3）据EGR Magazine报道，Zynga最近正积极进军玩真钱的在线博彩市场，计划针对该领域创建一个新平台；在线赌场开发商GTECG G2t Playtech已经投标为Zynga创建这个新扑克平台，但Zynga目前尚未回应这一消息。
4）据gamasutra报道，Zynga游戏《CastleVille》前设计师Dave Pottinger（下图右）在最近采访中表示，他与前Robot Entertainment程序员John Evanson(下图左）和前id Software美术设计师Jason Sallenbach（下图中）今年初成立新工作室BonusXP的原因在于，他们喜欢开发小型项目，这样一年就可以推出多个题材的多款游戏。
经济商Sterne Agee则预测Facebook第二季度收益为12.1亿美元；分析师Arvind Bhatia和Brett Strauserad认为Facebook广告收益为10.2亿美元，支付服务收益约1.94亿美元左右，并将Facebook股票评级定为“买入”，12个月内的股票售价可能达到每股46美元。
这项技术运用了Facebook Graph API，可将用户背景、关系、照片、兴趣爱好等信息融入游戏玩法中。Gameface.me数据显示这种做法甚为有效，在《ZombieFace》游戏的1.5万次安装量中，第二天留存率为65%，月底的留存率也达到20%。
1）Latest Stats: Size Of Japan’s Social Game Market [Social Games]
by Dr. Serkan
What’s the size of Japan’s social gaming market? I am constantly monitoring sources from Japan that try to answer this question, and I published some of the results the last time here or as an infographic here (note: I don’t publish all the results I find publicly).
Now Japan’s Ministry Of Internal Affairs released a report on the size of the domestic mobile content industry in 2011. Needless to say, this sector includes mobile social games – apart from paid music, mobile videos and movies etc.
I took the liberty to translate the main gaming-related stats below, using the current Yen-USD exchange rate.
Size of the entire Japanese market for content on feature phones in 2011:
US$8.3 billion (excluding mobile commerce)
Size of the entire Japanese market for content on smartphones in 2011:
US$1.0 billion (excluding mobile commerce)
II) Social games market (feature phones only!)
2007: US$0.076 billion
2008: US$0.2 billion
2009: US$0.6 billion
2010: US$1.77 billion
2011: US$2.65 billion
On smartphones, the government estimates the size of the domestic social games market for the first time ever:
US$0.61 billion (in 2011).
In other words, the report suggests that Japan’s market for mobile social games in 2011 was worth a total of US$3.26 billion.
For reference, here is what the report says about Japan’s mobile games market on feature phones (non-social games that can be accessed through the mobile web or via downloads).
Again, all numbers refer to feature phones only:
2007: US$1.08 billion
2008: US$1.1 billion
2009: US$1.13 billion
2010: US$1.05 billion
2011: US$0.73 billion（source:serkantoto）
2） Have game designers failed when players are cheating?
by Frank Cifaldi
“If somebody’s encouraged to use cheats…I’ve kind of failed as a designer. Because they want to play a different game than the game I’m providing for them.”
-The always-inspiring Sid Meier (of Civilization fame) with some food-for-thought for video game designers, courtesy of documentary Critical Path.
Meier says that his studio Firaxis spends a lot of playtesting time determining if players are trying to circumvent the game’s systems and break them, rather than absorbing themselves in the rules of the world.
“Trying to understand why people do that is part of our game design process,” he says. （source:gamasutra）
3）Zynga’s looking for someone to create its real-money poker platform
All bets are off! Social game giant Zynga is looking to get into real-money online gambling, and it’s looking for someone to help build the platform for it. Now e-gaming companies are fighting over the potentially lucrative contract.
Established online casino developers GTECH G2 and Playtech have already made bids to create this new poker infrastructure for Zynga, according to a report from EGR Magazine.
Social casino game players currently make up 13 percent of all Facebook gamers in 2012, an increase from 8 percent in 2011. This has caused online gambling to become one of the hottest trends in the industry. A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is currently working on legalizing online poker. If that happens, social versions of the card game can deal in actual cash, a prospect Zynga is certainly hoping for.
GamesBeat has reached out to Zynga, who declined to comment.（source:venturebeat）
4）CastleVille designer leaves Zynga to lead a (much) smaller team
by Mike Rose
“I enjoyed my time at Zynga,” says Dave Pottinger, ex-lead designer on Facebook behemoth CastleVille. “The reality is that I want to work on smaller projects with smaller teams.”
