Inside Network创始人及报告作者Justin Smith指出，这组数据表明自一年前Facebook限制游戏病毒传播渠道后，虚拟商品交易就开始呈缓慢增长趋势；美国多数虚拟商品收益来自Facebook平台，但手机平台的虚拟商品收益增长更为迅速。
据该报告另一名作者Charles Hudson所称，Facebook有望在2012年通过Facebook Credits创收5亿美元，而手机社交游戏也将在同一时期实现可观的收益。
2）据Gamebiz报道，DeNA旗下头号热门游戏《Kaito Royale》，不但在其Mobage平台极有人气，在日本最大的实名制社交网站Mixi同样很受欢迎，最近其Mixi用户已达600万7985，几乎每4个Mixi注册用户中，就有一者是《Kaito Royale》游戏玩家（游戏邦注：该游戏在Mixi平台仅推出了功能性手机版本）。
4）社交游戏公司Zynga于近日宣布将于尽快推出继集游戏《Mafia Wars 2》。原版《Mafia Wars》曾被Zynga投向多个社交网络和门户网站，并发布了一个独立手机游戏版本。据insidesocialgames观察者所称，该游戏已从Tagged和MySpace网站移除（游戏邦注：原因可能是这两个平台的运营表现不佳，也可能与传说中的Zynga与Facebook独家协议有关）。
5）EA最近宣布将于10月份向Facebook引进旗下的Xbox 360、PlayStaion 3热门游戏《NHL Superstars》，但没有公布具体发布时间。
Hi5原先使用的是“极为繁琐和沉重”的Linux/Postgress服务器，现在替换为Windows Server OS基础设施，以便节约成本并提高网站的灵活性，并解散原先负责维护旧网站的运营团队。
该公司总裁Alex St. John表示，Hi5工程团队将以社交游戏为重心，他认为使用开源平台需组建自己的内部团队，以便评估大家使用平台的安全性，并不时修复重要漏洞或审核补丁，这对一家商业公司来说需耗费的资源和成本都太高了。
《Foldit》开发者Seth Cooper表示，他们选择游戏玩家而不让电脑自动处理这一任务的原因是，“人类具有空间推理能力，而电脑并不擅长此道”。该大学生物化学实验室负责人Firas Khatib则表示，“我们想看看人类的直觉是否胜过自动化处理技术，如果我们能够正确引导并利用游戏玩家这种独创性的特点，就有可能解开更多科学难题”。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
1）U.S. virtual goods revenue on Facebook to grow 32 percent to $1.65B in 2012
U.S. virtual goods revenue on Facebook is expected to grow 32 percent in 2012 to $1.65 billion, according to a new report by Inside Network.
That growth rate is lower than the 40 percent growth for 2011, as the market analyst firm predicts that revenue this year is growing from $800 million in to 2010 to $1.25 billion by the end of 2011. While that is rapid growth, it shows that the fast-growing virtual goods and social gaming industries that use it are maturing and slowing down.
Justin Smith, founder of Inside Network, said in an interview that the numbers reflect a slowdown in the torrid growth for virtual goods, which next to ads are a major source of business on social networks such as Facebook. On Facebook, most apps are free-to-play, where users play for free and pay real money for virtual goods such as custom decorations.
The report is jointly authored by Smith and Charles Hudson, an active social gaming executive and CEO of Bionic Panda Games.
Virtual goods generate revenue for the social game makers, who then have to pay Facebook a 30 percent cut for the use of its Facebook Credits virtual currency. The growth rate for virtual goods slowed a year ago after Facebook cut back on viral game distribution tactics — such as flooding someone’s news feed wit game invites — in the name of reducing spam on its network. Facebook has taken steps to restore viral growth, but game developers have become accustomed to life with slower growth rates.
But, Smith said, “We think an important part of this growth is continued better monetization of current users by developers. They can now systematically merchandise virtual goods and increase the lifetime value of users,” or the amount of money generated by a users over the life of an app or game. App makers are also better at making more money by cross-promoting one game to a user who is a fan of a related game.
Smith said the vast majority of U.S. virtual goods revenue is coming from Facebook. But he noted that mobile virtual goods revenues are growing fast and are counted separately as a different market for now.
The picture is not entirely bright for developers, since Facebook takes a 30 percent cut from a market that is growing at a rate of 30 percent next year.
“Not all of the growth is going into developers’ pockets,” Smith said. “The hope is that as Facebook Credits matures, it will help grow the market.”
Hudson said that based on the research, Facebook could make $500 million from Facebook Credits in 2012. In 2012, mobile social games will likely generate a considerable amount of money.
Next year’s estimate includes revenue from the Google+ social network, but Inside Network hasn’t broken that figure out yet. He noted that on a worldwide basis, Asia is still a much larger market for virtual goods than the U.S. While Zynga generates a considerable amount of the revenue from virtual goods on Facebook, Smith noted that the social game market is more competitive now with good growth for companies such as Electronic Arts, whose Sims Social game is a big hit.
