Tag Archives: Zynga

Fanscape Loves: Gaming

Written by: Digitally Approved
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With the growing popularity of social networking and social gaming, it’s no wonder companies from all across the board are jumping at a chance to get a piece of the action.

Zynga, hailed as the number one social gaming company, reports worth of up to $4.5 billion, with sales of virtual goods expected to exceed $2 billion by the year 2012. They are not alone in realizing the profit behind the social gaming madness, with competitors Electronic Arts and Playdom following them close behind.

But with the sudden boom of social games online and the vast selection of mobile games for those users constantly on the go, what games are really worth playing, and what games could you do without? We here at Fanscape thought we might be able to help you narrow down which of the games are worth playing.

NFL Superstars (Facebook) Free

If you’re as crazy about the NFL as we are here at Fanscape, then this game is the game for you. Madden NFL Superstars, one of the most highly anticipated social networking games to date, allows you to coach your very own team to the winning title.

The game allows users to create your own franchise, draft your own players, build up your stadium and increase your fanbase. Keep your players fit by scheduling practice sessions, and try to get them into the Super Bowl!

Ultimate Fan Game (Facebook) Free

Just launched is another awesome football-related game. Ultimate Fan is a game on Facebook, focused entirely around football fans themselves.

Ultimate Fan isn’t a football simulator or a fantasy league based game. Ultimate Fan allows fans to be fans, letting them root for their favorite team, predict game scores, and allows them to even host a virtual tailgating party with other fans from all over the country.

Plants vs. Zombies (Online/Mac/iPod/iPhone/iPad) $2.99

The love affair with this game started the minute it was downloaded.

The game Plants vs. Zombies follows a simple concept – you must protect your house from an oncoming zombie horde, using plants you plant in the ground as weapons. Each plant has a different ability, and you utilize sunshine you collect to plant more plants. As the levels get harder, you gain more plants, and more difficult situations come your way. Starting off during the day, the sunshine is more abundant, but as the levels progress, you begin to play at night, in the fog, around a pool, and eventually on the roof. Be warned though, this game is highly addictive!

Fruit Ninja (iPhone/iTouch/iPad) $.99

Slashing its way on to our favorites list is a game that will keep you occupied for days. Fruit Ninja, released by developer Halfbrick Studios, is a must have for anyone looking for a fun way to kill some time.

For only .99 cents, Fruit Ninja is a definite bargain. Players of the game slash various tasty looking 3D fruits with their fingers, trying to see how many they can slash to bits without slashing the occasional bomb. Hit multiple fruits in one slice for extra combo points! Be careful though, miss three fruits and that’s game over.

Bonsai Blast (Facebook/iPhone/iTouch/Android) Free on Facebook, $.99 as a mobile app

For those of you looking for a more classic approach to games, take a look at Bonsai Blast. This award winning puzzle game will have you addicted for hours!

The concept of the game is simple, yet takes some skill as the levels progress. Players shoot marbles to match three or more in a row which causes a chain reaction. The game features 90 different levels, the ability to swap between multiple shooters, and many other features.

Wrath (BlackBerry) $2.99

The game Wrath for the BlackBerry takes the player back to the days of retro arcade shooters.

Guide your fighters ship through space using the phone’s built in accelerometer, and take out any enemy’s that come your way. Fly over power-ups to wield more powerful weapons to ultimately take control of space!

Skies of Glory: Battle of Britain (iPhone/Android) $4.99

Although this game’s price tag is slightly higher than most, it’s well worth it. This game started out on the iPhone and became amazingly popular. Just recently, Skies of Glory has been ported over to the Android line of smartphones, and now allows iOS and Droid users to take to the skies and fight one another in real-time – something that is considered a rare feature with mobile gaming.

Must.Eat.Birds (iPhone/iTouch) $.99

Must.Eat.Birds is by far one of the most ridiculous games I’ve ever played on a mobile device. Players take turns launching what the game calls “Nomsters” at greedy birds parachuting down to eat the delicious looking cakes and sweets you’ve laid out for your picnic.

The game includes 9 different stages as well as four different challenge stages, Must.Eat.Bird will keep you entertained and occupied and is well worth the price! Check out an online version of the game here!

Ka-Glom (BlackBerry) Free

A good puzzle game worthy of downloading for your BlackBerry device is called Ka-Glom. Originally developed for BlackBerry back in 2006, Ka-Glom has remained one of the more popular games to date.

Ka-Glom is played much like Tetris. If you group four of the shapes of on color together, they are destroyed and you are awarded points.

FarmVille (Facebook/iPhone) Free

When talking about online social gaming, perhaps no game has or will ever achieve the amount of social gaming success that Zynga’s FarmVille has gotten in just one single year. Zynga is leader in online social game creation, having created of many similar titles such as PetVille, FrontierVille, YoVille, and FishVille. After is release in June of 2009, the FarmVille fan page boasts a whopping 24 million fans, and reports over 60 million active users.

