Social gaming — what the real players say

FacebookSocial gaming is just barely old enough to be called an industry, but already the battle lines are emerging between major players Zynga, Playdom and Playfish.

Playdom and Playfish, since their acquisitions by the Walt Disney Co and Electronic Arts Inc respectively, have focused on bringing their branded intellectual property to the social gaming world. That could include a possible Playdom game with Marvel superhero characters, or the Playfish version of Monopoly now in the works (EA owns the digital rights to the board game). 

Zynga is by far the industry leader in revenue and size, but it lacks the deep vaults of intellectual property that come with being part of a conglomerate such as Disney.  So it has taken a different tack by focusing on marketing tie-ins with the likes of McDonald’s and convenience store chain 7-11. “One of the things that we really believe is going to happen is we think there is going to be much more connection between the virtual world and the real world,” Cadir Lee, chief technology officer for Zynga, told Reuters.

As Reuters reported on Sunday, the social gaming sector is bracing for a new wave of acquisitions.

With that development in the works, competition in social gaming continues apace.

from Richard Baum:

The surprising iPad


After all the previews, reviews and hype, by the time UPS delivered my iPad just after noon there seemed little room left for any surprises. Still, there were plenty of unexpected pleasures and unanticipated concerns. Here's a selection:

The screen is stunning. Colors are breathtakingly beautiful.

The screen is worrying. Your iPhone might survive a naked ride in your pocket or a gentle drop to the floor, but the sheer size of the iPad screen lends it a feeling of fragility. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for reports of breakages take to come in and what impact that will have on undecided customers.

I'm less sure of its uses than I expected to be. I'll be taking my iPad on the bus to work on Monday, but I'm not convinced it will be as comfortable a read as I'd hoped. Remember how Steve Jobs rested it on his crossed leg at the launch event? You can't sit like that on my bus.

“Iron Man” writer: Disney, Don’t ‘castrate’ Marvel heroes

Comic book artist Bob Layton co-wrote Marvel Entertainment’s iconic Iron Man titles in the 80′s, with partner David Michelinie. The duo recreated Iron Man’s Tony Stark into the alcoholic and playboy businessman that caught on notoriously well with readers.

You have to wonder what the reaction will be in the Disney cafeteria to creative types like Layton. So Reuters reporter Eric Yep asked Layton, who now works freelance, what he thinks about the putting the House of Mouse in charge of the Hulk and the Human Torch.

I would hope that while some of Marvel’s library lends itself naturally to Disney’s sensibilities, they’ll be wise enough not to castrate the entire cast of characters in some blanket policy.

Obama fesses up in comic book: I’m a Spider-Man fan

The superhero finally gets to meet his humble fan thanks to the magic of Marvel Comics.

The comic book setting is inauguration day 2009. And it is the president-elect who is the superhero and none other than the irrepressible Spider-Man who’s the fan.

“…This is your day, after all, and I know it wouldn’t look good to be seen palling around with me,” Spider-Man says as he tries to leave Obama to the limelight.

Marvel’s Hollywood Summer

iron-man-downey.jpgMarvel Entertainment Inc executives and investors heaved a sigh of relief after “Iron Man” smashed box office records in its opening weekend.

The movie about a billionaire industrialist turned super hero was the tenth biggest weekend box office performance of all time and the second biggest non-sequel. The expectations had been building up. The stock kept climbing steadily from the start of the year to hit a 52-week high on Friday.

“Iron Man” won the praise of critics — It has a 94 percent fresh rating on, which has taken a consensus of 163 reviews. The movie critic website says that Iron Man is the best-reviewed movie of 2008 so far.