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Archive

Posts Tagged ‘social-gaming’

Zynga pushes for real-money casino gaming with buy of Spooky Cool Labs

June 19th, 2013 No comments

spooky-cool-zynga-big-win

Social gaming business Zynga has purchased Spooky Cool Labs in a major push for more real-money casino gaming that could help it generate more revenue.

Zynga has been struggling for a long while and recently laid off 520 employees so it could focus more on mobile and real-money games. It also closed its New York, Dallas and Los Angeles offices at the same time.

But even while it trims staff, Zynga clearly sees the value of bringing in experienced real-money gaming veterans who could help it make more cash. So here comes Spooky Cool, whose founder is Joe Kaminkow. He’s an influential slot machine designer and a former VP at IGT, the “world’s largest casino game manufacturer.”

“We have a legacy in social casino franchises with Zynga Poker, and we believe that free-to-play social casino games for the web and on mobile have the potential to reach and connect a much broader audience,” Zynga chief revenue officer Barry Cottle said in a blog post today. “Spooky Cool Labs is the right team to help us bring the feeling of being on a casino floor and the thrill of hitting a big jackpot right to players wherever they play.”

While Spooky Cool Labs has casino talent, it’s most recent hit is a Wizard of Oz social game on Facebook, which had more than a million registered players back in March. Zynga no doubt will enjoy having the that title in its roster too.

Spooky Cool Labs and its employees will remain based in Chicago. Kaminkow will also continue to lead game design at Aristocrat Leisure, a major Australian slots manufacturer.


Filed under: Games

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Zynga’s website removes Facebook login requirement

March 21st, 2013 No comments
Zynga's website no longer requires a Facebook login
Zynga has redesigned its website, no longer requiring gamers to log into the site using the Facebook credentials.

Once upon a time, Facebook and Zynga were the best of pals, with Zynga's titles driving engagement on the big blue social network and Facebook providing a steady stream of new users to play Zynga's offerings. Last year, however, Facebook and Zynga decided to start parting ways, and that's led us to this current situation, where Zynga is pushing its platform beyond the walls of the Facebook system.

Not completely outside, however: Zynga players can still log into Facebook on Zynga.com if they like, and as you can see on the site, the Facebook logo and login box are still prominently displayed. But players are no longer forced to use that process to partake in Zynga's library of games.

JoystiqZynga's website removes Facebook login requirement originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 21 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Zynga’s website removes Facebook login requirement

March 21st, 2013 No comments
Zynga's website no longer requires a Facebook login
Zynga has redesigned its website, no longer requiring gamers to log into the site using the Facebook credentials.

Once upon a time, Facebook and Zynga were the best of pals, with Zynga's titles driving engagement on the big blue social network and Facebook providing a steady stream of new users to play Zynga's offerings. Last year, however, Facebook and Zynga decided to start parting ways, and that's led us to this current situation, where Zynga is pushing its platform beyond the walls of the Facebook system.

Not completely outside, however: Zynga players can still log into Facebook on Zynga.com if they like, and as you can see on the site, the Facebook logo and login box are still prominently displayed. But players are no longer forced to use that process to partake in Zynga's library of games.

JoystiqZynga's website removes Facebook login requirement originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 21 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why you need to boost your customer service game

February 18th, 2013 No comments

LOL League of Legends gameplayAl Rose is the VP of retail and Internet properties at Telus International

Product development and player support have not always gone hand in hand. In fact, exceptional customer service from a gaming company might be surprising. Considering that the online gaming economy relies heavily on attracting and retaining players, and then moving them to recurring monthly or micropayments, the lack of good customer support is even more surprising. A growing player base requires happy players. Recurring payments requires recurring customers. Customer service should be a given.

On the flip side, the digital entertainment industry is experiencing massive growth. In times of hyper-growth, companies can only manage a certain pace of expansion. During the startup phase, game development is the main focus – it’s all about the release of the game, the company’s core business and raison d’etre. Player support is often a secondary concern, edged out in favor of the frantic pace of design and launch of new games.

Adding to this, some studios still view players as commodities, not customers, which may in part explain why players have low expectations when it comes to receiving support. This is set to change as many studios realize that providing exceptional customer interactions, alongside popular games, can directly impact the bottom line.

