Archive for the ‘Farmville’ Category
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Internet companies may launch their initial public offerings of stock with a splash, but that public arena has its drawbacks as both Facebook and Zynga are learning.
Zynga Inc., the maker of Facebook’s most popular games, Farmville, Words with Friends, Draw Something and others, saw it shares fall sharply yesterday on the heels of a report from analysts at Cowen and Co. saying the number of active daily users of its games fell 8 percent in May.
That’s the second consecutive monthly drop. All the Zynga games declined.
The San Francisco-based company’s stock fell 10 percent to $4.98 yesterday afternoon, down more than 50 percent from its $10 IPO price. The stock has traded as high as $15.91 (March).
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing a decline in Zynga game-players on my Facebook stream for quite a while. While the games were extremely popular, many Facebook users did not like all Farmville and other game requests popping up on their newsfeed if they didn’t play.
Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz said consumers are switching to mobile games, something Zynga has been experimenting with, although the Facebook games are still its major focus.
Creutz said that Zynga’s games trail more weighty role-playing and multi-player games on mobile phones.
We’re not sure we agree with that. We see people playing easy zombie shooter games, Angry Birds, and solitaire most often on mobile devices.
What do you think? Are Facebook games a dying fad? Would you be sorry if they were?
Creutz cited figures from AppData in his analysis. — Allan Maurer
Monday, October 10th, 2011
Two Hollywood scriptwriters are in talks with Zynga to adapt the Farmville game as a movie.
Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, who wrote “Toy Story” and “Garfield,” disclosed the talks. The game debuted on Facebook in 2009 and was a major hit for Zynga, even if it did annoy many Facebook users when their friends sent numerous Farmville requests (a problem that persists with Zynga “Mafia Wars” players on Facebook).
Rumors say Zynga is also interested in developing a “Mafia Wars” game, which seems a more likely movie inspiration than “Farmville.”
Netflix keeping its DVD service after all
Well, that didn’t last long: Netflix told its customers it is abandoning plans to spin off its DVD division as Qwikster and will keep both services bundled on its home page and customer accounts.
Netflix also says it is beefing up its streaming service, adding AMC’s popular “Walking Dead” series to its streaming service. The way Netflix has been stumbling around lately, you have to wonder if it doesn’t have some zombies stalking its halls. The first season is available now, and it will also be offering past seasons of AMC’s other original series, “Breaking Bad,” and “Mad Men.”
The company stumbled when it essentially doubled its price for customers who have both its streaming and its DVD service. Many users cancelled and the company’s share price plummeted 60 percent since that announcement in July. The company apologized, but that didn’t satisfy disgruntled customers.
Our columnist Joe Procopio had this to say:
Why I’m breaking up with Netflix
Amazon trademarks Kindle Fire under different company name
A Kindle Fire tablet computer
H’mm, now what does this mean? Amazon Inc. has trademarked its new Kindle Fire tablet and related products under the a separate company name, Seesaw LLC.
The online retail giant makes a handful of Kindle’s now with more to come. A new version sells for only $79.
Personally, we love our Kindle WiFi, but we’ve ordered a Kindle Fire. We’ll likely continue to do most of our reading on the eInk WiFi Kindle, which is as easy on the eyes as words on paper, but could use a light connected tablet. We found the 10-inch Galaxy tablet from Motorola too bulky (and overpriced), but this 7-incher from Amazon may do the trick.
We’ll let you know after we try it out. — Allan Maurer
Friday, September 9th, 2011
High-profile launches from players such as Amazon, Google and Apple are expected to galvanize the growing market for consumer cloud mobility services, generating revenues reaching almost $6.5 billion per annum by 2016, a new report from Juniper Research has found.
According to the report, while initial consumer deployments in the cloud were focused primarily on the social networking space, music and video storage/acquisition services such as Amazon’s Cloud Drive and the forthcoming Apple iCloud are expected to gain rapid traction with substantial adoption over both smartphones and tablets.
Both services are geared to migrating end users’ music collections onto the cloud as well as enabling the purchase and storage of additional tracks, while Amazon also offers a cloud-based delivery mechanism with its Cloud Player.
