Mobile App Roundup: DeNA, Unity and Plants vs. Zombies

DeNA Expands Mobage to NTT DOCOMO Network – DeNA and its subsidiary ngmoco have signed a deal with NTT DOCOMO’s net mobile AG division to boost Mobage’s market presence in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and Australia. Under the terms of the deal, net mobile AG will provide local support for Mobage and conduct business development services on behalf of ngmoco.

Sibblingz Wants Spaceport 3.0 to Fill Flash’s Shoes – YouWeb funded Sibblingz has released a new version of its Spaceport game development platform. Version 3.0 of the toolset allows developers to continue to develop games in Flash but have them render natively for iOS, Android and HTML5. Sibblingz is positioning Spaceport 3.0 as a direct replacement for Flash.

Intel Capital Launches $100 Million App Development Fund – Intel’s investment arm, Intel Capital has created the $100 million AppUp investment fund. Urban Airship and 4tiitoo are the first two companies to receive money from the new fund.

Radical Expanding Streaming Services, Mobile Apps on the Way – Radical.FM has secured a second round of financing to finish work on its HTML5 player and to develop mobile apps. Radical.FM’s personalized music streaming services are currently in beta and will launch officially in 2012.

Mobile, Social Gaming Cutting into Handheld, But Not Console Dollars – According to a new survey from the Cowen Group, only six percent of self identified “gamers” reported spending less on traditional console games because of time spent playing mobile and social games. However, out of people who identified themselves as “casual gamers” 29 percent of them reported being less likely to use a dedicated handheld system like Sony’s PSP or Nintendo’s 3DS.

Fraud a Big Problem for DeNA in China – DeNA manager Sun Kang has revealed that the company’s biggest problems in China come from fraud, according to Gamasutra, who were present for Kang’s presentation at GDC China. According to Kang, some of the most common problems are users with jailbroken phones trying to crack games in order to get free items and charges made to illegal credit cards in the company’s free-to-play games.

Ngmoco Sweden Adds More Crytek Veterans – Ngmoco’s Swedish office continues to fill with former Crytek employees according to Gamasutra.  Ben Cousins, the general manager of Ngmoco Sweden, revealed via Twitter that two former Crytek employees Tony Davis and Vesselin Efremov had joined the group. Ngmoco set up its new Swedish  branch in July.

Android Now Filled with Malware – According to a study from the Juniper Global Threat Center, the amount of malware – malicious software posing as harmless apps – in the Android store has increased by 472% since July of this year.  The study blamed the increase on the ease of publishing apps to the Android app store.

Google’s Gmail iPhone App Re-released – After a disastrous launch two weeks ago, Google has been re-released and this time it works. According the a post on the official Gmail blog, the app is still a work in progress and support for features like multiple accounts is still on the way.

Gigamedia Reports Third Quarter Loss, Promises to Pivot into Mobile – Taiwan-based social game company Gigamedia reported this week that its third quarter revenues had dropped 12% quarter over quarter to $7.8 million dollars. The company also reported a loss of  $3.9 million dollars for the quarter. In a press release accompanying the results CEO Yichin Lee said the company would change course, extending its platform to mobile devices.

Unity Giving Windows Phone 7 a Pass – Unity CEO David Helgason has said his company’s engine will not be coming Windows Phone 7 because it can’t support such a closed system. According to an interview posted on Develop, the platform can only support applications based on XNA or on Silverlight, and Microsoft would not grant an exception for Unity’s third party engine.

Plants vs. Zombies Launches for Kindle Fire – Popcap’s ultra-popular tower defense game Plants vs. Zombies was released this week on the Kindle Fire. The latest version of the game costs $2.99 on the Fire, as opposed to the $6.99 it retails for on iPad.

Orange Promoting Smartphones with Low Price Facebook Feature Phones – Gigaom is reporting European cellphone provider Orange is debuting three new low-priced smartphones specifically designed around Facebook integration to entice more of its customers to upgrade. The phones will come with low priced data plans that include unlimited Facebook usage.

Dedicated Angry Birds Retail Store Now Open – Rovio makes over $1 million dollars a month from selling Angry Birds merchandise so it’s no surprise that the company is opening its first retail store for its merchandise in the company’s home country of Finland.

Apple Pulls its Only Game from App Store – MacRumors has discovered that Apple’s only in-house produced game, Texas Hold’em, has disappeared from the App store. The game was originally developed for the iPod in 2006 and went through several incarnations, eventually winding up as a $4.99 paid app.

Parallel Kingdom Lets Players “Give Thanks” – From now until Thanksgiving, players of the location based MMORG Parallel Kingdom will be able to trade in-game food for real food for the homeless, thanks to a promotion between the game’s developer PerBlue, PlayMob and non-profit organization HELP USA. Players will be able to trade 750 food for a Thanksgiving meal for one homeless child or 6,000 food for a Thanksgiving meal for an entire family.

Will Wright Has a HiveMind – Sims creator Will Wright is launching a new game and company, both called HiveMind according to an exclusive interview on Venturebeat. HiveMind’s products will be based around collecting information about the player, customizing the game for its player, rather than the typical model, which sees the player adapt to the game’s rules. While Wright was low on specifics, he did reveal that the company’s products could be staged on either mobile devices or Facebook.