MediaFile

More Bets on Virtual Casinos: Big Fish scoops up Card Ace

Casinos are the hottest real estate in today’s heady world of social gaming.

From Zynga to Caesars, deep-pocketed companies are increasingly looking to get a piece of the action.  On Tuesday, Seattle-based Big Fish Games staked its claim, acquiring the maker of one of the most popular social casino games, Card Ace: Casino.

The deal, gives Big Fish a seat at the table of the fast-growing social casino market, where consumers connect with other players in real-time using their smartphones, tablets and PCs to play poker, blackjack, roulette and other felt-table classics. The parties are not disclosing the price of the acquisition.

The games are just for fun – gamers can’t actually win any money. But the house still makes out OK, since many players choose to spend real money buying additional virtual chips to supplement the pile of free chips they’re given to start off.

Social concepts, the company that developed Card Ace: Casino and whose backers include Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, does not disclose its financial results, but the Card Ace app currently ranks among the top 10 grossing iPhone and iPad apps thanks to in-app purchases of virtual chips and other virtual goods.

For Big Fish, which is known for single-player games and which generated more than $180 million in revenue last year, casino games provide a perfect bridge into the world of social gaming.

Zynga’s Pincus fights back against copycat accusations

Mark Pincus, the CEO of Zynga, isn’t pleased with reports that Zynga is ripping off games from small developers so he is doing something about it–wielding his pen to write passionate manifestos to employees invoking Silicon Valley greats like Apple.

After a game developer accused Zynga of copying a game called “Tiny Tower”,  Pincus sent a 60-line memo to employees to make sure his flock knows Zynga has done nothing wrong, (the memo was leaked to the blog VentureBeat and later obtained by Reuters).

“Google didn’t create the first search engine. Apple didn’t create the first mp3 player or tablet. And, Facebook didn’t create the first social network. But these companies have evolved products and categories in revolutionary ways.”

Tech wrap: Breaking down Zynga’s possible IPO delay

One of tech’s most anticipated public offerings of the year could be delayed, according to a report in the New York Post on Monday. Online gaming company Zynga may hold off on its IPO until November said The Post, citing a “source close to the company.”

The delay is partly related to questions the SEC has about how Zynga measures its daily and monthly users, as well as its bookings, CNBC reported. “Zynga’s accounting measures are less worrisome to the SEC than Groupon’s, says one person familiar with the matter, but the agency is nonetheless working to make Zynga’s prospectus as accessible to investors as possible,” writes CNBC’s Kate Kelly.

Renowned venture capitalist Alan Patricof, managing director of Greycroft Partners LLC, told Bloomberg TV he thinks Zynga is merely waiting for a “hole in the market,” which he described as a one or two-week period where the markets are up and the underwriting bank “calls up and says we’re going tomorrow.”

from Summit Notebook:

Zynga CEO: Half of social web users will be social gamers

Don’t ask Zynga’s Mark Pincus how much money his company is making.

The founder of the hot social gaming company, which is operating at a more than $200 million yearly run rate according to sources familiar with the matter, said sharing such information would contribute to the kind of hype that would be bad for the nascent industry.

“I just hope that we can all partner to try to get the story out in a balanced way, so that the media doesn’t necessarily have to go back and forth, ‘This is the next great coming,’ and hyping it, and then two or three months later, ‘Oh they didn’t deliver on these very high expectations that we’ve all put out there,’” Pincus said in a conversation with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit.

He noted that Zynga, whose games include FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has been profitable for eight quarters and sees no reason to raise capital in a public stock offering anytime soon.