1）Dubit Research公司最近调查结果表明，超过半数英国儿童拥有一个基于Club Penguin、Moshi Monsters等虚拟世界或游戏的实体玩具。
Mind Candy旗下的Moshi Monsters居于其次，约有四分之一受访者自称拥有一个Moshi Monster或Moshling玩具，该游戏自2008年问世已吸引5000多万注册用户。
而Toy News最近的调查结果则表示，有25%英国小孩拥有与Dr. Who系列有关的玩具，29%拥有海绵宝宝玩具，20%拥有卡通品牌Ben 10的玩具。
还有受访者表示，自己购买了与Build-a-BearVille、Poptropica和Webkinz有关的玩具。73%受访者称自己至少玩过一个虚拟世界（游戏邦注：有50%玩过Club Penguin，47%体验过Moshi Monsters）。
2）据gamasutra报道，EA日前宣布收购游戏开发商KilckNation（代表作包括《Age of Champions》和《Six Sun Galaxy》），后者将更名为BioWare Sacramento。
这个拥有70名成员的新工作室仍将由KlickNation首席执行官Mark Otero领导，并与EA社交游戏工作室BioWare San Francisco一起组成BioWare Social团队，为EA开拓硬核社交游戏市场。
6）Cerebral Fix公司（代表作包括Facebook游戏《Crystal Link》以及口袋妖怪风格的Android游戏《Terrapets》）首席执行官Ben Dellaca最近在媒体采访中表示，他认为Zynga早期开发的产品并非游戏，而更像是游戏化网站。
7）从2011年12月份的Facebook前25名游戏榜单上来看，该榜单约有半数游戏DAU在11月份流失了大量用户，《模拟人生社交版》就是这种典型。该游戏在9月底的DAU达到顶峰状态，现在流量虽然有所下滑，但用户价值却仍在增长。而Zynga新游戏《Mafia Wars 2》在11至12月之间流失了最多用户，甚至无缘进入本榜单（它在11月1日时的DAU排在本榜单前10名）。Zynga最新游戏《CastleVille》DAU增长最为迅速，目前DAU仅次于《CityVille》，排在第25名的则是《Top Eleven》。
从MAU的情况来看，多数游戏MAU都呈现增长趋势，仅有9款游戏在11月份失势。在本榜单游戏中，《模拟人生社交版》用户流失最多，其次是《Mafia Wars 2》，而《CastleVille》则因MAU强势增长而居于第5名。《Car Town》也已重返本榜单前25名。
1）Study: Over Half Of UK Kids Own Real Toys For Virtual Worlds
by Eric Caoili
More than half of all children in the UK own a physical toy based on free-to-play and subscription-based virtual worlds like Club Penguin and Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters, according to a new study by Dubit Research.
The firm surveyed 500 kids and found that 55 percent of them have at least one toy that interacts with these titles — children typically purchase the toys and receive a code that will unlock a virtual version of the character or creature in an online world.
Disney’s Club Penguin, which has picked up over 150 million registered users globally since launching in 2005, is the most popular of the virtual worlds; some 32 percent of kids polled said they own a branded toy that connects to the MMORPG.
Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters comes in second, with more than a quarter of UK children surveyed reporting that they own a Moshi Monster or Moshling toy. The game has attracted more than 50 million registered players since debuting in 2008.
For comparison, a recent survey by Toy News found that 25 percent of UK kids own toys based on the Dr. Who series, 29 percent own toys based on SpongeBob SquarePants, and 20 percent own toys based on the Ben 10 cartoons.
Other games participants said they’ve purchased toys for include Build-a-BearVille, Poptropica, and Webkinz. 73 percent of the study’s participants said the’ve played at least one virtual world (50 percent have played Club Penguin, 47 percent have played Moshi Monsters).
“Children are spending more time playing in virtual worlds and now those worlds are becoming part of their offline playtime,” says Dubit’s head of research Peter Robinson.
“Today’s kids are platform agnostic and don’t care where their favorite stories and characters come from. It used to be the case that books or TV shows launched characters and toys, but now online entertainment is proving just as important.”
The trend of interfacing physical toys with digital games has seen quite a bit of traction this year, thanks to Activision’s Skylanders, one of the company’s key initiatives this holiday season. （source:gamasutra）
2） EA Kickstarts BioWare Social Division With KlickNation Acquisition
by Tom Curtis
Further expanding its push toward core-focused social gaming, Electronic Arts revealed today that it has acquired Age of Champions and Six Sun Galaxy developer KlickNation, which will now become BioWare Sacramento.
This new studio, headed up by former KlickNation CEO Mark Otero, joins the social gaming-focused BioWare San Francisco, which developed Facebook titles such as Dragon Age Legends and Mirror’s Edge 2D, both of which targeted a hardcore audience.
