该游戏采用了积分排行榜、能量、升级道具等元素，以及经典的单人纸牌游戏模式，玩家任务是玩纸牌以挖掘出深海宝藏。但需要注意的是，《Solitaire Blitz》是否会正式上线仍然有待观望，因为PopCap过去也曾测试游戏但最后却放弃项目（游戏邦注：例如《Pig Up》）。
据他所言，大型社交游戏开发商基本上很缺乏设计和创意人才，例如Playdom推出了相对成功的《Gardens of Time》，Zynga随即发布了类似的翻版游戏，他认为这并非富有创造性的做法。
6）Lazard高级分析师Atul Bagga最近指出Facebook平台上的寻物解谜游戏人气上升的原因是，该游戏题材的复古元素与Facebook平台完美兼容，例如《Mystery Manor》、《Gardens of Time》、《Hidden Chronicle》这三者盈利性就较为理想，因为它们瞄准了家庭主妇等具有消费潜力的目标群体。
1）Facebook made $445M in revenue off of Zynga alone in 2011
by Frank Cifaldi
It is no secret that social gaming giant Zynga generates substantial revenues for Facebook, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that the company revealed just how much it depends on the FarmVille and CityVille maker.
According to paperwork filed by Facebook with the SEC ahead of its initial public offering, Zynga alone was responsible for 12 percent of the $3.7 billion in revenue it saw in 2011, or approximately $445 million dollars.
Though the company did not provide a breakdown, that revenue was split between direct advertising from Zynga on the website, ad impressions from ads displayed on its games’ pages, and Facebook’s 30 percent cut of its virtual goods sales.
With such a dependency, Facebook warned potential investors that a rift between the two companies could provide a substantial risk to the company’s performance in coming years.
“If the use of Zynga games on our Platform declines, if Zynga launches games on or migrates games to competing platforms, or if we fail to maintain good relations with Zynga, we may lose Zynga as a significant Platform developer and our financial results may be adversely affected,” said Facebook in the filing.
There is a history of tension between the two companies: when Facebook introduced its Facebook Credits system, Zynga fought back, attempting to wrest back control over how it monetized its games.
That tension was alleviated after a 2010 agreement. The agreement saw Zynga agreeing to use Facebook Credits as its primary currency, allowing Facebook to retain fees of “up to 30 percent” of the value of Zynga’s in-game purchases through May of 2015.
The exact terms of the agreement — importantly, what Zynga got out of it — remain undisclosed.
Update: The initial version of this story incorrectly identified Zynga’s 2011 revenues as being $3.1 billion. That figure — as well as the adjusted estimate of revenues specific to Zynga — has been corrected. （source:gamasutra）
2）Facebook Wants All Two Billion Internet Users, But Growth Rates Are Slowing
Make no mistake about Facebook’s ambitions. “There are more than two billion global Internet users,” its S-1 filing states, “…and we aim to connect all of them.” As evidence of its ability to reach this goal, the company says that it already has some countries with above 80% penetration rates among users.
The problem, as the filing also notes, is that “our rates of user and revenue growth will decline over time.” A quick analysis of the worldwide monthly and daily active user counts in the document shows this phenomenon is already in full effect. From quarterly gains of above 20% for much of 2009, both monthly and daily increases fell to above 10% in 2010, and then to the single digits in 2011.
The good news for Facebook is that the numerical gains don’t show as clear of a decline. While the last quarter of 2011 ended a little lower than many previous ones, at 45 million new MAU and 26 million new DAU, that has yet to be a trend. Growth rates inherently decline as size increases, so Facebook could eventually get much bigger than its current 845 million MAU and 483 million DAU if it continues to grow month over month, even if the rate of growth declines further.
Facebook’s filing, meanwhile, shares a little more about how it’s going to get bigger — basically, by continuing to grow in populated countries where it is still small, as you can read between the lines here:
We have achieved varying levels of penetration within the population of Internet users in different countries. For example, in countries such as Chile, Turkey, and Venezuela we estimate that we have penetration rates of greater than 80% of Internet users; in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States we estimate that we have penetration rates of approximately 60%; in countries such as Brazil, Germany, and India we estimate that we have penetration rates o approximately 20-30%; in countries such as Japan, Russia, and South Korea we estimate that we have penetration rates of less than 15%; and in China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near 0% penetration.
