Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Social gaming company Zynga has acquired game and software developer NaturalMotion for $527 million — giving the company access to simulation technology that makes characters look and move naturally. Zynga hopes to improve its mobile games like “FarmVille,” which currently feature more cartoon-like 2D characters. The same technology behind NaturalMotion was used in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and Rockstar uses it for the “Grand Theft Auto” games. Continue reading Zynga Acquires NaturalMotion and Its Simulation Technology

Facebook Testing Mobile Payment Service, Rival To PayPal

Facebook is conducting tests with selected partners regarding a new payment product for online purchases on mobile apps. The service would allow any Facebook user that has provided their credit card to make purchases on partnering e-commerce mobile apps without having to enter billing information. The payment system could provide valuable data for itself and advertisers on shopper behavior and preferences in and out of Facebook. Continue reading Facebook Testing Mobile Payment Service, Rival To PayPal

Social Gaming Giant Launches Real-Money Games in UK

Zynga launched two real-money games, ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino, in the United Kingdom on April 3. Powered by the bwin.party gaming operator, the social gaming giant is starting off with download and Web versions of the games, while hinting at social versions to come later in the year to Facebook and mobile in the UK. Only players 18 years and older are permitted to play the real-money games. Continue reading Social Gaming Giant Launches Real-Money Games in UK

Will the Tech Industry Go All In for Online Gambling?

Las Vegas could soon be facing competition from social networks and gaming companies. “Silicon Valley is betting that online gambling is its next billion-dollar business, with developers across the industry turning casual games into occasions for adults to wager,” reports The New York Times. The games are aimed at overseas markets for now, where attitudes and laws regarding gambling are more relaxed and very lucrative. Continue reading Will the Tech Industry Go All In for Online Gambling?

Two Popular Video Games Announce Plans for Animated Shows

Zynga social game “FarmVille” is getting its own half-hour animated TV series. The news follows Rovio’s announcement that it plans to release short, animated episodes this spring based on its popular “Angry Birds” game characters. “Together, the shows will test whether addictive video games with thin plots can translate into enjoyable programming for children,” suggests Quartz. Continue reading Two Popular Video Games Announce Plans for Animated Shows

Study Reveals Funding to Social Gaming Dips Heavily in 2012

Things can change drastically in just one year, as evidenced by the downward turn in social gaming. Investment in the medium went down by about $1 billion in 2012. There’s an important rule to follow when considering the video game business, writes Digital Trends: “what seems suddenly like the most profitable new market in the world one day, can become a wasteland the next.” Continue reading Study Reveals Funding to Social Gaming Dips Heavily in 2012

Music Integration: Will Facebook Become an All-In-One Social Media Hub?

  • Facebook has informed media executives that it will begin allowing online music services such as Spotify and Rdio to publish user activity on Facebook pages and could allow music playback without leaving the site.
  • The announcement is part of Facebook’s efforts to become a social center for media including music, games and movies.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal: “CNBC reported Wednesday that Facebook was working to create a music platform. In response, Facebook said: ‘Many of the most popular music services around the world are integrated with Facebook and we’re constantly talking to our partners about ways to improve these integrations.'”
  • Facebook was reportedly encouraged to pursue the music plan following success with social games such as “FarmVille” by Zynga Inc. The social media site is also integrating movies through deals with the likes of Warner Bros.