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Would EA venture into real-money online gambling? Dean Takahashi VentureBeat

Would EA venture into real-money online gambling? Dean Takahashi VentureBeat | Poker & eGaming News | Scoop.it

Social gaming giant Zynga has announced it will move into real-money online gambling in early 2013. Electronic Arts has a big stake in casual social casino games such as Lucky Gem Casino Slots, and it has a relationship with the World Series of Poker TV series.

 

But it hasn’t decided yet whether to add real-money gambling to those games, according to Frank Gibeau (pictured below), the president of EA Labels and the head of the company’s game development efforts. It would be easy to do, but there’s a lot of discussion about the complexity it would add to the business and whether it’s the right thing to do culturally, Gibeau said.

 

“The leap from [social casino games] to real money is conceptually small, but it is a complicated one,” Gibeau said. “It’s a world market issue. There is a lot of U.S. regulation. There are fully regulated markets all over Europe and some emerging in Asia. I do thing real-money will be a growth driver for gaming. I have nothing to announce. We’re following the trends and events in real money. “

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Zynga battles to dominate the red ocean, not the blue, Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat

Zynga battles to dominate the red ocean, not the blue, Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat | Poker & eGaming News | Scoop.it

Zynga might roll right over its competitors in those categories because it’s the big kahuna of social games. It’s a perfectly good strategy for a market leader, and it’s worked for Zynga before.

 

Zynga showed only its “red ocean” strategy, not a “blue ocean strategy.” Zynga is charging head-on at its rivals, fighting for market share with the sharks as they go after the meat (in this case, Facebook players) in the bloody red ocean. The concept here was chronicled in 2005 in the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. In a red ocean battle, the market share is fixed, and competitors fight each other for it in a zero-sum game. But in the blue ocean, where there are no competitors, a company can be successful by expanding the size of the market.

 

Just about every title that Zynga announced was in direct competition with a rival. The Ville, introduced by game designer Mark Skaggs above, is squarely aimed at taking players away from Electronic Arts’ The Sims Social. By the same token, EA’s own SimCity Social is aimed at Zynga’s CityVille. That’s a red ocean fight. With bubble shooter titles such as Bubble Safari and Ruby Blast, Zynga is going after rival King.com, which has soared in popularity in the last year with games that have short, one-minute gameplay times, much like arcade titles. And with its Matching with Friends game, Zynga is going after Wooga’s Diamond Dash and PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz.

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Wooga and PopCap pull games from Google+, PocketGamer

Social games specialist Wooga has announced it is to pull several of its games (Monster World, Diamond Dash, and Bubble Island) from Google+, following claims users are nowhere near as active on the social network as they are on Facebook. The news comes as PopCap moves to retire Bejeweled Blitz from the platform on 18 June.

 

The departures will leave Google+ with just 40 games in all. The impact of said announcements is tempered somewhat, however, by the news that prominent Facebook games are currently losing players as consumers are increasingly drawn to mobile platforms.

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Peak Games grows to No. 3 social gaming firm by focusing on the Middle East

Peak Games grows to No. 3 social gaming firm by focusing on the Middle East | Poker & eGaming News | Scoop.it

Peak Games, a publisher that focuses on emerging markets for games such as the Middle East, says it has become the third-largest social game publisher on a worldwide basis.

 

Daily active users worldwide on Facebook:

Zynga: 56 million
King.com: 12 million

Peak Games: 9.7 million = 5,7 own + 4 million from sister companies

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Zynga Shares in Facebook's Pain, Rolfe Winkler Wall Street Journal

Zynga Shares in Facebook's Pain, Rolfe Winkler Wall Street Journal | Poker & eGaming News | Scoop.it

In a late April securities filing, Facebook cited an estimate that global sales of so-called virtual goods—something Zynga relies on for the bulk of its revenue—would rise to $15 billion by 2014. That would imply an average annual growth rate of about 19%. Two weeks later, it cited a new estimate that the number would be $14 billion by 2016, halving the growth rate to 9%.

