Social Gaming Roundup: Nexon, Data Mining, Ubisoft, and More

Nexon Adds Offer-Based Advertising – While most free-to-play, social MMOs make most of their revenue off the direct sale of virtual items and currency, Nexon will also be adding offer-based advertising as an alternative method of earning currency for the company’s popular titles, such as MapleStory. In order to incorporate this new feature, Nexon America will be turning to monetization firm Peanut Labs.

Embee Mobile, Sparkplay Media, and CyberSports will also be adding offers to their games, according to the company.

Data Mining Social Games – Turiya Media is a new startup trying to data-mine games to figure out which players are buying the most virtual goods, and why.

Essentially, the company uses techniques similar to those employed when detecting online fraud in order to to figure out and predict what players will do based on things they have done in past games and their style of play. It then categorizes users into up to 15 different groups such as collectors, explorers, social gamers, and so on.

Like some other analytics services, it is also able to deduce the potential “lifetime” value of a user. This information can add a level of finesse to how social games utilize pop-up offers for buying virtual currency or goods (i.e. a player who is likely to play only once or twice is unlikely to buy anything unless offered). Turiya is also able to make specific recommendations, based on what the user, or similar users, have bought for X, Y, and Z games.

Ubisoft Talks About the Gaming Market – In a good interview with VentureBeat this past week, Ubisoft‘s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Tony Key, discussed his thoughts on the potential paradigm shift in gaming towards Facebook. He notes that using Facebook to get people to interact more with your product is a new, and tremendous part of game marketing nowadays. Even if you sell it in stores, and Facebook isn’t the core (or even if it provides no game play value at all, for that matter), at the very least, you are building some sort of buzz around it.

That said, however, Key does point out that just because Facebook is popular now, does not mean that is going to take over as the dominate force in the gaming industry as a whole. Rather, he feels that part of the massive social boom, has been due to the economic recession. While Facebook can enhance the experience of most games, it can hardly match the “immersive game experience” that consoles offer.

Android Grows – Google’s Android Android operating system is gaining on the iPhone and other rivals, according to a report from comScore covering US mobile usage in February.

While the iPhone has been the most significant smartphone mobile gaming platform to date, some developers we’ve spoken with say Android needs to get a lot bigger before building mobile social gaming apps becomes a serious business.

Currently, 45.4 million people in America own a smartphone. Of those millions, however, 42.1% is held by RIM, 25.4% by Apple, 15.1% by Microsoft, 9.0% by Google, and 5.4% by Palm. Android’s percentage change was positive at 5.2%. RIM’s, Apple’s, Microsoft’s, and Palm’s changes were +1.3%, -0.1%, -4.0%, and -1.8% respectively.

Xbox Live Gets Minor Improvements to its Virtual Currency – For the most part, Microsoft has been relatively quiet, with the only major Xbox Live addition being the launch of the Virtual Game Room. However, for those that spend any significant amount of time on Live, you may have noticed a rather convenient change to how Microsoft Points are sold.

You can now purchase the virtual currency in smaller increments of 400 at the cost of $4.99. Basically, it makes it easier to buy the exact amount of Points you need to purchase a virtual item, downloadable content, or Xbox Live Arcade title, rather than buy more than you need and be left with extra points you can’t do anything with.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online Comes… Online – A while back we covered the addition of Facebook Connect to the beta renditon of Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online. Well, now the quasi-massively multiplayer online title is live and ready for users to play through. With features ranging from single player practice modes, to full scale tournaments, and even the social “fan” sponsoring of your friends, the launch marks one of Electronic Arts’ bigger franchises to make use of social gaming features.

[Key image via VentureBeat]

Publish date: April 10, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT