Posts Tagged ‘gaming companies’

£10 million to be invested in UK Games Industry

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

The  trade association TIGA, representing the games industry in the United Kingdom has recently announced that the UK games industry is on the verge of receiving £10 million from government agencies. This investment will also see a £2 million earmark for a prototype fund being administered by Abertay University.

british-pound-collage.previewStemming from the Digital Britain report that was published in June 2009, the commercial potential developed at Abertay will be further enhanced by the new center of excellence in Manchester. The new facilities at MediaCity UK will allow games and creative content developers the opportunity to better understand how gamers use their prototype products. This research and development will then in turn allow gaming companies to further refine these prototypes, with the ultimate goal leading to enhanced success in the competitive marketplace.

The MediaCity UK project is supported by £1 million from the Strategic Investment Fund, with additional funding arriving via individual European Regional Development Fund initiatives in both Manchester and Scotland, as well as the North West Development Agency. The Scottish government alone is contributing close to £1 million. The total commitment to the project is estimated at £10 million.

“This is good news for the UK games industry,” says TIGA CEO, Dr. Richard Wilson. “We particularly welcome the intention to use the funding to invest in prototypes to support new Intellectual Property (IP) development. Finding sources for finance for new IP is difficult at the best of times.”

Wilson continues, “We now look forward to the Pre-Budget Report on Wednesday December 9th. A commitment by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, that the Government will introduce Games Tax Relief would demonstrate that the Government is serious about supporting the UK games industry, one of the UK’s leading digital industries.”
£10 million to be invested in UK Games Industry

 

U.S. online gaming market grows 22 percent Year over Year

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Leader internet measurement firm comScore released on Friday new data that reveals the United States online gaming market attracted approximately 87 million visitors in May 2009, a 22 percent gain over May 2008. The data points to a slumping economy as a primary driver, as more and more Americans are increasingly seeking out cheaper entertainment options.

Coming up big again this year is Yahoo! Games, bringing home the bacon with approximately 19.4 million visitors, up 6 percent from May ’08, filing their way through the big Y’s offerings. EA Online took the number two spot with 18 million visitors, a healthy 34 percent increase YOY. Nickelodeon Casual Games with 14.8 million visitors, and Wild Tangent Network with 13.8 million visitors (a 16 percent increase) took spots 3 and 4 respectively. And while these numbers are in their own right, impressive, the best newcomer award clearly belongs to GSN Games Networks which saw 6 million visitors in May 2009, representing a stellar 563 percent increase over May 2008 traffic.

comScore data 1

“Online gaming continues to be one of the top gaining categories over the past year growing at ten times the rate of the total U.S. Internet population and reaching nearly one out of every two Internet users,” said Edward Hunter, comScore director of gaming solutions. “And the growth in the category is occurring not only at the top gaming destination sites, but also through viral distribution platforms, including widgets and applications. In fact, some online gaming companies that distributed their games across sites are reaching as many people as the top online gaming sites.”

Also included in the data is comScore’s noting of a growing trend in the online gaming space: distributed content. These distributed content platforms include widgets and applications. comScore has found that these methods of distribution can often put creators of said delivery mechanisms numbers similar to gaming portal destinations. For example, accord to the comScore data, MochiMedia reached a combined total audience of 16.9 million in May ’09, which in effect, would put them in spot number 3, above Nickelodeon Casual Games. Likewise, Games2Win was visited over 1.8 million times in May ’09, which would put them squarely within the top 20 online gaming destinations.

comScore data 2

“The power and reach of viral content distribution is well captured by comScore Extended Web Metrix,” said Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-Founder, Games2win. “With these latest consumer traffic numbers, we can now effectively present and strategically leverage our accelerating audience reach, and share data with our advertisers, marketers and partners that represents a holistic view of who is playing our games and from where.

 

China’s IGA market poised to pounce in 2009

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

In game advertising started in the Chinese market back in 2007 with a few game operators casually slipping a bit of code into some of their games, with a modest $8.77M ROI.  While this might seem a pretty decent take on an ‘experiment’, according to iResearch, it accounted for only four percent of the market’s total revenues of approximately $2B.

Fast forward one year later, with Chinese IGA revenues topping out at $19M.  Still a relatively small number in the overall scheme of things, but other Chinese firms started to take notice, with several independent third-party IGA providers popping up like daisies.

