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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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Why Zynga Is Leaving Money On The Table

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TylerYork

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[color="#808080"]Originally posted on our company blog under the title: Why Zynga Is Leaving Money On The Table[/color]

stopleavingmoneyontheta.png


[font=Arial][size="5"]Why Zynga Is Leaving Money On The Table[/font]


[color="#595959"][size="2"][font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"] [/font][/color][/font][/color]
[color="#595959"][size="2"][font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Zynga's revenue is expected to almost double from $597.5M to $942M in 2011, which according to Zynga's S-1 filing is partly the basis of its $15-20[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Billion[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] valuation, but the truth is, Zynga isn't making nearly as much money as it could. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it's chump change compared to the revenues it could generate with real-money gaming.[/font][/color][/font]

[font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Zynga derives its entire revenue stream from the sale of virtual goods or the exchange of virtual goods for affiliate services. This new monetization method has rocked the gaming industry, and the titans of yesteryear are frantically trying to play catch-up by launching their own free-to-play games of all genres. And with good reason: the virtual goods market is expected to increase 40% in 2011 to $2.1B. Yet with users becoming more willing to invest their hard-earned cash into games, Zynga is still leaving a lot of money on the table.[/font][/color][/font]

[font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]One big reason why users are willing to trade real money for virtual rewards is touched on by Jesse Schell in his [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]DICE talk[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]. He believes that users logically feel like they are already invested in a free game because they have put so much time into it, so they are more likely to spend real money on their progress in the game. This famously addictive cycle helped Zynga create a multi-billion dollar empire, but even games that have been expertly monetized through these methods only brings in an average revenue per user (ARPU) of approximately $1.00#.[/font][/color][/font]

[font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]While an ARPU of $1.00 was good enough to help Zynga grow into a mega-company with hundreds of millions of users, it won't be good enough for the next generation of innovative game studios. These studios don't have a new, untapped revenue source to drive their growth and are fighting at a disadvantage against the mega-companies for the existing streams. A new, engaging source of revenue would help small studios stay competitive and grow their user base. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a major new game revenue stream to take off in the gaming space since virtual goods. What new revenue stream will spark the next evolution in game monetization?[/font][/color][/font]

[font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]The most probable game changer is [/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]real-money play[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"], or specifically the ability for users to 'buy in' for real money as they do now, bet that money on game outcomes, and then 'cash out' their winnings, which is NOT something they can currently do. This opportunity merges gambling and gaming, and would create an entirely new massive revenue stream for game developers. As Andrew Chen highlighted in his [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]blog post about gambling vs. gaming[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"], gambling games' average revenue per user (ARPU) numbers are significantly (?50x) higher than the ARPUs of the best virtual goods-based games. Also, gambling players have a much higher [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]customer lifetime value[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]than gaming players, and developers do not need to constantly create new content to keep them interested. Now that's something that Zynga and smaller studios can get excited about.[/font][/color][/font]

[font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]So why hasn't anyone broken into this space yet? For the majority of studios, the cost of pursuing this revenue stream is far too high. Acquiring a gambling license, which must be done outside of the United States, requires a tremendously large investment of both time (?18 months) and money (?$1M including all associated costs) that the majority of studios cannot afford. Game studios are usually much better off investing their limited resources into the virtual goods channel because those will monetize immediately, although relatively poorly. A mega-company like Zynga can afford the investments necessary to acquire the license, but they face serious legal hurdles, possible corporate restructuring and branding issues in order to do so. Even so, it may be worth the effort in the long term, but in the meantime, it leaves a serious market opportunity for a small game company to build games around real-money play.[/font][/color][/font]

[font="inherit"][size="3"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]It is safe to say that the next multi-billion dollar gaming company won't be built by copying Zynga. It will be forged out of new game mechanics and revenue streams that engage the user more than ever before. And what is more engaging than a chance to win real money? All game studios need is a way to overcome the tremendous pain, time and expense of acquiring gambling licenses, which is where [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Betable[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] comes in. Stay tuned.[/font][/color][/font]

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