1）美国手机游戏公司ngmoco日前聘请前Current TV高管Joanna Drake Earl任新首席运营官，令其负责Mobage社交平台的全球运营业务。
ngmoco首席执行官Neil Young表示，Earl的工作背景有利于ngmoco实现移动娱乐发展愿景，她在Current TV媒体平台的经验将帮助Mobage这一移动娱乐网络走向全球。
2）据gamasutra报道，Bungie Aerospace工作室将向iPad推出的首个自主开发作品是《Crimson：Steam Pirates》这款海盗主题的实时策略和动作游戏。
该游戏由其创意总监Jordan Weisman（游戏邦注：他是FASA人Corporation创始人，曾参与制作《BattleTech》、《Shadowrun》和《Crimson Skies》等项目）带领Harebrained Schemes团队开发。这款游戏的官方网站显示，《Crimson》将采用多人模式，并植入Bungie.net的状态、积分排行榜以及Facebook同步功能，并将于9月1日登陆苹果App Store。
3）社交应用分析公司Claritics日前宣布向Android平台推出应用和游戏分析服务，支持开发者通过自助服务，实时了解手机游戏用户数据，评估用户粘性及其购买虚拟商品的消费情况。该公司成立于2010年，目前有10至15名成员，在今年5月融资150万美元，主要投资者是Cervin Ventures和Tie Angels，其竞争对手包括Kontagent、Apsalar和Flurry。
5）游戏发行商Zoo Entertainment今年第二季度财报表明，公司营收比去年同期大幅下降，并出现较严重的亏损现象。截止2011年6月30日，Zoo Entertainment第二季度营收为370万美元，比去年下滑63%（游戏邦注：去年同期的营收为980万美元）；净亏损为1010万美元，而去年同期的亏损则是96.5万美元。
该公司首席执行官Mark Seremet称当前形势“困难”，但他们仍对公司未来有信心，并准备全力拓展新的数字业务。该公司首款iOS和Android游戏是《Kona’s Crate》，目前下载量超过15万次。
7）在惠普宣布停产webOS设备之后，微软立即向webOS开发者伸出橄榄枝，承诺向后者免费提供Windows Phone培训服务和相关设备，吸引他们面向Windows Phone 7平台开发应用。据微软WP7高级总监Brandon Watson所称，公司已经收到近1000份开发者回复，并将安排为期2天的培训课程，传授开发Windows Phone应用的知识和技能。
8）法国开发商Godzilab日前发表博文指出，其手机游戏《Stardunk》在Android Market实现100万下载量，多数用户评价为5颗星。他们认为虽然Android平台分裂性较大，时常出现游戏漏洞或程序崩溃等问题，但面向该平台开发游戏的好处就在于，Android Market没有应用审核制度，开发商可以快速更新和迭代开发产品。
据其所述，《stardunk》在Android平台每天每名用户平均创造收益比iOS平台多3倍，但由于下载量不段攀升，该游戏在两个平台目前收益较为持平。Godzilab将于今年9月在Android Market发布一款付费游戏《iBlast Moki》。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
1）Ngmoco Names Current TV Exec Joanna Drake Earl As COO
by Kyle Orland
Major mobile developer and publisher Ngmoco has named Joanna Drake Earl as its new COO, tasking her with managing day-to-day operations and helping to lead the worldwide launch of the Mobage social gaming network.
Earl comes to Ngmoco from Current TV, where she served as chief strategy and operations officer, managing marketing, business development, digital products and distribution among other areas. She has also served in executive positions at MOXI and ReacTV.
Her background suggests a push to leverage Ngmoco’s network in a broader mobile entertainment spectrum. The move comes as Ngmoco, a subsidiary of Japanese mobile giant DeNA, is launching its Mobage mobile social gaming service in beta across English-speaking regions and China.
“I’m excited to help shape the future of mobile entertainment with ngmoco,” Earl said in a statement. “Games are only the beginning. We’re just starting to harness what’s possible for a truly mobile entertainment network and Mobage is a bold step into the future of how consumers will discover, share and interact with content around the world.”
“Joanna brings a career’s worth of experience at the crossroads of new media and technology to Ngmoco,” Ngmoco CEO Neil Young said in a statement. “Her transformative work in architecting and managing participatory media platforms at Current TV will be central to bringing the Mobage mobile entertainment network to life around the world.” （source:gamasutra）
2） Bungie Unveils First Title In ‘Aerospace’ Program
by Frank Cifaldi
The first game to debut out of the Bungie Aerospace program will be Crimson: Steam Pirates, a steampunk pirate-themed real-time strategy and action game for the iPad.
Crimson is being developed by the small team at Harebrained Schemes under the creative direction of Jordan Weisman, the former FASA Corporation founder and the creator of franchises that include BattleTech, Shadowrun and Crimson Skies.
According to the game’s official site, Crimson will feature multiplayer modes and be integrated with Bungie.net for stats, leaderboards, and Facebook synchronization.
