Zynga Discontinues 11 Games to Cut Costs

December 31, 2012 -

Zynga will shut down a total of 11 of its social games as it finds new ways to cut costs to fulfill the cost reduction plan announced by CEO Mark Pincus in November of this year. When Pincus made that announcement he said that 13 games would be shut down. The list of games scheduled for closure covers 11 on that list.

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FTC Updates Child Online Safety Regulations to Deal with Social Networks, Apps

December 19, 2012 -

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it has updated its ten-year-old rules on children's online safety but came just short of adding changes that would sanction or hold responsible platform holders like Facebook and Apple, reports All Things D. The new rules hope to tighten privacy and sharing restriction rules for children who might use social networks or mobile apps.

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Zynga Applies for Nevada Online Gambling License

December 6, 2012 -

According to a Wall Street Journal report unearthed by GII, Zynga is applying for a gambling license in the great state of Nevada. The company has shown a great interest in building social gaming properties for Facebook and its own social games portal that utilize online gambling and real-world wagers.

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Facebook Puts New Restrictions on Game Developers

December 6, 2012 -

Facebook is changing the rules on what developers can and can't have access to when they develop games for its platform. The new policy changes on dating sharing, access to Facebook features, and pushing users to third-party websites are designed to force game developers like Zynga (who have their own web portal for games) to actually create content for Facebook. From the Facebook Guidelines:

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Square Enix Deploys, Then Pulls Questionable Hitman Absolution Facebook App

December 4, 2012 -

In what has to be a record take-down of a questionable piece of marketing, Square Enix pulled a Facebook app promoting Hitman Absolution two hours after it was deployed after a scathing report from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The company later apologized for the app. The trouble began after RPS wrote about how "Hire Hitman" app allowed users to target and assassinate their Facebook friends, complete with death threats to your intended target.

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Zynga Puts a Hit Out on Mafia Wars 2

December 4, 2012 -

Just a year after it launched, Zynga has pulled the plug on the follow-up to one of the games that made it a household name among Facebook users. According to this The Escapist report, Zynga will shut down Mafia Wars 2 at the end of this year. In a message to players posted on Facebook, Zynga announced that Mafia Wars 2 will shut down.

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Zynga Vice-President of Business Development Resigns

November 21, 2012 -

Zynga's VP of business development has resigned, joining a long list of high level executives that have left the social game maker to find greener pastures. According to an AllThingsD report, VP of business development Jonathan Flesher left the company on November 9. When at Zynga, Flesher was in charge of securing partnerships with companies such as Google, MSN and Yahoo. The company has not disclosed who will take up the duties of Flesher.

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Apple Executive Describes Zynga CEO as 'Near Tears' During Recent Meeting

November 16, 2012 -

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal (registration required to read the story), Apple director Bill Campbell shared a story about a meeting with Zynga chief executive officer Mark Pincus, where he described his demeanor as discouraged and being almost in tears about the fate of the company he created.

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Zynga Shuffles The Executive Deck

November 14, 2012 -

Zynga this week shuffled the senior management deck as chief financial officer David Wehner left to take an executive post at Facebook. Mark Pincus has apparently restructured the management team in a way that centralizes command structure and fills the gigantic gaps left by recent departures from the company in the last few months.

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Former Zynga Employees Join Rumble Entertainment

November 13, 2012 -

Brian Schneider and Steve Desilets, two former senior staff members at Zynga have assumed senior roles at free-to-play studio Rumble Entertainment. Brian Schneider will take on a role in Rumble’s executive team, where he will focus on retention and monetization strategies. Former Zynga design director Steve Desilets will serve as creative partner with Rumble co-founder and design director John Yoo. His goal will be to build new Rumble-developed games.

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Zynga to Shut Down Two Titles, Plan to Close 11 Additional Games in the Future

November 5, 2012 -

Zynga will shut down two of its games in early December, with plans to close 11 additional titles later on down the road. This news follows word that the company would close its Boston offices and reduce five percent of its workforce from offices in Austin, the UK, and Japan.

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Foursquare gets in on the 2012 Election

November 2, 2012 -

Foursquare has teamed up with Google, the Voting Information Project, the Pew Center on the States, Engage, and the New Organizing Institute to help voters make the most of the 2012 elections.

