As I mentioned in an earlier post, I just started the Networked Life course taught by Michael Kearns from the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. Part of the coursework has been about “heavy tail distribution,” a phenomenon typical in a large-scale network (like Facebook). To summarize, a heavy tail distribution (see image below for an example) means there is a clustering of vertices (users or in the case of Facebook, friends) with a very low number of connections but a long tail of vertices (users) who have a lot of contacts. Thus, in the case of Facebook (or any other typical network) the large majority of users have only a few Friends but there is a long tail of people who have a lot of friends (say over 1,000). These latter people are called “Connectors” in network theory. What is particularly interesting is that this structure, which again is typical of large-scale networks, is effectively the inverse of a traditional bell shape distribution, which would show a few users at the low end, a peak (the top of the bell) and then quickly trail off. The heavy tail is typical of all social networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
What I find interesting is that you find a similar curve in virtually all free-to-play social games when it comes to users’ monetization tendencies. Continue reading
I find it interesting that the two largest social game companies, GREE and DeNA, generate virtually no press, while you can’t avoid articles about the third largest social game company, Zynga. I believe that because they are Japanese and not US companies they do not generate the same level of attention, but that is unfortunate. People do not draw conclusions about the viability of the airline industry by looking at Spirit’s performance or determine whether the auto industry is rebounding by analyzing Audi, so why look at the third largest game company when assessing the social game industry? If you are an investor, entrepreneur, engineer, etc., and trying to judge the opportunities in social gaming, it makes sense to benchmark against the biggest and best, and that is DeNA and GREE.
Over the Summer, Amazon made three moves that when looked at individually are interesting but when reviewed holistically show their plan to dominate the mobile space, which includes social gaming. First, Amazon released Living Classics, a Facebook social game. Then, it announced it had added Epix and NBC Universal content to Amazon prime. Last week, Amazon released details of its new Kindle Fire models. Taken together, these moves suggest Amazon could be as important a partner to social game companies as Apple and Facebook (and more important than Google). Continue reading
A comment by Ezequiel D’Amico on my post last week about the Apple/Samsung jury verdict highlighted the importance of always thinking globally. Ezequiel pointed out that the decision was relevant only to the United States. Rather than go into details on his specific points (see my reply to the comment), his comment reflects the importance of looking at developments and trends in a global context.
I have hesitated in publishing a “reading list” because often when I see them on other blogs, they are little more than the author’s effort to get some referral income. As many of you know, I do not monetize this blog at all (there is no advertising and I have refused all sponsorship offers) and the links in this post are not tied to any monetization. With that in mind, I wanted to share some books that have made me much more successful and I think will help anyone in the gaming ecosystem (and probably any other business). Given that we all have very limited time, even to read, I have listed the books by how much of an impact they have had for me. Continue reading
I just signed up for Networked Life #networks, a free @Coursera online class.
Anyone interested in joining me? It sounds quite interesting and might lead to some great conversations on this blog. Join me at https://www.coursera.org/course/networks