2）据insidesocialgames报道，芬兰手机游戏开发商Rovio日前宣布《愤怒的小鸟》动画系列片《Angry Birds Toons》将通过游戏应用的更新内容发布，用户可通过《愤怒的小鸟》游戏主界面的一个新频道按钮欣赏动画内容。
Rovio计划在3月16日开始播映这一动画系列，其播映渠道包括Comcast旗下的Xfinity on Demand、Xfinity.com.tv以及Xfinity TV Player应用（植入三星Smart TV）等美国视频平台，并将澳大利亚FOX8、韩国JEI TV、印度尼西亚ANTV、印度Cartoon Networking、芬兰的MTV3 Juniori和MTV3、以色列的儿童频道等平台列入未来计划。Rovio还与动视、派拉蒙影业、黑莓和索尼影业合作，将推出Angry Birds Toons频道。
该公司曾通过Accel Partners、Tiger Technology Global、Intel Capital和General Catalyst等融资至少4600万美元，截止2011年底，Vostu在圣保罗、布宜诺斯艾利斯、纽约工作室的成员约580人，并声称有25%的巴西网民是Vostu游戏玩家。
巴西新闻网站Apertura报道，Vostu两名联合创始人Mario Schlosser和Daniel Kafie在去年初分别离开首席研究员和首席执行官职位，但后者有可能重返公司担任首席执行官。
6）据venturebeat报道，手机游戏发行商Pocket Gems目前下载量已超过1亿次，公司人员规模已超过150人（游戏邦注：该公司于2009年由斯坦福学生Daniel Terry及另一名联合创始人Harlan Crystal成立，在2011年初仅有10名成员）。
其热门游戏《Tap Zoo》问世已有两年半之久（2010年秋上线），目前盈利性仍然甚为可观。该公司现在上线游戏超过20款，多数游戏上线第一年的日活跃用户增长最快，因为Pocket Gems可通过自己的网络交叉推广游戏，无需投入太多广告营销费用。
App Annie数据显示，Pocket Gems目前是iOS平台排名第十的游戏发行商，其发行的第三方游戏《Amazing Ants》（开发商是Twyngo）曾跻身iPad榜单第一名。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，拒绝任何不保留版权的转载，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
1）71 per cent of smartphone users complain of glitches
by Zen Terrelonge
Price comparison company uSwitch.com finds that 71 per cent of UK smartphone users have experienced issues with their handsets. 48 per cent cite short battery life, 31 per cent have internet/3G failure, 23 per cent experience frozen screens, and 14 per cent encounter software faults.
Battery life and poor 3G coverage are the biggest gripes for users, but there’s also problems with basic commands as 12 and seven per cent have issues sending and receiving texts, while 13 per cent find calls cutting out.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: “As phones have got smarter, they have also got more temperamental. And, while manufacturers continue to push the boundaries with new designs, consumers shelling out for top of the range devices will be frustrated that they aren’t getting the most out of them.”（source：mobile-ent）
2）Angry Birds Toons to be accessible within Angry Birds games, will begin airing March 16 to 17
Rovio logoMobile game developer Rovio today announced that Angry Birds Toons, an upcoming cartoon series based on the company’s popular game franchise, will be accessible within all Angry Birds mobile games.
After installing an update, any of the Angry Birds apps will be able to get access to a new channel button in each game’s home screen, which is where users can watch episodes of the show.
The cartoon series is scheduled to begin airing this upcoming weekend (March 16 for broadcast TV and March 17 for on-demand services) on a dedicated channel within Rovio’s game portfolio, and on Comcast’s U.S. video platforms like Xfinity on Demand, Xfinity.com.tv and in the Xfinity TV Player app on Samsung Smart TVs. Rovio plans to add support for Roku and other platforms in the future. In other parts of the world, the Angry Birds Toons will air on FOX8 in Australia, JEI TV in South Korea, ANTV in Indonesia, Cartoon Networking in India, MTV3 Juniori and MTV3 in Finland, the Children’s Channel in Israel, 1+1 networks in Ukraine, Gulli and Canal J in France, SUPER RTL in Germany, TV2 in Norway, Canal 13 in Chile and Gloob in Brazil. Rovio has also partnered with Activision, Paramount Pictures, BlackBerry and Sony Pictures for the launch of the Angry Birds Toons channel.
