Google Set To Surpass Facebook In Display Ads In 2013

According to EMarketer, Google will overtake Facebook in U.S. display-ad revenue next year. It is believed that Google will grab 19.8 percent of the market in 2013, generating $3.68 billion, while Facebook will attract 17.7 percent, or $3.29 billion, according to the research firm.

Facebook took the lead in display-ad revenue last year and is expected to maintain its lead throughout 2012. Facebook took the lead in the category by seeding it’s social network with small ads, while Google expanded from its origins in text-based search-engine links to sell a variety of graphical advertising on websites, mobile phones and YouTube clips.

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst with EMarketer, said that Facebook needs to do more for big brands to take out ads rather than just set up free company spaces. “It really comes down to brand advertisers,” she said. “[Facebook] just needs to do a better job of convincing the big advertisers that ads are effective and that they perform.”

EMarketer believes that Yahoo will drop from for 7.5 percent of the U.S. display market in 2014, down from almost 11 percent from 2011 while AOL Inc. will drop to 3.7 percent from 4.3 percent. Google will have 21.7 percent in 2014, with 17.1 percent going to Facebook it is estimated.

Google is expected to have 47.4 percent of the total U.S. online ad market in 2014, up from 41 percent last year, while Facebook will rise to 7.1 percent from 5.4 percent, EMarketer estimates. Google being able to place ads outside of its own properties is also a major benefit.

“Don’t underestimate the importance of existing relationships,” said David Hallerman, Emarketer analyst. “Google has relationships with more major brands than Facebook does.”

Source: Business Week {link no longer active}

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Social Game Publisher Making Fun Has Old-School Focus

John Welch, CEO of Making Fun, is bringing a more old-school publishing model to the mobile and social platforms. He and co-founder Lee Crawford are claiming it as the first full-service social games publishing company.

“There are lots of publishers in social, but what they really are is distribution networks,” said Welch. “We’re a publisher in the old-school kind of way. We fund projects, and we are very, very intimately involved creatively, presenting to the consumer a product that looks like it came from a big company. We take the passion and skills and creativity of an independent developer and package that in with our team where we provide things that only publishers can offer: scale, marketing firepower, the technology platform, financing, the expertise in doing casual game publishing for 12 years.”

The use of technology allows the company to stay small and communicate with developers everywhere. “There’s only about 20 people here. We’re mostly technical, though I guess I’m overhead,” said Welch. “We’re also trying to recognize that there are brilliant, passionate game designers around the world, not just in San Francisco.”

While they’re owned by News Corp, the global conglomerate promised to be hands-off. “News Corp is a loose federation of planets,” said Welch. “No one’s telling us what to do. They’re telling us to build a successful business. That’s an exciting place to be. There’s financial backing to help us grow.”

“We’re doing social and mobile today; I think in the future you’ll see those things coming together,” added Welch. “We’re technology agnostic; it’s really the core competency of the studio that we choose for any given project that matters. We’re not limited to or constrained or biased by what our bench has, in terms of ability.”

Story is a very important part of their first game Hidden Haunts and they’re looking to continue that with their future projects, which might include games based around TV shows on Fox and FX. “The narrative meta-structure, the sense of place, that seems to be missing from many social games. We’re starting to think about it in terms of seasons,” Welch said.

“In old school games where you made money at the point of sale, you need that narrative hook to keep them interested,” added Crawford. “People leave the grind of the average social game because they’ve used up all the content.”

Source: IndustryGamers {link no longer active}

2012 [a]list Summit Series Kicking Off In San Francisco

Ayzenberg Group is launching its 2012 [a]list summit series that will examine the growth of social media in videogames. The first of three summits under the banner “The Consumer Courtship,” this first one titled “Getting Acquainted” focuses on where the social game market is headed, and how game makers and marketers are increasingly relying on social media for audience acquisition. It will take place February 23, at RF80 Robert Fountain Studio in San Francisco.

The keynote will be given by Michael Pachter, Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities, who will talk about the role of social gaming and its relationship to all platforms. A panel, focusing on core social games, will feature John Getze, VP of Marketing at Kixeye, and Leo Olebe, Senior Director of Global Product Marketing at Kabam, joined by moderator Dean Takahashi (lead writer at VentureBeat) to discuss the next big trend in social games and what it means for audience acquisition and player retention.

Tabitha Hayes, Director of Online Marketing for Electronic Arts will chat with Keith Pape, VP of Social, Mobile and Emerging Media at Ayzenberg Group about social marketing for game brands. Finally, Dan Webster Enterprise Accounts manager at HootSuite and analytical expert, joins Rebecca Markarian, Director of Social and Emerging Media at Ayzenberg Group, to shed light on all of the numbers you can gather and which ones can be the most useful in a discussion of social marketing and game brands.

For more information on [a]list summit San Francisco, please visit {link no longer active}

Jagex Brings In New Chief Marketing Officer

Jagex has announced that David Solari has joined the online company as the Chief Marketing Officer. Having worked at Codemasters for 14 years and having managed online titles like Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Archlord and RF Online as Vice President and General Manager of Codemasters Online Gaming, he will shift his focus to Jagex MMO titles like RuneScape.

“Having worked in the digital games space for many years, I have followed Jagex’s incredible success and growth with great interest,” said Solari. “The company’s strength in pioneering free-to-play browser games is inspiring. This role presents a huge and exciting challenge for me. I can’t wait to get started and I’m really looking forward to working with this terrific team as we drive toward our goal of making Jagex the online entertainment destination in the years to come.

“It’s with great pleasure that I welcome David to the Jagex family,” added Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard. “David’s leadership, online experience, gravitas and passion for games will help fortify an already successful team. On a personal note, David is an all-around great guy and a perfect match for Jagex DNA.”

Sony Details Why U.S. UMD Passport Program Won’t Exist

Sony is offering a UMD Passport Program in Japan that allows users to upload their UMD games to a PS Vita for a price. That system is not coming to the U.S. and Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida provided some context as to why not.

“The system has been introduced in Japan, where there is a much larger demand for PSP games,” said Yoshida. “When you look at the release schedule of new titles there are still lots of PSP games being released in Japan and being announced for release. Lots of people who are interested in trying Vita are also interested in playing PSP games that they might purchase before Vita comes out, and will not necessarily choose the digital version. So there is a lot more demand… to introduce a program like that.”

“The other point is that when you look at PSP titles sold digitally in the States or Europe, games are sold for a really reasonable price. You can buy Final Fantasy Tactics for $10. That’s a great price,” he added. “There are many, many games that are sold at an affordable price. Because people in Japan are not getting the digital copy for free, because it costs us money to develop and maintain the system so we are asking people to pay somewhere between $5 and $10 to receive the digital copy in addition to what they have on the UMD.”

“When you compare that to the price of games here, PSP games in Japan are sold at a much higher price, so people see the value in spending the $5 to $10 to get the digital copy,” he continued. “But when the games are already sold at a lower price in the U.S. we see less value in introducing that kind of system.”

Source: Wired

Team Fortress 2 Has Something Special For Romance

Team Fortress 2 has plenty of items to give and receive, but very little in the way of romantic gifts. Valve has changed all that with a $100 engagement ring called “Something Special For Someone Special.”

“When it shows up in your special someone’s backpack, they can click on it to open a menu that will let them accept your proposal,” said Valve. “Once the proposal’s been accepted, a message will be broadcast to the entire TF community that will include your name, your special someone’s name, and whatever you decided to call the ring. Then presto, the gift turns into two matching diamond bands you can wear in the rain while you smooch up a storm, you crazy kids.”

Source: {link no longer active}