Welcome to the Virtual Goods News Wrap-Up for the week of May 7, 2010. The Wrap-Up is where VGN spotlights stories that we didn't get to cover individually, but still make for interesting reading about the virtual goods industry.
The Russian government is considering consolidating the country's $1.3 billion online payments industry into a National Payment System.
Jussi Laakkonen of Everyplay and Nabeel Hyatt of Conduit Labs have formed Applifier, an invite-only cross-promotional network for Facebook social games. Applifier is a free service whose founding members are former virtual world developer Metaplace, BitMinion, Free Lunch Design, Wonderhill, and Three Rings. The network currently attracts about 5 million MAU and is designed to help replace viral promotion channels recently shut down by Facebook.
Soccer will be the next sports franchise EA brings to social gaming, in a Playfish-developed game called FIFA Superstars.
MySpace seems to be serious about building itself up as a games platform, an initiative that Rekhi is expected to play a major role in. MySpace is clearly hoping that a focus on social gaming will help turn the declining social network's traffic numbers around.
Foursquare and Gowalla are already hot, but more game-like location services like MyTown and Parallel Kingdom may be the next hot trend in mobile. The article also discusses using GPS technology to play games involving physical objects, like geocaching. Some of these games monetize through virtual goods, with Parallel Kingdom achieving an astounding 60% conversion rate.
Zynga is no longer offering a fighting Pit Bull virtual animal in its Mafia Wars social game.
PoxNora developers SOE Tucson have developed a new social game, The Agency: Covert Ops for Facebook.
Some holidays drive big virtual goods sales, like Valentine's Day, but giving virtual goods for Mother's Day may be a faux pas. The article suggests that younger women may find virtual mother's day presents gauche while older mothers may find them too valueless.
Zynga appears to be in the process of developing a true social games portal to host its library of titles, called Zynga Live.
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