Howard Marks’ Gamzee will focus on social-mobile HTML5 games

Howard Marks has developed pretty good cred in video games. Over the course of 25 years, he helped revive an ailing Activision, which is now the biggest video game publisher. He bought the Acclaim name out of bankruptcy, started working on a number of online games, and sold the company to Playdom in 2010. Now he has turned his focus on a new game start-up, Gamzee.

Game Closure launches HTML5-based cross-platform game technology

Game Closure is showing off its HTML5-based cross-platform multiplayer gaming technology at the Google I/O conference today. The company is using its own Popstar Defense game to prove that it can make a single game, written entirely with the HTML5 language, that can run on web browsers, iPhones, Android phones, Android tablets and iPads. launches its first cross-platform mobile game (exclusive) grew up in the age of web portals, offering skill-based games for players who liked to play casual tournament games. But this is the age of disruption for games, so the company expanded into Facebook games in February and is launching its first cross-platform mobile game, Miner Speed, today on the iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).

RockYou signs second social game deal with Loot Drop

Social gaming company RockYou has signed a second game publishing deal with Loot Drop, the studio created by veteran game developers John Romero (right) and Brenda Brathwaite (left).

Hi5 becomes a top ten online game site

Perhaps it was the sumo wrestling. Alex St. John, president of social network Hi5 and a man who took on a real sumo wrestler as a marketing stunt, has something to crow about. His company is announcing today that market analyst comScore Media Metrix has classified Hi5 as a top ten online gaming site in a worldwide ranking.

VCs see tough and exciting landscape for game startups

The game industry has gotten a lot of love from venture capitalists lately. For many years, VCs invested a small amount of money into games compared to other hot investments such as social media. But in the age of Facebook and mobile gaming, that has changed. In 2010, VentureBeat’s own analysis found that 91 game companies raised $1.05 billion in 2010, up 58 percent from a year earlier.

Zynga’s Mark Pincus: The ethical founder?

The social era of computing has produced three multi-billion dollar companies: Facebook, Twitter and Zynga. As light is increasingly shed on the formation myths of Facebook and Twitter, a lot of new information casts doubt on the ethics and motivations of their respective founders. It is ironic that Zynga has had no such drama, since the company’s founder Mark Pincus has been lambasted for being unethical due to what TechCrunch dubbed “ScamVille”.

Social game firm RockYou looks inside for new CEO

RockYou didn’t have to go far to find its new chief executive. It has selected its chief operating officer Lisa Marino as the new boss of the social game company.

Talkie rolls out green social game Ecotopia on Facebook

Aiming to do good with a good game, game startup Talkie is rolling out its Facebook game Ecotopia today in a private beta test. This game has some extra oomph from its allies: actor Harrison Ford and nonprofit Conservation International.

Oberon to shutter internal game development

Online games giant Oberon Media has decided to shut down in-house production, resulting in the elimination of an undetermined number of jobs, according to Oberon CEO and president Bob Hayes in an interview.

Nexon invests $5M in social game maker A Bit Lucky (exclusive)

Korean online gaming firm Nexon has invested $5 million in Silicon Valley social game developer A Bit Lucky, maker of the popular Facebook game Lucky Train. The move helps Nexon position itself in the Facebook social gaming market and gives a small game developer an important ally in the broader online game market.

Gameview’s Tap Fish tops 10M downloads in a year on the App Store

When it comes to simulating aquariums on the iPhone, nobody beats Gameview Studio’s Tap Fish game, which has been downloaded more than 10 million times in the past year. And Gameview says that the game was one of the top-grossing free-to-play mobile apps of 2010 thanks to sales of virtual goods inside the game.

Now that’s a rant: Brenda Brathwaite unloads on social game haters

Social-gaming entrepreneur Brenda Brathwaite delivered a rant at the Game Developers Conference that would have made a tent preacher proud. In a session where speakers were encouraged to lash back at critics among traditional game makers, Brathwaite lobbed a bunch of grenades back at industry bigots who think social games are evil.

Nintendo CEO: Smartphone games are worthless

In a feisty attack on the fastest-growing sectors of the video-game industry, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said that smartphone games and social-media games focus on quantity instead of quality.

Making Fun debuts as the video-game arm of Rupert Murdoch’s empire

Media baron Rupert Murdoch is going into video games — but not in his usually splashy way. Although he could easily drop a billion dollars on the burgeoning games business, he’s instead placing an uncharacteristically cautious small bet.

Do women play more games than men?

Women now play games more than men, according to a report by mobile app analytics provider Flurry. At least that’s true in the realm of mobile and mobile social games, where the likes of Zynga’s FarmVille and Popcap’s Plants vs. Zombies are at the forefront.

Social games maker Digital Chocolate raises $12M

Digital Chocolate, a developer of social games that appear on sites like Facebook, announced today that it has raised $12 million in its fourth round of funding from Intel Capital.

Richard Garriott: My plan to beat FarmVille and CityVille (video)

Richard Garriott is known as a video-game pioneer, an undersea diver and an astronaut. Now he wants to outdo Zynga, the creator of FarmVille and CItyVille, in social games. His new game company, Portalarium, will debut its first major game in a month.

Applifier’s “rebel alliance” raises money to cross-promote social games

In Facebook games, a small pack of companies has most of the users. Applifier wants to change that, creating a new marketing vehicle so that independent game developers can cross-promote their games to a big audience. This idea, which the company describes as the “rebel alliance,” has gained a lot of momentum in the past year and has led to a new round of funding for Applifier.

With latest accolade, the future is Bing Gordon’s game (exclusive interview)

Few outside of the video-game industry have likely heard of Bing Gordon. But the game pioneer now wields major influence over the future of the Internet, with board seats on companies from to Zynga. Today is a day that Gordon’s fame may spread wider: he has been named the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, a prestigious video-game association.

Zynga’s CityVille grows to 100 million users in 43 days

Zynga keeps making history with CityVille, the fastest-growing game of all time. Today, the Facebook game broke another record as it reached 100 million users, just 43 days after its launch on Dec. 2.