August 7, 2010 |
Google Inc. made another play for the social networking space Friday with its acquisition of Slide Inc., which makes games, applications and widgets for websites such as Facebook and MySpace. The San Francisco developer makes free apps that Facebook users can install on their profiles in order to play simple games with friends or to arrange photo slide shows. Slide's SuperPoke application and its animal-centric variations, for example, are a family of popular social games with which players can virtually hug friends or raise a pet pig. A feature similar to Slide's Top Friends was eventually implemented by Facebook into every profile, allowing users to rank online buddies.
November 4, 2011 |
All it took was a single click on a friend's Facebook post. With it, Lana Sumpter — a Tennessee university professor — began a three-year habit that has consumed many late night hours and cost many thousands of dollars. The game was Mafia Wars, created in 2008 by up-and-coming developer Zynga Inc., now the largest player in the $1 billion-a-year social games genre. Its CityVille and FarmVille draw more than 148 million players every month to their Facebook sites. Like Sumpter, many of them come day after day, using credit cards or gift cards to "to "play, pay and share" the game, said Nicole Lazzaro, founder of XEODesign and a consultant on the role of emotion in games.
August 4, 2011 |
Every day, before his morning coffee, Frank Nunes takes stock of his domain. The 39-year-old makes sure his walls are secure, his allies are freshly supplied with troops and his fields well tended. Only then can Nunes begin his real-life workday as a furniture installer in Hayward, Calif. Nunes' day job is tame compared with life in Kingdoms of Camelot, a social game on Facebook developed by Kabam Inc., where a lot can happen overnight. In a matter of minutes, a player's realm can be leveled, its crops looted and soldiers killed.
October 12, 2011 |
Online gaming juggernaut Zynga Inc. has unveiled a slew of products aimed at diversifying its business beyond Facebook and reassuring potential investors of its growth prospects in the burgeoning social games market. In its first major announcement since filing for an initial public offering in July, the developer of FarmVille and Mafia Wars said Tuesday that it plans to launch a site separate from Facebook in which players can congregate and play its games. The San Francisco company also announced four new titles with flashier graphics and more sophisticated features, some of which can be played on smartphones and tablets.
December 17, 2011 |
After a promising start, Zynga Inc.'s shares dropped below its $10 offering price the day it debuted on Nasdaq, closing at $9.50, as investors show signs of weariness over companies with major social networking components. Zynga's two dozen online games -- including Words With Friends, CityVille and Mafia Wars -- draw more than 150 million players every month on Facebook, mobile phones and other social networks. Its meteoric rise has caught the attention of many prominent investors, including Bing Gordon, a partner with Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. "In four years, Zynga has grown from nothing into a company that now has 2,000 employees and produces exceptional work," Katzenberg said.
May 31, 2011 |
In a quiet outpost near Marina del Rey, Zynga Inc. has been building an empire. Its troops, a few dozen game developers and designers with a penchant for bringing their dogs to work, have been stealthily working on the San Francisco company's next big title, Empires & Allies. With the nearly 4-year-old firm poised to file an initial public offering of its shares within days — Zynga on Tuesday launched the game, an online version of a toy soldier set, arguably its most ambitious.