2）据一名自称是社交游戏开发商MetroGames（游戏邦注：代表作《Coco Girl》）员工的知情者透露，MetroGames最近因出售公司未遂而面临倒闭的情况，并开始进行裁员。其首席执行官Damián Harburguer和首席运营官Julián Lisenberg暗地里向员工施压，企图不支付12月份薪水以令其自动离职。
该公司首席执行官Harburguer向媒体表示，他们已经告诉员工公司财务状况不佳，已经有不少员工在假期季离职，他们正致力于挽回局面，但至今未确认公司是否停止运营的消息。据AppData数据显示，该公司所有Facebook游戏目前的MAU达550万，DAU为78.3万，最近发布的《Goco Girl》占公司游戏60%以上的流量。该公司在今年曾与Chillingo合作推出iOS游戏，已向App Store发布《Plock》和《Typing Maniac》。
1）Who’s Actually Playing Social Games In Japan? [Social Games]
by Dr. Serkan Toto
GREE,DeNA‘s Mobage, Yahoo Mobage, Mixi, Hangame: there’s certainly no shortage of social game platform providers in Japan, and the same is true for social game content providers (I am estimating there are around 500 of these active in this country).
But who is actually playing these games, making it possible for GREE and DeNA to develop into multi-billion dollar companies with 40%+ profit margins?
In a nutshell, social game players in Japan are older than most people think, about 50% female, and concentrated in the region around Tokyo. Here’s a quick overview.
Both GREE and DeNA (as well as Mixi) are relatively open regarding user-related demographics (what’s interesting is that all of these companies aren’t sharing more specific user information with their third-party game providers, but that’s another story).（source:serkantoto）
2）Coco Girl Developer MetroGames Hit With Layoffs
Coco Girl developer MetroGames began staff cuts this month after a deal to buy the social game developer failed to close, Inside Social Games can confirm.
An email sent to various news outlets last week by someone claiming to be a MetroGames employee says the developer is facing an imminent closure and that CEO Damián Harburguer and COO Julián Lisenberg were privately pressuring workers to quit while publicly asking them to keep working despite nonpayment of December wages and bonuses. Harburguer followed up with ISG this week to confirm that the developer was facing layoffs after months of strenuous and ultimately unsuccessful efforts to sell the company to a buyer.
“We informed our staff of our financial condition last week,” Harburguer tells us in an emailed statement. “A significant number of really talented employees have left the company and we will be forced to make additional reductions very soon. We regret that this happened during the Holiday season, but we did not want to take drastic action while any chance remained that a deal would be successful. We are doing everything we can to help our former employees find new positions with other companies in Buenos Aires and elsewhere.”
It was unclear from his statement whether or not MetroGames would be shutting down. According to our AppData traffic tracking service, the developer currently enjoys 5.5 million monthly active users and 783,000 daily active users across all its Facebook games, with the recently launched Coco Girl making up more than 60% of that traffic. Earlier this year, the developer officially launched its Grand Theft Auto-inspired Facebook title, Auto Hustle. In June, the company partnered with EA mobile game publishing studio Chillingo to begin its entry into iOS with both existing and new IP. MetroGames currently has two titles available in the App Store — Plock and Typing Maniac.（source:insidesocialgames）
3）Google and Facebook reign as the most-visited sites of 2011
Jennifer Van Grove
Facebook may be growing in popularity, but Google is still the web brand to beat.
In 2011, 153.4 million U.S. people visited Google sites per month, on average, from home and work computers, and that makes the search giant the most-visited U.S. web brand of the year, according to Nielsen.
Facebook, however, was the second most-visited U.S. web brand and the top social network, averaging 137.6 million visitors per month, Nielsen found. In the social networking and blogs category, Facebook beat out Blogger, Twitter (and of course Google+) by massive margins.
Nielsen looked at web traffic from home and work computers from January through October 2011 to determine the top web brands of year. The company’s data is limited to the desktop and does not include mobile visits, a category of growing importance as consumer browsing and social media behaviors switch over to mobile devices.