Two of China’s largest IGA providers, In-Game Media and Bihu.com both believe that the solid foundations laid over the past few years, combined with the current global economic downturn have prepared the market for explosive growth.

Bihu.com

Established in 2004, Bihu previous provided in-game value added services, i.e. in-game messaging, etc.  In 2008 they decided to regroup and refocus, turning the torchlight on in game advertising.  Back in April, Bihu announced their own independent IGA system with allows game developers and operators to insert advertising code into a game without altering the core technology.  Apparently, this was a wise move on Bihu’s part, as their client list shot up from 2 to 10, with major players Dell, Samsung and Intel among the roster.

“With 10 game firms accounting for over 20 online games, we have formed an online-game advertising network, which is a basic step toward attracting advertisers,” says Li Liujun, founder and CEO of Bihu.

Li says that the IGA market in China has been partially held back by the success of virtual item sales, and convincing gaming companies to form IGA relationships to diversify revenue streams.  “China’s game firms mainly earned money through the sale of virtual products, which has been very profitable. This means they were lacking in motivation to find new revenue models,”.  He also points out that a number of developers were a bit skeptical, as inserting IGA’s would require an alteration of the core code of the game, potentially having a negative impact on the game itself.  “Our independent system that can insert adverts without changing a game’s code helps drives our business,” says Li.

Li views the global financial downturn as a time ripe to harvest the benefits of IGA, as many companies will seek to lower costs, and invest more of their advertising budgets in the emerging online media.

In-Game Media

Echoing Li’s statements, strategy director at In-Game Media, Johan Wong says, “People will likely cut down on consumption and stay at home this year, which could lead to an increase in the number of game players,”

Given the global tightening of the collective belt, Wong predicts the Chinese market will see a notable increase in the overall average age of those playing online games.  This ‘raising of the bar’ will open a number of IGA opportunities for Chinese firms ranging from high(er) priced consumer goods and real estate.

Still a relative newcomer, opening in January of 2008, In-Game Media, a subsidiary of Chinese online giant Shanda Interactive Entertainment Inc. had only been delivering IGA to Shanda’s own titles.  But in December 2008 the company opened it’s doors to further expansion, signing contracts with 20 games companies across China.

Over the course of 2008, In-Game Media developed a number of IGAs for Shanda, their most successful involving the Puma brand in Shanda’s Crazy Kart racing game.  In-Game Media was responsible for the Puma branding of virtual characters clothing, which offered users the opportunity to enter and participate in specialized promotional races via the Puma website.

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Wall Street meltdown is good for free-to-play gaming

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Unless you’ve just arrived from Caprica, chances are you’re probably well aware that the global financial market is in a freefall right now with some of the largest banking names going under, and others receiving a massive federal bailout.  Both the Dow and NASDAQ are riding somewhere in the North Atlantic aboard the Titanic, and it doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to understand that a recession is looming on the horizon.  Lose all hope and head for the hills?  Heck no.  NOW is the time for free-to-play gaming to go in, guns blazing.  Let’s see how and why:

Let’s take a step back for a moment and think about the last recession that we saw.  The 2000-2003 recession, while not quite accompanied with a multi-tiered sub prime mortgage fiasco, was quite harsh on retailers worldwide.  BUT  some industries and specific companies actually manage to thrive in poor economic markets.  Those that buy advertising (as opposed to selling it) are the ones that make off like bandits.  Obviously, given a recession, ad buyers are able to snatch up much higher profile and/or wider reaching advertising that previously affordable.

Online gaming companies, ecommerce companies,  and lead generation firms for example are all buyers of online advertising.  In our last round of ‘oh crap, where did all the money go?’ companies such as Expedia, Zappos, Lending Tree, Lower my Bills, Netflix, and Classmates.com were all able to grow to over $100 USD in revenue thanks to the ultra cheap media.

There is however, a notable difference this time around, and it comes to us via Consumer Confidence.  In the 2000-2003 recession, consumer confidence was higher than this time around.  In order to highlight this, let’s take a look at ‘In-Market Automotive Shoppers’.  Compete.com talked about consumer confidence back in September with this article and graph:

Obviously, an in-market buyer is someone ready and willing to make a purchase.  Clearly, times for the auto industry have seen better days.  Granted, a car and a free-to-play game (microtransactions included) aren’t even in the same ballpark, but I note this to point out that ‘considered purchases’, big ticket items including cars, homes, etc. have showed a noted decline, in part due to consumer confidence.