“I felt that the game I was developing could be warmly received from Bungie’s audience,” Weisman recently told us. “There are 350,000 apps in the App Store, sometimes it’s pretty hard to get noticed. It’s a combination of helping make a better game and have an audience to present it to as a launching point.”
As with Weisman’s previous franchises, Crimson: Steam Pirates is part of a larger Crimson universe, with a deep amount of lore already written for players to absorb.
The Bungie Aerospace program sees the studio that created Microsoft’s Halo franchise providing resources, assistance and exposure to independent mobile and social game developers.
Bungie itself is still primarily focused on developing its new universe with Activision.
This is the second iOS application associated with Bungie, the first being a community-focused application for players of its console games.
Crimson: Steam Pirates will be available on Apple’s App Store for free on September 1.（source:gamasutra）
3）Claritics expands into mobile analytics for Android apps
Social analytics firm Claritics said today it has launched a new analytics platform for games and apps on Android mobile devices.
Back in May, Claritics raised a $1.5 million round as it talked about helping social game and app developers analyze their data and reap more money from their efforts. Now the company is extending that effort to mobile apps on Google’s mobile operating system.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Claritics calls its work “social intelligence.” Claritics has been testing its cloud-based analytics with partners that range from game companies to utilities and media companies. It’s all about getting enough data and organizing it so that it becomes “actionable.”
The company’s vision is to leverage the immediacy of the social web and its rich profile and behavioral data and to create automated processes around it. That allows developers to optimize their reach, retain users, and launch revenue campaigns on the fly. The real-time data become useful not just for looking back but for predicting the future.
The new mobile platform is self-service and allows developers to figure out in real-time what is working well — or not so well — in their mobile games. Claritics lets users segment their data based on device type, carrier, campaigns, location and other factors. Claritics says it has made its sign-up process and instrumentation more intuitive to dramatically reduce the time it takes to get the analytics up and running. App makers can use the service to evaluate user engagement and the behavior of those who buy things in games. Other services provide rudimentary analysis of user behavior, while Claritics’ service is more granular, said Raj Pai, chief executive of Claritics.
“We’re bringing an enterprise-level, ‘big data’ analytics mentality to app developers on social and mobile platforms,” Pai said.
Rivals include Kontagent, Apsalar and Flurry. Previously, Claritics said its platform has been in private beta testing with more than 100 potential customers. The company was founded in 2010 and has around 10 to 15 employees. Investors include Cervin Ventures and Tie Angels.（source:venturebeat）
4）Stat shot: Bigs apps require big bandwidth
By Stacey Higginbotham
Web applications that are deployed in one or a few data centers can watch their bandwidth costs exceed their server and hosting costs as the applications scale up, according to a paper written for an Alcatel-Lucent publication. The paper looked at what telecommunications companies, such as Verizon or CenturyLink, can offer as cloud providers. The consensus was that they can offer better control of the network, but it also assumed that these providers have more widely distributed data centers, which also has its benefits.
Those distributed data centers might become an advantage for webscale applications that are concerned about latency or bandwidth costs. One of the paper’s co-authors, Joe Weinman, is a great source of information on the economics of delivering cloud services, so I always look forward to reading his stuff. Although this paper is pushing a service provider cloud (which would be Alcatel-Lucent’s target demographic), I thought the graphs below were worth sharing. From the paper:
While a distributed data center architecture isn’t right for every service provider, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs’ modeling results confirm it’s cost-effective. In one scenario, Bell Labs examined the relationship between bandwidth consumed per-subscriber for a data center-hosted application and the cost to deliver it. The model shows the cost of bandwidth per subscriber eventually exceeds the cost of operating the distributed data center.（source:gigaom）
5）’Rough’ Digital Transition Yields Poor Q2 Results For Zoo Entertainment
by Mike Rose
Game publisher Zoo Entertainment (IndiePub Games) has posted financial results for the second quarter of the 2011 fiscal, showing a sharp decline in revenues and significant losses compared to the last fiscal year.
The company put the results down to its recent transition to full digital distribution, which Mark Seremet, CEO of Zoo Entertainment, described as “rough” — although he did note, “we remain very optimistic about our future and are ready to fully expand our new digital business.”
He noted that the results were “largely in line with our expectations,” and said that the launch of the company’s first iOS and Android title, Kona’s Crate, had been strong with more than 150,000 downloads.
The financial results also cited a number of abandoned games that were in development for multiple platforms, including two Nintendo 3DS games, as a reason for the poor results.
For the quarter ended June 30, 2011, Zoo Entertainment’s revenues decreased 63 percent to $3.7 million compared to $9.8 million in the same quarter of 2010.
Net loss for the second quarter was $10.1 million, compared to a loss of $965,000 year-on-year.
Zoo may be running into more financial trouble soon, as a recently filed class-action lawsuit on behalf of the company’s stockholders accuses the company’s executives of issuing “materially false and misleading statements” to investors. （source:gamasutra）
6）Crowdfunding platform Appbackr sells $1 million worth of mobile apps
by Keith Andrew
Any platform able to link up apps with a willing audience is always going to garner a fair bit of attention – especially if that audience has cash to splash.
