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Shoptown Hero players find out that their discontinued game-maker was bought by Zynga
The San Francisco gaming giant, Zynga, has just snapped up a small female-focused casual gaming company called Wild Needle.
The Mountain View startup was previously backed by Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson.
Wild Needle closed a Series A round of $2.5 million with Thompson and Shasta Ventures at the close of 2010 and didn't release its first gaming title until last March.
The company's first came, Shoptown Hero, was a freemium casual game that was available for download until just a few weeks ago when the company's Facebook page announced that the game was being pulled from the App store and users with left over unused currency should contact iTunes for a refund.
Shoptown Hero took the causal virtual world shopping games that are popular now and added a bit of a spin on the usual set priced scenarios by allowing shop owners to haggle with customers and earn different profits for their merchandise.
Now it looks that like the gaming company and its talent will be on board with Zynga. The exact terms of this acquisition are not yet widely known but it does make for the second big pick-up this month, after Funzio joined GREE for the price of $210 million.
Zynga has been looking to other companies for building its strength in the mobile arena since many of its flagship games (FarmVille, CityVille, CastleVille, Mafia Wars) are not mobile friendly games. The company looked to Words with Friends and OMGPop for mobile hits to build its power on the small device market and it appears it will continue to do so at this point.
The big difference we are seeing here is that, usually, there is a seemless transition where users of the smaller comapny's product are still able to play and use the service through the acquisition and here the game was discontinued without much explaination if it will jump on Zynga's platform or come back at all.
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GREE is a global mobile social gaming company at the forefront of mobile technology. GREE is focused on building the leading mobile social gaming ecosystem for users and developers worldwide, with an emphasis on creating and supporting unique free-to-play game content. The new GREE Platform will be available in Q2 2012. Following the acquisition of OpenFeint Inc. in April 2011, GREE's robust network now reaches over 190 million players and offers over 7,500 game applications to users around the world. With offices in Tokyo (head office), San Francisco, London, Beijing, Sao Paulo, and Dubai, GREE will continue to expand aggressively worldwide.
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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users. Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist. The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.