Digital Chocolate Planning Social Explosion on iPhone

Anyone who knows anything about Digital Chocolate CEO Trip Hawkins knows he’s not one to back away from a challenge.

The man who launched Electronic Arts– which remains one of the most successful publishers in the world– and the driving force behind the (not quite so prolific, but still mightily ambitious) 3DO platform certainly isn’t afraid of taking his business to new pastures (see our last discussion with him, for instance).

As such, it should come as no surprise that Digital Chocolate, which today secured a “multi-million dollar” funding package from Bridge Capital Holdings, is planning something of a social gaming surge on iPhone. It’s an area Zynga– with Mafia Wars having launched last year, and Farmville due later this month— appears to have already secured, but Hawkins is keen to get Digital Chocolate in on the act.

“Digital Chocolate is emerging as one of the new leaders in mobile and social games,” Hawkins said of the deal.

“Bridge Bank will help us grow faster. They have confidence in our performance to date and the strong market position we are building.”

Though the money will officially be used for “general corporate purposes,” Hawkins has long held a desire to make the most out of social platforms like iPhone and Facebook, and the publisher has stated that investing in apps on the two formats is what will push Digital Chocolate forward.

Hawkins and co. already have some heavyweight franchises on the iPhone– Crazy Penguin Catapult and Chocolate Shop Frenzy to name just a couple, but early speculation suggests we could see some of the firm’s social gaming Facebook output, which includes the likes of Millionaire City and NanoTowns, heading to the App Store at some point in the future.

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