Social Gaming Roundup: Zynga, RockYou, Vostu, & More

Zynga Expands in Ireland — Zynga appears to be expanding again, as its job boards are hosting a whole new slew of European positions in their newest office in Dublin, Ireland. Thus far, the jobs are for centered around multilingual customer service and recruitment.

RockYou Acquires TirNua — Following up on an earlier announcement that it plans to be more aggressive about game development, RockYou has acquired TirNua, the maker of a 3D social game engine, according to VentureBeat. The acquisition price wasn’t disclosed.

Vostu Receives $30 Million in Investments — Brazilian social startup Vostu has received $30 million in investments from Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management. The company has a popular farming game, Mini Fazenda, on the social network Orkut, according to The Wall Street Journal.

EA’s Future Plans — Electronic Arts‘ stock price isn’t doing too hot, having dropped 73 percent over the past three years. In response to this problem, EA is looking to cut retail titles by 40 percent and invest more heavily into mobile and free-to-play online games, according to Reuters. Its revenue from digital content already rose 30 percent, to $570 million, last year, and it is expected to grow another 30 percent this year.

Bloomberg further notes that the game publisher has considered a large number of potential acquisitions (about 25), but most have been deemed too expensive. CEO John Riccitello said that he considered a reasonable price for many to be 5 to 10 percent of the asking price.

Nightclub City Promotes Tron Legacy — As a promotion for the upcoming Disney movie TRON: Legacy (and its console games), Nightclub City has added a new TRON: Legacy location for user nightclubs as well as TRON decor and avatar items. Additionally, the movie’s soundtrack is slated to be added to the game which includes music from Daft Punk.

Playtomic Adds HTML5 Support — Playtomic, an analytics service for casual and social games, has announced full support for games developed using HTML5 or JavaScript; along with the previously existing Flash support.

PlaySpan Reports on Black Friday Sales — Monetization solutions provider PlaySpan, has reported on some of its Black Friday sales this week. The most notable were retail game cards — specifically the Ultimate Game Card — which increased 48 percent. Additionally, the PlaySpan Marketplace reported a sales increase of 56 percent on Black Friday, as well as a 19 percent increase over the course of the weekend.

BOKU Partners with FAMM & Mobilians — Online mobile payments company BOKU has announced a direct carrier billing deal with two new partners this week. The first is the French Association of Mobile Multimedia (AFMM) in France, which includes the carriers of Bouygues Telecom, Orange France, and SFR. The second is Mobilians in Korea, which encompasses all Korean carriers. Besides direct billing connection the deals include advanced billing services such as refunds, pre and post-authorization, and higher spending limits.

Activision Finds Little Value in Mobile & Facebook Markets — While many core game developers are turning to mobile devices and Facebook for new revenue streams, a post from Finger Gaming notes one company that is not. Activision-Blizzard states that “[they] don’t view the App Store as a really big opportunity for dedicated games.”

Orkut Adds Badges — More news involving the Google-owned Orkut. The social network has recently added earnable badges to the mix that will appear on one’s profile page once acquired.

Social Gaming Experiments in Journalism — An interesting post from the Nieman Journalism Lab outlines a social Alternate Reality game experiment called “Picture the Impossible” from news site Democrat and Chronicle. The game revealed that while only 600 of the initial people (2,500) signed up were engaged, they spent 62 minutes on-site per unique user, compared to 30-35 minutes on the D&C’s core sites. Editor Traci Bauer concludes that the news industry should harness gaming strategies in some fashion.