Zynga Rolls Up Conduit Labs

Social gaming powerhouse Zynga has acquired yet another game development shop, this time Cambridge, Mass.-based Conduit Labs, it announced this morning. The deal, which will turn Conduit into Zynga’s Boston studio and shut down its existing games, was an all-stock transaction, according to Boston.com’s Scott Kirsner. Prism VentureWorks and Charles River Ventures had put a total of $8.5 million into Conduit.

Conduit co-founder and CEO Nabeel Hyatt wrote in a guest post for GigaOM in 2008 that social gaming should be about synchronous real-time games that require presence, something Zynga (whose early hit game was Texas Hold’em) has moved away from over time towards asynchronous play. Conduit also changed its strategy over time, writes Kirsner, taking a $3 million round from existing investors last November to turn its focus to Facebook gaming and away from being a Flash-based destination. The company had launched the music community game Loudcrowd last spring, but it never really took off and was shut down in July. As part of the Zynga acquisition, Conduit will also be closing Music Pets and Super Dance, its Facebook games. Hyatt wrote on the company blog:

Despite the countless hours we’ve spent working on them, and last month being our best revenue yet [sic], we failed to make these products commercially successful enough. We had to make the decision to focus on what was working, and we think once you see what we’ve got next, you’ll agree it was the right choice.

Zynga itself has raised something like $390 million in total VC funding, and has made myriad acquisitions including Unoh, Challenge Games, XPD Media, Serious Business, GoPets, MyMiniLife and YoVille.

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