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Microsoft Reveals New Casual Games Hub, Partners With CrowdStar

Microsoft is launching a gaming hub that connects its three social gaming portals (MSN Games, Bing Games, and Windows Live Messenger), and is bringing CrowdStar's social games to its platforms.
Microsoft is launching a gaming hub that connects its three social gaming portals (MSN Games, Bing Games, and Windows Live Messenger), and is bringing CrowdStar's social games to its platforms. Users can sign into the Microsoft Game Hub with their Facebook or Windows Live accounts, then play the same games, see friends' status updates, view leaderboards, send each other challenges, and more across a variety of platforms -- Windows Live Messenger, Bing, mobile devices, and PCs. With the hub's launch, Microsoft announced that it's rebuilt the MSN Games site, updated "the games experience" on Windows Live Messenger, and expanded Bing Games internationally into other English-speaking markets, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The three portals will feature a selection of popular titles from console, handheld, mobile, and online platforms. They currently offer over 35 games that are playable across all portals, including Fresh Games' Cubis 2, InXile's Super Stacker, and PopCap's Plants Vs. Zombies. Microsoft has also teamed up with social game company CrowdStar (Happy Aquarium, It Girl) to bring its titles to the three portals. The studio currently attracts more than 50 million monthly active users on Facebook and has the second biggest audience on the social network behind Zynga, according to AppData. Working with trans-platform gaming engine Sibblingz, CrowdStar intends to first roll out its titles to Bing Games, which has enjoyed over 55 million game sessions since launching in June. The developer will later launch its social games to Windows Live Messenger and MSN Games. "CrowdStari¿½s impressive lineup of popular titles have made them a leader in the social games space," says Microsoft's PC and Mobile Gaming senior global director Kevin Unangst. "Wei¿½re taking a bold new approach to bridging the worlds of social and casual games, and are thrilled to work with CrowdStar to bring that vision to life."

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