Welcome to the Engage Digital Wrap-Up for the week of November 13, 2010. The Wrap-Up is where Engage Digital spotlights stories that we didn’t get to cover individually, but still make for interesting reading about the business of user engagement.
- Atari’s First-Half Sales Drop 60%: Cryptic Studios’s Champions Online and Star Trek Online MMOs posted revenue of $17.7 million, up from $2.5 million year-over-year, during an otherwise bleak report for Atari’s first six months of the year. In response, Atari plans to shift more resources into the online games market.
- Bigpoint ‘Not For Sale’: Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz says that his company draws constant interest from prospective buyers, but that he has no intent to sell. Hubertz also says that Bigpoint, Gameforge, Jagex, Playfish, and Unity combined wouldn’t equal Zynga’s current valuation.
- Dear Foursquare, Gowalla: Please Let’s Stop Pretending This Is Fun: In light of 4% of Americans using location-based services, down from 5% year-over-year, author Jon Evans argues that location-based services Foursquare and Gowalla need to be less game-like and more practical. Evans argues the location-based services should offer users tangible benefits like discounts instead of virtual goods.
- DeNA’s CEO Sees Facebook, Zynga As Potential Partners: DeNA CEO Tomoko Namba says that her company might be interested in partnering with Facebook to build up customer base or partnering with Zynga as a platform developer. DeNA plans to grow its global userbase to 200 million in the next four years and expects to do $4.9 billion in annual sales by 2015.
- Exclusive: Boku To Be Added As Option To Facebook Credits, Setting Up Face-Off With Rival Zong: Facebook is rumored to be A/B testing Zong and its rival Boku as mobile pay options for Facebook Credits. Previously, Zong was the exclusive mobile pay option available for Facebook Credits. Facebook may intend to eventually support both services.
- MiniTycoon Casino Hits The Number One Slot In Social Games On The iPhone: SGN’s latest social game for iPhone has become the top social game in the App Store during less than a week of release. SGN expects to generate $1 million per month in revenue from it.
- MMA Pro Fighter Goes Mobile: Digital Chocolate’s Facebook social game MMA Pro Fighter is now available for iPhone and iPod Touch. The iOS version of the game is fully integrated with the Facebook version.
- Qualcomm Adds Augmented Reality To Android Game Package: Qualcomm has announced immediate availability of its augmented reality beta software tool for the Android version of the Unity 3D graphics engine.
- Realtime Worlds’ Final Game ‘Bought By K2’: K2 Networks (parent of the GamersFirst freemium MMO portal) has purchased the Realtime Worlds MMO All Points Bulletin for a reported £1.5 million ($2.4 million). Realtime Worlds spent over $100 million to develop APB.
- Russia Takes An Augmented Look At The New Audi A1: Layar users in a “handful” of major Russian cities can use Layar’s augmented reality apps to view virtual Audi A1s placed in “natural environments.”
- Unity Announces New Business Model; Union: Unity is now offering to port client developers’ games to as many other platforms as are appropriate in return for a 20% cut of revenue generated by the ports. Brett Seyler will head up Unity’s Union division.
- Viximo Opens San Francisco Office, Hires Game Industry Vet Sutton Trout: Cambridge-based social games distributor Viximo is opening a branch office in San Francisco and adding games industry veteran Sutton Trout as its new head of sales and business development.
- Virtual Property Sale Record Broken: A $335,000 virtual property sale in Entropia Universe has broken the previous record for largest-ever virtual goods transaction. User Jon ‘Neverdie’ Jacobs sold a mall, a club, a stadium, and a number of bio-domes to user John Foma Kalun for a total price of $335,000. The previous record was held by user Buzz Eric Lightyear, who spent $330,000 to obtain the Crystal Palace virtual space station.
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