Social Gaming News Roundup: American McGee, HappySNS and Google+

Google+ Still Growing – Google’s social network is now adding 625,000 new users every day, and has passed 62 million members according to a post on Google+ by founder Paul Allen. Allen predicts that the social network will have 293 million users by the end of 2012. In related news, analytics company Chitika is reporting online activity (such as posts and discussions) on the social network increased by 118% between September and November.

American McGee Switches from AAA Console to Social Games – Noted video game producer American McGee and his Shanghai studio Spicy Horse are done with AAA console titles, according to an interview with Gamasutra. The studio just completed Alice: Madness Returns for EA, and will now focus on social games. “It’s not likely we’ll go back to big-budget AAA development,” he said. “While the studio has proven itself more than capable of producing beautiful AAA console games, there’s no long-term business for us there. We feel online is where it’s at.” The studio’s first Facebook game is BigHead Bash.

HappySNS Reports 30 million MAU a Month in Chinese Social Game Market – Penn Olson is reporting that Beijing-based social game developer HappySNS now has more than 100 million installs, 30 million MAU and 10 million DAU for its games, which are found on Tencent, Kaixin001, Renren, Facebook and DeNA’s platform. On Facebook the developer’s games see just a fraction of it total traffic, accounting for 140,00 MAU and 33,000 DAU according to AppData.

Social Gamers Are The Most Helpful Friends – If you need someone to help you move, ask a social gamer first. According to an article in the Nature Reviews/Neuroscience journal by University of Iowa psychology professor Douglas Gentile, playing social games can lead to “helping behavior” among players. One study cited in the article found students who started playing social games early in a school year were generally classified as more helpful later in the year.

Even Healthcare Can Be a Social Game – San Francisco-based startup Keas has developed a healthcare platform that disguises itself as a social game, reports the Wall Street Journal. Keas’ gaming platform allows groups of people compete with each other to complete quests and contests based around eating well and exercising. The social game mechanics have proven far more popular for the company than its original business model — providing personalized information and feedback from healthcare professionals.