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Bezos Gets His Game On

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With an undisclosed investment in Social Gaming Network by his personal fund, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is proving Om right. Back in May, when Bezos invested in Kongregate, another casual gaming site, Om thought it might be the first of many. May is also when SGN raised a $15 million round from Greylock Partners and the Founders Fund.

SGN makes games for social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and has titles that include WarBook and Superlatives. Now that casual gaming has exploded onto the web, the business case isn’t too far-fetched. Revenue comes from ads, selling virtual goods, subscriptions or some mix of those options, with advertising being most prevalent but least effective for casual games.

Gaming has made money, but monetizing social networks is still a struggle, which makes SGN worth watching. Succeeding with advertising depends on getting large numbers of users, which Social Gaming Network — with its 1.1 million daily users — has. It’s facing a Facebook crackdown on spammy applications, which could hinder growth on that site, but is still growing on MySpace and Hi5, which have recently opened up their sites to outside apps. In order to really make money, it needs to push the sale of virtual goods. That might make it the most likely Bezos investment to succeed.

5 Responses to “Bezos Gets His Game On”

  1. Large number of users and utterly crappy games is not impressive. Throwing money at crappy games in an attempt to make them better is worth taking note but so far the games are still… crap.

    When you arrive at their website you are shown the title screens of the games and two social networks, Facebook and Bebo, to embed them in. If you are so inclined to actually figure out what the game looks like, plays like or is even about you must visit their blog link on the bottom of the screen and then scroll through blog post to find more links to the playable versions of their games. This is bad practice and I’m wondering how many of these “users” have installed the game and then immediately removed them based on performance.

    To make a long story short several things are needed.
    1. A true preview of the game.
    2. Addition of social tools built into the games.
    3. Less buzz and more actual products that don’t look like a first time game developer just threw up all over his keyboard and produced a game.
    4. Coverage of newsworthy games, gaming social networks and the future surrounding them. I guess big names at least buy a story.