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RockYou Buys UK Social Game Dev Playdemic

RockYou Buys UK Social Game Dev Playdemic

January 13, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

January 13, 2011 | By Eric Caoili
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As it transforms itself into a gaming-focused firm, Redwood City-based RockYou has acquired another social game developer, British studio Playdemic.

The developer is best known for its first title, Gourmet Ranch, which has over half a million monthly users on Facebook. It's a sim that combines two themes popular with social games, farming and baking, allowing players to grow organic crops, raise animals, then prepare and serve virtual meals to their friends.

Though RockYou will add Playdemic's 16 employees to its team, the Manchester studio will continue to operate independently (as "Playdemic, a RockYou Studio") and create original games for the parent company. Playdemic's founder and CEO Paul Gouge will also head the studio as VP and general manager.

Last October, RockYou announced its decision to focus primarily on social games and less on apps, a move it described as "a whole shift in the DNA in the company". That transformation resulted in a substantial staff reduction for the company's non-game divisions and the resignation of former CEO Lance Tokuda.

Following that, the firm acquired 3D social game engine developer TirNua, whose technology it plans to use for creating multiple titles. RockYou currently has 17 games and applications available on Facebook (including Gourmet Ranch and its most popular game Zoo World), which have a total of 20 million monthly users.

"Being a part of RockYou gives us the opportunity to remain creatively independent, while leveraging RockYou's vast network and expertise at scale to reach a wide audience with our games," says Gouge. "We see a massive opportunity to expand the depth and quality of social games, and have found an ideal partner in RockYou."

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