Why Zynga Chose Funding Over IPO

Writing for Business Insider, Nicholas Carlson looks at social game maker Zynga’s decision to forego public offering, opting instead to raise money in a private funding round.  The company raised $180 million from Russian company Digital Sky Technologies in return for preferred and common stock.  Nicholas analyses the company s decision, and looks at how the money will be used, after talking to Zynga CEO Mark Pincus and Digital Sky CEO Yuri Milner.

Read Nicholas Carlson’s article at Business Insider.

‘Six Wonderful Things About Games’

Tis the season when everyone from industry pundits to flavor of the month media columns decide it s time to compile a videogame list.  Best games of the year, worst games of the year, games for kids, games for parents, games for parents to buy their kids, games for kids to buy their grandparents

In the midst of the madness, Jon Radoff of GamerDNA has put together quite a different list in his blog, Six Wonderful Things About Games.   It’s a soothing piece of writing for fans of the medium, and a wonderful break from the glut of otherwise commercial to controversial coverage games get this time of year.  Truth be told, Radoff had the[a]listdaily at number one: Games can make you smarter.

Read the other five in Jon Radoff’s blog {link no longer active}.

Pachter Takes His Podium At Industry Gamers

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has his latest Pachter’s Podium column addressing reader questions for Industry Gamers.  This go-around, Pachter touches on a couple hot topics in Nintendo’s comments on the marketing of Rockstar’s GTA Chinatown Wars on DS, and the future of Activision Tony Hawk franchise after the latest title s critical and commercial drubbing.  Readers also asked Pachter to lend comment on Activision’s plans for annual Call of Duty game releases, the market potential for Microsoft’s Halo Reach, and possible game announcements at next month s CES.

Read Michael Pachter’s column at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Micro-Pay MMO Finds A Home On PS3

Sony’s PS3 community has its first micro-transaction driven massively multiplayer game, reports Gamesindustry.biz.  UK game maker Outso is releasing Sodium One, a MMO action game with its own community at PS3 PlayStation Home.  It’s a futuristic vehicular combat game that’s initially free to play but eventually introduces paid content to continue playing, along with upgrade items for sale.  The game is taking advantage of PlayStation Home by setting up its own community where players can buy  their in-game items to upgrade their vehicles as well as interact with other players’ avatars.

The community, called Sodium Home, even has a “bar” where players can hang out, and no doubt brag about war stories between battles.  Sony says more than 10 million PS3 users have logged onto PlayStation Home since its launch, spending an average of 60 minutes per visit.

Read more at Gamesindustry.biz.

Slicing Up iPhone Habits

Financial services firm Morgan Stanley has conducted a study of usage habits for iPhone versus other mobile phones.  As reported in Business Insider, the study shows significantly more overall device usage as well as greater use of data services and other non-voice activities among iPhone users.  Morgan Stanley found that iPhone users spend an average 60 minutes per day using their device compared to 40 minutes for traditional mobile phone users.  The study showed the reverse trend for voice usage, where average mobile owners used their device for voice calls 70 percent of the time compared to only 45 percent for iPhone owners.

The study also broke down usage for specific activities such as internet, email, texting and gaming.  It showed for average mobile phone users all but voice calls and texting were minimal activities, each used for less than five percent of the time spent on the device.  For iPhone, time not spent making calls was broken down as fourteen percent texting, twelve percent email, ten percent music, nine percent internet, eight percent games, and three percent other.

Read more and check out usage comparison pie charts at Business Insider.

Verizon Droids Invade The Streets

Verizon has taken over vacant storefronts in select U.S. cities for a street campaign promoting the Droid smart phone, reports Adweek.  The mobile carrier has created interactive windows featuring a Droid-themed game for passer-bys to play at locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix.  The simple puzzle game features a big Droid phone dropping apps which players must collect, with the game controlled by hand gestures recognized by motion sensors.  Players are prompted for their email addresses when they’re done playing to receive more information on the phone.  Verizon says more than 800 people a day are playing the game.

Read more at Adweek {link no longer active}.

Browsing Comics On PSN

Sony has launched an online digital comic store for PSP on PlayStation Network, reports Edge-Online.  The store offers hundreds of digital comics, both paid and free, from comic book publishers Marvel, IDW, Disney and more.  Sony says the move follows the recent v6.20 firmware update that enabled the PSP with the Digital Comics Reader application.  Comics downloaded from PSN are also readable on PC via Sony’s MediaGo application.

Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

Leveling The Footie Field

EA has launched a viral campaign for FIFA 10 tapping into two traits applicable to just about any sports fan: adulation of the pros, and the competitive drive of even the most average of talents.  Most notably, the publisher’s competition based campaign has found a way to level the field so that the average Joe can compete with soccer pros.  EA put out a video challenging fans to match the ability of some of the sports biggest stars in keepie uppie, or juggling a soccer ball as it’s called on this side of the Pond, and post their videos to a FIFA 10 YouTube channel.  Since those skilled enough can create something akin to a circus act out of their ability to juggle a ball, EA has added one key criteria: it’s blindfolded keepie uppie.  As the video proves, it s called foot-eye coordination for a reason.

Watch it at Brand Republic {link no longer active}.

It’s Not Da Vinci’s Internet

Google uses just about every craft known to man in a creative video promoting Google Chrome.  It s an involved production, one that seems to have enlisted enough artists and artisans to put together theatre.  In a sense it is channeling that altogether analog medium, full of irony in its setting and moving along with the help of whimsical devices.  It s certainly memorable, with a few how d they do that gimmicks but mostly punctuated by just how long, and how many takes.

Watch it at YouTube.

Honda’s Layers Of Expertise

Honda is promoting its Civic model in the UK with a nifty new spot getting a big kickoff, launching as a cinema ad running before the upcoming big budget film Avatar before moving to TV.  BrandFreak calls the spot a marvel of engineering, and rightfully so.  The outlet is playing in the message in the ad that Honda products like the Civic benefit from its expertise in engineering all manner of things motorized, from ATVs to Asimo the high-tech robot.  The spot is, however, a true marvel of engineering from a video editing perspective.  It s a collage of discordant scenes juxtaposed and layered together on the screen at the same time, and edited skillfully both audio and video to become harmonious.  BrandFreak provides a few details of the work that went into it.

No word on whether the ad is getting localized for the U.S., but the message in the spot seems a decent response to Chevrolet’s recent ads prodding Honda for not just being a carmaker, but cranking out lawn mowers too.

Read more and watch it at BrandFreak.