6）据知情人透露，社交游戏开发商Ohai日前以“较低价格”被未知名的买主收购。该公司于2008年由Susan Wu与一批游戏行业元老（游戏邦注：包括Scott Hartsman、Don Neufeld和早期知名社交游戏《Vampires》开发者Blake Commagere）共同创立。
Ohai曾根据《Vampires》这一成功的社交游戏品牌开发了一款Flash MMOG游戏《City of Eternals》，但在游戏发布之前，联合创始人及产品副总裁Scott Hartsman和首席技术官Blake Commagere在就职不到一年时间就离开公司。
据AppData数据显示，《City of Eternals》目前DAU仅1000，该公司另一款游戏《Unicorn Parade》的表现更是平庸，MAU甚至不足1000，Susan Wu的首席执行官位置也已经被前Ohai董事会成员Rex Ishibashi取代。
1）Google to charge game developers 20% for Google Games? AndroidFacebook
By Joel Brodie
Last week, I speculated on what Google plans to do in terms of charging for distribution on Google Games which is coming out very shortly.
Today, I spread rumors. I have heard from 3 anonymous developers in the past week that Google plans to charge 20% for micro-transactions within Google Games.
This, of course, is 10% less than Facebook and their mandatory cut of 30% for Facebook Credits. If this is the case, Google is finally being smart about games and could be successful.
Here’s why I say this. In the past, Google’s game efforts have been varied but chaotic. Google’s tendency is: give it all for free, make money on ads, and have engineers in different parts of the company do game initiatives that do not connect with each other.
Not charging developers anything may sounds great for developers but in fact, it’s bad strategy and bad for developers. By giving away your distribution for free, the distributor has no incentive to invest in creating a viable ecosystem and channel for games. Short-sided game developers may like it, but the distributor treats it as an experiment and nothing is worse than having your sole means of making money be tied to someone else’s experiment.
That’s why its good that Apple charges 30% for iTunes and that Facebook is now charging 30% for Facebook Credits. Because Apple and Facebook have skin in the game, they will help grow their distribution channels with game developers.
If Google charges 20% its smart, because it’s 10% less than what Facebook is charging as of today. Facebook has much higher distribution now, but if Google can offer a better deal, game developers will migrate over and try out Google Games when it launches.
As mentioned in my article from last week, it’s doubly smart because by actually charging a distribution fee, now Google can offer special discounts to big developers to offer them limited time exclusivity for new games which could drive huge penetration among early adopting gamers.
The big surprise from Zynga’s S1 is that there is not a special deal or discount for Facebook Credits. Zynga has to pay Facebook 30% for Credits just like everyone else, in addition to the millions it spends on advertising (maybe that is where the special deal is?)
Anyway, by charging 20%, Google can then offer a 10% deal for the first 12 months if a developer launches its social game for the first month only on Google. The devil is in the details, since the first month with social games is often beta, but you get the idea. By charging instead of giving it for free, Google has the option to make it free for special deals. This is something that Facebook is likely not to do (though they can).
If this rumor of 20% is true, it means Google is taking Games seriously, and not as some pet project for its engineers, which is why its been so plagued with social and games in the past.
Time will tell if this 20% cut is true or speculation.（source:gamezebo）
2）Bloomberg: GREE May List Outside Japan In Future
by Dr. Serkan Toto
Bloomberg posted a pretty weird video report on GREE on their website today. The report makes it look like the reporter had an interview with GREE CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka, but Tanaka himself can be seen speaking in the report for only 10 seconds or so.
The main bullet point here is that GREE apparently doesn’t rule out getting listed at a stock exchange outside Japan at some point in the future – not a total shocker, but interesting.
But then again, it’s just the reporter talking there, quoting Tanaka: why don’t they show him speaking?
And I am sure Tanaka does know what Farmville is, the game was also released in Japan on Mixi by Zynga Japan just a few months ago…
So it’s not really a good report, but it’s rare to see GREE (or any other web company, for that matter) covered by a non-Japanese news source.（source:serkantoto）
3）Even with half the users, Zynga’s FarmVille made more money than ever before in Q1
Game maker Zynga‘s break-out hit, FarmVille, saw record revenue in the quarter ended March 31, 2011, even while its monthly active user count dropped from 83 million in the spring of 2010 to about 39 million monthly active users now.
