Social gamer Zynga grabbed a lot of press lately. First the company re-upped with Facebook. Next it doubled down with Yahoo. Now the company is expanding its development operations with the purchase of Austin based Challenge Games. Challenge, which developed games like Warstorm and Ponzi was backed by Sequoia Capital and Globespan.
In recent days, multiple reports claimed wildly popular social gamer Zynga was locked in a high stakes game of chicken with Facebook over the social network’s planned virtual currency, Facebook Credits. Even with the two companies’ obvious needs for each other – seven of Facebook’s ten most popular games in April came from Zynga’s portfolio and the majority of Zynga’s revenue sources from Facebook derived users – the chatter was of a possible divorce.
Facebook was reportedly trying to lock Zynga into a long term revenue sharing deal. Possibly exclusivity. Zynga, some reports claimed, was resistant and threatening to bolt, maybe even start a social game network of its own.
The fight’s over now. Click to Read More
There is a transformation underway in the world of video games. Fueled by changing technology and the opportunity to evolve outdated business models everything from who plays, to what they play, to how they play it, are in states of transition.
For the analyst, the executive, entrepreneurs or for simply curious fans, this begs the question: Where are we headed? What will come next? Where will things differ and where will they stay the same?
Every answer is a tea-leaf reading game. But dot by connected dot, piece by piece, from the patterns and trends showing today?
Chances are we’re heading slowly toward a new marketplace. A place with different cost structures and different hardware archetypes. A place where traditional hardware cycles elongate and where software delivery methods change. We’re probably looking at a gaming industry future where some consoles become truly multi-purpose home entertainment platforms – music, movie, digital video recording (DVR) and gaming enabled devices in one – where direct delivery (streamed digital content or real-time streamed game play) become the dominant reality.
It’s a likely future where interfaces and user experiences will mix and match – from 2D to 3D, from traditional joystick inputs to full figured motion control and voice automation. It’s a future where mobile games will likely take off in new directions, a place where boundaries from one medium to the next (console, PC, portable, cellular etc) become less defined. It’s a place where a game’s play will be capable of crossing over between different devices. It’s a place where “non-puzzle” or non-“head to head” games won’t have to be linear, where game storytelling is able to explore new forms.
We’re heading toward an environment where streams and subscriptions stand to surpass “shrink wrap” software sales. A place where business models evolve.
Twitter is not the only company drawing massive investor speculation. Gaming startup OnLive announced Tuesday (9/29) that investors including Warner Brothers, Autodesk and AT&T Media Holdings had all jumped in to fund a substantial Series C financing.
Details weren’t disclosed but CEO Steve Perlman said on the company’s blog that the round was the company’s largest to date. It was "much larger than our previous rounds and gives us a serious jolt of rocket fuel as our beta progresses," he wrote.
Some speculation in the market is that the valuation may have been in excess of $500m. (via Venture Beat) No telling if that’s accurate.
OnLive is looking to deliver a “cloud computing” competitor to the traditional game console environment. More than seven years in the making, the company is currently beta testing its offering and looking to build out server farms necessary for their eventual commercial launch.
Mickey is looking for some new ideas and the talent to develop them. He’s not scared to pay to get either.
In a press release, the companies announced the deal Tuesday morning.
In contrast to the Marvel purchase, the Wideload buy seems almost singularly about the people. Wideload won’t be bringing a cache of known brands or readily saleable products to the Disney family. There won’t be any super heroes or arch villains to pepper story arcs or cross the media boundaries of Disney’s empire. Since being founded in 2003, Wideload has developed only a handful of games.
Sony and Nintendo have generally been moving in different directions, one finding success while the other floundered and restructured. Heading into the current quarter, with consumer spending weak and a strong Yen threatening margins, there were hints that might be changing (at least for the very near term).
Earnings results in, it has. Both Sony and Nintendo reported Thursday and both struggled.
At Nintendo, revenue fell 40% to 253b Yen. Earnings plunged 61%. Unit sales of Nintendo’s otherwise infallible Wii fell 57% globally compared to the same period last year.