Each year, Las Vegas plays host to the Consumer Electronics Show, where the biggest and newest trends in technology are shown off to eager attendees from around the world. Can’t make it to the show this year? That’s alright, as we’ve got a look at some of the newest tech and apps being shown at the convention this year.
Mobile game news roundup: Christmas comes to Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, Pixel People and more mobile favorites
While many store fronts and attractions are now picture-perfect examples of Christmas cheer, many app developers have released equally festive content in their mobile apps and games. From a special Santa Warrior Card Pack in Elemental Kingdoms to the addition of Decorator Droid in Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, here’s a round-up of ways to get into the holiday spirit, right from the palm of your hand.
Mobile apps news roundup: Login with Amazon, Google Play app revenue catches up, Scopely hires former Zynga GM and more
Google Play Music coming to iOS soon, says Sundar Pichai – Google senior vice president of Android, Chrome, and Apps, Sundar Pichai announced at the AllThingsD D11 conference that the new Google Play Music service will be coming to iOS soon. Music streaming service Google Play Music is Google’s response to Apple’s iTunes and Spotify.
Amazon announces Login with Amazon, competes with Facebook Connect, Google+ Sign-In – Amazon announced a new service this week called Login with Amazon, which allows users to sign into apps, games, websites and other services using their existing Amazon credentials with just the click of a button. Most mobile apps integrate Facebook Connect, and Google recently announced Google+ Sign-In, so Amazon is entering a crowded log-in space.
Distimo’s April 2013 report: Google Play’s app revenue market share up 8% since November, DeNA sees even revenue from both major app stores – App tracking company Distimos April 2013 report revealed that Google Play’s app revenue market share between the two major app stores — Google Play and the Apple App Store — moved from 19 percent to 27 percent since November 2012, an 8 percent increase. One particular developer that’s generating nearly an equal amount of money on both app stores is DeNA. Games from the mobile-social gaming giant generated more than $5.1 million on Google Play in April and $5.6 million on the Apple App Store.
Line adds first video game makers to its platform in Square Enix, Konami, Koei Tecmo – Japan’s leading messaging app Line, which has 160 million users worldwide now, has been very selective with adding games to its games platform for Line. Line is still closed to third-party game developers, but the company has recently brought on games from Square Enix, Konami and Koei Tecmo.
Puzzle & Dragons reaches 14M users – Developer GungHo’s Puzzle & Dragons is showing no signs of slow down. The puzzle and RPG hybrid added a million players in under three weeks again — for the 12 time in a row.
Scopely hires former Zynga GM Reed Shaffner – Interactive content company Scopely added former Zynga general manager Reed Shaffner to head its product team. Shaffner will be tasked with overseeing games from the Los Angeles-based company’s developer partners as well as its infrastructure.
Mobile apps news roundup: Mobile revenues surpasses handhelds, Adelphic appoints new CEO, Disney launches Where’s My Summer? and more
HasOffers raises $9.4M round of funding – Affiliate marketing company HasOffers announced a $9.4 million round of funding led by Accel Partners. HasOffers is known for its third-party tracking service MobileAppTracking, which allows app developers to track ad networks, seeing exactly what networks resulted in user acquisition. Other participants in this round of funding included RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser and Founder’s Co-op partner Chris Devore.
App Annie and IDC portable gaming report Q1 2013: Smartphone and tablet revenues increase threefold – In a new report on mobile gaming, research firms App Annie and IDC revealed that smartphone and tablet revenues from Google Play and the Apple App Store increased threefold compared to handhelds, while also surpassing traditional handhelds in total revenue. For the first time, Google Play surpassed the Apple App Store in total downloads, but the Apple App Store remained the leader in revenue.
Adelphic taps Michael Collins as CEO – Adelphic announced that former CEO at WPP-owned mobile marketing agency Joule was tapped as the new CEO for the mobile ad startup. Adelphic is known for helping mobile advertisers find the most ideal audiences for their ads, addressing the inconsistent ID for mobile users by analyzing different signals that allow Adelphic to predic a user’s demographic information.
