A weekly wrap up of interesting news about virtual worlds, virtual goods and other social media.
Each company has its flaws and strengths. The beautiful thing is they both have strengths where each other lacks. To say it simply:
Groupon has many businesses on board off the start and they give great deals for consumers. But customers don’t come back after they have used a Groupon. Leaving businesses completely upset and losing money. Foursquare motivates people to come back to establishments for mayorships and badges but leaving consumers wanting more for their efforts. Plus the lack of involvement from venues is hindering the process.
Ecuador sent Venezuela an initial shipment of crude palm oil under a new trade currency regime known as the Unified System for Regional Compensation, or Sucre, the Ecuadorian government said.
The social gaming market is expected to pass $1 billion this year, thanks to a rising number of users and a projected increase in advertising, according to research group eMarketer.
Non-profits Ride Social Gaming Trend Too
It is not surprising non-profits are entering this space: social gaming is expected to become a billion dollar business this year, eMarketer estimates. Nearly 62 million US internet users, or 27% of the online audience, will play at least one game on a social network monthly this year, up from 53 million in 2010, it said. As these numbers increase, so will the money spent on virtual goods,
lead-generation offers and advertising.
One to Watch: Caped Koala Studios
Caped Koala Studios has stormed into 2011, ready to launch what it believes will become the world’s top online education and entertainment destination for kids.
The firm has developed an online 3D virtual world called Pora Ora (www.poraora.com), which combines games, education and social networking. Pora Ora made its public debut in London on 12 January at BETT 2011, the UK’s largest educational technology trade show.
An emerging virtual world platform is the destination of droves of emigrant avatars, as a price hike and the shutdown of the teen-only grid have prompted an educator exodus away from Second Life.
With the still rising popularity of social media games like Zynga’s Farmville
and Mafia Wars, advertising is naturally beginning to follow. But at least for the next few years, despite a major growth spurt, ad dollars will continue to lag virtual goods when it comes to making money in the social gaming. “Understanding the popularity of social gaming is simple,” said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna.