Sulake CEO discusses Niko, Habbo Hotel and the drive to move audiences across platforms

With over 10 million unique visitors a month, Habbo Hotel is the world’s largest game and online community for teenagers, with users in over 150 countries. With parent company Sulake releasing Niko, its second iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) game, this week, VentureBeat spoke to chief executive Paul LaFontaine, about his cross-platform strategy.

Grooveshark launches HTML5 mobile app to get around being banned in app stores

Grooveshark has been in legal hot water with the major music labels because it doesn’t have broad licensing agreements to play the majority of its music, unlike Spotify, MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody. Much like YouTube, Grooveshark depends on users to legally upload music that can be enjoyed by the community. If a user uploads a file that he or she doesn’t own and it gets a DMCA complaint, Grooveshark takes the file down.

Sneak peek at SteelSeries’ pocket-sized controller for tablet and smartphone gamers

One of the most persistent problems with gaming on smartphones and tablets is the lack of physical controls. This has created an opportunity for developers to create unique game experiences, but more traditional-styled games that have found commercial and critical success, like EA’s Dead Space and Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 2, mimic the control style found on traditional gamepads. Touch controls are good enough to play, but are still a far cry from the feel of a physical controller.

Record-breaking 1.2B iOS and Android apps downloaded during holiday week

The staggering number of apps downloaded, courtesy of analytics firm Flurry, goes hand-in-hand with the report that 6.8 million iOS and Android devices were activated on Christmas Day. Naturally, many new owners of these smartphones downloaded all kinds of games and apps to make their smartphone experience more useful and entertaining, with 242 million apps downloaded on Christmas.

Meet 8 families who are making kid-friendly apps

Families are launching their own apps. With ideas that spark in living room labs, moms and dads are capturing great ideas and turning them into digital playgrounds. In this post you will meet several Bay Area developers who were inspired by the children in their lives to invent modern outlets for creative play. Their goal is to emphasize the conversational and educational potential of mobile technology.

Christmas marks record high for Android and iOS activiations, app downloads

Smartphones and tablets have surpassed the luxury phase, and are proliferating the market as every day household items. Though they still haven’t taken over feature phones, which own around 60 percent of the market, smartphones are widely adopted. Because of that adoption, they are being given as gifts left and right, with 2011 being the biggest year for Android and iOS devices as of yet.

Mega Man X comes to iPhone, fans hate the result

I fondly remember playing Mega Man X for SNES when I was younger and loved the challenge and attention to detail. The game introduced you to Zero, Mega Man’s friend, who uses an energy sword instead of an arm cannon. But as much as I want to re-live the experience, angry complaints around the web and a terrible-looking trailer (see below) are not making me download this in a hurry.