Amazing World: Ganz Studios’ colorful browser MMO for kids

Image via Ganz Studios

Image via Ganz Studios

Webkinz creator Ganz Studios has officially introduced its newest game, Amazing World, a colorful free-to-play browser game, powered by Unity. Aimed at players ages six and up, Amazing World offers light 3D massively multiplayer online (MMO) gameplay, as gamers can create an avatar, complete quests and customize a home in the virtual world.

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Hasbro purchases majority stake in Backflip Studios

Backflip_studios_logo

In the interest of strengthening its mobile gaming offerings, Hasbro has purchased a majority stake in Backflip Studios, best known for games such as Paper Toss, DragonVale and NinJump.

As announced on its blog, Backflip Studios will remain based in Boulder, CO and will continue to be run by its current management team. It will continue to operate normally, supporting its current IP as well as developing new titles for the future. The studio will also have the opportunity to use Hasbro’s robust brand catalog of board games and toys.

Hasbro has paid $112 million in cash transactions for 70 percent of the company. (more…)

BlueStacks introduces GamePop Mini, subscription based ‘free’ game console

gamepop_mini

With many hardware developers looking to bring mobile gaming to the big screen, mobile virtualization company, BlueStacks, is announcing GamePop Mini, a second vehicle to deliver its GamePop mobile gaming service. The console will be provided for free as long as the user pays a $6.99 monthly subscription free. (more…)

Zynga’s annual shareholder meeting focuses on real-money gaming

Zynga script logoZynga today held its annual stockholders meeting in San Francisco, which heavily focused on the game company’s real-money gaming efforts, an anonymous shareholder told PandoDaily.

Zynga’s shareholder meeting comes one day after the company just laid off 18 percent of its staff (520 employees) and shut down three of its offices — Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York — including Omgpop‘s office. (more…)

Report: Omgpop shut downs as part of Zynga’s restructuring

Omgpop logoAs part yesterday’s staff purging at Zynga, which saw 520 employees lose their jobs, in other words 18 percent of its staff, Zynga shut down Draw Something developer Omgpop’s office, according to a report from The Verge.

Along with the layoffs, Zynga shut down its Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York offices. But, Zynga New York does include Omgpop, and now former Omgpop employees are making it public on Twitter that they are out of jobs. (more…)

Zynga lays off 18 percent of its employees, shuts down 3 offices

Zynga lgoZynga today let go 18 percent of its employees (approximately 520 people) after shutting down its Los Angeles, Dallas and New York City studios. The studios that were shut down was first reported by AllThingsD. A small portion of the 18 percent were let go from Zynga’s Los Angeles office, which saw 55 employees losing their jobs, according to a tweet from an artist at the Los Angeles studio. Empires & Allies, the first game for Facebook from the Los Angeles studio, will be shut down on June 17.The layoffs and cost cuts will be completed by August.

According to a release from Zynga, the move will result in an estimated $70 million to $80 million in pre-tax annualized cash expense savings.Zynga revenue slide Q1 2013 earnings report

In February, Zynga closed it’s Baltimore studio as well as relocated its Mckinney, Texas and downtown Austin offices to its Dallas and North Austin Offices. The New York City offices saw consolidation as well, with the staff moving to the New York City mobile studio before being completely shut down today. In October 2012, Zynga laid off more than 100 employees, axing employees from its Chicago office, while completely closing down its Boston office. (more…)

Social Point’s Andrés Bou on Dragon City’s success on mobile, sticking with the Facebook platform and plans for 2013

Social Point foundersToday’s Q&A is with Barcelona-based mobile-social game developer Social Point.

Inside Mobile Apps: Could you talk about the importance of nailing cross-platform gameplay such as allowing users to pick up and play where they left off on either platform?

Andrés Bou, Social Point co-founder and co-CEO (pictured left with co-founder and co-CEO Horacio Martos): Offering a full cross-platform experience has been a core strategy of Social Point this year. With access through both Facebook and mobile, our users are able to play the same game wherever they are, without missing a beat. Dragon City players can now enjoy the game from their phones, when they are commuting to work, at their offices or back home on their tablets, curled up on the sofa.

From a business point of view, giving users the opportunity to play on multiple platforms increases their time spent in the game and the likelihood that they come back every day. Retention (and proportionally monetization) increases significantly.

Additionally, we value the social component that Facebook integration offers because it’s closely linked to our company’s philosophy.

Read the complete interview on our sister site, Inside Mobile Apps.

Diner Dash Review

Diner Dash app iconDiner Dash is an Android app from PlayFirst. It is now available on Google Play for free and carries additional in-purchases.

Diner Dash was originally released in 2003 on the PC. Since then, the title has made its way onto many platforms including Mac, iOS, and now Android. The new Android release doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but the large audience who may have may not have had a chance to play the iOS version finally have a chance to play one of the most downloaded games of all time.

