Social Gaming Roundup: RockYou Layoffs, Offer Walls, Virtual Greats & More

RockYou Restructures, Lays Off Employees — Social game developer and advertising network RockYou, which was once considered an equal to Playdom or CrowdStar, has laid off a significant number of employees, according to TechCrunch. The company is moving to focus only on social games, like its recent release Toy Land.

Deal United Introduces Offer Wall Converter — At the Virtual Goods Summit, Deal United announced the launch of its Offer Wall Converter, which will allow easy integration of Deal United’s platform alongside existing offer providers. Additionally, the company is offering a $50,000 sign up bonus for the first 10 online games to use the Offer Wall Converter.

i-Jet Media to Raise $20 Million — Russian social games publisher, i-Jet Media is seeking to raise $20 million in funding at a $100 million valuation, according to Vedomosti. I-Jet says that the funding will be used to further expand the company and enter new markets.

Virtual Greats Continues to Grow — Earlier this week, we noted the growth of virtual goods with Virtual Greats’ integration of branded goods within PageFad’s sports games. The company just announced another partnership, this time with Mentez, to bring branded Paris Hilton virtual goods to the Latin social network, Orkut.

App Genius to Reward Players for Losing Online — App Genius has announced the launch of their new title on Facebook, My Mad Millions, where users try to spend $300 million virtual dollars. As a reward, the top 20 percent of active players (chosen twice a month) will be rewarded with 50 percent of the game’s revenue.

Gossip & Ultima From EA — There’s been a huge among of gossip and ranting out of Electronic Arts recently about its problems producing successful MMOGs. Among the rants, the anonymous “EA Louse” alleged that the classic Ultima franchise is coming to Facebook as a pet project of an EA exec.

Bonfire Studios May Have Cost $6.3 Million — A form D SEC filing submitted by Zynga notes that the company paid at least $6.3 million for Bonfire Studios; the developer acquired by the company earlier this month.

Zynga Expands Further — In other Zynga news, VentureBeat noted a list of new job postings from the company, including positions at what appears to be a new Seattle office.

Save Energy With Social Games — After a round of angel funding, Formative Labs has said that they’re looking to teach people to save energy, says TechCrunch. While the company has not disclosed details on how, they will be using social gaming.

Microsoft Unveals Windows Phone 7 & App Hub — Microsoft announced this week the coming of a new series of Windows Phone 7 devices, as well as App Hub, where Windows Phone and Xbox Live game developers can find everything from development tools to support.

Scoreloop Partners with Samsung — Social, mobile gaming platform Scoreloop is partnering with Samsung this week, making the Scoreloop SDK available to developers of the smartphone platform.

Kiva’s Biggest Rival — Micro-lending startup Kiva attracted some attention this week by calling Zynga its biggest competitor. Why? Because Zynga games soak up attention and disposable income online, drawing those resources away from non-profits and other social causes. A video from TechCrunch explains Kiva’s plans to compete over the next five years.

Gravity Bear Rants About “Gamification” — Social developer Gravity Bear has written an amusing rant against gameification, the process of adding game elements to non-gaming media. While much of the digital media industry appears excited about the concept as a business model, Gravity Bear says the concept is just a fad.