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Single and multiplayer modes. The first million people who bought VCRs bought them before there were any movies available to watch on them.

Single and multiplayer modes

They just wanted to “time shift” TV shows – what we use DVRs for today. Once there were millions of VCR owners it became worthwhile for Hollywood to start selling and renting movies to watch on them. Eventually watching rented movies became the dominant use of VCRs, and time shifting a relatively niche use. Thus, a product that eventually had very strong network effects* got its initial traction from a “standalone use” – where no other VCR owners or complementary products needed to exist.

I was talking to my friend Zach Klein recently who referred to products as having single player and multiplayer modes. Many products that we think of as strictly multiplayer also have single player modes. . * Products with so-called networks effects get more valuable when more people use them. Need Game Mechanics? I'm a fairly competitive person.

Need Game Mechanics?

I like to win. And thanks to many hours spent in front of the screen, I find myself pretty motivated when I see an opportunity to "level up. " But that being said, I still question the rush lately to add "game mechanics" to every new product and experience. As we've written before, the arguments for doing so are compelling. Game mechanics can be fun and rewarding. But does the addition of levels, leader-boards, and virtual trophies necessarily lead to a better user experience? In a recent blog post titled, "Why You Should NOT Integrate Game Mechanics Into Your Service," Gaurav Mishra, CEO of 2020Social points to the ways in which the pressure to add points and badges can obscure some of the other important considerations when developing an application or service. You don't want any game mechanics you implement to distract your users away from your core service. Have good core content. What do you think?

CityVille Explained. [In the first of a two-part series, design veteran Tadhg Kelly draws from his What Games Are blog to explain the rise to power of Zynga's massively successful social game CityVille.

CityVille Explained

(UPDATE: Part 2 now posted.)] Check out the latest Appdata graph for Zynga's Cityville - that's right, it now has nearly 70 million monthly active users, and the Facebook game only launched in early December. I know what many of you are thinking: How does Zynga keep doing this? At the Getting Social event at BAFTA (In London) a few days ago, this was the question that everyone was asking. While TV companies in the UK have dipped their toes into social games, such as Corrie Nation, they have had pretty miserable success rates. And yet here comes CityVille, another Zynga game that looks quite a lot like other developers' games, they waltz in, do their thing, and boom! It's not just Zynga. I decided to write an article about how games like CityVille manage to be successful. Smart Gamification. The perfect viral social app.

The Presentation That Inspired Google+ Quarterly Earnings for Gaming Companies. We’ve created a little cheat sheet for industry observers summarizing smartphone earnings and growth for the second quarter (or first quarter, depending on the company’s fiscal calendar).

Quarterly Earnings for Gaming Companies

We also put in privately-held freemium gaming companies for which you can guesstimate earnings based on top-grossing titles. Given how publicly-traded companies are performing with both freemium and paid app monetization on a quarterly basis, we’re looking at a few privately-held companies that will probably comfortably cross $50 million in annual revenue this year. Also keep in mind that everyone’s market capitalization is down significantly because of the global stock market rout.

Update: We revised market caps on today’s rebound, although Asian and European equities have yet to follow on the U.S. market’s gains. We did not include GREE and DeNA because both are large platform plays and so it would be hard to discern how well their own original IP is doing.