TabTale looks to help small indie developers with Crazy Labs publishing label [Interview]


Educational app and game company TabTale announced its Crazy Labs publishing brand in late February, with the goal of creating fun new applications for audiences 13 years and older. Alongside the announcement of Crazy Labs came the reveal of Air Hockey Mania – Disky, an air hockey game developed by Playful Shark and Plaid Games.


PopCap vets form collaborative game development team Fixer Studios [Interview]


Inspired by the indie game-jam spirit, a group of industry veterans have come together to form a new mobile development team called Fixer Studios. Spearheaded by former PopCap Games manager Avery Alix, the “collaborative cloud” development team is made of a volunteer workforce, where members can join and scale the scope of their work based on their individual availability, previous experience and desire.

The team is comprised of around 30 members, but that number changes based on the availability of team members. The company is self-funded, and as members join or leave the group, the rest of the team reassesses current tasks to keep development on track.


Pixelberry Studios tackles cyberbullying in High School Story on iOS [Interview]

Image via Pixelberry Studios

Image via Pixelberry Studios

Pixelberry Studios has announced the addition of new content to its mobile game High School Story, tackling the topic of cyberbullying. Via new quests and other content, High School Story players meet a girl named Hope, who is being cyberbullied, and can help her stand up to her bullies using sensitive, realistic dialog developed in collaboration with cyberbullying charity The Cybersmile Foundation.


The Simpsons: Tapped Out celebrates Christmas with biggest update ever

Image via Electronic Arts

Image via Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts has announced its biggest update ever for The Simpsons: Tapped Out, bringing a massive holiday event to gamers on smartphones and tablets. From now until January 7, players will be able to collect presents from friends and give some of their own, as they complete over 50 quests and unlock a variety of new buildings, costumes and characters.


Team Chaos embraces match-three puzzlers with Dragon Academy on mobile, Facebook [Interview]

Image via Team Chaos

Image via Team Chaos

Austin-based game developer Team Chaos has released its own take on match-three puzzle games in Dragon Academy, which is now available to play on iOS, Android and Facebook. The game sees players taking charge of up to six powerful dragons as they complete match-three puzzle levels inspired by the likes of Bejeweled and King’s Candy Crush Saga.

The game is level-based, with each stage having a different basic requirement, like earning a specific number of points in a limited number of moves. As players make matches of four or more like symbols on the board, power-up dragon eggs appear, allowing them to clear whole rows or columns, or otherwise remove large amounts of symbols from the board when activated.

Along the way, players are introduced to the mischievous Wobblins, who have stolen the dragons’ hatchlings. Users must complete levels to save those Hatchlings, watching their dragons grow and become more powerful as they progress. Dragon Academy comes with over 150 puzzles across 13 in-game worlds, with three dragons being available as in-app purchases.

We had a chance to chat with Team Chaos Creative Director Trent Polack to learn more about Dragon Academy, and why the game’s cross-platform release was so important.


Cie Games speeds to the top of the charts with Racing Rivals on iOS [Interview]

Image via Cie Games

Image via Cie Games

Car Town developer Cie Games has found fast success with its newest mobile game, Racing Rivals, which sped onto iOS at the end of August. The drag racing game allows players to race against live opponents around the world, unlocking licensed cars from BMW, Acura, Mitsubishi and more as they continue to compete.

Gameplay in Racing Rivals sees players tapping on the screen to shift as they make their way down a single stretch of track. Players can use their earned currency to purchase tons of upgrades for their car(s), including some in categories most other car games ignore, including connecting rods and engine headers, to name a few.

Within the first week of launch, Racing Rivals was downloaded over one million times on iOS devices. We recently had a chance to chat with Cie Games VP of Business Development Matt Nutt about Racing Rivals, how the company responded to such fast success, and why the game really stands out above the competition.


Cryptid Studios brings Pocket Oceans to life on iOS [Interview]

Image via Cryptid Studios

Image via Cryptid Studios

Cryptid Studios has today announced the launch of Pocket Oceans on iOS, the independent developer’s take on “Zombie Farm meets FishVille” that allows users to design and manage their own underwater habitat, breeding and selling fish to make a profit.

The RPG simulation game gives players access to a variety of tank decorations and rare and exotic fish. The more fish users breed and maintain, the more they’ll advance through the experience. If players are interested in creating more than just a peaceful aquarium, they can also spend their time defeating predator creatures, including crabs, giant walruses and more.


PlayFirst partners with Sony for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones mobile game [Interview]

Mortal-Instruments_Battle1-650Image via PlayFirst

PlayFirst and Sony Pictures have announced the launch of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on iOS and Google Play, a week before the launch of the film that inspired it on August 21. The action roleplaying game sees players taking on the role of a Shadowhunter, a half-angel, half-human challenged with defeating vampires, warlocks and other monsters throughout New York City.


Pocket Gems launches Animal Voyage: Island Adventure on iOS, Android [Interview]

animal-voyage-650-mainImage via Pocket Gems

Free-to-play gaming pioneer Pocket Gems has today announced the launch of its latest game on iOS and Android, Animal Voyage: Island Adventure. The game takes players on a quest to save animals trapped behind tall grass, trees and other obstacles, and then allows players to build a customizable refuge for those animals back at home.

Animal Voyage: Island Adventure is Pocket Gems’ first simultaneous release on iOS and Android, launching in nine languages worldwide. As players rescue bears, gorillas, leopards and more, they’ll be joined by a cute red panda as their faithful sidekick. Different animals come with different abilities, like breaking rocks or cutting down trees, so players will need as many animal friends as they can find to make the most progress.


Inside Social Apps’ speaker Ya-Bing Chu from Betable on being first to real-money gaming in the U.S., room for innovation in RMG and more

Ya-Bing Chu headshotToday’s Q&A is with Ya-Bing Chu, chief product officer at Betable, a real-money gaming (RMG) platform provider. Chu will be speaking at our Inside Social Apps conference next week on the Gambling Games: The Promise of Real Money panel. Go here to register.

Inside Mobile Apps: What do you think the impact will be if more real-money games were real-time, not asynchronous, on mobile?

Ya-Bing Chu, Betable chief product officer (pictured right): The potential excitement for multiplayer synchronous games is unparalleled. Look at the amazing online massively multiplayer online experiences like World of Warcraft or Xbox Live FPS games — they’re fully immersive, social, and always entertaining. I believe real-money games can offer similar entertainment value on top of the opportunity to win money. On mobile, there are technology, device, and session length constraints that mean that it’s still an emerging market by audience size. But it’s also an underserved market, which means that it’s a great place to lead the way. If you look at the casino industry, table games are the most popular today, and I believe much of it is due to their social and synchronous fun. And by the way, the structure of this question implies an either-or winner, but I believe it’s more of an expansion of the market to meet player demand. There’s no conflict.

IMA: What’s the viability of cash tournaments for skill-based games on mobile?

Chu: It’s been a viable category on the web for some time, and it has the advantage of being legal in many states in the U.S. The question is how big can it get, and what are the right games that can get a broad audience to keep playing. To date, it has been relatively niche in terms of revenue. I don’t know that mobile will have an advantage in the near-term over web in skill-based gaming market size. (more…)

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