This week we kicked off with a discussion of the proliferation of Facebook Credits through their partnership with Coinstar and later with Rixty, and delved into gWallets success in the video ad space. We covered the great news of Disney acquiring Tapulous, Crowdstar adding executives, Nordic users having high eCPMs, MTV entering social gaming space with Social Express acquisition, OpenFeint’s expansion to Android, Sonic the Hedgehog on Facebook and the concluding article of a 3 part series elaborating on OpenSocial’s pending failure for social game developers. Read more after the jump.
Rixty is a great service where you drop change in a something resembling an Arcade cabinet, and the money goes towards virtual currency and virtual goods for online games. Staying true to their commitment to simplifying the virtual currency process, they’ve announced that thousands of ‘CoinStar’ machines around the country will now accept spare change and convert it to Facebook Credits. I take a look at how this is a cool new feature that young game players will use more often as time passes.
We recently covered statistics showing that video viewing on Facebook is extremely popular and video ad performance on Facebook exceeds that on the rest of the web. From ads to watching videos within the newsfeed, Facebook users are actively engaging with user-generated and branded videos. Many brands have already increased their marketing spend in Facebook, seeing it as a viable channel for growth, by working with offer companies that incentivize users to interact with branded offers in exchange for virtual currency. The social gaming monetization company gWallet recently revealed some of their own data reporting that 1.7 million minutes of video campaigns were served in Q1.
Alternative payment platform company Rixty has been making quite a few headlines lately. Its availability to millions of online gamers and 50 secured partnerships with companies like Gameforge, OMGPOP and others has attracted Facebook to authorize it as one of the payment options for acquiring Facebook Credits. Rixty basically allows consumers to purchase virtual currency using cash and coins and is a method accepted across hundreds of MMOs and Social Games across the web.
The iPhone developer Tapulous, known best for its music rhythm game Tap Tap Revenge, has been reportedly acquired by Disney. As a successful rhythm game developer, Tapulous, who has sold millions of titles through the App Store, will become part of Disney Interactive and help position Disney for strong growth in the emerging media and gaming space. Tapulous has raised $1.8M in angel financing to date but the terms of this particular deal are currently undisclosed.
With their eyes on the prize, the top tier social gaming companies are competing for the best talent in order to secure their vision for growth. We’ve come across a variety of news in the social gaming industry disclosing the shift vice presidents from large gaming companies have made to up and coming organizations like Playdom. The latest news comes to us from San Francisco based Crowdstar who announced the addition of four new veterans to their management team
Social game developers like Playdom and Zynga have been branching out of the American market by localizing their popular games for the European and Asian markets, in part to dilute their dependency on Facebook. Some of the factors they probably pay attention to when deciding which countries to localize for are eCPMs. According to information released by SupersonicAds, Nordic countries are amongst the top twenty countries globally where virtual currency monetization by offers yields highest eCPMs.
As the social gaming industry matures, there is an influx of branded IP entering the space through partnerships with existing platforms. Companies like Playdom and Sibblingz can help brands to launch cross-platform games but there are other options asides from working with publishers. In a bold move, MTV Networks today announced the acquisition of Social Express, Inc., a social gaming development company. This marks Viacom’s first move in the social gaming space that could prove successful as it already has popular gaming sites and tons of IP under its belt.
Mobile Social Gaming Network OpenFeint is broadening its horizons to now cover the Android platform. The 9,300 member developer community OpenFeint currently has for iOS devices will now be able to develop for the up and coming Android with access to the OpenFeint SDK, game discovery store, and mobile payment options. The launch set for later this summer will also host content from some leading publishers. The competition, however, is heating up as companies like Mochi Media are already working with Google to bring tons of flash games with virtual currency and leaderboards enabled to the Android platform. Despite the presence of other social gaming networks, OpenFeint is at the forefront to attract developers towards Android
In keeping up with gaming juggernauts like Nintendo, Square Enix, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts, Sega is now looking to put together a social games team within their San Francisco office. Will they be able to overcome the challenges necessary to put together a social games team, and if so, what kind of experience can we look forward to? I analyze this below.
Immediately after Facebook announced its open developer platform in 2007, Google quickly launched Open Social, its initiative to create a common standard for social sites across the web. Its purpose was to enable developers to create and distribute applications easily – write once, deploy everywhere. Social networks around the world quickly joined the “OS Alliance” and a PR frenzy followed, suggesting that the “entire social networking world” was backing Google as they were ganging up to take on Facebook.