This Week In Social Games – Feb 12, 2010

-Weekly Recap Icon-Another big week for Social Games, with Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Zynga and Offerpal making big announcements. Microsoft is considering purchase of Crowdstar, makers of Happy Acquarium, Electronic Arts has announced a Madden NFL Game and more for Facebook, Zynga acquires the makers of Friends for Sale and Offerpal releases tasks, an easy new way to buy virtual currency. Read on for more!

Why Microsoft Is Pursuing Crowdstar for $200 Million

Microsoft was rumored to be one of the parties interested in acquiring Crowdstar, the third largest Facebook Application Developer, for $200 million. Crowdstar is the creator of Happy Acquarium, a top ten application on Facebook with 26,000,000 MAUs.

Electronic Arts Earnings and New Horizons in Social/Mobile Gaming

Electronic Arts posted its 11th consecutive loss, down $82 million for the quarter ending December 31st. EA’s classic disc-on-game industry is flailing, and EA predicts it will fall a further 3% in the coming year. At the same time, EA has been increasingly focused on mobile and web games, and with the purchase of Playfish, entered the realm of Social Gaming in a big way.

Zynga Acquires Serious Business

Zynga acquires Serious Business, the makers of long-time Social Gaming hit “Friends for Sale”. This is speculated to be the beginning of a series of purchases, considering their recent round of $180 million in funding.

An Interview With J. Joly, CEO of dimeRocker Unity 3D Social Platform

The browser gaming world has slowly been adopting Unity3D as its tool standard for 3D gaming, and dimeRocker is taking that one step further by connecting these 3D games with Social Networks like Facebook and OpenSocial. Used in games by companies like EA and The Cartoon Network, the technology has begun to gain prominence as a true alternative to standard full-install disc based 3D gaming.

BigPoint, Vivox Games Announces Voice Chat on Social Games

In a first for the social gaming scene, BigPoint is announcing that they will be partnering with Vivox to release Voice Chat over their suite of social games at bigpoint.com. This comes only a week after Vivox raised $7 million from IDG Ventures, and their statement that “Voice is an essential part of the explosive growth of the social web.”

Offerpal Announces New Way To Gain In-Game Virtual Currency: Online Tasks

While not directly Social Gaming news, the implications on social games will be huge. By leveraging Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service to allow players to do artificial intelligence tasks for virtual currency, Offerpal once again lowered the bar for users to monetize their presence on social games.

EA To Release Madden NFL Game For Facebook

Coinciding with recent announcements by Playfish that they were going to bring an EA brand to Facebook, Peter Moore just announced that “Madden NFL” will be released for Facebook. The details are sparse, but Moore stated on Bloomberg Television that “we have to make Madden’ more accessible,” and “you’ll see us on Facebook going forward.”