Social Gaming Roundup: Playdom, FarmVille, Joystick, & More

Playdom TV — According to a tweet from Playdom, there is a curious series of Playdom themed shorts on YouTube called Playdom TV. Thus far, there are shorts on Verdonia, Sorority Life, and Social City.

PopCap to Add Social Features — At the Develop Conference in Brighton, UK, Senior Designer for PopCap, David Bishop stated that the company is “looking to add social features to all our existing games going forward.” The details were not revealed, but cross-platform taunting and challenges for Peggle was one example given.

MyYearbook Expands Virtual Currency Partners – Social network myYearbook has a new service partner for its Currency Connect – a virtual currency exchange for social media sites. Teen property and social game, WeeWorld marks the second partner for myYearbook’s service, with the first being IMVU last year.

Joystick Labs Announces Mentors for Fall 2010 Accelerator Program – This week, Joystick Labs, a company focused on the development of digitally distributed games, announced the initial group of mentors that will advise teams in the Fall 2010 accelerator program for indie game developers. Of the names announced, mentors include individuals from Epic Games, Insomniac Games, Playdom, NVIDIA Corp., Republic of Fun, and The Escapist. Venture capital investors include Intersouth Partners, Intel Capital, and IDEA Fund Partners.

Owen Van Natta Working Closely with Zynga – Former MySpace CEO (and Facebook executive) Owen Van Natta has been advising Zynga, according to All Things Digital. Now, he and the company are considering bringing him in a bigger role, “like COO.”

FarmVille Adds First Branded Crop – Cascadian Farm will become the first branded, and organic, crop in the Zynga game, FarmVille. The integration, however, appears to be limited, lasting only from July 19th to July 26th. For the duration, players will be able to buy organic blueberries for their farms as well as attain coupon offers, green living tips, and the chance to build their farms up faster.

We R Interactive Seeks to Blend Films & Social Games – Financially backed by ITV’s commercial head, Fru Hazlitt, London-based social gaming company, We R Interactive is trying something new, as it attempts to marry film and social games. According to the information we have, the games themselves will be predominantly on Facebook, but also available on iPhone, Android, and other social networks. As for the film element, these are said to be live action films integrated into the games’ narrative(s).

Plants vs. Zombies 2? – When we reviewed PopCap‘s Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone, we thought it fantastic. However, a post from Slide to Play suggests that there may be a sequel as the folks there received a cryptic message stating that they should “Save the Date” of August 2nd.

[image via Slide to Play]

Ignition to Move into Social Games – Ignition Entertainment is a company primarily focused on publishing Japanese games, but this week, the company has noted that it wishes to expand into the digital space, focusing on networks such as Xbox Live, Sony, Steam, and Facebook. The company will be rebranded as UTV Ignition Entertainment.

MATOMY Launches Engage Bar – After closing $1 million in funding, virtual payments provider MATOMY has announced the launch of its Engage Bar. In short, it is a customizable offers widget that appears within a game that utilizes it.

Mafia Wars Ad Banned – A Mafia Wars ad depicting a man with a knife and the tag line “From street thug to capo. Earn your street cred and be respected.” was banned as the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that carrying a weapon implied a literal means of earning respect and success.

[image via]

Sony Head Starts Dire Wolf Digital Game Studio – Former head of Sony Online Entertainment Denver, as well as a handful of other SOE vets, have started up Dire Wolf Digital Game Studio. The new company will specialize in online trading card games, digital collectibles, and social games.

Startup Ze Frank Games – Video blogger Ze Frank is starting up a game-oriented company called Ze Frank Games with $500,000 in angel funding. As to what specifically the company will make is unclear, but Ze Frank does say it will involve social gaming.