Taking a look at small purchases, Seeking Alpha is quick to point out that even the morning cup of Joe, normally purchased at Starbucks as seen a decline:

There was a time when getting a coffee at Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) – whether a basic “tall bold” or a souped-up venti concoction – was considered a relatively cheap treat, though those of us with a daily Starbucks habit might think otherwise.

However, a report from RBC Capital Markets analyst Larry Miller indicates that even that daily cup of store-bought java is one of the victims of the credit crunch. Mr. Miller lowered his 2009 earnings estimates – to $0.90 from $0.95, and said:

[The move] reflects our proprietary survey work, which suggests Starbucks sales continue to weaken as consumers are changing their habits and brewing more coffee at home.

And now for our bright shiny star in the midst of a seeming dark financial future: Games.  The gaming industry has traditionally bucked the financial trends, and thrives in time of discontent.  Perhaps folks are looking for a way, if only momentary and fleeting, to forget their bank account issues or missing 401k by blasting their way through level 27, or purchasing that shiny new outfit for their head banging Guitar Hero.

A certain amount of any game development budget is dedicated to new customer acquisition.  If free falling advertising rates can still maintain the same amount of pre-recession eyeballs, free-to-play games may be in the perfect position to cash in on advertising fiesta.  And given the price…who could resist something for free?

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STEVANA CASE JOINS fatfoogoo EXECUTIVE TEAM

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Casual Games Veteran Will Lead fatfoogoo Business Development and Sales in North America

SAN FRANCISCO – September 30, 2008 – fatfoogoo, the leading provider of in-game commerce ecosystems, today announced it has appointed Stevana Case to spearhead its North American business as Vice President of Business Development and Sales.

Case joins fatfoogoo at a time the casual gaming industry is expected to grow to an estimated $1.15 billion industry by 2011, according to DFC Intelligence.

“Stevana is widely respected in the videogame industry with impressive experience as a professional gamer, designer, author and more,” said Martin Herdina, co-founder and CEO, fatfoogoo.  “Her knowledge of the industry and deep passion for gaming is a winning combination for fatfoogoo as we expand our business in North America.”

Case is a widely recognized figure in the videogame industry.  She is celebrated for being one of the first professional female gamers and the first woman in the Cyberathlete Professional League.  Notably, Case has gained recognition for defeating John Romero in Quake death match, single handedly beating him the first time they played.

Most recently, Case has made her mark as a tough-minded and experienced business development professional, working on a wide range of platforms including PC, mobile, IM and consoles.  She has combined her professional gaming experience with a personal passion for the industry serving as Director of Business Development and Sales at Tira Wireless.

Prior to business development, Case worked at several gaming companies serving in wide ranging roles from videogame level designer and product manager within the social games and networking space.  Case was also the Co-founder and CEO of Monkeystone Games. Post Monkeystone Games, Case headed up the product development team for Warner Bros. Online, Mobile Group.

“I am excited to join fatfoogoo; the team’s experience with microtransactions and modular platforms will serve both developers and publishers nicely,” said Case.  “As a gamer, I love buying items and the complexity that microtransactions bring to the game experience.  As a professional, I find fatfoogoo’s technology the most comprehensive offering on the market.”

Recently, fatfoogoo announced it has made its monetization software system available to developers in Project Darkstar, an open source development environment created by Sun Microsystems Laboratories. With fatfoogoo software publishers and developers can more easily tap into unchartered revenue streams of microtransactions.

About fatfoogoo
fatfoogoo is the leading in-game commerce ecosystem for monetizing online games and virtual worlds. Fatfoogoo’s solutions allow both publisher-to-player and player-to-player financial interaction, as well as traditional user and subscription management. Publishers can choose white label turnkey solutions or individually configured modules. Founded in 2006 by Daniel Petri and Martin Herdina, fatfoogoo is headquartered in Austria and also has offices in the US and the UK. For more information, please visit www.fatfoogoo.com.

Contact
Heather Sorensen
Plugged In PR for fatfoogoo
+1-503-841-0625
heather@pluggedinpr.com