So far, Rovio has planned 52 episodes for the cartoon series, with a new episode scheduled to air every Sunday. Rovio hopes the cartoon show will help with increasing installs as well as its engagement and retention rates for its Angry Birds games.（source：insidemobileapps）
3）More Layoffs And Downsizing At Vostu, South America’s One-Time Frontrunner in Gaming
Vostu, the onetime darling of the social gaming world in South America, appears to have just had a fresh round of layoffs over the last few weeks.
Multiple sources who have worked with the company said that Vostu laid off about 100 people and is now down to somewhere between 50 and 70 employees. Vostu has not replied to multiple requests for comment.
This is a huge decline for the company, which took at least $46 million in funding from investors including Accel Partners, Tiger Technology Global, Intel Capital and General Catalyst. At the end of 2011, the company had around 580 employees spread across Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and New York and claimed that 25 percent of Internet users in Brazil played Vostu games.
So the company’s headcount is now about one-tenth of what it was two years ago. The company had an earlier round of layoffs around the same time last year.
It looks like a perfect storm of factors created headwinds for the company. Orkut’s gradual decline to Facebook in Brazil meant that Vostu had to play on a more competitive field against established social gaming companies from the U.S. and Europe. The company apparently started spending in an ROI-negative way on marketing and user acquisition on the Facebook platform, according to one source. According to app tracking site AppData, Vostu has about 2.3 million monthly active users (or about 1/100th of what Zynga has on the platform).
The Facebook platform has also changed dramatically over the last two to three years, in curbing virality for certain kinds of games. Many developers like Kabam and Zynga have transitioned to focusing on mobile platforms to reduce their exposure to Facebook, although other companies like King.com and Wooga have thrived in this new environment.
At the same time, Zynga’s weak post-IPO performance has put a damper on valuations and large-scale acquisitions across the board for the gaming industry. That meant that any expectations for an exit had to be seriously downscaled. Two sources said that the company had been negotiating a sale for either the whole company or a fraction of it as of last month.
There were also internal management and political issues with the engineering and product teams unable to come to a consensus on specs that would work for various games. That left the company organizationally unable to add features or service games in a way that would keep players engaged.
“Essentially, Vostu was unable to take risks and that brought the company down,” says one source.
Two of Vostu’s co-founders Mario Schlosser and Daniel Kafie left their positions as chief scientist and CEO early last year, while Matias Recchia and Andres Bernasconi were left in charge.
It looks like Bernasconi just left this month while Recchia departed last month, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
They may be room for hope, though. Brazilian news site Apertura, which first reported the layoffs, said that Kafie may be back in the ring as CEO. One of our sources said this was possible and if that’s the case, Vostu would be “in good hands.”
“I have lot of trust in Daniel Kafie,” they said. “They will reinvent the business of this company.”（source:techcrunch）
4）Zynga exec: Debate over clones is a ‘distraction’ — everyone copies
Everything is a remix, and according to Zynga, all games are derivative works.
Zynga published an open letter from Dan Porter, the general manager of Zynga New York, to his employees that further explains comments he made at a New York panel on wearable computers Friday. During his talk, Porter seemed to admit that the social-game developer copies popular games when designing their own, according to Quartz — now he says the press took his quote out of context.
“What I actually said was that all games are derived from other games, [I said] that this has been happening long before Zynga, and that the debate about originality in games is vastly overblown and misses the mark,” Porter said.
Gamers, publishers, and developers often loudly criticize Zynga for releasing games that seem to ripoff other popular titles. In August, Electronic Arts sued Zynga for copyright infringement. The publisher claimed that Zynga’s The Ville stole specific concepts from EA’s The Sims Social.
EA and Zynga settled in February.
“Before making Draw Something [and before Zynga acquired us], we ran OMGPOP for four years and made lots of games that were inspired by games we loved, and we emulated the mechanics from games with great U.I.,” wrote Porter. “This is no great revelation.”
Porter is slightly conflating emulating mechanics with outright cloning. When Super Mario Bros. popularized side-scrolling in a platform game, it was clear that other platformers would have to use that mechanic to compete. EA accused Zynga of making nearly an exact copy of The Sims Social with The Ville.
In addition to explaining his comments, Porter also apologized to Zynga staff for generating “negative press.” He also explained what Zynga does best.
“The bigger point that I made, one that was overshadowed, goes to the true genius of Zynga,” he wrote. “After making games for years, it was joining Zynga that made me understand the art, science and special sauce running games as a service.”