Payvia to acquire Mogreet – Carrier-based mobile billing startup Payvia revealed it’s buying Mogreet, a mobile marketing company which delivers campaigns through text, video and picture messaging services. Acquisition terms were not disclosed.
PlayFirst brings Diner Dash to Android – Resource manager Diner Dash, from developer PlayFirst, made its way to Google Play this week. PlayFirst also revealed that its Dash franchise reached more than 700 million downloads across all platforms globally.
Disney launches Where’s My Summer? – Disney Interactive launched Where’s My Summer? yesterday for iOS (coming soon to Android). The physics-based puzzler features Perry the Paltypus from Disney’s animated TV show Phineas and Ferb who also stars in the hit mobile title Where’s My Perry? The game is packed with 12 new limited-time levels.
Elephant Mouse launches Star Trek Rivals – Developer Elephant Mouse launched collectible card battler Star Trek Rivals (free) last week for iOS. The game features characters and ships from the two most recent Star Trek films — Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Chillingo partners with Ninja Theory to publish Fightback for mobile – Mobile game developer and publisher announced a partnership with Ninja Theory, the developer behind the recently released DmC: Devil May Cry for consoles. Chillingo will publish the Cambridge, U.K.-based indie studio’s first mobile game, Fightback for iOS and Android.
DeNA releases ShowStopper Basketball – DeNA, in partnership with GameCloud Studios, launched ShowStopper Basketball this week for iOS. The game is a basketball action simulator, putting users in charge of their own teams to coach them in real-time on the court.
Puzzle & Dragons creator GungHo reaches $15.1B market cap; higher than Nintendo – As pointed out by industry watcher Dr. Serkan Toto, GungHo Online Entertainment’s market cap, the Japanese company behind the wildly success mobile game Puzzle & Dragons, reached as high as 1.54 trillion yen ($15.1 billion) on Monday on the Osaka Stock Exchange, higher than Nintendo’s market cap of 1.53 trillion yen ($15.0 billion). It’s highly lucrative puzzle and RPG title currently has 13 million downloads in Japan, while pulling in $113 million in sales in April.
Apple clamps down on Line, users can no longer send virtual items as gifts – Japanese company Line Corp.’s removed a gift sharing feature from its iOS version of messaging app Line at the request of Apple. Prior to the removal, users could send other users stickers, a special emoji that’s been highly lucrative for the company to the tune of $58.9 million in revenue for Q1 2013, with 30 percent (approximately $17.4 million) of that revenue from stickers. Line recently surpassed the 150 million worldwide user mark.
Sonic The Hedgehog debuts on Android – Game developer and publisher Sega announced that the 16-bit Genesis classic Sonic The Hedgehog has launched on Android. The game, which was already available on iOS, is now available to download from the iTunes App Store for $2.99.
Kabam to implement Google+ Sign-In – Social game developer Kabam announced that it will be the first games company to implement Google+ Sign-In. The new integration will provide users with a simple and secure sign-in process on Kabam.com and the ability to engage users with interactive posts, which allow players to share content and prompt friends to take specific actions in their games.
Former New York Times digital and mobile products manager joins EA’s Board of Directors – Game developer and publisher Electronic Arts has appointed Denise F. Warren to its Board of Directors. Warren is executive vice president of the digital products and services group and former chief advertising officer at The New York Times Company. The announcement comes on the heels of EA’s Q4 2013 earnings report which revealed the company earned $104 million in revenue from mobile, and its increasing focus on mobile and digital products.
Mobile apps news roundup: WeChat now has 190M MAU, PvZ 2 launching in July, Amazon launches Appstore in China and more
WeChat now has 190 million MAU – Tencent’s deputy general manager Hou Xiaonan revealed on the final day of the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Bejing that the company’s messaging app WeChat now has 190 million monthly active users (MAU). This put’s WeChat on par with U.S. messaging app competitor WhatsApp, which reveled in April that it has north of 200 million MAU.
