Times are obviously looking quite good at San Francisco based social gaming behemoth Zynga, as they’ve recently announced…wait for it…yes, yet another acquisition. This time up? Austin, Texas based Challenge Games.
Wasting no time in establishing who’s who, Zynga has marked the acquisition with an ‘effective immediately’ renaming of Challenge Games to Zynga Austin. Zynga plans to utilize the new Austin office primarily as a game studio focused on product development. The Austin acquisition now brings Zynga’s satellite office total to 5, as they also have offices/studios in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Bangalore, and Beijing, in addition to their main headquarters in San Francisco.
Challenge Games was launched in 2007 with a focus on creating immersive web games based on a virtual goods monetization business model. They were backed by both Sequoia Capital and Globespan Capital Partners. Challenge Games has two popular games, Warstorm and Ponzi. The first focuses on card collecting in a fantasy universe, while the other, as you might guess, is a tycoon/get rich game, both of which Zynga apparently has very bright futures planned for.
Challenge Games’ co-founder and CEO Andrew Busey will stay on as Zynga’s General Manager and Vice President of the Austin studio. He’ll remain with his team of 35 employees, and presumably carry on with business as usual, just now under the Zynga banner.
“Austin is an ideal location to extend our studio operations with its rich talent in the games business,” said Mike Verdu, senior vice president of Games at Zynga. “We look forward to building out our Zynga Austin studio with the best and brightest in the industry as we continue to bring social games to more users worldwide.”
And as much as the cynic in me would love to find the deep, dark secret hiding at the bottom of Zynga’s sock drawer, from all reports coming out of the SFO HQ, things really are going that well at the company. They’ve recently setting the Facebook fiasco by inking a five year (presumably “Sweetheart”) deal, and just a few days ago, they came to terms with Yahoo! This is on top of the previously mentioned acquisitions that Pincus and Co. have worked this year, and just to add a cherry to the sundae, don’t forget about Zynga’s cross over into the “physical” world with a 7-Eleven promotion with special offers and promotions available via your favorite flavored Slurpee. If that wasn’t enough, let’s not forget that the rumor mill has started to circulate regarding a new Zynga ‘Ville, this time based in the Wild West (cashing in on the Red Dead Redemption fever? Possibly).
If I were a gamblin’ man, my bet would be for Zynga to snatch up one, perhaps two more U.S. based firms, and then make the leap to an EU acquisition. 20:1 before year’s end? I’d put $100 on that one…..