2）Playdom凭借新游戏《Gardens of Time》（游戏邦注：这是一款隐藏物品游戏）荣登上周MAU增长迅速Facebook游戏榜单之首。《Gardens of Time》推出短短几周，MAU（月活跃用户）就高达220万，且目前毫无削减势头。新晋榜单的游戏为Game Insight的《Mystery Manor》，这也是一款隐藏物品游戏。据AppData数据显示，《Mystery Manor》过去一周MAU增长27%，现MAU为130万。上周另一榜单新秀为THQ的《UFC Undisputed Fight Nation,》，游戏风格同其他翻版《黑手党之争》类似，如《Jersey Shore》（这款游戏也位列榜单之中）。
5）美国私募公司Summit Partners和TA Associates以3.5亿美元收购Bigpoint股权（游戏邦注：其为德国网络游戏开发商）。Bigpoint推出了众多热门在线游戏，如《海战英豪》和《黑暗轨迹》。公司前投资者Comcast Interactive Capital将出售其全部股份，而GMT Communications和General Electric Co.也将售出大部分股份。公司首席执行官Heiko Hubertz表示，这并不会给公司带来什么变化，新股东对他们的增长势头充满信心。Hubertz仍将持有Bigpoint 30%的股份。Bigpoint吸引投资者的地方在于其用户遍布全球各地，包括欧洲和亚洲。而且Bigpoint并非仅仅依托Facebook平台。Hubertz表示，公司用户遍布180多个国家，拥有强大营收基础，公司每天出售10多亿件道具。
6）由于越来越多妇女步入职场，以及高达200个频道供观众选择，肥皂剧观众近几十年来明显减少，而这一趋势因社交游戏的兴起变得更加突出。Zynga（Facebook游戏《FarmVille》和《CityVille》开发商）自2007年问世以来，《All My Children》和《One Life to Live》（游戏邦注：其为ABC广播公司出品的两部美国连续剧）在25-54岁用户群（主流观众）的收视率只有1.9，2011年更是分别下滑至1.3和1.4。两部连续剧在其他用户群体的收视率下滑趋势更是严峻。而Zynga 2009年4月的Facebook MAU（月活跃用户）已高达4000万。
1）Dave Madden Joins EA, Looks To Bring Video Ads To EA Social Games
EA gained a new senior vice president of global media sales last week as WildTangent’s Dave Madden jumped ship to the video game publisher. Video advertising in EA’s social games probably isn’t far behind.
Madden oversaw the launch of BrandBoost at WildTangent, one of several video advertising platforms for Facebook games. Like competitors TapJoy and SocialVibe, WildTangent’s service allowed brands light level integration into social games by offering players virtual currency or branded virtual goods in exchange for watching a video ad. Madden previously told us that through BrandBoost, WildTangent hoped to create a more direct user experience than the two-clicks removed offer wall advertising.
“This biggest challenge [at EA] is engagement scalability by platform,” Madden tells us today. “Our users at EA appreciate content on multiple platforms. The biggest thing we’ve learned in social gaming is adding value to the user, putting the user in control.”
With video advertising, Madden says he thinks advertisers can solve the challenges of engagement and scalability in social games. The trick is allowing the user to feel in control of the experience, as in not forcing them to watch an ad while playing game, and to slot the experience into the game in a targeted way. As a hypothetical example, he talked about how when a user hits a proverbial wall in a game where they cannot progress without spending real money, the game could offer them the video ad as a means to get past the barrier. Like if we were playing Dragon Age Legends and ran out of energy, but didn’t want to spend Facebook Credits buying Crowns to purchase more, we could watch a video ad for HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series. The experience would ad value to us because we’d get the Crowns we needed and the video ad is for a brand that shares a common fantasy setting with Dragon Age Legends, so we’d be more likely to engage with it.
As tailored as Games of Thrones might feel to Dragon Age Legends, however, Madden says that the future of advertising in social games is moving beyond intimate customizable campaigns. It can be very rewarding for a brand to build an elaborate gameplay experience around its product, but Madden feels that the most cost efficient and scalable means of advertising lies more in video ads combined with in-game content.
“That lets the brand tell the story,” he says.（Source：Inside Social Games）
2）Hidden Object Games Appear at the Top on This Week’s List of Fastest-Growing Facebook Games by MAU
This week’s list of fastest growing Facebook games based on monthly active users is lead by Playdom’s new game Gardens of Time. We reviewed this hidden object game earlier this month and thought that the road to fast growth might be particularly difficult for the game, given the lack of success of other hidden object games on Facebook. So far, Gardens of Time is showing impressive early numbers that have already proven it to be the most successful Facebook game of its genre to date. In just a couple of short weeks, Gardens of Time has gained 2.2 million MAU and does not seem to be slowing any time soon — although it’s not clear if the growth is mainly due to ads, or other more organic factors.