These two social studios now make up the brand new BioWare Social label, and are poised to help EA further target into the hardcore-oriented realm of the social gaming space, which includes companies like Kixeye, Row Sham Bow, CrowdStar, and more.
“While developing social RPG experiences, we held BioWare as a role model for storytelling and game design,” said Otero. “Joining with BioWare and EA is an opportunity to realize our vision for bringing high-quality RPG titles to the fast-growing, highly-engaged core gamers looking for deeper experiences on social platforms.”
“We share the same creative values,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, SVP and general manager of the BioWare label. “The new BioWare Social unit will bring BioWare and EA franchises to the growing audience of core gamers who are looking for high quality, rich gameplay experiences on social platforms.” （source:gamasutra）
3）With 10M players a day, Zynga’s CityVille is about to hit its one-year anniversary
Zynga‘s CityVille turns one tomorrow and it’s still the No. 1 game on Facebook.
With more than 10 million daily active users, the game has proven that a social game can still have a lot of staying power, even though the barriers to entry for new Facebook games are low and lots of new rival games appear on the social network every day.
The social game has more than 49.7 million monthly active users on Facebook, according to AppData. That makes it the No. 1 app by far. Ranked at No. 2 is FarmVille at 30.9 million and The Sims Social — which was the biggest threat to CityVille just a month or so ago — at No. 3 with 30.4 million users.
Electronic Arts’ The Sims Social started growing like weeds in August, but more recently it has slowed and CityVille has begun to widen its lead over the EA game.
Zynga says there are 1,482,404,157 neighbor connections that have happened in CityVille and 4.5 billion bandits have been captured.
CityVille has 41 percent male players and 53 percent female. (The rest are undetermined). The most popular CityVille cargo ship destination is Paris. Average CityVille sessions per player is five.（source:venturebeat）
4）Zynga drops IPO valuation to $10B, but it’s still more than EA [Report]
by Joe Osborne
The big red dog looks like it’s playing it safe. According to Reuters, FarmVille creator Zynga has lowered its valuation–what a company is expected to be worth based on various conditions–from $14 billion to $10 billion for its upcoming initial public offering (IPO). (Of course, the news outlet cites nameless sources in its report.) This would make Zynga worth less than gaming giant Activision Blizzard’s $14.21 billion.
However, the CityVille maker would still be leaps and bounds beyond current second place company EA’s $7.69 billion. According to market analysts, $14 billion would have been asking for too much in this shaky economic climate. “I think they must have realized that getting $14 billion or higher would be a tough thing in this market,” Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia told Reuters. We were wondering how they would pull that off.”
Other analysts suggest that Zynga wait to go public, as the company just released its fastest-growing game to date, CastleVille, and revenue from that game hasn’t even been recorded yet.
According to Reuters, the company still seeks to raise $900 million initially at $8 to $10 a share when it hits the Nasdaq as “ZNGA” on Dec. 16. Company CEO Mark Pincus and crew are also still expected to hit the road next week, showing their stuff to potential investors. And Zynga will have to fight tooth and nail against the media, other companies and its own numbers for those billions.（source:games）
5）Zynga Snags Sony’s Rob Dyer as Head of Partner Publishing
Zynga may finally be moving toward a larger publishing role in the social and mobile games industry, as signaled by the recent hiring of Rob Dyer as Head of Partner Publishing, according to a LinkedIn update. Dyer was previously SVP of Publisher Relations at console game publisher Sony Computer Entertainment America.
We’ve heard rumors that Zynga intended to announcing publishing partnerships with game developers in the past, but none of those have borne out into actual products published by Zynga.
Instead, Zynga has aggressively pursued companies for talent and studio acquisition, picking up as many as 13 companies in 2011. Other times, Zynga has elected to compete directly – most recently releasing Dream Zoo on mobile as a competitor to Pocket Gems’ Tap Zoo, for example.
In bringing on Dyer, Zynga now has a head of publishing with experience in brokering long-term publishing deals between game developers and publishers. SCEA’s publishing branch covers a host of second and third party developers that produce multi-game franchises for Sony devices like the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable — including Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank series), ThatGameCompany (flOw), and Q-Games (which recently self-published its PlayStation Network game PixelJunk Monsters on Facebook). Dyer first entered the video games industry at Crystal Dynamics, which was acquired by publisher Eidos in 1998. He left for SCEA in 2008.
Zynga had no comment on the hire. Yesterday, we reported that monetization and distribution service Tapjoy was exploring a sale to Zynga; Dyer previously worked with Tapjoy CMO Peter Dille at Sony.（source:insidesocialgames）
6）Dev calls Zynga games “slightly gamified websites”
by Libe Goad
Many, maybe too many, conversations about social games lead back to the same topic: Zynga games, they’re big, but are they any good?
