Social Games At $7.5 Billion In 2016: DFC Intelligence

DFC Intelligence is reporting that the free-to-play social/browser market will grow from $3.2 billion in 2011 to $7.5 billion in 2016. Virtual good sales will help drive that revenue, but having a community for your games and having them networked together is key.

“While the global F2P market is quite diverse, Zynga and Facebook have dominated the market in the U.S.,” says David Cole, founder and President of DFC Intelligence. “Despite major investments in the browser and social network games space from companies such as Electronic Arts and the Walt Disney Company, Zynga has only increased its dominance of the Facebook game market in the past year.”

Despite the importance of Facebook, opportunities for international growth exist on other social networks. “Outside the U.S., the market for games on just Facebook has not yet reached saturation and there are some major growth opportunities,” said Cole. “However, clearly one of the biggest opportunities is reaching users in other social networks and companies creating their own network, as Zynga is looking to do with the Zynga Platform.”

A word of caution from the report dealt with consumer fatigue resulting from too many game clones.

“Browser and social network games are targeting an audience that, by and large, does not pay for the product,” said Cole. “The fact that many of these free products show a rapid drop off in usage shortly after release is a concerning trend.”

“Browser and social network game publishers have been offering many ‘me, too’ products and players are trying them and leaving them faster,” added consultant Jess Mulligan. “To increase retention rates among paying players, especially on social networks, publishers need to offer something different and that means development budgets are going to rise.”


Halfbrick Picks Up Developers Of Mandreel

Halfbrick Studios has announced that they have acquired Onan Games. The Spanish developer owns Mandreel, a technology that allows games to support iOS, Android, Flash and HTML5 development from one C++ code base, which will help port many of Halfbrick’s titles to web platforms and Facebook, including Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride.

“Onan has created something that is incredibly powerful in such a fast-paced industry,” said Halfbrick CEO Shainiel Deo. “It’s our goal to maximize reach and bring our games to new fans, and we welcome Onan into the Halfbrick family knowing that they will help us achieve exactly that.”

“We want to see our technology used by the best and most creative developers, and Halfbrick is undoubtedly one of the top studios in the world,” said Miguel Pastor, Onan Games CEO. “We can’t wait to see what awesome new ideas and projects will arise in the coming months.”

March Madness Vs. Walking Dead: Social Media War

March Madness basketball games went up against the season 2 finale of The Walking Dead. Both TV programs ended up being a big win in social media circles.

The Walking Dead Season 2 finale fared a lot better than the zombies did on the show,” writes “Despite, or maybe because of, going up against the last games of ‘March Madness,’ first weekend, AMC scored big on social media circles with nearly a half-million mentions.”

Bluefin Labs indicates that CBS and its three partner networks airing the NCAA Tournament saw 2.46 million social media comments in the first two rounds. The Walking Dead pulled 489,141 mentions throughout the day and 366,844 during air time; by contrast, the best individual game on the social side was Purdue vs. Kansas, which pulled 129,066 social mentions throughout the day and 99,940 during the game itself.

The most-buzzed moment was Lehigh taking out Duke, pulling 289,000 social media comments, according to Bluefin. SocialGuide Intelligence reported that people in the Eastern and Central Time zones sent out more than half of the social comments around the NCAA games.

The Colorado vs. UNLV game, which saw a team from Mountain Time vs. a team from Pacific Time, saw over half its social mentions from the Central or Eastern time zone. CBS should take solace from a social media perspective, since the Sweet 16 has all of its teams from the Eastern and Central Time Zones.

Source: Forbes

Angry Birds Space Getting Science Book

Angry Birds Space is releasing soon, and so is a cross-promotional book from National Geographic. Rovio and National Geographic will work together on Angry Birds Space: A Furious Flight Into The Final Frontier, a science book focusing on space, releasing right before Angry Birds Space does on iOS, Android and PC.

“This collaboration began with a simple Twitter exchange about birds and pigs in space, and it has grown into a tremendous outreach and education opportunity,” says NASA’s associate administrator for communications David Weaver. “Games are fun and entertaining, but they also can be inspirational and informative. This ongoing collaboration with Rovio and Angry Birds is an exciting way to get people engaged with NASA’s missions of exploration and discovery, and get students energized about future careers in science and technology.”

