Social games news roundup: Turkey’s worth lots of money, Tencent buys into Epic Games and Wooga moves away from HTML5

Turkish game market likely worth $450 million — Research and analysis group Newzoo claims consumer spending on video games in Turkey will reach somewhere between $400 million and $500 million. It’s expected that social and massively multiplayer online games will be responsible for approximately 30 percent of this total.

Tencent buys into Epic Games —  Develop is reporting Chinese Internet services giant Tencent has bought a minority stake in Epic Games, the developer known for series like Gears of War and Infinity Blade. Details of the deal were not released.

Wooga moves away from HTML5 development — Social game developer wooga announced on its official blog that it’s moving away from developing games in HTML5. Wooga launched Magic Land Island as an HTML5 experiment, but wooga says the game had fewer than 35,000 installs a day and only a 5 percent retention rate. Wooga also says that Magic Land Island has been re-branded as Pocket Island and is open sourcing the code.

GnomeTown arrives on iOS [Launch] — Disney Social Games’s popular Facebook title GnomeTown is now available on the Apple App Store. The mobile version of Gnome Town is like the original, with players growing crops, raising butterflies, and assembling an army of animals to help them explore the forest.

Unity details new engine — Unity’s finally ready to start sharing some details about its new game development engine. Aside from mobile-oriented improvements for the engine like real-time shadows, refined GPU profiling and skinned mesh instancing, the engine will also expand multiplatform publishing with an add-on for Adobe Flash Player.

Merlin game getting summoned to Facebook this fall — Popular BBC show Merlin is coming to Facebook as a social game. Merlin The Game will be developed by Bossa Studios, the company behind Monstermind. The game will launch this autumn to coincide with the start of the show’s fifth season and will start closed beta this summer at Comic-Con International in July.

A Bit Lucky reveals Solstice Arena — Developer A Bit Lucky’s next game is going to be called Solstice Arena, a multiplayer game for tablet, Mac and PC. Although the game has an official site and players can sign up to be a part of the beta, no other information has been revealed yet.

IGG releases another 3D MMORPG on Facebook [Launch] — A week after launching Moonlight Online, IGG has another 3D MMO coming out on Facebook: Age of Titans. Set in a fantasy world, players work with ancient gods to defeat the evil Titan Erebus. As with Moonlight Online, the game is currently only playable on Windows computers, but a Flash version of the game is coming within a couple of months.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ gets Facebook game [Launch] — With “The Dark Knight Rises” hitting theaters next month, Warner Bros. is starting to kick the film’s social media engine into high gear. A tie-in game called The Fire Rises was supposed to launch on Facebook this week, though the title isn’t loading right now. Movie Viral reports The Fire Rises is a strategy game casting players as henchman trying to build their own criminal empire.

Da Vinci Diamonds comes to DoubleDown Casino — High 5 Games is gearing up to launch its own casino game later this year, but the developer is letting players get an idea of what to expect by launching slot game Da Vinci Diamonds in DoubleDown Casino.

Woman steals $10,000 to play Facebook game — A woman in Arlington, WA was arrested for using a company credit card to spend almost $10,000 while playing FrontierVille. She’s charged with first-degree theft.