One of the more measured answers to that question comes from Cerebral Fix CEO Ben Dellaca, who is currently on a Stateside tour to promote his and a few other New Zealand game companies who specialize in social, mobile and augmented reality games. He says Zynga started out creating, well, non-games, but have evolved since then. Here’s a snippit of our conversation:
“I kind of argue that the original Zynga products on Facebook were actually slightly gamified websites. And that was as simple as it was. So the likes of the Mafia Wars products or the ‘X’ Wars products — they just ripped themselves off like 20-something ridiculous times, Vampire Wars… Vomit Wars. They introduced a whole RPG (role-playing game) concept to it. It was one click, and then it was like, come back here [to click again].
Do you think Zynga games are the same now?
I don’t think they’re the same at all. This new flight of products coming out from Zynga actually are “games,” in my unhumble opinion. I have to tip my hat off to them. Games like Empires & Allies have real fighting elements in them … I don’t think the PvP element is going well at all … but I think that took their audience to the stage where they’re starting, starting, to create some cool little game content. And there’s a whole new wave of them… their Indiana Jones rip-offs and their Castle-things are kind of interesting, although that CastleVille does look a little like FrontierVille to me — so that’s a little bit of a worry. But it will be interesting to see where they go in the future because the whole space is maturing. And, if you see a company like Zynga changing… then we’re all going to be.
Is Zynga dominating social games on Facebook so much, that it’s, in a way, killing it?
I go to all of the conferences and I’m forever seeing developers who are actually looking at the likes of Zynga and going, “Let’s do that!” Which I think is crazy… Pick something you’re really great at, start there and really polish that up. A lot of game companies moving into, and getting their butts kicked, in the social space are better off, in my opinion, doing something that’s a little more core. We’ve just figured this out recently and have a new buzzword called ‘Mid-core’ gaming.
What about “core” games on Facebook? Is that really going to draw console games to play a game on a social network?
A great example of how not to do that is Sony and product that they’ve put with that dungeony thing [aka, Dungeon Overlord] they’ve put in there. It was a really great game but it wasn’t connected to the audience properly. It was almost as if they made this great little game and wanted to sell it to Zynga customers. It wasn’t a product that a 55-year-old US ‘home executive’ was going to play. So you really have to think it through strategically and have got that wider level of thinking as opposed to getting a little too excited about what we’re doing and just going out there and making a product. Which does happen from time to time.”
Cerebral Fix recently churned out a Facebook game called Crystal Link, a simple, but compelling gem matching game with power-ups (think Bejeweled Blitz). The company also released a Pokemon-style game called Terrapets for Android this month, which Dellaca says will be scampering onto Facebook in the not-too-distant future. （source:games）
7）The Top 25 Facebook Games of December 2011
Now that the dust has settled after Facebook’s adjustment to its method for counting active users, we take a look at the top 25 Facebook games going into December 2011.
Note: Because Facebook now rounds traffic to the thousands, our rankings now reflect ties with the letter “T” in the rank field.
We begin with the top 25 games by daily active users, which is the most effective measurement of a game’s core audience. About half of our games on the list saw losses in DAU over the last month, with the largest loss reflected in The Sims Social. That game appears to have reached its early life traffic apex right at the end of September before going into its mature state where traffic declines and the lifetime value of users rises. Note that Zynga’s Mafia Wars 2 technically suffered the “biggest loss” of DAU between November and December as it doesn’t even rank in the top 25 going into this month; on November 1, it would’ve been in the top 10 in terms of DAU. The biggest gainer was newcomer CastleVille at No.2, Zynga’s latest and so far fastest-growing game ever on Facebook while older game Top Eleven makes its debut at No.25:
Turning now to monthly active users, which is a means for gauging a game’s overall reach, we see mostly overall growth with just nine apps losing ground compared to their November numbers. The Sims Social again sees the biggest loss on the list while Mafia Wars 2 sees such a huge loss, it falls off the list completely whereas in November it would have been in the top 10. CastleVille again makes a strong showing at No.5 while Car Town returns to our rankings after a brief absence:
Other somewhat new notable games climbing the rankings for the past several months are Bubble Witch Saga, Tetris Battle, Words With Friends, and Ravenskye City. Each of these games either launched in the last four months or has spent those last four months scaling steadily to arrive in the top 25.
As for overall trends that we’ve observed in the last several months in studying our monthly top 25 rankings charts, it’s clear that “top” games now need a minimum of around 1 million DAU to place. As few as eight months ago, games could get close with around 800,000 DAU — but now there are five games in the 900,000 range, three of which didn’t make the top 25. Another trend is the relative stability of arcade and casino games. Titles like Slotomania and Diamond Dash seem like they’ll never leave this list no matter how old they get.
Join us toward the end of this month for a look back at the top Facebook games of 2011 as the calendar year draws to a close.（source:insidesocialgames）