Go big or go home. That mantra seems to have been a driving force behind Disney's acquisition this week of the Mountain View-based [Web Link Playdom] social gaming service.
"When deciding how to place a bet we thought we should do it at a significant level and not just take a little shot," Robert A. Iger, Disney's chief executive, was quoted saying in the [Web Link New York Times]. "Too often traditional media companies only put a toe or two in, and they deprive themselves at the opportunity for real growth."
Well, Disney certainly has dipped more than a toe into the pool of social media gaming. Playdom is ranked as the No. 3 gaming provider on Facebook. The company makes games with titles like "Sorority Life" and "Social City," which users can play casually -- checking in and out on Facebook, MySpace and their iPhones, whenever they feel like it. Playdom has the No. 1 game on MySpace, "Mobsters."
It is a model that has propelled [Web Link Zynga] -- the Bay Area-based social media gaming company behind FarmVille and Mafia Wars -- to great success. In a slumping economy, Zynga runs radio ads seeking new hires and has raised $520 million in venture capital, according to the Times article.
Such games make money in several ways, including through the sale of virtual goods. Sorority Life players can buy [Web Link virtual outfits] for their avatars at $2.50 a pop. It may seem like a waste of money to some, but, according to the Times article, sales of these little gifts made of light are expected to top $835 million this year.