Thursday, July 14, 2011

Video Games: traditional publishers attracted by social networks

Video games on social networks are attracting more and more 'traditional' publishers. The world number two industry, the American Electronic Arts (EA), has acquired the game publisher PopCap. EA will pay approximately $ 650 million in cash and $ 100 million in securities for the designer of puzzle game Bejeweled or Zuma and the strategy of plants against Zombies.

EA may pay an additional $ 550 million if certain goals PopCap reached within two years. "The formidable talents of PopCap's studio (...) will allow us to achieve a faster turnover of $ 1 billion in digital," said the CEO of Electronic Arts, John Riccitiello , said in a statement. With PopCap, Electronic Arts gets a hold of a company of about 400 employees, founded in 2000 and headquartered in Seattle, recording a turnover of more than $ 100 million in 2010 against 20 million in 2005.

In addition to its rapid growth, PopCap has also been able to build a multi-platform. The games group, first available on PC, are also present on mobile devices and social networks. With versions tailored to the social networks of Bejeweled and Zuma, PopCap brings together more than 17 million players per month, depending on the specialized site AppData.

Electronic Arts is already well positioned in this sector, since the purchase of the company Playfish in 2009 to $ 400 million. The group also adapted its popular licenses, such as Sims, to attract new players. Games on social networks are experiencing a rapid explosion, as illustrated by the phenomenon Zynga.

Publisher title FarmVille successful, the specialist games on social networks will soon go public on the basis of a valuation of 15 to 20 billion. Capitalization is more than twice that of Electronic Arts for a turnover of less than four times. More complex mechanical Electronic Arts is not the only editor "traditional" to vouloirinvestir in social networks.

2K Games on Facebook now offers a variation of the famous license "Civilization", the episodes on the PC have already sold over 10 million copies. Developed by Firaxis Games and the designer Sid Meier, Civilization World intends to adapt the mechanics that made the success of this strategy game, such as changes in technology or diplomacy, adding a collaborative dimension.

This did not prevent such, still in beta, to know some difficulty connecting to the game But with nearly 280 million monthly active users, according to App Data, Zynga is still by far the largest publisher of gaming applications on Facebook. Especially with Empire and Allies, the leader of "social play" game mechanics introduced more complex than those that have ensured the success of Farmville or CityVille.

In the area of social networks, traditional publishers must also deal with start-ups, who opt for game mechanics developed. Kabam example, founded in 2006, which aims to be the equivalent of "Blizzard (creator of the blockbuster World of Wacraft) in social networks." And other young companies, such as I Got Games Inc.

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