Google + Zynga + $200m = Google Games?

By Jim Rossignol on July 12th, 2010 at 11:07 am.


TechCrunch has some news about Google investing in Farmville developers Zynga. If TC’s “multiple sources” are correct, then the secret deal is intended to furnish a new Google Games project:

Google has quietly (secretly, one might say) invested somewhere between $100 million and $200 million in social gaming behemoth Zynga, we’ve confirmed from multiple sources… Not only will Zynga’s games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option. Zynga is supposedly PayPal’s biggest single customer, and Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant.

This is backed up with some project lead job ads for games from Google itself. Which is interesting.

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29 Comments »

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  1. Chris says:

    So a foray into games for google? Perhaps they will move into movies and music too. Is there nothing they won’t try?-

    • bookwormat says:

      They already announced that they will go into music at Google I/O, and it is rumored that their music service will be live before Christmas.

      And they are already serving movies through Youtube and soon they launch Google TV.

  2. RaveTurned says:

    I reckon this is about the mobile phone market. There’s already a Farmville app for the iPhone, so I woudn’t be surprised if Google want to make sure there’s something similar for Android users.

    • d. says:

      There’s already a Farmville for Android.
      It’s called Farmville and can be found on Facebook.

  3. Adrian says:

    A google Farmville… just what the world needed

  4. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    I Distrust Google. I have my trusty AK-74 here for when the machines rise.

  5. Mark says:

    Maybe they will use some of that $100 million to hire an actual game designer, rather than having viral marketing experts design addictions.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      This.

      I’m hoping Google involvement results in Google quality control, resulting in no more games designed to suck in helpless people who don’t know any better and make them pay ridiculous microtransaction fees for ridiculous things. Maybe Google can inject a little bit more ethics into the Facebook casual gaming scene.

    • Clovis says:

      Or Zynga could just continue doing what they’ve been doing, which is making boatloads of cash. Sorry, I don’t think google will have any affects on Zynga’s morals. I think Zynga have dropped the more nefarious money making schemes already.

      Getting “helpless people” to pay “fees” for “ridiculous things” is simply Capitalism ;-)

    • Gabe McGrath says:

      Let me get this right.
      You’d like Google to ignore the potential for greater profits, by adhering to their “don’t be evil” rule?

      Ummm, like they did earlier today… when they agreed to cave into China’s censorship demands so they don’t miss out on market sure? Ahh who cares if 1 billion people think the Tiananmen square massacre was just a western fairytale. FEEL THE MARKET SHARE!

      “Don’t be evil rule? Naahhh, more like a guideline!”

      So, who’s going to build me an ‘ethical Google’?

    • Zinic says:

      Incidentally, Zynga has employed a lot of former Googlers.

      As for why they’re doing this? Probably no different than EA releasing Ultima Kingdoms or whatever, because they see an online market they’re not yet part of that makes a shit ton of money.

      As for there coming serious games from Google. I wouldn’t bet on it. Though with Adobe adding 3D in the next version of flash and several graphics libraries being developed for web, I still think we won’t see anything interesting for at least a couple of years.

      It’s sad to think that one reason people think PC gaming isn’t doing bad is because there’s a ton of casual browser based games. :/

    • TenjouUtena says:

      Possibly… JUST POSSIBLY, they could actually invent a game instead of just stealing someone else’s idea.

      Just sayin’

  6. Adrian says:

    Oh n i just love how these social games are farming games. U know in the past you had to enslave people to do tedious farm work all day and many revolutions started because of it and now people do it for free and think its fun….

    I wonder what woulda happened if slaves in the past had the chance to leave little comment signs on theier neighbours farm…..

  7. SquareWheel says:

    What’s next, Google buys Monsanto?

  8. Tei says:

    The Planetary Datalinks
    Secret project details:
    Cost: 300
    Prerequisite Technology: Cyberethics
    Effect: You automatically discover any technology discovered by any three other factions.

    IMHO, Google can buy Zynga, and this will not have any negative effects. My politic is a “case by case” critic.
    Google switch to SSL in Gmail is a big pro-freedom change. Nowdays almost all data is send over the internet in cleartext. So if you uses SSL, you are flagging yourself as dissenter. But the more and more normal we see SSL conexiones, the less cleartext on the internet, and more privacy.
    We want privacy, becase we want disenters. If govern A is building a system B to screw us, and one disenter on B is not happy, that dude can leak the information to B, thats something we need to stop it. We need anonymity, and we can’t have anonymity withouth privacy. We cant have privacy, withouth SSL. And Google is pushing SSL. (You would say, thats a double edge sword. And most blades are. )

    Now, we have the internet. We have the tools to preserve and enforce freedom. Google is making internet better, and this is good for us, and our cause.

    If things gets messy. We can always built a virtual internet inside internet. with something like TOR + a new dns system. It would take 1 hour, for geeks, to build something like that.

    In a way, Internet is a new country, that will not tolerate interferences from the exterior. What you see now, is the internet pre-BostonTea era. The attacks on privacy and freedom are not hard enough to make the geeks on the internet angry.

    I will not make any judgement about this Zynga+Google thing, and maybe will not have any neligible effect on things I care about.

    • Rinox says:

      Wonderful. Alpha Centauri is/was one of those rare games that wasn’t afraid to tackle religion, philosophy and science without assuming that its audience consisted of uncultured idiots. Too bad AC2 seems far away right now.

      Man’s unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist.

      Academician Prokhor Zakharov
      “For I Have Tasted The Fruit”

      http://www.generationterrorists.com/quotes/smac.html

    • Ed says:

      @Tei, you are a legend.

  9. Guildenstern says:

    Meh, they are a good match, in my opinion.

  10. Bhazor says:

    $200,000,000 to a company slightly less reputable than Edge? I mean it’s ‘games’ are shameless copies and the lead guy doesn’t even deny it. Theres other claims that he has been working with scam advertisers and sharing personal information (ie the stuff you dump on your face book thing instead of talking to people).

    Maybe I’m just jealous I’m not being paid hundreds of millions of dollars to make a clone Diner Dash.

    • Tei says:

      In bussines, a bad app with tons of users have more value than a good app withouth users, because you can sell things or ask paids to these users. So users > code.

  11. Gutter says:

    Oh come on. Google wouldn’t be so daft. Zynga is the scum of the internet. Zynga probably manufactured the whole rumor to stay relevant.

    I would seriously consider closing things like my gmail account if this turn out to be true. I don’t want to encourage a company that even tacitly approve of Zynga’s fraudulent business model.

  12. postx says:

    Guess I shouldn’t be, but I’m still a little disappointed at this move. Sure for 200mil I would change my alignment to chaotic evil, maybe it’s the price to change Zynga’s alignment to lawful good.

  13. zorb ball says:

    Meh, they are a good match, in my opinion.

  14. Mctittles says:

    I’m pretty sure this is all part of their big buying plan lately to get whatever web based stuff they can for google store and whatnot when they do a big launch with their new “OS” (browser).