New target acquired in Zynga buyout spree

New target acquired in Zynga buyout spree

By Rob Crossley

June 4th 2010 at 1:38PM

Challenge Games and its thirty-five staff snapped up

Socnet games group Zynga has made another studio acquisition in what appears to be a fanatical buyout season for the company.

The purchase of Texas-based socnet studio Challenge Games, announced overnight, marks the fourth public acquisition for Zynga in 2010 so far.

Challenge Games is to be rebranded Zynga Austin, with its CEO Andrew Busey appointed general manager of the branch. The 35 developers who made up Challenge Games’ workforce will be asked to remain at the company.

Zynga’s latest buyout comes hot on the heels of its acquisition of Chinese social gaming company XPD Media – a move which paved the way for Zynga to tap into the East Asian market.

These two deals arrive just a few months after Zynga’s previous expansion rush.

Early in February the group said it was set to open a new development studio in Los Angeles, providing Zynga with local access to Silicon Valley’s breeding ground of talented developers.

Days later, it was revealed that Zynga acquired fellow Facebook studio Serious Business, which will see the latter company’s staff (or a number of them) join Zynga's headquarters in San Francisco.

And in the same month, Zynga announced grand plans to open a satellite studio in India – opening up a highly lucrative Indian market with a fast-growing middle-class market, keen to adapt to the western consumer conscience.

With the new Challenge Games buyout sealed, Zynga's studio operation now has offices in Austin, San Francisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Bangalore, and Beijing.

The social game market continues to boom, with numerous companies staking huge sums of money on the sector’s long-term health.

EA recently spent at least $300 million on buying Playfish, and Microsoft was recently linked to a possible $200 million buyout California-based developer CrowdStar.