Viber reaches 200 million user mark, launches desktop client – Mobile communication app Viber recently reached the 200 million user mark, up from its last reported user figure of 140 million in December 2012, and launched a desktop client. Viber’s main competitors are messaging apps like WhatsApp and VoIP services like Skype.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 launching this July – Electronic Arts’-owned game studio PopCap revealed that its upcoming Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time will launch sometime this July. No platforms have been revealed yet.
Gameloft announces movie tie-in mobile game for Blue Sky Studios’ Epic – French mobile game developer announced a new game based on the upcoming animated feature Epic from Fox Digital Entertainment and Blue Sky Studios. This is the second game partnership between Gameloft and Fox Digital Entertainment for a Blue Sky Studios, with Ice Age Village as the first title, which launched in April 2012. The game will launch in May to coincide with the film’s theatrical release.
Amazon launches Appstore in China – Amazon launched its Android in Appstore in China this week. Amazon becomes the first western company to offer paid Android apps in the county, beating Google to the punch since Google Play only offers free apps in China, not paid apps.
Gameloft launches Blitz Brigade for iOS and Android – Gameloft recently launched its free-to-play team-based shooter Blitz Brigade, which is takes place in a World War 2 setting. Look for our review of the game sometime next week.
Sunstorm Games currently sees 10M MAU, 1M DAU, 140M downloads – A relatively unknown mobile game developer and publisher called Sunstorm Games announced that its user base has grown to 10 million monthly active users (MAU) and one million daily active users (DAU) along with seeing 140 million downloads of its titles. The game studio’s most popular franchise is its “Maker” series, while the company has also built long-term partnerships with brands like Icee and SuperPretzel.
Game Insight brings 2020: My Country to iOS and Amazon – Russian mobile game giant Game Insight released its city builder 2020: My Country, which was first available for Android, on the Apple App Store and Amazon Appstore. The title is the follow up to Game Insight’s other city-building strategy game My Country.
Kamicat raises a round of funding from iVentureCapital – German mobile-social game maker recently raised a round of funding for an undisclosed amount from iVentureCapital. The Hanover, Germany-based Kamikat is most known for its game Kamicat Football for Facebook, which currently has five million registered users.
TenFarms raises $2.7M in a round of funding – Mobile startup TenFarms, which is working on two products — Photopoll and Adtile — recently raised $2.7 million in a round of funding from an undisclosed angel investor. The funds are going toward the deployment of Adtile, a new mobile advertising product that allows native integration with apps and websites, and to support the contiuous development of Photopoll, a multi-photo polling app.
Folks from Paltalk, MessageMe and Tango will be speaking about mobile messaging at our Inside Social Apps conference June 6 to 7 in San Francisco. Learn more here.
Mobile apps news roundup: Most top grossing mobile games are integrated with Facebook, Puzzle & Dragons reaches 13 million users in Japan and more
Facebook recaps stats about its games ecosystem from GDC 2013 – In a blog post Monday, Facebook’s director of games Sean Ryan recapped some stats about its games ecosystem that were revealed during the 2013 Game Developers Conference. Ryan says more than 250 million users are playing games on Facebook each month, and 82 percent of the top 100 grossing U.S. mobile games and 75 percent of the top 100 grossing U.S. Android mobile games are integrated with Facebook. In 2012, Facebook paid out more than to $2 billion to game developers and saw total payers increase 24 percent year-over-year from March 2012 to March 2013.
KakaoTalk’s game platform expands into Vietnam and Indonesia – Messaging app KakaoTalk’s game platform recently expanded into Vietnam and Indonesia, where many of Kakao’s more than 80 million users come from. Indonesia, in particular, has become a hotly contested market for messaging apps. Both Tencent’s WeChat and Kakao have launched TV ad campaigns in the country.
Messaging apps usage surpasses SMS texts for the first time ever, Informa says – Research firm Informa told the BBC Monday that 19 billion messages were sent per day via messaging apps — such as WhatsApp, Kik and iMessenge — in 2012, compared with 17.6 million SMS texts. It’s the first time that the amount of messages send from chat apps have usurped the amount from SMS. Despite the growth of messaging apps, Informa still expects revenue from SMS to grow to $127 billion by 2016, from $115 billion last year.
