March 7th, 2010 – This Week In Social Games

-Weekly Recap Icon-This week’s news had Adobe partnering with Playspan to power the marketplace, the founders of MySpace acquiring the Mindjolt games aggregator, Playdom acquire another social gaming firm, hi5 create a direct Facebook porting API and hi5 acquiring Big Six Games. We also took a look at a report by Lolapps involving social game invitation diffusion, reviewed HitOrnot, a music-based social game, and looked at Match Defense: Toy Soldiers, a game that involves a connected game experience over Facebook and XBox. Read on for more!

3 Ways Developers Drive Users To Facebook Games

Recently, we noticed that RockYou had been promoting it’s ZooWorld application by using graphic ads on the Meebo chat service. This is certainly another sign of the growth of Facebook games, not only in reach, but in value to advertisers, as they pay to make placements on disparate networks or in this case, chat aggregators. We investigate how other game companies are attracting users to their Facebook games from outside of Facebook.

Social Gaming And Music Collide In thebizmo’s HitOrNot

HitOrNot, a new Facebook game, is where the users play the role of an up and coming music mogul. Their goals are to pick hot songs and earn money based on their taste, use that money to highlight songs of their own choice, and then earn money based on people enjoying your music. One of the best elements of the game is the use of 30 second clips of real music, most definitely adding to the app’s appeal.

Report: 50% Of Successful Social Game Invites Come From 10% Of Players

Understanding the viral invitation process and successful virality of Facebook social games is a subject that warrants deep investigation, and a formal paper on just such a topic has been released by a group of researchers and industry veteran Manu Rekhi. In “Diffusion Dynamics of Games on Online Social Networks”, the group investigates the invitation process of users within social games, specifically focusing on “predicting invitation efficiency and understanding the group and social dynamics of invitation networks”.

Blur Racer Blur Allows For Twitter Challenges Across PS3 and Xbox Live

In another example of cross-platform gaming, the XBox and PS3 racer Blur is now integrating Twitter to facilitate challenges. While early reports had suggested that there would be some sort of technology that linked the game into the challenges, the CEO clarified recently that the technology would simply mean that users could send Twitter messages from within the game.

Adobe Selects PlaySpan to Power AIR Application Marketplace

Adobe has recently selected PlaySpan to power the payments platform for their Shibuya service, which allows Adobe AIR developers to easily upload, sell and monetize their applications. The developers will simply add a few lines of code to their applications, set the price and the free trial period and publish the application to the Adobe AIR Marketplace. This then puts their applications in the Marketplace directory, where users can do free trials and then pay to get the full version with a credit card, PayPal, an Ultimate Game Card(R) or over 85 other global payment methods provided by PlaySpan.

MySpace Founders Get Funding And Acquire Mindjolt Games

The founders of MySpace have announced that they will partner with Austin Ventures to acquire Mindjolt, one of the largest gaming portals on the web. Mindjolt has over 20 million monthly active unique players on its Facebook application and works by aggregating games created by independent and professional developers. Their game catalog has over 1,300 casual games, and Mindjolt is known in industry circles as being one of the first innovators in casual gaming

New Microsoft Game Connects Facebook Users To Console Gamers

Toy Soldiers, a real-time 3D simulation game set in World War I, was released onto XBox Live today. What makes it special is that the game has a unique feature: players are able to run their campaigns on XBox with the help of players that play the Match Defense: Toy Soldiers game on Facebook. In a first for the connected game world, Microsoft Game Studios has created a game universe where Facebook players can play a Bejeweled-ish casual game to contribute statistics and points towards a given campaign, and this in effect helps out players who are playing the campaign on XBox Live.

Playdom Acquires Facebook Developer Offbeat Creations

Playdom, one of the top social game makers on Facebook, has acquired Washington-based Offbeat Creations. Offbeat Creations is best known for Super Farkle, a Flash-based dice game similar to Yahtzee that has grown to over 1,000,000 monthly active users. The goal of the acquisition is stated as bringing in new talent to the existing Playdom family and help Playdom expand their games offerings.

hi5 Introduces Facebook API to Speed Up Facebook Application

Ports

San Francisco’s hi5, a social network that is increasingly focused on games, has announced a new set of Facebook compatible APIs which would allow very easy porting of an application developed for Facebook. This is in addition to their current OpenSocial implementation, meaning that games developed for either API will be easily portable to the hi5 system, which is emphasizing games with their upcoming games portal.

Meez Nation Starts Virtual Blood Drive with Red Cross, Releases Engagement Numbers

Meez Nation is announcing a new campaign with the Red Cross, where Meez players will be able to virtually “give blood” at Red Cross stations within the virtual world. The Red Cross virtual blood-bank trucks will move through the virtual world and attempt to interact with Meez’ 13 million users.

Bebo, hi5, Tagged, And MySpace Turn To Social Games For Survival

If you’ve scanned the social networking news recently, you’ve probably noticed that many non-Facebook social networks are losing traffic, and a lot of them are shifting direction towards games. hi5 acquired Big Six games last week and Bebo launched a dedicated games section late last year. MySpace has been losing traffic steadily for years, and their June 2009 staff cuts and re-emphasis on music, games and applications failed to entice users back to the site. Tagged.com, measured to be 2.65% of the US social network market, integrated with the ourWorld games portal this week. Can these moves help these social networks turn into social gaming networks and compete against the plethora of social games available on Facebook?

H&M Offers Virtual Goods Within Location-Based Game MyTown

Social iPhone game MyTown will now allow players to “check-in” to real-life stores and key areas near H&M stores to gain virtual clothing items and points. The game is a location-based style augmented reality game, where players are able to accumulate points by visiting real world locations with their iPhone and registering that they have visited. H&M, in partnership with appssavvy and MediaCom, have jumped on board to not only reward players who enter H&M, but to incentivize players who are near H&M by giving them special “Blue” clothing items as they approach the store.

Peanut Labs Cherry Deals Discounts Now Available On Meez Nation, IGG and Zeevex

Peanut Labs announced today that Meez, IGG and Zeevex will be using their monetization platform moving forward. The deal includes use of Peanut Labs recent Cherry Deals Discount release (which we covered here), which allows users to gain virtual currency by participating in daily deals at a minimum 50% discount from local retailers. Meez Nation is a popular social MMO, IGG is a popular MMO company with a host of games and Zeevex has a virtual currency that spans across games. Peanut Labs’ goals will be to improve the purchase rate by customers using the various services.

hi5 Acquires Big Six To Further Transition Into A Gaming Social Network

Late last week, hi5 announced that they were acquiring Austin-based Big Six games, furthering their transition into a games-focused social network. Originally started in 2003 and having gone through several transitions, San Francisco’s hi5 now bills itself as “social entertainment for the youth market worldwide”. This comes direclty as a result of their innovative thinking in early 2008, when they raced to develop an application platform similar to Facebook. The platform exploded with games, and they morphed their business to suit those developers and gamers accordingly.

Bing Advertises On Farmville, Acquires 400,000 Facebook Fans In One Day

Late last week, hi5 announced that they were acquiring Austin-based Big Six games, furthering their transition into a games-focused social network. Originally started in 2003 and having gone through several transitions, San Francisco’s hi5 now bills itself as “social entertainment for the youth market worldwide”. This comes direclty as a result of their innovative thinking in early 2008, when they raced to develop an application platform similar to Facebook. The platform exploded with games, and they morphed their business to suit those developers and gamers accordingly.