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Facebook Sued by Kickflip for Monopolizing Virtual Currency on its Social Network

October 31, 2012 -

A federal antitrust complaint filed by virtual-currency and payment-processing provider Kickflip (doing business as Gambit) claims that Facebook destroyed its business when it took over the virtual currency used in games on its social network. Prior to that move, Kickflip claims that it was a "leading virtual-currency and payment-processing provider to software developers that published games on Facebook and other social networks."

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Zynga Settles Lawsuit With Kobojo

October 19, 2012 -

Zynga has settled its trademark infringement lawsuit against French game development studio Kobojo, according to Gamasutra. Zynga sued the company for using the "Ville" suffix on its game PyramidVille - an action it took against plenty of other developers for including Dungeonville developer Night Owl. Zynga filed its lawsuit in May of this year, but PyramidVille originally released on Facebook 15 months before Zynga took the developer to court.

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For The People: November Madness Contest Launches

October 15, 2012 -

Rocket Surgeon, makers of the political social Facebook game, For the People: Fantasy Politics, have launched a special contest today called For The People: November Madness.

For The People: November Madness is free to everyone and allows participants to take a stab at predicting the winners of the 2012 presidential election and every House and Senate race across the country. Each correct pick earns a point, and the person who ends up with the most total points wins a grand prize.

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EEDAR: Zynga Could Become Target of Acquisition

October 5, 2012 -

Speaking to GamesIndustry International, EEDAR VP of Insights Jesse Divnich says that he thinks the social game publisher has fallen far enough in value that it could become an acquisition target for the right company.

"At a $1.7 billion market cap, a Zynga acquisition seems favorable for anyone looking to pick up 300 million pair of eyeballs every month," Divnich said. "I'd argue that Facebook could become a potential suitor for Zynga--of course I am not trying to spread any rumors; rather I am thinking out loud."

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Baird Equity Research Downgrades Zynga

October 5, 2012 -

Baird Equity Research has downgraded social game developer and publisher Zynga after the company said that it expected a massive loss in the third quarter that ended on September 30. The company said that it now expects to report a $90 - $150 million loss for quarter. Zynga blamed the new numbers on "weakness of certain games" and an impairment charge of $85 million to $95 million related to its purchase of Draw Something developer OMGPOP.

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For The People: Fantasy Politics Beta Launches on Facebook

October 2, 2012 -

Social game developer Rocket Surgeon has opened the beta of its Facebook game, For The People: Fantasy Politics to the public today. The 3D Facebook game lets players become the fictional 436th member of the House of Representatives, and play a key role in shaping the laws and policies of a fantasy democracy. Beginning today and running until the new Congress is seated in January, players can test their skills as a U.S.

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Party Politics: Match-3 Meets Presidential Politics

September 18, 2012 -

We missed Party Politics when it launched earlier this month on both Facebook (September 6) and Kongregate (September 13), but it's worth mentioning now. Developed by Checkpoint Studios, Party Politics is a politically-themed match-3 puzzle game that is free-to-play. The game uses a Bejeweled style of gameplay combined with political themes in a quest to earn support and win the 2012 election.

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Former Zynga GM Joins KIXEYE

August 23, 2012 -

Former Zynga Studio General Manager Alan Patmore has joined its competitor, social game developer KIXEYE. He will serve as the company's new Vice President of Product. Patmore served as the General Manager of CityVille at Zynga. He also oversaw the popular game Mafia Wars. In his new role he will be responsible for overseeing product strategy and development.

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Facebook: 235 Million Playing Games on Social Network

August 14, 2012 -

According to internal data released by Facebook, the number of Facebook subscribers who play games has increased by more than 15 percent over last year. According to the largest social network in the world, 235 million people play games on Facebook, up from 205 million. Facebook claims that this growth has mostly been driven by its new App Center feature, which has helped in driving install and return play rates upwards.

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Maxis GM Thanks Game Community for Support in Zynga Lawsuit

August 8, 2012 -

We missed this at the beginning of the week, but it's worth reporting on now even at the eleventh hour. Lucy Bradshaw, the General Manager for EA's Maxis Label, took to the EA Blog to offer a sincere thank-you to the gaming community for its strong level of support in the lawsuit against Zynga. Last week EA filed a lawsuit against Zynga alleging that its Facebook game The Ville blatantly copied key components from its game The Sims Social

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First Facebook Game to Offer Cash Prizes Launches in UK

August 7, 2012 -

UK-based game maker Gamesys has launched the first Facebook game ever that allows for real cash prizes. The game, available in the UK, is called Bingo & Slots Friendzy, and is the first on the Facebook App Centre to pay real cash prizes.

