RockYou Acquires Playdemic for Bigger Push Into Social Games

RockYou has acquired Playdemic of Manchester, England, to continue its transformation from a widget-maker on Facebook to a social games developer.

RockYou plans to keep Playdemic independent, but will help grow the company’s first social title, Gourmet Ranch. The game, like many others on Facebook, expect people to complete taska, in this case everything from growing organic crops to raising animals to preparing a meal for friends.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but presumably it tapped into some of the $130 million RockYou had raised in multiple rounds from Sequoia Capital and others. Back in March, when it raised a round of capital, the company was valued at an astounding $300 to $400 million.

Since then, the five-year-old company has refocused its energies on making social games to target a massive industry. Its Zoo World game has been installed 50 million times to date, and it claims more than 200 million monthly unique visitors and 15 billion monthly global impressions. Besides virtual goods, it also monetizes through an advertising network.

The new business represents a shift from its original focus on making widgets for Facebook, including one that allowed users to jazz up their walls by giving them options such as “Hug Her, Slap Him, Tickle Them.” Some of its older legacy apps are being shut down, a spokesman said.

Together, the two companies will have 170 employees. The Playdemic office will be tasked with creating games for the RockYou audience, and will mark RockYou’s first official physical presence in Europe.

The consolidation of companies within the social games space will likely only continue. Investors and traditional game makers are hungry to get a piece of the growing market. In July, Disney purchased Playdom for upward of $700 million, including earnouts, and in late 2009, Electronic Arts paired up with Playfish by paying $400 million. Zynga, which is the largest social games company on Facebook, has remained independent.


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