That fact is an important point contained in Zynga’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. Since Zynga filed the papers on Friday, the social game industry has a wealth of new details as guideposts for the best-run business on the Facebook platform. In this post, we’ll take a look at some interesting facts about Zynga that weren’t known until now.
FarmVille launched in June 2009 and became the fastest-growing game in history at the time, putting Zynga into the undisputed lead role as the biggest social game company on Facebook. Now, four of the top five games on Facebook are Zynga titles, and it has never lost the lead position since the launch of FarmVille. The company keeps players happy thanks to weekly content releases in each game. In March, Zynga released an expansion for FarmVille — FarmVille English Countryside — that no doubt accounted for the record revenue for FarmVille.
In the first quarter, Zynga generated about $235 million in revenue. Ad revenue in the quarter was $9.9 million, and most of the money came from virtual goods sales. In that quarter, it had about 236 million monthly active users. So Zynga generated roughly $1.04 per user per quarter, or $4.16 per user per year. But Zynga acknowledges that a very small percentage of its players actually pay money. Unfortunately, Zynga didn’t say exactly what percentage of players pay. It is supposedly around 1 – 3 percent. If that is true, then the average revenue per paying user per quarter is likely to be $32 to $95, which breaks down to $10.67 to $31.66 per paying player per month.
When you think about it, that’s not an insane amount for Zynga’s paying players to be paying each month. World of Warcraft, the massively multiplayer online fantasy role-playing game, generates about $14.95 a month per player in revenue for Activision Blizzard. But it’s very interesting that this amount of revenue from 1 – 3 percent of Zynga’s players is enough to pay for the costs of all of the others and then generate some profit for Zynga. If Zynga can keep adding more interesting virtual goods to its existing games, tempting more players to pay for virtual goods, it can then generate a significant increase in revenues. That explains why FarmVille can generate more money than ever before even though it is at half of its peak users.
Zynga’s games are free-to-play, where users can play for free and pay real money for virtual goods such as tractor fuel in FarmVille. One of the most successful virtual goods were the colorful sheep, pictured above, which users could breed and send as gifts to their friends. On average, Zynga says that paying users will keep on buying virtual goods in a game for 10 months to 25 months.
Not every game that Zynga launches makes money. Zynga said in its filing that two or three games account for most of its revenue. For instance, Zynga’s Treasure Isle game reportedly didn’t make a lot of money, since the game didn’t really have the right virtual goods built into it.
Zynga has figured out ways to promote branded virtual goods in order to raise more money than it otherwise might. In October 2010, Farmers Insurance Group offered FarmVille players a free in-game Zeppelin airship that provided “wither protection” (to keep their crops from dying) for players’ crops for 10 days. Players chose to “insure” their crops with the free branded Zeppelin, providing players with a voluntary, enhanced in-game experience. Farmers Insurance offered a similar one day campaign in 2011. During the 24 hours of this campaign, over two million new fans joined Farmers Insurance’s Facebook fan page. Such promotions generate advertising money for Zynga and temporarily increase its virtual goods sales.
The filing had other interesting details. In May, 2010, Zynga struck a deal with Facebook to adopt its Facebook Credits virtual currency, which gives Facebook a 30 percent cut of every virtual goods transaction. Previously, Zynga used virtual currency providers that charged only 2 – 10 percent per transaction. Zynga said it completed the transition to Facebook Credits by April, 2011. That means that, for the first quarter, Zynga probably generated revenue of $335 million but paid about $100 million to Facebook. (We’re assuming that Facebook accounts for substantially all of Zynga’s revenue, which is not precisely correct).
Zynga said its advertising revenue has decreased over time because it has reduced the number of ads that its users see in order to improve the user experience. Only about 4 percent of Zynga’s revenues came from ads in the first quarter.
Overall costs for making games have gone up steadily. Zynga’s costs include web-hosting fees, depreciation and amortization expenses, consulting and headcount costs. Payment processing fees have dropped because of the transition to Facebook Credits. Zynga’s rising web-hosting costs are due to the fact that it has to pay more for additional computing capacity with unexpected high demand for games.
The average life of a virtual good was 12 months for the first quarter, compared to 14 months a year earlier.
