Updates and News from Casual Connect Seattle (july 23rd)

An update of CasualConnect Seattle;

Casual Games Association Events are the premiere events for the casual games industry with over 3,000 professionals attending Casual Connect Events each year. Casual Connect Seattle brings together the most talented and knowledgeable experts in the casual gaming field to further the casual games industry with the best of networking and learning.

Other news earlier today;

  • Zynga acquires new Facebook app after raising USD29m, read here
  • Oberon Media Inks New Distribution Partnerships, read here
  • Results Study of BigFishGames CEO Paul Thelen; Challenge Current Assumptions about the Core and Casual Game Markets, read here

Worldwinner
WorldWinner announced an agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. to create skill-based online versions of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Beginning in September, Wheel of Fortune fans will be able to compete in online tournaments of the game for cash and prizes. WorldWinner will also develop a skill-based Jeopardy! game, scheduled to be available in 2009.

Both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! will also be available as free Flash games on GSN.com, which is powered by WorldWinner. In addition to providing free and cash competitions of the popular game shows on GSN.com, WorldWinner will leverage GSN’s television viewing audience of 66 million households to promote the online versions of the game. Game show fans have demonstrated that their passion for classic game shows transcends to the online world. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! will soon be added to the cross-platform experience on GSN, WorldWinner and GSN.com, allowing fans to enjoy their favorite shows on the air, and also as free games or as cash competitions.

FlowPlay
OurWorld, the new breed of online entertainment from FlowPlay, today announced it has integrated the games and brand properties of several leading casual game developers into their virtual world designed specifically for casual gamers. The first-ever virtual platform to integrate high profile casual games directly into a virtual setting, FlowPlay has established initial partnerships with PlayFirst, Inc. and Sandlot Games to bring classic casual games like Diner Dash and Cake Mania to ourWorld’s audience. Representing the next step in the evolution of casual gaming, ourWorld will drive a brand new source of revenue for casual gaming through a developer-driven, item-based economy, and aims to expose partner titles to a brand new segment of casual gamers.

With the emergence of new game technology and evolving consumption habits among online casual gamers, new ourWorld partner PlayFirst continues innovation in the casual games business model. First to market with try-before-you-buy, PlayFirst is currently exploring value creation beyond the $20 download, including item sales and episodic transactions. Given ourWorld’s rapid traction in the market and its model for combining the most popular forms of online entertainment with casual games and virtual living, the platform aims to provide a unique opportunity for addressing the most common challenges facing casual games publishers and developers.

“The casual games industry needs innovation and new business models to keep up with evolving online consumer demands for free content and multidimensional online entertainment,” said John Welch, CEO of PlayFirst, the creators of the popular Diner Dash series. “FlowPlay provides a distribution model distinct from anything else available online today, and has already built a strong user base to support it. Making quality gaming experience available everywhere consumers want to play is one of our primary objectives, and we look forward to incorporating the Diner Dash story world into ourWorld’s platform.”

RealNetworks
RealNetworks and Mattel Inc. today announced the release of “UNO Undercover” .This casual game adaptation of America’s number one card game was developed as part of Real and Mattel’s exclusive multi-year agreement announced at last year’s Casual Connect Seattle. Mattel and Real have since been working together to deliver some of Mattel’s most recognizable games for downloadable PC and online game play throughout the world on Real’s extensive distribution
network.

“We are pleased to be working with Real’s strong casual games development team to bring players new and dynamic ways to enjoy one of our flagship brands, UNO(R).” said Cynthia Neiman, vice president, digital play for Mattel Inc. “UNO Undercover” brings a fresh, light-hearted, engaging story element to the classic game play that will allow fans to enjoy UNO in a new way and also introduces our family-friendly brand to new players around the world.”

“UNO Undercover,” is an interesting twist on the classic favorite card game UNO, which was originally developed in 1971 and has since sold more than 200 million games in more than 80 countries. This new adaptation includes a cast of appealing characters including the story’s star, Felicia Blue, a retired spy and family woman of action who achieved childhood fame as an UNO
prodigy. Casual gamers will help Felicia sleuth her way through the professional world of UNO, consisting of international spies and smugglers. In addition to the story mode, players can choose to play the classic game with up to three computer-controlled competitors.

“‘UNO Undercover’ is a fun, interactive take on a classic family favorite,” said Matt Turetzky, vice president of content and non-PC platforms for Real’s Games Division. “With the game’s mystery storyline and an original cast of characters, this new format of UNO adds a unique contemporary twist to a true perennial powerhouse.”

Published by Reinout te Brake

Reinout is a games investor and strategic business consultant specializing in the games industry. Reinout established his credentials through his own successful investments, start-ups, consulting and (advisory) board positions that led through time to strong bonds with key stakeholders in this fast paced industry. He is known for his outstanding results in the gaming industry. He has worked with many game studios around the globe and is therefore well known in the international gaming industry. Check out his games podcast; https://www.game-consultant.com

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