Rovio’s Angry Birds Friends launches on mobile – Finnish game developer Rovio launched Angry Birds Friends, a once Facebook-exclusive title, for iOS and Android yesterday. Angry Birds Friends plays a little differently than the mobile titles in the franchise, where in Friends users can compete against other users in weekly tournaments for the highest score.
UBM TechWeb cancels GDC Online, opens submissions for GDC Next, ADC – UBM TechWeb announced that it’s opened submissions for its two new conferences — Game Developers Conference Next and App Developers Conference. Both conferences will take place in Los Angeles from November 5 to 7. The two conferences replace the GDC Online conference which was held in Austin, Texas. Basically, UBM is looking for input from the game and mobile app industries as to what topics the conference should cover. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 29. Find out more about the submission process here and here.
Puzzle & Dragons reaches 13 million downloads in Japan – According to Social Game Info, GungHo Online, which now has a market cap of $10 billion, saw its incredibly successful mobile game Puzzle & Dragons reach the 13 million downloads mark across the iOS and Android versions in Japan.
PlayFirst launches Deep Sea Deli – San Francisco-based mobile game studio PlayFirst launched its latest game this week in Deep Sea Deli, a puzzle-matching arcade title for iOS. Unlike some puzzle-matching games, there’s no time limit on game sessions, meaning the title focuses more on skill.
GREE updates NFL Shuffle with new ‘Talents’ feature – Mobile-social gaming giant GREE updated its card-based game NFL Shuffle with a new feature called ‘Talents’ that is aimed at increasing the game’s competitiveness. Users can now utilize an NFL players Talent, a game-changing boost, to increase a card’s scoring potential. Talents come in the form of gameplay enhancements such as additional swaps, and shuffles, offense and defense team bonuses, and Silver and Gold Football Bonuses.
AppShopper returns to the Apple App Store – App discovery service AppShopper, which was pulled from the Apple App Store in December 2012 just like AppGratis recently, returned to the Apple App Store this week. The developers altered the approach of the app so that it doesn’t directly compete with the app store by focusing on social discovery through a core Wish List functionality.
Rebtel announces public launch of its Voice Platform for iOS and Android developers – Mobile VoIP company Rebtel announced the public launch of its free SDK for iOS and Android developers, which allows them to integrate free global calling capability into any app. The company first opened up its service in beta back in December 2012. Interested developers can go here to learn more.
Slant Six Games releases Max’s Pirate Planet – Slant Six Games, the developer behind some titles in the SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals franchise for Sony PlayStation systems, released an interactive pirate board game for kids called Max’s Pirate Planet — A Board Game Adventure. The title is priced at $2.99 and available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire.
Animoca launches Thor: Lord of Storms – Hong Kong’s Animoca launched action-strategy defense game Thor: Lord of Storms, which is based on Norse Mythology. The title is available now for free on Android.
Plink launches mobile app for iOS – Plink, a loyalty program that rewards users for making offline purchases, launched a mobile app for iOS. Now current Plink users from the web or Facebook can manage their account anywhere, while new users will be able to create an account and connect their credit or debit card to the account, so they can begin earning points by purchasing offline from more than 50,000 of Plink’s partners.
Zattikka launches Legacy of a Thousand Suns – Legacy of a Thousand Suns, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game originally for Facebook from game studio 5th Planet Games, made its way iOS this week. The mobile version of the game was developed by Spellgun Studios, which is part of games entertainment group Zattikka.
Drippler launches iPhone app, Android app reaches 5 million users – Drippler, the app that provides users with device-related content and information about their handset, launched an iPhone version of its app this week. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup also announced that it reached the five million total user mark across its suite of Android apps.
NARR8 to launch editor tool for its motion comics app in late May – NARR8 announced that it’ll be adding a new editor tool to its motion comics app (review), which will allow users to create their own interactive stories with visuals, music and basic animation. The editor is slated to launch in late May.
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