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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      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's Profits Plummeted

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[font="Times"][size="2"][color="#000000"][font="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] 4165895857_ecef608c65.jpg [/font][/color][/font][/color][/font]
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[font="Times"][size="2"][color="#000000"][font="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][size="2"][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Gamasutra dropped a [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]bombshell report[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] on Monday that Zynga, just ahead of their planned IPO, had reported a 95% drop in their year-over-year profits from $27.2 million to $1.3 million. The social gaming juggernaut continued to lose momentum in all major categories: its total revenues grew only 15% last quarter versus 24% in the previous quarter. Its virtual goods sales and ad revenues were down 4% from the prior quarter, and their total daily active user count across all games also dropped 4% from 62 million to 59 million. Has Zynga lost the interest of its users, or are market trends eroding Zynga's core revenue streams?[/font][/color]

[color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]This question prompted lively debate amovsang the tech and gaming communities. [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]GamePro[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] reported that Zynga attributed its decline in profits to some factors that did not necessarily indicate trouble. For one, in 2011 Zynga did not launch a new game before Empires and Allies, which was launched March 31st, so they claim to have not yet fully realized the revenue from that game. Second, they blame higher than normal spending on hiring, acquisitions, and international growth. Third, supporters point to the loss of Zynga's "free" viral marketing when Facebook enacted new policies to combat spam. And last but not least, there is Facebook's decision to force all developers to adopt its Facebook Credits payments system and the associated 30% tax. [/font][/color]

[color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]While all of these things could eat into Zynga's profits, they don't explain why their daily active user (DAU) numbers are starting to drop. A former Zynga employee responded to [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]a Hacker News thread[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] about this topic by highlighting the many market trends that are eating away at Zynga's core business: massively successful Facebook games. The commentator believed that the [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]decline of Facebook's web traffic[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] was a key component of this trend; however, this decline has since been [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]challenged by multiple ratings agencies[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]. Furthermore, many argue that the users that are leaving Facebook are the least engaged users, while Zynga's hardcore daily players are certainly some of the most engaged. [/font][/color]

[color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]The commentator also argues that Zynga's games are higher quality than ever, and they are in the process of creating titles that appeal to [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]midcore[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] and [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]hardcore[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] audiences. Alongside these efforts, Zynga is going to great lengths to secure partnerships with major brands, including [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Lady Gaga[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"], [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]American Express[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"], and [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Capital One[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]. However, even with with all of the work that Zynga is putting into increasing the quality of their user experience, they have still sold less virtual goods and are losing their most valuable players. So what's the missing piece of the puzzle?[/font][/color]

[color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]Virtual rewards don't engage and entice players like they used to. [/font][/color]

[color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]And why should they? Players are paying real money for something with no actual value, and they can never get that money back. The gimmick has lost its novelty, especially as virtual goods have [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]become a commodity[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] across games of all skill levels and platforms. As games start to [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]merge the virtual and physical worlds[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] and become [/font][/color][color="#000099"][font="Arial"][size="2"]integrated with every aspect of our lives[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"], why would users still be interested in a virtual sword that is literally worthless? [/font][/color]

[color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]The future of gaming is in the real world, and the future of play is with real money. Providing a tangible reward for the real time, money, and effort that players put into a game will make games more engaging and fun. Players will find it much more appealing to be able to play for and [/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"]win[/font][/color][color="#000000"][font="Arial"][size="2"] real-money that they can cash out, turning their favorite game into a lucrative hobby. [/font][/color][font="Arial"] [/font]


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