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3-D virtual world applications for enterprise use will grow into an industry earning $8 billion to $10 billion in annual revenue by 2014, according to a new report from GigaOM Pro (subscription required). Today, virtual worlds are primarily associated with role-playing games and avatar-based chat, but […] Read more »

Riot Games has raised $8 million from Tencent and returning investors Benchmark and FirstMark Capital, said the Culver City, Calif.-based publisher, which develops free-to-play, digitally distributed games with a microtransaction/virtual goods revenue stream. Such a model has worked extremely well in Asia, and is showing promise […] Read more »

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Smith & Tinker, a Bellevue, Wash.-based game company, today announced it’s raised $29 million from Alsop Louie Partners, DCM, Foundry Group, Leo Capital Holdings, and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital. The money will primarily fund Nanovor, an ambitious kids’ game that will extend across multiple platforms, from […] Read more »

Play Sushi, a gaming portal, has attracted 3 million visitors less than three months after launching, reports site owner Future Ads, yet another example of the explosive growth taking place in the free online gaming space. Sites offering free games clocked 87 million U.S. visitors in […] Read more »

When the Rock Band Network — essentially an App Store for musicians who want to upload and sell Rock Band-playable versions of their songs — opens for business later this year, it has the potential to transform the music industry by giving musicians large and small […] Read more »

Mochi Media is adding a virtual currency/microtransaction system to its network of online Flash games today. Players can use Mochi Coins to buy in-game upgrades for 16 titles from its game developer partners. Want a “tactical chain saw” in SAS Zombie Assault II>? (And really, who […] Read more »

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Social games attract tens of millions of players on Facebook and other networks, but compared with traditional PC and console-based games, they make a lot less money, a challenge impeding the genre’s growth. While millions of “hardcore” gamers willingly pay $60 per title and $15 in […] Read more »

Investors poured $237 million into virtual world-related startups and payment systems last quarter alone, according to a report released today by industry trade show producer Engage Digital, signaling venture capitalists’ continued enthusiasm in the market. (Nearly $600 million in funding went into this sector for all […] Read more »

Google’s Chrome OS has added a very interesting wrinkle to the future of online gaming. As we reported back in May, Google reportedly plans to fully integrate O3D, the company’s rich 3D graphics plug-in, into the Chrome browser by the end of this year. That gives […] Read more »

WoWPals is a new location-based service for World of Warcraft players who want to connect with other WoW fans, be they from halfway around the globe or right down the street. A spinoff of Israel-based company GamersFlux, the service extracts data from the World of Warcraft […] Read more »

The Social Gaming Summit kicked off in San Francisco today, bringing together developers, investors and bigwigs from social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Below are four of my favorite takeaways gleaned from the first few sessions: Facebook Social Games Migrating Off Facebook In the opening talk, […] Read more »

Twitter got an interesting tech support call from a highly unique customer today: The Obama Administration, via the U.S. State department, which reportedly asked the microblogging service to delay a system upgrade in order to maintain the tsunami of history-making tweets about and emanating from Iran […] Read more »

We’re playing more online games than ever before, but we’re paying less for them, interactive marketing firm Future Ads said today. Of the 8,000 online casual gamers surveyed by the company this spring, 61 percent reported gaming more than last year, while nearly 80 percent of […] Read more »

When Google launched its O3D browser plug-in for displaying rich 3D graphics last month, I was dubious that the virtual world industry would eagerly embrace it as a platform for future MMOs. Most of the larger casual virtual worlds, like Habbo and Gaia Online, run on […] Read more »

Second Life creator Linden Lab will announce on Wednesday that SL users have generated 15 billion voice minutes on their internal avatar-to-avatar VoIP service since the product was launched 18 months ago, and are now forecast to do 15 billion total voice minutes in 2009. By […] Read more »

The best way to describe Blerp, now in open beta, is a social network that looks like it’s swallowed the entire web. Once you create an account and log in, the network is represented in a frame around your browser display, so every web site is […] Read more »

There’s a new entrant in the rapidly growing market for retail cards and virtual goods for online games today: the Zeevex Virtual Currency Exchange. The coin of the realm is Zeev Tokens, which can be purchased via retail cards sold at thousands of brick-and-mortar stores, redeemed […] Read more »

While in Hong Kong on a business trip recently, Oliver Goh was on his laptop playing around in a virtual world, when he realized he’d left the water running in his home back in Switzerland. He noticed this because the virtual world contained a recreation of […] Read more »

Booyah, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup developing a “playful life companion” for the Apple iPhone/iPod touch, just scored $4.5 million in Series A financing from the iFund of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. (Om wrote about KPCB’s $100 million app funding initiative last year.) The funding […] Read more »

When it comes to MMOs, freemium worlds for kids are enormously popular and lucrative; for the most part, however, the major game publishers have done little to pursue this market. That changes this month with the launch of Free Realms, a colorful virtual world from Sony […] Read more »

Thanks to online video sites and the mass market appeal of games like World of Warcraft, “machinima” (movies created from video footage captured within a game) has become incredibly popular, viewed by millions daily. (The videos hosted by alone garner 35 million+ views in a […] Read more »

They say numbers don’t lie, and in recent months the number of people populating virtual world Second Life has started to rise again. Mark Kingdon, CEO of parent company Linden Lab, has been touting the return to steady user growth; to back up his claims, he […] Read more »

While everyone in the game industry was following the latest news from GDC last week, I happened to notice an MMO milestone happening on Facebook: a casual virtual world called YoVille passed 5 million monthly active users. Launched in May of last year, YoVille’s user growth […] Read more »

When it comes to gaming, the most popular platform isn’t the Nintendo Wii, but Flash, the interactive browser plugin that now boasts 99 percent market penetration on nearly a billion PCs. (Flash game advertising network Mochi Media currently counts 100 million players across its system alone.) […] Read more »

Will Nintendo be able to sustain its dominance in the rapidly changing handheld game console market? That’s the main question I was looking to get answered when I attended today’s Game Developers Conference keynote from Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. And while Iwata announced a roster of […] Read more »

Today everyone who follows the gaming industry is talking about OnLive, an upcoming service incubated by Rearden, the venture company of Web TV Founder Steve Perlman. The system, which streams high-end video games to pretty much any PC, Mac, or TV with a broadband connection, was […] Read more »

Vivox, best known for providing voice communication support for online games and virtual worlds like Eve Online, Second Life and Sony Online Entertainment titles, is set to announce on Wednesday the Vivox Voice Toolbar, which will expand its services across multiple games and platforms. The Natick, […] Read more »

Last year, a small Mac game developer called Pangea Software ported one of its titles to Apple’s iPhone. Pangea’s Brian Greenstone didn’t expect to make much from the iPhone version of its arcade-style game Enigmo; he expected that the company might sell 10,000-20,000 units over its […] Read more »

To launch his SXSW panel, “Comedy on Television and the Web,” moderator Ricky Van Veen of opened with a provocative but arguable point: Unlike previous technologies, humor and not porn is driving the adoption of online video. What followed was a smart and (yes) funny […] Read more »

Offerpal Media, a startup that links virtual currency to real-world marketing deals, scored $15 million in venture funding last month. CEO Anu Shukla hinted to me then that we’d see partnership news soon, and as promised, Aeria Games is announcing today that it’s linking its universal […] Read more »

Though Bruce Branit completed World Builder — a poignant and visually dazzling short movie about a man who literally creates a new reality for the woman he loves — in 2007, it’s likely that far more people have seen it this March than in the last […] Read more »

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