Welcome to the Virtual Goods News Wrap-Up for the week of September 25, 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.
- Earn Badges On Foursquare, No Checkins Required: Foursquare has partnered with fitness tracking firm RunKeeper to offer Foursquare users badges for recording long runs. Foursquare intends to close more, similar deals to reward users with badges for doing things in addition to checking in to key locations.
- Facebook Could Generate $300 Million In Credits Revenue Next Year: Social Times Pro estimates Facebook will make about $300 million through Credits next year. It's a figure that sounds impressive, but it's small potatoes compared to Facebook's estimated ad revenue for next year (which could get as high as $3 billion).
- FarmVille: Send One Billion Gifts And Zynga Will Donate Another $100K To Haiti: FarmVille's School of Choice charity campaign raised $100,000 for the L'Ecole d'Choix school and community center in Haiti this week. The funds were raised in just four days, by users sending 400 million virtual gifts to each other. Zynga is also raising funds by selling a Sweet Beets virtual item,w hich has raised the total L'Ecole d'Choix contribution to over $560,000. Zynga says that if uses send 1 billion virtual gifts to each other, it will donate an additional $100,000.
- Final Fantasy XIV Converts Your Cash To Crysta: Square-Enix is introducing a virtual currency to its online games with the launch of Final Fantasy XIV, Crysta, with $1 equal to 100 Crysta. Users can spend Crysta on subscriptions and security tokens.
- Hot iPhone Gaming Startup Ngmoco Will Start Making Games For Android: Ngmoco plans to launch its We Rule mobile social game on the Android platform. Ngmoco is only one of many top iPhone developers starting to develop games for Android.
- New Free-To-Play Battlefield Incoming?: EA has registered a series of domains containing either the name "Battlefield Assault" or the term "Play for Free," leading Eurogamer to speculate that a new free-to-play Battlefield game is incoming. It's not clear what this would mean to EA's Battlefield Heroes.
- Former Frogster Exec Founds Free-To-Play Firm: Former Frogster Interactive exec Rolf Kloppel was dismissed earlier this week, but has already announced his next project, a free-to-play games firm called Neonga.
- Interview: PopCap On Finding Fortune In The East: PopCap's James Gwertzman reveals that the company began building its upcoming Asian free-to-play games portal, PopCap World, back in 2008. PopCap World's Super Zuma title is a synchronous multiplayer version of Zuma meant to cater to the popularity of competitive gaming even with Asian casual players. In China, PopCap plans to partner with social network RenRen to try and distribute its games.
- T-Mobile USA And EA Launch Gaming Portal: T-Mobile and EA are launching a gaming portal that gives T-Mobile customers access to free virtual items in EA games.
- Trip Hawkins Predicts $100 Billion In Virtual Goods Revenues: Speaking at this week's Engage Expo in Santa Clara, Digital Chocolate's Trip Hawkins predicted that virtual goods would one day be a $100 billion business.
- WWF Charity Launches Virtual Item Apps For iPhone And iPad: Little World Gifts is rolling out new WWF virtual gifts for charity this week, Adelie the Penguin and the WWF Panda Collection Tin.
- Zynga Is Also Getting Into Android Gaming: Zynga is advertising on its side for a "Software Engineer – Android," position, suggesting that Zynga intends to begin porting its games to the Android platform soon.
- Zynga Signs On For A Big San Francisco Expansion: Zynga has leased the Townsend Center, a building more than capable of housing its over 1200 employees (currently split up among several buildings in the Potrero Hill area). The Townsend Center has a bit of a history with games companies, serving as Sega's headquarters during its glory days in the late 90s and earlier this decade.
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