Zynga makes serious mobile push with new hires

Zynga makes serious mobile push with new hires

By Rob Crossley

May 10th 2011 at 2:18PM

Thirteenth acquisition in twelve months as the Farmville group expands further

Zynga’s has made a significant extension into the smartphone games space by hiring key contributors of open-source mobile tools.

In a delicately arranged acquisition, Zynga has essentially taken some control of the open-source iPhone tool Cocos2d.

It has achieved the feat, however, whilst keeping Cocos2d open and free to all companies including rivals.

The Farmville giant acquired “certain assets” of Sapus Media, creators of Cocos2d. Financial terms were not disclosed.

It has not, however, acquired the community site cocos2d-iphone.org, which “will continue to be managed separately”.

Cocos2d for iPhone is a framework for building 2D games, demos, and other graphical applications on the Apple device.

Developers such as Ngmoco, Gamevil and Atari have relied on the tech, Zynga said.

The buyout of Sapus Media equity paves the way for two key Cocos2d developers joining Zynga.

Ricardo Quesada and Rolando Abarca are set to join Zynga, the company confirmed, while Quesada will also “separately” manage the cocos2d-iphone.org community.

“Games and applications will continue to operate on cocos2d for iPhone as they always have,” Zynga assured.

Zynga said it has “long been an advocate of the open source community and we are excited to have Ricardo and Rolando continue to support and contribute to cocos2d for iPhone while in their new roles at Zynga”.

Zynga said hiring the duo will mean it can better leverage the tech.

The move will “greatly augment Zynga’s presence in the mobile space”, the firm added.

The latest acquisition, though a delicate manoeuvre, illustrates the gravity of Zynga’s plan to expand into mobiles.

It marks the thirteenth acquisition by the company in 12 months, Zynga said.

In that timeframe, Zynga has bought XPD in Beijing, Challenge Games in Austin, Unoh Games in Tokyo, Conduit Labs in Boston, Dextrose AG in Frankfurt, Bonfire Studios in Dallas, Newtoy in Texas, the Flock team, Area/Code in New York, Floodgate Entertainment in Boston, Market Zero in Texas and Londoners Wonderland Software.

Many of these firms have experience, and have acquired riches, in the smartphone games and apps market.