Zynga just closed a talent acquisition of Oregon-based video game maker Buzz Monkey, which will add about 50 people to its arsenal of game developers, we’ve confirmed with sources who have knowledge of the deal.
The price isn’t being disclosed and the deal literally just closed at the end of May. It wasn’t a “material” acquisition, meaning it was not financially large enough to break out in a release or an SEC filing. Buzz Monkey will become Zynga’s Eugene, Oregon office.
Does this mean Zynga will start making video games? Probably not. Zynga is about mass-market, free-to-play games — with the emphasis being on free-to-play. While the company started out with resource management games like Farmville, it has branched out and is retooling many classic game genres to involve in-app purchases and virtual currency. Zynga has recently launched arcade games like Bubble Safari and zombie games like Zombie Swipeout. As Zynga expands the types of games it makes, it may need to bring in more traditional gaming talent.
It’s not exactly clear what Buzz Monkey will be working on yet. They’ve worked with Zynga in the past, however, on games like Frontierville. So they weren’t a totally unknown entity to the company. The company has also worked on huge gaming franchises like Tomb Raider Trilogy and Tony Hawk Shred for consoles like the PS3 and Wii. It was started in 2001 by four former employees of Dynamix and has partnered with Eidos and Activision to make games.
Zynga has done many deals like this in the past where it picks up smaller game developers and turns them into satellite offices. Buzz Monkey will become Zynga’s 18th satellite office.