This yearning to run with the smaller teams is what led Pottinger (bottom right in picture) to found new studio BonusXP earlier this year, alongside a few other notable industry veterans, including former Robot Entertainment programmer John Evanson (bottom left in pic) and former id Software artist Jason Sallenbach (top).
With BonusXP, the team is looking to develop mobile games with a particular focus on experiences that offer plenty of replay value to players. Pottinger tells Gamasutra that his move to be independent “has more to do with the opportunity BonusXP presented than anything about Zynga.”
“The CastleVille team was tremendous; it was an honor to lead and be part of that group,” he adds. “I’m proud of the characters, stories, and depth we were able to put into CastleVille.”
His move to found BonusXP has just as much to do with his past position at Ensemble Studios, where he led a team of 100+ staffers in the development of multiple Age of Empires titles and Halo Wars alongside Evanson.
“By the end of Ensemble, I was leading Halo Wars with the entire studio on the team. CastleVille was another team of around 80 people. While I got a lot of satisfaction from those efforts, I’m looking to do something else these days,” he notes.
By dropping down to a smaller outfit, Pottinger reasons that he’ll be able to get a lot more done on his own terms.
“We’d all like to work on smaller projects so that we can ship multiple games in a year and work in multiple genres,” he says. “We want to create a culture where everyone is involved in the design of the games, where everyone can feel like it’s their game. BonusXP is the right way to do that.”
“We firmly believe that a tight team, where everyone has a voice in the design, is the strongest way to make something great,” he adds, noting, “as we look back on our careers, the experiences from the five or 10 person teams have consistently produced our fondest memories. We want to recapture that. The reason that we’re so excited about BonusXP, excited enough to leave perfectly fine jobs at other studios, is to create that team-based culture.”
Social games: A very different beast
Pottinger will be looking to carry over his experience in the casual game space at Zynga over to his work at BonusXP, although he notes that creating games for the casual audience is far more difficult than it may first appear.
“I think one of the biggest takeaways [I took from my time at Zynga] is that it’s not so easy to make a game for a truly broad audience,” Pottinger explains.
“For a long time, we always said ‘Make the game for the hardcore, then simplify it for the casual player.’ That’s a great statement if you want to make a nicely polished hardcore game. It simply doesn’t work for today’s broad or casual market, though.”
“Building a game that anyone can play is a very different beast,” he continues, adding that with each new feature that you add, it’s necessary to be as vigilant as possible as to not ramp the complexity up too much. Says Pottinger, “It’s difficult. You think of fantastic features then realize they can’t go into the game because they’ll add too much complexity. If you stop there, though, all you have is a simple game with no depth and little soul. The trick is figuring out how to add that depth and complexity without ruining the approachability.”
Of course, the industry veteran is more than aware of how crowded the mobile market already is, and that even the greatest mobile games may well not receive the attention that they deserve.
However, he believes that by focusing on high polish and deep replay value, BonusXP can break through and get itself into the hands of as many players as possible.
“With our collective background, we have a wide-ranging set of expertise,” he says. “We’re able to push our designs, art, and even our technology to produce something with that crucial mix of simplicity and depth. Those are the games that people will love and come back to time after time.”
He reiterates that the company’s team-focused approach to design and development will pull it ahead of the crowd.
“Everyone is fully involved in the process and not just checking things off a task list,” he says. “Since we’re self-funded, we can spend time where it’s important rather than on external distractions. We can focus the team’s priority on creating something fun first and put things like monetization second. That’s how game development ought to be.” （source:gamasutra）
5）Facebook to meet Q2 expectations in first earnings report as a public company
Jennifer Van Grove
Thursday, Facebook will give Wall Street exactly what it is expecting: a satisfactory earnings report, with second quarter revenue around $1.15 billion and earnings per share of $0.12, according to investment firm Wedbush.
Wedbush modeled Facebook’s Q2 revenue at $1.11 billion, but the firm actually expects the social network to meet or beat the industry consensus, per Thomson First Call, of $1.149 billion, which would show 28.5 percent year-over-year growth.
Wedbush has also given Facebook an outperform rating, meaning its stock is considered a moderate buy, and a 12-month target price of $44 per share.
“We think it is unlikely that Facebook will miss Q2 consensus estimates, which dropped after May 9’s revised Form S-1,” the firm said in its earnings preview report on the social network. Facebook declined to comment on the projections.
Brokerage firm Sterne Agee also expects Facebook’s Q2 results to be in line with consensus estimates. The firm’s projections are slightly higher, however, at $1.21 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $0.13 for the quarter. Analysts Arvind Bhatia and Brett Strauserad anticipate Facebook ad revenue to be $1.02 billion and payment revenue to be around $194 million. They rate Facebook a buy and have a 12-month price target of $46.
