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9 Huge Tech IPOs Of 2011

English: The New York Stock Exchange on Wall S...

Zynga, the social gaming company whose “Mafia Wars,” “FarmVille,” and other games have amassed millions of devoted fans, is now worth billions of dollars and, on December 16, made its debuted on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The company, which is named after founder and CEO Mark Pincus’ bulldog, “Zinga,” priced shares at $10 a piece and raised $1 billion in its IPO.According to the Associated Press, the gaming company is now second only to Google when it comes to high-value internet IPOs. The search giant raised $1.4 billion when it went public in 2004.

Zynga’s IPO is only the latest in a series of highly-anticipated initial public offerings from technology companies this year. LinkedIn, Pandora, Groupon and Zillow, among others, also made their public debuts.

But how does Zynga compare to these other companies’ IPOs? And how are these “hot” companies faring now?


Want to Feed Hungry Children, Play Farmville

Image representing Zynga as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Zynga is partnering with Pizza Hut to help fight world hunger. Players on popular Zynga games, includingFarmVilleCityVilleEmpires & Allies and The Pioneer Trail can purchase exclusive in-game items for $5. All proceeds from these specific purchases will go to the World Food Programme.

The pieces are both cutesy (see above) and educational. For example, the FarmVille item is the blue horse-drawn cart full of vegetables stamped with the World Food Programme initials. It’s a smart move by Pizza Hut and Zynga to not only have the items be helpful in-game but also support a worthy cause off-line. It’s the first time Zynga has partnered with a brand in this way.

Pizza Hut launched the partnership with Zynga as part of the annual World Hunger Relief campaign, which launches September 26. Pizza Hut has developed an entire website, called “Share a Slice of Hope,” to benefit the 2011 World Hunger Relief, including news updates, donation channels and links to similar campaigns.


Zynga Lawsuit Alleges Company Infringed Agincourt’s Patents

Image representing Zynga as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Zynga Inc., the maker of popular online games such as “FarmVille” and “CityVille,” is being sued for patent infringement by a Texas gaming startup.

Agincourt claims Zynga is violating two of its patents related to systems for redeeming prizes in games. The patents were awarded in 2001 and 2004.

Zynga’s “remarkable growth has not been driven by its own ingenuity or innovations,” Agincourt said. “Rather, it has been widely reported that Zynga’s business model is to copy creative ideas and game designs … and use its market power to bulldoze the games’ originators.”


Facebook: Google+ has no users

Facebook executives have choice words for Google’s efforts to bring casual games to its fledgling social network.

A little less than two months after Google launched its fledgling social network, Google+, Silicon Valley’s latest rivalry is heating up.

Google+ (GOOG) launched in June with an innovative group video chat dubbed Hangout. One week later, Facebook announced a video chat feature of its own in cooperation with Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype. Last week, Google announced that games like Zynga Poker and Angry Birds would find a home on Google+. A day later, Facebook unveiled a slew of improvements to its games platform, including a newsfeed-like live ticker with game updates and higher-resolution gaming.

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg is paying very close attention.


Zynga To Launch Pioneer Trail in FrontierVille


Image via Wikipedia

Social gaming juggernaut Zynga will flip the switch later today on The Pioneer Trail, a new social adventure game within FrontierVille.

Unlike all of Zynga’s previous games, Pioneer Trail is a linear adventure with a set beginning and end. Users outfit a wagon and traverse not one, but three different maps with their own unique set of missions and achievements. It also places an emphasis on a storyline where users get to choose their own adventure.

FrontierVille general manager John Osvald explained to Mashable that Zynga wanted to use different social gaming mechanics for this extension of the FrontierVille franchise. In FarmVille, Empires & Allies and Zynga’s other social games, gameplay improves as users add more friends as neighbors or allies. In Pioneer Trail, that concept is discarded. Instead, the game only lets users travel the trail with three of their closest friends, which Zynga hopes will result in more intimate gameplay.


Google+ Adds Games: Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Zynga Poker And More

One player's customised farm.

Image via Wikipedia

Google+, the search engine’s recently launched social network, has announced a slew of popular games that will be added to the platform.

Soon, gamers on Google+ will enjoy titles like “Angry Birds,” “Zynga Poker,” “Bejeweled Blitz,” “Sudoku” and many more–all while signed in to a Google+ account.

Games will begin rolling out to users on August 11, according to an announcement posted on the Official Google Blog by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering.

When the games are live on your account, writres Gundotra, a button for the Games page will live at the top of your Google+ stream.