Porter called the debate over copying a games a “distraction” and that Zynga’s games-as-a-service model is what is truly important. From a purely financial standpoint, he has a point.（source：venturebeat）
5）After smartphone sales triple in 2012, Samsung becomes China’s top handset manufacturer
by James Nouch
Samsung is now the most popular smartphone OEM in China, after 2012 saw sales of its smartphones increase 198 percent against the previous year.
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung’s 2012 tally of 30.6 million smartphones sales gives the company a 17.7 percent share of the Chinese market. In 2011, Samsung sold 10.9 million handsets and held a market share of 10.9 percent.
Apple, meanwhile, can lay claim to an 11 percent share of the Chinese smartphone market in 2012 – a figure that puts Cook and co. in third place behind Samsung and Lenovo.
While Samsung and Apple battle to gain ground in the world’s largest smartphone market, though, Nokia’s market share is in freefall.
In 2011, the Finnish company’s market share stood at an impressive 29.9 percent. In 2012, Strategy Analytics pegs Nokia’s share at just 3.7 percent.
But given Nokia’s focus on Windows Phone 8, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the company is losing out in a market that’s dominated by low-cost Android smartphones.（source：pocketgamer）
6）Pocket Gems clears 100M game downloads and 150 employees (exclusive)
With more than 100 million downloads to date, Pocket Gems has made it into the top ranks of mobile game companies. The San Francisco-based mobile game publisher is only a few years old, but it has built itself up to more than 150 employees on the backs of free-to-play casual games such as Tap Farm and Paradise Cove (pictured above).
The “mobile first” company has done so well that it believes it has staying power and the ability to produce multiple hits, said Ben Liu, chief executive, in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat. Back in early 2011, Pocket Gems had only 10 people. The numbers suggest that Pocket Gems is building a real, sustainable business on mobile platforms even though it isn’t the maker of gigantic blockbusters such as Angry Birds.
“These are meaningful milestones for us,” he said. “December was the best month that we ever had in terms of revenue growth. We have done it all profitably, and we have really strong business metrics such as strong user engagement.”
A number of its older games such as Pet Hotel are still doing well on the app store, and so are the newly released titles, said Liu, who was recently promoted from chief operating officer to chief executive officer. Tap Zoo, which launched in the fall of 2010, has been running for 2.5 years and it is still generating revenues. Overall, Pocket Gems has more than 20 live games, and, on average, most the games grow their daily active users for the first year or so. Because the company can cross-promote titles within its own network, it doesn’t have to do as much paid advertising. The good thing, Liu said, is that mobile advertising rates have flattened out after rising a lot last year.
What’s the secret to launching multiple hits? The games all feature a lot of interactivity and animation for mobile titles. In that sense, Pocket Gems tries to push the visual experience for mobile players, Liu said.
According to App Annie, Pocket Gems was the No. 10 publisher of games on iOS (which runs on Apple iPad, iPod touch, iPad mini, and iPhone). And of the 150 employees, 33 are from 10 different countries, working with H-1B visas. The company is starting to develop capabilities for localizing mobile titles in different territories, but so far everybody is based in the U.S. The vast majority of its business is on iOS, but Pocket Gems is expanding into Android.
As a mobile first developer, Pocket Gems is focused on creating unique games that make use of the features of tablets and smartphones.
“We want to create new forms of entertainment,” Liu said. “As far as unique content goes, we don’t have specific announcements there but you will see interesting things from us in the next couple of months.”
Pocket Gems is also looking at expanding in international markets.
“International expansion is an important focus for us. We are starting to explore different paths and think about what makes sense for us,” Liu said.
When asked about Kakao and Line: he said, “Like everyone else, we’ve seen Kakao in South Korea and Line in Japan take their respective markets by storm.” (Update: That doesn’t mean that Pocket Gems is in talks with those entities).
As it does so, the company will remain focused on hiring the best talent, he said. It is also leveraging its own distribution strength. The company has published third-party titles such as Amazing Ants, which was developed by Twyngo and hit No. 1 on the iPad. Over time, Liu believes Android and Amazon will be good growth platforms for Pocket Gems in the future.
Pocket Gems was founded in 2009 by former Stanford University student Daniel Terry and fellow co-founder Harlan Crystal. Pocket Gems became a big player in free-to-play mobile gaming with Tap Zoo and Tap Pet Hotel, the No. 1 and No. 4 top-grossing iPhone apps of 2011. Terry was the initial CEO and he gave the title to Liu so he could focus on game creation.（source：venturebeat）