Microsoft has never been a force in social gaming, but like other big companies, it has ambitions of getting into the market. This morning, it’s announcing the addition of CrowdStar’s games to its lineup on Bing Games.
Bing is a fairly new arrival to Microsoft’s array of sites, especially the game portion. But Microsoft is updating across the board. In late October, for instance, it announced a revamped MSN Games channel, which will expand the focus beyond just casual games.
CrowdStar’s titles will be hitting Bing first, then moving onto other Microsoft properties with the help of Sibblingz, a sister company at incubator YouWeb. Some social features will remain more or less the same, with Facebook Connect providing the glue (though Windows Live will also be offered as a sign-in option).
The deal is more encompassing than the one that Microsoft previously had with Zynga, in which it only featured FarmVille on MSN Games. Zynga pulled FarmVille from MSN in August, just six months after it had first added it to the service.
But Microsoft will no doubt be persistent in its efforts to offer social games. It’s also releasing a redesign today, which emphasizes social features and competition, and even draws in Facebook’s news feed.
We’ll be discussing alternative platforms for social games in depth at our upcoming Inside Social Apps InFocus 2011 conference in San Francisco on January 25th.