2）据games.com报道，社交游戏开发商CrowdStar最近准备向iPhone/iPad平台发布一款新游戏《Tower Town》，该游戏风格类似于《Tiny Tower》和Playfish游戏《Hotel City》的合体。
3）日本社交游戏公司DeNA高管Kenji Kobayashi在最近的GDC China社交游戏峰会上发言指出，他认为免费增值模式的智能手机游戏市场“仅仅是一个开端，仍然具有极大竞争性”，但并非所有的社交游戏都能成功盈利。
该游戏是Kingdom系列的第三款游戏（游戏邦注：前两款游戏分别是《Sengoku Kingdom》和《Sangokushi Kingdom》） ，其风格类似于卡牌战斗/策略游戏。
6）丹麦开发商Big Bite Games最近宣布Facebook游戏《World of Football》已进入内部测试阶段。这款游戏采用3D同步多人模式，支持用户与多达19名的其他用户共同体验实时足球赛，预计将于2012年初进入公开测试。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，拒绝任何不保留版权的转载，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
1）Mobile App Inflection Point: 25 Billion Apps Downloaded in 2011
By Dan Rowinski
Mobile analytics company Flurry estimates that application downloads to Android and iOS will hit 25 billion in 2011. That is a 300% jump from 2010, when six billion were downloaded. Of those 25 billion, five billion are expected to come in December as consumers buy new smartphones and start downloading to satisfy their insatiable hunger for mobile goodness.
Smartphones have hit an inflection point. It is not the one we are waiting for quite yet (when 50% of all U.S. consumers have smartphones) but growth like this happens when critical mass of adoption has been realized and a behavior once reserved for early adopters becomes the cultural norm.
Around 43% of U.S. consumers have smartphones. It is likely that the 50% inflection point will come before Q3 of 2012. What will app downloads look like then? There is no way that 300% growth year-over-year can be sustained but the exponential rates will continue throughout the rest of this decade until smartphones and app adoption reaches the point of cultural ubiquity.
Flurry says that revenues from app downloads will reach $2.5 billion this year. In the New York Times story about Flurry’s data, there is no breakdown on where that revenue is broken down between paid downloads, in-app purchases, freemium services or advertising. It is likely that revenue number will double next year as more apps are downloaded and a lot of the marketing programs, analytics services, engagement activities and all the push notifications tied to those solutions mature and become more prevalent.
The NYT article also does not break that revenue down by platform. How is the pie sliced between Android and iOS? Android developers have long lamented that the platform is not conducive to making money and that is one of the reasons why developers first look to iOS with new apps before moving to Android. It used to be that iOS was just an easier environment to develop for and make great looking apps, but that particular barrier has eroded in 2011 with a plethora of terrific Android apps coming to the platform.
There is also the question of how the rest of the ecosystem will evolve or devolve. My biggest question for 2012 is: what is going to happen to Research In Motion? Will the ecosystem rebound and if so, how will its app ecosystem grow with it? Same goes for Windows Phone 7, which has positioned itself well to have a growing and robust application ecosystem that developers can monetize well.（source:readwriteweb）
2）CrowdStar launches Tower Town on iOS: Why build just one Tiny Tower when you can build more?
by Brandy Shaul
Presumably after seeing the success achieved by Tiny Tower earlier this year, CrowdStar has decided to launch its own “tiny tower” game on both iPhone and iPad, that combines both Playfish’s former Facebook game Hotel City and high-rise living (plus some very minor social features). The goal in Tower Town is to build as many towers as you can to house different kinds of residences and businesses. You’ll build towers of increasingly tall heights, with all towers given a Lobby that takes up the first floor.
In your very first tower, you’ll have a 2×2 square area to work with, which is enough room for a Coffee Shop, Flower Shop and two single-square Studio Apartments. The next tower is 3×3, giving you another two squares to work with, and so on. Eventually, towers themselves become wider, as well as taller, so that you’ll be able to place larger types of homes and businesses in each tower. For instance, a Basic Apartment may be two squares wide, or a Basic Penthouse could take up six full squares (talk about luxury).
Your progress works in a fairly simple circle. You’ll be given a new citizen that wishes to live in one of your towers. They only want to live in a particular kind of home, so you’ll need to determine which home that will fit into, and whether or not you have the resources necessary to built it. As you expand your towers to the right of the screen, you’ll run into mountains and trees. Chopping down the trees or mining the mountains gives you resources like wood planks, cement bricks or glass panels, with different buildings requiring different amount of both these materials and coins to construct. You’ll earn coins from the various businesses you place in your towers, which continually turn a profit so long as you continue to collect those profits from them manually.
