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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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February 6, 2008 5:04 PM

Seattle gamers getting casual in Amsterdam

Posted by Brier Dudley

I wish I was in Amsterdam covering the Casual Games Association conference this week, but I'll have to make do with the press releases floating back to Seattle and talking to industry honchos who stayed in town.

Among the announcements keyed to the show:

-- FlowPlay, a Seattle startup developing "community oriented casual gaming technology," received $3.7 million in funding led by Intel Capital and Ambient Sound Investments. Also contributing were Michael Schutzler, a former RealNetworks games executive, and Ben Feingold, former Sony Pictures home entertainment president.

-- RealNetworks signed a partnership with Netherlands-based game network Spill Group that would increase Real's customer reach by 20 percent, to 48 million monthly unique visitors, up from 40 million. The deal also gives Real broader global reach.

-- Real also announced that the "Sally's Salon" game it produced and promoted through the Lifetime network was the top-selling game on its game network in 2007. It had 300,000 downloads in its first month on Real also announced a survey that concluded players don't mind the in-game streaming video game ads the company is using.

-- Bothell's Sandlot Games on Tuesday launched "Monster Mash," a new "strategic adventure game" published with Kranx Productions. The $19.95 game "transports gamers into the fairy-tale world of Curly Valley, where they're forced to defend villages from the invading hordes of quirky and bizarre monsters."

-- Seattle's Movaya is announcing today the beta launch of TryNBuy, a technology that lets people try new downloadable games on their phones before purchasing them. Founder Phil Yerkes said it's of interest to the casual crowd in Amsterdam, but he was trying to get the product out in time for the Game Developer Conference starting Feb. 18 in San Francisco.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.