Social Gaming News Roundup: Zynga, DeNA and Dungeon Overlord

Gameloft May Create Social Gaming Network – In a feature interview with Gamasutra, Gameloft’s SVP Gonzague de Vallois revealed the French company is considering bypassing its existing partners, Japanese mobile social network operators DeNA and GREE and creating their own social mobile network.

CastleVille Supporting $100k in Charity Donations – This week Zynga announced that it had created a unique partnership between its charitable arm and the upcoming CastleVille. By Liking the CastleVille Facebook fan page, players will be able help decide how donations of $40k, $30k and $20k will be allocated to Direct Relief, Save the Children and The donations will be made once CastleVille reaches 5 million Likes. In addition to player determined donations, is also donating $10k to Dallas’ Direct Relief Community Health Clinic to celebrate the release of CastleVille, the first game developed by Zynga Dallas.

TeePee Recruiting Beta Testers – UK-based TeePee Games is recruiting gamers interested in playing social, online and mobile games before their release. Beta testers will be compensated for the work, which will include reporting on bugs and giving feedback on features and possible improvements. The deadline to sign up for a beta testing role is October 30th, and all those interested must register an account at and send an email to Darren Newnham, TeePee Games’ director of content: darren (dot) newnham (at) teepeegames (dot) com.

Final Fantasy Coming to a Social Network Near You – Square Enix is teaming with DeNA to take its beloved gaming franchise, Final Fantasy to Mobage. The as-yet unannounced social game will feature familiar characters from the Final Fantasy series.

Apples to Apples Going Social, Mobile – THQ is teaming with Mattel to take the popular party game Apples to Apples into the digital realm. The game will be available on Facebook and mobile devices, as well as on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in time for the 2011 holiday season.

DeNA Purchasing Baseball Team?! – Andriasang is reporting that Mobage owners DeNA are very close to signing a deal that would see them take a 70% ownership claim in struggling Japanese baseball team the Yokohama Bay Stars. If the deal goes through, DeNA will be on the hook to pay current team owners TBS Holdings upwards of 10 billion yen for the club.

Pixonic Opens US Office – Russian social game developer Pixonic has opened a new American office as part of its international expansion plan. The company, which has published more than 40 games on 14 different social networks, as well as iOS and Android, is now co-headquartered in Moscow and San Francisco.

Dungeon Overlord Headed to Korea – Facebook MMO Dungeon Overlord is making the jump across the Pacific and into the Korean Market. The the exclusive Korean operating rights for the hardcore strategy game were obtained by The9 Korea in a deal with Austin based Dungeon Overlord developer Night Owl Games. According to AppData, Dungeon Overlord currently has 60,000 MAU.

Zynga VP Leaves After Six Months – Zynga’s vice president of studios Lou Castle has left the company after just six months according to Castle reportedly made the move to spend more time with his family.

Facebook To Spend $1 Million on Lobbying in 2011 – TechCrunch is reporting that Facebook is set to spend more than $1 million lobbying the US government in 2011, a sharp increase over what the social network spent petitioning government in 2010.

Rift Makers Trion Worlds Also Making IPO Plans – Trion Worlds may soon be filing for an IPO. The company’s chief executive Lars Butler revealed the information in a Reuters interview last week, telling reporters that the company is considering an IPO “at some point.” Trion’s most popular game is MMORPG Rift.