Once you place a citizen into the home of their dreams, they’ll have a secondary requirement that will make them “happy.” If you can make every citizen living in a single tower happy, it will increase in start ranking and will therefore give you better payouts when you collect from it. These secondary wishes usually deal with specific decorations that you can purchase from the store. One guest might want a mailbox placed near the tower, while another wants to see flowers growing on the sidewalk. So long as you ensure that these items are close enough to the tower in question, you’ll finish with that particular citizen and can move onto the next.
And so it goes, as you’ll mine more mountains and chop more trees only to build more towers in which your virtual citizens can live. The game seems to have a reliance on too many unnecessary taps, as you’ll need to tap on rooms more than once to actually build them, or tap on a ready business twice just to collect. If I tapped on the business once, and it has profits waiting for me, why would that be a mistake, requiring a confirmation first?
In terms of social features, the game (as of this writing) only seems to allow you to send gifts to your friends. These won’t cost you anything, but you will have to be nearby the friend that you wish to send a present. This is handled via a “Bump” mechanic that seems to serve as a digital form of a handshake.
As it stands, Tower Town is a cute little freemium game, but doesn’t offer the kinds of social features you might expect from such a game. It would be great if we could visit our friends’ towers, and we’ll make sure to let you know if a feature like that launches sometime in the future. For now, Tower Town is available for free on iTunes, so why not give it a go?（source:games）
3）GDC China: DeNA Talks ‘Not Very Competitive’ Social Smartphone Game Biz
by Simon Carless
In a talk kicking off GDC China’s Social Games Summit, Japanese executive Kenji Kobayashi of major Japanese smartphone social game network Mobage discussed what makes social gaming businesses successful worldwide, giving hints and tips to social game firms along the way.
Kobayashi, who is a key executive and director for DeNA, started his talk at the Shanghai-based event, which runs through Monday, by highlighting Mobage’s successes. He actually advocated that the free to play smartphone game market is still “not very competitive, because it is only the beginning.”
His company has surprised the traditional Japanese console game market — alongside other services such as Gree and Mixi — by building major revenues through free to play cellphone game titles.
But the executive nonetheless warned on the “misconception” that all social games are making lots of money.
Well-placed to see the rush to social games from the Japanese console game creation market, Kobayashi, who recently gave an in-depth interview with Gamasutra, made some specific suggestions from his experience on what has led to failure.
In particular, he noted that some companies end up “using surplus resources” in their teams, instead of hiring high-quality (and costly) engineers. Because these companies are rooted in other non-social game pasts, “they don’t use their top people” to make social games, and it hurts them in the long-term.
In addition, many gaming companies copy other game products’ success without understanding – making “something that looks like a social game” without designing details. This also leads to failure.
Those who are most successful in the market “need to be very detail-oriented”, and create very in-depth monetization plans, says Kobayashi. In particular, the transition from ‘fire and forget’ manufacturer to ‘continuous feature and asset additions’ service provider is also very important.
Kobayashi then went on to detail the spectacular growth of virtual currency spending on Mobage in Japan. Interestingly, around half of the revenue on Mobage in Japan is through first-party games as of September 2011.
But 18 months earlier, only a small minority of the Mobage revenue was third party specific, showing how the company is opening up its platform to accelerate growth, taking a cut of the revenue from third parties in a similar way to services like Facebook.
These statistics show why the firm is trying to aggressively expand beyond Japan, buying Ngmoco in the West to swiftly grow Mobage’s reach onto Western Android platforms, and venturing into China to explain their platform to local creators at GDC China 2011.
Kobayashi’s belief? “You should enter the [smartphone social gaming] market as quickly as possible.” （source:gamasutra）
4）Bakumatsu: New GREE First-Party Game On The Way
by Dr. Serkan Toto
While DeNA is currently offering around 40 first-party games on Mobage, GREE has developed just around ten for its platform. For Japanese feature phones, GREE has just opened pre-registration for Bakumatsu Kingdom, a “historic” social game.
Bakumatsu are the final years of the Edo period in Japan, the end of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Like many hit social games in Japan, Bakumatsu Kingdom is part of a series – the third one in the Kingdom series, which includes Sengoku Kingdom and Sangokushi Kingdom. These are all historic social games created by GREE itself.
Details on Bakumatsu Kingdom are still scarce, but it looks like the new title will be a combination of a card battle and a war/strategy game (it does take place in the Edo period).
GREE players on feature phones can pre-register for the new game now.（source:serkantoto）
5）Ngmoco’s Downie: ‘We Don’t See’ Players As ‘Faceless, Mindless Beings’
by Christian Nutt
Last week, Gamasutra was invited to Ngmoco’s new San Francisco headquarters to see two of its new, in-development games for its Mobage social mobile network platform, which recently came out of beta.