The company goes on to say that it expects its monthly active user counts to continue growing as more and more of the 6.8 billion people in the world get broadband and mobile internet access, particularly in developing markets. “Growth in MAUs depends on our ability to retain our current users, re-engage with inactive users, and add new users, including by extending our reach across mobile platforms.”
But the filing also includes a word of warning about further growth rate declines:
We believe that our rates of user and revenue growth will decline over time. For example, our annual revenue grew 154% from 2009 to 2010 and 88% from 2010 to 2011. Historically, our user growth has been a primary driver of growth in our revenue. Our user growth and revenue growth rates will inevitably slow as we achieve higher market penetration rates, as our revenue increases to higher levels, and as we experience increased competition. As our growth rates decline, investors’ perceptions of our business may be adversely affected and the market price of our Class A common stock could decline.（source:techcrunch）
3）PopCap goes deep with next possible Facebook game, Solitaire Blitz
by Joe Osborne
You probably expected that PopCap’s next Facebook game would keep the Blitz name strong, but did you expect it to go off the deep end? No, the Bejeweled Blitz creator didn’t go insane, it went underwater with its newest social game, Solitaire Blitz. Currently in a testing phase on Facebook, we’ve found that the next game to don the “Blitz” moniker applies the familiar friendly leaderboards, energy and power-ups to the classic single-player card game.
Solitaire Blitz, in its current state, tasks players with running down stacks of cards in the ocean to reveal buried treasure. Of course, players do this by choosing cards that are either one above or below the value of the card next to the deck above. Do this in a timely fashion and without screwing up, and you’ll earn some hefty score multipliers for your skill. As with all of PopCap’s social games, several power-ups–like time extensions, instant bonus multipliers and free Jokers–serve to mix things up.
We say that Solitaire Blitz is PopCap’s “next possible Facebook game,” because the developer has live-tested its games in the past only to choose against supporting them. (Who remembers that adorable gem Pig Up?) At any rate, this soft release, so to speak, falls in line with recent rumors that the EA-owned developer would get into casino-styled Facebook games. This is one blast of a polished test game, so cross your fingers that it sees official release.（source:games）
4）EA tight-lipped on social plans to guard against ‘mimicry’
by Tom Curtis
During EA’s quarterly investor conference call on Wednesday, the company was hesitant to talk in-depth about its growing social business. According to EA CEO John Riccitiello, the company is keeping quiet to prevent “mimicry” from competing developers.
Responding to a question about EA’s upcoming plans in the social space, Riccitiello explained that the company is reluctant to provide too many details, thanks in large part to the competitive nature of the market.
“Mimicry is common in this industry, and fast iteration and mimicry is something we need to guard against,” he said.
While he did not name any specific examples, there’s no doubt that the social space has recently seen its fair share of alleged game “clones” that feature key elements from other titles.
For instance, social gaming giant Zynga has been accused of copying both NimbleBit’s Tiny Tower and Buffalo Studios’ Bingo Blitz, and 6waves Lolapps has faced criticism for releasing a game much like Spry Fox’s Triple Town.
Despite his reluctance to discuss EA’s social plans, Riccitiello did point out that EA has seen promise with its efforts overseas. He noted that in Japan, GREE’s free to play FIFA World Class Soccer has achieved “enormous success.”
In addition, the company noted that Playfish’s The Sims Social is “meeting expectations” in terms of monetization, though it declined to provide further details.
EA COO Peter Moore added, “freemium is where our growth is,” explaining that the company plans to focus on even more on its social efforts in the months ahead.
Offering just a bit of insight into the future, Moore said that EA hopes to release five Facebook titles based on EA IPs over the next year. （source:gamasutra）
5）Kixeye: Big studios lack ‘in the game design and creativity department’
by Joe Osborne
The folks at Backyard Monsters creator Kixeye sure have a way with words, namely CEO Will Harbin. During an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, the head of the San Francisco-based Battle Pirates maker said that big social game makers rely too heavily on metrics and user data gathered by player clicks, and that his studio only uses such information to inform specific game enhancement decisions.
“So we definitely do not design our games around data,” Harbin told GI.biz. “We try to make improvements around data, and actually I had to give this speech to my team yesterday about being a little bit less reliant of A/B tests and data and trusting our intuition and instinct, since it seems to be more effective at moving the needle at a larger scale than doing a lot of micro data analysis.”
