Booyah Upgrades MyTown – Location-based iPhone app, MyTown, from Booyah has been growing significantly since its initial release. However, this week brought yet another significant upgrade to the real-world Monopoly-like title. Now, with the 3.1 update, the game changes yet again with the addition of in-game collectibles and rewards for checking in, purchasing new locations, or upgrading old ones. Additionally, the new version has 10 new levels, the ability to research top trending properties, accuracy bonuses for checking-in closer to the target local, and even the ability to view Facebook profile pictures and timestamps on others’ check-ins.
On another note, the social/mobile app has seen a 100% gain in users in less than three months, sitting at roughly 2 million players. Almost double that of its chief competitor, Foursquare.
Kwedit Repayment Rate Growing – Launched back in February, the quasi-credit company, Kwedit was a curious idea, at best. Essentially, the firm provided a means to purchase virtual goods by making a “promise” and paying back the money later by going to a 7-11 or mailing cash. The only negative, was if you didn’t pay, you got kicked out of their system. The company announced some results, the past week. One out of three users are paying back promises with a little less than 20% of initial promises repaid and 72% of second promises. Furthermore, 22% are repaid within 24 hours and 66% in the first week. Most importantly, publishers using Kwedit are seeing a 5% increase in revenue; a number the company expects to soon reach 10%
Capcom Integrates Social Features with OpenFeint – Aurora Feint’s OpenFeint mobile social platform got one of mainstream gaming’s larger developers signed up: Capcom. Using the platform to support features such as achievements and leaderboards, the console developer has launched both Dark Void Zero and Hatchlings for the iPhone.
Apple VIP Program for iPhone Apps – Apple is planning a new advertising program called ViP (Verification of iTunes Purchase) to give its iAds a more competitive advantage, as TechCrunch spotted. Developers that use iPhone ads to drive their downloads and purchases will have direct access to iTunes purchasing data for their app, measuring conversion rate and ad impressions to downloads. The tracking is done via a “proprietary direct link from the ad to the App Store,” and once a user “downloads your app, they won’t ever see your ad again.”
IBM to Create City Builder Game for City Planning – This past week, IBM revealed a new type of virtual world/game by the name of CityOne. Unlike the social counterparts we have seen in the past few months, this game will be a free world meant to guide players through quests and teach them about city planning issues such as energy and water. However, the catch is the game’s various missions will be seated in actual real-world scenarios, and is noted to be a means to help train future city planners. The game is slated to debut this fall.
App Store Spam – As if getting discovered in the Apple App Store weren’t hard enough, a recent post by well-known developer Marco Arment shows a number of spam applications appearing for various searches. The example given was a search for a game called “Angry Birds” and six out of ten results were scams and ripoffs promoting “cheats” or “guides” for the searched title. Furthermore, most are also guilty of ripping off both names and icon trademarks.
The Origin of Farm Games – Though FarmVille may be the most popular, China Social Games has done a detailed study of how the birthplace emerged. The earliest versions of farming games go as far back as 17 years with the title SimFarm in 1993 from Maxis and then again with Victor Interactive Software’s title, Havest Moon, in 1996. However, in regards to social farming it was popularized initially in both China and the U.S. at approximately the same time in 2008 with Five Minutes’ Happy Farm and Take(5)Social’s (playSocial’s) myFarm.
Farm Town also started around the same time. While Take(5)Social claims that the developer, Slashkey, copied its app, our understanding is that this is not the case. Instead, Farm Town combined aspects from a number of other formative social games, like (Lil) Green Patch, on its own.
One Million iPads Sold – Many wonder how the iPad will do in the long run; especially when compared to the iPhone predecessor. Well, according to Apple, April 30th was the milestone for the 1 millionth iPad sold, just 28 days after its initial launch in the United States. To add some perspective to that, the iPhone took 74 days to reach that same number.
Hive Media Launches New Game & Social Platform – Earlier in the week, Hive Media launched a new social game called My Hollywood Studio, as a means to display its new social platform. The game itself is a quaint title where players move from being nothing to big time Hollywood names and is based on the PC title, The Movies. As for the platform, caters specifically to larger brands with intellectual property. Furthermore, through Hive’s “Collaborative Content Delivery Platform” — which is a fancy name for a templating system — developers can easily upload video, graphics, texts, and so on to create varying genres of games. Thus far, Hive Media’s first partnership will be Michael Bay’s “The Institute.”