Empires & Allies Tops 40 Million Users

Zynga’s Empires & Allies has amassed over 40 million users in under four weeks time. This means the game now surpasses the venerable FarmVille in users.

Zynga s most popular title CityVille has 88 million users on Facebook, while the company’s total active users had grown from 249 million to 269 million in two short weeks. This growth and ability to produce constant hits will likely benefit the company if and when it decides to file for an IPO.

Source: VentureBeat

Google Goes Social Again With Google+

Google has revealed that they are making a new attempt at social networking. Called Google+, it will allow users to upload photos and messages, with integration from Google s maps and images and looks to help people organize social contacts easily within groups of friends.

“Instead of coming directly at Facebook, which would be suicidal, I think they’ve recognized that they have to grow out from a niche — and the niche here is people who want to be connected with a specific circle or a specific group, Josh Bernoff, an analyst with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research Inc. “In that context this has a chance to be a small success.”

“What Google is doing is leveraging the fact that you have a lot of contacts in your e-mail; the biggest network you have is your address book,” said Charlene Li, founding partner and technology analyst at the Altimeter Group. “Friend management, contact management, has always been an issue when it comes to Facebook.”

“Previous attempts by Google to enter social networking included the site Orkut and the Gmail adjunct Buzz. I clearly knew I had to do something and I failed to do it,” said former Google CEO Eric Schmidt of those attempts.

“Google+ features include Sparks, which gathers videos and sites on particular interests and Hangouts which allows multiple people to video chat at once, with a mobile version coming soon. We already have users,” said Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product management. “This isn t a startup that’s trying to acquire users. The users are here already. It s just that the experience we ve offered them is incoherent and disconnected.”

Source: Bloomberg

OnLive Says It Would Work Great On Consoles

OnLive has recently made moves to laptops, desktops, and TVs, with devices like Blu-ray players and tablets in the cards. While they’re not available on consoles, OnLive VP of Engineering Joe Bentley would love to implement such a thing.

“Absolutely, they would make great consoles. Our controller is a hybrid between a PS3 controller and an Xbox controller, said Bentley. It’s all compatible, it would just work. There are OnLive guys chatting [Sony and MS], but we’ll see where it goes. But it would absolutely work, we’re ready to work with everybody.”

Source: CVG


World Of Warcraft Gets Free-To-Play System Of A Sort

Blizzard has revealed that they have altered their trial system; instead of limiting players to a 14-day trial, they can now play for an unlimited period of time up to level 20. This is all part of the World of Warcraft Starter Edition, accessible via the Blizzard store.

While users can play for an unlimited period of times, restrictions include no trading at all, a cap of 10 gold and no access to guilds or public chat channels. Additionally, the company announced that World of Warcraft will now be bundled together with the first expansion Burning Crusade for the price of $20; those that simply own the base game are entitled to the expansion for free.

Source: us.blizzard.com

Univision Comes Up Golden With 2011 Gold Cup Final

Univision really won out with its broadcast of the 2011 Concacaf Gold Cup Final. The 4-2 victory for Mexico over the U.S. got 7.98 million total viewers, a nearly 50 percent improvement from the 5.38 million viewers in 2009.

U.S. coach Bob Bradley noted after the game that the overwhelming number of green-shirted partisans in the stands made it seem like a home game for Mexico. (An estimated 80 percent of the 93,420 fans in attendance were supporting the visiting squad.) wrote Anthony Crupi. That disparity was reflected in the ratings. Univision s broadcast drew 4.72 million viewers in the adult 18-49 demo, topping Game 7 of the Bruins-Canucks Stanley Cup Final on NBC (4.44 million).

By contrast the English-language broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel averaged 1.1 million viewers. Univision saw greater than seven times the delivery of Fox Soccer Channel.

Saturday s match now ranks as the third-most watched sporting event in Univision history, notes Crupi. Trailing only the 2010 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match between Mexico and Argentina (9.36 million) and last year s Final (Spain v. Netherlands, 8.82 million viewers).

Source: AdWeek

Moshi Monsters Maker Valued At $200 Million

A transfer of stock has valued studio Mind Candy at £125 million ($200 million). Their Moshi Monsters now has more than 50 million registered online players worldwide and is forecast 2011 revenues of $100 million from merchandising alone.

“At start-up we backed the brilliantly creative and visionary founder of Mind Candy, Michael Acton Smith, in 2004, and are impressed and delighted by its rapid growth and popularity among children in over 180 countries,” said Spark Venture Management boss Thomas Teichman, who saw its stock with Mind Candy increase 1,500 percent since they first invested.

Source: MCV


The Resistance Needs Your Help To Destroy The Alien Tweets

On the official Facebook page for the new sci-fi action series Falling Skies on TNT, a new app has been launched called Resistance Battlefront {page no longer active}. Within the app, fans can scan the skies for Tweets from other users that contain the word alien . Once they choose to start the battle , the tweets begin to descend from the skies and the user can use a Colt .45 to start blasting away at them before attack. Fans that like Falling Skies will unlock an AK-47 and at level 3 a shotgun becomes available. Those that recruit five friends will unlock C4 plastic explosive and whoever tweets about the experience will earn an extra life! Also, win the same app fans can vote for their favorite character, respond to questions about how they would respond in a similar crisis situation in the show and visit video and image galleries.