Facebook’s second quarter earnings report will be its first as a public company. Facebook went public on May 18 in a disappointing initial public offering riddled with glitches and besmirched by controversy.
Part of the drama had to do with Facebook’s earnings estimates for 2012. Underwriters, after learning that Facebook did not expect to meet its initial guidance on earnings for the year, lowered their second quarter estimates by as much as 7.28 percent, and reportedly shared that information with preferred investors. A May 9 amendment to Facebook’s prospectus broadly advised potential investors that mobile growth could cut into ad revenue, but the S-1 did not include the lowered estimates.
“The underwriters likely advised Facebook to beat Street expectations for its first public quarter; this became more achievable now that estimates have declined,” Wedbush researchers surmised.
That certainly appears to be the case. Should Facebook report $1.15 billion in revenue or higher for the second quarter, as is expected, the company’s report will fall right in line with the revised Q2 estimates that surfaced back in May, and Facebook will avoid disappointing Wall Street even more.
Facebook’s second quarter has been an eventful one. Most recently, the social network struck a deal with Yahoo to resolve a patent dispute, and Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, was appointed to the company’s board. On the acquisition front, Facebook picked up facial recognition startup Face.com, purchased the young mobile gifting app Karma, bought location-based app Glancee, and grabbed Instagram to kick off the quarter (that deal is still pending). The company also invested heavily in talent with acqui-hires of the Lightbox, Bolt Peters, and Pieceable teams.
In the first quarter of 2012, Facebook made $205 million in net income on $1.06 billion in revenue. Facebook is trading at $28.50 at the time of this report.（source:venturebeat）
6）Gameface.me aims to increase user retention with personalization technology
The biggest obstacle for social mobile games (aside from discovery) is the rise of user acquisition costs, especially considering the low amount of player retention these titles often have. Gameface.me, a new San Francisco-based startup, believes it can raise retention rates by utilizing its new technology to make games more personal experiences.
According to Gameface.me’s data, if a title manages to become popular enough to draw in a large audience for a day, the title will only retain 50 percent of its users on Day 2. The numbers will continue to decline, and by Day 30, only 15 percent of users are expected to stay around.
Gameface.me believes it can improve these numbers by creating a “personalization layer” in games, creating immediate emotion connection to the content within titles using the technology. These personalization layers are crafted by taking players’ friends’ profile pictures and mapping their faces onto in-game characters’ bodies. The personalization is added to by crafting Timeline posts that are customized to users: In the case of ZombieFace (a game where players kill zombies wearing their friends’ faces), the game generates a post saying something like “Scott killed Mike!”
According to COO Scott Foe: “The human brain evolved to understand stories about people and their interconnecting relationships. It’s not just about images and faces. It’s about relationships, personalization and how these things impact you.”
The company’s technology makes use of Facebook’s Graph API, taking things like user backgrounds, relationships, photos and interests and factoring all of this information into gameplay. A user might be more likely to save their significant other than a casual acquaintance, and will probably be more likely to attack an ex. The technology will continue to learn as users play games, too; the example given to us was that a person who’s repeatedly sought out and killed in ZombieFace might become a boss character rather quickly.
Gameface.me’s data shows this kind of personalization is working. With ZombieFace, a sample group of 15,000 installs showed 65 percent retention on Day 2 and 20 percent retention by the end of a month. The company also saw similar results with NomNomFace, another title that involves users feeding bobble-headed representations of their friends, making the characters gain or lose weight depending on the food they eat.
Although the games we were shown incorporated characters designed to look like bobblehead figurines, Gameface.me’s founders tell us the technology isn’t limited to one visual style. CTO Richard Au points to a study saying people can recognize faces in images as small as 20 pixels by 20 pixels, but also says, “There’s room for all sorts of art styles. There’s an option to leverage each one of these, but they’re all personalized. The current direction delivers an engaging experience quickly. The time’s not right to go for photorealism.”
The company believes that — with the right funding —it can build, launch and run an entire family of games that will allow it to bring in roughly 3 million users within a year or two. Eventually, Gameface.me’s founders believe they’ll be able to use their technology to personalize entertainment on an even bigger scale, like allowing characters to become personalized in TV shows and movies on users’ home screens.
Gameface.me is planning to make its technology available for other developers, but doesn’t have any plans to do so immediately because it wants to be the first group to take advantage of the advantages provided. As of right now, the company is seeking funding and has several free-to-play titles in the works, including ZombieFace, NomNomFace and PuppetFace (a bobblehead dancing app).（source:insidesocialgames）