Social games news roundup: Zynga, pachinko and smutty social games

Zynga’s CCO says social games aren’t truly social – Zynga may be the biggest game developer on Facebook, but Chief Creative Officer Bob Bates says the current generation of social games isn’t all that social because they’re mostly asynchronous. Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Bates explained social games have a way to go before being truly social experiences.

Japanese Pachinko industry concerned about rise of social games – Writing for 4Gamer, financial investor Ichirou Yamamoto states that the Japanese Pachinko Industry is none too happy about the rise of social games because they have mechanics similar to gambling but aren’t regulated. This argument makes some sense: Kotaku cites the example of collectible card game Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, where players will sometimes spend upwards of $1,000 and never acquire the rare cards they’re seeking. The fact that the Pachinko industry is concerned is more than a little strange, though, since Pachinko machines are often used for gambling in Japan. (Image source)

New pornographic social games platform comes to Japan – A new mobile service launched in Japan this week, specializing in free-to-play “adult” games. The service is called moeG, named after Moe, “a rarefied pseudo-love for certain fictional characters (in anime, manga, and the like) and their related embodiments.” moeG is only available for feature phones right now, but a smartphone version is coming. According to Dr. Serkan Toto, the service features games, customizable “ero-avatars” (not suitable for minors) and “a community of Moe lovers.”’s monthly traffic up by over 800 percent from last year – Aside from launching Candy Crush Saga on Facebook, hit another milestone this week with Facebook game matches up to 2.5 billion per month. That’s a significant gain from a year ago, when there were only 300 million matches played on’s web portal. The company credits its “Saga” games (Bubble Witch Saga, Hoop De loop Saga, Mahjong Saga, Puzzle Saga and Bubble Saga) for this success, since “they can be played in a minute or two.”

Akamon and Taringa! bring social games to Spain and Latin America – Akamon Entertainment Ltd. is expanding out from Brazil, Spain and France, thanks to a new deal with Spanish language social network Taringa! The social network will distribute Akamon’s 30 games to its users in Spain and Latin America. Taringa! has over 70 million users and claims to be the No. 1 social network in Latin America. Akamon claims the deal will double its user base within the next year, bringing the total number to 12 million.

Education predicted as next big theme for social games – Social games developer Obscene Interactive claims the next major trend for social games will be education. The company believes “the potential for social and mobile games to teach new skills and critical thinking is considerable” thanks to intuitive touch-screen interaction on the current generation of mobile devices, while things like language skills can be taught with online social games. Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers launched this week and teaches players about different kinds of wildlife, so perhaps the trend is closer than even Obscene Interactive believes. Facebook’s minimum age requirement for users is still 13 years old.

Play The Witcher 2 and Saints Row 3 on Facebook – Game streaming service Gaikai has come to Facebook and users are able to play demos of major video games on the app. The demos include some pretty big titles, including Saints Row 3, The Witcher 2 and Dead Rising 2. Gaikai streams data from a remote server to a user’s computer, like competing cloud gaming service OnLive, so all that’s really needed to play these games is a fast internet connection. According to PocketGamer, some of the demos can’t be streamed in all regions.

Car Town launches Indy 500 challenge — The 2012 Indy 500 has arrived on Cie Games’s Car Town. The new feature allows players to race as famous IndyCar drivers. Additionally, if a player owns one of these driver’s cars in the game, they can win bonus content if the driver wins real-world races.