1）迪士尼Playdom近日宣布将于未来数周发布新款寻物解谜游戏《Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers》。该游戏由迪士尼Studio 24团队开发，并被定位为《Gardens of Time》接班人（该游戏同样出自Studio 24之手），支持玩家与不同的自然学家合作访问世界各个地区。各个自然景观都有特定的物种，玩家要从屏幕下方的一系列动物名称中鉴别出属于该地区的动物。
《Gardens of Time》自2011年4月发布以来，最高峰时的MAU为1700万，DAU达400万，目前MAU为640万，DAU则是140万。
2）旧金山初创企业Idle Games最近表示公司将与“糟糕以及伪社交的游戏”宣战，据其联合创始人及首席执行官Jeff Hyman所称，他们本月初发布的首款Facebook游戏《Idle Worship》支持同步和异步玩法，他认为让玩家实时互动才是社交游戏的真谛。
另外，他认为所谓的社交游戏“必须支持玩家任何时间都能与他人互动，无论玩家处于哪个服务器都能与他们实时玩游戏”。他称Idle Games团队编写了整整159页文件，记录下让《Idle Worship》实现社交性的想法，但他们只采用了其中的25%。
Hyman还指出，虽然Zynga热门游戏《CityVille》首席设计师Michael McCormick最近才宣布加入Idle Games团队，但实际上他从1月份开始就在与Idle合作。
3）Game Show Network旗下的GSN Digital（游戏邦注：代表作包括Facebook游戏《Jeopardy!》和《Wheel of Fortune》）日前宣布在美国华盛顿成立新工作室，利用当地人才资源扩大其Facebook游戏业务。
4）据gamezebo报道，Funtactix公司原先计划于3月23日配合《饥饿游戏》（The Hunger Games）电影首映发布的Facebook游戏《The Hunger Games Adventures》至今未见踪影，用户访问该游戏Facebook页面只能看到邀请玩家报名参与测试的信息，但不少玩家反映他们根本没有收到任何邮件回复。
Funtactix对此事的回应是，这款游戏仍处于封测阶段，将很快宣布进入下一个开发阶段。观察者称，这款游戏迟迟未上线，错过电影首映这个绝佳营销时机这种现象令人费解，并猜测这可能与游戏尚未完工，遇到技术故障或者担心游戏与其手机版本《Hunger Games: Girl on Fire》一样不受待见等原因有关（游戏邦注：也有影评人士指出《饥饿游戏》这部电影表现令人失望，Funtactix此举可能意在等待公众对电影负面印象消退后再发布游戏）。
位居其次的是《愤怒的小鸟》，新增190万MAU，增幅为11%，目前MAU共达1890万。《Draw My Thing》位居榜单第9名，新增40万MAU，增幅达19%（观察者称这一情况或许与手机平台上的《Draw Something》持续增势，以及Zynga收购OMGPOP有关，但其前途仍不甚明朗，因为《Draw Something》也将登陆Facebook）。
《Hoop De Loop Saga》增幅达33%，《Solitaire Blitz》增幅为64%，《Marvel: Avengers Alliance》增幅达27%，《Astro Garden》增幅达31%，《Soul Crash》增幅为43%。
1）Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers mixes hidden object gameplay and wildlife education on Facebook
Disney Playdom looks for a second Gardens of Time-style success in the next few weeks with Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers, a Facebook hidden object game based on the Florida theme park of the same name.
Eric Todd, VP of product and creative director, and Lead Producer Patrick Hsieh walked Inside Social Games through a demo of the game. Developed by Disney’s Studio 24, Animal Kingdom Explorers is billed as a spiritual successor to Gardens of Time (which Studio 24 also created), though it very obviously has little in common with Gardens of Time spin-off Blackwood & Bell. The new game’s story will follow players as they join the Global Wildlife Research Team, visit locations around the globe and work with different nature specialists. Each nature scene contains animals to sort through and identify, as opposed to random items. Todd explained that players enjoyed learning about history in Gardens of Time, and so Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers will use the same kinds of techniques — like lists of animals’ names and pop-up facts — to teach nature trivia.
Playing the demo for ourselves on Facebook reveals additional animal lessons hidden within Animal Kingdom Explorers. Players are given a list of animals to identify at the bottom of the screen, ranging from well-known creatures like chimpanzees to obscure critters like okapi. Puzzle tools include the usual magnifying glass and goggles, plus a a thermometer that indicates how “hot” or “cold” the mouse is to listed animals — which comes in handy if the player doesn’t know what an animal looks like.
Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers also includes a version of the garden decoration feature from Gardens of Time. Players build a nature preserve around the Tree of Life, the iconic centerpiece of the real world Animal Kingdom park. The screens that Todd and Hsieh presented included a wide variety of plants, animals and structures to place, though there was also a nod to Disney animation with Pride Rock from the Lion King on display. The preserve also generates bonuses when players put animals in environments they would normally be in, such as giraffes appearing next to the acacia trees from which they eat.
