Zynga in key mobile play

Zynga, king of online social networking games, is following its fans onto smartphones and other mobile devices with the acquisition on Thursday of rising social play star Newtoy.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal that brought the Texas-based startup behind the hot “Games With Friends” franchise into Zynga’s stable of studios.

“The ‘Games With Friends’ franchise is the best social game experience available on mobile today and we are excited to welcome the Newtoy team to the Zynga family,” said Zynga founder and chief executive Mark Pincus.

Newtoy titles include “Words With Friends” and “Chess With Friends” games played between people using mobile gadgets and text messages.

Newtoy co-founder Paul Bettner will manage the operation, renamed “Zynga With Friends,” and answer to Zynga senior vice president of mobile David Ko.

The acquisition is part of a Zynga strategy to expand its popularity from online social networks visited at desktop computers to the booming smart gadget market.

More than 215 million people play Zynga games such as “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars” monthly, according to Ko.

“We want to offer those users the ability to play those games anywhere,” Ko said in a conference call with reporters. “Our users are asking for it.”

The Newtoy purchase marks the seventh acquisition by San Francisco-based Zynga in about as many months.

“We’re reinventing the way people are social on their mobile devices,” said Bettner.

“The Zynga With Friends Studio will build on the Newtoy legacy of creating approachable, highly social games that are accessible to anyone from anywhere.” – AFP



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