Articles of Interest

Zynga has raised an additional $180m in funding from Digital Sky Technologies (DST), the same group that put $200m in Facebook.

Ubisoft is developing almost double the games for Natal as for Sony’s motion wand — 10 vs. 4 to 5. Interesting vote of confidence in Natal, or just a vote of confidence in the Xbox, in general?

Some interesting observations about things that annoy consumers in microtransaction-supported games, and possible solutions. One example: “I find it kind of annoying that when you rent items it is in real time, not in-game. So if you rent an item for a week and then only play twice a week then you only have the item for four or eight hours.” Solution: a durability system could give the player a sense of controlling his investment, since the inevitable deterioration of the item is the player’s responsibility rather than an arbitrary game rule.

According to a recent study of the US gaming market, mobile phones account for 3% of total games spending, traditional PC games account for 20%, consoles for 57%, MMOs for 9%, and game portals for 11%. European consumers, on average, spend less on portals & MMOs and more on traditional PC gaming.

November console game sales: 37% of sales were for the Xbox 360, 29% for the Wii and 19% for the PS3. Xbox is up from just 28% in 2008. All of that growth can apparently be credited to Call of Duty.

As expected, many Facebook users are initially responding with wariness or outright hostility to developer requests for their email address. (For those that haven’t heard: Facebook applications will no longer be able to send notifications to users, per a recent change in the platform’s policy.) This was well-put: “Much like any other web app developer, Facebook app developers are going to have to really engage and earn the trust of their users in order to get a significant number of user emails.”

There’s more to life than games:

Henry Mintzberg on executive bonuses: “The problem isn’t that they are poorly designed. The problem is that they exist.” Amen!

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