Social Gaming Roundup: OpenFeint, gWallet, Sega, & More

OpenFeint Announces First Developers for OpenFeint X – The first string of game developers for Aurora Feint’s virtual goods platform, OpenFeint X, have been announced. Of the private beta partners are PikPok, RetroDreamer, HyperCube, and Halfbrick studios; each of which will be launching a free-to-play iDevice title on the platform later this year.

gWallet Video Campaigns Succeed in Social Games – In February, gWallet introduced the offer “Brand Bar,” that brought brand offers to the forefront in social games. This week, however, gWallet has stated that its addition of video to these offer walls has garnered and increase of click-through rates ranging from 200-300%, in the first three months, and has, in some cases, doubled ad-revenue.

Sega on Social Games – In a piece from GamesIndustry.biz, console developer Sega is getting into social gaming. However, the company won’t be buying its way into the industry with an acquisition, but will instead be building a social development team from scratch.

Universal Music Group Jumps into Location Based Games – Earlier this week, Universal Music Group began an interesting promotion. Users of Loopt Star that check in at participating bars through the location-based app will get a link to free music from artists such as Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, La Roux, and more.

PayPal To Work Without an Account – Electronic payments company, PayPal, announced a new service that will allow developers a new way to incorporate credit-card payments for in-game goods and services. Dubbed “Guest Payments,” users will no longer be required to have a PayPal account to make a credit card transaction.

Worlize Expands Team – A few weeks ago, the user-generated social gaming platform, Worlize was announced as as a private beta for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Open Social. This week, it has announced that it is expanding its team for a more formal launch. As part of that team, Sabri Sansoy will join as Chief Technology Officer (formerly CTO of Animax Entertainment) and Greg Diller as Chief Financial Officer. The platform will launch this fall.

Foursquare Gets $20 Million – Foursquare gains some new funding totaling up to $20 million in a Series B round. Participants included Union Square Ventures, Andreesen Horowitze, and O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures.

Mixpanel Tracks 1 Billion a Month – Mixpanel, an analytics service that tracks how users interact and engage with internet applications, noted a new milestone this week. The company’s analytics platform is now tracking and processing over 1 billion actions a month.

Zynga Shuts Down Games – June 29th was the last day of existence for Zynga tycoon game, Roller Coaster Kingdom. Launched at the end of August, last year, the game capped out at around 15 million monthly active users. Sadly, the game is now gone as its 1.1 million MAUs was simply not enough to make the app profitable.

Ponzi Inc. has also gone the way of the dodo. Originally made by Challenge Games – who was acquired by Zynga– the app has continually dropped and has officially been shut down after falling beneath 200,000 MAUs.

AdMob Transparency is “Changing” – After Google’s $750 million acquisition of AdMob, the mobile ad network states that it’s level of “transparency” is “changing.” This week was the last release of its Mobile Metrics Report that reports on what ads were being viewed on what devices and in what countries. The details of the change are vague, at best, but mocoNews.net notes that AdMob will be considering “how to reinvent the report to make it more useful and relevant,” and that they will continue to share data.

Tapulous Acquired by Disney – iPhone developer and creator of the popular Tap Tap Revenge franchise, Tapulous, has been acquired by Disney who is “interested” in social and mobile gaming. The company will become part of the Disney Interactive Media Group, where they will continue to create more apps centered around music in the future. Further details have not been disclosed.

In similar news, Tapulous also, this week released the latest addition to its Tap Tap Revenge franchise, Nickelback Revenge.

Sean Ryan Joins News Corp. Digital – According to paidContent.org, industry veteran, Sean Ryan will be joining News Corp. Digital as “EVP and GM of Games” in order to set up a new games unit. The endeavour will begin with recently acquireds ocial games developer Irata Labs. This isn’t the first dance for Ryan either, as he has also founded Zeus Research, TwoFish, and is chairman of the virtual world Meez.

Playfish World Cup Poll – In a fun poll conducted by Playfish, a few interesting things about what World Cup fans do, for a year, in order to see their team win. Apparently, 40% of participants would give up video games; one out of five would give up their care; and 18% said they would give up a million dollar lottery ticket. Curiously, 21.1% of men were more willing to give up cars, over 6.3% of women, but 43.8% of women would give up TV over 19.7% of men. As for teenagers, 65.4% said they would give up TV or video games.



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