Category Archives: mobile

Video: Sean Ryan of Facebook

Sean Ryan,  Head of Game Partnerships of Facebook discussed the current state and future of the social gaming ecosystem. This is an excellent overview of the current Facebook social gaming environment.

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Filed under Facebook, Facebook Credits, game, GameHouse, gaming, mobile, online, Playdom, PlayFish, PopCap Games, social, social games, Virtual Currency, Wooga, Zynga

Marvelous Team Up: Quepasa meets MyYearbook

The mergers and acquisitions continue as two mid-sized social networks with strong social gaming platforms merge. Latino oriented Quepasa and MyYearbook will form a much more formidable network to challenge Facebook and the fast growing Google+. Articles and analysis from:

GigaOM ” Quepasa CEO John Abbott said the merger with MyYearbook, with its strong growth and product focus, will allow Quepasa to become a leader in social discovery and help drive larger growth for the combined company, particularly in mobile where it doesn’t appear to have much of a presence. “

TechCrunch ” Quepasa CEO, John Abbott says that the acquisition and merger doubles the size of Quepasa’s existing user base, and also could represent a new growth area for Quepasa’s mobile and social games, advertising, and virtual currency. “

Marketwatch (includes video) ” In the shadow of Facebook, two smaller social networks are liking each other: Quepasa Corp. said it is buying fellow social network myYearbook.com in a deal valued at $100 million. “

Learn more about the explosive growth of social networks at SocialNetworksGuide.com

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Filed under acquisition, Facebook, gaming, mobile, MyYearbook, Quepasa, social games

Big pop for PopCap

PopCap Games is acquired for $1.3 Billion by Electronic Arts. How will this massive acquisition affect the social games industry?Articles and analysis from:

The Wall Street Journal ” A PopCap executive offered to sell Bejeweled to Microsoft for $35,000 back in 1999.  “

Los Angeles Times  “What made PopCap attractive to EA and others that bid for the company was its ability to sell its games on numerous platforms. “

Forbes ” The social gaming company Zyngaoffered $1 billion in cash to acquirePopCap Games, but was turned down in favor of a more complex and potentially more lucrative offer from Electronic Arts, according to a source close to the deal. “

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Filed under acquisition, EA Sports, game, gaming, mobile, PopCap Games, social games, Zynga

Is Mobile the Next Evolution of Social?

Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat recently wrote an excellent article exploring the mobile gaming space. In the article he discusses the business strategy utilized by Zynga of acquiring numerous innovative social gaming companies to solidify market leadership in the category. He then ponders if the same “rollup” strategy will be used by someone in the mobile space.

” That is how the market rewards companies that pioneer a new market in games and come to dominate it — at the right time. Will the same thing happen again in mobile?” 

After digesting the article I decided to explore how recent developments in the social games industry point to the massive potential of developing games for mobile platforms.  In this post we will take a look at the convergence of mobile and social gaming. But before we dive into the mobile gaming data and trends, let’s take a look on the hardware/platform side (the handsets) and get a sense of the absolutely staggering numbers with this very informative (if slightly dated) video from Sybase (SAP).

Here are some additional resources concerning mobile phone growth and trends: Here are some phenomenal stats from a Cisco Networks report entitled: The Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update. Trends are highlighted nicely here

Here is an excellent Infographic regarding mobile growth from Microsoft Tag via DigitalBuzz

Finally, TechCrunch breaks Q1 2011 growth rates for smartphones here

There are some astonishing figures and growth rates as smartphones continue to proliferate and capture more share of the mobile market, more opportunities for advanced mobile social gaming concepts will emerge due the robust nature of the underlying platform. Now let’s look at an excellent report about mobile social games. People that play Mobile Social Games are described in a recent report by Flurry as “the New Mass-Market Powerhouse“.  Let’s isolate some of the demographics. The bulk of this group is between the ages of 18 and 44.

Flurry_Age&Gender
Flurry Age & Gender Slide

The Guardian.uk provides further analysis of the flurry mobile social games report here and SocialTimes does here

A few takeaways are that, just like traditional social network games played on Facebook, females are a slight majority (53% vs 47% male) in terms of playing mobile social games. From a marketing perspective, this presents numerous opportunities.Women aged 26 to 44 are in their prime income earning years and in addition, are often the primary decision makers for purchasing household products and services for families. (as a sidenote, this demographic is almost identical to the Groupon/Living Social power buyers which tends to skew heavily towards urban professional women in approximately the same age cohort). Peter Farago describes the characteristics of this phenomenon.

