Category Archives: Uncategorized

ProfitVille Video

“ProfitVille: The Business of Social Gaming” Panel with the CDS at Tuck School of Business.

YouTube Description: Steve Cassavant T’05, VP of Strategy and Business Development at IGN Entertainment; Teemu Huuhtanen, EVP Business Development and Communications, North America at Sulake Inc. and Chris Mahl, SVP and Chief Brand Alchemist at SCVNGR explore what the emerging social technologies mean for game creators and for advertisers looking to target these audiences. Moderated by Professor Eric Johnson.

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New Zynga Games Discussion

Forbes discusses the latest social games released by Zynga and their impact as the company barrels towards their massive IPO in December.

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November 30, 2011 · 11:45 pm

Zynga Levels Up

Social gaming gargantuan Zynga sets it’s IPO date for mid-December. Is this a historical “inflection point” representing the peak for the social gaming industry? Or is it just another step by Zynga towards world online gaming domination? Articles and analysis by:

Reuters Canada ” The IPO is expected to value the fast growing social gaming company at around $10bn, below some earlier estimates of as much as $20bn.”

New York Times ” In the first nine months of the year, the company notched $828.9 million in revenue, more than double the period a year earlier. It’s also profitable, earning $121 million since the start of 2010.”

Games.com “Zynga will reportedly ask between $8 and $10 a share on the Nasdaq under the ticker ZNGA–a fairly noticeable one, no?”

UPDATE: TechCrunch provides a short article regarding Zynga’s valuation and another with Zynga’s slides  here  Also, VentureBeat lists several reasons why Zynga’s street valuation tumbled pre-IPO.

MSNBC asks the question, “Is Zynga worth 9 $billion?”

NPR ” The big picture here is that Zynga is a rare instance of success in the social media landscape. That is to say, it’s actually making money”

memeburn ” The company’s games on Facebook have more than 200-million active users. In fact, four out of the top five games on Facebook are from the Zynga stable. ”

UPDATE: Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat takes an in-depth look at Zynga and CEO Mark Pincus .

TechCrunch discusses how Zynga got a fast start on the Facebook platform in 2009 and never looked back

Reuters provides an insightful look into the company as it prepares to go public.

TechCrunch writes that going into their IPO, Zynga has locked down the top 5 gaming rankings on Facebook.

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Filed under Facebook, social, social games, Uncategorized, 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

GEEK OUT! Social Games Business Intelligence Panel Parts 3 & 4

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 – Discussion on metrics and virality measurement

Video – Working with the raw data. The value of historical clusters and more!

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Filed under CityVille, Crowdstar, Facebook, FarmVille, gaming, Playdom, PlayFish, social games, Uncategorized, Zynga

Social Games: The Next Generation

Several different articles have recently been posted about where social gaming is going in the future. Deeper player engagement via the blurring of reality and the virtual world seems to be a recurring theme as does the idea that social games will become even more…social. Mobile social gaming is also an unstoppable juggernaut of a trend.

Gamezebo has an interesting post from Julie Shumaker, SVP/GM of Media at RockYou

” Technology will allow the games to be integrated with real-life experiences and augmented reality will make games more social as gameplay is woven into everyday life. The real world becomes the game as much as the game influences the real world, as brands offer more valuable experience to users and become more seamlessly woven into the fabric of the games and users’ reality. “

Also, read Julie Shumaker discussion on social games becoming more social at the recent Marketing Intelligence 6 Conference here

Gamasutra has a very good piece written by veteran game designer Greg Costikyan regarding ways to make social games a more socially rewarding experience for players.

” The peculiarity of this is that social networks are actually far better suited than most online environments to fostering social gameplay. Messaging and chat are built into the system, and need not be separately implemented by developers; but more importantly, the social graph allows players to interact with people who are their actual friends. “

Gamezebo provides another interesting article by Mike Sego, CEO  of Gaia Online. Mike discusses how developers are beginning to fill in the “missing genres”.

” The value proposition of being able to instantly play your favorite games, with your friends, through a service you’re already using every day, all for free — that’s compelling to any audience, especially those who love playing games. This leaves us with an enormous population of gamers who currently don’t play games on Facebook but will once a wider variety of games and genres become available. “

GoMoNews discusses the growing importance of mobile social gaming within the context of the recent OpenFeint acquisition.

” By centralizing the development of your game, it allows you to ensure that the game experience is completely identical across all platforms, and that every single update is rolled out to every platform at the same time. It makes all of these processes easier and faster. “

CNET has an article discussing Deni Dyack’s perspective that social games will “crash and burn”.

Original article on Industry Gamers here

” We asked Dyack if the rise of social and the migration of traditional talent to the social space is a detriment to the traditional games market. He answered, “It is damaging traditional gaming for sure but… how it’s going to work out is anyone’s guess. The trend that I see is it’s probably going to be one of the biggest bubbles and explosions that our industry’s seen in a long time and I think when it crashes it’s going to crash very hard. I don’t think there’s an economy there.”

Playstation University interviews Paul Wedgwood, Director of the new multi-player game Brink.

” According to Splash Damage’s CEO and game director Paul Wedgwood, social interaction is the future of gaming. With the development of Brink, gamers are one step closer to a first-person shooter without bots or NPCs but actual characters within the game, multiplayer or single-player, that are all controlled by human opponents. “

iMediaConnection interviews Jimmy Kim, Founder and CEO of NexoNova Studio

” I think during the game development and operating process the concept of “playing anywhere” is becoming more prominent. As a result, game design should now take into consideration multiple access points, such as devices, and different kinds of gaming experiences (single vs. multi-play, mini game vs. scenario play) through those devices, as well as making sure the total user experience is connected throughout the different platforms. “

Video – Future of Social Gaming panel Discussion

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Filed under CityVille, Civilization World, Disney, EA Sports, Facebook, Facebook Credits, gaming, Nexon, Open Feint, Playdom, RockYou!, social games, Uncategorized, Virtual Currency, Zynga

Kobojo gets some financial Mojo

French social games developer Kobojo raises $7.5 Million dollars to expand in France and around the world. Articles and analysis from:

VatorNews ” Founded in 2008, the Paris-based company is best known for its casual games and gaming apps, such as GooBox, PyramidVille, Robotz, and Docteur Love. Currently, the games are only available on Facebook and iPhone, but the company hopes to expand to other OS platforms (presumably Android), as well as tablets. “

Sys-Con Media  ” For the last 3 years, Kobojo has been editing and publishing a wide variety of innovative games and apps such as Goobox and PyramidVille. “

Video: PyramidVille by Komojo


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Filed under Facebook, game, gaming, Kobojo, online, social games, Uncategorized