The purchase by Microsoft of the makers of Minecraft earlier this month for an eye-watering sum of $2.5 billion is another ‘strategic acquisition’ by one of the giants of the computing world. They are seemingly queuing up to get a bigger slice of the social media pie but how can a game be worth that sort of money and why is Microsoft prepared to pay it?

A few stories about advertising and social games have hit mainstream media in the past month, prompting a couple of questions about the relationship. Firstly, where are we at with how we advertise free-to-play (F2P) social games?; and when is the much-promised revenue from advertising going to materialise and make us poor game developers rich?

Japanese gaming has been at the forefront of the industry, pretty much ever since joysticks were invented. We all remember Taito’s Space Invaders which was cutting edge in the early 80s and household names like Sony, Sega, and Nintendo all made their names during the ‘golden age’ of video gaming from the mid-1980s and throughout the ‘90s. But how are the Japanese doing nowadays with video, social and mobile gaming? In the highly competitive, rapidly changing world of game development, do the Japanese have their noses in front?

Zynga, King, Wooga… all giants that have made a big splash in the world of gaming in recent years, changing the landscape and challenging the dominance of the traditional console and PC gaming giants. With Amazon’s recent ventures, could one of the Internet’s most famous and longest-lasting names in retail be about to make a play to become the next gaming giant?

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Can you ever imagine being so good at a game that people will pay to watch you play it? That’s essentially what’s happening at Twitch, where the world’s elite gamers have given up their day jobs to live off the advertising revenue generated by millions of fellow gamers watching them do what they love...