Rather than simply dangle titles in front of the eyes of consumers, however, crowdfunding platform Appbackr aims to partner developers with a party of buyers willing to purchase the app wholesale.
It’s a system designed to ensure developers start earning revenue from their titles from day one, while the ‘backrs’ (as they are called) gain a financial stake in the app’s future, promoting the title to consumers and taking a share of the profits when they roll in.
Naturally, Appbackr is keen to push the platform’s popularity, with the firm revealing $1 million worth of backed apps have now been sold on mobile marketplaces, sales up 149 percent year on year in the process.
In response, Appbackr has announced the launch of analytics tool SmartApps to hand both developers and backrs alike a greater insight into what kind of apps prove popular with consumers.
The belief is, the more info on offer, the less likely buyers will be to invest in games that offer little prospect of commercial success. For their part, developers will also be able to ensure their titles are the best they can be before they’ve had a chance to stagnate on mobile marketplaces.
“The problem of getting apps to market effectively…as more apps continue to flood the app stores, is bigger than we thought, and it seems the only way to get noticed is to consistently remain or make it to the Top 10,” said founder and CEO Trevor Cornwell.
“SmartApps functions like a poll predicting the numbers in a political race, driving the most exciting apps to the top of the list.”（source:pocketgamer）
7）Microsoft and webOS developers: the courtship begins
by Tim Green
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.
Inevitably, Microsoft has moved in to woo rudderly webOS developers after HP moved to close down its hardware operation last week.
Athough HP says it’s still committed to the platform, just not making its own devices based on it, this hasn’t stopped rivals swooping.
Specifically Microsoft, which would like to see WinPho 7 rise from its current fourth position behind iOS, Android and arguably BlackBerry and become a viable phone OS for app makers.
Earlier this week, Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Windows Phone 7 development, targeted webOS developers with an offer of free Windows Phone training and devices.
He claims to have had nearly 1,000 email responses, and said “we didn’t expect this level of response, so we were caught a bit flatfooted.”
Microsoft has now arranged a 2 day, live, streamed training event about how to build apps for Windows Phone and many more developer outreach ideas.（source:mobile-ent）
8）Freemium games generate 3 times more revenue per daily user on iOS than Android, reckons Godzilab
by Keith Andrew
For developers with a traditional mindset, the prospect of giving their games away for free on an established marketplace such as the App Store is a hard enough sell.
Going freemium on Android Market – where downloads are perceived to be slower, meaningful visibility harder, and issues of fragmentation regularly make the headlines – is jump into the unknown.
It means the info garnered by those studios who have made the leap – such as French outfit Godzilab – is all the more valuable, and in a blog post detailing the performance of Stardunk after 1 million downloads on the platform, the developer is keen to dispel some myths.
The frag fix
Namely that Android Market is always in the shadow of Apple’s marketplace. In Godzilab’s experience, it actually offers a few notable advantages for the freemium developer.
Users, on the whole, are more willing to reward quality releases with five star reviews, Godzilab reports, though studios need to constantly fix and refine the game to work on problematic devices to maintain such a high standing.
“At the beginning you might be spending a lot of time replying to emails and fixing bugs, but this pays and makes your customers happy and translates to a better rating and great reviews,” states the studio.
“One thing we did quite early was also to remove the device from the list of supported device, when we knew for sure that Stardunk was crashing on those. And as soon as we had the bugs fixed, we were adding them back to the list.”
A market of marketplaces
Developers expecting any increased downloads that result to have an immediate impact on their ranking, however, will be disappointed.
Android Market’s algorithm appears to be a complex beast, and it can take up to a week for a rise in downloads to be visible on the marketplace.
Conversely, the approval process on Android Market is refreshingly speedy.
“Releasing a game on the Android Market is super easy – it’s one click and 15 mins later the game is visible on the google market,” adds Godzilab.
“We had an issue reported by some users and a few hours later we were releasing an update with the fix in it. This allows a really fast iteration that we don’t have on iOS.”
But it’s not only the App Store that Android Market has some advantages over. Godzilab also has some disparaging remarks for other marketplaces on Google’s OS, including Amazon Appstore and GetJar.
“We received tons of emails from unknown channels and had Stardunk published only on Amazon and Getjar,” Godzilab adds.
“Amazon is driving around 10-30 downloads per day which really doesn’t worth the hassle of changing your app to match their requirements and going through their slow review process. So my advice would be to only focus on the Android Market, and have publishers for China and Korea where your game can’t be distributed through the Android Market.”
A star release
The question all prospective Android developers want answered, however, is whether there is money to be made on Android Market with freemium releases.
In the case of Stardunk, revenue generated per daily user has been three times smaller than on iOS, but an increased number of downloads means that it’s holding its own overall.
“As of today both versions have about the same revenue, and we covered our initial development cost really quickly,” Godzilab concludes.
“Maybe we were lucky with Stardunk: a free app which corresponds to the criteria of what people like on the android market – a free and quality app.”
Godzilab’s evaluation of Google’s marketplace will only be complete, however, when the studio releases paid app iBlast Moki on Android Market in September.（source:pocketgamer）