, we decide to stop for our last "restaurant" meal together as a wandering group of vagabonds. We stop at a sports bar named Buffalo Wild Wings and order nachos, quesadillas, and salads. They have very cool games that you remove from power ports, so the kids play games and trivia while we talk and laugh and enjoy settling down for the night.

Notice that the adults didn't even play NTN Buzztime - just the kids. Now I don't know whether "the kids" in this case were 7 year olds or 17 year olds, but the NTN Buzztime trivia questions didn't seem to be all that kid-friendly, especially when they ask about stuff from the 1970s.

Does NTN Buzztime need to start putting its games in more kid-friendly places? Maybe my April Fool's joke wasn't that much of a joke after all...

P.S. Forget about McDonalds, by the way. They prefer that their clientele eat and leave.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The power of camraderie

The one advantage of having NTN Buzztime games in bars rather than fitness centers is that bars lend themselves better to a social environment. Certainly some fitness centers are social, but people tend to be focused on themselves and their bodies. As a result, even people who don't like trivia can be sucked into the fun. Take Teresa:

We went to Buffalo Wild Wings....We ordered two cold ones and eventually I asked the guys next to us what the blue Electric Bingo Dauber type machines were that they had. They said it was a trivia game and that we should play. I quickly explained that I was terrible at trivia, I actually fundamentally hate Trivial Pursuit and would chose only to play the kiddie version if forced.

Well, Teresa was eventually persuaded to play, and guess what happened?

I sucked as expected....

So you may think that Teresa hated the experience. She didn't:

Although it was fun. We will [definitely] go back and I think it would be fun to go with a group, so we will see if we can rally a few people to go with us, otherwise we will just make new friends if only temporarily....

So if Teresa enjoyed herself, perhaps anyone would.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy anniversary to YOU! NTN Buzztime and 25 Years of Sports

I first saw this press release early this morning. Of course, we all knew something was up, based on the tweets from NTN Buzztime's Mary Campbell a/k/a @BuzztimeGirl. But I was neglectful in following up on her tweets (bad me), even though she's been tweeting the URL for about a week now.

One interesting part of the 25 Years of Sports promotion is that during the first round, you don't have to go to a bar/restaurant to compete. You can compete at the website, via the mobile website, or in a bar/restaurant. But if you play at a bar/restaurant, you get ten times as many points. However, the online availability helps to evangelize the existence of the games.

And in the final rounds, the Sports Legends and Poker Pros get into the act. Now I don't know poker (the one time I played Texas Hold'Em on the Buzztime network, I quickly went into the red), but I know my sports legends. Some of the names they've announced include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Troy Aikman, Jim Brown, Mike Ditka, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Bobby Hull, Reggie Jackson, and many more.

The press release:

NTN Buzztime, Inc. to Celebrate 25 Years of Sports With a North American Trivia Competition

Avid sports fans compete for opportunity to play against sport legends

CARLSBAD, Calif., June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a first-of-its-kind multi-platform tournament, NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE Amex: NTN) is giving sports fans the chance to live out a true sports fantasy with Buzztime's 25 Years of Sports trivia game. Sports enthusiasts across the country will compete in a sports trivia-themed competition featuring an unprecedented $250,000 in prizes.


During the competition's three-week qualifying tournament, July 13-31, players will compete in Buzztime's 25 Years of Sports Trivia game online (, via mobile or within its network of bars and restaurants across North America to earn the necessary qualifying points to advance. Contestants earn 10 times as many qualifying points for playing at Buzztime's network of bars and restaurants.

In the first round, players earn qualifying points to be a part of a three-night network-wide grand prize event, being held on August 12-14, exclusively at Buzztime hospitality locations across North America. The final event will see the continent split into four regions. The highest scorer in each region, each night, plus two wild-card winners nationally each night, will earn the opportunity to compete in a variety of events with 25 of the hottest names in sports at the one-of-a-kind Sports Legends Challenge.

Those 18 lucky players will be awarded the trip of a lifetime to attend the Sports Legends Challenge held September 14-17, 2009 at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Sports Legends Challenge gives sports fans the chance to compete with and against 25 of the greatest Sports Legends of our time, including Troy Aikman, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Richard Petty, Sugar Ray Leonard, and many more. The event will also feature 25 of the world's top Poker Pros, including Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Johnny Chan and others. The Sports Legends, Poker Pros and participants will compete in Texas Hold 'Em, Blackjack, Slots, Golf and more for up to $10,000,000 in prize money.

"This is a huge milestone for Buzztime as it's the first time we've held this type of cross-platform promotion. Our players, current and new, will get to compete online, via mobile and in our restaurant and bar locations," said Buzztime's CEO Terry Bateman. "After the final event in our bars and restaurants, the lucky winners are sure to have an unforgettable experience in the Bahamas when they get to play alongside the Sports Legends they've long admired."

About NTN Buzztime, Inc

NTN Buzztime, Inc., a leader in interactive entertainment for 25 years, is based in Carlsbad, CA. Buzztime is distributed in-home and out-of-home across broadband platforms including online, mobile, satellite TV and in approximately 3,800 restaurants, sports bars and pubs throughout North America. For more information, please visit

Buzztime is a proud member of the OVAB |Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau.

Buzztime is a registered trademark of Buzztime Entertainment, Inc. and Playmaker is a registered trademark of NTN Buzztime, Inc.

