Making Money On Facebook Games

Writing for Social Times, Nick O Neill describes the Facebook game revenue model as a smaller version of the movie industry. He outlines the basic economics of Facebook games based on Playdom CEO John Pleasants’ keynote delivered last week at South by Southwest. Read it at Social Times.

Spy Hunter Film Back On Track

Hollywood Reporter reports that Warner Bros. is pursuing a film based on the Spy Hunter game franchise, reigniting a project that stalled twice when Midway controlled the IP. Warner acquired the rights to Spy Hunter when it purchased Midway last year. Midway had first pursued a big-budget adaptation of the classic arcade and console game franchise, securing John Woo to helm and Dwayne The Rock Johnson to play the lead. That fell apart, as did a second, more modestly budgeted effort under Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson.  Hollywood Reporter says Warner studio has hired screenwriter Chad St. John to get the project going.  Read more at Hollywood Reporter.

EA Cans Jason Bourne Game

EA has cancelled its game based on super spy Jason Bourne, reports LA Times. The game was being developed at Starbreeze, one of two licensed properties EA had set up at the studio. The second project, based on the Chronicles of Riddick film and game series, is said to remain in production. EA had acquired the rights to the Bourne IP from the estate of late author Robert Ludlum, creator of the spy novels that extended into three blockbuster films starting with 2002 s The Bourne Identity. The franchise made an appearance on game consoles in 2007 with Vivendi Games The Bourne Conspiracy, but the IP didn’t make it through Vivendi’s merger with Activision. EA then struck a long-term licensing relationship with the Ludlum estate, reported to be a ten-year deal. LA Times says cancelling Bourne is part of a significant reduction by EA with film and TV license based games, but the publisher said that it is in talks about other potential games from its deal with Ludlum. Read more at LA Times.

Online Flirting Comes To Games

FastCompany reports on the launch of GameCrush, a new service bringing online flirting to video games. The service, which was to go live today, pairs up players with what it calls Play Dates for multiplayer game sessions over Xbox Live. GameCrush says the service works with multiplayer on popular games such as Modern Warfare 2, Halo3 and Grand Theft Auto IV. Players can choose whether they prefer a flirty or dirty partner, paying more than a dollar per minute for 6-10 minute sessions. GameCrush says it plans to eventually extend its service to PlayStation Network and online PC games such as World of Warcraft. FastCompany labels the concept as pathetic, yet at the time of this post the GameCrush site was down with a message blaming overtaxed servers. Read more at FastCompany.

EA’s DLC Strategy

IGN’s Jim Reilly talks to Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter about EA’s strategy to introduce premium downloadable game content. The article includes a response from EA to Pachter’s speculation on pricing and widespread claims that the strategy amounts to charging for traditionally free-to-play content such as demos. Read the article at IGN.

Apple’s Slice Of The Gaming Pie Grows

Writing for TG Daily, Mike Luttrell says it s time Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft started taking iPhone seriously as a game platform. He breaks down data from research firm Flurry showing the gains Apple’s platform has made in portable gaming, taking a bite out of the home and handheld console pie. Read the article at TG Daily.

Ten Rules For Social Media

Taddy Hall, COO of metrics firm Meteor Solutions, pens a piece for Ad Age outlining ten rules for how brands can get meaningful returns out of their social marketing efforts. Hall writes poignantly, In the search for truth, sometimes social media is its own worst enemy. With a self-credentialed guru waiting at every click, finding actionable, fact-based insight is tricky. He calls his list an attempt at sanity.  Read it at Ad Age.

Nintendo Announces 3-DS

NY Times reports that Nintendo is developing a new, 3D capable successor to its DS handheld game system, one the company is preparing to debut at E3 and bring to market within the year. Called the 3-DS, the system will be backwards compatible with original DS handhelds and is said to display 3D images without the need for special glasses. Nintendo’s Ken Toyoda said the company wanted to give the gaming industry a head s up about what to expect from Nintendo at E3. NY Times says the device is slated to go on sale at some point during Nintendo’s next fiscal year, which starts on April 1, 2010. Read more at NY Times.

Elsewhere, Edge-Online reports on rumors about the system to-date. They include speculation that it will use Nvidia’s Tegra chipset, and that The Pokémon Company is already developing games for it. Read more at Edge-Online.

DoubleFusion Secures Funding, Appoints New Boss

Mediaweek is reporting that Jonathan Epstein has left his post as CEO of in-game ad agency DoubleFusion. Alex Sood, who formerly headed the firm’s Asia division, is taking his place. DoubleFusion also announced that it has secured funding from Jerusalem Venture Partners. The amount has not been disclosed. Mediaweek says the news comes in the face of a brutal 2009 for in-game ad firms. Read more at Mediaweek.