Although the Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers loading screen logo includes a dragon and a triceratops, Hsieh stated that only real world animals will appear in the game for the time being.
He noted that fantastical elements and creatures may be included later on, citing how Tibetan yetis were known to be “real” for hundreds of years before becoming a part of modern day cryptozoological lore.
Hsieh also pointed out that players might occasionally see characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse wandering through their preserves from time to time. We’ve seen Playdom implementing Disney branding to great effect in GnomeTown and ESPN Facebook games, but this is the first Facebook game that we know of to feature Disney’s most sacred mascot.
Even without the Disney name at launch, however, Gardens of Time sets the bar high for Animal Kingdom Explorers. The game hit peaks of 17 million monthly active users and 4 million daily active users since its April 2011 launch, it currently brings in 6.4 million MAU and 1.4 million DAU. Whether or not Animal Kingdom Explorers is able to see similar success remains to be seen, but the game certainly looks like it’s got the potential thanks to the elements that made its predecessor so popular.（source:insidesocialgames）
2）Idle Games and the ‘holy war against social games that suck’
by Mike Rose
San Francisco-based startup Idle Games has a bone to pick with the current evolution of social games available, recently calling itself “the instigator of a holy war against social games that suck and aren’t actually social.”
Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, it’s a statement that either sets the company up as an advocate of a new breed of social games, or sets it up for a huge fall, all dependent on whether its first release, Idle Worship, is classed as social by its players and critics.
Gamasutra asked Idle Games’ co-founder and CEO Jeff Hyman how Idle Worship, released on Facebook earlier this month, is “actually social” compared to what he deems non-social.
“The question would be somewhat easier to answer if it was ‘how are we not social’,” Hyman quips, before stating what he believes are the defining differences.
“Idle Worship offers synchronous and asynchronous game play. Fundamentally I don’t believe you can have a social game without at least offering up the ability to play in real-time with others,” he begins.
Secondly, he states that for a game to be classed as social, “you must be able to play with anyone at anytime. Our platform offers an ‘unsharded universe,’ which is just a fancy way of saying it doesn’t matter what server you are on. Everyone can play with anyone in real-time.”
To finish off, he says that Idle Games is looking to connect friends and strangers in ways that are “unrealized” in current social games.
“Most actions you take in the game create ‘reactions’ or ‘side effects’ that ripple throughout the world,” he explains further. “These side effects create social context between complete strangers. While it feels wonderfully random, it’s not – these matches are selected by complex algorithms and our recommendation engine.”
“This underlying technology helps us bring together people that have a high likelihood of having fun together,” he says.
Before Idle Games began to put together what it describes as real social games, the team sat down to write a 159 page “script” that documented exactly how the studio planned to make Idle Worship social.
“I would say at launch, we managed to get about 25 percent of what we wanted into the game,” admits Hyman. “So while we do have a large team working on Idle Worship, we’ve also been working on two other games, one of which will launch this summer.”
On the topic of Michael McCormick, the lead designer of Zynga’s hit CityVille that Idle Games hired away, Hyman says, “Although we just recently announced Michael’s joining, he has been with us since January.”
“In that short time, Michael has made invaluable contributions that helped ready the game and it’s initial feature set for launch. Currently, Michael is leading the charge on designing and implementing a very large set of new features.” （source:gamasutra）
3）GSN Digital opens Facebook games studio in Obama’s neighborhood
by Joe Osborne
When you think Facebook game creation, the nexus of the U.S. government isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind. Alas, GSN Digital has announced a new office in the heart of the good old U.S. of A, Washington, D.C. The interactive arm of the Game Show Network behind the Facebook adaptations of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune looks to continue its social gaming push in an unlikely place.
“We’re excited to open our new office in Washington, D.C., and expand on our Facebook game offerings,” GSN Digital D.C. director Peter Martin said in a release. “We look forward to being a major part of the gaming culture in the area and tapping into the bright and talented minds here in Washington, D.C.”
While D.C. may sound like a strange place to open a games studio, the East Coast social gaming scene is growing. There are several gaming firms located in New York, including star of the moment OMGPOP and developers like Arkadium. With the social game division of GSN Digital headquartered in San Francisco, it ultimately makes sense for the company to opt for a totally different location with its next studio.
GSN Digital looks to flesh out its D.C. studio in the coming months with new engineers, analytics pros, web developers designers and game producers. And since the company has seen mild success with its branded Facebook games, we’ll soon see whether the company continues to go that route. (Regardless, our guess is an emphatic “yes”.)（source:games）
4）The Hunger Games Adventures missed its release date, but there’s no clear answer on why
By Jim Squires
You couldn’t go anywhere over the last few weeks without hearing about The Hunger Games. From non-stop TV ads to countless articles to seemingly everyone you know chatting about it, anticipation for The Hunger Games movie hit epic proportions. It was like the last episode of Seinfeld, the Superbowl, and the moon landing all rolled into one.