The titles, DragonCraft and Skyfall, are both developed by two of the company’s internal studios: New York City-based Freeverse and its San Francisco studio, respectively.
While CEO Neil Young filled the journalists in attendance in on the company’s overall strategy, Gamastura spoke to Ngmoco’s head of game production, Clive Downie, to find out what his and the company’s aims are, specifically, with its internally developed-games.
So what’s the goal of the studio organization? “Make hits. Make great games,” said Downie.
“The reason why is I want first party to make the defining product on Mobage. I want us to make our Halos. Because the platforms need defining killer apps.”
“We blaze the trail for others to use the technology that we devleop. It’s an important role and we’re having fun with it,” he said. The comany’s ngCore engine and Mobage platform are open to third party developers.
“We’re growing in San Francisco,” he said, sitting in a meeting room in Ngmoco’s newly-opened China Basin office, next to AT&T Park. “We have at least another three games in production, and live. We’ve recently added a new studio group that’s taking a shot at a really meaningful category. I can’t tell you much about that, but it’s a big thing.”
The company also has studios around the world, including Battlefield Heroes developer Ben Cousins’ new studio in Sweden, and Rough Cookie in Holland, which is “working on a new hit very closely with Japan,” said Downie.
“Every location has at least one new game in development and some have multiple. So, yes, first party is a focus,” he confirmed.
The two games shown at the event, he said, say not just “that we’re committed to free-to-play, freemium games, but we’re committed to games that blend world-class art with the world-class science that you heard from Kenji.”
Kenji Kobayashi is Ngmoco parent DeNA’s global executive producer for its social games business. Gamasutra recently interviewed Kobayashi at DeNA’s Tokyo headquarters. He said that, thanks to the discrepancy in ARPU between the two companies — with DeNA getting $12 per user — he suspects that “Zynga has not really researched monetization. I think that people who don’t know much about the Japanese market just dismiss those users as crazy, but that’s not the case. You really need to research thoroughly at what time monetization becomes the most fun for your users.”
Downie said that his philosophy is centered on making great products.
“As a head of a development group that makes things for people — forget that they’re games, they’re product that human beings spend their time on. It’s very important to realize what it is about magnificent product of any kind, be it gaming product, be it hardware, be it automobiles.”
“It’s any great product. What is it about them that makes them special? In our mind, it’s that blend I talked about, of combining great art, which is the delightful side — it’s like, how do you attract people and make people feel good? — with great science that gives them an experience, and an engagement opportunity that grows with them.”
“These games,” he said of Skyfall and DragonCraft, “are the manifestation of those thoughts in their earliest form.”
“Ngmoco was founded by games makers, and I’d say we have a slant toward the art side of things. What DeNA have provided us with is to consider how to meld that science of systems with art. These games represent… our first steps towards that.”
Of his Japanese parent company, he says, “They have been leaps and bounds ahead of us in terms of their knowledge of how to develop systems that people want to connect with time and time again, every single day.” The goal is that “you feel good about spending money on it legitimately, as a consumer.”
He said, however, that Ngmoco’s philosophy is not like other social gaming companies, because “we don’t see the people who like to play our games as faceless, mindless beings. We see them as people.”
When you play a badly-developed microtransaction-based game, said Downie, you quickly recognize that “all that’s doing is that it’s a machine, and a system, to try to extricate money from you, and that’s what not we’re about. We provide entertainment.”
“The best entertainment in the world engages you emotionally. We are aware of that and we use that. You have to provide entertainment; otherwise you will never have a sustainable relationship.”
While he talked of Steven Spielberg and Pixar, Downie also drew a strong comparison to another kind of consumer product. “BMW has ways of putting cars together. They’re delightful experiences to drive, but they’re very systemic. They know exactly how you should feel sitting in that position. Because if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be enjoyable.”
“There are systems in life,” said Downie. “So using systems well, I sincerely believe, is a good thing.”
Good games have intrinsic value to players “the same way that great music and movie and TV shows have intrinsic value to your life,” he said. “What makes great entertainment separate from good entertainment, and that from bad entertainment, is providing intrinsic value. It’s providing meaningful emotional benefit for the time that you have invested in it.”
As people, “we don’t like wastes of time,” he said. “Not wasting people’s time is what I really see as the goal. So people say ‘Yeah, I’ve invested 10 minutes of my life in that and I got something back. Thanks.’” （source:gamasutra）
6）World of Football Makes its Facebook Debut – Danish developer Big Bite Games’ Facebook game World of Football has gone into closed Alpha. The game is a 3D synchronous multiplayer game, that allows users to play real-time football (soccer) games with up to 19 other users at a time. The game will go into open beta in early 2012.（source:insidesocialgames）