While social games are growing, they aren’t taking over yet. Revenue from console games is still about 10 times bigger than social game revenue.（source:venturebeat）
2）Kaito Royale: DeNA’s Hit Game Hits 6 Million Users On Mixi [Social Games]
by Dr. Serkan Toto
DeNA‘s Kaito Royale isn’t only successful on Mobage, the company’s own platform. It’s also available – and very popular – on Mixi, Japan’s largest real identity social network.
In fact, Gamebiz reports that the game hit 6,007,985 users today, at 11am JST. In other words, roughly 1 out of 4 registered Mixi members has registered for Kaito Royale so far – an amazing number.
On Mixi, DeNA has released Kaito Royale on mobile phones (feature phones) only, and it’s the top game not only on Mobage, but on Mixi, too.（source:serkantoto）
3）Google+ Opens Social Platform To Everyone
by Kyle Orland
Google has announced that its Google+ social network, which includes a number of popular social games, is ending an invite-only field trial started in June and entering an open beta available to anyone.
All internet users can now sign up for a free Google+ account, gaining access to a variety of sharing features and a curated set of social games launched in August.
The Google+ games platform currently includes 16 popular titles from publishers including Rovio, PopCap, EA and Digital Chocolate. Achievements and events in these games can be shared with other Google+ users in a section separate from the rest of the network’s content.
Google launched the games service by charging developers a promotional 5 percent commission on in-game transactions, well below the 30 percent commissions taken by networks like Facebook.
The company also recently released an API allowing third-party developers to post and read content from Google+ in their apps.
Last week, an analysis by 89n.com found that Google+ users were publishing 40 percent fewer public posts, on average, than when the service launched, suggesting usage among those on the field trial might be decreasing as time goes on. （source:gamasutra）
4）Zynga Announces Mafia Wars 2 as Traffic Declines on Classic Original
By AJ Glasser
Zynga is unveiling the sequel to its 2008 Facebook game, Mafia Wars, today with an animated trailer. Details on Mafia Wars 2 are scarce pending a press briefing, but the game is expected to launch “soon.”
The trailer gives a few clues as to the sequel’s angle. There’s evidence of a narrative constructed around revenge and vivid depictions of violence that suggest a higher level of visualization than what we saw in the text-based original game. Mafia Wars is perhaps best known for popularizing the social network game mechanic of recruiting as many friends as possible to your “mob” to better accomplish gameplay objectives, though many social games before Mafia Wars’ time made use of this feature. The core gameplay loop involves players spending regenerative resources (health, stamina and energy) to complete jobs or fight other players to earn more resources, items and virtual currency.
Mafia Wars is one of few Zynga games to be offered on other social networks and games portals besides Facebook, as well as a standalone mobile game. The game was removed from Tagged and MySpace possibly as a result of declining platform performance or perhaps due to an exclusivity agreement with Facebook revealed in Zynga’s IPO filings. On Facebook, the game has been in decline over the last year, showing only a brief spike in activity thanks to a cross-promotion run with Zynga sibling CityVille run in late March 2011. It currently enjoys an audience of 5.1 million monthly active users and 875,734 daily active users on the platform.
We’re still not certain how effective modern social game sequels are at extending the life of a franchise, given that only a few have launched in recent months. We’re also not certain if the crime genre hasn’t reached a point of saturation in social games with rival titles like Crime City launching on Google+ and Kabam’s upcoming Godfather game looking to make a big launch on Facebook. Mafia Wars is one of the oldest social games still running, however, and at one point it was one of the largest at 28.1 million MAU and 7.3 million DAU on Facebook. If any social game franchise was primed for a sequel, Mafia Wars would be it.（source:insidesocialgames）
5）NHL Superstars coming to Facebook in October
by Brandy Shaul
Adding to its popular brand of “Superstars” titles on Facebook, Electronic Arts has announced the production of NHL Superstars for Facebook. This new game, as reported by ShackNews, comes on the heels of EA’s NHL 12 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 breaking franchise records for the biggest launch week in the franchise’s history.
As for the franchise’s jump onto the Facebook ice, we’re told this: “NHL Superstars will bring an all-new NHL experience to millions of hockey fans by enabling players to build and manage their ultimate team of professional hockey players. With dynamic and accessible gameplay, fans can compete head-to-head in games against their Facebook friends from around the world.”
While specific details are still lacking as to what we can exactly expect from NHL Superstars, we can’t imagine EA / Playfish breaking the mold. We’ll likely be able to collect cards that contain professional hockey players, and then trade those cards out to create the best team possible. Each player will likely have stats, and we’ll be able to use those players in virtual hockey games against others for supremacy.