Forward-looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements which reflect management's current views of future events and operations including but not limited to trends in subscriber and player preference and engagement and results of marketing strategies. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include risks associated with our recent management transition, our significant losses, our ability to grow our out-of-home Buzztime iTV network and implement our other business strategies, the risk of changing economic conditions, failure of product demand or market acceptance of both existing and new products and services and the impact of competitive products and pricing. Please see NTN Buzztime, Inc.'s recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for information about these and other risks that may affect the Company. All forward-looking statements included in this release are based on information available to us on the date hereof. These statements speak only as of the date hereof, and NTN Buzztime, Inc. does not undertake to publicly update or revise any of its forward-looking statements, even if experience or future changes show that the indicated results or events will not be realized.

Carrie Shields, Bailey Gardiner

SOURCE NTN Buzztime, Inc.

Perhaps we need NTN Buzztime in fitness centers

Yep, I found yet another story of someone playing NTN Buzztime trivia.

We had a meal at Buffalo Wild Wings, a chain, where we played Buzztime trivia against THE WHOLE COUNTRY and placed 149th out of 5551 teams. Nice.

But check the next bit:

I had some kind of salad, and you know how it is at places like that: even the salads have calories in the quadruple digits.

And I also found this mention:

My favorite is the 99 cent kids meals on Monday nights at Buffalo Wild Wings. Our family of four can get in and out of there for less that $20 including tip. We love to play the trivia games and the food is always fantastic!

So you have multi-generations loading up on the calories here.

There's one drawback about online trivia games, or in fact most types of online activity - the activities are sedentary in nature. Couple that with the fact that NTN Buzztime is available in restaurants and bars, and you have, recipe for potential trouble.

Truffle runs on the treadmill by John (star5112) used under a Creative Commons License

So if we aren't going to put NTN Buzztime in Denny's, why not put it in gyms? The gym where I used to have a membership had TVs on various elliptical and treadmill and bicicyle devices - why not replace those with a touchscreen showing NTN Buzztime trivia?

And there are benefits. While placing NTN Buzztime in a bar helps to increase a restaurant's alcohol and food revenues, placing NTN Buzztime in a gym helps to increase the time that people are exercising.

Am I crazy?

Friday, June 5, 2009

NTN Buzztime competing against...Microsoft? (Xbox Live Primetime and 1 vs. 100)

It's possible that someone might run across this post and not understand how NTN Buzztime games work. What happens is that you go to a location (in this case, a restaurant or bar), obtain a hardware device, look at a screen, and compete against people on an entire network of locations.

Well, I just ran across another system that allows you to go to a location, obtain a hardware device, look at a screen, and compete against people on an entire network of locations. In this case, the hardware device is an Xbox, and the game, 1 vs. 100, is of course from Microsoft.

DJI at Robot Panic compares the two networks:

This 1 vs. 100 thing is the flagship of Microsoft’s new Prime Time service, a dedicated section in the Live submenus. In order to play these primetime games, you need to login during whatever two-hour period is scheduled for that game. Thankfully these sessions are advertised well in advance in the little NXE event ads you all know well and you are even given the option to set reminders for yourself....

It looks like the service can only hold 50,000 players at this time. That’s impressive for a first run, but the word is that number is going to expand....

t’s like a giant NTN Buzztime trivia event at Buffalo Wild Wings or somethin’, but without the wings.

And about the game itself:

You are given a trivia question with three multiple choice answers revealed in sequence. Answering the question is worth 200 points, but the number counts down as soon as the answers are revealed, like the countdown buzztime bar trivia. The faster you answer, the more points you get, even if wrong. You are given extra points for maintaining a streak of correct answers. Correct answers are also given a bonus based on how many of The Mob got the question wrong. The question types I experienced were basically 80% about frikkin’ Television shows, with the rest being about anything from sports, to SCIENCE, to videogames.

As for which is better, that's a decision that you have to make for yourself. Some people want to stay at home, while others want to go out.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You gotta play to win

I ran across this account of an NTN Buzztime trivia session at a Buffalo Wild Wings.

Took in a few games of trivia as well, finishing nationally in the top 20 once and the top 100 the rest of the times.

While impressive, the writer (Jeff) is used to a higher standard of performance.

We're really out of practice. Used to be we'd always finish in the top 10 or 20.

But there's a reason for this supposedly poor performance on the network.

I blame the Asian Zing sauce.

Well, at least the sauce is nonfat, although it has a bit of sodium in it...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Maybe they'll have twins trivia some evening

On Sunday night, this author was one of ten FriendFeed users who was featured in a Louis Gray post entitled 10 People To Follow On FriendFeed For May 2009. This is (part of) what Louis Gray said:

John runs a blog network called Empoprises, a series of vertical sites with distinct focus.

The reason that I'm mentioning this post in THIS blog is because Louis chose to link to this blog, Empoprise-NTN, as an example of one of the vertical sites with distinct focus. If you're curious, the "distinct focus" of this particular blog is the series of trivia games that are provided by NTN Buzztime, a Carlsbad, California based company that provides televised, networked trivia games in thousands of restaurants and bars throughout the United States and Canada. Clearly a vertical interest, especially for those of you who don't live in North America.

But let's say you're an early adopted who lives in the Silicon Valley and wants to see what all the NTN Buzztime fuss is about. Perhaps you have young kids who are a little bit antsy, and you want to get out of the house for a little bit. Perhaps you're not really into the bar scene, but such places certainly serve alternative drinks if you're not a drinker. And there are two places in Silicon Valley where you can play NTN Buzztime trivia:

Now I have not been to either of these places, but I have played NTN Buzztime in San Francisco (at Beale St. Bar & Grill) during Oracle OpenWorld.

P.S. I might as well plug my other vertical sites with distinct focus. The other blogs in the Empoprises network are Empoprise-BI (business), Empoprise-IE (California's Inland Empire), and Empoprise-MU (music).