Further opportunities in social media, security solutions
However, mobile social media services are also expected to benefit as providers increasingly seek to develop revenue streams based around virtual goods: the report highlighted the success of Zynga’s Farmville, and suggested that growth in this sector should receive a particularly strong boost as consumer tablet adoption accelerates.
While the report claimed that the increasingly competitive storage sector meant that the provision of consumer storage in isolation was unlikely to generate substantial returns in the longer term, it identified bundled storage and security solutions as a key growth area. According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “The handset is now the repository — in many cases the sole repository — for data such as photographs, videos, address books, games and music; when the device is lost or stolen, that data may be irreplaceable. Hence, the facility to offer remote back-up becomes increasingly attractive.”
Other findings from the report include:
- Enterprises need to develop policies to cover the use of consumer smart devices in the workplace
- Cloud offers network operators the opportunity to develop double-sided revenues from PaaS solutions for enterprise and consumer markets
The Mobile Cloud White Paper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the study ‘Mobile Cloud: Smart Device Strategies for Enterprise & Consumer Markets 2011-2016.’
Thursday, July 7th, 2011
Facebook has revised terms for game developers using its “virtual money,” Facebook Credits, changing one blatant anticompetitive provision in the wake of an antitrust complaint from Consumer Watchdog, but Federal Trade Commission Intervention is still necessary, the nonpartisan, nonprofit group, says.
These developments are important to a number of companies in the digital space, not just game developers. A number of firms are developing ways for marketers to offer Facebook credits to consumers for taking certain actions, from watching a video to clicking on a link.
Facebook’s revised terms still require developers to use Facebook Credits exclusively to sell virtual goods in their games and to pay an exorbitant 30 percent fee for redeeming credits so they can be paid. Facebook also claims the right to change the Facebook Credits terms at any time.
“Faced with an antitrust complaint, Facebook tweaked one blatantly anticompetitive provision, but they’ve used their monopoly position to maintain an onerous burden on developers that ultimately will mean higher prices for consumers,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project.
Not run from a dorm any more
“Facebook tweaked its terms when its worst policies were highlighted; now there is nothing to stop them from changing them when the heat’s off. We call on the FTC to formally block Facebook’s predatory policies.”
The old policy prevented game developers from offering lower prices for virtual goods when they used a different platform for a game than Facebook — for example My Space or Yahoo or their own website — a clear limit on fair price competition.
“Facebook isn’t being run out of a dorm room anymore,” said Simpson. “It’s a global, multi-billion dollar corporate giant that dominates its market and must play by the rules. Its executives shouldn’t have to be embarrassed into doing the right thing by the filing of a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.”
The revision in terms came on the eve of July 4th holiday weekend as the social network giant began requiring all virtual goods sold through game applications to be bought with Facebook Credits. Until July 1, game developers could take payment for their games’ virtual goods directly using such methods as PayPal or credit cards.
Revised rule more competitive
The revised rule says, “You may not charge a logged-in Facebook user of your game app on Facebook a higher price in Credits for an item, virtual currency, or service than you would charge a logged-in Facebook user on another platform or service via another payment method.”
Thus, a developer now can offer price competition on other platforms as long as the player isn’t logged into Facebook.
“While this specific modification quells concerns about the effects of the Credits terms on other possible markets which may arise through the Facebook platform, we still need to remember that Facebook holds monopoly power in the market for virtual goods purchased in social games so it’s important to keep a close eye on its pricing terms in this market,” said Laura Antonini, Consumer Watchdog Research Attorney.
Read an analysis of the changes in the Facebook Credits terms.
Read the Facebook Credits terms revised on July 1.
Read the old terms
The virtual goods market is expected to produce revenue of $2.1 billion in 2011, up from $1.6 billion the previous year, Consumer Watchdog said. Facebook has 500 million users worldwide, with 30 percent of them in the United States, meaning roughly half of the U.S. population uses Facebook. The social network controls well over 50% of the market for virtual goods offered in social gaming, Consumer Watchdog said.
Even with the rule change, Facebook’s dominance of the market gives it unreasonable power over game developers. The social network will charge game developers a 30 percent fee when they redeem their Facebook Credits. While the rule blocking competition outside the Facebook platform has been eased, the service fee exacted by Facebook from game developers may make it cost prohibitive for smaller game developers to compete inside the Facebook platform against larger developers.
