Social gaming news roundup: Activision, EA and Kabam

Call of Duty Elite earns Activision more than $75 million — Despite a rocky start, Activision’s Call of Duty Elite social network has been a massive hit. According to the company’s fourth quarter earnings results, more than 7 million users have signed up for the service and 1.5 million players have chosen to pay for $49.99 annual subscription memberships, translating to $75 million in additional sales for the franchise.

PlayDemand grabbing PopCap’s former Baking Life users for Diner Life — Manchester-based PlayDemand is trying an interesting new user acquisition strategy —  the company offering former players of ZipZapPlay and PopCap’s now-shuttered Baking Life free in-game currency it its game Diner Life.

Wooga sees user growth of 185 percent in 2011 — German social game developer Wooga saw its Facebook user base increase by 185 percent to 40 million players in 2011. According to the company’s founder and CEO Jens Begemann, 5 percent of new users are acquired through advertising, 40 percent through viral features and 55 percent come from cross promotion.

Casino company MGM Resorts to announce social game soon — MGM Resorts’ CEO Jim Murren has told Forbes his company will soon reveal its first social game. The game, which Murren compares to FarmVille, will allowe players to run a casino empire.

Kabam sets up new San Francisco headquarters — Gamasutra is reporting that Kabam has signed a multi-year deal for a new 63,000 square foot office in San Francisco. All of the company’s 450 employees will be housed in the same space.

EA Vancouver confirms layoffs — As multiple news outlets reported this week, EA’s Vancouver studio will be laying off an unspecified number of employees. Although the studio was responsible for hits like FIFA Soccer, the company is restructuring in order to shift focus to digital “high growth formats” according to Develop’s report.

Konami revenues up, social games growing — According to Konami’s latest financial results, the company’s net revenues rose to 194,522 million yen ($2.5 billion) in the nine month period ending on Dec. 31, up 3.3 percent over the same period a year ago. The company has adjusted its earnings outlook for the rest of the financial year upwards, and is now expected to earn 265,000 million yen ($3.4 billion), up from 250,000 million yen ($3.2 billion.) The company’s social games division revenues grew by 1.6 percent.

Nabeel Hyatt Leaves Zynga — Conduit labs co-founder Nabeel Hyatt has left his position as the head of Zynga’s Boston studio. Hyatt joined the company when Zynga bought Conduit in 2010.  Fareed Mosavat is replacing Hyatt.

Disney Interactive reports drop in revenue, bigger year-on-year loss — Disney’s Interactive Media division earned $279 in revenue million during the holiday quarter ending on Dec. 31, 20 percent less than the $349 million it earned in the same period a year ago. Losses were up to $28 million from $15 million the previous year. In related news, Joystiq is reporting that Alex Seropian has left his position as head of game development at the studio.

One Piece social game hits 2 million users in 17 days — Industry watcher Serkan Toto is reporting that Namco Bandai’s One Piece social game on the Mobage network has hit 2 million registered users just 17 days after launching. In other Mobage news, Andriasang is reporting the network will soon be getting a social game based on the popular Japanese character Doraemon.

The Sims Social wins Social Networking Game of the Year Award — EA’s The Sims Social has won the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ award for for Best Social Game of the Year at the 15th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards. EA beat Digital Chocolate, Zynga, Disney, and Spry Fox to win the award.

[Launch] Snooki’s Match Game Hits Facebook — Reality TV star Nicole Polizzi has released her first Facebook game. Called Snooki’s Match Game, the title monetizes through advertising. The game was developed by Apps Genius Corp.

[Launch] Akamon Entertainment launches Chinchón — Spanish-based Akamon Entertainment has launched its first Facebook Game, Chinchón. The game is based on a traditional Spanish card game.

[Launch] Popcap Launches Solitaire Blitz — EA PopCap is officially launching its newest game, Solitaire Blitz. The game is going into a gradual beta launch and will be available to all Facebook users by March.