If the growth rate continues to slow, that would call into question Zynga's valuation. At $7.09, its shares trade 29% below their IPO price, yet Zynga still fetches a valuation of roughly 10 times 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Videogame maker Electronic Arts, EA +1.82% which trades at a five times multiple, is boosting revenue about 5% a year. As research analyst Arvind Bhatia of Sterne Agee points out, Zynga's premium valuation looks more questionable if growth continues to slow.

That may be happening. For starters, top Zynga games like "CityVille" and "FarmVille" are declining quickly. According to AppData, the number of daily average users of those two games has fallen 54% and 38%, respectively, since October. Another game, "Empires and Allies," has seen daily users fall 70%. Some games like "Words With Friends" and Zynga poker continue to be popular. But the company's new games aren't catching on like old ones.

Revenue continues to rise, perhaps because the company is clever at using data analysis to sell more virtual goods to the roughly 2% of players who actually pay for them. The other 98% play Zynga's games for free. But even the most addicted players may fall away over time as games diminish in popularity.

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Electronic Arts Sues Zynga, Says The Ville Is An 'Unmistakable Copy' Of The Sims - Seeking Alpha

Electronic Arts Sues Zynga, Says The Ville Is An 'Unmistakable Copy' Of The Sims - Seeking Alpha | Poker & eGaming News | Scoop.it
EA is suing Zynga for being inspired by The Sims when creating The Ville. If you cant beat them - sue them.
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Gamification is revolutionizing education, Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat

Gamification is revolutionizing education, Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat | Poker & eGaming News | Scoop.it

The game industry and nonprofits are teaming up to create a video game design lab that will do research on engaging students and measuring learning. It’s part of a broader “gamification” trend toward making education as fun and engaging as playing games. The new Games, Learning and Assessment (GLASS) Lab will be supported by $10.3 million in grants.

 

Based at EA’s global headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., the lab will integrate state-based educational standards and measure learning by modifying popular games or creating original games. Once those products are complete, they will be made available to middle and high school students, school districts, and families at little or no cost. The lab was announced at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado today.

 

The GLASS Lab acknowledges that there is a major shift in the way students learn and acquire knowledge. Students today are expected to learn skills such as creative problem solving, collaboration, systems thinking, and mastering new technologies. Games are good for that, and they can give teachers and parents real-time feedback on student progress.

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THQ CEO is looking to do a turn-around, VentureBeat

THQ CEO is looking to do a turn-around, VentureBeat | Poker & eGaming News | Scoop.it

The THQ  stock price has plummeted and 118 people recently had to leave THQ, one of the most well-known game developers in te world. Last years, ending March 31 2012, revenues were 831 MUSD and 240 MUSD in loss.

 

A major failure explaining the outstanding losses for the game developer problems are related to last years investments in hardware and software for the console concept uDraw: http://www.worldofudraw.com/tablet. Never heard about it, well that's why it failed.

 

THQ have well-known titles like Warhammer 40 000, Company of Heroes (done by in-house studio Relic) and recently announced Ultimate Fighting Championship UFC for EA Sports. THQ also is a publisher of Homefront developed by Crytek and another game done by Turtle Rock (creators of Left 4 Dead).

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Social Casino Gamers Spending ‘Similar’ To Gamblers, William Chambers at GamblingCompliance

The paying players of social casino games exhibit many of the same characteristics as real money gamblers, says an executive of PopCap, a social games developer owned by one of the world’s largest video games companies.

 

Customers of virtual currency casinos and traditional pay-to-play gambling sites spend money in “very similar” ways, according to Bart Barden, casino franchise director for Electronic Arts (EA)-owned social games developer PopCap.

 

Barden, who was speaking at the iGaming Supershow in Dublin last week, told delegates that PopCap — which made its name with Facebook brands including Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled — has found synergies developing both gambling games and social games, and cautioned against underestimating the worth of social games customers.

 

Barden said that paying social gamers can generate revenue on par with real-money gamblers.

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