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USA Today: What's PlayStation Vita got that my smartphone doesn't?

Feburary 21, 2012 - Sony named its new handheld game system the PlayStation Vita because "vita" means "life" in Italian. But can a dedicated portable game system live la dolce vita in a world full of people playing with smartphones and tablets?

TechCrunch: No Longer An Awkward Teenager? Gamification Grows Up

February 12, 2012 - Over the last year, you may have noticed that a once-niche trend not only crept into the mainstream, but is starting to really make a big splash. Gamification has become one of the hottest buzz words in the industry and is probably in the process of taking over a website or user experience near you.

Computerworld: Gamification goes mainstream

January 24, 2012 - Increased sales, increased participation, increased engagement. It doesn't sound like a game, but those are some of the goals, and reported achievements, of the new field of "gamification."


Huffington Post: Zynga IPO Marks Major Win For Facebook

December 16, 2011 - The big winner in Zynga's IPO, the largest by an Internet company since Google went public, isn't the shareholders or the employees or even the executives. It's Facebook.

CNN Money: Inside the gamification gold rush

October 17, 2011 - Companies have flocked to a new product development theory that liberally borrows elements from popular video games. Now, a cottage industry is teaching businesses from high fashion to personal finance how to make it work for them.


July 20, 2011 - "Gamification" indicates when a system of game-like constructs are put in place to incentivize users to engage with a brand, product, or service. Companies like Foursquare helped revolutionize the space by rewarding their users with badges and points for social check-ins and, perhaps even more profoundly, Zynga employed game mechanics to turn causal gamers into full-on devoted fanatics.


Reuters: E3 2010 - Video Gamers Can Now Play for More than High Scores

June 24, 2010 - Richard Branson has stepped back into the video game space, where he was an early pioneer with Virgin Interactive, with his sights set on the emerging competitive tournament gaming space...With the global gaming business raking in $60 billion last year, Billy Pidgeon, analyst for M2 Research, believes brands like Virgin Gaming will be able to capitalize on avid gaming audiences around the world without any legal issues.

Fast Company: Women in Gaming - Female PC Players Will Soon Pwn You

March 9, 2010 - In a recent report, M2 Research studied female demographics in gaming. The takeaway? Facebook game developers and casual browser game publishers have done what the big three gaming companies and their consoles could never do--bring women to gaming. M2 estimates that 140 million men play PC games, and 130 million women. This nearly 50-50 split is not even approached by the gaming consoles or their networks.

The Escapist: Online Worlds Making a Big Splash With Kids

February 16, 2010 - "Online gaming worlds" are beginning to muscle in on territory traditionally held by toy makers and media companies, as virtual environments vie for the 8-12 year old demographic in a "completely new way."

The relationship between toy manufacturers, television networks and, more recently, videogame publishers is well known: Licensing deals abound as videogame properties are made into toys, toys are developed into cartoons and cartoons run endless advertisements for the toys and games that kids just have to have, until it's almost impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins, like some kind of magical marketing Ouroborus. But now those waters are being muddied a bit by companies that "have figured out how to capture the attention of the 8-12 year old child in a completely new way - through virtual worlds and online gaming experiences."

14 new virtual worlds aimed at kids between the ages of eight and 12 years were launched in 2008, according to M2 Research Analyst Louise Curcio, 70 percent of which were created by companies outside of the traditional "toy, entertainment or videogaming space." In 2009, a handful of those companies, like Sony and the Cartoon Network, launched virtual worlds based on their own existing brands, but the majority of the top-performing virtual worlds remain those developed by "small, independent companies."

VentureBeat: As video game sales lag, heads begin to roll

December 11, 2009 - December sales are expected to be robust. But predictions of growth for video games have gone awry all year long. In November, sales were 7.6 percent below last year’s numbers (NPD numbers), even though analysts predicted growth. If December sales are disappointing, the knee-jerk reaction of game publishers could be bad for employees. Last year, after the financial crisis struck and the recession set in, game publishers shut more than 60 development studios and publicly announced cuts of more than 8,452 jobs during the second half of 2008 and in the early part of 2009. That was an estimated 12 percent of the industry, according to analyst Wanda Meloni of M2 Research.

Since that time, Meloni said there have been an additional 2200 layoffs, mostly occurring between October 2009 and December 2009. There were also three more game studio closures, bringing the total number closed this year to 15.

