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6:00 PM on 11.19.2012

OpenFeint shuts down on December 14

While it probably won't change the day of any gamers out there, you should still know that GREE, OpenFeint's parent company, plans to shut down the OpenFeint mobile social connection service on December 14. Many of mobile gam...

Dale North



Zynga lays off five percent of its full-time employees photo
Zynga lays off five percent of its full-time employees
by Jordan Devore

There were a number of layoffs at Zynga today, as you might have heard from employees who were affected and quickly spread the word. An internal note from CEO Mark Pincus confirms much of what's been said about the significant changes that took place.

For starters, Zynga Boston is being closed. Closures have been proposed for the company's Japan and UK studios, and layoffs are also hitting the studio in Austin. All told, approximately five percent of Zynga's full-time workforce has been let go. 13 older games are being sunset and the social game company will be "significantly reducing [its] investment in The Ville."

Pincus notes that "This is the most painful part of an overall cost reduction plan that also includes significant cuts in spending on data hosting, advertising and outside services, primarily contractors. These reductions, along with our ongoing efforts to implement more stringent budget and resource allocation around new games and partner projects, will improve our profitability and allow us to reinvest in great games and our Zynga network on web and mobile."

It's a shame how frequently layoffs seem to happen in this industry -- even when it is a company whose work you don't particularly care for. Best of luck to those impacted by the layoffs in finding work swiftly.

Zynga lays off five percent of employees during Apple's event, shutters Boston studio [update: Mark Pincus's memo to staff] [The Verge]

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9:00 PM on 10.18.2012

Study finds that 85% quit social games after one day

I just learned the term churn from our recent article on social game makers and how they track players. The term came up again today in a Gamasutra article on a new report from social game analysis firm Playnomics. This firm ...

Dale North

5:00 PM on 10.14.2012

Rockman Xover fan-made demo, plus actual game details

Capcom insists on seeing this construct through to the end, so I might as well keep abreast of the latest news and developments. First up is this fan-made Rockman Xover Flash demo that recreates the TGS build Conrad played. I...

Tony Ponce



We have a file on you: The tools & tricks of social games photo
We have a file on you: The tools & tricks of social games
by Allistair Pinsof

Meet Melissa. She's a forty-year-old mom who has recently become hooked on DragonVale, a free-to-play iOS game. She is what social game analysts call a whale. No, this isn't a comment on her physical stature or deep, raspy cafeteria-lady voice. Whale refers to the type of player she is, financially speaking. Whales are a very good thing for developers, as they are the ones that make the most and largest purchases in free-to-play games.

Developers' analytical tools compile data and profile Melissa, determining if she is likely to be a whale. At this point, the tools analyze whether she will churn soon (read: depart the game) and what would be the best offer to prevent her from leaving the game for the rest of her life.

There is a world of data, audience manipulation, and visual tricks that occur within social games without players ever realizing it. While it's too early to judge where these tool may take the industry, learning how they work does give one some ideas. Let's turn back the veil and see social game design for what it really is, shall we?

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11:30 PM on 09.19.2012

TGS: Yep, the Rockman Xover trailer is really something

I don't have to repeat myself, do I? You already know how I feel about Rockman Xover, so let's skip that dance and move on to analyzing the trailer above. Hmmm... a minute-long trailer with all of four seconds of in-game foo...

Tony Ponce

3:30 PM on 09.06.2012

Rockman Xover will be at TGS, protagonist has stupid name

Since Capcom has decided that a Western release of Rockman Xover is crucial, I feel duty-bound to deliver the latest details so that you may prepare yourself against thine enemy. As mentioned previously, Xover is a social RPG...

Tony Ponce

1:15 PM on 08.30.2012

Zynga apes Pokemon with suspiciously similar Montopia

Oh Zynga, will you ever learn? Despite being embroiled in a lawsuit against fellow evildoer Electronic Arts, those wacky rouges at Zynga are hard at work with another "inspired" game -- Montopia.  Montopia casts you in ...

Jim Sterling





10:45 AM on 08.30.2012

No More Heroes gets a free-to-play social mobile game

No More Heroes returns to your life as a free-to-play social mobile game. Something tells me that the unique blend of F2P, social gaming, and the mobile market isn't having NMH lovers jumping for joy. In fact it seems perfect...

Jim Sterling

11:00 AM on 08.21.2012

EA vs. Zynga: EA claims it's a game industry defender!

Electronic Arts' delusions of grandeur have reached new heights this week, as the company continues to milk its lawsuit against Zynga for cheap applause and gamer cred. Its latest claim? The lawsuit positions Electronic Arts ...

Jim Sterling



Rockman Xover is your new Mega Man game... for iOS photo
Rockman Xover is your new Mega Man game... for iOS
by Tony Ponce

Guys, I owe you an apology. The other day, I wrote about a fan-driven Mega Man Legends concept album, and I begged you all to stay on topic and not go off on a tangent about how you felt Capcom wronged you. I apologize because, right now, I'm about to become a big, honkin' hypocrite.

Capcom has finally announced its software plans for Mega Man's 25th anniversary. Rockman Xover (read "Rockman Crossover") gathers heroes and villains from across the franchise's myriad sub-series for an RPG adventure. According to the story, Dr. Wily, Sigma, and other baddies have confined all the Mega Men in a pocket of space-time, so it's up to Drs. Light and Cossack to construct a new robot. However, you have to assemble the Mega Man yourself, in effect customizing it however you see fit.

Oh, and it's for iOS devices. And it's "social."

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12:15 PM on 07.12.2012

Japanese social games funded by Yakuza, says expert

Yakuza, Japan's mafia, has a long history with games: card games, Pachinko machines, and now social gaming. Some of Japan's current social games, including one about Yakuza, are funded by Japan's mafia, according to Tokyo Vic...

Allistair Pinsof

8:00 AM on 07.10.2012

Square Enix: Long console generation a 'big mistake'

Square Enix's worldwide technology director, Julien Merceron, has accused Sony and Microsoft of making a "big mistake" by prolonging this console generation, claiming that iOS and browser games have flourished as a direc...

Jim Sterling

9:00 AM on 06.21.2012

Twitter or Facebook won't be supported in Wii U Miiverse

When asked about the Wii U's possible integration of Facebook and Twitter, Nintendo of Europe's Laurent Fischer was pretty upfront in denying the capability: "I have three devices permanently doing that already, what is our b...

Chris Carter

4:56 PM on 06.04.2012

E3: More details on EA's SimCity Social

As reported earlier, EA has brought out the white glove on Zynga with SimCity Social for Facebook. This isn't just a rehash of any well-known farming games, though. Players will get to watch their cities evolve based on ...

Victoria Medina

4:04 PM on 06.04.2012

E3: FIFA is 'football's social network'

EA has announced a wealth of new features for the upcoming FIFA 13, both in the gameplay and EA's football-centered social network, Football Club. Gamers who progressed through FIFA 12 will have their stats and progress carry...

Alasdair Duncan