Friendster Focuses On Games In Asian Relaunch

Friendster has announced that they are relaunching in Southeast Asia, with a launch party set on April 27 in Manila, capitol of the Philippines. Complimenting the launch is a partnership with MOL Group, an e-payment platform in Asia that will allow Friendster to push virtual currency sales in various games.

“The Philippines has always been one of our biggest markets with a vibrant online community, making the country exceptionally important to us,” said Friendster chief operating officer, Nikolai Galicia. “Therefore it is a joy to roll out Friendster’s inaugural event here, to a community that is continuously growing. We are committed in continually bringing the latest content and giving the most compelling rewards to our users.”

“Friendster pioneered the social networking industry and paved the way for the emergence of other sites. As the global gaming communities grew, it was essential for Friendster to find its unique proposition in order to remain competitive,” said MOL Group chief executive officer, Ganesh Kumar Bangah. “By leveraging on Friendster’s strongest asset in the form of its millions of users and harnessing MOL’s strength as an e-payments and content distributor, we were able to successfully redesign Friendster to become a social discovery and gaming platform, host to the largest online community in Southeast Asia.”

Tablets To See 670 Million In Use Worldwide By 2016

Forrester Research revealed in the report “Tablets Will Rule The Future Personal Computing Landscape” that it is expected that 375 million sales of tablet devices are expected in 2016, with a total of 670 million in use worldwide. It is expected that tablet sales growth with be roughly 50 percent every year; 56 million tablets were purchased worldwide in 2011.

Because they’re bigger than smartphones, have longer battery life than a laptop, are generally quite handy, Forrester analyst Frank Gillett says, “All these reasons add up to our prediction that tablets will become the preferred, primary device for millions of people around the world, which is in the just-published report ‘Tablets Will Rule The Future Personal Computing Landscape.’ Note that there will still be lots of personal computers sold and in use — in fact our casual estimate is that there will be 2 billion PCs in use by 2016, despite growing tablet sales,” he added. “That’s because tablets only partially cannibalize PCs. Eventually tablets will slow laptop sales but increase sales of desktop PCs. That’s because many people, especially information workers, will still need conventional PCs for any intensely creative work at a desk that requires a large display or significant processing power.”

The iPad is expected to account for a third of all tablet purchases by 2016, while Windows 8 will eat into the marketshare of Google’s Android in a few years. 40 percent of sales are going to emerging markets, while just over 33 percent are for business-furnishing needs.


Mobage Platform Adds Kabam And NimbleBit

DeNA has announced that they have signed an agreement with Kabam and NimbleBit. The company will put the developers’ games on Android via the Mobage platform.

“We are focused on selecting the best-in-breed games for the diverse Mobage catalog,” said Neil Young, CEO, ngmoco and director, DeNA. “We have been impressed with Kabam’s success with hardcore social games on the web and iOS and are excited to partner with them to bring some of their biggest franchises to Android.”

“Kabam is off to a blockbuster start on mobile devices,” said Andrew Sheppard, President of Kabam. “By creating games for multiple platforms, we are able to work with the best partners in the industry and we’re excited to leverage DeNA’s expertise on Android and Mobage’s advanced worldwide network.”

Zwei — A Shinji Mikami Joint

Shinji Mikami has revealed that his first game at Tango Gameworks will be Zwei. Mikami, who helped create Resident Evil, reinvent the franchise in Resident Evil 4 and responsible for more recent titles Shadows of the Damned and Vanquish, will be an executive director on Zwei.

First image of Zwei.


Coke Goes To Antiques Roadshow For Old-Fashioned Ads

Coca-Cola is teaming up with Antiques Roadshow to try and find three iconic paintings by Norman Rockwell. The three paintings, worth an estimated $1.5 million, will be part of the shows “most wanted” list.

The illustrations were created by Rockwell in the 1930s for the beverage company’s calendars and billboards. The illustrations are in Rockwell’s imitable style, showing young boys enjoying a Coca-Cola, are estimated to be worth about $500,000 apiece.

Coke has searched for years for the pieces, through private collections, auctions and at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts and the American Illustrator Museum in Rhode Island. They are named as the biggest missing pieces of the company’s extensive collection of memorabilia.

“These paintings have been the top of the list for us as long as I have been here and that’s been about 15 years,” said Ted Ryan, a spokesman for Coke’s archives.

While three of the six Rockwell Coke illustrations have been found, the company is hopeful to complete the set. “The interesting thing is that there is someone out there with a winning lottery ticket,” said Adam Monahan, an associate producer for Antiques Roadshow.


Amazon Kindle Fire Getting Bubble Saga has announced that they are launching Bubble Saga on the new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet first. The game will soon release on other Android devices, and will connect with the Facebook version.

“In 2011, there were over 67 million tablets sold worldwide according to Strategy Analytics. The Android platform had a record 39 percent of the world’s share and the Kindle Fire is increasingly leading that drive,” said CEO Riccardo Zacconi. “We’re excited to be exclusively teaming up with Amazon as a part of our multi-platform games initiative, building on our Facebook games successes and providing more access points for our consumers to play their favorite games whenever and wherever they want.”

DeNA, Gree Limit Spending By Minors

Gree Inc. and DeNA Co. have announced that they are limiting the monthly spending on their game content for young users. There’s been an uproar in Japan (and other places) about the amount of money children and teens can easily spend via microtransactions.

Gree will limit monthly spending at ¥10,000 for users aged between 16 and 19 and at ¥5,000 for those aged 15 or under. Meanwhile, DeNA will introduce a monthly cap of ¥10,000 for users aged 16 and 17 in June, while the limit for users aged 15 or under will be set at ¥5,000.

Gree, DeNA, along with NHN Japan Corp., CyberAgent Inc., Dwango Co. and Mixi Inc. discussed responsible usage of their sites by minors at a joint committee set up in March.

Source: Japan Times