Harbin then gets down to explaining why he harps on the need for his team to not use such information too often or weigh it too heavily against more natural or creative game design decisions. Who knows what could happen if that were the case? Kixeye could–gasp–become another Zynga or Playdom.
“I think they’re lacking in the game design and creativity department to be honest. Playdom is essentially just a Zynga rip off,” Harbin said to GI.biz. “They’ve tried to do some other things and now Gardens Of Time is relatively successful and Zynga’s copied that, but I wouldn’t say that’s a super creative approach to gaming.” (Keep in mind, however, that Kixeye has seen its fair share of copycatting claims. Our gut tells all: This is far from over.)（source:games）
6）Trendspotting: Why hidden object games are hot on Facebook
by Libe Goad
It’s funny to think that one of the most popular games for adult women (ages 35 and up) is a derivative of the classic game I Spy. The game requires at least two players and the first would select an object within viewing range and then give the other player a hint about the object, i.e. ‘I spy something red” or ‘I spy something fuzzy.” Then the other player guesses the object.
That concept was eventually turned into what is known as a hidden object game (or HOG), a digital puzzle game where players must find a list of objects hidden in various scenes. These games generally contain lush orchestral scores along with picturesque scenes of violin shops or a Victorian drawing room. Ya know, stuff moms tend to enjoy. Modern HOGs also contain a storyline, generally something that involves solving a mystery by finding clues by solving the hidden object puzzles and piecing them together for the dramatic unveil at the end of the game. (In literature speak, these are classified as “cosy mysteries.”)
Considering the popularity of Facebook games among women in this same demographic, it was bewildering to watch Facebook games gain millions of players in 2009, with ne’er a hidden object game to be found. And now, it’s like a giant light bulb turned on, and now Facebook’s suddenly swimming in free hidden object games.
In the past six months, four major hidden object games have been released on Facebook — Gardens of Time from Playdom, Hidden Chronicles from Zynga, Mystery Manor from Game Insight and, more recently, World Mysteries from Vostu.
Lazard Senior Analyst Atul Bagga says the hidden object explosion is the result of good, old-fashioned synergy. “The category lends itself to Facebook style game pretty well,” Bagga says, “We have already seen great success with Mystery Manor, Gardens of Time, and now Zynga’s Hidden Chronicle. Generally, these games monetize pretty well as the target segment, soccer moms, is used to paying for games.”
All of these HOGs have passed the million player mark — which some define as a measure of “success” — with Hidden Chronicles taking the lead due to the Zynga promotion machine (right now the FarmVille maker is pimping its HOG in all of its other A-list Facebook games). Gardens of Time, which was once one of the top 10 Facebook games, seems to be on a downward trend — and seems to be experimenting on ways to keep raking in the moolah, such as launching a subscription supported version of the game.
So, at last, hidden object games have claimed their rightful place on Facebook. Now the challenge will be to keep players engaged through innovative social features, play experiences and, of course, regular updates. （source:games）
7）Inside Social Games starts scoring game reviews
Inside Social Games
Inside Social Games is changing its reviews policy today to include a three-point ratings scale organized by three simple words: Play, Skip and Wait.
What It Looks Like
The scale is based on time. The most important piece of information ISG can provide is whether or not a game is worth a reader’s time. It takes time to get into a new social game — setting up the permissions, going through the tutorial, adding friends, etc. Even the simplest games with the cleanest interfaces and shortest tutorials take a good five minutes from first click to actual gameplay — and with so many social games launching on Facebook and Google+, that might be time our readers don’t have.
A Play rating means it’s worth the reader’s time to play the game.
A Skip rating means that a game isn’t worth the reader’s time.
A Wait rating indicates that the game might not be worth the reader’s time right now, but it has the potential to grow into a game that earns a Play rating.
Our reviews will still provide gameplay analysis, screenshots, currently monthly and daily active user totals as tracked by our AppData traffic monitoring service and any context the developer can provide if we’re able to reach them. As almost all games now monetize in the same ways and leverage the same social features, we won’t make mention of these components unless a game does something new or interesting with them. We will share a bit of opinion on a game based on our personal response to it — but our reviews are intended as interpretive analysis rather than stand-up comedy.（source:insidesocialgames）