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Disney To Buy Social Dev Playdom For $763 Million
Disney To Buy Social Dev Playdom For $763 Million
July 27, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

Confirming recent rumors, the Walt Disney Co. has announced an agreement to buy social game developer Playdom (Social City, Sorority Life) for as much as $763.2 million.

As part of the acquisition deal, Playdom's shareholders will receive "total consideration" of $563.2 million, which is subject to certain conditions. Disney also promises a "performance-linked earn-out" of up to $200 million, though it did not outline its goals for that bonus.

The media conglomerate says that this purchase will strengthen its digital gaming portfolio, as well as enable new opportunities for fans to interact with the company and its brands on social networks. It adds that Playdom's "social gaming software tools, business intelligence and rapid innovation " will benefit its Disney Interactive Media Group.

Founded in early 2008 and headquartered in Mountain View, Playdom currently has 15 development studios, many of which it has added in the past eight months. The company has acquired or invested in nine developers since last November, including Merscom, Trippert Labs, Offbeat Creations, Three Melons, Green Patch, Argentinian firm MetroGames , Acclaim, Hive7, and most recently Metaplace.

Disney expects to complete the transaction by the end of its 2010 fiscal year on October 3. Playdom's CEO and Electronic Arts veteran John Pleasants will serve as general manager of the developer and join the Disney Interactive Media Group as executive vice president, reporting to that unit's president Steve Wadsworth.

"We are at the start of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way people of all ages play games with their friends across devices, platforms and geographical boundaries," said Pleasants in a statement. "Disney is an incredibly forward-thinking company that shares our vision and is the ideal partner to further our mission to bring great entertainment to people around the world."

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Sheridan Thirsk
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How is Playdom worth a similar dollar amount to Bioware+Pandemic ? Crazy.

Carlo Delallana
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Apples to oranges Sheridan.

Chris Remo
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They've been successful enough to grow to 15 development studios, so they must be doing pretty well. And Pandemic obviously didn't prove to be all EA may have assumed, financially.

Sheridan Thirsk
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I recognize they have tons of small profitable teams and profit speaks for itself. But if I were hiring talent, I would rather have BioWare's artists designers and coders, however that might also be a reason Playdom is so amazing is that there are so many interchangable parts for casual game makers that it keeps costs down.

Rey Samonte
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Hrm, just because a developer can be labeled "casual" doesn't make them any less than one who works for a high budget studio. In fact, I'm guessing there are more veteran developers working in the casual gaming space to escape the politics and harsh conditions of working in a high budget studio.

Sheridan Thirsk
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I definitely can't comment on the skills of any given employee of a company since being better at art/design/coding is an entirely subjective value. I still would speculate that replacing a midlevel Bioware employee would draw from a much smaller and more experienced talent pool than a midlevel Playdom employee. With an elite retail PC/console developer, it is easier to recognize #1 their remarkably well reviewed games and #2 millions of units sold. It is harder to look at an ad-driven, micro-transaction flash game and comprehend the type of work involved, and how revenue is generated. Specifically to playdom, I do love social city's city making concept and the art style is definitely more polished than its flash competitors. I am guessing Disney thinks the growth in this area will be huge with the same development team, just different brand and marketing, which good or bad, happens all the time in business. Personally I'd rather see the brilliant fantastic contraption guy get at least one tenth of those 560 million dollars.

Victor Perez
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The Disney IPs are closed to casual games than hardcore... regarding the sales prices. That is another thing... Disney is a big cash machine....