Posts Tagged ‘Video game’

NPD Report: casual gaming and digital downloads on the rise

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

A recent snippet of The NPD Group’s “Entertainment Trends in America” survey reveals that over the past six months, more Americans have turned to casual gaming and downloadable content over a night out at the cinema.  Close to 2 out of 3 Americans (63 percent) indicated that they’ve played a video game, while just over half have been out to the movies (53 percent) during the same period.

The survey also indicates that the increase in gaming is directly correlated to the increased availability and visibility of new and existing outlets for playing.  While not an overwhelming number, overall 10 percent indicated that they’d played a game on a social network, and 5 percent said that they’d paid to download a game from the web, a 2 percent increase from the same question last year.

“Video games account for one-third of the average monthly consumer spending in the U.S. for core entertainment content, including music, video, games,” said Anita Frazier, video games industry analyst for NPD. “While a portion of that share stems from the premium price of console games, we’re also seeing an overall increase in the number of people participating in gaming year-over-year.”

Clearly, as NPD’s Q1 2009 update to the “Entertainment Trends in America” survey includes data noting that the average gamer spent just over $38 per month on any and all types of gaming content.  Over the past year, NPD found that almost 1 in 3 (31 percent) of gamers purchased either a console or portable game, representing a .7 percent increase year-over-year.  Most interestingly, these ‘traditional’ gamers seem to be branching out, as among consumers who regularly play console or portable games, 31 percent indicated that they’d also played a game on a gaming website.  19 percent are playing on their mobile phones, 12 percent on a social networking site, and 11 percent purchased and downloaded a game to their mobile.

“As with video and music, sales of physical gaming products still account for the bulk of consumer spending on video games, but digital downloads and other delivery and game-play formats are also rising in popularity,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.


Tandem Games launches free-to-play browser based Domain of Heroes

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Hailing from the hot bed (literally) of gaming development, Austin, Texas based Tandem Games has recently launched a new browser based free-to-play MMO titles Domain of Heroes.  Latching on to the growing trend of ‘play it anywhere’ browser based games, Domain of Heroes is designed to be played at work (think alt/tab and/or minimize), school, or home.

Self described as a simple enough to play while working, yet deep and story-driven enough to captivate the most hardcore RPG fans, Domain of Heroes is aimed at appealing to a wide range of gaming fans.  The title is a text based game, therefore making it more like a choose your own adventure, ever evolving book, rather than a video game.  What?  No rich, stunning 3d graphics you say?  While it’s true, you’re not going to get any 3D blood flying by at a high frame rate, I personally think that’s what makes it a great game to play in the background while at work, or even while playing other games.

What’s quite interesting to note about Domain of Heroes is the community interaction.  Tandem Games has taken a massive step forward in listening to their customers by quickly integrating features and game play as suggested by the community.

“We have a program called Community Heroes where the community proposes ideas on the forums and those get filtered by other players and then added to the game quickly,” said Aaron Murray, Technical Director and co-founder of Tandem Games. “Over half of the game has come directly from ideas from the Beta players, and the next big updates are ideas from the community as well.”

A simple 2 minute signup process is all that’s needed to enter the world of Dohria and being playing Domain of Heroes.  Players have the choice of creating a character from 30 different races and 27 classes.  There are 150 skills to master as players explore the massive world of Dohria.  While solo play was quite enjoyable, pvp battles in a text based MMO while riding the subway home from work was really quite fun.  Since it’s playable in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera browsers, I was able to accesses the game via my iPhone and experienced equally fun gameplay on both laptop and iPhone.  This free-to-play MMO features guild creating features along with aforementioned pvp battles.

Domain of Heroes is free-to-play, and Tandem Games is seeking to monetize the title via microtransactions.  Currently, the game supports player character customization via an in-game currency called “Wishes”.  Each player starts off with 2 complimentary “Wishes”, usually spending the first on a mule (the ability to carry more loot), and the second to create a custom name for your character (the default name enters you as Newbxxxx).  Additional wishes are available for purchase at $0.99 each, or a bundled option is available pricing some wishes as low as $0.49/wish.

