Google has pumped at least $100 million into online gaming power Zynga, TechCrunch reported. Zynga would serve as the centerpiece for Google Games when it launches later this year.
Just days after supposition that Google could get into
gaming, TechCrunch reported
that Google has pumped at least $100 million into online gaming power
Zynga, whose Farmville and Mafia Wars titles captivate millions of Facebook
In a strategic deal, Zynga would serve as the centerpiece for Google Games
when it launches later this year, the top tech blog said.
There is no hard evidence of this launch and Google
declined to comment for eWEEK.
However, TechCrunch pointed to this
on Google for a product management leader for Google Games. The
description of the position magnifies Google's intentions for online gaming:
"The Product Management Leader, Games will be a
flexible, results-oriented, and experienced senior leader who will be
responsible for developing Google's games commerce product strategy and
partnering to build and manage the business with a cross-functional team."
People are fanatical about using Zynga's games on
Facebook, which explains the massive funding in the startup.
TechCrunch said Zynga has banked nearly $500 million in
venture capital funding, including $180 million from Digital Sky Technologies,
Tiger Global, Institutional Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz.
The total sum also includes an unconfirmed $150 million
from Softbank Capital, funding to which TechCrunch argues Google contributed.
One could argue Zynga's games are responsible for a shift
in how people use Facebook; in the last two years, people have evolved from simply
sharing information and socializing on the social network, to playing games
with friends online for hours at a time.
That stickiness keeps people coming back and seeing more
social ads, which is a major reason so many companies have tried to buy Zynga,
Google's gaming designs, while slowly crystallizing,
aren't coming as a shock to anyone who understands the popularity of games
played on the Web, which is where Google counts its eyeballs and ad dollars.
HitWise Intelligence analyst Heather Hopkins, who predicted
Google would dip into online travel before Google bid to buy ITA Software last
month, said July 7
"It may have taken four years since our initial
analysis for the acquisition but what does clickstream data tell us about
Google's next potential foray? Games. After Travel, the next biggest downstream
industry from Google.com is Games and Google does not yet have a presence in
that industry. Stay tuned..."
From TechCrunch's scoop and the Games position post, it
seems that prognostication will be borne out.