Great Facebook application review

November 21, 2008

The great blog Inside Social Games has put up a glowing review of Citypixel Spaces – our brand new Facebook application. Here are a few great lines from it…

“Citypixel – 8 Bits of Awesomeness”

“Part The Sims, part Lego, pure awesomeness”

Read the whole review here. Also, be sure to Digg the article here.

Advertisements launches Facebook app

November 13, 2008

After a long period in development, the virtual world has launched its Facebook application. Check it out here.

The Facebook application allows users to…
– Show off their virtual spaces to all of their Facebook friends
– Invite their Facebook friends to become users
– Interact with their friend’s apartments by rating them and visiting with their avatar
– Buy and send virtual gifts to their friends
– Through paypal, buy extra ‘pixels’ (virtual currency) has 30k users and the FBA already has 400 users, so we’ll see what happens.

Social media sponsorship roundup

April 3, 2008

Further onto my earlier post, here are some more sponsorship deals, unfortunately no deal sizes:

  1. Stardoll signs sponsorship deal around Nim movie – Featuring environments from the film and virtual items
  2. Coca Cola launches avatar-based Facebook application – I wonder if they outsourced the development of this app
  3. Habbo/Paramount licensing deal – Not all that new, but one of the most interesting I think. Talent/Literary agency WMA brokered this deal apparently

Social media sponsorship roundup

March 16, 2008

I’ve been searching for information on how much social app companies are getting from sponsorship deals with marketers. This is what I’ve found so far:

  1. Buddy Media is apparently getting an average of $100k per campaigns for their “advergames” on Facebook
  2. Gaia Online is getting $100k to $200k for 1 month sponsorship deals, but are also now seeing deals in the 6 figures.

Has anyone found details on what other social media startups are getting for sponsorship deals?

Interview with RockYou CEO

March 16, 2008

Here is an interesting interview with the CEO of social app developer RockYou, Lance Tokuda.
– He estimates there is a 20% costs to porting from one OpenSocial site to another. Porting from FBA to Opensocial requires a rewrite
– Believes that consolidation will be coming soon, with many of the big app companies raising warchests
-About 30 percent of RockYou’s ad inventory is taken up by its own house ads
– After the traditional social nets open up, creating apps for other social services, like Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Mail and GMail will be big.

How open is too open

February 28, 2008

Rueben Steiger, CEO of Virtual world ad agency specialist Millions of Us, gave a talk during GDC and Gamasutra had a recap. He says the reason that virtual worlds have had initial success is due to the lack of rules and openness, the user defines the fun, not a game designer. However, hybrids with more traditional game mechanics are “probably a lot more mass market friendly.”

I think he’s right, casual users will appreciate the openess that a virtual world can offer, but they want to be told what to do. They want goals and missions. They don’t want to always have to make their own fun. Second Life is a good example of being too open and not offering enough goal oriented content. SL has yet to reach mass market adoption and have even seen their growth plateau recently.

Virtual goods market size

February 18, 2008

I thought I’d take another stab at estimating the market size for virtual goods. The size of the market can be determined using the following formula:

Virtual goods market = Potential users x Yearly user spend x Penetration

Below I’ve gone through each variable and made estimates for 2006, 2007 and 2012.

Potential users
The easiest figure to use for this would be the total number social network users, as Bear Sterns released a research report (in 08/07) that had projected and historical figures. Generally social networks and virtual worlds will be where users buy  virtual goods and most likely if you’re a virtual world user, you’re also a social networking user, so there is no need to double count. There could be other sites that will offer virtual goods, but they’ll most likely be “social media” related, and it’s not clear exactly what BS has defined as “social networks”, so its best to make it simplified and just use their numbers.

Potential users:
2006 = 382m
2007 = 573m
2012 = 914m

Andrew Chen has a good post on his blog recapping the Virtual Goods Summit during June of 2007. One of his take aways was that only 5-15% of users will ever buy virtual goods (Darren Herman commented that he thinks this % will  actually increase over time). Unlike potential users, there isn’t a source for penetration figures. In 2006, we know that the market was roughly $1.5bn (this has been often quoted but I’m not sure of the original source, I assume its from the Virtual goods summit), if we assume penetration of 7%, it results in yearly user spend of $54, which might make sense. I’ve assumed an increase on 1% a year as virtual commerce gains acceptance.

2006 = 7%
2007 = 8%
2012 = 13%

Yearly user spend
As mentioned in Penetration, in 2006 we’re assuming the average yearly user spend was $54 or $4.5/month. This is lower than the big virtual worlds (Maple Story: $7, Habbo Hotel: $15-20) but considering Facebook charges only $1 for virtual items than $4.5 might be right. Also, Club Penguin charges users $6/month which validates that some users are willing to spend that amount every month. I’ve assumed small yearly increases.

Yearly user spend:
2006 = $4.5 x 12 = 54
2007 = $5 x 12 = $60
2012 = $7.3 x 12 = $87

Virtual goods market estimates
Using the variables above, the market estimates are:

2006 = $1.5bn
2007 = $2.7bn (90% growth
2012 = $10.3bn (07-12 CAGR: 30%)

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