News Byte

QuizUp Creator Plain Vanilla Games Raises Another $22 Million

On top of a $1.2 million seed round, a $2.5 million Series A and then a $2 million extension to that Series A, Plain Vanilla Games has just raised another bundle of money for its mobile trivia game QuizUp: A $22 million Series B, led by Sequoia Capital. The company’s previous investors, including Tencent Holdings, also participated in the round. The app now has five million active users, according to a press release.

Despite Free-to-Play Explosion, Apple Puts Spotlight on Paid Games

Candy Crush can fend for itself.
Apple's iPad game of the year, Badland.

2013 Was a Huge Year for Android Gaming

And paid apps on both Android and iOS are falling deeper into obscurity.
happy_android

Benchmark’s Mitch Lasky on App Discovery, Distribution and the Power of Chat Networks

The successful games investor chats about, well, chat.
Mitch_Lasky

News Byte

Fitness-Gaming Device Goji Play Officially Goes on Sale

Goji Play, the mobile-gaming-meets-cardio-fitness device first announced in July, officially goes on sale today. The product underwent a soft launch in October, by way of a partnership with MyFitnessPal. A Goji Play kit costs $100, includes an activity tracker and Bluetooth-connected game controllers designed for exercise machines, and supports 12 iOS games at launch, with more games and Android support planned for next year.

Voices

How Japan Is Winning in Mobile Games

Better than any other country, Japan’s mobile game makers have cracked the revenue code despite having few world-wide megahits. The secret: an industry that is constantly experimenting with new ways to master the psychology of mobile payments.

News Byte

Kontagent and PlayHaven Announce Merger, Will Join Player Data and Monetization Products

Mobile app analytics platform Kontagent and business engine PlayHaven will merge, the two companies announced today, with PlayHaven’s ex-CEO Andy Yang at the helm of the combined companies, and Kontagent’s ex-CEO Josh Williams becoming CTO and chairman of the board. In an interview, Yang said the decision was spurred by an “extremely fragmented” mobile B2B market and overlap between the companies’ customers. Over time, Kontagent-PlayHaven will integrate the two companies’ products into one suite.

News Byte

Japan Overtakes U.S. in Apple/Google App Store Revenue

Japan is now the top country worldwide in revenue from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, according to a new report from App Annie. The app analytics company attributed the surprising shift to rapid smartphone adoption over the past year in Japan — where feature phones have held on for longer — and explosive growth in Google Play spending, outpacing global trends due to the availability of carrier billing as an alternative to credit cards.

Toca Boca CEO Bjorn Jeffery: Adults Don’t Understand How Kids Play

Well, most of them, anyway.
toca_tea_party

News Byte

Storm8 Gets Into the Publishing Business, Too

Social mobile games studio Storm8 announced today that it will start marketing, distributing and advising on third-party games via a new arm, Storm8 Publishing. Its first title, War of Dragons for iOS, is a Puzzle & Dragons-esque match-three game originally released as Tower of Saviors. Storm8 is best known for monetization-focused, free-to-play games like iMobster and the “Story” series released under its TeamLava brand.