Playdom announced today that it has acquired Acclaim, a developer of social networking and downloadable casual games, for an undisclosed amount. For those of you who are old school, this deal sounds a lot bigger than it actually is since the name Acclaim is synonymous with classic game play, much like the name “Atari” or “Dig Dug.” The original Acclaim is no more but it’s still a big deal, being Playdom’s third acquisition in two months and 5th since November 2009.
Like “Atari,” the original Acclaim is no more, having gone bankrupt in 2004. Current Acclaim CEO Howard Marks acquired the brand in 2006.
This is still another significant acquisition. Acclaim is a leader in the casual and massively multiplayer online (MMO) free-to-play space with 15 million registered users and a new Facebook game, RockFree, attracting 370,000 monthly active users (according to Appdata). Acclaim has also been successful and aggressive in selling game cards at retail.
What’s more significant is that this is Playdom’s fifth acquisition since November 2009, following the purchases of Three Melons, Metrogames, Merscom, Green Patch, and Trippert Labs.
While its competitors are being acquired (Playfish by Electronic Arts) or fighting a very public battle with Facebook to save 30 cents on the dollar (Zynga), Playdom is on a buying binge.
None of these deals by themselves are what I call blockbuster. But taken together, Playdom has acquired a lot of technology and talent and saved their human resources department the stress of having to hire all these people themselves.
The question is whether the sum of all parts is greater then the individual pieces or if Playdom’s consolidation pieces do not play well together.
Just as big a question, now that Zynga and Facebook have supposedly made up, what’s Zynga’s next move? Do they go out and buy big brand name (is Atari for sale?) or do they work on their next “Ville” game? They better decide fast, before Playdom buys up the entire world of Facebook game developers, many of which are up for sale as Facebook tightens control of the market.