” The Mobile Social Gamer segment is highly engaged, younger, made up of more females, more educated and more affluent.  In terms of usage behavior, they use social games far more often than they watch prime-time television shows, and using for 25 minutes per day, are heavy users of this interactive content “

The other key takeaway from the report is the sheer scale of the mobile social gaming marketplace. Peter Farago reveals the staggering numbers:

” Just how big is the audience in this new era of smartphone mobile gaming?  Consider that Flurry has detected over 250 million unique iOS and Android devices in the market, and is detecting more than 750,000 new devices daily.  According to recent reports, this installed base is larger than the combined worldwide installed base of console industry leaders Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, estimated at approximately 180 million units. “

In addition, Nielsen recently provided research that indicates that in the US, mobile games are the most popular type of application downloaded by mobile smartphone users.

” Among smartphone consumers who have played mobile games in the past 30 days, those with iPhones, Windows 7 phones or Android phones are the most likely to have downloaded the games they played, while those with Blackberry phones or featurephones tend to play pre-loaded games. “

A recent industry report by Gartner  indicates that mobile games will make up 20% of the projected $122 Billion dollar global gaming market by 2015.

” Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, attributed this phenomenon to the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets and games being the most downloaded category of apps in appstores. “

USA Today discusses Apple’s push into mobile gaming with the iPhone and their new iPad Tablets.

” With the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Apple has “delivered on the promise of mobile,” says Travis Boatman, senior vice president of worldwide studios for EA Mobile. “It’s like a blank canvas. It allows game designers to create any kind of interface they want for their game and change it on the fly, too. “

There are now tens of millions of people walking around with massive computing power in their pockets and purses. The platforms are powerful, networked and spreading like wildfire. Yet, the platforms are still fertile and the market  is still in its infancy. But as the industry matures, giant players with deep, deep pockets will continue to pour massive amounts of funding into this space. And virtually all advertisers will have no choice but to develop full scale strategies to capture customer mindshare in the mobile gaming space. In addition, mobile video is projected to dramatically spike and you can bet there will be plenty of innovative mobile social games developed that find outrageous ways to integrate what just ten years ago was considered the holy grail.

There are incredible opportunities for innovative ad agencies and marketing firms to reach their audience through mobile games that tie into popular brands in new and unique ways. The speed of  innovation on mobile and tablets over the next several years will be unprecedented. And the speed and scale of anything that goes viral via mobile will outright blow anything we’ve seen thus far out of the water. But the big questions are, how best to leverage this incredibly networked platform that literally bridges the online to the real world?

How will developers combine that raw power of the smartphone platforms with dynamic game mechanics and the ability to integrate the real world into gameplay? Will they bother? Or will they focus on porting their existing asynchronous style social games to the mobile environment? The future opportunities in mobile gaming seem almost limitless…..

However, mobile developers do have serious challenges ahead. ScoreLoop’s Volker Hirsch discusses the challenges facing mobile social games developers and also provides insight into the RIM purchase of ScoreLoop here:

” And this is where the specific complexities of mobile come into play: mobile is fiendishly complex. On the OS side, there is iOS, Android (in an increasing number of iterations), Windows Phone 7 (with some added spice since the announcement of their Nokia partnership), Blackberry, Samsung’s bada, and then maybe BREW, perhaps still a little bit of Symbian and J2ME. But then there are also the still mighty gatekeepers, the mobile operators.