As customer service becomes another battlefield for winning over players, how can developers enhance their own game plan for customer support?

  • Understand your player: Studios need to develop emotional connections with players, particularly millennials, and match gamers with like-minded customer service representatives. You should staff your customer service team with gamers who are continually leveling-up in the game and able to understand the needs of the players they support.
  • Platform-specific service: Customer care needs to suit various types of players. PC game players are often proud of their technical abilities and are more inclined to work with websites or download patches to fix their own problems. In contrast, console game players are convenience-driven and typically prefer having easy access to customer support.

Free-to-play players are used to finding support in community forums or on the developer’s website. This provides a real opportunity for game studios: enhancing the experience of non-paid players will increase their likelihood to recommend the game, potentially moving them to paid player status in the future.

  • Capitalize on player feedback: Sophisticated game studios spend considerable resources analyzing player feedback on their games. Analyzing player feedback via customer support channels and funnelling it back to development teams ensures that games reflect the latest player demands. The result is increased player value, playtime, satisfaction, retention and ultimately their likelihood to recommend the game to friends.
  • Real-time, multichannel support: Many in the gaming community rely on peer-to-peer player support, but there is a real advantage to offering good customer service directly. Providing 24/7 multi-channel support via voice, email, online and social networks enables your players to interact with you whenever and however they want.
  • Social media: Social media is becoming a key outlet for players to battle other players. A social media presence also allows players to engage with developers in real time, in their preferred communication channel. For smaller game studios, it’s an effective way to reach a targeted and relevant audience to and increase their player base.
  • Team up: Studios who don’t have the customer service expertise in-house should consider partnering with a contact center provider that does. The company then can focus on their core business, while their partner takes care of the player support infrastructure and delivery. These same providers can also scale up or down their personnel to suit the development and growth of the game.

Maximize player lifetime value

Game studios have a massive opportunity right now. Game players, particularly in the free-to-play sector, may not expect the best customer experience. As the industry becomes increasingly fragmented and competitive, smart game studios can extend their game lifecycle and improve the value of their brand by providing better customer service. A good player support strategy can be a game-changer – where fostering a culture of care will improve the player experience, resulting in player retention and ultimately, player recommendations.

Al RoseAl Rose is the VP retail and Internet properties at Telus International – a provider of customer care support solutions to global clients including social media and MMO gaming companies.  He serves as an advisory board member to several independent software providers providing social media, MMO gaming, and digital entertainment products. You can reach Rose at al.rose@telus.com.


Filed under: Games, VentureBeat


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Why you need to boost your customer service game

February 18th, 2013 No comments

LOL League of Legends gameplayAl Rose is the VP of retail and Internet properties at Telus International

Product development and player support have not always gone hand in hand. In fact, exceptional customer service from a gaming company might be surprising. Considering that the online gaming economy relies heavily on attracting and retaining players, and then moving them to recurring monthly or micropayments, the lack of good customer support is even more surprising. A growing player base requires happy players. Recurring payments requires recurring customers. Customer service should be a given.

On the flip side, the digital entertainment industry is experiencing massive growth. In times of hyper-growth, companies can only manage a certain pace of expansion. During the startup phase, game development is the main focus – it’s all about the release of the game, the company’s core business and raison d’etre. Player support is often a secondary concern, edged out in favor of the frantic pace of design and launch of new games.

Adding to this, some studios still view players as commodities, not customers, which may in part explain why players have low expectations when it comes to receiving support. This is set to change as many studios realize that providing exceptional customer interactions, alongside popular games, can directly impact the bottom line.

As customer service becomes another battlefield for winning over players, how can developers enhance their own game plan for customer support?

  • Understand your player: Studios need to develop emotional connections with players, particularly millennials, and match gamers with like-minded customer service representatives. You should staff your customer service team with gamers who are continually leveling-up in the game and able to understand the needs of the players they support.
  • Platform-specific service: Customer care needs to suit various types of players. PC game players are often proud of their technical abilities and are more inclined to work with websites or download patches to fix their own problems. In contrast, console game players are convenience-driven and typically prefer having easy access to customer support.

