Social Gaming Roundup: Saving the World, WoW in China, Mystery Fundings and More

Gaikai Raises $5 Million – Another startup, online gaming company Gaikai, has also raised funding. $5 million, to be exact; also according to an SEC filing. Headed up by former Acclaim chief creative officer, David Perry, the company has made no comment regarding the funding. All the same, VentureBeat has previously reported that Gaikai is “planning to create a service that can deliver games on demand without the need to install or run software on a computer or game machine.” Instead, games will be cloud-streaming.

Video Games May Save the World – Despite the common complaints about violence in video games, Time Magazine looks to some of the more positive elements of this growing medium. According to the article, the past decade has had many pivotal success with games educating the masses of real world issues with titles such as Darfus Is Dying from MTV in 2006. The goal was to help refugees find water, and it had reached over 700,000 players in one month, leading thousands more to email and petition government officials about the pressing issues. Along with games such as Food Force, Half the Sky, and the myriad of recent Zynga charity benefits in games, hundreds of thousands of people are being educated and moved with games which Alan Gershenfeld, former vice president of Activision, describes as “powerful tools.” Certainly, it is an article best read in full here.

MySpace to Host devJam Event – A few weeks ago, MySpace announced the MySpace Developer Challenge. Well, now the social network is hosting the devJam event in San Francisco on January 14th in order to offer a place where developers can not only meet their development team but get started on their submissions. With multiple coding sessions for each of the contest’s categories and updates on all new MySpace APIs, the general hope is to help developers have Challenge-ready submissions by the end of the day. Further details and RSVP links can be found here.

World of Warcraft China Punishment Coming Soon?  – According to a report from Pacific Epoch, the massively multiplayer online RPG, World of Warcraft is going to have a more settled fate. The game has been had trouble with the country’s competing regulators, China’s General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) and Ministry of Culture (MoC) — however the game license-holder in China, Netease, has been operating it since September. The regulators have reached a “consensus over whether NetEase [Chinese operator of World of Warcraft] is operating… in contravention of regulations, and plan to announce punishment in mid-January.” Hopefully, for the estimated 5 or so million Chinese players, “punishment” will not mean more downtime.

YoVille Widget Factory Returns – September of last year played host to Zynga’s removal of, what was called, the “Widget Factory” from its social, virtual world, YoVille. In its place came the new Sweets Factory, but as a primary source of virtual income in the game, the loss of the Widget Factory led to a long and arduous protest from some of the player base. 53,000 protesters joined the virtual cause, eventually coaxing Zynga into bringing back the Widget Factory for the holidays. However, whether or not it is back permanently is yet to be determined.

Quepasa Parnters with Moblyng – Latin social network announced a partnership yesterday with developer and cross-platform games publisher Moblyng. Through the partnership, Moblyng will make use of Quepassa’s implementation of the OpenSocial framework to make a myriad of its games available for the site’s users as well as through mobile phones. Thus far, eight games have been agreed upon for use including m:Poker Live, m:Vampire, m:Mafia, m:Racing, m:Zombies, Dungeon Quest, WordRacer, and Narcotraficante.