Taiwan-based online gaming outfit GigaMedia is preparing to dive deep into the social casino space in a bid to boost growth of its FunTown online game brand. GigaMedia CEO Collin Hwang said the company is presently conducting closed beta testing on a new suite of in-house social slots, poker and dice games at over 200 internet cafes in Taiwan, with a commercial release expected by the end of July.
Hwang said the plan was to “leverage our expertise as a developer and operator of PC-based Asian casino games to create new offerings for mobile and tablet devices” targeting “the highest-spending social gamers in the world’s largest mobile games market.” As part of its plan for Asian social casino dominance, GigaMedia is also “reviewing potential strategic partnerships and acquisitions.”
GigaMedia used to own Everest Gaming, but sold 60% of the business in 2009 to BetClic, which assumed the remaining stake last year. Gigamedia has undergone a sweeping restructuring over the past few years, enduring nearly three years of red ink before finally turning a profit in Q3 2012. Hwang is GigaMedia’s fourth CEO in two years.
Cantor Ventures has announced it will invest $25m in TopLine Game Labs, which will enable the California-based developer to enter the fantasy sports and social gaming market. Cantor Ventures is an offshoot of Wall Street investment outfit Cantor Fitzgerald, which also counts Nevada sportsbook operator Cantor Gaming among its holdings. TopLine is run by Yahoo! Sports’ former head of fantasy sports David Geller, who says the Cantor cash will help build a “robust platform to power exciting new sports- and entertainment-based social games.” While TopLine has espoused a “mobile-first” approach, Geller says the team is “committed to building a platform agnostic architecture.”
Will the last top exec to leave struggling social game developer Zynga please turn out the lights? The latest Zyngan to turn in his key to the executive washroom is VP of partner publishing Rod Dyer. Dyer joined Zynga in late 2011 to help open up a new revenue stream for Zynga by releasing game titles by third-party developers. Dyer’s departure is the latest in a string of top execs to flee Zynga’s sinking ship, not to mention the massive layoffs among Zynga’s lower ranks.