Playdom

Chris Nuttall

The new frontier of social gaming has seemed like the Wild West at times, with developers playing fast and loose in imitating each other’s successful concepts, from FarmTown to Farmville and Mafia Wars to Mobsters.

But there are signs the industry is maturing as bigger players move in, with Disney reaching a settlement with Zynga on Tuesday over its legal dispute with Playdom. Read more

David Gelles

How do you say “Farmville” in Japanese?

Zynga, maker of the popular social game, wants to find out.

To do so, the San Francisco company is entering into a joint venture with Softbank to develop and distribute games in Japan. As part of the deal, Softbank is investing $150m in Zynga, and will help launch the new business unit, Zynga Japan, in Tokyo.

Details of the partnership are scarce, but it will be interesting to see how Zynga’s games go over in Japan, a difficult market for foreign companies to crack. The deal also brings social gaming, which originated in Asian markets, full circle.  Read more

David Gelles

Zynga, the largest social gaming company, has raised an additional $15m in funding, in yet another sign that this nascent industry has quickly become big business in the Valley.

The San Francisco company, which operates games on Facebook, MySpace, and Apple devices, has attracted nearly 200m monthly users to its games. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Facebook appears to be moving closer to cashing in on the social gaming phenomenon it has created on its platform and, judging by the numbers being quoted at the second annual Social Gaming Summit, that can’t come soon enough.

In a session on Tuesday featuring executives from leading social-gaming publishers, John Pleasants, the new chief executive of Playdom, revealed its Sorority Life game received feedback from users this month asking for cars as virtual goods, with a pink Volkswagen in particular receiving strong support. Playdom came up with the goods and sold $100,000 worth of virtual VWs in two days. Read more