Bingo & Slots Friendzy is only accessible to those ages 18 and over, according to Gamesys, who promise "a series of controls" to protect those under 18-years-old and "vulnerable people." Users will also have access "self-help tools to limit their spending and exclude themselves from playing at anytime.”

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EA Sues Zynga for Copyright Infringement

August 3, 2012 -

Hey, remember last month when we poked fun at the ability to make “whoopee” in Zynga’s latest ‘ville’ game The Ville and noted the similarity to the ability to make “woo-hoo” in EA’s Sims Social?

Yeah, good times.

Well, EA thinks “whoopee” and other features are just a bit too similar to its game and are suing Zynga for copyright infringement.

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Google, Facebook Join The Internet Association

July 26, 2012 -

According to this BBC report Facebook, eBay, Google and Amazon have joined a new lobbying group that will push issues they deem important in Washington. The new lobbying group is called The Internet Association, and will open up shop in Washington D.C. in September. They will handle political and regulatory issues in the capital.

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EA CEO Talks Free-to-Play, Investors' Lack of Understanding

July 19, 2012 -

In an interesting interview with CNBC, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello says that the company's recent decline in its stock price isn't due to the business, but to a lack of understanding in how the business works on the part of investors. For starters industry's focus on NPD's packaged game sales numbers is "misguided," and ignores the current strong shift towards digital sales - which NPD doesn't have a handle on yet. He points to their success with games on Apple's platforms as well as on Facebook.

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Zynga Donates Talent to 'Social Action' Charity Facebook Game

July 16, 2012 -

Zynga is loaning several of its developers to create a social charity game on Facebook. Development on a "social action" game based on the book Half the Sky by Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is well underway according to GamesBeat.

The book is about "turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide." The game will be released on Facebook on November 13.

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Sex in a Zynga Game? Whoopee!

June 29, 2012 -

In the grand tradition of FarmVille, YoVille, FishVille, CityVille, and CastleVille, social game development company Zynga has released a new game in the “Ville” series titled simply: The Ville.

You just rolled your eyes, didn’t you?

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Trip Hawkins Steps Down as Digital Chocolate CEO

May 29, 2012 -

Electronic Arts co-founder Trip Hawkins announced via his official blog that he will step down from the role of CEO at mobile games company Digital Chocolate. Hawkins says that he will take an advisory role with the company he helped found.

"I am transitioning now into a consulting and advisory relationship with Digital Chocolate. For its next stage of growth, Digital Chocolate is narrowing its focus and it made sense to get more streamlined."

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Facebook IPO Puts Stock at $38 a Share

May 18, 2012 -

The world's largest social network has set the price per share of its initial public offering at $38 a share. The stock is listed on NASDAQ today and there are 421.2 million shares available (180 million in new stock, and the rest with existing stockholders). If Facebook sells all of those shares at that price, the company could raise an estimated $16 billion and have a valuation of $104 billion.

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Andrew EisenThat doesn't mean there has to be a movie though. Having said that, I've no doubt that we will eventually get a Black Panther movie. But Stan Lee will probably learn about it around the same time you and I do.09/02/2014 - 2:34pm
MaskedPixelanteWell they have to get to him eventually. Captain America's shield didn't grow on a tree, the minerals to make it had to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is Wakanda.09/02/2014 - 2:31pm
E. Zachary KnightYes, but it has never been confirmed as in development, or even pre-production.09/02/2014 - 2:21pm
MaskedPixelanteBlack Panther's been on the short list for a while.09/02/2014 - 2:18pm
E. Zachary KnightIt is possible that Stan Lee mispoke. I don't think he knows everything Marvel movies. But it is a sweet idea if true.09/02/2014 - 2:04pm
Andrew EisenSo says Stan Lee who almost certainly wouldn't know.09/02/2014 - 2:04pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.cinemablend.com/new/Marvel-Black-Panther-Movie-Confirmed-By-Stan-Lee-66993.html Black Panther is apparently getting a movie. And maybe one for Black Widow, even though I think it's too late for her.09/02/2014 - 1:53pm
Cheater87Look what FINALLY came to Australia uncut! http://www.gamespot.com/articles/left-4-dead-2-gets-reclassified-in-australia/1100-6422038/09/02/2014 - 6:49am
Andrew EisenHence the "Uh, yeah. Obviously."09/02/2014 - 12:53am
SleakerI think Nintendo has proven over the last 2 years that it doesn't.09/02/2014 - 12:31am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
 

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