上周，受母公司迪斯尼互动公司（Disney Interactive Studio）大裁员的影响，位于温哥华的Propaganda Games游戏工作室也裁员70人。据游戏邦了解，去年十月，Propaganda工作室也由于迪士尼取消《加勒比海盗:被诅咒的舰队》的开发项目而裁员100人。
在最近结束的多伦多2011 GameOn Finance会议上，业内专家估计目前全球平台游戏玩家约为5700万人，而网络游戏的月平均用户是1亿900万人。其中，新兴的社交游戏在网络游戏领域总盈利中占有很大比重。以社交网站Facebook和MySpace上的游戏为例，Zynga公司的热门农场类游戏约有6100万月活跃用户，PlayFish公司Pet Society拥有超过2100万月活跃用户，Playdom公司推出的Mobster在MySpace、Facebook社交网站约有1600万月活跃用户。
对此，研究公司Screen Digest负责人Pier Harding Rolls指出，5700万电视游戏玩家为传统游戏开发商创造了75亿美元的盈收，而1亿900万的网络游戏月活跃用户却仅仅创造了2亿5000万美元盈收。由此看来，网络游戏的盈收仅仅是传统电视游戏的1/30。“使用‘免费模式’实现盈利并不如想象中的那么简单，该游戏首先要成为市场热点，拥有足够的用户基础。”
Last week, Vancouver-based game studio Propaganda Games laid-off 70 workers after the firm was shut down by parent Disney Interactive Studios. Prior to this, Propaganda already had to let go of 100 people last October when Disney decided to abandon development of a new console game based on its Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Increasingly, big studios have began focusing attention on social games which in the last two years have emerged as yet another segment of online gaming that threatens the reign of packaged and console based entertainment.
The two main factors that make social games attractive to investors, publishers and game developers is their relatively low cost of development and gigantic potential user base.
While a top tier console video game such as Assassin’s Creed would probably cost around $18-30 million to develop for multiple platforms today, developing games for Facebook, other social sites and mobile devices like the iPhone cost about $30,000 to $300,000 only.
Experts at the recently concluded GameOn Finance 2011 conference in Toronto estimate that there are about 57 million console game players worldwide, compared to no less than 109 million monthly average users (MAU) of online games. A new generation of game developer outfits is racking up huge revenues in the online gaming space. Games played on social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. Zynga’s Farmville has more than 61 million monthly users. Pet Society from Playfish has over 21 million monthly users and there are about 16 million monthly players of Playdom’s Mobsters on MySpace and Facebook.
These numbers are certainly encouraging for start-up game developer outfits looking to get a piece of the social game action. However, the arena is not without challenges, chief among them is how to make money out of the games.
While console game developers make money through the sales of actual games, social game makers turn a profit when players snap up virtual goods associated with the games: Need a machinegun to finish off someon in Mobster? No problem, buy one online with your credit card of Paypal account.
Major players in the social gaming market are estimated to be making more than $800 million all together through the sale of virtual goods.
According to Pier Harding Rolls, head of games at research firm Screen Digest , of the 57 million console game users translate to no less than $7.5 billion in revenues for traditional game developers. The 109 million online game MAUs only account for $0.25 billion in revenues. “That means online game revenues are 30 times smaller that that of traditional console games,” he said.
“Making money out of the ‘freemium model’ is not all that easy considering that its not all that easy to predict what game will be a hit in a market based on getting as many players hooked as possible,” he said.
With social net users being a very fickle market, there’s really no telling where the next Angry Bird’s will be coming from or for that matter, how long will the current Angry Bird’s popularity last. A cheap distribution channel and very low price of entry guarantees that there won’t be any shortage of competition.（Source：itbusiness）