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Zynga Buys Social Game Company Conduit Labs

Zynga, makers of popular social games Farmville and Mafia Wars, announced that it has acquired Conduit Labs, another social games company based out of Boston.

Zynga will turn the Conduit Labs office into simply "Zynga Boston", where the company will focus on new product development. The company currently has locations in San Francisco, Austin, Baltimore, Bangalore, Beijing and Los Angeles.

Microsoft Looks to Xbox to Help Drive Windows Phone 7 Success

Microsoft announced its first wave of games for Windows Phone 7. These will be available at launch or shortly after, the company said.

Microsoft revealed the first 50 titles, some of which gamers will recognize, and others that are completely new. The company also said the games will be "closely linked" with Xbox Live.

Booyah Getting 350,000 Check-Ins a Week for Products in MyTown

Back in July, Booyah launched Check-Ins for products in the popular MyTown check-in-based game. The company announced today that it has seen, on average, over 350,000 Product Check-ins a week.

The feature has also attracted the attention of Pantene and H&M, which are offering exclusive items to players of the game.

Gmail: The Game
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A Googler, by the name of Paul Truong (Creative Technologist) has created a game based on his love for Gmail. The game was created with HTML5, and runs a little choppy in Firefox.

The Gmail game is a throwback to arcade games of yesteryear in which you’re a spaceship flying around, shooting various flying objects. You know the kind – Galaga, Stinger, Lifeforce, and probably dozens of others.

iPhone and iPad Apps About To Get More Integrated with Facebook
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Facebook has launched a new software development kit (SDK) for Apple’s iOS operating system, which powers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This is an update from the previous SDK launched for the iPhone last March.

"With today’s update we’ll have SDKs for both iOS and Android devices that provide an even easier way for mobile app developers to go social," a Facebook representative tells WebProNews.

Google Ventures Reportedly Investing Over $100 Million in ngmoco

It’s no secret that Google has taken an interest in games lately. The company has been reported to have invested in Zynga, which is responsible for games like Farmville and Mafia Wars.

Ad Spending On Social Games Predicted To Rise

The stock market crashed again today, with the Dow falling 2.49 percent and the Nasdaq losing an even more worrisome 3.01 percent.  But a new report predicts that lots of money will still be spent on ads in social games, with marketers pumping in bigger sums this year and in 2011.

Zynga Reportedly Pulls Farmville From MSN

Zynga has apparently removed its massively popular game Farmville from Microsoft’s MSN Games, and nobody seems to know why. The timing of this is interesting as Google has reportedly been in investment talks with Zynga, while it has been acquiring other social game-related properties.

Blockbuster Adds Xbox, Playstation, Wii Games to Subscription Rental Service
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Blockbuster has announced that it’s adding games to its mail rental service. Customers now have access to over 3,000 titles for Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and Wii through the company’s mail subscriptions service.

Blockbuster says the move makes them the only entertainment company to offer rentals of games, movies, and TV shows for home delivery through a single subscription service.

Are You Ready for Some (iPad) Football?

NFL Football officially gets underway tonight, as the Hall of Fame game between the Cincinnati Bengals (featuring Twitter legends Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco) and the Dallas Cowboys (Owens’) former team kicks off. While only the beginning of the preseason, football fans are excited for the return of their favorite sport.

Zynga Buys Japanese Gaming Company Unoh
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Zynga has acquired Japanese social gaming company Unoh, which will become a major part of Zynga’s mobile strategy. The company’s mobile product efforts will be a joint venture between SoftBank Group and Zynga.

Popular Unoh games include Machitsuku!, Band Yarouyo!, and Kaizoku Chronicle. Zynga says that in addition to maintaining Unoh’s games on mixi, Mobage-town, and GREE, Zynga Japan will also localize Zynga games and develop new games targeted at the Japanese market.

Unconfirmed Next-Generation iPod Touch Photos Surface

MacRumors has posted photos of what are supposedly pieces of the upcoming iPod Touch 4 with FaceTime. These have yet to be confirmed, however.

AppleInsider reports that Apple is rumored to be in talks to buy a Chinese mobile ISP and game developer for $148 million.

Booyah Taps Google Maps API, Places to Take MyTown International

Booyah announced today that it is taking MyTown international.

 The company has launched support for MyTown (for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad) across Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The company says this makes MyTown the first to support global check-ins utilizing the recently launched Places Web Service via the Google Maps API.

Facebook Seeks Head Of Games Partnerships

The rate at which Facebook seals game-related deals may soon increase.  The social network’s current gaming partners may soon grow happier, too.  That’s because Facebook’s attempting to hire a "Head of Games Partnerships," and those will be among his (or her) top priorities.

Playdom (Fresh off Disney Acquisition News) Launches World Series of Poker Facebook App

Playdom has been in the news a lot over the week as Disney announced its agreement to acquire the social gaming company. Today, Playdom announced a partnership with Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment to launch the Official World Series of Poker game on Facebook and other social networks.

Google to Use Games in Battle with Facebook?
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Google has been expected to get into gaming for sometime, but now it looks like the wheels are really in motion. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is in talks with Playdom, EA’s Playfish, and Zynga.

Bing Introduces Seven New Casual Games
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Bing may have been launched as a "decision engine," but Microsoft’s now trying to make sure it’s a site where people will spend a fair amount of time.  And to that end, Microsoft added seven new games to what it called the "Bing entertainment browser" this afternoon.

The seven games are of the casual variety.  Think checkers (or FarmVille), not chess (or Starcraft II), in other words, meaning they’ll be accessible to all sorts of individuals.

Disney Acquires Social Gaming Company Playdom
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Last week, rumors surfaced that Disney was in late stage acquisition talks with social game company Playdom. Today, Disney has announced that it has indeed agreed to acquire it.

Playdom shareholders will receive total consideration of $563.2 million, subject to certain conditions, and a performance-linked earn-out of up to $200 million.

Google Experiences Hiccup in LA Google Apps Implementation

MarketWatch reports that Google has missed a deadline for the implementation of Google Apps in the city of Los Angeles, due mainly to security concerns expressed by the LAPD. This has got to be an unwelcome snag for Google, who is spending a great deal of time marketing Google Apps for cloud computing.

Microsoft Announces Kinect Pricing for November 4 Release

Microsoft announced today that the Kinect for Xbox 360 will include Kinect Sensor and the video game "Kinect Adventures," and that it will retail for $149.99 when it launches November 4 in North America. The Kinect Sensor will work with all Xbox 360 consoles (of which 40 million have been sold, according to the company).

Report: Google Invested $100-$200 Million In Zynga
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Google Games – along with the company’s social efforts – may stand a better chance of getting off the ground than most people thought.  Reports indicate that Google’s established ties with one of the top organizations in the social gaming space by investing $100-$200 million in Zynga.