Posts Tagged ‘Social network game’

Top 5 Reasons Not to Upgrade Gaming Laptop Computers

Saturday, April 21st, 2012
PC Gaming MachinesNearly any PC can now be a gaming computer.

When you think gaming computers, the typical image that springs to mind (besides a giant question mark, if you’re not a video games enthusiast) are pricey systems from the likes of HP and Alienware. But while desktops and laptops offering superior 3D computing performance were the norm yesterday, consider. Thanks to the emergence of new video game genres and trends, even older PCs can now provide a satisfying electronic entertainment experience.

From massively multiplayer online (MMO) virtual worlds that exist and evolve 24/7 online, and let thousands of players interact in real-time, to social games designed for play on Facebook, options are suddenly endless. Case in point: Literally thousands of games can be downloaded from, or played free within, your Web browser. Likewise, streaming “cloud” solutions such as OnLive and Gaikai (which process games on cutting-edge, remotely-located servers and beam them down on-demand over the Internet), now let everyday machines run new and premium game experiences.

The next time that your teenager tells you they need a gaming computer, consider pointing out the following trends – most of which your average, reasonably-priced system can run without major upgrades. While doing so may earn you a nasty look, you may wind up saving thousands in the end.

Free to Play Games – Literally tens of thousands of simple and free downloadable video games – some even starting to approach retail quality – can be had at websites like Shockwave, Kongregate, and NinjaKiwi.com. While most are lightweight, coffee-break style experiences, many are beginning to feature added depth and 3D complexity, and are designed around affordable, low-end hardware requirements. Collectively, all have turned the Internet into the ultimate arcade.

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Social Games – With more than 850 million people actively using Facebook, a new breed of “social games” that piggyback on it and similar sites’ infrastructure has rapidly gained in popularity. Packed with free, user-friendly titles meant for play in short spurts and designed to run in your Web browser, popular networks now offer titles in nearly every imaginable genre. From FarmVille (simulation) to Bubble Witch Saga (arcade action) and Empires & Allies (strategy), these outing are designed for mass appeal – and hence to run on nearly any PC.

Indie Games – Most retail games are sprawling affairs made by large corporations. By contrast, indepdent (indie) games are often made by small groups or lone individuals. Many such as Braid and Minecraft eschew fancy graphics, eye-popping special effects and other CPU-hogging clutter for more practical benefits like novel themes, catchy storytelling and unique gameplay concepts. Frequently among the most innovative and boundary-pushing titles available, they’re also among the least punishing on system resources.

Digital Downloads and DLC – Courtesy of online retailers like Steam, GamersGate and GameStop PC Downloads, entire games and reams of downloadable content (DLC) add-ons (i.e. new missions, maps and characters) can be download right to your desktop. While some are simply copies of boxed retail cousins, many more like Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 are original, download-only options. Not only are many choices provided here value-priced and more affordable. They also typically offer highly-polished experiences (albeit in smaller chunks) in a format that – because of bite-sized price points and corresponding fan expectations – delivers hours of fun that even budget-priced gaming computers can enjoy.

Cloud Computing – Cloud computing – and cloud gaming – are growing in popularity as well. Using this practice, software developers don’t store files and software on your home machine, but rather offload intensive computing and graphics processing functions remotely, then beam results back to your PC  or Tablet PC Android via high-speed broadband connection. Courtesy of providers like Gaikai and OnLive, cloud gaming technology allows even value-priced and older systems to provide high-end gaming performance. That way, you can play many of today’s top titles without having to worry about hiccups, stutters or programs refusing to run because of hardware limitations.

See also

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Top 4 Ways Social Gaming Has Changed

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The evolution of social gaming has begun.

But are the changes what we expected? Ingo Hinterding, the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Crowdpark, recently weighed in on the matter.

First and foremost, he spoke about the influx of challengers to the Zynga throne. “New competitors have arisen with a specific focus that challenge big American social gaming companies like Zynga and Playfish in specific regions like Peak Games for the Middle East and Wooga for Western Europe,” said Hinterding. “Casino games have become a hot growth category, and are thus a logical addition to Crowdpark’s games portfolio.”

Second, Hinterding believes that Facebook Credits (which were launched last year) “have allowed social games developers to monetize well.”

“Also, gambling companies are now allowed to advertise on Facebook in jurisdictions in which online gambling is legal,” he said.

Third, Hinterding believes that “social gaming has matured and it has become more difficult to enter the market and develop great games that find instant success.”

Finally, Hinterding said that he feels that Facebook is now focusing on quality – not quantity – “in the discovery features on their Facebook ecosystem.”

“There were growing pains for a while from a developer’s point of view, because it was hard to adapt to changes in virality possibilities,” said Hinterding. “However, developers are now adapting to the new system.”

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The Big Gamble

As a company that develops legal betting games that are just for fun (not for profit), Crowdpark’s strategy is much different from the one that Zynga is expected to take. But if the rules for online gambling were to change, I wondered if Crowdpark would make some adjustments as well.

“Social games are strong standalone businesses, and our DNA is in social games,” Hinterding explained. “We first and foremost create well-designed games that allow players to have fun with their friends, to enjoy a feeling of progress and achievement, and to show off their success on social platforms. We are an entertainment company, and do not currently plan to become a real money gaming company.”

Hinterding said that “real money betting” requires gambling industry expertise. “Double Down Interactive has indicated that they are considering doing real money gambling on Facebook,” he said. “Their new partnership with IGT makes this a logical exploration for them. Without specific gambling expertise, we do not plan on developing real money social games. We are, however, exploring potential partnerships with gambling operators to develop or license social games.”

Crowdpark is also “closely monitoring changing regulation and strategic opportunities for gambling operators and ourselves, like Facebook`s expected move to allow gambling in the UK.”

“It is important to note that regardless of changes in online gambling regulation, many gambling operators consider the development of virtual payout social games to be strategic,” said Hinterding.

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Is It Enough to be Fun?

Finally, I asked Hinterding what would become of social betting games if online gambling (with real money) began to rise up in America.

“Virtual payout and real money social games are complementary products,” Hinterding clarified. “Social betting games are primarily about the fun of betting with or against your friends in an environment of friendly competition. A real money offer is always about the thrill of winning or losing money. These two focuses are not mutually exclusive, so it is possible to marry the two concepts.”

Further, Hinterding believes that social games and online gambling can accelerate each other’s growth. “However, both types of games require different play incentives,” he said. “Gamblers play for the chance to win big. Social gamers play to show off achievement and to experience progress, as well as to enjoy a social gaming experience.”

Further, Hinterding said that “virtual payout social casino and betting products have been bringing in high revenues in many geographies, some of which allow real money online gaming (for example, the Italian Electronics Online Shop).”

“There is space in the market for virtual payout and real money social games to coexist,” Hinterding continued. “Gambling operators currently do offer free-to-play versions of their Nintendo R4i 3DS games with no payout, but most of these existing games are not social games. Gambling operators are beginning to see the strategic value in developing free-to-play, virtual payout social games, and are looking to social games developers for expertise.”

Additionally, Hinterding said that gambling operators are interested in using social games to educate users about their brands and games, “and to use the reach of social networks for providing additional liquidity for their operations.”

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