Another item worth noting: Zynga has one issued patent and 78 patent applications pending review.（source:venturebeat）
4）Zynga Doubled ARPU From Last Year Even as Facebook Platform Changes Slowed Growth
By Kim-Mai Cutler
With Zynga’s IPO filing on Friday, we finally got some numbers to bear out what had been common, but unproven, industry knowledge: that Zynga had been able to overcome handing 30 percent of its revenue to Facebook and weakening virality on the platform by monetizing its existing user base better.
The company appears to have more than doubled average revenue per user across a number of metrics from the first quarter a year ago. So caveat to these figures first: they aren’t perfect estimates since Zynga broke out revenue on a quarterly basis, but showed uniques and actives on a monthly or daily basis. Nor do we have any ARPU figures for individual games, because Zynga did not break out revenue per title in its filing.
But it looks like Zynga boosted monthly ARPU (or average revenue per user) to $0.33 in the first quarter of this year from $0.14 in the same time period a year earlier. We get this figure by dividing reported revenues for that quarter by the number of monthly actives, then dividing again by three for individual months in the quarter.
If we take average revenue per monthly unique user (MUU), which won’t double-count users who play more than one Zynga game on Facebook, it also doubled to $0.54 from $0.27 in the first quarter from the same time period a year earlier. However, Zynga’s “monthly unique users” metric doesn’t de-duplicate people who play Zynga titles on both Facebook and mobile devices.
A more closely watched metric, ARPDAU (or average revenue per daily active user), also more than doubled from $0.01674 to $0.04219 in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier.
The reason this is important to note is that last year, Zynga’s growth in terms of acquiring new users slowed dramatically as Facebook phased out notifications, which made it easy for people to invite their friends to games. Zynga also started phasing in Credits, for which it had to give a 30 percent revenue share to Facebook.
The nagging question at that point in time was whether Facebook would effectively kill its golden goose by making its platform less profitable and attractive to developers. These numbers suggest no — at least for the very biggest companies that secured first-mover advantage.（source:insidesocialgames）
5）Gaming Spending to Total $74B This Year, Gartner Says
By Agam Shah
Worldwide spending on electronic gaming products will total US$74 billion this year, and be driven in the coming years by fast growth in mobile and online games, Gartner said in research released on Tuesday.
Total gaming spending this year will grow by 10.4 percent compared to the previous year, when spending on gaming products was $67 billion. A bulk of the gaming expenditure this year will be to tied to consoles, which will total $44.7 billion on software, and $17.8 billion on hardware, Gartner said.
But in the future, online gaming could take over a larger share of overall spending as social networks and new gaming models take shape, Gartner said. Many online games are currently provided on a subscription basis, but could be provided for free, with developers earning money through in-game advertising and sale of value-added services or virtual goods.
Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are also becoming popular devices for gaming, and the growing number of paid game downloads from online application stores should aid growth in overall game-related spending, said Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.
Mobile games are the most downloaded applications in app stores, Nguyen said. Gaming applications such as Angry Birds, which is available for multiple OS platforms, have been downloaded millions of times on smartphones and tablets. Games also rank as some of the top downloaded apps from Apple’s App Store in some countries.
“Mobile gaming will continue to thrive as more consumers expand their use of new and innovative portable connected devices,” Nguyen said.
Microsoft and Sony host online gaming services through their Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles, respectively, while multiplayer role-playing game services such as World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online are available on a subscription basis for laptops. Microsoft is trying to promote online gaming through smartphones based on its Windows Phone 7 OS, which hosts games for the Xbox Live online gaming service.（source:pcworld）
6）Mystery buyer purchases sinking startup Ohai
by Kinsey Jamison
An unnamed buyer has reportedly paid “a relatively low price” for social game startup Ohai, according to VentureBeat. Ohai, which has been shopping around for buyers for quite some time according to an unnamed source, were established in 2008 by Susan Wu. A former venture capitalist and competitive gamer, Wu formed the company in 2008 with many game industry veterans including Scott Hartsman and Don Neufeld, and Blake Commagere (noted developer of the popular early social game Vampires).
Ohai had early promise as an social game startup. TechCrunch referred to their “superstar team” in early 2009, and CEO Susan Wu has been present on multiple “best of” lists including Most Creative People 2010. Ohai had the advantage of using the existing successful social game brand, Vampires, and built their Flash MMOG City of Eternals based on its IP. Prior to its launch, co-founder and VP Production Scott Hartsman and Blake Commagere (CTO) left the company after working with Ohai less than one year. The game launched without them to early promise yet little followthrough.
