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News Corp. Buys  Spymaster  Social Game Developer

News Corp. Buys Spymaster Social Game Developer

April 21, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

April 21, 2010 | By Eric Caoili
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More: Console/PC

Major media conglomerate and MySpace owner News. Corp has acquired Irata Labs, a small San Francisco-based developer that's released social games on Facebook, iPhone, and Twitter. Neither companies revealed the terms of the deal, which closed late last week.

Founded in 2005, Irata Labs has three employees and is headed by CEO Chris Abad. The studio is best known for Spymaster, an espionage game originally built for Twitter and eventually extended to Facebook. In Spymaster, players take on missions and order assassinations, earning currency to buy better equipment and growing their spy ring (Twitter followers/Facebook friends).

The developer also produced iList Micro, an application that uses hashtags to turn Twitter into a classified advertising service, allowing users to post and search items for sale.

As for its future releases, Irata Labs is working on Flyvy, a platform designed to "enable the rapid development of location-based social games", promising mechanics like resource collection, scavenger hunts, and more.

News Corp. doesn't plan to incorporate Irata into its major online assets, MySpace, or consumer site IGN, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. It is believed that the developers will work with those divisions, though, when it makes sense with different projects.

"The fact they built a social classified offering, iList, then they built a Twitter game -- these guys have shown they can be mold-breakers with great product. And that's what we care about," a person close to the acquisition told the L.A. Times.

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