Social gaming news roundup: Popcap, Kixeye and Digital Chocolate

Popcap says Facebook’s infrastructure is key to social play — Speaking to Gamasutra, EA Popcap’s Dennis Ryan noted that Facebook is becoming increasingly useful for developers making games that aren’t even playable on Facebook. “It’s important to realize that even without the Facebook site on which to actually play games,” he said, “the social network provides that important infrastructure that is becoming key to social play — even for games that don’t necessarily take place on Facebook itself.”

Kongregate’s virtual goods business soars under GameStop’s ownership — Kongregate’s past year under GameStop’s management has proven to be rather profitable. Kongregate founder Jim Greer revealed that the network’s doubled its number of virtual goods-oriented games and tripled the revenue from virtual goods sales. According to VentureBeat, virtual goods now make up 80 percent of Kongregate’s revenue.

Zynga’s director of development goes to GroupOn — TechCrunch is reporting that GroupOn has hired away one of the top executives at Zynga. Curtis Lee, who was Zynga’s director of product development, will be joining GroupOn as a VP of consumer products. Lee is referred to as a “monetization guru,” since he apparently laid the groundwork for Zynga’s success in the virtual goods and hard currency markets.

Kixeye CEO credits quality for success — According to Kixeye CEO Will Harbin, his games monetize so well that even a half million users would be enough to make a Kixeye title profitable. Harbin claims that Kixeye’s games are so successful because his company is “laser-focused” on quality, which is where many other developers lose their focus.

Digital Chocolate teams up with Mauj Mobile for India expansion — Digital Chocolate  has announced it’s partnering with Mauj Mobile in order to distribute its games in India. Mauj is going to bring over 100 of Digital Chocolate’s games to the country, including Zombie Lane, Army Attack and Millionaire City. Mauj will make the games available for download on its own Mobango apps store and also distribute the titles to mobile platforms as premium content.

Tencent increasing involvement with iOS developers — Tencent, the leading social network and game platform in China, is working to bring U.S.-developed iOS apps into the Chinese market. Last week during the Game Developers Conference, the company revealed its plans to build a closer partnership with Apple and that it has invested in a group of startups and game developers in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to Ian Song, Tencent U.S.’s director of mobile ecosystem development, “We’d like to support the mobile innovation on iOS and share our value, our revenue and user base with the developers on iOS.”

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