GamesBeat GamesBeat weekly roundup: Zynga layoffs, Nintendo’s future, and Microsoft buys Gears of War Above: Social-gaming publisher Zynga's headquarters.Image Credit: Zynga January 31, 2014 9:30 AM Mike Minotti 0 Let’s send off the miserable month of January the same way we end every week here at GamesBeat: with a collection of our gaming coverage from the last seven days. This week, Flappy Bird takes the app stores by storm. Zynga loses 15 percent of its workforce, Microsoft grabs the Gear of War franchise from Epic, Nintendo reveals how it plans to rebound from poor Wii U sales, and more. Hot posts We turn 10 famous designers into video game characters Flappy Bird hits No. 1 on the app stores. But why? Zynga The DeanBeat: Zynga’s new strategy reveals the agony and the ecstasy of mobile games Zynga chief operating officer Downie describes its new game play (interview) Zynga’s Don Mattrick and Clive Downie describe their strategy for 2014 and today’s results (excerpts) Zynga’s layoff of 314 employees — 15% of its workforce — shows the tough times aren’t over Zynga stock price up 23% after-hours even while the publisher continues to leak monthly active users Zynga plans to acquire CSR Racing developer NaturalMotion for $527 million Above: Next Car Game from Bugbear Entertainment.Image Credit: Bugbear Entertainment News Microsoft: Give us your PlayStation 3, and we’ll give you $100 to put toward an Xbox One Next Car Game makes $1 million in a week on Steam Early Access AMD nears launch of Mantle software to enable outstanding PC game graphics Nintendo reveals DS games on Wii U, Mario Kart 8 release date, and expansion into health technology Sony sells 2.1 million copies of its PS4 shooter Killzone: Shadow Fall 9 of the 10 best-selling physical games in Japan were on 3DS and Wii U in 2013 Analysts see the positive in Andrew Wilson’s first holiday season as EA chief A battle in the space MMO Eve Online caused more than $300,000 in destruction Nintendo president Iwata and Mario creator Miyamoto take pay cut due to sputtering Wii U Nintendo sold 2.4M Wii U consoles in 9 months, less than Sony and Microsoft sold in six weeks EA: Battlefield 4′s tech issues aren’t hurting sales; 5 expansion packs to come Paywall showdown: Elder Scrolls Online requires Xbox Gold subscription — but not PS Plus (updated) Battlefield 4, FIFA 14 help EA capture 35% of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game sales last quarter EA beats earnings estimates, but revenues fall short with mixed holiday sales AbleGamers: Final Fantasy XIV was the most-accessible mainstream game of 2013 Nintendo denies claim it is making ‘minigames’ for smartphones Analysts expecting strong EA earnings from Battlefield 4 and FIFA 14 Video game thief Sly Cooper will sneak into movie theaters with 2016 film King chief executive addresses ‘Candy’ trademark, The Banner Saga, and cloning games Despite strong PlayStation 4 launch, Sony’s credit rating drops to ‘junk’ status Gears of War is now a Microsoft-owned property Linden Lab loses its star CEO, Rod Humble Kii launches its Game Cloud developer platform with heavy Unity integration Free-to-play juggernaut League of Legends still growing rapidly — 27M players daily King chief executive addresses ‘Candy’ trademark, The Banner Saga, and cloning games Epic says selling Gears of War to Microsoft doesn’t mean it’s done making games Mobile and social Flappy Bird hits No. 1 on the app stores. But why? Disney launches Korean mobile game Marvel Run Jump Smash! Sony Pictures Television unveils Sports Jeopardy mobile game Puzzle & Dragons, Candy Crush Saga help mobile make more money than handhelds The cost of acquiring mobile app users dipped for once in December Big games = big data: ‘Games are a service now’ Mini games make their inevitable arrival on Google Glass Angry Birds developer denies colluding with the National Security Agency MobiCoach gives golfers real-time coaching advice via mobile app JoyBits hopes Doodle Kingdom will expand its 126M download mobile game franchise Rage of Bahamut developer invests $680K in Japanese indie game Airship Q Chinese online game publisher Shanda gets $1.9B offer to go private Above: Octodad has to put the ring on his wife’s finger.Image Credit: Young Horses Reviews Octodad is silly fun — and it will make you cry (review) Bravely Default is an amazing RPG that combines innovation with reverence (review) Previews Lords of Fallen looks like an arcade-style Dark Souls Eidos is giving Thief that Tim Burton feel Pieces of flair Great tabletop games for video gamers: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game A 4-year-old top-grossing game? How Kingdoms At War is still making money years after launch 5 reasons why you must keep your PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Meet the Super Bowl star who plays Pokémon 3 hours a night 19 games that Candy Crush Saga developer King would like to crush GamesBeat Community: How would you save the Wii U? EA’s holiday season by the numbers: 18B minutes played in FIFA (infographic) Seeing things: When gaming messes with reality — and your brain Did King.com really ‘trademark’ the word candy? Sims 4 producer’s view on designing a diverse game studio (interview) VRcade wants to revive high-end, location-based virtual reality Microsoft’s ambition is to make TV more interactive and entertaining (interview) GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!