CrowdStar CEO Out, Relan In — After less than a year as chief executive of CrowdStar, Niren Hiro is leaving, making way for chairman Peter Relan to take on the role, according to VentureBeat. Although the VentureBeat story does not mention further layoffs it lists the employee count as 75, which is a quarter less than what we’d heard the company had several weeks ago. The internal turmoil at CrowdStar has circulated as rumors for several weeks.When we asked co-founder Suren Markosian about it yesterday, during a separate interview, he responded that Facebook’s clampdown on viral channels and app growth had pushed the company to restructure for maximum efficiency.
CrowdStar is still making a profit, Relan told VentureBeat, and plans to double its workforce in 2011, as well as potentially raise funding. Relan, who has no plans to immediately find a replacement CEO, will also scale back his duties as head of incubator YouWeb.
Playdom Set to Launch First City of Wonder Expansion — Our top pick for the best social game during the second half of 2010, Playdom‘s City of Wonder, is slated to get its first expansion in the near future. Dubbed “City of Wonder – Colony Expansion,” players will be able to spread their civilization across the world with over 80 new buildings, 15 new technologies, new currencies, and the introduction of naval power.
Bigpoint Acquires Planet Moon Staff — Game developer Bigpoint has announced the acquisition of 37 former Planet Moon Studios developers and artists this week. All 37 new team members have been added in to the San Francisco office.
Digital Chocolate Debuts Games on Android with GetJar — Social developer Digital Chocolate has announced the debut of it’s popular Facebook titles, Millionaire City and MMA Pro Fighter, on Android. The games have premiered on GetJar, the world’s largest open app store.
Scoreloop Grows Over the Holidays — Cross-platform, social-mobile gaming network Scoreloop has reported significant growth over the Christmas holidays. The holiday week saw a total of 1.3 million new users, a 209% spike increase (over the November average) on Christmas Day across all mobile OS platforms, and a 216% growth in virtual currency revenues over the entire week, according to the company.
To add to the drama, Bloomberg reported on a company-wide meeting from earlier this week where MySpace spokeswoman, Rosabel Tao, noted that News Corp. is “assessing a number of possibilities including a sale, a merger and a spinout.”