Vidgames face great divide

Forget Xbox vs. PlayStation. In the videogame industry, the biggest brewing battle these days is the one between traditional developers and the new breed — those who specialize in Facebook and iPhone titles.

While social networking games and mobile gaming apps are still dwarfed financially by franchises like “Halo” and “Call of Duty,” they’re stealing eyeballs — and talent — from the console world. And, according to some high-ranking execs, they’re putting the future of the industry at risk.

Read more at Daily Variety

Interview: Reggie Fils-Aime On Garage Devs And The Value Of Software

When Nintendo’s global president Satoru Iwata rocked this year’s Game Developers Conference with his controversial comments about developers of social and mobile games, there were a lot of questions. Was the company showing fear? Was it being too rigid in its thinking? Was Iwata actually right on the money?

A few people, though, were asking a more practical question: If the company felt this new breed of garage developers (like Rovio in its early days or Tiny Wings developer Andreas Illiger) were undervaluing their games, why not establish an opportunity for them to sell to the Nintendo audience at higher prices?

Read more at Gamasutra

Warner to offer films directly on Facebook

Netflix and Hulu have some new competition: Facebook.

Warner Bros. has announced a new program that will let users of the popular social networking stream the studio’s films online. Initially, only “The Dark Knight” will be available, but Warner says it plans to quickly ramp up the program in the coming months.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

OpenFeint Launching Cross-Platform Social Network

Gamers on Apple’s iDevices who want to compare scores can do so pretty easily through the company’s GameCenter. But what happens when their friends are playing the same game on an Android phone – or the PC?

OpenFeint is planning to build a bridge to solve the problem. The company has announced the private beta launch for OpenFeint Connect, an API solution that will allow developers to release games on any app store – for any device – and incorporate OpenFeint game data.

Read more at Gamasutra

Analysis: EA Expands Pogo.com, Looking For A Chance To Digitally Shine

Gamasutra’s Chris Morris speaks to Michael Marchetti, senior vice president of EA’s casual gaming site Pogo.com about how he intends to “build the base of new players” to add to its 1.5 million active subscribers.

To the outside world, Pogo.com has always seemed like the redheaded stepchild of Electronic Arts. Bought nine years ago, there’s nothing flashy about the site and its core audience isn’t likely to buy a lot of other EA games – well, until the next Simsexpansion pack comes around, anyway.

It’s a consistent moneymaker, however; one that has generally been left to fend for itself. And it’s done quite well. As recently as 2007, in fact, it was handily beating Facebook in terms of time spent by users, according to Compete.com. But the industry is changing fast – and now Pogo.com is being asked to step up its game.

Read more at Gamasutra

Social Game Maker Zynga’s Market Valuation Tops $5.5B

A lot of people might not know Zynga’s name, but they sure know its games. “Farmville,” “Mafia Wars,” and “Café World” are some of the biggest titles on Facebook – and continue to draw hundreds of millions of players per month.

That has led to massive growth at the social gaming company. And now SharePost, an exchange for shares of privately held companies, has put a valuation of $5.51 billion on Zynga. If accurate, that would make the company the second largest publisher in the video game industry – ahead of Electronic Arts and far ahead of Take-Two Interactive Software, but still less than industry leader Activision-Blizzard.

Read more at CNBC.com

Study: Gamers get social

Disney’s $563 million purchase earlier this month of Playdom had its skeptics, but a new survey showing the reach of the social game market could silence the deal’s critics.

The NPD Group, which tracks the sales of video games, reports that 20 percent of the U.S. population has played a game on Facebook or some other social network in the past three months. That works out to 56.8 million people tending virtual farms or collecting virtual bugs.

Read more at Daily Variety

Video Games Finding Gamers on Social Networks

“FarmVille” has sure grown a lot of gamers. A new study by The NPD Group finds that 20 percent of the U.S. population has played a game on a social network at one point or another. That works out to 56.8 million Americans.

Thirty-five percent of those players are new to gaming, having never previously experimented with any form of video game.

Read more at CNBC.com