We don’t have a specific release date for NHL Superstars, although the game is set to take to the ice sometime in October. We’ll make sure to give you a complete look at the game when we know more.（source:games）
6）Hi5 confirms 28 job cuts as it dumps open source for Windows servers
Social network Hi5 has cut 28 jobs after completing a migration from open source servers to ones based on Microsoft’s .Net software. The move was part of a larger plan to shift the social network toward social gaming and commerce.
Alex St. John, president of San Francisco-based Hi5, confirmed a report that the company had cut the jobs after it moved its site off of what he called a “tremendously burdensome” Linux/Postgres base to a Microsoft-based Windows Server OS infrastructure. The company made the move in order to lower costs and improve flexibility for the social network, which as been refocused on social games since St. John joined in late 2009.
The affected employees were mainly people who maintained the old site while operations team migrated to the new servers.
“The technical problem was that Hi5.com had seen a lot of engineering over the years and the site had gotten entangled such that updating our servers and databases to newer theoretically more secure versions had become a big deal because nobody knew how the site depended on bugs in older builds of Linux and Postgres,” St. John said. “Untangling the site from dependence on specific OS and database versions was a necessary chore to achieve better stability and security.”
With that task out of the way, not as many people are needed. Meanwhile, St. John said Hi5′s engineering team will now focus on building a new site focused on a social gaming platform, using the .Net framework and moving away from open source and Java technology. St. John said the transition went remarkably smoothly.
The hard part was consolidating data centers and databases (a 12 to 1 reduction) while running a live site. Now the new site needs different kinds of people to maintain it. St. John, a former Microsoft evangelist and a Microsoft customer while at his prior startup WildTangent, said the move toward Windows was needed because of the new focus on a commerce-centric business. But unraveling the dependencies between the old and the new was the hard part. After the migration, the site was more stable and faster.
“If there were any interesting insights to be gained in the Open vs Closed religious debate,” he said. “It’s that it is clearly more resource intensive (expensive) for a commercial company to use open source platforms because they have to have their own internal teams evaluating the security of everything they use and the internal ability to fix critical bugs or review patches from the community.”
The tough part is that the competent employees essentially engineered themselves out of a job. St. John said he appreciated their efforts. Hi5 raised $14 million in funding last year.（source:venturebeat）
7）Facebook Estimated Global Ad Revenue Doubles in 2011
By Douglas Crets
Facebook estimated global ad revenues will jump to $3.8 billion, more than double the social networking giant’s 2010 total.
Ad revenue for the site, which has over 750 million registered users, will miss the expected $4.05 billion mark, according to analysts, but the slowdown in growth is explained as a diversification into other revenue streams like Facebook Credits.
The diversification into different streams is really important, because it suggest that Web content consumption as a revenue driver is not going to be solely focused on display advertising.
The numbers suggest that attempts to drive consumption and spending across games, credits and other Facebook add-ons is fleshing out the bigger ad revenue picture.
When all streams are taken into consideration, total revenues at Facebook should reach $4.27 billion this year, eMarketer estimates. That more than doubles the $2 billion Facebook is estimated to have earned in 2010. Ad revenues will make up 89% of the total this year, down from 95% in 2009, says the site.
The $4.27 billion should beat FB’s internal estimates, which were about $4 billion. Based on earlier reports, Facebook has been moving at a fast clip, doubling its first half revenues. An earlier report showed that it had doubled its half-yearly revenues.
Revenues in US territory will do just as well. Ad revenues here are expected to pass $2 billion in 2011, making for over half of the company’s total revenue. Overseas ad revenue will continue to eat away at the US chunk of the market as mobile penetration and broadband to the home increases across developing nations, especially in Asia.
Overseas ad dollars is predicted to represent 50% of the pie next year and a slight majority by 2013.（source:readwriteweb）
8）Gamers help with AIDS research, decipher a decade old enzyme problem in 3 weeks
By Jim Squires
In only three weeks, gamers did what scientists weren’t able to do in a decade: they’ve deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an HIV-like virus. This isn’t some silly “Let’s Cure AIDS!” game or “Science Research Tycoon” we’re talking about here – it’s the real deal. We’re also not talking about charity work. We’re talking about real, honest to goodness, hands on science. It’s the latest example of games for good, and it might just be the key to a better understanding of retroviruses like HIV.
Foldit is a free game developed by the University of Washington in which different competing groups of gamers race to unfold chains of amino acids. Science folks will tell you that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and unfolding them will give the scientific community a valuable model to examine and better understand its makeup. Gamers, however, will tell you that unfolding a chain of amino acid is a puzzle. A great big, surprisingly rewarding, puzzle. And gamers completing these puzzles is actually making the world a better place.
But why gamers? Couldn’t a computer just as easily automate the task? “People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at,” says Seth Cooper, one of Foldit’s creators. “We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed,” adds Firas Khatib of the university’s biochemistry lab. “The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”
So the next time someone tells you that video games are a waste of time, just send them a link to this article. Better yet – just send them to download Foldit.（source:gamezebo）