According to AppData, City of Eternals never reached 1,000 daily active players. The game did end up launching on its own standalone destination site, but never made waves in the social game space. Ohai began work on another title, Unicorn Parade, a clunky Facebook game that has soft released but currently has less than 1,000 monthly active players and feels unpolished and not ready for primetime. Susan Wu is now no longer CEO and has been replaced by Rex Ishibashi, former Ohai board member.
With a history like this, we’re not sure what this mystery buyer is hoping to get from Ohai. It could be the acquisition of in-house developed technology. It could be an inexpensive talent acquisition, though the majority of Ohai’s talent has since moved on to other things. Blake Commagere has been working on his own stealth startup, and Scott Hartsman left with much of his former team to run the development at Trion Worlds (publisher and developer of the game Rift). （source:games）
7）Add CommentTweetZynga buys 12 companies for fraction of what Disney spent on Playdom
by Joe Osborne
Has Disney been shopping in the wrong places? VentureBeat reports that Zynga spent a total of $123 million in cash and stock for 12 companies over the past year.
That number is about a seventh of what Disney paid–around $763 million–for a single company, Playdom. Not to mention that it’s a third of what EA paid for Playfish in 2009: around $400 million.
Of course, Zynga has bought considerably smaller companies, but it’s also a sign that Zynga has been far more savvy in its purchases (and its uses for them) than its competitors. The most it paid for a studio was $53 million for Newtoy, the creators of Words with Friends and now Hanging with Friends under the big red dog.（source:games）
8）Survey: UK Games Market To Reach £3.6B In 2011
by Kyle Orland
A new survey of the consumer games market in the United Kingdom estimates total sales across all formats will total £3.6 billion ($5.8 billion) in 2011.
The number is down slightly from Newzoo’s £3.7 billion ($5.95 billion) industry size estimate for 2010, with a 10 percent decrease in boxed console, PC and Mac game sales dragging down growth in MMOs (up 40+ percent), downloadable games (up 11 percent), mobile games (up 6 percent) and casual gaming sites (up 4 percent).
Revenue from mobile, online and downloadable games will represent nearly 44 percent of all money spent on UK gaming in 2011, according to the report, flipping results from Newzoo’s recent U.S. market survey which showed such games representing a 55 percent majority of spending.
Just under 52 percent of the UK’s 60 million people are characterized as “active gamers” in the report, but only 52 percent of those gamers actually spends money on games, Newzoo said, with the remainder playing only free titles.
The rise of these free players has caused a disconnect between the time and money spent on various types of gaming in the UK, Newzoo said, pointing out that online and mobile gaming represents 60 percent of time but only 35 percent of money spent on games.
“We expect the free-to-play business models on all platforms, including consoles, to not only push the UK market back to growth but also decrease the current gap between time and money spent,” Newzoo CEO and co-founder Peter Warman said in a statement.
Casual gaming web sites provided the most popular gaming option detailed in the report, used by 69 percent of all active gamers, followed closely by console games (66 percent) and mobile games (65 percent). MMOs were the least popular of all measured game types, played by only 35 percent of gamers.（source:gamasutra）
9）What Makes People Want To Follow Brands? [Infographic]
A positive brand experience online leads to more sharing and engagement and, as a result, more business. But what is it that makes people want to follow a brand? A new infographic from Get Satisfaction explores this question.
In Hot Pursuit: What Makes People Want To Follow A Brand? explores the top reasons that people follow brands, how many brands the average person follows on Facebook, what happens when people follow a brand and more.
Some of the key findings are as follows:
A whopping 97.09% of respondents said that an online experience has influenced whether or not they bought a product or service from a brand.
The number 1 reason for following a brand is access to special offers and deals (36.9% of Facebook/Myspace users, 43.5% of Twitter users). The runners up for top reasons people follow brands are that they are current customers or that they are following because of interesting and entertaining content.
Most admit that when they are following a brand they are more likely to consider the brand when in the market for the product, buy the product from the brand and recommend the brand to others.
On average, people follow between 2 and 5 brands on Facebook. How many are you following? （source:socialtimes）