Welcome to the Virtual Goods News Wrap-Up for the week of August 28, 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.
- BilltoMobile Gathers Momentum For Mobile Payments Plan: BilltoMobile explains its mobile payment service, which uses direct carrier billing instead of SMS-based payments. This allows BilltoMobile to charge dramatically lower carrier fees than SMS-based provider, in the range of 15% to 17% rather than 45% to 60%.
- Former Playdom Employee Sentenced To Jail Time In Zynga Lawsuit: The court trying the Zynga vs. Playdom lawsuit, which alleges that Playdom stole the "Zynga Playbook" of social game development techniques, has sentenced former Playdom and Zynga employee Raymond Holmes to 10 days in country jail and a $4000 fine. Holmes destroyed evidence of interest to the case by erasing a hard drive that held Zynga documents and failing to identify other devices that contained Zynga documents. The sentence was suspended, so Holmes won't have to pay the fine or serve jail time unless he takes further "improper" actions.
- How Social Gaming Uses Virtual Giving To Get Real Results: Zynga generated over $1.5 million in charitable contributions for Haiti earthquake survivors by selling virtual goods in its games earlier this year. The article speculates that social games have huge potential for charity fundraising, simply because one in five Americans most likely plays them.
- Meteor Games Names Board Member Zac Brandenberg As CEO: Social game developer Meteor Games has named advertising veteran Zac Brandenberg as its new CEO. Brandenberg has already served on Meteor Games's board of directors for the past two years.
- PlaySpan Snags A Gaming Icon As Its Sales Chief: PlaySpan has hired Stevie Case as its new Vice President of Sales and Business Development. She comes to PlaySpan from Live Gamer.
- Slide's Max Levchin Becomes A VP Of Engineering At Google: PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is now a Vice President of Engineering at Google, following Google's acquisition of Levchin's games and widgets start-up Slide. He will report to Senior Vice President of Operations Urs Holzle. Levchin may now be leading development of Google's rumored social network, GoogleMe.
- Virtual Goods Worth More Than Real News: By 2014, Americans are expected to spend $5 billion on virtual goods but only $3 billion on newspapers and magazines. Although Americans clearly value news, with 80% of all new blog links pointing to online news stories, it seems they are unwilling to pay for it.
- Zattikka Hires Industry Veteran Peter Jones As Executive Producer: Social games start-up Zattikka has named games industry veteran Peter Jones as its new Executive Producer. Jones has previously worked at traditional game developers like Codemasters and Lionhead Studios, where he participated in development of Fable 2.
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