“Science and education are very important to us, and we’re very excited to have NASA and National Geographic as launch partners on Angry Birds Space.” said Andrew Stalbow, general manager of Rovio U.S.

IPad Reaches 3 Million Sold In Less Than One Week

Apple has confirmed that the new iPad has sold 3 million units since launching March 16, compared to the original iPad which took 28 days to reach 1 million sold.  The tablet device is available in 10 different countries.

“The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold – the strongest iPad launch yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday.”

EverQuest Celebrates 13 Years, F2P Switch

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that it is celebrating the 13th anniversary of EverQuest. The game is now available for free-to-play, and numerous improvements have been added to the game for the full F2P launch.

“Through 18 successful expansions and countless other game updates, EverQuest has forged its place in history amongst the MMO and online game elite,” said Dave Georgeson, director of development of the EverQuest franchise. “With one of the most loyal player communities in the industry, we believe that after 13 years we need to provide them with a wide variety of ways to play the game on their terms. Players can now choose to play in a way that suits them best and continue to expand their game experience . . . until the next milestone birthday!”

Stats for EverQuest indicates that Norrath has over 344,935 NPCs and the game’s wealthiest player’s worth in the real world would be equivalent to $893 billion. In terms of size, Norrath is the179th largest country in the world with 1,050 square miles of land and the fastest mount in Norrath clocks in at 88.8 mph.

Zynga Looks To Buy OMGPOP

Zynga is reportedly in discussions with OMGPOP for a buyout. The bid for the company, which could be contested by others like GREE, might reach $200 million.

OMGPOP has the top AppData leaderboards game in Draw Something with 12.2 million daily active users (DAU), surpassing Zynga’s Words With Friends with 8.0 million DAU. Draw Something, which released two months ago, has already seen over 25 million downloads, with more than 1.5 billion pictures drawn during play.

Source: TechCrunch

Medal Of Honor Team Putting Stamp On Frostbite 2

Danger Close is using the Frostbite 2 engine to create Medal of Honor Warfighter. While the engine was created by DICE to service the Battlefield franchise, EA senior creative director Richard Farrelly was keen to emphasize how they wanted a unique look for Medal of Honor Warfighter.

“We have our own challenges switching from one engine to new technology,” Farrelly admitted. “But like you said, the truth is in the pudding. Through a little hard work learning their stuff the result is the game looks great and plays great. I think we have our own signature look; I think it looks a lot different from Battlefield even though it’s on the same engine. It’s more intimate, but we still have some of the same elements that they have like the micro-destruction and the amazing lighting.”

“We work very closely with the Frostbite team – we’re all in the same boat,” Farrelly added. “We’re helping to make it a better engine on our end as they are. We work very closely with them and as I said, we’ve got some former members of DICE working with us.”

Source: CVG

Dragon Age II Expansion Scrapped

Dragon Age II released one year ago, and despite the controversy surrounding its release, it has still helped push the franchise to 1 million likes on Facebook and seen four major patches. However, a major expansion to the game called Exalted March has been scrapped, and the team is turning its attention to what will probably be the next game in the franchise.

“While we will still be keeping an eye out for any issues that might crop up in DAII and supporting the community should any emergencies should arise, we’re moving the entire team’s focus to the next phase of Dragon Age’s future,” said Mark Darrah, Executive Producer of Dragon Age II. “You’ve most certainly heard the rumors floating around, and unfortunately I can’t really comment on them.  However, what I can say is that we’ve been thinking a lot about Dragon Age – what it means, and where it could go.  This past year, we’ve spent a lot of time both going back to the ‘BioWare vault’ of games and re-examining them, and looking at some new possibilities that today’s industry allows.

“With that, the next thing for the Dragon Age team members and I to do is hear from you, and not just on the forums, or Facebook, or Twitter.  We’ll be attending a number of conventions and gatherings, including PAX East in April.  The most valuable thing we can get out of those meetings is to hear from you on those same topics – what does Dragon Age mean to you, and where would you like to see it go   We’re excited to hear what you have to say!” he continued. “On behalf of the entire team, we are incredibly eager to reach the moment when we can tell you more and show you where we are taking Dragon Age.  But for now, thank you for your continued support, and we will be back here with more as soon as we can.”