Social Gaming Roundup: Fundings, iPad Games, Truth, and More

Social GoldSocial Gold Partners with Lolapps – Earlier this week, virtual goods monetization platform Social Gold announced a new partnership with social developer Lolapps. Known for applications that allow the users themselves to create social games, quizzes, and virtual gifts – as well as being the creator behind games such as Diva Life and Band of Heroes, it will now make use of the Social Gold API in order to offer in-game payments to its total community of roughly 40 million monthly active users.

CrowdStar Breaking Off Talks with Microsoft – Back in February, we began seeing hints that highly popular social developer, CrowdStar was considering strategic options with investors — or maybe acquirers. Bloomberg reported that one potential result would be an acquisition by Microsoft at a $200 million valuation. The publication is now reporting that talks between the two companies have ceased.

Aurora Feint 3Aurora Feint 3 on iPad – Creators of the mobile social platform OpenFeint, Aurora Feint Inc. will be launching the third title in its eponymous series. Aurora Feint 3, however, is on Apple’s new iPad (though it will also be available on the iPhone and iPod Touch). The new title, described as a free-to-play massively multiplayer social game that incorporates all of the known OpenFeint perks including achievements, leaderboards, challenges and even the platform’s new virtual goods features.

Niko Partners Reveals New Chinese Virtual Goods Market Estimate – Online gaming is one of the largest forms of entertainment spending in China. However, more details on how large this market actually is were revealed this week by a new report from market research firm, Niko Partners. It estimated revenue from Chinese online gaming – primarily stemming from virtual goods – at around $3.57 billion for the course of 2009. It expects that number to grow to around $4.5 billion over 2010.

Furthermore, through a survey conducted through 10 major Chinese citites, Niko states that 88% of online gamers actually play social games. This substantial number is expectant to cause a social boom similar to that seen in the U.S. last year. The report also states that those surveyed preferred freemium, virtual goods-based, titles as opposed to subscription or pay-to-play models.

Hi5 Filing Shows $3 Million Funding – Hi5 has been transforming its social network into a “social entertainment” site, centered around social gaming. To that end, the company is out raising a second round. For that reason, we believe, it recently flushed an old $3 million convertible note through US regulatory filings, from existing investor Mohr Davidow.

QuepasaQuepasa Partners with Viximo – Latin social network, Quepasa.com announced a new partnership on Tuesday with virtual goods solution provider Viximo. Through the company, the Quepasa userbase of roughly 12 million can now expect virtual goods across various social games and applications, including Viximo’s newest release, SnapMeUp; a game reminiscent of older Facebook titles such as Friends for Sale and coupled with a bit of online flirting. In addition to this, users can also expect new games and apps as well, as they are added to the Viximo portfolio.

Gangsta Pets Gets Funding Here’s a win for everyone as social developer ZinkyZonk, headed up by David Doak and Steve Ellis (formerly of Crytek subsidiary, Free Radical), have recently announced that they have received 50,000 in British pounds from EM Media in partnership with East Midlands Development Agency. What will the money be used for? Well, consider two of the oldest and most popular Facebook games around – Mafia Wars and Pet Society – and combine them. The result: Gangsta Pets, a game allowing custom animals and forming gangs of friends.

ZwinkyVirtual World Zwinky Fights Big Tobacco – Teen virtual world Zwinky has teamed up with anti-smoking campaigner Truth in an attempt to influence and inform younger audiences about the hazards of tobacco.

Throughout the world known as “Zwinktopia” and the Zwinky website, users will be able to find a multitude of promotional units – such as flyers and even Easter eggs –  driving them to the Zwinky gaming hub where they will be able play games such as Addictor, then click and learn about the addictiveness of smoking. Currently, the move will run until the end of June and will potentially reach over 24 million users.