Zynga announces closure of OMGPop.com, four OMGPop Facebook games

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Zynga has announced the closure of OMGPop.com, affecting multiple games from the service on both its own website and on Facebook. This decision does not appear to affect the Draw Something franchise, but it will see four OMGPop games removed from the Facebook platform.

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EA, PopCap’s Hidden Agenda comes to a close October 22

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PopCap owner and game publisher Electronic Arts has quietly revealed that PopCap’s Facebook hidden object game Hidden Agenda (our review) will be retired from the service on October 22. This move comes after a slow start by Hidden Agenda, which peaked at 1.8 million users in late March, according to our app-tracking service AppData.

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Kakao celebrates social games first anniversary, makes $311 million in first half of 2013

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KakaoTalk has gained a lot of traction not just as a messaging application, but as a social games platform as well. Since launching its social games service at the end of June 2012, Kakao has more than 30 million out of its 100 million users playing its catalog of 180 games. The company has announced that these games have generated revenue of 348 billion Won (around $311 million) in the first half of 2013. This is an increase of 193 percent from Q4 2012, where the company earned 118 billion Won ($105 million).

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Angry Birds Star Wars II due in September, partners with Hasbro for Telepod figures

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It was only a matter of time, but Rovio’s incredibly popular Angry Birds Star Wars is getting a sequel. The game will be made available across mobile app stores on September 19th as announced on the Rovio company blog.

In addition to the game’s release, Rovio has partnered with Hasbro to release over 30 Telepod figures relative to the 30 different playable characters in game. Telepod figures are physical toys that can be purchased in stores to be scanned by the device’s camera to then be playable in game. Telepod figures have become incredibly popular with the rapid success of Activision’s Skylanders franchise. This is the first instance of the Angry Bird franchise using toys that directly accompany the game experience.

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DeNA China partners with chip designers MediaTek to promote its social games

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Japanese mobile-social gaming juggernaut DeNA has announced that its China subsidiary will partner with Taiwanese chip designer MediaTek, Inc. to promote its social games. This is the first partnership with an upstream mobile phone supplier for DeNA China. MediaTek’s chips are used in numerous mobile phones and the partnership will make it easier to distribute more of DeNA’s games to more people.

Through the partnership, DeNA will be able to provide its mobile gaming platform, Mobage, pre-installed on devices that use MediaTek chips. Mobage has nearly 50 million users in Japan which is more than a third of Japan’s total population. In China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, the platform has gained more than 20 million gamers. This is very similar to the Pokki, Zynga and Acer partnerships we covered last month.

Though it has yet to find as much of a reputation in the U.S., DeNA has a large following in Asia with numerous high profile titles such as the Transformers IP. Last year, it saw a 22 percent increase in revenue year-to-year with profit increasing three percent. This partnership will be helpful to the Mobage platform in China, where it has already experienced decent success. A similar partnership stateside could potentially interpose the platform to more widespread usage.

Hasbro purchases majority stake in Backflip Studios

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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…)

Caesar Interactive Entertainment surpasses Zynga in social casino games

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According to a new report by Eilers Research, Caesar Interactive Entertainment has displaced Zynga as the number one social casino game publisher as originally reported by VentureBeat.

Caesars Interactive Entertainment, as a subsidiary of Caesar Entertainment, is part of the world’s largest gaming company. It has built its social gaming portfolio with studio acquisitions such as Playtika and Buffalo Studios as well as through partnerships with Microsoft and Electronic Arts. With these acquisitions, Eilers Research reports that Caesars now holds 18.6 percent of the overall social casino market in the second quarter.

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

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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…)

GigaMedia increases focus on social casino, plans launch suite of casino games

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As many developers shift toward social casino games, Taipei-based GigaMedia announced that it would be launching a new suite of casino games last Tuesday. The new suite will be released in approximately the next four weeks.

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Pokki, Zynga and Acer partner to offer arcade preloaded on new PCs

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Despite the industry shift from desktop gaming to mobile platforms, Zynga is still trying to reach players on computer platforms. The social gaming company has begun a partnership with SweetLabs, developers of free arcade platform Pokki and computer manufacturer Acer. The Pokki gaming platform will come preloaded on Acer PCs with all of Zynga’s desktop games available to download. (more…)

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