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Joining a young startup that goes on to become big is the stereotypical Silicon Valley 'dream.' And for employees lucky enough to have joined companies like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Groupon early on, dreams do come true.
Thank the Silicon Valley-originated practice of granting equity to employees for that. To attract the best and brightest, most technology startups have little choice but to give their employees an ownership stake in the companies they're helping build.
It's the Silicon Valley tradition that has become a standard, and for the employees who join startups that go on to do great things, equity can be the basis for fortunes large and small.
If you've followed the rise of social gaming over the past several years, you might have drawn the conclusion that social gaming companies like Zynga, which is gearing up to go public, and Playfish, which was acquired by EA, represent the future of gaming.
After all, while there's no doubt that hardcore gamers aren't disappearing, the tens of millions of users playing casual games like Farmville on social networks, namely Facebook, vastly outnumber the number who are buying the latest and greatest consoles and gaming rigs.
Are we in a tech bubble?
There debate is only growing, and while it may not really matter to most of us, there are ten particularly worrying signs for those who have expoure to companies that are running on VC fuel and may need to go public in the near future.
The IPO market is alive! From Yandex to LinkedIn, some of the most prominent consumer internet companies in recent memory have gone public recently, and more are on the way.
One of the most intriguing filed to go public late last week. Zynga, the social gaming juggernaut which is responsible for modern-day hits like Farmville, plans to raise $1bn.
There’s no denying it. Gamification is hot. We talked recently with Gabe Zichermann, entrepreneur and author of “Game-Based Marketing,” about how fun and gaming techniques are permeating every aspect of marketing, and what it means for measurement.
The rise of social networking has resulted in major shifts in the gaming industry. The rise of Facebook, in particular, has fueled the market for 'social gaming', creating huge opportunities. Most of these opportunities have, up until now, been seized in large part by upstarts like Zynga, which may be one of the fastest-growing companies ever.
But as social gaming matures, the old guard of gaming may find some golden opportunities of its own.
The market for digital goods and virtual currency on its site is already a billion-dollar one, but up until now, Facebook is capturing only a fraction of the business.
The reason: it gives developers great freedom to monetize their applications using whatever business models and third-party services they think work best.
But that will be coming to an end this July as the world's largest social network looks to further boost its revenue growth.
Social gaming exploded last year. More consumers are now playing these sorts of games online, and brands (ranging from SMEs and local businesses to blue-chips and multinationals) are beginning to invest in this space.
The sector is now worth close to £1bn, and is expected to show further growth in 2011.
This post, which coincides with the launch of our Social Gaming Smart Pack, contains a brief overview of social gaming, why it's important, and how it can be used for marketing.
Got points? Starting today, you can redeem them for virtual items like cows in FarmVille or guns in Mafia Wars. In a first-of-its kind deal, American Express has teamed with game-maker Zynga to make its credit card rewards redeemable for virtual goods.
It’s the latest example of gamification – or the introduction of game elements into non-game activities. There are reasons this commerce and gaming partnership works for AmEx and Zynga, but the deal could have implications for other companies’ reward programs as well.
The internet has produced some fantastically profitable business models over the past decade and a half. But out of all of them, which is the best?
Here's a candidate: class action lawsuits, which have been making their way onto the consumer internet, where it seems they may become a dreaded fixture.
Thanks to the rise of massive social networks, namely Facebook, and a multi-billion dollar virtual currency market, social gaming has become one of the hottest spaces on the consumer internet.
But there's another reason social gaming is so hot: it is putting the 'casual' back into the concept of 'casual gaming'. Through social games like Farmville and Mafia Wars, millions upon millions of non-gamers have become gamers. In the process, social games are potentially reshaping the gaming industry more broadly.
Google is the 800 pound gorilla of the internet, but despite its prominence, it doesn't have a large footprint in some of the internet's most lucrative emerging markets, such as online gaming. But it might be looking to change that.
On Saturday, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington reported that Google has "secretly invested" $100m to $200m in Zynga, the maker of some of the internet's most popular social games, including Farmville and Mafia Wars. According to Arrington, the investment is related to a new product Google is creating with Zynga's help: Google Games.