Feeding this hype was a well-oiled marketing machine that knew all of the right buttons to press, and one of those buttons was launching two Hunger Games video games the same day as the movie. One of those two games materialized. The other didn’t.
Promising players a chance to explore the world of Panem first hand, The Hunger Games Adventures by Funtactix was scheduled to launch on March 23rd to coincide with the release of the motion picture. When we first heard about this, we couldn’t help but think it strange. Why wait until the launch of the movie? Wouldn’t it make more sense to launch in advance to help fuel the hype?
But I suppose being paired to the film release could have its advantages too; if word of the game began to spread just as moviegoers were exiting the theatres, the adoption rate could be huge. And with a $155 million opening weekend, that’s a lot of potential players.
But alas, now it’s a lot of missed opportunity.
As I write this, it is Monday, March 26th. The film’s opening weekend – the highest point of buzz most movies get – is officially behind us. And The Hunger Games Adventures is still nowhere to be seen. What’s more, visiting the Facebook page for the game encourages players to sign up for the beta to get in early, but more than a few potential players have been complaining about never receiving an email to get access (myself included). It would seem that beta access is determined by as random a lottery as The Reaping itself (and no – putting your name in more than once doesn’t net you any extra food or fuel).
We reached out to Funtactix over the weekend to ask what’s up, but their response was less than clear: “We’re still in Closed Beta and will be announcing movement into the next development phase shortly.”
My first thought was that maybe the response to the game was so overwhelming that they weren’t prepared to support as many players as a public launch would necessitate, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that can’t be the situation. Our own Joel Brodie had a chance to check out The Hunger Games Adventures at GDC, and in his preview reported that “when I spoke with Funtactix about the possibility of millions of Katniss-wannabes swarming their game on day one, they assured me that their game is designed to very scalable, and they are excited about the prospect of a crowded game world on day one.”
So what could the holdup be? Is the game unfinished? Are their technical problems? Or are they worried that the game will no doubt suffer the same criticisms that are being heaped onto everything else Hunger Games that hit this weekend?
Let’s face facts: the reviews of the mobile game Hunger Games: Girl on Fire haven’t exactly been glowing. Sure there was a superstar indie team behind the game, but it was very much a one trick pony and was over just as soon as it began. And then there’s the criticism about the movie itself.
Gamezebo isn’t a film site so I’m going to try to keep my thoughts on this short, but despite what Rotten Tomatoes might suggest, anyone who has read the book and isn’t a 14 year old girl is going to walk out of that theatre terribly disappointed. Brandon Judell of the blog Culture Catch really hit the nail on the head: “This is sort of a BookRags.com take on a classic. You get the characters and the plot basics, but the art is missing. And without the art and the details of Katniss’s world, you are stuck with characters just going through the motions of an epic tale.”
Are the folks at Funtactix worried about a similar criticism? After all, simply creating a virtual playground of Panem for players to explore could easily go astray, missing the point of the book entirely (as the film did in my opinion). If that’s a serious concern for Funtactix, I can see why they might be hesitant to release their game right now. Waiting a few weeks (or even a month) until the film ceases to be cultural zeitgeist could help dull the negative feelings many of the books fans are experiencing right now.
Either way, even with my recent disappointment in the film and mobile game, it’s hard to not look forward to another opportunity to visit Panem. Here’s to hoping that Funtactix doesn’t make us wait too long, no matter what the reason for the delay might actually be.（source:gamezebo）
5）Zynga Slingo tops the list of fastest-growing Facebook games by MAU
Zynga Slingo managed to take the top position on our list of fastest-growing Facebook games by monthly active user, thanks to a 210 percent increase from 3 million to 5.6 million MAU.
Rovio’s Angry Birds took the No. 2 spot with 1.9 million new MAU for an 11 percent gain, ending its three-week reign as the top game on the list. Meanwhile, Draw My Thing continues to move up the list, breaking into our top ten at No. 9 with 400,000 MAU bump for a 19 percent gain. This likely has something to do with the popularity of its mobile sibling Draw Something and OMGPOP’s recent acquisition by Zynga. The future of Draw My Thing remains uncertain, since it’s been confirmed that a Draw Something is coming to Facebook.
Eight other games on the list had gain percentages above 20 percent: Hoop De Loop Saga is up by 33 percent; Solitaire Blitz increased 64 percent; Marvel: Avengers Alliance surged 27 percent; مدينة الأهرامات (“City of the Pyramids”) jumped 46 percent; French farm sim Super Ferme sprouted 23 percent; Astro Garden moved up two spots from last week with a 31 percent gain; and Soul Crash stayed in the No. 19 spot with its 43 percent jump.
Finally, Playrix’s citybuilding sim Township debuts on our list at No. 20. The game appears to have launched in July 2011, but only saw a max of 76,000 MAU in August before declining. This new growth could be part of an “official launch” pushed from developer Playrix’s website and by publisher 6L.（source:insidesocialgames）