Read the June 28 complaint from the nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group.
Consumer Watchdog warned that Facebook was creating its own online monetary system and could use exclusionary tactics similar to those from social gaming to control prices and exclude competitors from other markets.
Facebook is expected to offer streaming media, music, and potentially real-world, non-digital goods for purchase with Facebook Credits as the applications become more diverse on the social network.
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
Go Daddy Group Inc., parent of domain registrar GoDaddy.com, has sold to private equity firms for $2.25 billion, the company said. The company sold to KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures.
GoDaddy is looking to exceed $1.1 billion in revenue this year. The company is known for its excellent company service. If you ever bought a domain name from GoDaddy, you likely got a call not long after from one of its service people. The company, based in Scottsdale, AZ, was founded by CEO Bob Parsons in 1997.
Some folks in the tech community have expressed concerns that the private equity buyers of the company will milk it for all its worth without regard to its tradition of selling domain names inexpensively with great service. We’ll see.
Zynga, Farmville-maker files for $1 billion IPO
San Francisco-based Zynga, the game maker that created Farmville and Mafia Wars, two of the most popular Facebook games, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of stock to raise at least $1 billion.
For a detailed infographic on Zynga’s path from founding to IPO see: Zynga infographic at Namesake.com.
Zynga, founded four years ago, has users in 166 countries. About 230 million people play its games every month. The company has revenue of $597 million in 2010, up from $121 million in 2009. The profitable company earned $90.6 million in 2010.
It is the latest of the much ballyhooed Internet companies to seek public status following LinkedIn (Linkd) Corp. Analysts expect even greater interest in Zynga’s IPO and the amount of money it decides to raise may change as the level of that interest is better evaluated.
The company was founded by CEO Mark Pincus and has about 2,300 employees. The company’s shares recently sold for $15 each on secondary markets, which would value the firm at $12.6 billion.
The filing with the SEC reveals the company is investing in its own data centers to supplement its use of the Amazon cloud service, which allowed the company to grow fast without building infrastructure. Most Facebook game companies rely on Amazon’s cloud. VentureBeat says Zynga’s ability to design apps that take advantage of Amazon’s cloud is one reason for its success.
Despite the inevitable suggestions that the moonbeam valuations of Internet companies may signal another Internet bubble, many analysts point out that the difference is in the fact the today the Internet is more fully integrated into our public, personal and professional lives. These companies have substantial revenues, enormous numbers of users, and some, such as Zynga are even profitable.
Some analysts note, though, that their market values may still be quite overvalued.
BLiNQ names John Tawadros president, COO
BLiNQ Media, a global technology innovator in Facebook advertising and the only pure-play media and technology company worldwide with official access to the Facebook Ads API, has hired former COO for top search-marketing firm iProspect John Tawadros as president and COO.
Prior to joining BLiNQ Media, Tawadros was the COO of iProspect. Over the course of ten years he helped build the company from a basement startup to the #1 search marketing firm in the world, acquired for $50MM in 2004.
While at iProspect, he built and ran a world-class client services team with a 90%+ client retention rate, a companywide training program and scalable business processes to drive efficiencies, communications, ROI and overall performance.
The client-facing, algorithmic and paid search, technology, training and innovation teams all reported to Tawadros. He also played a significant role in the integration of iProspect with Aegis and in the acquisition and integration of a Texas-based retail industry search firm.
“Social media is the new search,” said Tawadros. “Facebook, the biggest player in digital media, is now the home of innovation, and BLiNQ Media helps advertisers make the most of it. It’s an honor to join this creative, intelligent and hard-working team.”
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
Game-maker Zynga is expected to file for an initial public offering of stock this week, possibly Wednesday, according to CNBC.
Zynga, already profitable, unlike some of the other digital media companies that have launched IPOs, such as Pandora, recently rasied $250 million at a $7 to $10 billion valuation, according to reports.
The company is expected to have a valuation of between 15 billion and 20 billion and will raise between $1.5 and $2 billion in its IPO, according to Kelly.
Zynga’s investors include Google, DST, Reid Hoffman, Tiger Global, Kevin Rose, Kleiner Perkins, Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Foundry Group and IVP.
Among other games, Zynga makes Farmville and Mafia Wars, two of the most popular Facebook games.