Eastern freebies and Western mines were passing ships that were fit to be featured this past week. Let's take a closer look.
Free ride to China
When Shanda Interactive
Then again, you can't blame Shanda. It has seen its market share besieged by NetEase
The free versions of The Legend of Mir II and MagicalLand won't be complete freebies, though. If players want value-added services like virtual items and fancy avatars, they will need to pay up.
No company operates in a vacuum, of course. If Shanda starts pandering to the inner freeloader, the move will ripple throughout the niche. Consequently, shares of NetEase and The9 were also down 4% and 6%, respectively, on Thursday.
The one key variable here is in-game advertising. It isn't much of a factor right now because the interactive advertising market in China is still donning diapers. Stateside, you have companies such as Google
That's why Shanda's move may appear desperate. It is also a move that has come way too early.
Investors should not ignore China and its 1.3 billion residents. It is the world's most populous nation. Online gaming, particularly the multiplayer role-playing adventures, is huge, and it's going to get even bigger as China's economy develops. We saw that coming 11 months ago, when we recommended Shanda and NetEase in the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service. Both companies are still in attractive positions, but now we will have to see whether Shanda jumped the gun by going to a free model before the revenue streams were in place to make it worthwhile.
So that's why they're called precious metals
It was a week of nice, round milestones for many of the precious metals as gold hit $500, platinum hit $1,000, and Motley Crue started gearing up for a tour that will take them to places like Wilkes-Barre, Kalamazoo, and Fort Wayne.
Gold bugs may argue that we don't dig into the bullion that much around here, despite the occasional articles on Barrick Gold
The headlines behind this week's stories:
Until next week, I remain,
Fools, now is the time to open your hearts and wallets to worthy causes! Please support our five Foolish charities at www.foolanthropy.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to look back, even if it means he falls on his face going forward. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.