“The upside is that with the announcements coming from Canada there will be a gain of 1500 jobs, but those will be over the course of the next four years,” Meloni said. “I think the biggest thing here is that these layoffs are primarily at studios focused on traditional gaming – traditional genres, on consoles. Publishers are shedding the studios and projects that no longer offer long term revenue streams for them.”

VentureBeat: Canadian government is buying the video game industry

December 4, 2009 - Wanda Meloni, an analyst at M2 Research, wrote a report last year for DFC Intelligence about the Quebec game market, which in 2007 had 85 game development studios and dozens of other related firms. Total sales generated by the companies was $550 million, and there were 6,200 employees. Operating expenses in the region were 8.6 percent lower than in the U.S., on average. Perhaps the most important accelerant for games in the region was the presence of an early firm, Softimage, started in 1986 as a graphics technology firm.

So my headline is a bit misleading, as Canada has taken the trouble to grow its own industry rather than simply buy it outright. But you get the idea.

USA Today: Free Games Draw 'em in, Then Offer Pay Upgrades

July 15, 2009 -There's free, and then there's "freemium." Free online game destinations such as Disney's Club Penguin and RuneScape have drawn millions of younger players with no-cost, often ad-supported offerings, then made money by encouraging folks to chip in for additional access and features...

"One of the biggest impacts free-to-play games have had is their ability to draw new consumers into gaming," says analyst Wanda Meloni of M2 Research. "Because they provide a 'zero investment risk,' it lowers the barrier for consumers."

London Times: The Video-Game Empire Strikes Back

June 7, 2009 - The games industry has certainly suffered along with the rest of the economy. According to Wanda Meloni, analyst at M2 Research, the games industry has dismissed nearly 12% of its workforce since July. And video-game sales are falling – dropping 8.5% in the first quarter of the year, according to market researcher NPD Group, the first contraction since 2002.

USA Today: The Calm Before the E3 Storm

June 1, 2009 - Industry analyst Wanda Meloni:"Sony, more than anyone, need to impress and make some noise at the show. I believe there is a price cut coming on a slimmed-down PS3 that could be announced sooner than later. They need to be highlighting everything coming down the pipe: AAA titles like the next Ratchet & Clank and God of War 3, casual games, the PSP Go! There simply isn’t much room for them to hold back on anything right now. ... Microsoft is going to be showcasing their motion-detection camera. Aside from their developing their own technology, they recently acquired a very interesting Israeli company 3DV Systems with 3D motion-detection technology and a number of patents. While the eventual product probably won’t ship for some time, it is something Microsoft is keen to show off. Additionally, they will be playing up their Xbox Live subscriber base, which they just announced reached 20 million – that is a pretty good showing right now. Nintendo ... can build right now simply by sticking close to their core audience and highlighting the mass appeal of products like the Wii Fit Plus."


VentureBeat: The top 12 trends of the video game industry

May 15, 2009 - 8. Creative destruction rules the game job environment.

Wanda Meloni of M2 Research came up with some interesting data about this last week. She said that since July, 2008, 60 game companies/studios have publicly announced layoffs that have eliminated 8,450 jobs. Most of those are in North America, where there are an estimated 53,900 people working at game companies, according the Game Developer Census. She calculates that roughly 12 percent of the whole game industry has been hit by the layoffs. That sounds awfully depressing.

Industry Standard: Nintendo Insists iPhone isn't a Competitor

April 20, 2009 - Normally I don't include such huge, boilerplate marketing quotes, but I wanted to draw attention to the fact that Kaigler didn't even mention the iPhone by name.

However, analyst Wanda Meloni of M2 Research indicated that both Nintendo and Sony have plenty to worry about. Meloni projects that the iPhone/iPod Touch will have an installed base of 43 million units by the end of this year. That's almost as much as the Sony PSP, and about a third of Nintendo's reach with the DS and DSi.

Not only are there a lot of gamers and potential gamers with an iPhone and iPod Touch, but Apple buyers are also the biggest purchasers of mobile apps, Meloni says. The easy iTunes-based payment mechanism gives developers a huge incentive to develop for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Meloni adds that many developers are skilled veterans of the big game design houses who have been laid off in the past year, programmers who can crank out a new game and get it into Apple's App Store in a matter of weeks.