How Germany’s Wooga took Facebook by storm (interview)

After Zynga, the second-biggest player on Facebook isn’t Electronic Arts anymore. It’s Wooga, a Berlin-based studio that has become Europe’s largest social game publisher with more than 49 million monthly active users on Facebook.
Now Wooga has raised $24 million in venture capital and has grown to more than 150 employees. The company now faces a number of strategic decisions, such as doubling down on Facebook or spreading out to platforms such as Google+ or Zynga.com. We caught up with co-founder Jens Begemann at the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Here’s a transcript of our interview.

The DeanBeat: The top 12 trends from the GDC

Too often, I flit from one conference to another like a wayward butterfly, trying to catch up with all the news. But the Game Developers Conference is one of my favorite events of the year because it places such a high value on creativity in the game industry. It is fitting to dwell upon it and to figure out what this year’s conference in San Francisco, which ended Friday March 9, was all about.

How Thatgamecompany designed its new game, Journey

Kellee Santiago is co-founder and president of Thatgamecompany, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based game studio she started with Jenova Chen. After three years of work, the company’s Journey game on the PlayStation 3 will go on sale as a downloadable title on the PlayStation Network on March 13. The game has already gotten accolades from game critics, including a high rating of 90/100 from GamesBeat. In the game, the player goes on a solitary journey across the desert to a distant mountain. The visual effects of the wind and sand are beautiful, and the story is told without any words.

Zynga’s Dyer invites developers to be publishing partners

Rob Dyer is having his coming out party today. He joined social gaming giant Zynga in October as head of partner publishing, and now he finally gets to tell the world what he’s been doing. Dyer is the man who must convince external game developers to publish their games on Zynga’s newly announced platform for social gaming. Games published on the platform will run on both Zynga.com and Facebook, enabling smaller game developers to reach Zynga’s audience of 246 million monthly active users.

The Game Developers Conference in pictures (photo gallery)

The Game Developers Conference drew around 19,000 game developers to San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center this week. The show captured an industry in the midst of transition, as games spread out to a variety of platforms, including smartphones, tablets, Facebook, and digital distribution via the web. The GDC draws talent from across the industry, and it’s always a good way to measure the pulse of games as they evolve. You can check out some of the trends and people from the images below.