Domain of Heroes is currently open to the public, and as mentioned works in almost every popular browser client (IE, FF, Safari, and Opera).  Sign up and give it a whirl at


Google makes good with AdScape promise

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The day has finally arrived: Google is now going gaming.  A recent post at the AdSense blog made the official announcement of the new “AdSense for Games”, the new Google advertising platform in development for over a year that takes aim at monetizing the vast amount of currently under-utilized browser based Flash game market.  However, Christian Oestlien, senior product manager for the AdSense for Games beta project said that Google has not ruled out testing with some larger titles.  For the larger testing ground, the big G has already signed deals to work with PlayFish, Mochi Media, Demand Media and Konami.

Advertisements will collect revenues through the number of cost-per-impression and cost-per-clicks divided between Google and the developer.

According to ComScore, Flash games garner an estimated 25% (or roughly 200+M worldwide) of all internet users attention.  This group plays at least one game per week, and has show a 17% growth rate year after year.  Last year, the Yankee Group reported that the overall video game advertising market reached a staggering $77.7M mass, and projects almost $1B by the end of 2011.

Google’s been making waves in the in-game advertising market ever since acquiring AdScape over a year ago.  But they’re not alone in the quest to successfully monetize games via in-game advertising.  Microsoft has also been quite active, purchasing Massive in early 2006, perhaps setting the stage for Google to get in the game.  Literally.  Google snatched up AdScape Media for a cool $23M shortly after Microsoft’s Massive buy.

Based on the video below, it looks like developers will have full flexibility as to exactly where, when, and how their ads are displayed in-game.  In other words, integrating Google’s AdSense for games looks as simple as inserting a line of code into flash content to deliver targeted ads.  Some of the advertisers already included in the program include eSurance, Sprint, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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Google is NOT however making this a wild west, free for all.  Developers have some strict requirements to me including a minimum 500,000 plays per day, an 80% US or UK based traffic composition, and can SDK integrate, amongst others.

Double Fusion, a prominent in-game advertising network, CEO Jonathan Epstein spoke with Daniel Terdiman of CNET explaining,

It confirms for all parties [...] that this space is of interest to one of the largest media companies in the world. Google does not enter into markets that don’t have billion dollar-plus potential for them [...] The battleground here is not between ourselves and Massive and Google [...] it’s getting games their rightful share of the ad dollars, as opposed to TV, print, and [traditional] online ads.”


Alex St John – PC games run by micro transactions are the new wave of the future

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Alex St John, the former head of DirectX at Microsoft and now CEO of Wild Tangent has recently stated that gaming consoles will be dead by 2020 and that micro transactions are where it’s at.

“I think you’re looking at the last generation of game consoles, and I think it’s easy to defend that position,” he said while speaking at the Wedbush Morgan Securities annual Management Access Conference.

St John has always had an eye on the future, and a finger on what’s the next ‘hot topic’.  He believes that games will eventually shake themselves out into two distinct communities: One that enjoys a certain type and format of a game, with others enjoying another.  Could he possibly be alluding to ‘First Person Shooters’ vs. ‘MMO fantasy’ games?

From this split St John takes it a step further.  “I think the business model in ten years … It’s going to be microtransaction based. Microcurrency-based economies are just the most efficient way to maximize revenue. They work really well.”

In game advertising is a second shakeout from this split.  “It’s a great alternative payment type for kids who don’t have access to online currency and are huge game players. So, if you don’t have any way to take money from kids, then the only way to get kids to play is by advertisers marketing to them.”

St John sites and targets data based on the current upswing in global laptop sales.  “Kids especially need laptops due to the evolving type of homework and in-classroom work being assigned at schools. Gaming devices are usually confiscated at school, but “no one’s going to take [the kid's] laptop away from him because they need that for their homework.”  This lends itself perfectly to a community driven, gaming society specifically targeting micro transaction and advertising models.

“Laptops are fabulous gaming devices with Wii-like graphics, instantly tied to community, 100 per cent online and a vast volume of free play for kids who don’t have credit cards.”

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