The principles of the game are simple; run a farm, plant and grow crops, sell the crops, and make money to buy more farming stuff. The game, which originally started out online only but recently released an application for the iPhone, is Zynga’s most successful game to date. Seamlessly integrating into the player’s Facebook data streams, it allows users to swap, trade items, and even help each other out.

MafiaWars (Facebook/Online/iPhone) Free

Another really popular game from Zynga is Mafia Wars.Players in this social game take to the mean streets of New York City, Cuba, Moscow, Bangkok, Paris, London, South Africa, Mumbai, and more recently Las Vegas, to battle it out – Mafia style!

A highly addictive game that is seamlessly integrated with your facebook interface, players battle for control of cities by doing jobs, earning money, gaining respect, and ultimately building a large Mafia Empire.

These are some of our current faves. Feel free to share yours.

Zynga and the success of social gaming

Written by: Digitally Approved
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With Zynga growing in popularity and VC’s lining up to help fund this social gaming giant, Fanscape CEO, Larry Weintraub spoke with Internet Evolution about the company’s success and the future of social gaming.

An excerpt:

First, a fast recap of what Zynga sells, which are multi-player games such as MafiaWars, primarily on Facebook. Lately, Facebook has expressed some annoyance with Zynga’s games. They definitely aren’t core to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the platform.

Further, Facebook has muscled in on Zynga’s revenues by insisting Zynga players spend Facebook credits on such necessities as virtual cows (for FarmVille) or virtual bullets (for MafiaWars). In the process, Facebook has demanded 30 percent of Zynga’s action on such purchases. Ouch.

So why the VC love — at the very moment when the primary distribution vehicle is showing powerful signs of annoyance?

Click HERE to read the full story.

Gaming Goes Social and Social Goes Gaming

Written by: Digitally Approved
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E3, the world’s largest video game conference is upon us. We are very excited to be attending and it prompted us to take a look at the way the gaming world has progressed in the social media space.

Numerous game publishers, console manufacturers, and retailers, such as GameStop are taking to social media to further engage their avid fans. Since last year, Facebook has become the primary destination for social gamers, and a videogame, Modern Warfare 2, became the biggest entertainment launch in history, thanks in part to social media and an increasingly engaged consumer.  And as we move into the second half of 2010, we are seeing more opportunities to continue the conversation.

Facebook, MySpace and other social sites have opened their platforms to publishers like Zynga (e.g. Farmville, Mafia Wars and the most recent FrontierVille), Playfish (e.g. Hotel City and Pet Society) and Playdom (e.g Social City and Sorority Life), allowing for games to be built that leverage the networks’ existing user bases. In less than a year’s time, those three publishers alone have amassed more than 300 million monthly active users. Even with Facebook’s recent changes in notifications and requests that eliminated a significant amount of the free advertising these apps have enjoyed, social gaming applications are still a force to be reckoned with.

Console gaming has incorporated social network integration at a slightly slower pace, but is making strides. As mentioned in our September 2009 article about the socialization of gaming, nearly all handhelds and consoles introduced since 2003 include a social element. It was only recently that Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 integrated with Facebook and as of right now the experiences are focused mostly on publishing virtual accomplishments and purchases. Most games with an online component do, however, include a built-in chat room or forum to connect players of the same title. Few games have attempted to make a true tie-in to social media; Sony’s LittleBigPlanet 2 aims to be an exception.

Dubbing itself the “platform for games” (rather than a “platform game”), Sony’s LittleBigPlanet 2 lets users create levels and other game content that can be shared directly with friends via Flickr and YouTube. This allows players to tag, rate and try out user generated content, all while enjoying the benefits of viral sharing, crowdsourcing and mass content organization. This integration also makes it much easier for users to share content via their other social profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter, to promote their creations and elicit feedback. The users of the first iteration of LittleBigPlanet created more than 2 million custom levels, further adding to the great promise of social integration into the next version.

At the moment, third-party gaming sites like Playfire.com offer the best solution for gamers who seek a social network that is platform agnostic. At Playfire, users can import data from their existing gaming profiles to connect with each other and schedule online games, meet similar gamers, build a group website, quiz each other and discuss tactics. It can be expected that such features will be built into console titles in the near future, but for now, external solutions will have to suffice.

With the impending release of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 (formerly Project Natal) and Sony’s PS3 Move motion technologies, both companies are making its hardware more personal and interactive. Other hot trends such as 3DTV will also have a profound effect on the way games are designed and played, but don’t expect to see social media be a key feature for right away.

Taking a step away from the platform and games themselves; retailers are taking to social media to build excitement around title releases. GameStop, the country’s biggest gaming retailer, has been keeping its followers up to date on the latest deals and promotions via Twitter and recently launched its Facebook page with announcements, title information, and community discussions. Publishers are also taking to the medium to further connect with its fans and to build awareness surrounding titles and developments. EA, Rockstar Games, Square Enix and many, many more have jumped into social media to connect with their core fans and to further brand its products – indicating that it is only a matter of time before social is fully integrated into the gaming experience.

With a community that welcomes the interaction, gamers and social media are a natural fit. As game developers, console manufacturers and retailers move toward a more social experience, the time for meaningful engagement is here and we can’t wait for what’s next.