And then you will see that users tend to want to have it their specific way, ideally localized. The plethora of channels thus created makes it tough on a developer to maneuver its way through… There are tools that can aid progress (and, yes, our very own Scoreloop provides some of them) but it is important to recognize the complexity of it all. Reaching users and convincing them with compelling offers is key to success in any world. It is important to bear that in mind in mobile, too. And if you think you cannot walk it on your own, a publisher might just be the right partner for you. “

Lastly, Volker provides a very informative presentation on mobile social game users via SlideShare here

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Filed under acquisition, Angry Birds, Apple, Capcom, Facebook, Flurry, game, gaming, iPad, iPhone, mobile, ngmoco, Open Feint, social games, Uncategorized, Zynga

Sold for a Zong

eBay acquires mobile payments provider and microtransaction specialist Zong for $240 Million. The race to monetize the lucrative mobile/social gaming space is definitely in high gear. Articles and analysis from:

Wall Street Journal  ” Zong’s customer list is a who’s who of social gaming and virtual world companies, including Zynga Inc., IMVU Inc., Walt Disney Co.’s Playdom Inc., Stardoll AB, IAC/InterActiveCorp.’s Zwinky and Shanda Games Ltd.’s Mochi Media. Not to mention the company’s arrangement with Facebook Inc. to sell the social network’s virtual currency.” 

CNET  ” Zong provides a mobile payments platform that facilitates carrier-direct billing for digital goods and services. Users pay for their purchases by entering their mobile phone number and payment is billed to the customer’s wireless service account. “

Forbes interviews Matrix Partners’ Dana Stalder about the rationale for the acquisition.

” There is certainly competition. I think Boku is the most-known competition here in the U.S., but there are two companies in Europe of roughly equal scale: in MindMatics Germany and Allopass France. All of these companies are formidable, but Zong has built the best team with the most direct relationships with carriers and the most converting payment flows in the business. “

Learn more about the explosive Virtual Currency industry at VirtualCurrencyNews.com

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Filed under acquisition, gaming, mobile, social games, Virtual Currency, virtual goods

Zynga IPO: The Countdown Begins

Social gaming titan Zynga’s recent filing for an IPO later this year has captured the imagination of Wall Street. It’s success or failure in it’s debut and as a public company will have a far reaching impact on the entire industry. The following articles examine Zynga’s postion within the marketplace.

The Los Angeles Times  ” While Zynga has not yet priced shares for the public market, some investors are speculating that shares could be as high as $20 or more, which would give Zynga a market valuation of roughly $16 billion. “

Wall St. Cheat Sheet  ” Zynga CEO and Harvard Business School Alum Mark Pincus is demonstrating a very cunning business acumen, also accumulating $1 billion in cash reserves v. $234 million in liabilities. Other impressive stats for the company are its 2,000 employees, 148 million users (across 166 countries), and the fact that none of its senior management is under 40 years old (contrary to the usual fare for tech startups). “

The Huffington Post   ” Zynga sees its market opportunity in the context of: a) the growth of social networking; b) a culture of the “app economy” whereby developers have access to social network platforms; and c) A “free-to-play” gaming culture that allows users to play games for free, thereby attracting a broader set of users and a richer ecosystem for social interaction within the gaming environment. “

CNNMoney  ” The big remaining question for Zynga is how underwriters and investors value the its IPO. Initial reports valued the company at $10 billion. It would be very considerate of Zynga to list at that price and leave money on the table, but it’s not going to happen. Remember that LinkedIn, which is expected to make $420 million this fiscal year, was worth $9 billion on its first day of trading. By that measure, Zynga could debut and see its value rise above $20 billion. “

Forbes  ” Zynga’s valuation is high relative to its peers. While Zynga has yet to set an offering price, Zynga is valued at $15.4 billion on the SharesPost secondary exchange — more than Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and Electronic Arts (ERTS) — worth  $13.5 billion and $8 billion, respectively, according to Bloomberg. “

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Filed under CityVille, Facebook, FarmVille, gaming, mobile, social games, Virtual Currency, virtual goods, Zynga

GEEK OUT! Social Games Business Intelligence Panel Parts 5 & 6

An insightful series of videos have recently been uploaded to YouTube from VerticaHP (Hewlett Packard) from a Social Gaming panel this past April in San Francisco.  The videos showcase a blockbuster panel of top social gaming company’s business intelligence gurus. Each discuss their various tools that they utilize to manage the massive amounts of data in real-time.  Note: Vertica was acquired by HP in February of 2011.

Video – Mobile social gaming including a question from Tapulous staff member

Video – Custom reporting and charting, data analysis cubes and more!

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Filed under CityVille, Crowdstar, Disney, Facebook, FarmVille, game, gaming, mobile, online, Playdom, PlayFish, social games, video, Zynga