Free-to-play players are used to finding support in community forums or on the developer’s website. This provides a real opportunity for game studios: enhancing the experience of non-paid players will increase their likelihood to recommend the game, potentially moving them to paid player status in the future.

  • Capitalize on player feedback: Sophisticated game studios spend considerable resources analyzing player feedback on their games. Analyzing player feedback via customer support channels and funnelling it back to development teams ensures that games reflect the latest player demands. The result is increased player value, playtime, satisfaction, retention and ultimately their likelihood to recommend the game to friends.
  • Real-time, multichannel support: Many in the gaming community rely on peer-to-peer player support, but there is a real advantage to offering good customer service directly. Providing 24/7 multi-channel support via voice, email, online and social networks enables your players to interact with you whenever and however they want.
  • Social media: Social media is becoming a key outlet for players to battle other players. A social media presence also allows players to engage with developers in real time, in their preferred communication channel. For smaller game studios, it’s an effective way to reach a targeted and relevant audience to and increase their player base.
  • Team up: Studios who don’t have the customer service expertise in-house should consider partnering with a contact center provider that does. The company then can focus on their core business, while their partner takes care of the player support infrastructure and delivery. These same providers can also scale up or down their personnel to suit the development and growth of the game.

Maximize player lifetime value

Game studios have a massive opportunity right now. Game players, particularly in the free-to-play sector, may not expect the best customer experience. As the industry becomes increasingly fragmented and competitive, smart game studios can extend their game lifecycle and improve the value of their brand by providing better customer service. A good player support strategy can be a game-changer – where fostering a culture of care will improve the player experience, resulting in player retention and ultimately, player recommendations.

Al RoseAl Rose is the VP retail and Internet properties at Telus International – a provider of customer care support solutions to global clients including social media and MMO gaming companies.  He serves as an advisory board member to several independent software providers providing social media, MMO gaming, and digital entertainment products. You can reach Rose at al.rose@telus.com.


Filed under: Games, VentureBeat


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Facebook’s Zuckerberg unimpressed with Zynga’s declining payments

October 23rd, 2012 No comments

mark zuckerberg

Zynga didn’t get much love from Facebook today.

Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that he wasn’t impressed by how little gaming is contributing to the social network’s bottom line, saying overall payments from Zynga had declined 20 percent.

“Gaming on Facebook isn’t doing as well as I’d like,” said Zuckerberg on the company’s earnings call today.

He noted that a number of other social gaming companies such as King.com are picking up speed, while Zynga seems to continue to fall by the wayside.

The company laid off over 100 employees located in Austin, TX and Boston, closing down the Boston office. In total, the layoffs amounted to five percent of Zynga’s overall staff. Mark Pincus told employees in a letter that he is also proposing that the company shut down its U.K. and Japan offices. Zynga’s recently released game The Ville — a play on its own Farmville series — was affected by the downsize.

You can read Pincus’ entire memo here.

As noted by GamesBeat writer Jeff Grubb, Zynga’s monthly active users have also declined, according to Superdata, from 162.4 players down to 147.8.

Games was originally intended to be another business model for Facebook, making the company money through advertising and revenue shares. It has been under-performing, as Zuckerberg noted, but with a number of companies ready to gobble up any of Zynga’s slipping marketshare, it seems social gaming hasn’t completely kicked the bucket.

Mark Zuckerberg image via Andrew Feinberg/Flickr


Filed under: Games, Social



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Facebook’s Zuckerberg unimpressed with Zynga’s declining payments

October 23rd, 2012 No comments

mark zuckerberg

Zynga didn’t get much love from Facebook today.

Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that he wasn’t impressed by how little gaming is contributing to the social network’s bottom line, saying overall payments from Zynga had declined 20 percent.

“Gaming on Facebook isn’t doing as well as I’d like,” said Zuckerberg on the company’s earnings call today.

He noted that a number of other social gaming companies such as King.com are picking up speed, while Zynga seems to continue to fall by the wayside.

The company laid off over 100 employees located in Austin, TX and Boston, closing down the Boston office. In total, the layoffs amounted to five percent of Zynga’s overall staff. Mark Pincus told employees in a letter that he is also proposing that the company shut down its U.K. and Japan offices. Zynga’s recently released game The Ville — a play on its own Farmville series — was affected by the downsize.