For comparison, Experian Hitwise published its list of most-visited sites and most-searched terms of the year, and gave Facebook the grand prize in both categories. Why the discrepancy? Facebook had more U.S. visits than Google.com, but if you combine visits to all Google properties — not just Google.com — Google actually had the edge over Facebook in 2011, according to Experian Hitwise. The companies are also measuring different things. Nielsen focused on individual visitors per month while Experian Hitwise looked at total visits for the year.
Nielsen’s numbers meanwhile paint a fairly consistent story. Even as far back as December 2009, Google ruled Nielsen’s U.S. web brand chart with 146.7 million unique visitors and Yahoo ranked second with 129 million uniques. Yahoo, somewhat surprisingly considering all the turmoil, still maintains the third position as a top web brand, and averages 130 million visitors per month.
The only real dramatic change to the list over the past two years is the ascendance of Facebook, which saw nearly 110 million unique visitors in December 2009 but now sees 137.6 million folks visit its website, on average, each month. Facebook, however, blows away the competition in terms of time on site. In September, Nielsen found that the average Facebooker spent 7 hours and 24 minutes on the site, while the average Googler clocked in at just one hour and 43 minutes for the month.（source:venturebeat）
4）Could social games inspire players to help out in the real world, too?
by Joe Osborne
Social games may be about using your friends as resources to progress, but that’s a two-way street, you know. (And if you’re the type that’s only going one way, don’t expect to have many friends for very long.) The same applies to the real world, in a way, no? Iowa State University professor of psychology Douglas Gentile’s recent findings might point in that direction.
In an article published in the December issue of the journal Nature Reviews/Neuroscience, Gentile puts forth the idea that social games might inspire players to be helpful to others in real-life social situations. Titled “Brains on video games,” the article is a collection of independent studies from six researchers on the psychological effects of video games.
Particularly speaking to social games, Gentile found in experimental studies across the U.S., Japan and Singapore that playing “pro-social” games led to more “helping behavior” in players as a result, according to Medical Xpress. In one longitudinal study, or one conducted over an extended time period, it was found that students that started their school year playing social games displayed increased helpful behaviors later in the school year.
“If content is chosen wisely, video games can actually enhance some skills,” Gentile said to Medical Xpress. “But overall, the research has demonstrated that they’re far more powerful teaching tools than we imagined. But the power can be both good and bad.” Of course, Gentile was referring to the potentially negative psychological effects of violent video games like desensitization and everyday aggression.
While it can’t be said for sure that helping one another through social gaming directly leads to players feeling driven to help others in the real world, it makes sense on paper. While the motivations are far more simplified, social gamers use their friends to advance much like folks make friends to advance. Whether that real-world motivation be emotional.（source:games）
5）Nintendo: Don’t expect Facebook games from us
By Emil Protalinski
Summary: Nintendo has no plans to develop Facebook games or port its many franchises to the social network. The company’s stance is the same for all platforms: Nintendo or nothing.
For a while now, Facebook has wanted to to offer more types of games, including first-person shooters and sports titles, mimicking the wide range found on consoles. Nintendo, the current leader in the console market, won’t be a partner anytime soon.
In a recent interview with AllThingsD, Nintendo’s North America President Reggie Fils-Aime answered various questions about his company’s future endeavors. When asked if Nintendo will experiment with free-to-play, Fils-Aime answered as follows:
I have two comments on that.
First, we make games for Nintendo devices, and that is a competitive advantage for us. You can only play Mario on a Nintendo device, so from that standpoint, I wouldn’t expect to see our franchises on other platforms, and I would argue Facebook is a platform.
My second point, on whether we will experiment with other forms of monetization?
How that comes about, or which ones we do first, that’s all experimentation that’s going on right now in our various studios.
Remember that Mario Kart Facebook scam? Well, it seems that’s the best you’re going to get on Facebook: people trying to trick you into thinking Nintendo games have finally arrived on the platform.
Nintendo’s stance applies to all platforms. Many believe the company is making a big mistake by avoiding iOS and Android. Nintendo is definitely missing a big opportunity to broaden its horizons and build new revenue streams, but it is doing so in order to avoid devaluing its various popular franchises. I’m sure Nintendo could offer Facebook games and figure out how to monetize them, but the company has concluded it doesn’t make sense for it in the long-run.（source:zdnet）