Diner Dash places players in the role of Flo, a waitress whose main focus is to keep customers satisfied. The game starts off simple by walking players through a stage. Players will drag customers to an open seat, take their orders to the window, bring them their food, and clean the tables. The simple approach and slow-paced start is a great way for players to get used to the game, but the speed and difficulty quickly picks up when more customers and larger groups start coming in. Another layer of difficulty is revealed when new customers are introduced. There are numerous customers and they each have their own personality and timing. To find success in Diner Dash, players need to learn what makes each customer unique and plan strategy around it.

Diner Dash presents dozens of levels. Within each level, players can earn up to three stars. Two stars can be gained when the player’s score reaches certain marks. A third star is earned when the player accomplishes a specific goal for the level. These third goals vary in difficulty, but they all provide a heightened level of challenge. Obtaining all three stars in any given stage is often a tricky task, but because most stages are quick to play, players can easily try again if they come up short. Players aren’t required to earn three stars in each stage, but those looking for an extra challenge will jump at the opportunity.Diner Dash screenshot

Diner Dash monetizes in two ways. The first method is offering free and premium versions of the game. The free version only comes with seven stages, and is more of a trial version than a free game. The premium version, features 50 more levels, five new locations, and a handful of new customers and challenges. The premium version can be downloaded as an in-app purchase for $2.99, and players who enjoy the free game will get a ton of added value. The other method of monetization is through in-app purchases. During the game, Flo gets tips from happy customers. Tips can be used to purchase upgrade and boost items. Upgrades are passive effects that make the game easier, while boosts are single-use consumables that make the game easier for a short time. The money earned in-game can buy a few items, but users can buy bundles of in-game currency ranging from $0.99 to $24.99. Even the cheap bundles provide a lot of bang for the player’s buck, given them extra motivation to upgrade their character.

Diner Dash is an excellent game that Android users are finally able to experience. The major audience looks to be mobile gaming fans who may not have played the game on PC or iOS. Diner Dash will certainly not disappoint that group, as its short levels and simple gameplay produce short gameplay sessions that are perfect for mobile devices. The monetization methods work well, and players aren’t pressured into spending in-game currency. Diner Dash hasn’t changed too much over the years, but it’s still a welcome addition to the Android library.

You can follow Diner Dash’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.

PLAY

One of the most popular downloadable games makes its way to Android.

King to launch Pet Rescue Saga on Mobile this summer; now has more than 70M DAU

New King logoThe London-based game studio behind Candy Crush Saga today announced that it’s launching Pet Rescue Saga on iOS and Android early this summer, while also revealing that it has more than 70 million daily active users (DAU) across all platforms — mobile, Facebook and web.

Pet Rescue Saga, which first launched on Facebook in October 2012, joins Candy Crush Saga and Bubble Witch Saga as the third mobile title from the U.K. company. Pet Rescue Saga is a match-3 puzzler in the same vein as the mega popular Candy Crush Saga. The title will launch with more than 72 levels, providing cross-platform gameplay across mobile and Facebook, meaning a user’s game state including their leaderboards, scores and progress remain synchronized. Cross-platform play has been a feature that has shown to be very successful for King’s mobile games so far. Pet Rescue Saga for mobile was developed by King’s Malmo studio.Pet Rescue Saga Facebook screenshot

King’s 70 DAU is significant because it topped Zynga’s 52 million DAU, which it announced during its latest earnings call. When comparing the companies, King is a private company with 450 employees, while on the other hand, Zynga is a public company with a much larger workforce. (more…)

Digital Chocolate launches real-money gaming title Slots! Pocket UK

slots-pocket-uk-logoSocial-mobile gaming developer Digital Chocolate today launched its first real-money gaming title Slots! Pocket UK for iOS in the U.K.

Powered by real-money gaming platform Betable, Slots! Pocket UK is a slots game that allows U.K. users the option to wager either real money or virtual currency and chips on pulls of the slot machine. Betable first announced its partnership with Digital Chocolate back in November 2012. Digital Chocolate is one of 10 developers so far to partner with Betable for its real-money gaming platform, which is still a private beta program. Betable handles all the real-money aspects of the game on the backend, including compliance, fraud prevention, identity checks, wagering, and gambling results, while Digital Chocolate can focus on the development of the actual game. In order for players to gamble with real money, they must be authenticated with Betable by signing up, depositing money, and more.Slots Pocket UK screenshot 1

“[Betable] helped us leapfrog the whole race into real-money gaming by allowing us to partner with them on their platform, and of course, they have the license in the U.K. to do real-money gaming,” Jason Loia, chief operating officer of Digital Chocolate, told Inside Mobile Apps.

Continue reading on Inside Mobile Apps.

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