Another newcomer to this week’s list is yet another hidden object game, Game Insight’s Mystery Manor. According to AppData, our metrics service for monitoring the top games on Facebook, Mystery Manor grew 27% over the last week and now has 1.3 million MAU. We took a closer look at both Gardens of Time and Mystery Manor last week and compared the two games.
A brand new game to the leaderboard this week is UFC Undisputed Fight Nation, the officially branded MMA game developed by THQ. This game feels very similar to other branded Mafia Wars-style clones, such as the official Jersey Shore game (also on this week’s list). In UFC Undisputed Fight Nation, players spend energy to train up various fighting skills that are used in ‘battle’ with other players. Leveling up in the game allows players to allocate statistics to give themselves more energy, stamina, or strength. Win/loss records are prominently displayed and players are encouraged to add friends to the game to give them additional sparring power. Though heavily polished, the game seems to be lacking in depth and originality. Whether the UFC branding will be enough to keep this game on an upward trend remains to be seen at this point.
Stay tuned for our look at the top weekly gainers by DAU on Wednesday, and the top emerging Facebook games on Friday.（Source：Inside Social Games）
3）The Google Games effort is real, open job offer suggests
Sure, we’ve heard rumors of the search behemoth, Google, investing in numerous social game companies including Zynga. And the company bought Slide, a game developer, in 2010. But this job offer posted on Google’s Linkedin page confirms the rumors: Google is serious about games. TechCrunch reports that the open call-out for a product manager of its Games division suggests that Google has not forgotten about its gaming efforts.
This job will be based in Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif., and the lucky guy or gal will be tasked with creating “strategies for game distribution and discovery, player identity, game mechanics, and more.” It’s also mentioned that the position will be heavily involved in Google’s social platform, implying that these won’t be just any games, but social games. If you doubted whether Google was serious about getting into games, then face the facts–it’s happening. And if there is any company with the financial might, experience and notoriety to take on Zynga, it’s Google. Find the full job offer after the break.
Product Manager, Games – Mountain View
Google – California , Mountain View (Global HQ) (United States)
This position is based in Mountain View, CA.
The area: Product Management
One of the many reasons Google consistently brings innovative, world-changing products to market is because of the collaborative work we do in Product Management. With eyes focused squarely on the future, our team works closely with creative and prolific engineers to help design and develop technologies that improve access to the world’s information. We’re responsible for guiding products throughout the execution cycle, focusing specifically on analyzing, positioning, packaging, promoting and tailoring our solutions to all the markets where Google does business.
The role: Product Manager, Games
Rare opportunity to grow a brand-new business – Games at Google! We are looking for a strategic, technical and game-loving Product Manager to drive Google’s gaming strategy. You will design strategies for game distribution and discovery, player identity, game mechanics, and more. In addition to designing a great user experience and building out key partnerships, you will be significantly influencing Google’s social platform as you work directly with a critical set of early adopters, game developers. Interesting and impactful decisions involving social gaming, privacy, virality, business, and technical APIs await you and the strong, passionate team of gamers you will work with.
• Drive feature requirements for Google”s gaming platform
• Work with business development and developer relations to drive gaming partnerships/ content deals
• Initiate and prioritize projects within engineering, assist in determining the best technical implementation methods, track product development, and develop product launch plans.
• Establish partnerships internally and externally to drive the growth of games
• Technical undergraduate degree or equivalent experience; Masters degree preferred.
• Product management experience with a track record of creating innovative and winning Internet or software solutions.
• Entrepreneurial experience and a penchant for creating great products is highly valued.
• Demonstrated ability to gather user requirements and convert them into a winning product vision.
• Strong quantitative and analytical abilities with a deep understanding of gaming platforms（Source：Games）
4）DeNA partners with Docomo, prepares for Japanese social game coup
DeNA, the massive Japanese mobile social game company, has taken another step toward its imminent invasion of the western world of social games in a partnership with Docomo. You know, the company that bought American mobile game developer Ngmoco for over $400 million last year? That massive company.
Docomo is a Japanese phone manufacturer that will link its 6 million smartphone and feature phone users in Japan with DeNA’s Mobage social gaming platform through i-mode. The oddly-named feature is found on all Docomo phones, and it will provide users a direct link to DeNA’s list of games by as early as May.