You can read Pincus’ entire memo here.

As noted by GamesBeat writer Jeff Grubb, Zynga’s monthly active users have also declined, according to Superdata, from 162.4 players down to 147.8.

Games was originally intended to be another business model for Facebook, making the company money through advertising and revenue shares. It has been under-performing, as Zuckerberg noted, but with a number of companies ready to gobble up any of Zynga’s slipping marketshare, it seems social gaming hasn’t completely kicked the bucket.

Mark Zuckerberg image via Andrew Feinberg/Flickr


Filed under: Games, Social



Tags: , ,

Facebook’s Zuckerberg unimpressed with Zynga’s declining payments

October 23rd, 2012 No comments

mark zuckerberg

Zynga didn’t get much love from Facebook today.

Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that he wasn’t impressed by how little gaming is contributing to the social network’s bottom line, saying overall payments from Zynga had declined 20 percent.

“Gaming on Facebook isn’t doing as well as I’d like,” said Zuckerberg on the company’s earnings call today.

He noted that a number of other social gaming companies such as King.com are picking up speed, while Zynga seems to continue to fall by the wayside.

The company laid off over 100 employees located in Austin, TX and Boston, closing down the Boston office. In total, the layoffs amounted to five percent of Zynga’s overall staff. Mark Pincus told employees in a letter that he is also proposing that the company shut down its U.K. and Japan offices. Zynga’s recently released game The Ville — a play on its own Farmville series — was affected by the downsize.

You can read Pincus’ entire memo here.

As noted by GamesBeat writer Jeff Grubb, Zynga’s monthly active users have also declined, according to Superdata, from 162.4 players down to 147.8.

Games was originally intended to be another business model for Facebook, making the company money through advertising and revenue shares. It has been under-performing, as Zuckerberg noted, but with a number of companies ready to gobble up any of Zynga’s slipping marketshare, it seems social gaming hasn’t completely kicked the bucket.

Mark Zuckerberg image via Andrew Feinberg/Flickr


Filed under: Games, Social



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EA’s Riccitiello on social games: ‘Consumers won’t pay for crap’

October 20th, 2012 No comments
The decline of social games has been "overhyped," Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said at Friday's App Conference in San Jose, California, AllThingsD reported. "Companies that are now suffering will have another day," Riccitiello said.

The CEO noted that viral marketing-style messages in social games that spam friends lists with requests don't make for "great gaming," and that "consumers won't pay for crap." Riccitiello had similar comments in May, when he said that "consumers want to be entertained, they don't want to be data managed."

JoystiqEA's Riccitiello on social games: 'Consumers won't pay for crap' originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 20 Oct 2012 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Zynga cloud guru Allan Leinwand departs for ServiceNow

September 10th, 2012 No comments

Allan-Leinwand

Allan Leinwand, the CTO of infrastructure and lead force behind Zynga’s hybrid cloud efforts, has left the struggling games company to become the CTO of ServiceNow, according to his LinkedIn profile.

As the architect of Zynga’s “zCloud,” Leinwand used a combination of public and private clouds to better scale Zynga’s many social games. We were impressed with his talk at last year’s CloudBeat conference and we featured a guest post by Leinwand last December that described the challenges and successes of the hybrid cloud approach. By February, the company had shifted 80 percent of its game traffic to its private cloud.

But even with his successes, Leinwand had good reason to leave. Zynga has had a hard time as of late, with its quarterly reports disappointing and its executives fleeing for pastures far from FarmVille. The company has been accused of insider trading, and Zynga’s stock is sitting at $2.82 a share today.

Before Zynga, Leinwand helped found Vyatta, a leader in software-based networking. He also spent several years with Digital Island and Cisco.

Zynga chief marketing officer Jeff Karp also announced that he is leaving the company today.

CloudBeat 2012CloudBeat 2012 is assembling the biggest names in the cloud’s evolving story to learn about real cases of revolutionary cloud adoption. Unlike other cloud events, customers — the users of cloud technologies — will be front and center. Their discussions with vendors and other experts will give you rare insights into what really works, who’s buying what, and where the industry is going. Register now and save 25 percent! The early-bird discount ends September 14.

Allan Leinwand photo: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat


Filed under: cloud, games



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