Reporting from San Francisco — Showing it is focused on conquering mobile the way it has the personal computer, Zynga Game Network Inc., the biggest maker of games on Facebook Inc. including FarmVille, said Thursday it had bought Texas mobile-game company Newtoy Inc.
Newtoy makes such popular games as Words With Friends on the iPhone, a Scrabble-like game.
Zynga, a San Francisco social-gaming juggernaut, launched FarmVille on the iPhone five months ago. Since then, the game has been downloaded more than 7 million times. Overall, more than 10 million access Zynga games on mobile devices each month.
That's actually tiny for Zynga, which has more than 215 million monthly active users playing its games, mostly on Facebook. But its ambitions are much grander.
David Ko, senior vice president of mobile games, said the company's goal was to make it possible to play its games anywhere. "It is increasingly clear that mobile is the next great frontier for social gaming," he said.
Zynga has snapped up seven gaming companies in seven months, but this was the first focused on mobile. The Newtoy deal comes after Japan's DeNA bought iPhone game maker Ngmoco for $403 million. Zynga has expanded to Japan, home to a trove of mobile-gaming companies. Zynga raised money from SoftBank to create Zynga Japan so it could gain a foothold there. The move is part of a global initiative by Zynga to extend its gaming empire beyond Facebook. Its new game, CityVille, which went live this week, is already available in five languages.
Newtoy's headquarters in McKinney, Texas, will become the Zynga With Friends Studio. It has 23 people on staff. Newtoy co-founder and Chief Executive Paul Bettner will be vice president and general manager of the studio, reporting to Ko. Bettner founded Newtoy in 2008 with his brother David Bettner.
Zynga was one of the first companies to spot the potential of building on Facebook, plunging into the lucrative market for social gaming and virtual goods in 2007. Its biggest hit is FarmVille, in which people farm land with their friends.