Not to mention that a dedicated Mobage application will be pre-installed into several Docomo phones sometime in the future. According to a statement, Docomoco users will have exclusive early access to new content and easier billing for micro-transactions. Of course, the two plan to bring the model to Europe and the rest of Asia through mobile phone operators and game developers.
However, we’re going to assume that if this strategy does well in Europe, DeNA will stake its claim in the US as well. Whether this is enough to combat Zynga has yet to be seen, but know that the Far East has burst onto the scene with guns a’ blazin’. （Source：Games）
5）Bigpoint raises $350 million from VC firms
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Bigpoint Inc. will announce Tuesday that it has landed a recapitalization deal worth $350 million from venture capitalists, in the latest sign of growing investor interest in the online video-game segment.
Summit Partners and TA Associates signed a deal to invest $350 million in Bigpoint, a German firm with a growing base of developers in San Francisco. Bigpoint is the developer of popular online-game properties, such as “Seafight” and “DarkOrbit.” It also launched a high-profile game last year based on the hit “Battlestar Galactica” TV series.
Previous investor Comcast Interactive Capital will sell off its ownership stake in Bigpoint as part of the deal, while GMT Communications and General Electric Co. will sell off most of their ownership stakes, according to the company.
“There is no big change for us,” Bigpoint Chief Executive Heiko Hubertz said in an interview. “These are new shareholders who believe in our aggressive growth.”
Hubertz added he kept his 30% ownership stake in the company and will continue to run the business.
Bigpoint is a maker of so-called free-to-play games, where gamers can play free of charge — paying only for certain upgrades or items in microtransactions.
“A lot of companies have one game that is very successful. This company has a whole portfolio. You don’t see that very often,” Scott Collins of venture-capital firm Summit Partners said in an interview.
Online games have become a hot sector thanks to the growth of the Internet, as well as social networks such as Facebook. Zynga Inc., which makes the popular Facebook games FarmVille and Mafia Wars, raised $300 million last year and is reportedly working on a deal to close a funding round worth $500 million, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal in mid-February.
Earlier this month, the Journal reported that Nexon Co., a Japanese developer of online games, has hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to explore either an initial public offering or a private-funding round.
Last July, Walt Disney Co.acquired Playdom, a maker of online and social games, in a deal valued at $763 million. In late 2009, Electronic Arts Inc.acquired social-game maker Playfish in a deal valued at $400 million.
For Bigpoint, Hubertz said the main draw among investors is that it has developed a strong audience in several different geographic areas, including Europe and Asia. Bigpoint is also not dependent on a single platform such as Facebook.
“There are more than 180 countries were we have a proven revenue base,” he commented, saying the company sells more than 1 billion items within its games daily.
Dan Gallagher is MarketWatch’s technology editor, based in San Francisco.（Source：marketwatch）
6）Zynga Kills Soaps Audience shifts as viewers become gamers
Erica Kane survived a dozen marriages across 40 seasons, along with car accidents, parental abandonment, and even toxemia. But was she done in by FarmVille.
Kane, the iconic All My Children character played by Susan Lucci since 1970, will cease to be this September when ABC plans to cancel both that show and One Life to Live, leaving just four soap operas on the air.
While the soap audience has been shrinking for decades, driven by more women in the workplace and a 200-channel universe, the genre’s decline appears to have accelerated over the past few years with the meteoric rise of social gaming. When Zynga–publisher of massively popular Facebook games such as FarmVille and CityVille–arrived on the scene in 2007, both All My Children and One Life to Live were averaging a 1.9 rating among women 25-54. By 2011 the two shows were averaging 1.3 and 1.4 ratings respectively in that key viewer group. The drop is even steeper for other demographics. Meanwhile, by April 2009, Zynga was reaching 40 million monthly active players on Facebook, according to comScore. These days, the game has over 47 million players each month while the more recent hit, CityVille, attracts a staggering 88 million active participants.
Experts believe that soap viewers, particularly stay-at-home moms, are increasingly finding the connection inherent to social games far more compelling than the goings on in Pine Valley.
“Women at home used to have these virtual friends, these soap stars,” says Maria Bailey author of Mom 3.0. “Now their virtual friends have come alive, and they don’t need one-way conversations. I grew up on Susan Lucci, but Susan Lucci doesn’t talk back to me.”
This shift to social is rapidly changing how marketers go after the mom demo. “It’s a more active, engaged medium,” says Mitchell Reichgut, CEO of Jun Group, which specializes in social video campaigns. “We see a good portion of our business coming from packaged goods, and the biggest segment of that business is aimed at working moms. These brands are actively looking to be in social games.”（Source：adweek）