Social Gaming News Roundup: Tiny Speck, Sojo Studios and Zynga

CityVille Turns One – The most popular game on Facebook turned one this week. According to a Zynga press release, in one year CityVille players have made 1.4 billion neighbor connections, created 89 million coffee shops and captured 4.5 million bandits. On average, players log into the game 5 times a day. The most popular time of day to play is just after 12:00 pm PST.

Tiny Speck “Unlaunches” Glitch – San Francisco/Vancouver based developer Tiny Speck is taking its flagship game Glitch back to beta to make improvements to gameplay and accessibility. The social, cooperative online game was officially launched in September.

NYT Highlights Zynga’s Deadline Driven Culture – The New York Times called out Zynga this week with a highly critical story on the company’s working conditions. According to the article, Zynga’s employees are expected to log long hours to meet tight deadlines. While the article suggests that working conditions at the social gaming giant could harm long term acquisition or retention efforts, poor working conditions are an ongoing and persistent problem in the video games industry. As far back as 2004, spouses of EA employees were venting their frustrations online, and more recently, defunct Australian developer Team Bondi’s former employees brought their complaints about poor working conditions public.

Square Teams with DeNA for Final Fantasy Social Game – Andriasang is reporting that Square Enix and Mobage operator DeNA are teaming to release a new social game called Final Fantasy Brigade. The game will include standbys of the Final Fantasy IP like airships, jobs and summons. The game will debut in Japan on feature phones, but will be coming to the web and smartphones at some point.

WOW Subscriptions Still Dropping, Patches Rolled Out – Blizzard’s MMO World of Warcraft continues to lose subscribers, dropping from 11.1 million to 10.3 million in the third quarter. The game, which is over 7 years old, is a holdover from the days when MMOs required subscription fees, and most MMOs are now free-to-play. The game was patched this week with new raids, dungeons and abilities.

Social Games Fueling Growth of SouthEast Asian Game Market – Niko Partners expects that the SouthEast Asian gaming market will be worth $474 million this year thanks to the strength of social and free-to-play online games in region. Niko Partners defines SouthEast Asia as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The full report can be found here.

Discover Sponsors FarmVille Expansion – Financial services company Discover has teamed with Zynga to sponsor its own branded FarmVille expansion. The Winter Wonderland Expansion opens to the public on December 5th and includes branded content and financial offers for Discover cardmembers. While Zynga has run plenty of promotions in its games, Winter Wonderland is the first completely branded expansion the developer has authorized.

[Funding] Rumble Starts Big with $15 Million in Series A – Social and mobile gaming startup Rumble Entertainment has raised  $15 million in series A funding from Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures. The company was started earlier this year by former Bioware, EA and Zynga employees. According to a TechCrunch report, Rumble will be using the funding to develop a publishing platform and finish two games currently in development.

[Funding] Miso Raises $4 For Social TVMiso, a social network that allows users to check in, comment and rate the TV shows they’re watching has raised $4 million in additional funding from Khosla Ventures. To date the company has raised $6 million.

[Launch] Tween Focused Social Gaming Network Sweety High Debuts – Sweety High, a social network and games platform for girls between the age of 8 and 16 has come out of beta. The platform lets users earn real life rewards while playing, such as meeting fashion designers and recording a song with a major record label.

[Launch] Vostu’s Gol Mania Comes to Google+ – Brazilian developer Vostu has brought its real-time multiplayer soccer game Gol Mania to Google+. The game debuted on Facebook and Orkut in September.

[Launch] Sojo Studios Releases “Social Good” Game WeTOPIA – New York based Sojo Studios has launched its first game, WeTOPIA, a city building game with a charitable twist. As players build online, they earn an in-game currency that can be applied to charitable projects. Sojo Studios also donates 50% of the profits from in-game purchases to its charity beneficiaries.